Bakersfield Speedway will try to kick off it’s 73rd consecutive season of racing on Saturday night and once again it appears weather will be a deciding factor.
Last Saturday night’s planned opener had to be cancelled after rain on Friday night turned the pit area into a quagmire not conducive to pitting cars.
Modifieds, Mod Lites, Mini Stocks, NMRA Three-Quarter Midgets, Mini Dwarfs and the new Mini Mod division are set to compete on what will be a busy night of racing — if rain, which is forecast for Saturday, stays away.
Brad Pounds is the defending IMCA Modified champion, Jeff Thompson won the Mod Lites title last year, and Misty Warren emerged with the Mini Stock title.
The Mini Mod class features scaled-down versions of Modifieds designed to give young drivers a division to compete in without stepping up to full-size race cars when they age out of Mini Dwarfs.
Racing is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Rain played havoc with March Meet
Rain delayed and limited action on Friday, washed out Saturday and for the second straight year the Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet wound up on a Monday at Auto Club Famoso Raceway.
A year ago, the Top Fuel and Funny Car finals had to be contested on a Monday but this year those were held on a very cold track surface after 7 p.m. on Saturday night.
It looked like a sure recipe for major traction issues.
It was for Top Fuel as what looked to be a “sure” win for Mendy Fry turned into a victory for Pete Wittenberg. He spun his tires, shut off and coasted to the finish line after Fry, who was way ahead, drifted into the timing cones and crossed the centerline midway down the track.
The Funny Cars — which utilize bigger tires, shift and have more downforce — got down the track under power.
Bobby Cottrell ran an impressive 5.72 for the win in Bucky Austin’s potent car, while defending champion Ryan Hodgson had to get in and out of the throttle of the family-owned car one time and went 5.95. Both drivers topped 240 mph.
Kudos have to go out to the track crew which spent hours and hours cleaning up oil spills or trying to get the track dry enough to race on Friday and Saturday. It’s a thankless job but they did yeoman’s work throughout the meet.
There were no local winners in any of the classes, but Ed Silbermann of Lake Isabella was runner-up in Nostalgia Elimination in a neck-and-neck final. The difference on the starting line was just .001 and Silberman’s 7.621 was just a tick behind Dan Schrokosch’s 7.619. The difference between winning and losing: .003.
Tate Sanders of Bakersfield raced to his third straight Open Outlaw Kart victory last Friday night in the finale, which made him champion of a six-race winter series at Bakersfield Karting Experience. Plans are being formulated for a summer series on the tenth-mile clay oval indoor track.
Madera Speedway is scheduled to kick off its season with a $5,000-to-win 100-lap Late Model race on Saturday night. Defending track champion Dick Shepherd as well as Racin Vernon are among Bakersfield drivers planning to compete.