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2007 Costa Mesa Speedway
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Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, California

35th Annual Fair Derby
July 13, 2007 - Costa Mesa
By: Ryan Evans

Fifteen year old Ricky Wells scored the biggest win of his brief career by winning the prestigious Fair Derby in front of an overflow crowd at the world famous Costa Mesa Speedway.

The top four riders from the heats were supposed to transfer directly into the main event with the next five riders going to the Last Chance Race. However, after three rounds of heats there were five riders tied with eight points each. Instead of a runoff to determine the four riders who would be seeded directly to the main, it was decided that all five riders would be in the main and the winner of the Last Chance Race would be handicapped twenty yards since the track is too narrow to start six riders next to each other.

Bobby "Boogaloo" Schwartz, a five-time Fair Derby Champion and the only past Fair Derby winner in the field, drew the inside starting position. "Battlin" Buck Blair, who won the Scratch Main at Costa Mesa's most recent meeting, started in gate two. Wells lined up in gate three, Randy "The Rocket" DiFrancesco was in gate four, Shaun Harmatiuk was on the outside, and "Cowboy" Bobby Krips started on the twenty yard line.

When the tapes went up Blair and Wells battled for the lead into turn one. As they exited turn two Wells was ahead, but Blair charged up the inside to try to take the lead. Wells found just enough traction on the outside to hold a slight advantage on the backstraight and made a bold dive to the inside just inches ahead of Blair to hold the lead entering turn three. Wells's momentum carried him a little wide on the exit of turn four and Blair desperately tried to exploit the opening on the inside line, but Wells got back to the inside before turn one to secure the lead. Blair kept the pressure on the former Youth National Champion for the final three laps, but Wells showed the poise of a veteran and was first to the checkered flag to become the youngest winner in Fair Derby history. Blair finished second, Harmatiuk was third, DiFrancesco finished fourth, Schwartz was fifth, and Krips finished sixth.

The Fair Derby is generally considered second only to the National Championships in terms of importance on the Costa Mesa calendar. The perpetual trophy is a bronzed hat mounted on a plaque that was the brainchild of speedway legend Sonny Nutter, winner of the 1971 Fair Derby. The trophy itself is more than twice as old as this year's winner!

Three rounds of heat races began with DiFrancesco holding off the outside charge of "Fast" Eddie Castro for his first win. Denny Scopellite on race two with Jimmy Fishback beating Krips for second. Wells began his evening by defeating Blair to win race three. Harmatiuk edged Schwartz in a hard-fought battle to close out round one.

Round two began with Harmatiuk winning his second straight race with Castro finishing second. DiFrancesco made it two in a row by beating Krips in race ten. Blair scored his first win in race eleven with Fishback getting second. Schwartz handed Wells his only defeat of the evening to complete the second round.

Wells started the final round with his second win while Castro finished second for the third time of the evening. Krips ended Harmatiuk's perfect night and his chance at first gate selection in the main by defeating him in race 18.

DiFrancesco entered race 19 as the only undefeated rider and only a victory separating him from the vital first choice in the main event. Blair had other ideas, though, and led from start to finish while DiFrancesco had to settle for second.

Schwartz entered the final heat needing a victory to force an improbable five-way tie at the top of the scorechart. Second place would relegate him to the Last Chance. The former World Pairs Champion calmly made the start and led the entire distance for his second consecutive win.

The first attempt to run the Last Chance was aborted because of an unsatisfactory start. Castro was penalized twenty yards on the restart. Krips led the restart into turn one but was under immediate pressure from Fishback. Krips was unfazed and Fishback made a mistake that gave Krips a larger lead. Meanwhile, Castro was using the outside to catch the field from the back. At the end of lap three he knifed between Scopellite and Fishback in a daring move as they entered turn one the final time. He set his sights on the leader, but the distance was too great to make up in one lap and Krips secured the final spot in the main event with the victory. Castro had to settle for second, Fishback finished third, Scopellite was fourth, and Brian Starr finished fifth.

The Support Main Event featured four veteran coming to the tapes. Rudy Laurer lined up on the inside, Bryan Buffington was in gate two, Rohn Zellner was in three, and Scott Tidwell was on the outside. Buffington entered turn one with a slight edge over Laurer, but couldn't get to the inside line. Laurer drifted a little wide and allowed Zellner to get underneath him on the exit of turn two. Buffington got back to the inside line entering turn three and led at the end of lap one. Buffington continued to lead for three laps, but Zellner drifted wide and Laurer relieved him of second place. Buffington's lead was insurmountable, though, and he cruised to the victory. Laurer was second, Zellner finished third, and Tidwell was fourth.

The Fair Derby is held in conjunction with the annual Orange County Fair (Costa Mesa Speedway is located on the Orange County Fairgrounds). The event is held on the Opening Night of the fair which constitutes a switch from Costa Mesa Speedway's typical Saturday Night events to Friday night for the Fair Derby.

Costa Mesa Speedway's next event is Orange County Harley Davidson Night which is scheduled for Saturday, September 8. In addition to speedway racing, there will also be street-legal Harley races.


Support Consolation 
106 - Robert Fiesler 
136 - Kim Stevens 
161 - Hector Quevedo 
172 - Jim Painter 
150 - Damon Barry (fell, remounted) 

Support Consolation 
132 - Justin Hassan 
176 - Carl Gazafy 
177 - Steve Bowen 
107 - Monte McKeon 
288 - Rick Fritch 

Support Semi 
77 - Bryan Buffington 
163 - Rohn Zellner 
117 - Billy Braden 
212 - Steve Dziadus
383 - Randy Skinner 

Support Semi (restarted twice)
182 - Rudy Laurer (penalty line)
118 - Scott Tidwell (tape penalty)
113 - Mike McCarthy (retired)
326 - Mark Lane (penalty line) (retired)
241 - John Marquez (non starter) 

Support Main Event 
77 - Bryan Buffington 
182 - Rudy Laurer 
163 - Rohn Zellner 
118 - Scott Tidwell 

First Division Scoring    	1  2  3    T 
 11 - Bobby Schwartz 2  3  3    8
 12 - Randy DiFrancesco 3  3  2    8
 14 - Eddie Castro 2  2  2    6
 19 - Dale Facchini 1  X  F    1
 22 - Mike Bloom 0  1  1    2
 24 - Bobby Krips 1  2  3    6
 25 - Jimmy Fishback 2  2  1    5
 37 - Denny Scopellite 3  1  2    6
 39 - Buck Blair 2  3  3    8
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk 3  3  2    8
142 - Ricky Wells 3  2  3    8
147 - Rick Farron 0  1  0    1
178 - Eloy Medellin 0  0  N    0
248 - Brian Starr 1  1  1    3
249 - John Stunkard 1  0  0    1
309 - Vince Giamformaggio 0  0  1    1 

Race Results 1: DiFrancesco, Castro, Starr, Farron
 2: Scopellite, Fishback, Krips, Giamformaggio
 3: Wells, Blair, Stunkard, Medellin
 4: Harmatiuk, Schwartz, Facchini, Bloom
 9: Harmatiuk, Castro, Scopellite, Medellin
10: DiFrancesco, Krips, Farron, Facchini (excluded)
11: Blair, Fishback, Bloom, Giamformaggio
12: Schwartz, Wells, Starr, Stunkard
17: Wells, Castro, Fishback, Stunkard
18: Krips, Harmatiuk, Bloom, Medellin (non starter)
19: Blair, DiFrancesco, Starr, Farron
20: Schwartz, Scopellite, Giamformaggio, Facchini (fell) 

Last Chance (restarted twice)
 24 - Bobby Krips 
 14 - Eddie Castro (penalty line)
 25 - Jimmy Fishback 
 37 - Denny Scopellite 
 248 - Brian Starr 
Fair Derby Main Event 
142 - Ricky Wells 
39 - Buck Blair 
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk 
12 - Randy DiFrancesco 
11 - Bobby Schwartz 
24 - Bobby Krips 20
Past Winners 
1970 - Bill Cody                        
1971 - Sonny Nutter                        
1972 - Rick Woods 
1973 - not contested                       
1974 - 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 
2000 - Charlie Venegas 
2001 - Josh Larsen 
2002 - Mike Faria 
2003 - Mike Faria 
2004 - Mike Faria 
2005 - Mike Faria 
2006 - Bryan Yarrow
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