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Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds - Costa Mesa, CA

2000 25 Lap Classic
Costa Mesa Speedway
June 24, 2000
From Ryan Evans

Charlie after winning three weeks in a row! June 10th, 2000

Charlie "The Edge" Venegas continued his dominance in Southern California by winning the annual 14-rider 25 Lap Classic at Costa Mesa.

Kitt Nay led America's longest speedway race from the beginning by getting to turn one ahead of Brad Sauer and Doug Greyson who started alongside Nay at the tapes. Defending Auburn 25 lap winner Ryan Fisher was unable to duplicate his success here as he fell entering turn three on lap two. The race was allowed to continue and Nay lengthened his lead. The real story was Venegas who started alongside National Champion and defending 25 Lap Champion Brad Oxley on the 70 yard line. Venegas was somehow able to get through the crowded field and was fourth after just two laps. He quickly climbed to second and applied the pressure on Nay. Venegas passed Nay on lap six and looked like he was going to run away with the race. Venegas wisely slowed his pace to conserve energy for the marathon race. That strategy had to be scrapped after several laps as Dukie Ermolenko passed Nay and immediately began to close on Venegas who was now having to contend with a speedway rarity, lapped traffic.

Chaos began when Mark Adams fell coming out of turn two on the tenth lap and with the field spread out the corner workers were unable to safely retrieve the bike. After two laps with the bike on the track Brad Sauer and Brad Oxley fell in turn four. The race was finally red-flagged and, after several minutes of sorting through what had to be a score keeping nightmare, it was determined that Sauer was the cause of the crash, 12 laps had been completed, and the staggered restart with the 11 remaining riders would take place with the positions determined by the riders' positions at the time of the incident.

The restart should've provided excitement because, despite the handicaps, this race was far from over considering the amount of laps left and the fact that Oxley had won this event four times. Venegas quickly put all of those notions to rest as he jumped to a comfortable lead and was never challenged for the rest of the race. Ermolenko had to take comfort in holding second ahead of Oxley, Randy DiFrancesco finished fourth, Jim Estes finished fifth, and Bobby Schwartz, after a self-imposed 80-yard handicap, finished sixth.

Three rounds of scratch heats were used to determine the 14-rider main event. The original program called for a 20-rider field with five-rider heats. However, four riders were unable to compete so the traditional four-rider scratch heats were used and due to the smaller field only two riders would be eliminated.

A lot of new decomposed granite and a wet track caused the riders to ride cautiously through round one. Schwartz, Oxley, Venegas, and Fisher were victorious in the opening round.

The track began to shape up after the first round and the opening race of the second round provided a showdown between first round winners Schwartz and Fisher. It was the wise veteran who took the victory over the young lion with a great start and a superb job of holding Fisher at bay. Estes took the gate over Oxley in the next race, but Oxley was determined to not drop a point. His determination didn't prove to be fruitful as Estes put in a strong four laps to get the victory. Venegas joined Schwartz among the ranks of the unbeaten with an easy victory. Ermolenko got his first three-point tally after a great battle with Andy Northrup to close round two. Schwartz made it three for three by beating Northrup to open round three. Oxley held off Fisher for four laps to get his second victory in three races.

DiFrancesco put a stop to Venegas's unbeaten streak after getting a good start. Ermolenko closed out the qualifying heats with a victory over Estes. The Support Main Event was also a marathon race as a 10-rider field competed in a 12 lap race. Johnny Lupo led the field into turn one followed by Pat Dwyer. Shawn Harmatiuk, celebrating his 17th birthday, quickly dispatched Dwyer and set out after Lupo. Lupo held the youngster off for six laps but drifted wide on lap seven and Harmatiuk seized the lead. Harmatiuk began to pull away until Dave Delbridge fell in turn two and forced a restart. It was announced that 9 laps were complete leaving only 3 laps to go on the staggered restart. Harmatiuk and Lupo lined up next to each other at the tapes and as they entered turn one Lupo went down forcing a second restart.

Harmatiuk was now by himself at the tapes and was uncontested as he led the field into turn one. Joe Winston quickly raced to second and began to apply pressure to the young rider. The pressure continued through lap 11, but as they came off turn four no white flag came out. Winston continued to stalk Harmatiuk and as they finally took the white flag he was planted on his back tire. Despite the extra lap, Harmatiuk remained cool under the pressure and took the win for the biggest victory of his young career and probably his best birthday present. Winston was second, Bentley Barrett was third, multi-time Support 12-lap winner Randy Skinner was fourth, and Billy Lyons was sixth.


Qualifying Scores           1   2   3   T
  1 - Brad Oxley            3   2   3   8
  3 - Gary Hicks                (scratch)
  6 - Shawn McConnell       (scratch)
  8 - Gary Ackroyd          (scratch)
 11 - Bobby Schwartz        3   3   3   9
 12 - Randy DiFrancesco     2   1   3   6
 15 - Dukie Ermolenko       2   3   3   8
 19 - Richard Jones         (scratch)
 23 - Robbie Sauer          0   0   0   0
 36 - Ryan Fisher           3   2   2   7
 43 - Charlie Venegas       3   3   2   8
 47 - Johnny Walker         1   1   1   3
 56 - Jim Estes             1   3   2   6
 57 - Brian Thompson        2   0   0   2
119 - Brad Sauer            0   0   0   0
166 - Andy Northrup         2   2   2   6
216 - Kitt Nay              1   1   Fx  2
223 - Mark Adams            1   2   1   4
230 - Doug Greyson          R   0   1   1
243 - Sean McDougall        F   F   F   0

Race Results
 1: Schwartz, DiFrancesco, Adams, Greyson (retired)
 2: Oxley, Northrup, Walker, B.Sauer
 3: Venegas, Ermolenko, Nay, McDougall (fell)
 4: Fisher, Thompson, Estes, R.Sauer
 8: Schwartz, Fisher, Walker, Greyson
 9: Estes, Oxley, Nay, B.Sauer
10: Venegas, Adams, R.Sauer (retired), McDougall (fell)
11: Ermolenko, Northrup, DiFrancesco, Thompson
16 (restart): Schwartz, Northrup, McDougall (fell), Nay (fell, excluded)
17: Oxley, Fisher, Adams, Thompson
18: DiFrancesco, Venegas, Greyson, R.Sauer
19: Ermolenko, Estes, Walker, B.Sauer

12-Lap Support Main
139 - Shawn Harmatiuk       10  
314 - Joe Winston           50
300 - Bentley Barrett       40
383 - Randy Skinner         50
321 - Billy Lyons           40
120 - Bill McCarley         30
200 - Gerry Duttweiler      30
161 - Hector Quevado        20
231 - Pat Dwyer              0
125 - Johnny Lupo            0
338 - Dave Delbridge        30
316 - John DeFries          50  (fell, remounted) (retired)

25-Lap Classic Main Event
 43 - Charlie Venegas       70
 15 - Dukie Ermolenko       40
  1 - Brad Oxley            70
 12 - Randy DiFrancesco     50
 56 - Jim Estes             30
 11 - Bobby Schwartz        50  (started from the 80)
166 - Andy Northrup         50
 57 - Brian Thompson        10
216 - Kitt Nay               0
 47 - Johnny Walker         10
230 - Doug Greyson           0
119 - Brad Sauer             0  (fell, excluded)
223 - Mark Adams            20  (fell)
 36 - Ryan Fisher           40

1990 - Bobby Schwartz (16 laps @ 
Glen Helen)
1991 - Chris Manchester (20 laps)
1992 - Chris Manchester 
1993 - Lance King
1994 - Gary Hicks
1995 - Brad Oxley
1996 - Brad Oxley
1997 - Brad Oxley
1998 - Shawn McConnell
1999 - Brad Oxley
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