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Costa Mesa Speedway
National Predictions
September 28, 1996

From: Tom Simrak
also see: Speedway National Championship Press Conference, Press Conference Photos and the race! - Speedway National Championship

Another year of speedway is coming to an end October 28th. On that night, speedway, like no other motor sport, crowns it's National Champion. In one night a rider goes from contender to champion. Whatever they did all season long is thrown out the window. It's winner take all, no holds barred. In looking over the program, I tried to put it all together. I used a little intuition, calculating and of course lots of guessing. The night comes down to a few factors. Preparation, determination, equipment and of course luck of the draw. Some of the riders, although well capable of winning, they just got a bad draw and thus start in less favorable spots on the line. Other riders will only be helped by getting the good draw and the pole twice.

If we look at preparation, we have to look at the local riders. Not that this is a cut on the northern California riders it's just that the locals will be more familiar with the track. Because of this I would rule out the northern riders. Next is determination. Some of the riders are getting close to the end of their racing career. They would love to finish on a high note. This could help riders like Bobby Schwartz, Robert Pfetzing, and Shawn McConnell. If you look at the equipment of the riders they are all close to equal. Luck will play a big part here. Who will throw a chain, heat a clutch, or just run like crap. Luck of the draw looks like it will help a few guys on race night. Some guys got a bad draw but can over come that. Greg Hancock got a bad draw but should over come it. He starts on the outside twice. This may work to his advantage because he's used to bigger tracks and therefore can ride the outside. Brad Oxley also got bad gates. He is in the number three spot twice. Fortunately for him, These are not his toughest races, until his last ride. It looks like the best draw will go to Steve Lucero. He has the pole twice and the first ride of each round. No back to back rides. In my own little fantasy world I have picked nobody to have a perfect night. The night should come down to heat 17 & 18. Lucero will need to win heat 17 to have a score of 14 points If Oxley or Hancock win in heat 18 they will also have 14 points But if Schwartz wins he could have 13 or 14 points and depending on earlier heats could also be a winner. You see, This whole thing is a crap shoot. However I did pick a winner. I think Lucero will win heat 17 and finish with 14, Oxley will win heat 18 and also finish with 14 points They will have a run off and Lucero will win the coin toss and start on the pole in the runoff. Lucero will need a great gate to hold off Oxley and WILL win his second national championship.

So now that I said all that, Here's a look at the program so you can pick for yourself. The rider listed on top has the pole. The last listed in on the wall.

Heat 1 Heat 2 Heat 3 Heat 4
Steve Lucero Gary Hicks Eddie Castro Bart Bast
Bobby Schwartz Brad Oxley Mike Faria John Aden
Louis Kossuth Donnie Odom Robert Pfetzing Greg Hancock
Andy Northrup Jim Sisemore Shawn McConnell Jessie Finch
 
Heat 5 Heat 6 Heat 7 Heat 8
Finch John Aden Faria Andy Northrup
Steve Lucero Castro Bart Bast Sisemore
Gary Hicks Bobby Schwartz Brad Oxley Shawn McConnell
Robert Pfetzing Donnie Odom Kossuth Hancock
 
Heat 9 Heat 10 Heat 11 Heat 12
Donnie Odom Shawn McConnell Sismore Finch
Hancock Gary Hicks Robert Pfetzing Andy Northrup
Steve Lucero Bart Bast Kossuth Castro
Faria Bobby Schwartz John Aden Brad Oxley
 
Heat 13 Heat 14 Heat 15 Heat 16
Brad Oxley Bobby Schwartz Hancock Robert Pfetzing
Shawn McConnell Finch Kossuth Donnie Odom
John Aden Sismore Castro Andy Northrup
Steve Lucero Faria Gary Hicks Bart Bast
 
Heat 17 Heat 18 Heat 19 Heat 20
Steve Lucero Robert Pfetzing Kossuth Gary Hicks
Sisemore Bobby Schwartz Shawn McConnell John Aden
Bart Bast Brad Oxley Finch Faria
Castro Hancock Donnie Odom Andy Northrup

Kim Gregory predicts Faria to win with a perfect 15, Lucero to finish with 14, Schwartz and Hancock 12, Hicks with 11.
( if you can't see the table above, here it is in text format... )

Heat 1          Heat 2           Heat 3             Heat 4
Steve Lucero   Gary Hicks       Eddie Castro      Bart Bast
Bobby Schwartz Brad Oxley       Mike Faria        John Aden
Louis Kossuth  Donnie Odom      Robert Pfetzing    Greg Hancock
Andy Northrup  Jim Sisemore     Shawn McConnell   Jessie Finch

Heat 5          Heat 6           Heat 7             Heat 8
Finch           Aden             Faria              Northrup
Lucero          Castro           Bast               Sisemore
Hicks           Schwartz         Oxley              McConnell
Pfetzing        Odom             Kossuth            Hancock

Heat 9          Heat 10          Heat 11            Heat 12
Odom            McConnell        Sisemore            Finch
Hancock         Hicks            Pfetzing           Northrup
Lucero          Bast             Kossuth            Castro
Faria           Schwartz         Aden               Oxley

Heat 13         Heat 14          Heat 15            Heat 16
Oxley           Schwartz         Hancock            Pfetzing
McConnell       Finch            Kossuth            Odom
Aden            Sisemore         Castro             Northrup
Lucero          Faria            Hicks              Bast

Heat 17         Heat 18          Heat 19            Heat 20
Lucero          Pfetzing         Kossuth            Hicks 
Sisemore        Schwartz         McConnell          Aden 
Bast            Oxley            Finch              Faria 
Castro          Hancock          Odom               Northrup 
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