Mohave Valley Raceways Memorial Day Salute and Classic Car Show was everything it promised to be….and more!!! Giving everyone an eyeful, were the pristine classic cars on display in front of the entry gate. As you entered the stands, it was obvious something was different. You couldn’t help but notice the 70 foot flag pole in the infield, waving an equally large “Ole Glory”. Starting the night off was Jordan Waters with a emotional, live rendition of the National Anthem followed by an amazing exhibition of model plane flying by Dominic Grasso. As his plane hovered near the flag, with patriotic music in the background, it brought several to tears. Another way Mohave Valley Raceway honored those who serve in the military was with ½ price admission.
Then it was time for the races. As the Outlaw Karts fell into place, the green flag dropped. Tanner Black (8X) wasted no time coming from the back row to take the lead. Challenged by pole sitter, Tristan Montgomery (24), it looked like it was going to be a good race. Half way through, Montgomery pulled off with technical problems leaving Black to take home another win. Official finish: Black (8X), Shane Vasquez (88), Cameron Williams (48) and Tyiler Hiner (18).
Bandit Karts were up next with Garrett Griffin (75) quickly pulling away. Griffin continued to stretch his lead until hitting a rough spot in turn two, which Austin Gardner(11) used to his advantage to get around Griffin and takeover first. Griffin recovered for the second place finish followed by rookie Nichole Freeman (09N), Steve Simpson III (13), Trenton Long (00) and Nick Wilson (11W).
The Mini Stock Main event sported the largest field of the night with Corey Freeman (2D) starting of the pole and taking the lead. With Gordon Jones (69) on her bumper, he made his move to take over the lead, only to have the yellow flag come out and revert back to the last completed lap. On the restart, Freeman continued her lead with Jones on her tail until he went high and dropped back to sixth. Scott Kile (3S) moved into second with five cars battling for third. At the checkered flag it was Freeman (2d), Kile (3s), Jones (69), Donovan Wooten (3B), Shannon Blowers (00) and John Brancefield (7).
Having found whatever plagued him last race, Austin Black (7X) came on strong in the Mini Sports. Immediately moving into the lead, Black drove a smooth race leaving the battle for second far behind him. Lance Scott (16) and Ryan Wake (77) went at it lap after lap until Scott went too high and Wake moved into the second spot. Official finish: Black (7X), Wake (77), Scott (16) and Chuck Carpino (6X).
Street Stocks were lead onto the track by a 1959 Cadillac from the car show taking over the duties as pace car. This main event had almost as many lead changes as it did participants. Billy Griffin (16G) took the early lead and maintained it until the halfway point when he went high letting Danny Donahue (19D) slip by him. Anthony Sturtevant (71) moved into second and Griffin into third. John Montgomery (5) had just taken the second spot away from Sturdivant when Donahue spun and Griffin regained the lead. Griffin and Mike Milender (2X) were neck and neck down the back straight when they got together bringing out the yellow. Griffin pulled off the track to change his tire and Milender rejoined the field. On the re-start Montgomery took over the lead, followed by Sturdivant. Donahue charged from the back of the field to challenge Montgomery for the lead, not being able to take the pressure, Montgomery found the wall on the front straight. As Griffin rejoined the pack, Donahue and Milender ran the last two laps so close it liked a photo finish may be needed. As Donahue picked up the win, he was followed by Milender, Sturdivant and Griffin.
With the night being hot and windy, the IMCA Modifieds rumbled onto a dry and dusty track. Paul Hurns (3P) made a quick move for lead, leaving Dan Fitzgerald (87N) and Rick Durica (39) dueling for second. Durica went low and Fitzgerald took the high line which worked for him as he took over second. By this time, Hurns had a full straight lead until he met with engine problems and pulled off the track. Fitzgerald took over the lead, followed by Durica, Steve Simpson (24) and Harry Anderson (53). Fitzgerald gave a moving a tribute to those who protect and serve out country in his victory speech.
Austin Black and Danny Donahue dedicated their wins to Ken Hobson who passed away earlier in the week. For those of you who knew and raced with Ken, we offer the following remembrance of him -
1942 - 2010
The world of racing lost one of it’s most dedicated supporters with the passing of Ken Hobson. Ken was involved in all areas of racing, it didn’t matter whether it was as a driver, owner, sponsor or fan, he just liked to be involved.
Dirt tracks were his favorite, but he also spent time racing boats, winning both the IHBA Nationals in 1991 and Jet Boat Nationals in 1993. He started driving on the dirt at the former Ascot Park and Corona and later drove Late Models, which were his favorite, during the 80’s. He owned Modifieds that were driven by Billy Griffin, Ray Hocking, Ron Meyer and Bill Meyer Jr.
If you were lucky enough to have sat next to him in the stands, you know he was outspoken and opinionated, and usually right. Ken never said no to helping a friend or fellow driver. One night when Dino Napier was in the points chase, his PAS Truck broke and could not make the main. Ken asked Billy Griffin to give up his ride that night in his PAS Truck for Dino. Just a couple of weeks ago, Ken was at Mohave Valley Raceway sharing his knowledge with Bill Meyer, Jr. in setting up his Modified to run better on the high side. It worked, as Bill won the next race. Ken loved kids and the Karts at Mohave Valley Raceway. He recently became a proud sponsor of Garrett Griffin’s #75 Bandit Kart.
Through out his life, his decision where to live was influenced by what track was close. His choice is still to be close to a dirt track and near what he loved. (KFC).
It is with love and respect we say goodbye to one of racings finest. Though he may not be in the stands with us, he will always be in our hearts.