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Max Ruml, 20, won his fourth AMA 500cc first division main event this season Wednesday at Industry Speedway in the Grand Arena. About 550 persons attended. The talented speedway star from Huntington Beach has won four of ten Industry features this season. He rode his No. 5 GM to victory in a flag-to-flag pace-setting ride from pole position in the final event of a 37-race evening.

The event was the second annual Ray “Junior” Kurtz Memorial Cup in honor of the late USAC open-wheel car owner, speedway bike financial backer, and owner of nation-wide bulk hauler Plastic Express Trucking, headquartered in Industry. He lost his battle with cancer at age 73 on March 1, 2016. The Kurtz family continues to support speedway racing at Industry. His widow, Michelle, and stepson Ray Hufnager, attended Wednesday night and participated in main event trophy presentations.

For the second consecutive year a distinctive and coveted racing helmet, painted by famed racing artist Troy Lee Designs, was mounted on a stunning base. A replica colorful helmet in a see-through plastic enclosure went to feature winner Ruml. His name will be etched on a metal plaque affixed to the base of the perpetual Junior Kurtz Trophy. Billy Janniro won the inaugural Kurtz trophy last August.

Broc Nicol, winner of the third of four rounds for the 2017 AMA Speedway National Championship last Saturday at Industry, finished a close second. He started from the outside lane next to the wall. The Lomita 500cc ace raced the high line all four laps trying to overtake Ruml. However, Nicol, 19, fell one length short on his No. 4 GM.

Impressive high-point rider Gino Manzares won all three of his heats for the only perfect nine score. A day after celebrating his 24th birthday, Manzares started second and finished third, one length in back of Nicol. Younger brother Dillon Ruml, 18, slid to the ground in the third turn on the first lap. He was excluded from the complete restart and placed fourth.

Two scratch semi-finals for the eight high-point riders in a field of 13 500cc D-1 riders were events 27-28. In the first semi, Nicol led all the way over runner-up Manzares. Aaron Fox and Shawn McConnell followed. Max started from the outside lane and led every lap in the second semi over his younger brother Dillon. Tyson Burmeister and Austin Novratil placed third and fourth.

Novratil, 22, led all four laps of the consolation race (event 36) from the outside lane. Veteran speedway racer McConnell, from nearby Brea, and recently “un-retired” Burmeister, 33, placed second and third. Fox scratched from the consy.

MIDGETS: Following the 26 heat races and prior to D-1 semi-mains, two of the Wally Pankratz Racing USAC Ford Focus midgets made their annual appearance on the eighth-mile dirt track. Drivers were former winning Junior Division 250cc speedway rider Courtney Crone, 16, who has raced a full midget in USAC Midget and BCRA Midget events this season. She currently ranks fourth in USAC Western Series points prior to her next race August 19 in Santa Maria. She drove the light/dark green No. 98.

Max Ruml drove the dark blue/white No. 37 midget that Janniro drove in a match “race” with Crone at Industry last year. Sonny Nutter drove it at IS in 2015. Max ran 30 to 40 practice laps at Industry a night earlier to prepare for his midget debut in a 10-lap exhibition “race” with Courtney. Max took the green flag half a lap in front of Courtney, a 2011-15 speedway bike racer. Both drivers ran error-free, fast laps. Max took the checkered flag first, but Courtney had cut into his advantage by half a straightaway. Last year she started half a lap behind Janniro and almost caught his midget after ten laps.

Later, Max said he would love to race a midget against other midgets in a sanctioned event on a larger track. Maybe midget car owners 2000 USAC Western Series champion Pankratz or 2005-06 USAC Western Midget champion Jerome Rodela could arrange that for Max. Rodela has three midgets and USAC has upcoming races in Ventura (September 16, October 28 and November 23), plus races in Bakersfield (September 30 and November 18).

SIDECARS: Six 1,000cc sidecars raced in three heats for points. The two highest teams in points went directly to the feature. The other four teams raced a last chance qualifier (LCQ) that advanced the top two finishing teams to the feature (event 35). Paraplegic Bryan Motis and his No. 4 Suzuki sidecar “swinger” Johnny Bach led all four laps from the outside starting position. It was their second Industry triumph this season.

Joe Jones/Tom Summers, on their sidecar championship No. 1 Suzuki, finished a close second. The first two teams avoided the LCQ by finishing first or second in their heats. New Zealand resident Josh Heenan, on his No. 17i, finished third with veteran local sidecar rider Josh Bennett. Fourth place went to the other LCQ transferring team of Jeff Rowe and his sidecar swinger Heather Gledhill.


New 500cc rider/veteran 250cc Junior racer Michael Wells, 16, led laps 2-4 for his for his first 500cc D-2 main event victory at Industry. He won his first 500cc D-2 main on his Jawa May 20 in Ridgecrest. Lap 1 leader Rudy Laurer, a two-time 2017 winner, got high in turn three on his second lap, recovered and finished second. Chet Kohler and David Lynch finished third and fourth. The 500cc third division did not race this week.

Two 250cc juniors raced. Jake Isaac, 15, won both heats and the 250 main over Sara Cords, 17. He also won the August 2 Industry feature.

The 150cc second division main for less experienced 150cc riders had handicapped starts for five-lap races. Two riders collided and fell on lap 2 of the main. The six rider field had a complete restart. Re-mounted Levi Leutz, 8, led every lap. Re-mounted Owen Williams finished second. Gordon Teuber III, Jose Navarette, Andrew Russell, and Cole Ayers followed in P. 3-6.

Former 50cc pee-wee star and first-year 150cc racer Travis Horn, 9, led all five laps of the handicapped 150 D-1 main and both heats. He started 10-yards from the gate. Luke Whitcomb, 11, started 30-yards from the gate and ran a close second in all three races. Slater Lightcap, 11, started 60-yards back and could not catch his two rivals in the three races. He won the 150cc Silver Cup Championship at Industry Sunday afternoon.

All three pee-wee 50cc riders raced from the starting gate. Dakota Black, 5, led the first lap on her Yamaha 50. Conner Salazar, 9, the son of track preparer Jose Salazar, of the City of Industry, led laps 2-4 and won for the third time this season on his Yamaha 50. Four-time 2017 feature winner Ken Matsudaira, 6, was a close second at the finish line on a Suzuki.


The Junior Kurtz Memorial Cup had three silver trophies for the top three 500cc finishers. Max, Broc and Gino gladly accepted the awards and additional $1,000 cash for the feature from the Kurtz family. Junior's widow Michelle and his stepson Ray participated in the podium presentations in the pits near the track entrance.

As last year, Perris Auto Speedway (The PAS) again will honor decades-long USAC Silver Crown No. 30 and sprint car owner Junior Kurtz Saturday night, August 26. The all-sprint car evening will be the annual California Racers Hall of Fame Night. The Kurtz family is expected to attend that event as well.

USAC-CRA sprint car No. 92 (Triple X chassis/Kistler 410 cu. in. Chevy) raced by Jake Swanson, from Anaheim, was on display Wednesday inside the front gate of the Grand Arena. Car owners Tom and Laurie Sertich were present to talk to speedway bike fans about sprint car racing. The Roa No. 91R team was the last sprint car on display at Industry Speedway. Many sprint car and midget racing fans are also speedway bike fans.

During the rider pit meeting in the pits at 6:45 pm, Industry Racing Director Kelly Inman said the cash purse donated for the fifth annual AMA/FIM Junior Division Silver Cup Championship last Sunday afternoon topped $3,600. He also announced that the 42nd annual California State Championship on Saturday, August 26 will have only 500cc D-1 and Junior Division riders on the program.

Sebastian “Big Daddy” Palmese, 14, and Nor Cal's Colton Hicks, 15, have flown to Prague, Czechoslovakia to race in the 2017 Juniors 250cc World Championship. Good luck to both outstanding young riders. They are both future 500cc stars.

Hayley Perrault, a college student and 500cc D-2 rider, had a nasty-looking fall during heat 21 (D-2 round two). She was in P. 2 on the first lap entering turn three when her front wheel hit leader David Lynch's back wheel. Hayley fell to the track and landed heavily on her right shoulder and right hip. She remained on the ground on her back for five minutes or so, attended by two EMTs. They took her on a gurney to the ambulance to rest and did not have to transport. She iced her shoulder. After the final feature she entered her family sedan and her dad drove her home.

Best heat races of the night: Event 8 - McConnell led all four laps over pressing Fox and Nicol in a close three-way dog-fight. Appreciative fans stood and applauded his strong effort. ... “Age-less” Bobby Schwartz, actually age 60, raced well all night. He finished third twice and a close second to D. Ruml in his three heat races. He scored four points and ranked ninth of 13 riders. He missed a semi-main berth by one point. Fox and Novratil tied at five points for P. 7 and earned the final spots in the two semis.

With some school districts back in session as of August 14, mid-week attendance August 16 was the lowest of the year. The next definitely scheduled Industry race (12th event of 2017) on August 26 is the coveted California State Speedway Championship for 500cc D-1 pros. Many Nor Cal riders, including Janniro, Tommy Hedden, and Bob Hicks, are expected for this race.

Reportedly, Charlie “the Edge” Venegas on August 26 will make his first Industry start of 2017. He has raced at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway in Auburn on several Fridays this season after missing many weeks with an injury. Charlie's wife, Anna, works in the Industry Speedway pit pass booth and is one of the official race scorers at Industry.

The Industry Speedway printed program shows Saturday, October 14 as a tentative race date. It is a proposed National Championship for Under Age 21 Riders and a Sidecars State Championship. Joe Jones, the sidecar brigade leader, said he expects about ten of the 1,000cc sidecars to race if the event occurs.