The Hobby Stocks class made its debut at Barona Speedway with a heat race and main event Nov. 8.
Henry Wesolowski Sr. won the eight-lap heat race and the main event,
which was scheduled for 20 laps but was called two laps early due to an
accident that would have forced a long stoppage.
Nine drivers participated in the first Hobby Stocks race.
“It was a very competitive field. I think I did well to get an early lead,” said Wesolowski.
The Hobby Stocks are considered Street Stocks at Perris Auto Speedway,
which has been the home track for the drivers. The Perris track
features sprint cars and other special events as well as stock cars,
and the Street Stocks have had one scheduled race there since June 26.
In late October, Perris Auto Speedway replaced the stock car races
scheduled for Nov. 8 with off-road competition. Because of that, Jerry
Knight worked with Barona Speedway promoter Todd Salazar to bring the
Street Stocks to the San Diego County track that night.
“We’re trying to find somewhere to race,” Knight said.
What is a Street Stock at Perris is a Factory Stock at Barona, and
Salazar is considering the creation of a Pure Stocks division at Barona
that would accommodate the Factory Stock class at Perris.
Several of the Street Stocks racers from Perris visited Barona in
August, September, and October, and Wesolowski won the Factory Stock
heat race and main event Sept. 27.
Perris has clearer definitions of Street Stocks and Factory Stocks. At
Barona, the drivers in each class vote on the rules, so some classes
currently are legal at Barona only. While the Street Stocks drivers
from Perris were allowed to run Factory Stocks at Barona, Salazar
thought that a separate class was warranted for a large number of
“They’re not apples to apples so far as with our Factory Stocks,” he said. “It’s not just a matter of switching one thing over.”
The Hobby Stock class also ensured that drivers who were not in
Barona’s season points race did not interfere with drivers on the final
night of the points season. Although the Hobby Stocks debut saw only
nine cars, a Street Stocks race scheduled for Nov. 1 at Route 66
Raceway was rained out and the Victorville track used Nov. 8 at a
makeup date, drawing some of the Perris cars which otherwise likely
would have raced at Barona.
Knight did his part to give Barona as strong a car count as possible.
“We started talking and Todd and I put together a little group of
guys,” Knight said. “I started making phone calls to everybody and
Not only did Knight get a favorable reception from the other Perris drivers, but the Barona track was also supportive.
“They treated us like gold,” Knight said.
On Nov. 7, the Barona track had an open practice and didn’t charge
drivers to participate. Barona Speedway also sponsored a barbecue
following the practice session. Salazar referred to the event as a
thank-you for all Barona drivers during the year.
The appreciation continued to the following day’s races.
“They were real thankful and real hospitable. Couldn’t have asked for more,” Knight said.
In reality, the drivers would have liked the main event to have lasted
the scheduled 20 laps, but with two laps remaining Brian Tully, who had
been in second, was sent into the hay bales by the pit entrance. A red
flag was thrown, which was followed by a checkered flag. Daniel Voyles
took over second place and finished immediately behind Wesolowski.
“The cars were on top of each other. That was a very exciting race,” Salazar said.
The top six finishers were inverted to start the main event, and
Wesolowski took the original green flag on the outside of the third
row. Curtis Dietzsch, who won the 2007 Street Stocks season
championship at Perris, took a lead on the second lap, but Wesolowski
was in front by the end of the sixth lap.
“On the second restart I got Curtis going down the front straightaway,” Wesolowski said.
“The Barona officials and everybody around really accepted us well,”
Wesolowski said. “Hopefully next year the Barona and Perris rules can
be a little closer.”
“I’m just hoping to make it better for everyone,” Salazar said.
Although the Perris standards were permitted, drivers new to Barona
needed to make gear adjustments. Perris is a half-mile oval while
Barona is a quarter-mile speedway.
Barona Speedway opened in 1994, two years before the Perris Auto
Speedway’s initial race. The initial Barona track was a 1/6-mile oval
on the outside and a 1/8-mile length on the inside. In 1999 the track
was lengthened to its current quarter-mile distance.
The Salazar family has operated the track since 2000.
“I’m really happy that they came,” Salazar said of the Perris drivers.
“They want us there,” Knight said of Barona Speedway. “The guys from
Perris were thoroughly impressed with Barona and the way they treated
Various classes have raced at Barona over the years, but Salazar has
adopted a formula of holding races every other week with regular
competition for certain divisions. The Modified division starts its
season later so that drivers won’t be forced to choose between Barona
and the El Centro track which operates from Fall to Spring. If Perris
holds regular stock car races in 2009, Salazar has no desire to raid
drivers from the nearby track, but he plans to hold several Hobby
Stocks races in 2009 when Perris focuses on other types of cars.
“I told them I’d put them on the schedule every week if they had ten
cars or more,” Salazar said. “I’m really hoping that they come down
here next year.”