The witch is back.
James Consalvi piloted the P-51 Mustang owned by Bakersfield’s Bill “Tiger” Destefani to the Unlimited Gold victory at the Reno National Championship Air Races on Sept. 17.
It was the first time Consalvi has piloted “Strega”, which means witch in Italian. Consalvi outdueled Steve Hinton, who previously won three times in “Strega” to get the victory.
That is now an even dozen Unlimited Gold victories for “Strega.” Destefani won seven times in the plane, his last victory coming in 2008. Hinton won in 2009, 2010 and 2012. Robert Gibson piloted “Strega” to victory in 2015.
Consalvi, of Lakewood, Colo., made a last-lap pass of Hinton, who was piloting the P-51 Mustang “Voodoo,” as the two powered past a slower plane. Consalvi went high and came out in front of Hinton.
Consalvi averaged 481.340 mph for the eight-lap race, finishing less than a second ahead of Hinton.
Speedway winds up regular season
A regular season which started on the first Saturday of March comes to a close on Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway with five divisions of racing.
The Western USAC Midgets Series, which last stopped at the Speedway for the series season opener on March 11, rolls back into town with Ronnie Gardner looking for another win. Gardner won that opening race, has raced to one other win this season and is the points leader.
Also in action will be Hobby Stocks, American Stocks, Mini Stocks and NMRA Three-Quarter Midgets. Racing starts at 7.
Two-time winner Misty Warren leads seven-time winner Lonnie Spiller by 36 points heading into the final Mini Stock race. A finish of 18th or higher will secure the championship for Warren.
Rookie Trevor Baker is 24 points up on Chris Settlemire in the Hobby Stock division and needs to finish 12th or better to secure the title.
The closest race is in American Stocks where Tyler Johnson is 14 points up on Brandon Ratcliff. If Johnson finishes seventh or higher he is the champ.
Famoso gearing up
Auto Club Famoso Raceway capped a busy weekend of action at the track Sunday with an Import FaceOff race and car show. That came on the heels of the final Street Tuner event of the season, which ended at 2 a.m. Sunday and left just four hours to clean up and open the gates for the import show.
Now there is time to tidy up and get ready for a flurry of action, starting with the American Nostalgia Racing Association Fall Nationals at the track Oct. 14-15.
Following that will be the 26th annual NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion which pays homage to the early days of hot rodding with displays and restored and recreated car along with drag racing featuring Nostalgia Top Fuel and Funny Car.
KCRP ready for destruction
With some time before special season-ending races, Kern County Raceway Park is holding a “Night of Destruction: on Oct. 7.
The night will include RV races, a trailer drop, the Shocker Monster Truck, the 911 Race Series, the waterless boat race, skid plate races and UTV races.
Mayhem starts at 7 that night.
Shepherd races to another win
Buddy Shepherd of Bakersfield continues to have the hot hand at Madera Speedway as he raced to his fourth Late Model win of the season last Saturday night on the third-mile track oval.
Shepherd qualified No.1, started on the pole and led all 100 laps. An oil lead following practice forced the crew to change his engine, which they accomplished in an hour and 45 minutes, completing the job just in time to get Shepherd out for his qualifying run.
Racing Vernon of Bakersfield had a strong run, eventually finishing eighth.
The Madera season ends on Oct. 7 with a $10,000 to win race.
The Spears Southwest Tour Series heads to Tucson Speedway on Saturday where Bakersfield’s Derek Thorn will be looking to extend his points lead and win his third race of the season. Thorn leads rookie Ricky Schlick by 34 points with three races left in the season
The K&N Pro Series heads to the Meridian Speedway in Idaho on Saturday where teammates Todd Gilliland and Chris Eggleston will continue their championship battle on the quarter-mile oval. Gilliland leads Eggleston by five points.