Roseville’s All American Speedway opens the season Saturday, but the 2014 calendar won’t include the track’s closest link to NASCAR.
The Late Model division, with cars that look the most like those seen each weekend during broadcasts of NASCAR races, has been nixed due to low car counts. Instead, fans at All American will watch Street Stocks, Modifieds, Bombers and Pro 4 Modifieds.
“The car counts just weren’t there,” speedway manager and director of competition Rick Poppert Sr. said. “It was strictly a business decision to eliminate the division. Most of our Late Model drivers didn’t want a full 18-week season anyway because it just gets to be too expensive.”
Last season, All American featured 11 Late Model races, but only three of 26 drivers who took to the one-third-mile oval were in Roseville for every race, and just five drivers ran six or more races. James Bickford, then a 15-year-old from Napa, won the division points chase over Elk Grove’s Ron Chunn, one of three who raced each week.
“We’re going to run in the Pacific Challenge Series,” Chunn said. “It’s a new series that will hold races at Stockton 99 Speedway, Ukiah Speedway and three times in Roseville.”
Tracks in Stockton, Marysville and Placerville also will open the season Saturday.
A close shave – Chunn, who has never finished worse than fifth in four seasons racing Late Models at All American Speedway, planned to shave his head Thursday night to honor his 8-year-old son, Cole, who successfully battled lymphoblastic lymphoma for three years and has been free of cancer since 2011.
The shave was part of St. Baldrick’s Foundation events that have taken place over the last month throughout the Sacramento region to support the battle against childhood cancers.
“Cole has a full head of hair back now, and his older brother, Raysen, who is now 15, shaved his head back when Cole was going through chemotherapy,” Chunn, 43, who works as a foreman at an Elk Grove auto repair shop, said this week. “I’ve never shaved my head, so I have no idea what it will look like to not have hair, and I still have a lot of hair.”
Rock and no roll, hopefully – Saturday also is the opener of the Nor Cal Rock Racing series at Prairie City SVRA in Rancho Cordova. Rock racing is a combination of off-road racing and navigating through a man-made, boulder-strewn section of track. The layout at Prairie City will change for each of three races, and each race can be easily viewed from any spectator location.
“We have seven classes – three professional and four for amateurs – and racers come from all over California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington,” said Nor Cal Rock Racing Series founder John Goodby. “The pro classes race for large cash purses that I put up, and the sportsman classes race for gift certificates and products from sponsors.”
Many of those products are immediately bolted onto the cars to replace broken parts because the track is brutal, Goodby said.
“The pro cars can cost upwards to $200,000, so imagine taking a brand new Ferrari out on a gravel road for three hours,” Goodby said. “It’s pretty much what these guys do to their custom-built race cars. I only do three races because the cost for the racers to repair the cars is high.”
For more information, go to www.norcalrockracing.com.
Mark Billingsley covers local motor sports for The Bee. Reach him at email@example.com.