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Dillon Ruml’s Perfect Night at Industry!

| 12 August 2017 12:33 pm

Industry Racing
Speedway Legends & Heroes Night
Haddick’s Classic Car Night: Industry Hills Expo Center Grand Arena

Story by Tim Kennedy
Photos by Clark Oden/Race Day Images
CITY OF INDUSTRY, CA, AUG. 2, 2017

Dillon Ruml was in a somewhat celebratory mood after winning the Division One Scratch main event at Industry for the second time this season.

Dillon Ruml was in a somewhat celebratory mood after winning the Division One Scratch main event at Industry for the second time this season.

Dillon Ruml, 18, won his second AMA 500cc First Division main event on Wednesday, August 2, at Industry Speedway, in the Grand Arena. He also won at the eighth-mile indoor dirt track during week three on June 14, aboard his number-three Jawa. This week, he won all five of his racing events and led every lap in doing so.

Week eight of 14 in the 2017 Industry season at the Industry Hills Expo Center attracted 840 persons through the front gate and almost 200 more in the pits. It was the annual Speedway Legends & Heroes Night, as well as the annual Haddick’s Classic Car Night, presented by Haddick’s Towing in the City of Industry. Haddick’s employees inside the front gate distributed paper ballots to incoming fans, who voted for their favorite classic vehicles among 21 contestants parked inside the front gate and behind the grandstands.

Speedway racing legends and heroes from past decades sat at three long tables in the courtyard and signed autographs, posed for photos, and talked to fans from 6:45 to 7:30 p.m., when the racing started. The printed race program, given free to spectators each week, had 14 pages and individual photos of 40 past speedway riders.

Program cover boy Bobby “Boogaloo” Schwartz, 60, was busy in the pits, preparing to race in the second heat of the 44 races run during the evening’s busy schedule. Legend Shawn “Mad Dog” McConnell was also featured in the program, but he was also in the pits, preparing to race his 500cc Jawa, as usual. He made the main event, proving he is still competitive at age 58.

Sixteen 500cc Division One riders – including “unretired” veterans Jimmy Fishback, 36, and Tyson Burmeister, 33 – raced three rounds of heats for points.

Dillon Ruml was the only perfect rider, with three victories in his three heats for the maximum nine points. Aaron Fox and Broc Nicol, the AMA National Championship second-round winner on July 29 at Santa Maria Speedway, tied with eight points for second place. Four riders tied with six points. It took five points to make one of two semifinal races for the eight high-point riders.

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The pair of semifinal races (events 33 and 34) produced flag-to-flag triumphs for Ruml, over McConnell, in the first semi, and for Nicol, over Fox, in the second race. Tim Gomez and Burmeister (who scored a DNF due to an electrical problem) were third and fourth, respectively, in the first semi.

Tim Gomez (30) finished third in the first semifinal.

Tim Gomez (30) finished third in the first semifinal.

Fishback and Gino Manzares (who fell on lap one) were third and fourth, respectively, in the second semi. Manzares led every lap of the consolation race, over Fishback and Gomez. Burmeister was a nonstarter because of his engine problem.

Gino Manzares went wire to wire in the Scratch Consolation event.

Gino Manzares went wire to wire in the Scratch Consolation event.

The D-1 finale started at 10:18 p.m., with Ruml, Fox, McConnell and Nicol arrayed in that order from the inside to the crash wall. Ruml shot into the lead when the green light flashed and the starting gate lifted. It was a tight two-by-two pack for several laps. Fox pressured Ruml for all four laps and trailed by a bikelength at the finish.

Aaron Fox was a close runner-up in the Scratch main.

Aaron Fox was a close runner-up in the Scratch main.

Nicol was third, one bikelength behind Fox. Fourth-place finisher McConnell slowed leaving turn four and finished five bikelengths in back of Nicol.

Afterward, the top three riders took celebratory laps on their back tires on the straightaways.

Dillon’s brother Max Ruml, 20, started from pole position in the first heat at 7:37 but on the first lap ended his race night. The three-time Industry 2017 feature winner crashed hard into the wall leaving the fourth turn on lap one. He was stunned and remained on the track briefly. He walked to the pits without injury, but his GM bike was damaged too severely to race. He did not have a backup bike on hand, so he watched from the pits as his brother excelled. Max even walked to the Grand Arena’s popular on-site restaurant for some food.

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The track was dry and uncharacteristically dusty and treacherous early in the evening. Midday temperatures in the upper 90s and high humidity adversely affected the eastern San Gabriel Valley track surface. It was 88 degrees at 6 p.m., and it was still 82 and humid when racing concluded. That contributed to five falls during the first 10 heats. Officials brought out the tractor earlier than planned to regrade the surface and water it via hoses from the infield. That eliminated the dust and brought the track back to its usual racey condition.

During round three, much-improved Division One rider Gage Geist, 18, fell in the fourth turn and slid shoulder-first into the plywood wall at the front straight. He remained on the ground. Track EMTs attended to his shoulder injury for about five minutes. Geist, with his leathers lowered to his waist, walked back to the pits. He later went to a hospital for X-rays for a possibly broken clavicle.

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Sidecars
Seven 1,000cc sidecar teams raced two rounds of heats for points. The top three teams in points advanced directly to their feature (event 42). A four-team last-chance qualifier sent only the winner to the main event. That was lane-two starters Jeff Rowe & swing-man Josh Bennett, who led all four laps.

The Sidecar feature became a flag-to-flag victory ride for outside-starting paraplegic driver Bryan Motis & swinger Johnny Bach, on a Yamaha R1. It was their first Industry victory this season. Joe Jones & Tom Summers, the four-time Industry winning team this season, were a challenging second. Dillon Osborne & Ashley Gibbons placed third. The number-1965 rig of Jeff Rowe & Josh Bennett was fourth.

Bryan Motis & Johnny Bach emerged victorious in the Sidecar main.

Bryan Motis & Johnny Bach emerged victorious in the Sidecar main.

Support Divisions
Eight riders in 500cc Division Two (for riders of Intermediate skill level) and eight riders in Division Three (for newer riders) raced two rounds of heats for points. The four highest point scorers in each division raced in two support mains.

Rudy Laurer, 60, won his second D-2 main at Industry this year after leading every lap from lane three on his Jawa 897. July 12 D-2 winner Chet Kohler was a close second. Michael Wells, 16, was third, and Bruce Marteney fourth.

Rudy Laurer scored his second Industry Division Two victory of the season.

Rudy Laurer scored his second Industry Division Two victory of the season.

Kevin Fife, a 47-year-old carpenter, won the Division Three feature for the second time this season. He started his Jawa 888 short-stroke from pole position and led every lap. George Yates, Kevin Fiore, and Steve “Beach Ball” Brown finished in second through fourth, respectively.

Also taking his second Industry win of the year was Kevin Fife (311), in the Division Three finale.

Also taking his second Industry win of the year was Kevin Fife (311), in the Division Three finale.

Juniors
The Junior 250cc class had only two riders present. Jake Isaac, 15, won both heat races and the main event, over Sara Cords, 17. She reportedly will be racing a 500cc bike soon.

Jake Isaac (16) took the checkers in the Junior 250cc contest.

Jake Isaac (16) took the checkers in the Junior 250cc contest.

The three-rider field of experienced 150cc riders became a two-rider main event after Luke Whitcomb, 11, blew his engine at the starting gate in heat one. Slater Lightcap, 11, started 60 yards from the gate in each race. He chased gate-starter Travis Horn, 9, until the late laps in five-lap heats and the main before passing early leader Horn in all three races.

Slater Lightcap (2) won the Mini 150cc Division One feature.

Slater Lightcap (2) won the Mini 150cc Division One feature.

The 150cc Second Division main (for newer riders) was a five-lap winning ride for Gordon Teuber III, 11, from Rancho Palos Verdes, California. It was only his fifth ride on a 150cc after racing only once on a Pee Wee 50cc bike in 2014. Andrew Russell, Owen Williams, Levi Leutz and Jose Navarette finished second through fifth, respectively.

Gordon Teuber III (11) was top dog in the Mini 150cc Second Division main.

Gordon Teuber III (11) was top dog in the Mini 150cc Second Division main.

Pee Wees
The 50cc Pee Wees (for riders aged 4 through 8) had two females: second-year rider Dakota Black, 5, and rookie Penny Hall, 4. Black had won her first heat race over two boys who were closing at the finish. Hall, on the final lap, made contact with the battling lead duo; she fell entering turn one, and she was stunned and slow to rise. She walked back to the pits with her dad.

Black led the first three laps of the main and finished second to four-time Pee Wee winner Ken Matsudaira, on his Suzuki 50. Connor Salazar and Strydrr Uebersetzig finished third and fourth, respectively. Nonfinisher Hall was credited with fifth.

Ken Matsudaira (74) was again the winner of the Pee Wee class.

Ken Matsudaira (74) was again the winner of the Pee Wee class.

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Pit Notes
There would be no racing at Industry Speedway on Wednesday, August 9. Teams would be preparing for the third round of four of the 2017 AMA National Championship at Industry Speedway on Saturday, August 12. The annual AMA/ FIM Junior Speedway Silver Cup Championship at Industry will be held the following afternoon, August 13, with free grandstand admission.

Round one of the AMA National Championship was June 24 at Ventura Raceway. Luke Becker, 18, was the winner. Round two, on July 29 in Santa Maria, went to Broc Nicol, over 2017 points leader and reigning champion Billy Janniro, 36. Third- and fourth-place riders Max Ruml and Luke Becker fell and were excluded. Becker reportedly broke an ankle and missed the August 2 Industry race. The fourth and final round will be held on September 16 at Fast Fridays Speedway in Auburn, California.

The return to speedway racing by Jimmy Fishback and Tyson Burmeister was impressive. Both riders last raced speedway back in 2014. Fishback, who tried off-road truck racing in 2015, raced his bike once in 2016 at the Industry season finale. This week, Jimmy won his first-round heat and scored 3, 2, 1 for six total points. Burmeister’s three heats produced, in order, 1, 2 and 3 points (for six total) for advancement to a semifinal. They just missed making the main event on their comeback rides.

Tyson Burmeister (foreground) made his return to racing in impressive style.

Tyson Burmeister (foreground) made his return to racing in impressive style.

Midget and sprint-car competitors present at Industry on August 2 included drivers J.J. Ercse, Shane Scully, Jerome Rodela, Courtney Crone and her dad, Jack. Midget/ sprint-car owner Gary Hansen also attended, with his friend Mike Konle. Gary said that he still owns five Maxim number-70 sprints and midgets that his race-winning son Garrett drove until he was seriously injured a decade ago. Gary said that Garrett has been concentrating on business, but he is getting the itch to race again.

Classic Cars
The top three Classic Cars, according to the fans’ votes, received first-, second- and third-place silver trophies from Haddick’s Towing. The winner was the pearl-cherry-colored 1950 Ford F-1 pickup truck. Second was the post-World War II Metro cream-and-red Snap-on Tools step-up van. Third place went to a black 1932 Ford two-seat bucket roadster with a chromed De Soto hemi-engine.

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Speedway Legends & Heroes
The 43 speedway legends and heroes honored and present were Jan Ballard, Pam “Pinky” Bennett, Jim Buchanan, Tommy Burba, Tom Cirello, Terry “Ike” Clanton, Bill Cody, Scott Daloisio, Mike Dwyer, Stu Egli, Bryce Eikelberger, Ryan Evans, Mike Faria, Bruce Flanders, Dean Foreman, Dave Galvin, Gene “The Dancin’ Machine”, Tim Gewecke, Dennis Gildehaus, David Hancock, Bobby Hardison, Larry Huffman, Bobbi Hunter, Kelly Inman, Mike Konle, Steve Lucero, Mike Mazzacane, Shawn McConnell, Billy Meister, Ricky Miller, Rob Morrison, Doug Nicol, Sonny Nutter, Bruce Penhall, Preston Petty, Victor Robledo, Bobby “Boogaloo” Schwartz, Dave Sims, Scott Sivadge, Sammy Tanner, Bob Tocco, Pat “Tumbleweed” Walton, and Dean York.

Bennett, Faria, McConnell and Schwartz are active speedway riders. Inman is Industry Speedway’s racing director. Evans is the pit steward. Galvin is a past referee. Lucero is the present on-track referee. Nicol runs the pit for his son Doug. Cody runs his speedway parts store. Daloisio, Clanton, Flanders and Huffman are active track announcers, and Tanner, 78, is the western distributor for Arai helmets.

Tanner was called the “Flyin’ Flea” during his speedway and AMA Flat Track racing days in the 1950s and ’60s. He has been named grand marshal for the 2017 AMA Flat Track season finale at Perris Auto Speedway on Saturday, October 7. The Southern California Fair Board is promoting the high-purse inaugural event at PAS. AMA flat-track racing has not competed at a nonfairgrounds So Cal site since annual races at the half-mile clay Ascot Park in Gardena closed after the 1990 season.

Industry Hills Expo Center Grand Arena
City of Industry, California
Results: August 2, 2017

SCRATCH MAIN: 1. Dillon Ruml; 2. Aaron Fox; 3. Broc Nicol; 4. Shawn McConnell.

SCRATCH CONSOLATION: 1. Gino Manzares; 2. Jimmy Fishback; 3. Tim Gomez; 4. Tyson Burmeister (engine failure).

DIVISION 2 MAIN: 1. Rudy Laurer; 2. Chet Kohler; 3. Michael Wells; 4. Bruce Marteney.

DIVISION 3 MAIN: 1. Kevin Fife; 2. George Yates; 3. Kevin Fiore; 4. Steve Brown.

JR 250 MAIN: 1. Jake Isaac; 2. Sara Cords.

MINI 150 DIVISION 1 MAIN: 1. Slater Lightcap (60); 2. Travis Horn (10).

MINI 150 DIVISION 2 MAIN: 1. Gordon Teuber III (0); 2. Andrew Russell (10); 3. Owen Williams (0); 4. Levi Leutz (10); 5. Jose Navarette (30).

PEE WEE MAIN: 1. Ken Matsudaira; 2. Dakota Black; 3. Conner Salazar; 4. Gavin Geist; 5. Strydrr Uebersetzig; 6. Penny Hall (fell).

SIDECAR MAIN: 1. Bryan Motis/ Johnny Bach; 2. Joe Jones/ Tom Summers; 3. Dillon Osborne/ Ashley Gibbons; 4. Jeff Rowe/ Josh Bennett.

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