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2009 Costa Mesa Speedway
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Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, California

41st Annual Season Opener
May 16, 2009 - Costa Mesa
By: Ryan Evans

Gary Hicks capped his perfect night by winning the main event at the 41st annual Season Opener at the world famous Costa Mesa Speedway.

The first time the tapes went up in the main event there was a lot of contact in turn one which resulted in Shawn “Mad Dog” McConnell using a shrewd cutback move to take the lead on the back straight. McConnell was leading in turn three before Shaun Harmatiuk ran into McConnell. McConnell remained upright but Harmatiuk went over the highside in turn four and brought out the red flag. A full restart was ordered by the referee. The next time the riders came to the tapes Bobby “Boogaloo” Schwartz got into the tapes and was penalized. On the third attempt Hicks got the best start and led into turn one. Hicks was chased by McConnell the entire distance, but didn’t turn a wheel wrong and crossed the finish line first. McConnell had to settle for second, Jimmy Fishback finished third, Schwartz came across fourth, and Harmatiuk was last.

The heats began with former Youth National Champion Jason Ramirez scoring an impressive victory over McConnell. Dale Facchini held off a strong challenge from Fishback to win the second heat. Schwartz defeated Buck Blair for his first win. Hicks ended the first round with a win over Neil Facchini.

The second round began with Hicks holding off Blair for his second straight win. Harmatiuk beat McConnell to win the next heat. Tyson Burmeister, who has been racing speedway for less than a year, scored his first victory in First Division in race 11. Schwartz closed out round two by beating Fishback.

The final round began Neil Facchini getting a hard-earned win over Schwartz, but only after the former National Champion made a great laydown on the first attempt to complete the heat. Hicks made it three straight wins with a win ahead of “Spiderman” Mike Bloom. Fishback held off McConnell for his first win of the evening. Blair led Northern California’s Ben Essary across the line to win the final heat of the night. Burmeister defeated Russell Green in a runoff for the final spot in the semis.

Fishback got the best start in the first semi and led Schwartz all the way into the main. Hicks was an easy winner in the second semi, but McConnell had to push his way past Blair to steal the second transfer into the main. Harmatiuk won the Last Chance to take the final spot in the main event.

In the Support Main Event, Current Youth National Champion Brad Pappalardo, who won last week’s main event, made the best start and led the field into turn one. Pappalardo immediately found himself under pressure from Philip Harmatiuk. Philip Harmatiuk chased the leader the entire way, but it was to no avail. Papplardo was flawless and topped off his perfect night by backing up last week’s victory by winning the Support Main for the second straight week. Philip Harmatiuk settled for second, Rick Farron was third, Rohn Zellner finished fourth, and Rudy Laurer was fifth.

Bruce Marteney was the initial leader of the Support B Main Event, but his lead only lasted a lap before Jonni Jade moved him over to take the lead. Marteney didn’t give up, though, and took the lead back from Jade on the final lap and went on to victory. Jade finished second, Charlie Ousley was third, Scott Rousseau finished fourth, and Kriss Harlow was fifth.
Gino Manzares led all four laps en route to victory in the Youth Main Event. Rocco Scopellite finished second and Austin Novratil was third.

There will be no racing at Costa Mesa Speedway this Saturday because of Memorial Day Weekend, but the action returns with two of the biggest events on the 2009 schedule. Saturday, May 30 is Orange County Harley Davidson Night which will include the ever-popular Harley Races. The following week will be Round 1 of the AMA/USA Speedway National Championship Series. National Champion Billy “The Kid” Janniro will open up defense of his crown against a field that includes former World Champion and seven-time U.S. National Champion Greg Hancock.


Youth Main Event 
 21 - Gino Manzares 
  9 - Rocco Scopllite 
  8 - Austin Novratil 

Support B Consolation (restarted) 
101 - Mike Wiley 
226 - Rick Huspek 
308 - Hugh Randolph 
108 - John Berg 		(fell) 

Support B Consolation 
143 - Chris Wolfs 
362 - Ralph Chudy 
231 - Gene Stone 
131 - Rod Requejo 

Support B Consolation 
129 - Norman Graham 
169 - Dan Wensloff 
124 - Paul Thornton 
252 - JeffRemington 

Support B Last Chance 
368 - Scott Rousseau 
247 - Pat Smith 
198 - Mike Boyle 
 00 - Toni Hicks 

Support B Main Event 
242 - Bruce Marteney 
266 - Jonni Jade 
312 - Charlie Ousley 
368 - Scott Rousseau 
255 - Kriss Harlow 

Support Last Chance 
147 - Rick Farron 
117 - Billy Braden 
176 - Carl Gazafy 
150 - Damon Barry 

Support Main Event 
145 - Brad Pappalardo 
149 - Philip Harmatiuk 
147 - Rick Farron 
163 - Rohn Zellner 
182 - Rudy Laurer 		(fell) 

First Division Scoring		1	2	3	T
  3 – Gary Hicks		4	4	4	12
  6 – Shawn McConnell		3	3	3	9
 11 – Bobby Schwartz		4	4	3	11
 13 – Nate Perkins		0	F	F	0
 14 – Eddie Castro		1	F	1	2
 17 – Robbie Sauer		1	1	2	4
 19 – Dale Facchini		4	2	1	7
 21 – Brad Sauer		2	2	F	4
 22 – Mike Bloom		0	1	3	4
24n – Ben Essary		2	0	3	5
 25 – Jimmy Fishback		3	3	4	10
 39 – Buck Blair		3	3	4	10
 41 – John Marquez		1	1	2	4
 66 – Jason Ramirez		4	2	1	7
 86 – Neil Facchini		3	2	4	9
120 – Doug Greyson		0	0	0	0
139 – Shaun Harmatiuk		2	4	2	8
184 – Tyson Burmeister		2	4	F	6
389 – Ryan Tovatt		0	1	1	2

Race Results
 1: Ramirez, McConnell, Burmeister, Castro, Perkins, 
 2: D.Facchini, Fishback, B.Sauer, Green, Greyson
 3: Schwartz, Blair, Essary, Marquez, Bloom
 4: Hicks, N.Facchini, Harmatiuk, R.Sauer, Tovatt
 9: Hicks, Blair, D.Facchini, Bloom, Greyson
10: Harmatiuk, McConnell, Ramirez, R.Sauer, Essary
11: Burmeister, Green, N.Facchini, Tovatt, Castro (fell)
12: Schwartz, Fishback, B.Sauer, Marquez, Perkins (fell)
17: (restarted) N.Facchini, Schwartz, Harmatiuk (fell, remounted), Tovatt, B.Sauer (fell)
18: Hicks, Bloom, Marquez, Castro (fell, remounted), Perkins (fell)
19: Fishback, McConnell, R.Sauer, D.Facchini, Greyson
20: (restarted) Blair, Essary, Green, Ramirez, Burmeister (fell)

Runoff: Burmeister, Green
Semi #1: Fishback, Schwartz, Harmatiuk, Burmeister, N.Facchini (fell)
Semi #2: Hicks, McConnell, Blair, D.Facchini, Ramirez (non starter)

First Division Last Chance 
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk 
 19 - Dale Facchini 
184 - Tyson Burmeister 
 39 - Buck Blair 		(fell) 

First Division Main Event (restarted) 
  3 - Gary Hicks 
  6 - Shawn McConnell 
 25 - Jimmy Fishback 
 11 - Bobby Schwartz 		(tape penalty) 
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk
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