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2014 Industry Racing California State Championship preview

August 27, 2014

The following is an industry press release...

CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. (August 26, 2014) – Industry Racing hit the home stretch of its 2014 season last week with its 11th night of action inside The Grand Arena. The “Fox and Hound Hunt” resulted in thrilling competition across each division of action, and gives way to a hugely anticipated season finale this Wednesday night, August 27, for the 39th Annual AMA California State Speedway Championship.
Wednesday night’s action will feature all-or-nothing battles across the First Division and Industry Invitational (Second and Third Divisions), in addition to the Junior 250 Division, Mini 150 First Division and Mini 150 Second Division. The winners of each of the final Main Events of the 2014 season will emerge as California State Champion for 2014, providing a full year of bragging rights as the best in “The Golden State.”
Tickets for the season finale are $15 for adults, and $10 for seniors (55+) and kids (13-17); children 12 and younger get in for FREE with adult supervision! The Box Office opens at 5 p.m., while gates open at 6 p.m. On-track action begins promptly at 7:30 p.m.
This is the final time in 2014 to see speedway’s best in action inside The Grand Arena!

Charlie Venegas races to the California State Championship in 2013.

Last Wednesday night at Industry Racing, Billy “The Bullet” Hamill and Charlie “The Edge” Venegas put on a show in the early laps of the Scratch Main Event. Slight contact between the two ultimately allowed Hamill to assume control of the race and relegated Venegas to third, separated by Max Ruml in second, who enjoyed one of his best nights of the season. Hamill cruised to victory once out front, while Ruml held off Venegas for second.
The veteran duo of Hamill and Venegas will no doubt carry their opinions of what went down into the State Championship, which will surely lend itself to another captivating night of competition as they are joined by Billy “The Kid” Janniro for one final showdown amongst three of the sport’s most successful riders.
Venegas will enter Wednesday night’s finale as the proverbial favorite, thanks to his triumphant effort one year ago at the State Championship. Following hard luck for Hamill in his first Heat Race last year and Main Event exclusion for Janniro, who had won three straight years, neither of Venegas’ most prominent challengers had a shot at the title in 2013 and enter Wednesday night’s action with a chip on their shoulder. With Ruml’s continued progression in the First Division, he will assume the role of wild card in a loaded field of talent that stems far beyond this group of four.

Hamill won a dramatic Scratch Main one week ago.

Last week’s Second Division Main Event saw the return of Ricky Richards to the top of the podium. Richards grabbed a strong start to start the Main Event, edging out Harold Hartke into the first corner. Hartke applied the pressure but lost ground going wide as they completed the first lap. From there, Richards maintained his advantage to win for the third time in 2014 with Hartke second, and Bruce Marteney third.

The Third Division Main Event featured a loaded six-rider lineup. On the initial start, Steve Brown grabbed the early lead, but a crash by Dave Ruby brought out the red flag and a restart. As the field made its way into turn one for the second time, Ruby bounced back to take control of the race over Steve Brown but crashed out of the lead on the second lap, later remounting. That allowed Brown to grab the top spot with George Yates all over him. Yates committed to running the outside in hopes of getting around Brown and the pair ran side-by-side throughout the race, often changing positions. As they exited the final turn Brown got the traction to jump out front, taking his second straight win.

Brown took the Third Division win last week.

This Wednesday night at the State Championship, the Second and Third Divisions will become the Industry Invitational. A collection of the 10 best riders from this group will go head-to-head for the coveted title in what is the ultimate showcase of these progressing competitors. Last year, Davey Shaw broke through to take the win over Carl Gazafy. While Shaw won’t be in the lineup for 2014, Gazafy will get another chance to earn the state title in what is a wide-open invitational event that features six former winners at Industry Racing this season – Ron Davis, Eloy Medellin, Chris Wiggins, Lewis Hughes, Harold Hartke and Ricky Richards.

With a Second Division win last Wednesday, Richards is a player in the Industry Invitational.

The Junior 250 Division boasted five riders in its Main Event last Wednesday night, with Dillon Ruml grabbing the early lead after a stellar launch from the far outside gate. Ruml pinched off Kurtis Hamill to ensure he controlled the front of the field and despite Hamill’s constant pressure, Ruml held off his rival to take the checkered flag. Gage Geist rode to a solid third-place effort.

At last year’s Junior 250 Main Event at the California State Championship, Ruml had his hopes of victory come to an end early following a tape exclusion. That allowed Hamill to take advantage and race to one of the biggest wins of his young career. Given the success he’s achieved at Industry Racing throughout the 2014 season, Ruml will be determined to rebound from last year’s disappointment and prevent Hamill from potentially repeating. Geist will also play a significant role in the outcome of this battle.

Ruml has the momentum going into Wednesday.

With five riders on the line for the Mini 150 First Division last Wednesday night, many were intrigued to see if Slater Lightcap, the class’ most dominant rider in recent weeks, and Sebastian Palmese would be able to overcome the handicaps given to them in the Main Event. Lightcap was forced to come from a slight gap to the three riders on the tapes, while Palmese was forced to start back at the final corner. Off the start Tristan Britt moved into the early lead, but both Lightcap and Palmese wasted little time in climbing to the front, moving into second and third by the end of the opening lap. Lightcap made an impressive move on Britt to take the lead on the second lap, which split he and Palmese temporarily. Palmese moved into second and had his sights set on Lightcap coming to the white flag, but a couple slight bobbles ultimately prevented him from making a move and allowed Lightcap’s reign to continue.

With such captivating competition in this class, the Mini 150 First Division at the State Championship is set to be an incredible battle. Lightcap and Palmese have both risen to the forefront of the division, while NorCal rider Sterling Martin has proved he’s more than capable of putting himself out front as well. Palmese is the defending First Division winner at the State Championship, and he’ll be the favorite when he and his fellow riders line up at the tapes on Wednesday night.

Lightcap's win last Wednesday gives him the edge going into the finale.

In the Mini 150 Second Division, streaking Luke Whitcomb extended his winning streak to four last Wednesday night. As it has been for the majority of the 2014 season, the battle came down to a head-to-head showdown between Whitcomb and Keelan Venegas. The pair was side-by-side on the opening lap, but Whitcomb soon took control and fended off his rival through the remainder of the race.

With the graduation of last year’s Mini 150 Second Division State Champion Sterling Martin into the First Division, along with to last year’s runner-up Slater Lightcap, this Wednesday’s battle will likely once again come down to another Whitcomb and Venegas duel. The pair have traded wins throughout the 2014 season and The Grand Arena has been the site of some of their most memorable battles. With one final chance to determine which rider is best in the state, expect to potentially witness the young duo’s most competitive race to date in the battle for the title.

Whitcomb's (inside) latest win will surely add to the final showdown between he and Venegas (outside).

While the aforementioned divisions are all currently in preparation for the 2014 season finale Wednesday night, this past week’s action served as the final outing of the summer for both the Sidecar Division and Pee Wee Division.
The No. 1 pairing of Joe Jones and Johnny Glover were arguably the most formidable tandem in Sidecar action throughout the 2014 season. While they hadn’t won since late July, Jones and Glover were on point last Wednesday night, finding a way to win from a start on the far outside gate. Dual Anderson and David Dent took control of the Main Event initially, with Jones and Glover riding the outside line into second. As the second lap began, Anderson and Dent went a little wide into the corner, allowing Jones and Glover to slip underneath and pull away. The lead pair was untouchable, with Jones and Glover capping of their season with a fifth win at Industry Racing. Anderson and Dent finished second, with Jeff Godfrey and Heather Gledhill third.

Jones and Glover closed out 2014 on top.

The final night of Pee Wee Division action resulted in First and Second Division Main Events. The First Division saw Levi Leutz and Dustin Staggs battle for the lead heading into the first corner, which allowed Rachel Schnakenberg to slip under and take over control of the race. Skaggs and Travis Horn then closed in on her rear fender, soon going three wide and allowing Skaggs to take over the top spot. Horn followed through into second and the pair set a torrid pace over the final two laps, with Skaggs edging out Horn by a bike length at the line.

Staggs (inside) took the final Pee Wee First Division win.

A total of six riders lined up for the Second Division Main Event and trouble started early after Jose Navarette was taken down right off the start following contact with another rider, signifying a red flag. On the restart, Gunner Haggard turned a stellar start into a big lead over the field and maintained it throughout the race, finishing ahead of Richard Stephens and Conner Salazar.

Haggard was best in the last Pee Wee Second Division race.

The drama and excitement from the AMA California State Speedway Championship, the 12th and final night of the 2014 Industry Racing season, can be seen online for those unable to make it out to The Grand Arena.

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