Champion Raceway Celebrates the Night of Fire!

Darin Bay's Warped Speed Jet cars light up the night at Champion Raceway's Night of Fire!

Darin Bay’s Warped Speed Jet cars light up the night at Champion Raceway’s Night of Fire!

It was a great two days of excitement for all among the Champion Raceway crowd over the weekend of July 5th and 6th, with the street legal/Midnight Mayhem races on Friday and the infamous Night of Fire event on Saturday.

But first on the 5th, Champion Raceway hosted a Night of Fire pre-party at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant on Delta Waters road, leading into the Midnight Mayhem. Race fans got to check out four of the nitro funny cars and two of the dragsters set to put on a show at the Night of Fire. Some of the local drivers got to show their fine cars along with the funnies, and younger race fans had the chance to get autographs from their favorite racers.

The Midnight Mayhem event is rapidly becoming a popular success at the Raceway. Street legal races start at the usual Friday night time, but are then followed by another set of heads-up races which operate “run-what-ya-brung” style. These races last until 2am, and feature a burnout contest with a cash prize that increases with the number of contestants.

For the second time in a row, Benny Shapiro won the burnout contest in his two-door Nissan. An uproar went through the attending crowd when Shapiro shredded one of his back tires, shooting foot-long strips of rubber approximately twelve feet in the air! With a contender pool of six cars, Shapiro’s prize money totaled $200.

On a sadder note, this evening’s burnout contest was dedicated to the memory of William “Billy” Hammon, a regular at the track who tragically lost his life in a recent motorcycle accident. A short memorial was held for Hammon at the start line, and Champion Raceway has started a collection to support the surviving family members.

Street legal results for July 5 are as follows:

Brittani Bloomberg took the top spot in the High School class, running a 16.020 sec pass on a .125 reaction time and reaching 89.22 MPH in her ’05 VW Jetta. Bloomberg also won the Sports Compact class with a 1/4 mile time of 16.071 sec at 88.72 MPH on a .329 reaction time.

First place in the Motorcycle class went to Jerry Stinson and his ’05 Hayabusa. Stinson ran a 9.834 pass at 119.92 MPH on a .969 reaction time.

Kevin Barden won the Street DOT class, hitting 118.35 MPH in his ’65 Mustang for an 11.584 sec 1/4 mile with a .107 reaction time.

Anthony Guida won the Hot Rod class with an impressive reaction time of .034 sec and a 1/4 mile of 10.695 sec at 123.95 MPH.

Saturday’s Night of Fire featured exhibition races between four nitro funny cars from around Oregon and California, as well as two jet cars from Darin Bay’s Warped Speed Racing. For the uninitiated, it may be helpful to learn that the highly trained individuals behind the wheels of jet cars are referred to as “pilots,” rather than drivers. Considering the top speed of these vehicles is close to 300 MPH, the name definitely fits. Meanwhile, the nitro funnies run at speeds approaching 200 MPH, and can burn about 20 gallons of fuel on a single pass down the track.

Pilot of the Incinerator, Scott Arriaga has been racing jet cars for the past 22 years. Arriaga spoke about how it feels to blast down a 1/4 mile of track in a space of three seconds. “Man, you can’t compare it to nothing,” Arriaga said. “I guess it would be like jumping out of an airplane. You’re (going from) 5 Gs to a negative 10 Gs, so it’s a rush.”

Arriaga piloted the Black Rat jet car at Champion Raceway’s Night of Fire last season, and mentioned plans to return again next year. He commented on the wonderful fan support in Southern Oregon, saying “Medford’s a good place to run.”

Jerry Stinson won the Motorcycle class again, with a 1/4 mile pass of 9.224 sec at a top speed of 128.43 MPH and a .107 reaction time. Runner up in the motorcycles was Ted Sauer, on his ’87 Suzuki GSXR. Sauer went 104.61 MPH for a 12.594 sec 1/4 mile on a .193 reaction time.

Anthony Guida and his ’72 Chevelle won the Sportsman class with a pass of 13.064 sec at 101.50 MPH on a .032 reaction time. Ken Stevens took home the Sportsman runner up trophy, running his ’67 Camaro at 96.03 MPH for a 13.200 sec 1/4 mile on a .069 reaction time.

First place in the Pro class went to Kevin Barden, who had a .100 reaction time in the finals and drove 108.02 MPH for an 11.645 sec 1/4 mile time. Pro class runner up was Dave Martin in his ’93 Mustang. Martin ran a 12.713 sec 1/4 mile at 97.81 MPH on a .031 reaction time.

The Super Pro class was restricted to racing an 1/8 mile of the track, due to some trouble with drivers controlling their vehicles. Winner in the Super Pros was Lyle Hood, by break out. Hood reacted in .024 sec and ran a 7.328 sec 1/8 mile at 58.10 MPH. Phillip Greer took the runner up spot with a 7.061 sec 1/8 mile pass at 108.60 MPH on a .042 reaction time.

Local race fans had better mark their calendars for July 19 when Champion Raceway will host members of the Corvette Club for a night of street legal racing. This event will also be the first exhibition of the Fisher-Price Power Wheels race— where kids in multiple age brackets get to race their electrically powered toy cars down a portion of the track. For more information on how to enter, contact or call 541-290-DRAG.



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