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2008 Costa Mesa Speedway
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Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, California

AMA Sports/USA Speedway National Championship Series Round 1
June 7, 2008 - Costa Mesa
By: Ryan Evans

Billy Janniro began his quest for his first AMA/USA Speedway National Championship with a perfect night at Round 1 of the 2008 AMA Sports/USA Speedway National Championship Series at the world famous Costa Mesa Speedway.

Janniro’s perfect score entitled him to first choice of starting position in the A Final and he picked gate one. Three-time National Champion “Flyin” Mike Faria chose gate two. Under 21 National Champion Ricky Wells selected gate four, this left defending National Champion Billy “The Bullet” Hamill with gate three.

When the tapes went up Janniro, who had just flown in from England earlier in the day, launched off the line and into the lead in turn one. Hamill cut back under Faria to take second. Janniro held a comfortable lead after lap one with Hamill still second, but Wells went under Faria for third. Hamill, certainly eager to catch Janniro, found his hands full with Wells pressuring him for second. Wells tried to get by the 1996 World Champion on the front straight, but his effort was denied. Hamill went wide exiting turn two the third time and Wells tried to make an inside pass on the back straight, but was thwarted by Hamill diving back to the inside entering turn three. Janniro cruised to the victory, Hamill finished second, Wells was third, and Faria finished fourth.

The Elimination Round to determine the three open spots in the sixteen-rider field started with Shawn “Mad Dog” McConnell getting the win in the first race to transfer directly to the all-important Elimination Race 4. Neil Facchini won Elimination Race 2 to join McConnell. Tim Gomez won Elimination Race 3 with Travis Henderson finishing second and both would transfer to Elimination Race 4.

Three slots were available in the National field, so the objective in Elimination Race 4 was to simply not finish last. Gomez found himself on the ground in turn one, which basically ended all conflict. McConnell won, Neil Facchini was second, and Henderson finished third to make the field. Gomez’s fourth place meant he would be first reserve.

Hamill opened the defense of his crown with a convincing win in the first heat. Jimmy Fishback had second locked up before falling in the final corner and handing the position to Buck Blair.

Charlie “The Edge” Venegas got into the tapes in race two and was excluded. Venegas vehemently pleaded his case, but his argument fell on deaf ears and he was shown the exit door and was replaced by Gomez. When the tapes went up Neil Facchini went down and brought out the red flag. He was also excluded and, ironically, he was replaced by his brother, Dale. On the restart Janniro, who hasn’t raced at Costa Mesa since 2004, showed no rust and blazed to the victory.

Bobby Schwartz got the best start in race three, but Faria found enough traction on the outside to take the lead on the back straight and went on to the win. Wells closed out the opening round with a resounding victory over Bart Bast.

Kenny Ingalls started round two with a win ahead of Blair. Wells got a great start and held off Venegas the entire distance for his second straight win. Fishback trapped from the outside and took his first win in event seven.

Event eight was the race the pundits had circled in their program because it featured Hamill, Janniro, Faria, and Bast and would certainly have big ramifications on the Championship Round later in the night. Janniro got the best start and was followed by Hamill. Janniro left little doubt as he stretched his lead with each lap and scored an important win.

Venegas opened the third round by beating Bast and Blair. Faria was victorious over Nate Perkins for his second win of the evening.

Janniro and Wells met in event 11 in a battle of the two remaining unbeaten riders. Janniro led into turn one, but Wells was making a big sweep around the outside. Janniro masterfully moved wide on back straight to block Wells, who brushed the wall, but maintained his composure to hold onto second. It proved to be the only challenge for the lead and Janniro took his third straight win while Wells settled for second.

Hamill defeated Schwartz and Ingalls for his second win to complete round three.

After three rounds Janniro sat atop the scorechart with nine points; Hamill and Wells each had eight points; Faria had seven points; and Venegas, Blair, and Ingalls had five points apiece.

Round four began with Wells and Blair coming together in turn one with Blair going down in turn one and Wells going down against the wall. After several minutes both riders were up and ready to restart. Faria led the restart from all the way, but Wells chased down Blair and passed him up the inside on the front straight to take second.

Janniro maintained his perfect score with a runaway victory over fellow Northern California riders Hedden, Ingalls, and Bryan Yarrow.

More controversy was on tap in event 15. Fishback led for two laps before Perkins made an inside move on entering turn one that left Fishback on the ground. The referee excluded Perkins, who was very unhappy with the call. Fishback led the restart with Bast very close behind. Bast followed the leader for two laps, but Fishback drifted a little wide coming off turn four and Bast charged up the inside on the front straight. As they entered turn one, contact was made and Fishback was on the ground again. The race continued and Bast took the win. Fishback, remounted and finished third, but wasn’t through with Bast. After the race, Fishback chased down Bast and met up with him at the pit gate to express his displeasure. Fortunately, cooler heads and track officials prevailed and no fisticuffs ensued.

In event 16 Hamill clamped down on Venegas in turn one and steadily pulled away for his third victory.

Entering the final round Janniro was perfect with 12 points; Hamill remained one point back with 11; Faria and Wells were tied at 10; and Bast and Venegas each had 7 points.

Janniro made it five for five by winning the first race of the final round and clinching the bonus Series point for having the most points in the heats. Hedden led event 18 for three laps before McConnell snuck by on the inside to steal the win. Fishback held off Faria and Venegas for his second win in event 19.

Hamill led the final heat for three laps, and had the second gate choice in the A Final in his back pocket, but suffered an engine failure in the final corner and coasted to the finish while the field went by. Perkins was the biggest benefactor as he claimed the win. The result meant that Hamill would have last choice in the A Final.

A five-rider runoff was needed to fill the B Final. The rider that finished fifth would be in the C Final. All drama ended in turn one when McConnell fell. Venegas, Blair, Fishback, and Bast all went to the B Final with a very frustrated McConnell going to the C Final.

Hedden got the best start in the D Final and held off Yarrow for the win. Henderson finished third, and Neil Facchini was fourth.

Schwartz beat McConnell to turn one in the C Final and despite some very close challenges, he led him all the way to the checkered flag. Perkins was third and Ingalls finished fourth.Venegas used gate one to his advantage with a rocket start and a smooth victory in the B Final. Fishback finished second, Bast was third, and Blair finished fourth.

The AMA/USA Speedway National Championship Series will continue with Round 2 scheduled for Friday, July 25 at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway located at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn, California. The yellow jacket will be passed on to Janniro, who leads the Series with 21 points.

The next event at Costa Mesa is Kids Night on Saturday, June 14. All kids under 12 are admitted for free. In addition, the second Amateur Afternoon of 2008 is scheduled for that day.


Elimination Race 1
21 – Shawn McConnell
20 – Dale Facchini
24 – Travis Henderson
18 – J.J. Martynse

Elimination Race 2 (restarted)
23 – Neil Facchini
19 – Tim Gomez
22 – Mike Bloom
17 – J.T. Mabry		(tape exclusion)

Elimination Race 3
19 – Tim Gomez
24 – Travis Henderson
20 – Dale Facchini
22 – Mike Bloom

Elimination Race 4
21 – Shawn McConnell
24 – Travis Henderson
23 – Neil Facchini
19 – Tim Gomez	(fell, remounted)

Scoring			1	2	3	4	5	T
 1 – Billy Hamill		3	2	3	3	E	11
 3 – Bart Bast			2	0	2	3	1	8
 4 – Mike Faria			3	1	3	3	2	12
 5 – Charlie Venegas		T	2	3	2	1	8
 6 – Tommy Hedden		0	0	1	2	2	5
 7 – Buck Blair			2	2	1	1	2	8
 8 – Bryan Yarrow		0	2	0	0	1	3
 9 – Bobby Schwartz		1	1	2	2	1	7
10 – Ricky Wells		3	3	2	2	2	12
11 – Nate Perkins		2	0	2	Fx	3	7
13 – Kenny Ingalls		1	3	1	1	0	6
14 – Billy Janniro		3	3	3	3	3	15 *
15 – Jimmy Fishback		1	3	0	1	3	8
21 – Shawn McConnell		2	1	1	1	3	8
23 – Neil Facchini		Fx	0	R	R	0	0
24 – Travis Henderson		0	1	0	0	0	1
19 – Tim Gomez (Reserve)	0	-	-	-	-	0
20 – Dale Facchini (Reserve)	1	-	-	-	-	1

*Billy Janniro earned one bonus Series point as top scorer in the heats

Race Results
 1: Hamill, Blair, Fishback (fell, remounted), Hedden (fell, remounted)
 2: (restarted) Janniro, Perkins, D.Facchini, Gomez, N.Facchini (fell, excluded), Venegas (tape exclusion)
 3: Faria, McConnell, Schwartz, Yarrow
 4: Wells, Bast, Ingalls, Henderson
 5: Ingalls, Blair, McConnell, Perkins (fell, remounted)
 6: Wells, Venegas, Schwartz, Hedden (fell, remounted)
 7: Fishback, Yarrow, Henderson, N.Facchini
 8: Janniro, Hamill, Faria, Bast
 9: Venegas, Bast, Blair, Yarrow
10: Faria, Perkins, Hedden, Henderson
11: Janniro, Wells, McConnell, Fishback
12: Hamill, Schwartz, Ingalls, N.Facchini (retired)
13: (restarted) Faria, Wells, Blair, N.Facchini
14: Janniro, Hedden, Ingalls, Yarrow
15: (restarted) Bast, Schwartz, Fishback (fell, remounted), Perkins (fell, excluded)
16: Hamill, Venegas, McConnell, Henderson
17: Janniro, Blair, Schwartz, Henderson
18: McConnell, Hedden, Bast, N.Facchini
19: Fishback, Faria, Venegas, Ingalls
20: Perkins, Wells, Yarrow, Hamill (engine failure)
Runoff: Venegas, Blair, Fishback, Bast, McConnell (fell, remounted)

D Final
 6 – Tommy Hedden
 8 – Bryan Yarrow
24 – Travis Henderson
23 – Neil Facchini

C Final
 9 – Bobby Schwartz
21 – Shawn McConnell
11 – Nate Perkins
13 – Kenny Ingalls	(fell, remounted)

B Final
 5 – Charlie Venegas
15 – Jimmy Fishback
 3 – Bart Bast
 7 – Buck Blair

A Final
14 – Billy Janniro
 1 – Billy Hamill
10 – Ricky Wells
 4 – Mike Faria

Series Point Standings (after 1 of 3 Rounds)
14 – Billy Janniro		21
 1 – Billy Hamill		18
10 – Ricky Wells		16
 4 – Mike Faria			14
 5 – Charlie Venegas		12
15 – Jimmy Fishback		11
 3 – Bart Bast			10
 7 – Buck Blair			9
 9 – Bobby Schwartz		8
21 – Shawn McConnell		7
11 – Nate Perkins		6
13 – Kenny Ingalls		5
 6 – Tommy Hedden		4
 8 – Bryan Yarrow		3
24 – Travis Henderson		2
23 – Neil Facchini		1
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