John Soares wins at I-10 Speedway

The Lucas Oil I-10 Speedway, a quarter mile paved oval located at the Colorado River Fairgrounds in Blythe-California, gave their loyal fans another reason to be thankful, during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, by presenting the Thanksgiving 200 which is one of their crown jewel events from their 2008-2009 Winter Blast Series. The November 29th event, presented by the Palo Verde Valley Times and Hoosier Tire West, featured hot racing action from the Pro Four Modifieds, the West Coast Pro Truck Pro Truck Series, Street Stocks, the EZ Up Legends, the Bandoleros and the Modlites.

John Soares


During the Pro Four Modified 50 lap feature an extremely patient John Soares was willing to bide his time riding around in third because he could easily sense that something was going to happen between the two cars directly in front of him. His willingness to wait rewarded him with a huge dividend on lap 43 when he suddenly found himself as the new race leader and the eventual race winner. Soares was behind the wheel of a Ford Fusion owned by Don Minut.

When the green flag fell on this race Brett Edwards roared out of the front row with Jim Mardis, in a car owned by David Glidewell, right behind him. Eddie Secord and Soares were also major players in this lead pack. Edwards paced the field for the first ten laps before his night unraveled one lap later following a front stretch spin. Mardis inherited the lead and appeared to have the race completely under control. But that lead also began the process of unraveling on lap 30 when Ken Morrisette slammed hard into the turn three wall. The ensuing yellow flag was traded in for a red one due to the massive amount of oil on the track from the wrecked Morrisette car.

With the green flag restart approaching, Eddie Secord was in second and knew that it was time to go. What followed was some incredibly exciting racing between Mardis and Secord. On lap 35 the two drivers were racing door to door and swapped the lead three times within two laps. Meanwhile Soares was watching all of this with a great deal of interest and made the decision to maintain a look and see position. On lap 42 the inevitable result of hard racing occurred and Mardis went spinning around in turn four. Both race contenders were dispatched to the rear of the field for their involvement in the creation of the caution flag. Soares paced the field for the restart and made quick work of running out the final seven laps. Secord raced his back to second but just simply ran out of time and laps. Chuck Becker, Edwards and Mardis completed the top five


Standing tradition states that it would not Thanksgiving weekend at the Lucas Oil I-10 Speedway without a visit from the West Coast Pro Truck Series. This very fine regional touring series, for full size pick up pick up trucks, is a huge fan favorite at tracks all over the western states. On any given night this series is a hot bed of competition. But on this particular night series veteran Jeff Williams decided that he needed some alone time. At the start of the 50 lap feature William's Ford 150 came out of his front row starting spot and never looked back. He led all 50 laps unchallenged and put on a flawless driving performance. Dalton Kuhn, Ricky James, Jim Satterfield and Christian Copely completed the top five.

There was a double celebration in victory lane that night. William's feature win also wrapped up the team's third consecutive WCPT championship. Williams was incredibly happy and said "I love coming to this track, sometimes I feel like we own this place. I just wish that the West Coast Pro Truck Series came here more often."


A part of the Thanksgiving tradition is that general feeling of fatigue and overall lack of focus that follows the huge turkey dinner. Research scientists will tell you that this is caused by a combination of an amino acid in turkey, called L-tryptophan, along with carbohydrates in foods loaded with sugar and starch such as yams, mashed potatoes, breads and pies. After watching the EZ UP Legends Cars feature, at the Lucas Oil I-10 Speedway, one had to wonder if the 17 drivers in this scheduled 50 lapper were still suffering the side effects of Thanksgiving dinner.

Normally any Legend Car race is about high speed, wheel to wheel, competition with very few caution flags. That theory completely fell apart in this particular race to the point that speedway officials had to shorten the event to 40 laps due to impending time restraints. That decision was based on the 12 yellow flags, along with two red ones, that routinely disrupted the flow of this race.

However when this race was under green flag conditions the action was exciting. Chase Cantania came off the front and paced the field for 34 green flag laps. But it was at this point of the race where things completely fell apart. There were five yellow flags between laps 34 to 37 and one them impacted Cantania who saw his potential race winning effort evaporate in a plume of tire smoke after being collected by another car. Eric Gunderson soon found himself the leader of a green-white-checker finish due to the race being shortened to 40 laps. The 15 year old driver made quick work of running out the final three laps. Brendan Snow followed him under the checkers while Cody Kutzner, Mitchell Tharpe and Bob Blackmon completed the top five.


Danny Dill found himself in victory lane after winning the 30 lap Street Stock feature that concluded with a three car crash as the field was approaching the white flag. Dill led the field under the initial green flag and set the pace for ten laps before Bryant Sutterfield took the point. It appeared that Sutterfield was on his way to his second feature win of the season but that all came to an unexpected halt on lap 28 when he was tagged by Craig Almquist in turn three. The Sutterfield car slammed into the turn three wall and in turn was struck by Rick Boone who had no place to go. Meanwhile on the front stretch Dill somehow got into the side of Ralph Adams. The right side tires of Dill's car rolled over Adam's left fender and created considerable sheet metal damage. With all of the carnage and debris on the track officials declared a finish. A check of scoring records declared Dill the winner followed by Adams and Richard Selph.

For Ralph Adams it was the conclusion of a very busy day. The 68 year old veteran is attempting to win Street Stock titles at both the Lucas Oil I-10 Speedway and the Havasu 95 Speedway. Earlier in the day he won his race in Lake Havasu City and then quickly loaded up his equipment to make the trip to Blythe. By the time he made it to the Lucas Oil I-10 Speedway he had missed qualifying and had to start the race shotgun on the field. Adams was pleased with the second place finish but didn't understand the how and why of that last lap accident that damaged his car so badly.


Shelby Orosco staged an exciting come from behind effort to win the 20 lap Bandolero feature presented by JJ&B Racing. Tommy Kelly came off of the front row to take the lead and by lap nine soon found himself in a side by side duel with Orosco. Contact was made and Orosco went spinning through turn three. Both drivers were dispatched to the rear of the field and Alex Morgan became the new race leader. It appeared that Morgan was on his way to his third series win however Orosco was not through yet. Driving her Bandolero racer like she stole it, Orosco roared through the field and passed Morgan on the white flag lap. She was followed under the checkers by Morgan, Kyle Niquette, Kelly, Breanna Nelson and Balley O’Neal.

Shelby Orosco's major racing influence is her Grandfather Bill Rozhon who is one of the partners at the Havasu 95 Speedway. Rozhon was busy on this day running an afternoon race at his own track and couldn't be in Blythe to see his Granddaughter’s win. But with the combination of cell phones and speedway microphones he was able to tell her how proud he was. The capacity crowd loved it.


The Arizona based Southwest Modlite Racing Association put on a special exhibition that really impressed the fans. Modlites resemble Legend Cars and are also powered by motorcycle engines. But that's where the comparison ends. The Modlite engines are powered by an alcohol based fuel and race on full sized eight inch tires. The cars are extremely fast and often race three wide. Anthony Platt won the 12 lap exhibition and was excited over his first ever series win. The Modlites primarily race on Arizona dirt tracks but have expressed an interest in racing on paved ovals next year. Speedway promoter Greg Scheidecker was also extremely impressed with the series and said he planned on having them back for one of his February races.


On the Friday night test and tune session the Lucas Oil I-10 Speedway treated the race teams to a pit pass barbeque. We're not talking about burgers and dogs here. The speedway staff presented a full course meal worthy of any Thanksgiving feast and they deserve to be properly thanked for that effort. The food was excellent and so was the entire evening.

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