Wednesday, Sep 18 2013 05:18 PM

Local politicians will reach new heights to benefit fundraiser

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield.

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BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer

Five different divisions will be in action on Saturday night at Kern County Raceway Park, but the pre-race ceremonies may provide some entertainment of their own.

Judy McCarthy, wife of Congressman Kevin McCarthy, and Assemblywoman Shannon Grove will literally drop in as they skydive into the infield during opening ceremonies.

They won't do it alone, however, as they will be with professionals from Skydive Taft.

It's all part of a fundraising effort for the Honor Flight Network, which provides complimentary travel for World War II, Korean, and Vietnam War Veterans to travel to Washington, D.C., to visit their respective memorial sites.

State Senator Jean Fuller will also be on hand, but her feet will be planted on terra firma.

Several Honor Flight recipients will be recognized during opening ceremonies, donations will be accepted and numerous prizes will be raffled off to fans throughout the night.

As for the racing, Pro Late Models and Sport Mods will compete on the half-mile, Legends and Bandoleros will compete on the quarter-mile and Mini Dwarfs wil be in action on the eighth-mile.

Pro Late Model points leader Tim Smith of Bakersfield became the first repeat winner in the division last Saturday night and has a huge 54-point lead over Kevin Thompson.

Chris Dalton leads Bailey Thompson by 12 points in the Sports Mod division and 13-year old Buddy Shepherd is the runaway points leader in the Legends division.

Opening ceremonies start at 7.

The Honda USAC Western Dirt Midget Series rolls into Bakersfield Speedway on Saturday night with Ronnie Gardner looking to continue his drive toward a championship.

Gardner has finished in the top three 12 times this season, including six wins. He finished second earlier this year at Bakersfield Speedway in a race won by Cody Swanson.

Defending series champion Shannon McQueen of Bakersfield is fourth in points.

Also competing on the third-mile clay oval will be Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, USAC Ignite Midgets and Hard Tops.

Six-time winner Chad Johnson has already locked up the Hobby Stock championship while Gary Spiller has locked up the Mini Stock title.

Racing starts at 6.

Derek Thorn of Bakersfield fought mechanical problems in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race on Saturday at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah and finished 11th, snapping a string of top-five finishes dating back to last season.

Andrew Ranger won the event with Greg Pursley second and Dylan Lupton third.

Cameron Haley finished sixth and gained four points on Thorn, who leads Haley by 19 points with four races left. Pursley is 24 points back and Michael Self is 25 points behind.

Next up for the series is a stop at NAPA Speedway in Albuquerque N.M., on Sept. 28.

Kevin Harvick's Fourth Annual Happy's Classic golf tournament benefitting the Kevin Harvick Foundation takes place on Nov. 6 at the Bakersfield Country Club. The mission of the Kevin Harvick Foundation is to support programs that positively enrich the lives of children in need throughout the United States. The foundation provides an annual scholarship to a Cal State Bakersfield athlete and also helped the North High wrestling program. A variety of sponsorship packages are available for the event. For more information, contact Josh Jones at (336) 992-2998, ext. 120 or

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