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MAX RUML WINS @ INDUSTRY SPEEDWAY

MAX RUML WINS @ INDUSTRY SPEEDWAY
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Reigning Industry Speedway 500cc first division 2017 track champion Max Ruml won his first D-1 main event at Industry's Grand Arena Wednesday in the final mid-week event of the season. The 21-year old speedway bike racing star returned to form by winning his first Industry feature of 2018 after racing for two months (June-July) in Europe for the Edinburgh (Scotland) Monarchs.

The older of two racing brothers returned to So Cal for the Wednesday, August 1 race at Industry. He rode the GM-powered mount that Tyson Burmeister raced as No. 26 until he fractured his hip June 2 in a fall at Costa Mesa Speedway. Burmeister, still recuperating, was in the pits at Industry August 1 to watch Ruml race on his idled bike owned by Lewis Hughes, a support division rider from 2012-15 on his No. 244.

The second largest crowd of the season, about 1,400 spectators on Laidlaw's Harley-Davidson Night, watched 11 D-1 riders compete. Two D-2 riders moved up for the evening to replace a pair of entered D-1 riders who were not present. There were no 250cc junior riders entered or present.

There were 30 AMA races run in rapid order from 7:30 top 9:35 pm. Three Laidlaw's (of Baldwin Park) “Hooligan Mayhem” races for five Harley-Davidson riders also used the eighth-mile dirt track. They raced in two “Hooligan” heats and a main event, won by D-1 rider Shawn McConnell. He last raced at Industry during the Connor Penhall Memorial Cup event on May 30.

Austin Novratil, 23, and Aaron Fox, 30, tied for high-point honors by winning all three of their heat races. Lane two starter M. Ruml scored seven points prior to his victory in the first semi-final. Novratil led all the way from the outside lane in the second semi-final and had the highest point total prior to the feature. With first lane choice, Novratil selected the outside. M. Ruml then chose lane two that worked for him in the semi. That put his brother Dillon Ruml on pole and Fox in the third lane.

FEATURE: At the start, the four feature starters entered the first turn together with D. Ruml inside and brother Max alongside. Novratil and Fox were just outside the Ruml brothers in a tight pack as they exited turn two. Max led the first lap with Dillon at his back wheel. Novratil took second from Dillon on lap 2 and Fox took third at the same time.

The running order remained unchanged to the lap 4 checkered flag. Novratil chased Max to the finish and trailed by three lengths. Fox was two lengths in back of the runner-up and Dillon trailed Fox by four lengths. It was another of the memorable Industry D-1 features that have become the norm this season.

The D-1 scratch consolation race for third and fourth place finishers in the two semi-finals was a start-to-finish ride out front for Tim Gomez. He ran second to Novratil in the second semi-final to lap 2 before D. Ruml passed him in the second turn. Bobby Schwartz, 62, was a close runner-up to Gomez and a third finisher in the first semi-final. Michael Wells and D-2 veteran Rudy Laurer, 61, followed in the consy.

SIDECARS: The five-rigs sidecar field had Dillon Osborne/Ashley Gibbons in the lead every lap of their main event. They also won two of three heat races. Chris Jones/Tom Summers placed second in their 1,000cc Suzuki built for the 2018 season by usual driver Joe Jones, who was absent. The new team of new driver Kevin Kale and new sidecar swinger Anthony Hernandez finished third.

A fourth team did not come onto the track because of a flat tire. The missing rig was driver/team owner Ace Kale with his daughter Kelli Kale, who replaced her older brother Kevin in the No. 357 sidecar. Both Kale sidecars were built and raced in past years as No. 1 by Joe Jones. Osborne/Gibbons No. 64 won a heat as did Jones/Summers aboard the No. 1.

A three-rig qualifying race with the two Kale rigs and the No. 1965 of Jeff Rowe/Chris Chatfield transferred the first two teams to the main. Leading No. 1965 spun out to the infield and did not finish. Driver Kevin Kale aboard his No. 07 beat the No. 357 of his father Ace and sister.

SUPPORT DIVISIONS:

The 500cc D-2 main went to dominant Blake Cronkrite (No. 223 Jawa) who led every lap as he did in winning his two heats. Heat race winner David Lynch, Brad Moreau and Chet Kohler, who had a first lap fall, finished in P 2-4. Moreau won a two-ride consy over Mike Miller to earn the final feature starting spot.

The 500cc D-3 class for newer riders had a field of six that raced five laps using a handicapped start format based on level of experience/success. Positions were at the starting gate, plus 10, 20 and 30-yard lines. Kevin Fiore started from the 10-yard stripe and led every lap in the two heats.

Fiore was about to do the same in the main event after leading the initial four laps. However, he drifted high in turn four on the final lap. Closely following Steve Brown cut inside in turn four and out-dragged Fiore to the finish line in a photo finish. Fiore, David Newsham, Dennis Osmer, George Yates and Greg Willis, a final lap dropout, were next in that order.

JUNIORS:

The only junior class racing was by three 150cc riders. Owen Williams led the final three laps of their main event and beat Jose Navarette and lap 1 leader Levi Leutz, who fell on lap 2 and was a non-finisher. Navarette also fell on the initial start in the second turn. He made the full restart, but with a penalty setting him back to the 10-yard line.

The final speedway bike race of the 2018 season will be this Saturday, August 25. The event is the 43th running of the AMA California State Championship and it uses the five rounds of heat race point scoring GP system, with semi and main event points also awarded.

Sixteen entrants include nine from So Cal and seven from Nor Cal. They are: Max and Dillon Ruml, Novratil, Fox, Gomez, Schwartz, Charlie Venegas, Jimmy Fishback III and Jason Ramirez from the south; plus Billy Janniro, Tommy Hedden, Russell Green, Chance Grove, Blake Borello, and the father/son team of Bob and Colton Hicks from the north. Reserves are: So Cal riders Michael Wells and Eloy Medellin.

PIT NOTES:

   > D-2 rider Bruce Marteney (No. 242) and his wife Annette were in the pits watching this week. He confirmed that his 2018 season has concluded because of his shoulder injury that aggravated an old motocross shoulder injury. He also received a concussion in his nasty-looking crash to the fourth turn wall earlier this month.

   > Photographer Clark Oden usually shoots from outside turn four at the base of the two-story Grand Arena audio/visual control building. He tried a new shooting location last week outside turn two. Michael Wells hit the wall hard in front of him and the crash-wall gave somewhat as it was designed to do to lessen the consequences of sudden stops. Part of the wall hit Clark, throwing him back about ten feet onto his back. It knocked the breath out of him briefly. He got up, moved to a new location and continued shooting photos.

   > Austin Novratil said his recent GM engine refreshing by Bill Cody included the cylinder and cost about $1,800. His strong performances afterwards were obvious immediately. He said he noticed this week that the refreshed engine was not as strong as it has been in recent weeks. He still won his three heats, his semi-final and ran a close second in the feature. He needs it to be strong this Saturday if he is to win his first California State Championship.

   > The Kale family, all from Westminster in Orange County, increased from two to three August 18 at Costa Mesa Speedway and at Industry August 22. Driver Ace and his son Kevin, his former swing-man, is now the driver of a second 1,000cc Suzuki-powered sidecar. Both were former Joe Jones No. 1 rigs that can be purchased for about $8,000 according to Joe's swing-man Tom Summers. Kelli Kale,18, made her sidecar debut at Costa Mesa and Industry and did well as her dad's new swing-woman on the No. 357. With Kevin now a driver (No. 07) he needed a swinger, so his girl friend's son, Anthony Hernandez, also 18, became a rookie swing-man and also performed well.

   > Ace Kale and son Kevin also have raced NMRA-TQ (3/4-size) midgets powered by 750cc motorcycle engines for four years. The series races at dirt tracks in Bakersfield, Santa Maria and Ventura. Both Kales won their first 20-lap main event this season—Ace at Bakersfield on May 19 and Kevin at Santa Maria on July 21. Ace said he is leading the point standings currently. The Kale TQ-midget team will be racing Saturday, August 25 at the fifth-mile Ventura Raceway in a program that also will feature VRA-USAC Western Series 360 sprint cars.

   > Courtney Crone: The former junior division winning speedway bike racer (150, 200 and 250cc bikes from 2011-2015) from Corona has raced USAC full-size midgets, formula cars, and 360 cu. in. sprint cars after her speedway bike career. She won the 2016 “Young Gun” Series 360 sprint car championship at the half-mile clay Perris Auto Speedway. She also raced in the 2017 USAC National Midget Thanksgiving Night GP in Ventura. She made the 29-car, 98-lap feature in a field of more than 50 cars and finished 20th with 18 cars still racing at the finish.

Courtney has been racing a F1600 formula car primarily this season and is leading her class in the Formula Challenge Series. On Sunday, August 5 Courtney was racing a F1600 at the Keystone Speed-fest event at Pittsburgh International Racing Complex and hit a tire wall head-on at 100+ mph. She was airlifted to a local trauma center and cleared with no injury other than a concussion. She will be testing next Wednesday at the Sonoma Raceway road course for her next race in Sonoma during the September 16 Indy Car weekend in Nor Cal wine country.