Motorsports

Thursday, Jul 26 2012 11:44 PM

Famoso set for 2nd round of Saturday Night Nitro races

BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer mgriffith@bakersfield.com

Nitro fumes will be wafting over Auto Club Famoso Raceway on Saturday night as round 2 of the Saturday Night Nitro shows takes place.

Zane Messenger in the "Future Flash2" Firebird emerged victorious from the eight-car nostalgia Funny Car shootout in the first Saturday Night Nitro Show in June and will be back trying to make it two in a row,

Track manager Blake Bowser expects to have about a dozen Funny Cars participating along with four front-motored Top Fuel dragsters. There will also be at least one Fuel Altered and a couple of jet cars for added entertainment.

"It's turning into what I wanted it to be -- guys within a couple of hours who can't afford to go run across the nation but want to run more than two times a year (the March Meet and California Hot Rod Reunion)," Bowser said. "Now these guys can run their cars four or five times a year."

Other Funny Car drivers expected include June runner-up Dan Horan Jr., Dennis LaCharite, Dale Van Gundy and Brad Thompson.

Nitro cars are scheduled to run at 8 and 10 p.m. with the Funny Car final at midnight. There will be plenty of other action on the track throughout the day and night in the form of a West Coast Hot Rod Association event, which features a variety of classes for door slammers, including the 7.60-second A/Gas class.

And, as part of the format, tonight will feature the Friday Night Street Legal action along with an open test and tune session that is sure to draw some nitro cars.

Tickets are $15 for today night only, $20 for Saturday only or $25 for both days.

The final Saturday Night Nitro show is set for Sept. 8.

IMCA Modifieds, Sports Mods, American Stocks, Mini Dwarfs and Ford Focus divisions will be in action on Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway.

Brad Pounds is the only two-time winner in the IMCA Modified division and holds a 10-point lead over Gary Dutton, one of six other drivers with a victory. In sports Mod action, points leader Darrel Hood will be looking for his second straight win and third of the season. Matt Lewis will be seeking his third win in the American Stock division.

Racing starts at 6.

Bakersfield's Derek Thorn extended his Spears Southwest Tour points lead with a dominating victory at Rocky Mountain Raceway in West Valley City, Utah, last Saturday. Thorn started ninth on the three-eighths mile track, moved into the lead on the 11th lap and held it the rest of the way in the 125-lap race. It was his third win in six races. Defending series champ Jim Pettit II was second with M.K. Kanke of Frazier Park third, mirroring the points standings. Thorn is 39 points ahead of Pettit. Kanke is nine behind Pettit.

Thorn switches gears this weekend as he competes in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Colorado National Speedway on Saturday. Thorn has one win on that circuit, where is he fourth in points, 34 behind leader Dylan Kwasniewski. Bakersfield's David Mayhew, who also has one win, is third in points, six ahead of Thorn.

Projects are taking much longer to complete than anticipated, but investors continue to shoot for a late October race on the half-mile oval at Kern County Raceway Park project coordinator Daniel Smith said.

"We're working toward that end; we can't slack off," Smith said earlier this week.

It's taken longer to finish the steel beam work on the four-story superstructure and finish the drainage system (including three weeks to clean a clogged 48-inch pipe of mud and debris) than planned but Smith noted those hurdles have been cleared. Road base for the entrance road and main parking lot could be going down next week, decking for the superstructure should be going up next week as well as the steel for three 80-by-100 race car shops. Concrete for those shops was poured last week.

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