FF: CD: Ventura season opener preview

CALIFORNIA "FOCUS"ING ON NEW CHAMPIONS IN 2006 DIRT FORD FOCUS SERIES DEBUTS SATURDAY AT VENTURA Brand-new champions are expected to be crowned in USAC's California Ford Focus Midget Car Series this year as 2005 champions ...

CALIFORNIA "FOCUS"ING ON NEW CHAMPIONS IN 2006

DIRT FORD FOCUS SERIES DEBUTS SATURDAY AT VENTURA

Brand-new champions are expected to be crowned in USAC's California Ford Focus Midget Car Series this year as 2005 champions Chase Barber (dirt) and Alex Harris (pavement) have graduated to the Western Midget Car Series.

The departure of Barber and Harris follows the pattern developed by the introduction of Ford Focus Midget racing as a ground-floor series, but there are plenty of talented drivers waiting for their spot on the podium as the new season opens this Saturday night at the Ventura (Calif.) Raceway.

Chris and Cameron Veach of Livermore, Calif. could be among title threats. Chris finished second to Robbie Ray in last year's Ford Focus National Championship, contested in on Midwestern ovals, and ended up fifth in the 2005 dirt points. His brother Cameron notched a half-dozen "top-10" finishes on his way to 10th in the 2005 California dirt standings. This year's Ford Focus National Championship is expected to be conducted on the west coast, with venues yet to be announced.

Other title hopefuls are Robbie Whitchurch of Chico, Calif., fourth in last year's points, and Brett Engstrom of Long Beach, Calif., ninth in the 2005 standings, plus lady driver Jenna Frazier of Fairfield, Calif. and the series' elder statesman, J.R. Williams of Carson City, Nev.

A 25-lap feature is scheduled on Ventura's 1/5-mile dirt oval.

--USAC--

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Series USAC
Drivers Robbie Ray , Robbie Whitchurch
Teams Williams