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2008 Ridgecrest Speedway
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Ridgecrest Speedway
Desert Empire Fairgrounds
Ridgecrest, California

Desert Empire Fair Championship / Sidecar National Championship - Round 1
October 17, 2008 - Ridgecrest
By: Ryan Evans

Charlie “The Edge” Venegas went undefeated all night and took home the Desert Empire Fair Championship as Ridgecrest hosted its final event of the 2008 season.

Venegas had first choice of starting position for the main event and wisely selected the pole. Buck Blair, who won the Firecracker Derby in Ridgecrest earlier this season, picked gate two. Former Youth National Champion Jason Ramirez chose gate three, which left former Under 21 National Champion Neil Facchini with gate four.

When the tapes went up Venegas exploded from the line and led the field into turn one. Blair, whose only defeat in the heats was to Venegas, set after the former National Champion. Blair closed to the back tire of the leader, but Venegas was equal to the challenge. Venegas was first to the checkered flag, Blair had to settle for second, Ramirez finished third, and Facchini was fourth.

The first of four rounds of heats began with Blair getting a great start and leading all four laps for his first win. Ramirez was running second before falling and handing the position to Facchini. Venegas, making his first appearance at Ridgecrest, acclimated himself quickly with a win over Russell Green.

Venegas started round two with an impressive win over Blair. Ramirez atoned for his earlier fall with a victory in the next race to end round two.

Blair rediscovered his winning form by heading Ramirez all the way to the finish for his second victory. Venegas made it three for three with a win over Facchini to complete the third round.

Venegas opened the final round by holding off Ramirez to remain perfect for the evening. Blair defeated Facchini to win the final heat of the night.

Sixteen year old Dylan Black got the best start and led the Second Division Main Event into turn one. He was quickly put under pressure by Tim McGrath. McGrath was steadfast in his pursuit, but Black never flinched and crossed the finish line first. McGrath was second, Steve Dziadus finished third, and Jeff Remington was fourth.

Despite being defeated in the Second Division Main Event, McGrath did take home some hardware from the desert as he led all four laps en route to victory in the Third Division Main Event. Third Division National Champion Ryan Brant finished second, Bubba Vazzana was third, and Jeff Remington finished fourth.

The Desert Empire Fair Championship marked the final event of a successful three-event season at the fairgrounds in Ridgecrest. The return of speedway to the facility was greeted with excitement which was translated into healthy-sized crowds for each event. Promoter Steve Evans is planning several speedway events in Ridgecrest for the 2009 season.


Third Division Main Event
186 – Tim McGrath
156 – Ryan Brant
274 – Bubba Vazzana
252 – Jeff Remington
399 – Jeff Shaffer		(non starter)

Second Division Main Event
201 – Dylan Black
186 – Tim McGrath
212 – Steve Dziadus		(retired)
252 – Jeff Remington		(retired)
240n – Rick Fehrman		(non starter)

First Division Scoring	1	2	3	4	T
 39 – Buck Blair		3	2	3	3	11
 43 – Charlie Venegas		3	3	3	3	12
 52 – Marvin Sonnier		1	1	0	0	2
 66 – Jason Ramirez		F	3	2	2	7
 86 – Neil Facchini		2	1	2	2	7
110 – Jon Stasiefski		1	0	0	0	1
139 – Shaun Harmatiuk		R	2	0	1	3
321 – Russell Green		2	0	1	1	4

Race Results
 1: Blair, Facchini, Sonnier (fell, remounted), Ramirez (fell)
 2: Venegas, Green, Stasiefski, Harmatiuk (retired)
 7: Venegas, Blair, Sonnier, Green
 8: Ramirez, Harmatiuk, Facchini, Stasiefski
12: Blair, Ramirez, Green, Harmatiuk
13: Venegas, Facchini, Stasiefski, Sonnier
18: Venegas, Ramirez, Harmatiuk, Sonnier
19: Blair, Facchini, Green, Stasiefski

First Division Consolation
139 – Shaun Harmatiuk
321 – Russell Green
110 – Jon Stasiefski
 52 – Marvin Sonnier

Desert Empire Fair Main Event
 43 – Charlie Venegas
 39 – Buck Blair
 66 – Jason Ramirez
 86 – Neil Facchini

Bob Brayton and Steve Bumpus won the A Final but left the Desert Empire Fairgrounds tied for the overall lead with Joe Jones and Jimmy Olsen as the Desert Empire Fairgrounds in Ridgecrest hosted round one of the Sidecar National Championship.

Jones and Olsen entered the A Final atop the scorechart, thus earning the right to pick their starting position first. They picked the pole position. Brayton and Bumpus had the next choice and selected gate two. Dave Alexander and Matt Davis chose gate three, which left the outside starting position to Brian Motis and Loren Thurston.

When the tapes went up it was the defending champions, Jones and Olsen, who jumped into the lead. Brayton and Bumpus did not decide to settle into second and attacked the leaders in every corner. Brayton and Bumpass tried to get by both low and high and were unsuccessful for two laps. On the third lap the duo entered turn three wider than the leader, but when Jones and Olsen drifted off the inside Brayton and Bumpus deftly cut underneath and usurped the lead as they took the white flag. Jones and Olsen were unable to retaliate on the final lap and Brayton and Bumpus claimed the victory. Jones and Olsen were second, Alexander and Davis finished third, and Motis and Thurston were fourth.

The heat race scores and the points for the finals were combined, which meant that the two top finishing teams in the A Final left Ridgecrest tied with the title to be decided the next evening in Victorville.

Jones and Olsen got things started with a win over Tommy Thornton and Bumpus, who was doing double duty as passenger because Brayton’s failed to show up. Brayton and the aforementioned Bumpus won the next heat over Alexander and Davis to end round one.

Gerard Jackson and Dave German started round two with a win over Jones and Olsen. Brayton had to partner with Olsen because he was facing Bumpus, but it didn’t deter him as the team was victorious.

Jones and Olsen started the final round of heats with a win over Stuart Glass and Jack Straw while Brayton and Bumpus were mired in third. Alexander and Davis won the final heat ahead of Motis and Thurston with both teams scoring enough points to qualify for the A Final.

Joe Petraglovic and Mike Moreno, both veterans of the sidecar wars, led the B Final into turn one but were overtaken by Glass and Straw on the back straight. Glass and Straw had victory in hand when Thornton and Bumpass went up the inside berm and were thrown upside down on the infield. After a few tense moments both emerged from the wreckage unhurt. Glass and Straw were awarded the victory with Jackson and German declared second.

This was the first time the sidecars had appeared in Ridgecrest. They were greeted by an enthusiastic crowd that was eager to see their return in 2009.


Sidecar National Scoring			1	2	3	T	F	T
  1 – Joe Jones/Jimmy Olsen			3	2	3	8	6	14
  2 – Bob Brayton/Steve Bumpus			3	3	1	7	7	14
  4 – Brian Motis/Loren Thurston		1	2	2	5	4	9
 22 – Dave Alexander/Matt Davis			2	R	3	5	5	10
 31 – Tommy Thornton/Steve Bumpus		2	R	0	2	1	3
 33 – Joe Petraglovic/Mike Moreno		0	N	R	0	0	0
 66 – Gerard Jackson/Dave German		0	3	1	4	2	6
911 – Stuart Glass/Jack Straw			1	R	2	3	3	6

Race Results
 4: Jones/Olsen, Thornton/Bumpus, Glass/Straw, Jackson/German
 5: Brayton/Bumpus, Alexander/Davis, Motis/Thurston, Petraglovic/Moreno
 9: (restarted) Jackson/German, Jones/Olsen, Alexander/Davis (retired), Petraglovic/Moreno (non starter)
10: Brayton/Olsen, Motis/Thurston, Glass/Straw (retired), Thornton/Bumpus
15: Jones/Olsen, Glass/Straw, Brayton/Bumpus, Petraglovic/Moreno (retired)
16: Alexander/Davis, Motis/Thurston, Jackson/German, Thornton/Bumpus

Sidecar B Final (awarded)
911 – Stuart Glass/Jack Straw
 66 – Gerard Jackson/Dave German
 31 – Tommy Thornton/Steve Bumpus
 33 – Joe Petraglovic/Mike Moreno

Sidecar A Final
  2 – Bob Brayton/Steve Bumpus
  1 – Joe Jones/Jimmy Olsen
 22 – Dave Alexander/Matt Davis
  4 – Brian Motis/Loren Thurston	(retired)
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