Bakersfield Speedway fireworks

Fireworks lit up Bakersfield Speedway in June 2017. The track will hold it's annual fireworks show on Saturday along with four divisions of racing. 

Fireworks will light the night sky north and west of Bakersfield on Saturday night as both Bakersfield Speedway and Kern County Raceway are holding early Fourth of July celebrations.

IMCA Modifieds, Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks and Western Racesaver Sprints will be in action at Bakersfield Speedway in the seventh annual Richie McGowan Memorial.

McGowan was a huge supporter of dirt track racing as a driver and sponsor, and as is the norm for his memorial race the Hobby Stocks will compete for 32 laps with a total purse of $3,200 ($600 to win) in honor of his car number.

“We’ve always done Richie’s memorial race with our fireworks show, it’s a good way to honor him,” said Speedway owner Scott Schweitzer.

The Modified and Sport Mod divisions also feature increased payouts with the Mod winner taking home $1,200 and the Sport Mod winner getting $600.

As for the fireworks, they are planned to go off shortly after 9 p.m., between some of the main events. As usual, the fireworks will be launched from the infield of the track.

“We had one year due to regulation changes that we had to (set them off) in the parking lot,” Schweitzer said. “Now they set them up on one of our construction trailers outside then bring it into the infield for the show. It’s great for the crowd.

“We’ve got 3,000 aerial shots this year and looking for the show to take about 15 minutes.”

Racing starts at 6. 

Out at Kern County Raceway, the on-track action will consist of the Lucas Oil Modified Series, Super Stocks, twin features for Legends, Bandoleros and Mini Dwarfs.

The fireworks show will take place after the last race.

KCRP is the fastest track the Modifieds run on and this will be the only stop this season at the track.

“It’s fast, it’s action-packed, it keeps everybody on their toes and I think it brings out the best in everybody,” said Dylan Cappello, who led all 75 laps in last year’s race.

The last Super Stock race at the track produced the closest finish in KCRP history as Roger Holder beat Craig Rayburn in a race that was a virtual dead heat. Computer timing showed the margin of victory to be 0.000 with the computer giving the edge to Holder at the finish line.

As for the fireworks, which should last around 20 minutes, director of marketing and communication Steve Hughes said the show features more than 2,500 “high altitude big boomers with a finale that shakes your bones.”

Racing starts at 7. 

Locals racing across the country

Bakersfield’s Buddy Shepherd will be driving the Campbell Motorsports Super Late Model in the $25,000 to win Summer Showdown on Saturday night at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. He will be in a car normally driven by Derek Thorn. Thorn led the first 40 laps of that race last year before a flat tire ended his chance for a win.

Derek Thorn will be competing in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, Ore. on Saturday night. Thorn is coming off an eighth-place finish at Sonoma last weekend and trails teammate Ryan Partridge, who finished fifth, by one points in the championship race. David Mayhew of Bakersfield finished 11th at Sonoma.

Blaine Perkins of Bakersfield will be making his third ARCA start Thursday night at Chicagoland Speedway. Perkins finished 12th last month in his first start at Pocono Raceway. His best finish is ninth in his series debut last year at Kentucky Speedway.

Bakersfield’s Racin Vernon will be back in Pro Late Model action on Saturday night at Madera as he looks for his second straight win on the third-mile oval. Vernon led all 80 laps in his last Madera outing. 

Mike Griffith can be reached at 661 395-7390. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeGriffith54. 

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