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Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds - Costa Mesa, CA

2000 28th Annual Fair Derby
Costa Mesa Speedway
July 15, 2000
From Ryan Evans

Charlie "The Edge" Venegas capped his second double main event evening of the season by winning the 28th Annual Fair Derby at Costa Mesa. Venegas, starting from the pole, was inside the Fair Derby's only two four-time winners, Bobby Schwartz in gate two and defending Fair Derby Champion Mike Faria in gate three. Chris Manchester and Dukie Ermolenko rounded out the main event.

Venegas, Schwartz, and Faria battled as they entered turn one. Faria was pushed wide and left Venegas and Schwartz to battle for the lead as they raced down the back straight. Schwartz held a slight advantage on the outside line but not enough to get on the pole. They finished lap one side-by-side but the second time through turns one and two Schwartz remained outside and Venegas used the inside line to secure the lead that he would never relinquish. Manchester and Faria also went under Schwartz for second and third, respectively. Venegas jubilantly crossed the line for his first Fair Derby Championship ahead of Manchester, Faria, Schwartz, and Ermolenko.

Venegas didn't rest on his laurels, however, as the Handicap Main was still to be contested. Brian Thompson was alone at the tapes with his nearest competitor 40 yards back. Originally, there were five riders on the 50, but a series of rollers subsequently banished Manchester, Randy DiFrancesco, and Gary Hicks to the penalty line behind Venegas, who was starting on the 60.

Thompson led the field through the first lap with Eddie Castro quickly hunting him down. Venegas, whose tough task was made easier by the penalties, charged through the field and into third behind Castro. Venegas tried the outside the second time through turn three but Castro and Josh Larsen came together forcing a red flag.

The staggered restart began on the start of lap two with Thompson in front, Castro on the 10, and Venegas on the 20. Thompson led again but this time he wasn't afforded as much breathing room. Castro immediately set after him but had to contend with Venegas breathing down his neck. Venegas went under Castro on lap four and made quick work of Thompson to take the lead on lap five. Ermolenko managed to follow the path paved by Venegas to take second but couldn't reel him in. Venegas was the winner ahead of Ermolenko, Larsen was third, Hicks was fourth, and Manchester was fifth.

Bentley  Barrett - 1998

The Support Main began with Bentley Barrett being penalized 20 yards for touching the tapes. On the second attempt Tim Tucker trapped from the outside to take the lead ahead of Gerry Duttweiler and Sean McDougall. Barrett immediately began making up ground and was in second at the close of lap two. Tucker looked as if he would take the victory but Barrett kept the heat on and was on Tucker's back tire as they entered the final corner. Both riders went wide and were left to drag race to the finish with Barrett taking a narrow victory over Tucker.

Although Faria was making his first appearance at Costa Mesa in 2000 he didn't have any problems getting reacquainted with the world famous venue. He transferred from the 60 yard line in his handicap heat but appeared to suffer a mechanical problem in his semi that relegated him to the consolation. He won his scratch heat and semi before running into the "Edge Express" in the Fair Derby Main.

The Fair Derby has used a variety of programs over the years including all-scratch formats or formats with handicap and a couple rounds of scratch competition to determine the field for the main event. In 1980, the Handicap Main determined the champion. This year, the standard program was used with the Scratch Main determining the Fair Derby Champion. The only deviation from the standard program was the use of eight-man semi finals and, for the first time since 1986, there was a Handicap Consolation.

Since a round-robin system wasn't used there was some cutthroat action during the scratch heats that provided some good racing. Schwartz found himself third and out of a transfer after the first lap of his heat but put in an excellent outside ride to pass DiFrancesco and claw his way into a semifinal berth. Hicks was securely in second in his heat but fell on the final corner when his primary chain broke thus eliminating him from contention. Costa Mesa will be closed on July 22 and July 29 due to the Orange County Fair but speedway will resume on Saturday, August 5.

Support Consolation #1 
131 - David Lynch
226 - Sean Larned
182 - Rudy Laurer       (tape penalty)
162 - Mike Lupo         (fell, excluded)

Support Consolation #2
234 - Frank Pecce
114 - Paul Hitchcock
198 - Mike Boyle
208n - Chuck Lane       (fell)

Support Main
300 - Bentley Barrett   (tape penalty)
215 - Tim Tucker
200 - Gerry Duttweiler
243 - Sean McDougall

Handicap Consolation (6 laps)
  6 - Shawn McConnell       60
  1 - Brad Oxley                60
  9n - Mike Faria           60  (penalty line)
119 - Brad Sauer             0
 11 - Bobby Schwartz        60
  8 - Gary Ackroyd          40
 47 - Johnny Walker         10
166 - Andy Northrup         50  (non-starter)

Handicap Main
 43 - Charlie Venegas       60
 15 - Dukie Ermolenko       50
  4 - Josh Larsen           50
  3 - Gary Hicks                50  (penalty line)
130 - Chris Manchester      50  (penalty line)
 12 - Randy DiFrancesco 50  (penalty line)
 57 - Brian Thompson         0  
 14 - Eddie Castro          40  (engine failure)

Fair Derby Championship
 43 - Charlie Venegas
130 - Chris Manchester
  9n - Mike Faria
 11 - Bobby Schwartz
 15 - Dukie Ermolenko
1970 - Bill Cody
1971 - Rick Woods
1972 - Sonny Nutter
1973-74 - not contested
1975 - Mike Curoso
1976 - Bruce Penhall
1977 - not contested
1978 - Bobby Schwartz
1979 - Alan Christian
1980 - Mike Muntean     (handicap race)
1981 - Lance King
1982 - Mike Bast
1983 - Kelly Moran
1984 - John Sandona
1985 - Robert Pfetzing
1986 - Mike Faria
1987 - Mike Faria
1988 - Shawn McConnell
1989 - Steve Lucero
1990 - Bobby Schwartz
1991 - Phil Collins
1992 - Mike Faria
1993 - Bobby Schwartz
1994 - Bobby Schwartz
1995 - Steve Lucero
1996 - Robert Pfetzing
1997 - Shawn McConnell
1998 - Bobby Schwartz
1999 - Mike Faria
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