Latemodels Shootout comes to town
Don’t mistake the Cocopah Speedway pit for a new winter visitor RV park.
But it might look that way Saturday night when the high-powered West Coast Lademodels Shootout rolls into the track and a few of the haulers are sporting Oregon and Washington license plates.
Greg Burgess, director of operations at the Somerton oval, confirmed this week that at least two entries in what is expected to be a large field of cars will be driven by Jerry Schram, of Vancouver, Wash., and Greg Walters, from Banks, Ore.
Along with those two drivers, who are not regulars in the West Coast Latemodels Shootout series, are Billy Workman Jr., from Canby, Ore., Rob Mayer, from Bend, Ore., and Mark Carrell, from Redmond, Ore.
Throw in Mike Balcean, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and Burgess can host his own welcome back, winter visitor bash.
But those drivers, along with a strong field of Shootout regulars from California, are not headed to Cocopah Speedway for the warm weather. No, each of them is hoping to take home the $2,000 check that goes to the winner. Each driver is also guaranteed $400 just to start the feature event.
The night’s program will begin with the first green flag at 7.
Also appearing on the card are the 2011-2012 Cocopah Speedway Racing Series Factory Stock Division cars and a return appearance by the West Coast Vintage Racers.
The racing format for the Shootout series will include a two-lap qualifying session for each car, and heat race winners placed in the trophy dash. The trophy dash outcome will determine the first two or three rows for the feature event, with the remainder of the feature event lineup determined by heat race finishes and, if needed, a B Main event.
Leading the Shootout series to Cocopah Speedway is the 2011 defending champion and current point leader, Clay Daly, from Watsonville, Calif. He is one of five different drivers who have each won a feature event in 2012.
The other feature event winners are Don Shaw, from Ham Lake, Minn., John Lowrey, from Bakersfield, Calif., Bobby Hogge IV, from Salinas, Calif., and Jeff Decker, from Morgan Hill, Calif.
Decker won the last feature event on the schedule, the Maselli & Sons Classic at Petaluma Speedway in Petaluma, Calif., on Sept. 8.
Daly is a confirmed entry for the Shootout show at Cocopah Speedway, along with Tony Toste, from Pismo Beach, Calif., who is No. 2 in the standings; Jason Papich, from Santa Maria, Calif., No. 3 in the standings; Rob Sanders, from Bakersfield, Calif., No. 4 in the standings; and Steve Drake, from San Luis Obispo, Calif., No. 5 in the standings.
Also confirmed are Nick Bartels, from El Segundo, Calif., Bill Bartels, from Marina del Rey, Calif., Mike Kirby, from Torrance, Calif., Dino Napier, from Corona, Calif., Tommy Malcolm, from Corona, Calif., and the only woman driver in the series, Carla Laney, from Torrance, Calif.
The Cocopah Speedway Racing Series Factory Stocks will be led onto the track by the current series point leader, Jimmy Davy, from Yuma.
Davy has the 2011-2012 driving championship locked up by virtue of his 70-point lead over his nearest challenger, Amy Teague, from Brawley.
Davy, however, appears to have gone into a defensive mode, having not won a feature event since March 24, when he strung together three wins in a row. He has a series leading five wins, but while he once was able to dominate a race, the second-year driver now hangs around near mid pack.
Also in the field will be Yuma’s Steve Anthony, who has notched two feature event wins, and Rookie of the Year candidate Jordan White, from Yuma, who has one win to his credit.
SPARE PARTS: Cocopah Speedway is located at U.S. 95 and County 15th Street; general admission gates open at 5 p.m.; special event tickets are: adults – $15; adult military with ID – $13; seniors (55 and older) – $13; children 12 years old and younger – free; family pass – $30; Skybox – $30; Fans can get live racing lineups during the races and results afterward by going to www.cocopahlive.com; Fans can all access live in-race scoring and lap times by going to mylaps.com. For more information call 344-1563 or go to www.cocopahspeedway.com.