EL CAJON, CA. Cajon Speedway has been an East County tradition in San Diego since 1961. This Saturday night the 3/8 mile paved oval launches its 42nd season of auto racing. And just as it has so often, one of the premier stock car racing series...
EL CAJON, CA. Cajon Speedway has been an East County tradition in San Diego since 1961. This Saturday night the 3/8 mile paved oval launches its 42nd season of auto racing.
And just as it has so often, one of the premier stock car racing series in the country will kick things off at the Gillespie Field track. The NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series (NFSWS) will tackle pavement in the Coors Light 125-lap finale with posted awards of $35,850.
Race time is 6:45 PM. Sharing the track with the high powered stock cars will be the legend cars. These are 5/8 scale fiberglass full-fendered racecars. The body styles resemble those popular at racetracks in the late 1940's and 1950's. Ten body styles are available including Chevrolet, Ford, and Dodge coupes and sedans marketed from 1934 to 1940. The cars are powered by 1250 cc Yamaha motorcycle engines. The legend cars will be appearing at the track about once a month during the season, which extends through the middle of October.
Saturday night's opener will mark the 21st visit by the Southwest Series to Cajon. Cajon is the only track that has hosted a NFSWS race every year since the series was formed back in 1986.
More than 30 entries have been received for the Coors Light contest. Twenty-four cars will start the marathon 125-lap grind.
The entry list includes several local drivers. Auggie Vidovich Jr. of Lakeside has finished second in the series points each of the last two years and finished third in the 2001 Coors Light event. Other hopefuls include Mark Meech of La Mesa, rookie-of-the-year hopeful Brandon Whitt of El Cajon, long time Cajon Speedway racers Ron Overman of Lakeside and Jerry Gay of El Cajon, and former truck racer Joe Herold of Poway.
Gay will be behind the wheel of the starnursery.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo, one of the most potent machines in the series. Current Winston Cup driver Kurt Busch drove that Las Vegas based-car to the series championship in 1999. Gay, who has raced locally for thirty years, has 136 career victories at Cajon; that ranks second on the all-time list. This will mark the first time that Gay has driver a Southwest Series car which is somewhat lighter, has a shorter wheelbase, and more horsepower than the late model sportsman he usually drives.
Heading the onslaught of out-of-towners hoping to keep the locals out of victory lane is M.K. Kanke of Frazier Park. Kanke has more top five finishes in Southwest Series races at Cajon than any other drivers. He also has two victories; the most recent came just a year ago. Kanke had to sit out most of the 2001 season however after breaking his leg in an accident at Sears Point in Sonoma.
Other hopefuls include defending Las Vegas late model titlest Jason Allen, and Adam Andretti, younger brother of Winston Cup driver John Andretti.