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Round three of the four round 2017 AMA Speedway National Championship Series at four speedways in California took place Saturday night. Industry Speedway, an eighth-mile dirt track in the Grand Arena of the Industry Hills Expo Center, hosted the event in front of about 950 spectators in the modern, impressive facility now in its 15th season of speedway bike racing.

Sixteen 500cc first division riders raced five rounds of heat races with four riders in each race. They scored points on a 3-2-1-0 basis. Each rider started at least once from all four grid positions and against every other rider. The top eight point scorers after the 20th heat race advanced to the pair of semi-final races. The first two finishers in each semi transferred to the main event (event 23). Track maintenance with a tractor took place after each round.

Industry Speedway 2016 track champion Max Ruml, 20, tallied the only perfect score of 15 points following 20 heats. He led every lap and won all five of his heat races. Lomita resident Broc Nicol, 19, the winner of round two of the 2017 National Championship Series on July 29 at Santa Maria Speedway, scored 14-points. Seven-time and reigning Speedway National Champion Billy Janniro, 37, and Gino Manzares tied at 12-points for third place.

Other transfers to semis (with points in parenthesis) were: Dillon Ruml, Austin Novratil and Aaron Fox (10-points) and Tommy Hedden (7). Russell Green also scored seven points, but Auburn's Hedden received the final transfer berth via the tie-breaking procedure.

High-pointer M. Ruml chose the inside starting position and won the first semi-main over lane two starter Manzares. Fox, from the outside, placed third. Novratil, from lane three, finished fourth. As high-point-man in the second semi, Nicol also selected the inside position. He led every lap and defeated lane two starter Janniro. Third lane starter D. Ruml ran third all four laps. Outside starter Hedden was in P. 4 on lap 2 when he fell in the third turn. He re-mounted and continued half a lap back.

Prior to the feature at 9:36 pm, the IHEC tractor again dragged the track and gave main event riders the best track surface possible. Based upon total points, including semi-main points, M. Ruml had first lane choice. He picked the outside next to the wall. Nicol, the next highest in points, selected the inside lane. Janniro took lane two, leaving Manzares lane three.

FEATURE: When the light turned green and the starting gate rose, Nicol shot into the lead by the first corner. Ruml was second on the outside. Trying to pass Nicol for the lead on lap 2 Ruml lost positions to Janniro and Manzares. The final three laps ran in that order. At the checkered flag Manzares looked back to check Ruml's position. His back tire dug in, depositing Manzares on the ground in a prone position. His bike flipped wildly several times to the first turn. .The stunned rider soon rose and participated in the pit podium trophy presentation to the top three finishers.

Nicol received three points and runner-up Janniro two points. Manzares scored one point and Ruml zero. Nicol ran the traditional slow victory lap with the checkered flag and handed it to starter Tom Fox. He then stopped in the fourth turn where friends and fellow riders tossed him into the air several times to celebrate his impressive second 2017 National Championship round victory.

Nicol, on his No. 4 GM, earned the most points (20) Saturday. M. Ruml scored 18, Janniro 16, and Manzares 15. Semi-main riders D. Ruml and Fox were next with 11 points each. Novratil scored 10. National series points after three rounds showed Janniro still leading with 52 points. Next highest are: M. Ruml (48), Nicol (44), Manzares (39), D. Ruml and Luke Becker tied at 32 points, Novratil (30), Eddie Castro (21), plus Fox and Gage Geist tied at 20. P. 11-13 are: Russell Green (18), Daniel Faria (15) and Hedden (11).

The fourth and final round will be at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway in Auburn on Saturday, September 16. That is the home track of point leader Janniro. However, “Young Guns” M. Ruml (-4 points) and Nicol (-8) are within striking distance of winning their first AMA Speedway National title.Winning the National Championship is a goal of riders so they can secure a spot on Team USA for racing next year in Great Britain.