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1999 Costa Mesa Speedway
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Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, California

1999 Fair Derby
Costa Mesa Speedway
July 10, 1999
From Ryan Evans

1997 Mike Faria

Mike Faria returned to Southern California and became the second rider to win the annual Fair Derby four times. Faria came from gate three and won the restart of the Fair Derby main event. Faria made a beautiful trap on Gary Hicks and Eddie Castro and ran away with the title. Hicks crossed the finish line second, Castro third, defending Fair Derby Champion Bobby "Boogaloo" Schwartz (who was leading the original start) was fourth, and Shawn McConnell was fifth.

McConnell came back to win a crash-marred Handicap Main that had FOUR restarts!!!! The first start was red flagged after Castro rolled the start from the 40 yard line. He was subsequently banished to the 70 yard line. On the second start Brad Oxley was the culprit of a rolling start and he was placed next to Castro. The third start resulted in Scott Brant getting a taste of the Costa Mesa soil and the race was red flagged. The fourth start lasted until the third lap when, going down the back straight Andy Northrup was getting under Randy DiFrancesco. As they entered turn three, DiFrancesco turned left on Northrup and left him with nothing to do but park and that caused a pileup in the corner. After everything was sorted out, the FIFTH attempt began in a single-file staggered start on lap three. Brad Sauer took the lead and held it for a lap. He and Charlie Cooley came together and as they did, DiFrancesco went wide and Northrup and McConnell shot through the opening. McConnell went under Northrup, who was then passed by Oxley and DiFrancesco. McConnell easily took the victory ahead of Oxley. Northrup got past DiFrancesco for third. The victory was the second consecutive Handicap Main for McConnell and three out of the last four. The former Swindon Robin is on quite a roll on the Handicap side of the program.

Randy Skinner won the Support Main after a wild turn one crash forced a restart. The original start saw all five riders hit the dirt as a result of the old "turn one bunching". Skinner made a great start on the restart and took the victory ahead of Kevin "The Banana Man" Rubio and Mark Adams. The Handicap format was a little different as all races were 8-man races as opposed to just the main event being an 8-man race. The Support class was all Scratch racing.

The Fair Derby also saw the return of Chris Manchester to the Southern California scene. Manny had a rather dismal night as he failed to transfer out of either heat. He looked fast but he just wasn't turning tight enough around the Costa Mesa bullring. He stated that he will be racing in Northern California on a regular basis and will make occasional trips down South. Costa Mesa will not have any races the next two Saturdays because of the Orange County Fair. Racing resumes on Saturday, July 31 with the Coors Light Summer Season Opener.


Support Main
383 - Randy Skinner
302 - Kevin Rubio
223 - Mark Adams
388 - Donnie Robinson
233 - Tom Winchell (EF)

Handicap Main
6 - Shawn McConnell 60
5 - Brad Oxley 60
166 - Andy Northrup 50
72 - Randy DiFrancesco 40
16 - Charlie Cooley 30
14 - Eddie Castro 40 (Ret.)
119 - Brad Sauer 10 (Ret.)
10 - Scott Brant 50 (NS)

Fair Derby Main Event
9 - Mike Faria
3 - Gary Hicks
14 - Eddie Castro
11 - Bobby Schwartz
6 - Shawn McConnell

Apparently Charlie Venegas has made good on his vow to not ride any more races promoted by International Speedway Inc. He has become very frustrated with some of the things going on and he is VERY upset with the lack of dirt at Costa Mesa Speedway because its prohibiting him from passing on the outside. So look for him at Cal Expo and at Chico.

Speaking of the lack of dirt at Costa Mesa Speedway. When Larry Huffman interviewed Mike Faria, the first thing Faria said was "What in the hell is wrong with the race track?" He openly complained that the track had no dirt and was heavily watered. He went on to say, "Put some dirt on the track, this is speedway." He further stated that the track was more fit for jet ski racing.

I have to agree with Faria's comments because it looks as if there hasn't been any dirt added to the track since April. No dirt, no passing......no passing, no fans!!!! People don't want to see processional racing. A blue groove in race three isn't entertaining.

Andy Northrup was interviewed and the subject of Ryan Fisher came up. Huffman stated that, "Fisher was found to be only 15 years old and not the required 16." I thought that was interesting considering Costa Mesa Speedway own programs clearly listed his birthdate as September 1983. Of course, we all can read between the lines here. I also feel that it is unnecessary to state that AMA rules allow 15 year old's to race professional speedway now. (We covered that before) I just thought it was interesting how the story has been presented to the general public. I could hear people in the crowd talking about it as if they were wondering where Ryan was. Well folks, he's up North!!!! (until September)

Evidently, Chris Manchester will race for the South at the Civil War of Speedway. Also, I've heard that none other than Greg Hancock may be home for the North vs. South. Can anyone confirm this?? It's tough to believe that he would be home only a week before the Grand Prix, but he would probably only miss one match in England.

I've also heard that Josh Larsen may ride in the AMA National Championships in Auburn this year.

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