Fans got their first taste of burnt rubber with the start of drag racing season at Lake County High Desert Motor Sports Park during two days of races over the weekend, May 17-18.
Operated by the Lake County Desert Cruisers Club, the 1/8 mile dragstrip near the Lakeview Airport had fans lining the rails to watch hot rods and funny cars showcase raw horsepower. A mix of muscle cars, funny cars, and vintage hot rods swarmed the strip for qualifying and elimination runs, the noise of engines revving and smell of oil matched by kids partaking in snowcones from the concession stand.
An official National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) track, drivers took turns making timing runs before being matched against opponents in staggered starts to determine the top speedster of the weekend.
Mike Yates, owner of Mike’s Automotive in Lakeview and an active member of Desert Cruisers, directed the action, logging results and maintaining proper starts.
Cars were separated into three categories: Sportsman, Pro and Super Pro. On Saturday, May 17, Melvin Dick won the sportsman races in his modified Oldsmobile. Bob Gosch took top honors in Pro races in his 1970 Plymouth Duster and was the overall points leader on the day. Shane Marsh from Medford won the Super Pro in a 1969 Camaro Z28 on loan from a sponsor after damaging his 1991 Mustang earlier at a recent race, finishing the 1/8 mile track in 7.93 seconds.
Sunday’s races again saw Shane Marsh capture first in Super Pro, becoming the overall points leader for the weekend. Lee Cantwell placed second. For the Pro category, John Ruff took first overall on Sunday and captured the overall points lead, with Robbie Melsness placing second. In the Sportsman group Mickey Duggan had the best runs on Sunday, with Dick placing second, enough to earn him overall points lead in Sportsman after his first place finish on Saturday.