Ventura Raceway honors J.W. Mitchell

VENTURA RACEWAY'S FALL CLASSIC HONORS MITCHELL VENTURA, Calif. (Nov. 5, 2009) -- Ventura Raceway has long been an important player in the United States Auto Club's West Coast midget racing. Since the track's ...

VENTURA RACEWAY'S FALL CLASSIC HONORS MITCHELL

VENTURA, Calif. (Nov. 5, 2009) -- Ventura Raceway has long been an important player in the United States Auto Club's West Coast midget racing. Since the track's founding, no track in the United States has hosted more USAC events than Ventura.

So when Raceway promoter Jim Naylor says the Nov. 21 ARP presents The J.W. Mitchell Fall Classic for USAC Midgets might be the most important USAC race his venue has ever hosted, you have to pay attention.

The Fall Classic is more important than the 18 nationally televised races the track hosted in the early 1990s? Yep. More important than races here that were part of the USAC national midget series? Yep.

Here's why: The race is in the memory of the man it is named after, the late J.W. Mitchell.

"I want to make people aware of his racing career, his love for the USAC Western Midgets," said Nick Mitchell, the brother of J.W. "It's called a Classic but I think it's more of a memorial to remember J.W. We want to put on a good show and promote a good West Coast midget race on dirt."

The Classic's purse, $16,875, pays a hefty $5,000 to the winner and $300 just to start. The money and the fact that the race is slotted a few days before the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Irwindale, when most of the top midget teams in the country are expected to be in Southern California anyway, is expected to attract a large entry.

Naylor said this week that midget teams from all over the country have expressed interest in the Fall Classic.

USAC's Ford Focus Midgets and Junior Focus Midgets will also be on the card. Spectator gates open at 3:30 p.m. and racing starts at 5:30. Special event ticket prices will be in effect. They are: $18 for general admission, $15 for seniors and military and kids aged 12 and under get in free when accompanied by an adult.

J.W. Mitchell recorded his best USAC finish, ninth place, at Ventura in 1999. Later that year he suffered severe injuries in a race at Hanford Speedway. He succumbed to those injuries a few months later.

"We lost J.W. in a midget at Hanford," Nick Mitchell said. "He passed away in 2000. We just want to do something here for him, for J.W. This is the ninth year since his passing."

Nick Mitchell lives in Yorba Linda, Calif. and is himself a former midget racer. His son, Matt Mitchell, now competes on USAC's Western Dirt Track Series and is expected to compete in the Fall Classic.

More information about Ventura Raceway is available at www.venturaraceway.com. More information about USAC is available at www.USAC.com.

-credit: vr

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Series USAC
Drivers Matt Mitchell