The Grand Industry Hills Expo Center
City of Industry, California
2007 California State Championship
July 28, 2007 - Industry Speedway
By: Ryan Evans
Charlie "The Edge" Venegas continued his dominance of Industry Speedway by winning his second California State Championship in front of the venue's largest crowd of the season.
Venegas was fast off the line all night en route to four victories in five races for a total of fourteen points and the overall victory. Mike Faria, who was defeated only twice all evening, was second overall with thirteen points. Buck Blair completed the podium with twelve points to place third overall. Ricky Wells, who celebrated his sixteenth birthday the previous day, scored ten points to finish fourth overall.
Venegas got the best start in the first race of the evening while Dale Facchini's race ended ten feet from the tapes due to a broken chain. Venegas held off Blair to score his first win of the evening.
Ryan Fisher led the next race and was challenged on the outside by Tommy Hedden who was making his first appearance at Industry in 2007. Fisher drifted too wide in turn four and brushed the safety fence. Fisher's mistake also slowed Hedden down and when both riders finally recovered Shaun Harmatiuk had already taken the lead. Harmatiuk led to the finish with Hedden second, Eddie Castro in third, and Fisher suffering a disastrous fourth.
Neil Facchini led into turn one in the third race of the opening round, but drifted wide and allowed wily veterans Shawn "Mad Dog" McConnell and Bobby "Boogaloo" Schwartz to get by. McConnell led Schwartz to the checkered flag.
Faria left little doubt in the final race of round one with a start-to-finish win ahead of Jimmy Fishback.
Round two began with Neil Facchini going down hard in turn three. A full restart was ordered, but Facchini's evening was over with a shoulder injury. Fishback got the best start and was impressively holding off Fisher for nearly three laps before drifting wide in turn four and allowing his former youth speedway rival to take the lead up the inside on the front straight. Fisher led the final lap for the victory while a disappointed Fishback settled for second.
Faria and Venegas met in the next race in a pivotal showdown of title contenders. Faria was first to turn one, but Venegas went to the outside to mount his challenge. Faria cleverly drifted wide, but Venegas valiantly squeezed between Faria and the fence exiting turn two and took the lead on the backstraight. Faria tried to take the position back in the next corner, but Venegas found enough traction to hold the lead. Venegas increased his lead with each lap and took an important victory over Faria.
Blair trapped from the outside and held off Schwartz in event thirteen for his first win and Hedden closed out the second round with his first win with Wells coming in second.
In the first race of the third round Castro and Mike Bloom entered turn one together, but both riders fell victim to a savvy cutback move by Schwartz who split the pair and shot into the lead on the back straight. Castro tried the outside the entire race, but Schwartz led all the way to the checkered for a win that pleased the fans.
Venegas entered event 18 as the only undefeated rider, but Fisher handed him his only defeat with a convincing victory.
Faria was in the next race and a win would make him level with Venegas. The four-time State Champion didn't get the best start, but he used the outside to pass Blair on the back straight to take the lead and he pulled away from there for the win.
Fishback led from start to finish for his first win in the final race before intermission.
After three rounds Venegas and Faria were tied for the lead with eight points each; Schwartz, Fishback, and Blair had seven points apiece; and Fisher and Hedden each had six points.
Faria was in the first race after intermission and used the outside again to take the lead, but the red flag was out due to McConnell and Dale Facchini going down in turn one. A full restart was ordered and Faria led down the backstraight again, but McConnell went down in turn three forcing Dale Facchini to lay his machine down. McConnell was excluded from the restart. The third time wasn't the charm for Faria as he missed the start and was mired in third on the first lap. He passed Facchini for second, but couldn't catch Harmatiuk and he settled for a costly second place.
Venegas was in the next heat and reclaimed sole possession of first overall by beating Fishback and Schwartz for his third victory of the evening.
Blair led event 24, but lifted exiting turn two the second time and allowed Fisher to take a lead that he wouldn't relinquish. Wells completed round four with a win over Castro.
After four rounds Venegas was alone in first with eleven points; Faria was second with ten points; Fishback, Fisher, and Blair each had nine points; and Schwartz and Wells both had eight points.
Hedden began the final round with his second win to finish his evening with nine points.
Venegas entered the next race knowing that a victory would wrap up the title. The two-time National Champion showed his poise and confidently romped to a comfortable win and his second State Championship.
Blair and Fishback entered event 29 with eyes on the podium. Blair took the lead while Fishback attacked on the outside. Blair continued to lead, but Fishback drifted back and was passed by McConnell and Castro. Blair led to the finish and would have to wait for the final race to see what his overall place would be.
All four riders in the final race had at least an outside chance at the podium. Faria could secure second overall with a win, however, a Fisher victory would force a runoff. A victory by either Schwartz or Wells could possibly give them a runoff for third overall. Faria led from the tapes with Fisher fighting hard to get by. Fisher chased for over two laps before falling on the back straight. Fisher was excluded from the restart. Faria, snakebit by restarts in the previous round, didn't let it happen again and cruised to the win ahead of Wells to take second overall for the second straight year.
The Industry Invitational featured riders who weren't in the original State Championship field. The main event required three starts to complete. On the third attempt Rick Valdez jumped into the lead and never turned a wheel wrong en route to the victory. Rudy Laurer was second, Billy Lyons finished third, and Kenny Hansen was fourth.
Industry Speedway returns to its regular Wednesday schedule this week with several events scheduled for Wednesday, August 1. The 2nd annual Denny Bartlett/Robin Hood Memorial, Harley Night, and a hillclimb exhibition by newly crowned World Champion Robie Peterson are all on tap for Wednesday.
Industry Invitational Consolation
172 - Jim Painter
136 - Kim Stevens
150 - Damon Barry
178 - Eloy Medellin (fell, remounted)
249 - John Stunkard (non starter)
Industry Invitational Consolation
241 - John Marquez
309 - Vince Giamformaggio
77 - Bryan Buffington
232 - Allen Doss
Industry Invitational Main Event (restarted twice)
293 - Rick Valdez
182 - Rudy Laurer
32 - Billy Lyons
171 - Kenny Hansen (penalty line) (fell)
California State Championship 1 2 3 4 5 T
6 - Shawn McConnell 3 1 1 Fx 2 7
9 - Mike Faria 3 2 3 2 3 13
11 - Bobby Schwartz 2 2 3 1 1 9
14 - Eddie Castro 1 0 2 2 1 6
19 - Dale Facchini R F 0 1 1 2
22 - Mike Bloom 0 0 1 0 1 2
24 - Bobby Krips 1 1 1 1 2 6
25 - Jimmy Fishback 2 2 3 2 0 9
36 - Ryan Fisher 0 3 3 3 Fx 9
39 - Buck Blair 2 3 2 2 3 12
40 - Tommy Hedden 2 3 1 0 3 9
43 - Charlie Venegas 3 3 2 3 3 14
86 - Neil Facchini 0 N - - - 0
99 - Greg Ayers 1 0 0 1 0 2
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk 3 1 0 3 2 9
142 - Ricky Wells 1 2 2 3 2 10
32 - Billy Lyons (reserve) 1 0 0 0 - 1
Race Results 5: Venegas, Blair, Wells, D.Facchini (retired)
6: Harmatiuk, Hedden, Castro, Fisher
7: McConnell, Schwartz, Krips, N.Facchini
8: Faria, Fishback, Ayers, Bloom
11: (restarted) Fisher, Fishback, Lyons, D.Facchini (fell), N.Facchini (non starter)
12: Venegas, Faria, Krips, Castro
13: Blair, Schwartz, Harmatiuk, Ayers
14: Hedden, Wells, McConnell, Bloom
17: Schwartz, Castro, Bloom, D.Facchini
18: Fisher, Venegas, McConnell, Ayers
19: Faria, Blair, Hedden, Lyons
20: Fishback, Wells, Krips, Harmatiuk
22: (restarted twice) Harmatiuk, Faria, D.Facchini, McConnell (fell, excluded)
23: Venegas, Fishback, Schwartz, Hedden
24: Fisher, Blair, Krips, Bloom
25: Wells, Castro, Ayers, Lyons
27: Hedden, Krips, Facchini, Ayers
28: Venegas, Harmatiuk, Bloom, Lyons
29: Blair, McConnell, Castro, Fishback
30: (restarted) Faria, Wells, Schwartz, Fisher (fell, excluded)
Past California State Champions 1968 - Sonny Nutter
1969 - Steve Bast
1970 - Steve Bast
1971 - Steve Bast
1972 - Steve Bast
1973 - Mike Bast
1974 - Steve Bast
1975 - Steve Bast
1976 - Mike Bast
1977 - Mike Bast
1978 - Mike Bast
1979 - Mike Bast
1980 - Alan Christian
1981 - Bruce Penhall
1982 - Lance King
1983 - Mike Bast
1984 - Bobby Schwartz
1985 - Steve Lucero
1986 - Bobby Ott
1987 - Mike Faria
1988 - Sam Ermolenko
1989 - Steve Lucero
1990 - Mike Faria
1991 - Bobby Schwartz
1992 - Mike Faria
1993 - Chris Manchester
1994 - Mike Faria
1995 - Steve Lucero
1996 - Steve Lucero
1997 - Charlie Venegas
1998-2005 Race was not held
2006 - Josh Larsen
Past Industry Invitational Champion 2006 - Neil Facchini