Casey Schmitz Snags Jim Shirley Memorial Triumph in Cycleland Return to Racing
By: Elijah Jones
(April 6th, 2021)…..The 2021 Cycleland Speedway season kicked off with a bang last Saturday night. We had a total of 144 entries sign in to compete and there were action packed battles throughout the field in all of the classes! It was so exciting to have fans back in the stands and feel as though things are finally starting to get back to normal!
The Open Class had 27 entries sign into the pit area for the 18th Annual Jim Shirley Memorial Race. In Time Trials, Kaiden Butler earned his 2nd Career Fast Time with a lap time of 11.380 seconds. The young driver from Willits, CA has just recently completed all of his high school classes months early and continues to excel on the racetrack as well. Heat Race action saw Luke Hayes & Alex Fowler each earn their first career Open Heat Race Wins, while “The Fossil” Ryan Foster earned his 21st Career Heat Race Win in the Fogarty Motorsports #6 entry. Trophy Dash action saw veteran driver John-Michael Bunch wow the crowd with his 7th career Trophy Dash victory. The B-Main Event was won by young Jayden Bunch, who qualified for his first ever Open Main Event and ended up finishing in the 14th position. The A-Main Event was led early on by Ryan Foster. Foster was in search of his first Cycleland win in two years, but Casey Schmitz had other ideas. Schmitz would power to the lead on a restart and pull away to earn his 19th Career Win at the speedway. Foster would hold on to finish second followed by Brian Southers rounding out the podium in his return to Cycleland. Garrett Brown finished 4th, while Jack Phillips charged through the field to finish 5th after transferring from the B-Main Event.
The Box Stock Class debuted a modified format that split the field in two after time trials. Meaning we had two heats, two semis, two trophy dashes and two A-Main Events. In Time Trials it was Landon Henry setting Fast Time with a lap time of 13.040 seconds in his #12 entry. Heat Race action saw Nevada driver Levi Annas and Bakersfield driver Logan Banks each earn wins. Jared Jensen picked up the win in the Semi. The Trophy Dashes were the highlight of the night for the Box Stocks as both were decided with last lap last turn passes for the win. In the first Trophy Dash Logan Pike stole the win from birthday girl Peyton Bunch by just .024 seconds at the stripe. Then in the second Dash, Braxton Foster stole the win by just .089 seconds over Carrie Osborne! Two incredibly close finishes and they were not done there! In the first Main Event, Rylan Sharrah got to the lead and picked up his first career Cycleland Speedway Win in the Kevin Sharrah Motorsports #41 entry. He beat Logan Pike’s #229 to the line by more than two seconds. The third and final spot on the podium went to the #66b of Braysen Rocha. In the second Main Event we got our third photo finish of the night for the Box Stocks. This time it was the #29 of Cole Croft holding off a hard charging Braxton Foster by just .036 seconds. Croft started 8th and had the lead by the conclusion of lap one and never let it go, securing his first career win. Carrie Osborne would cross the stripe in the third position.
The 250 Intermediate Class saw 21 entries sign into the pit area. In Time Trials it was Orland, CA driver Chevy Schroer setting the mark in his Jessee Heating and Air Conditioning sponsored #29 entry with a lap time of 11.535 seconds. Heat Races were won by the 4Front Racing Engines #84 of Jaxon Coughlin and Geyserville, CA driver Jennifer Osborne in her #10 entry. The Trophy Dash was claimed by Kerman, CA driver Eric Botelho in his fresh new looking #2b entry. Botelho would not stop there though as he also went on to pick up the win in the Main Event. He got the victory over second place finisher Jennifer Osborne. Third Place went to Bakersfield, CA driver Jett Yantis in his #4 entry. Yantis was Botelho’s biggest challenger early in the race before contact with a spun kart hurt his chances. Jaxon Coughlin would finish in the fourth position followed by Chevy Schroer rounding out the top five.
The Open Intermediate Class was exciting all night long as usual. In Time Trials it was the Tri-C Machine #3t of Tater Reich setting the bar with a lap time of 11.727 seconds. Heat Races were won by the #10v of Elliott Vannucci & #4 of Jett Yantis. Jayden Bunch joined his dad John-Michael in Victory Lane in Trophy Dash competition, as he earned his first Open Intermediate Trophy Dash win. In the Main Event it was an all-out war for the win early on. Tater Reich took the lead on a restart from Tyler Matheny. He then turned the fastest lap of the race the very next lap before disaster would strike and a mechanical failure would cause Reich to fall out of the race. That turned the lead back over to Tyler Matheny who would lead the rest of the way to earn his first ever Cycleland Speedway Main Event Win. Kyler Garner had a great night in her Pro-Aggregate #13g machine finishing second. Jayden Bunch piloted his Voltage Specialists #11vs to a third-place finish. Carson Hammes came home fourth in the #08h entry, while Eric Botelho ran fifth in the #2b.
The Sportsman Class had its fair share of drama throughout the night which made for some interesting finishes! In Time Trials though it was Sportsman Class legend Scott Burgess setting the mark with a lap time of 11.949 seconds in the Grandpa George Motors #23 entry. Heat Race Wins were taken by the #33 of James Grant & the #16j of Jason Throop earning each of them front row starting spots for the feature event. Trophy Dash action saw Christian Hickman absolutely dominate. That is until the white flag flew and Hickman slowed to a stop in turn one. Kody Hunderman was able to rocket past and come back around to earn the victory. The Main Event was a Wild One. Jason Throop jumped out to the lead early and looked poised to win for the first time since 2016. Throop though would have company late in the race as James Grant made a big run at him. Grant would get caught up in a crash though racing for second, thus ending his bid at the win. That moved the #97w of Christian Hickman into second now with five to go behind Jason Throop. Hickman would pull the trigger on the slider into turn three with four laps to go. On exit of the corner though he would get a little sideways and he and Throop made contact, sending Throop spinning. The contact actually straightened Hickman back out and he was able to drive away to his first career Sportsman Main Event win at Cycleland. Michael Schroeder finished second in his #92 entry. Jaime Becker was third in the #55. While Sammy Pattison and Tyler Lui rounded out the top five finishers.
We are back in action this Saturday Night at the Cycleland Speedway with Points Race #2. Hot Laps are scheduled to begin at 4:30 pm with Qualifying & Racing to follow. We look forward to seeing the drivers, crews and fans at the racetrack for yet another action packed night of wheel to wheel action!