Salazar completes 10 years at Barona Speedway

   Todd Salazar completed his tenth season of operating Barona Speedway.

   “Overall it was a good season,” said Salazar.  “We’ve had a great vehicle count our entire season.”

   The car count for all divisions averaged between 80 and 100 for the track, which races every other week during the season if weather permits. Including junior classes, the track has approximately eight sets of heat races and main events each race night, but for the most part Salazar was successful in ending the races by 10:30 p.m.

   “We’re trying to speed it up,” Salazar said.

Because the quarter-mile dirt oval is on an Indian reservation, the track does not have a curfew.  

   “We just want to be neighborly to our neighbors,” said Salazar, who lived in Jamul and commuted 52 miles round-trip to Barona Speedway before moving to Ramona in 2003.

   Salazar also noted that the earlier ending times make the track more appealing to families with children.

    The Salazar family took over operation of the track in 2000.

   Various classes have raced over the years, and in recent years Salazar adopted a formula of holding races every other week with regular competition for certain divisions.

    The car count occurred despite the economy.  

    The creation of the Pure Stock class for the 2009 season resulted in the growth of that class over the year. Salazar created the class to accommodate the Factory Stock cars from Perris Auto Speedway.  

“It’s just such an easy class to build a car,” Salazar said. “It’s a fun class; it’s a cheap class.”

   Barona Speedway also has a Factory Stock class, but that division is more comparable to the Street Stock class at Perris. The Pure Stocks’ first race March 28 drew seven cars, but the division car count grew throughout the season and the final points race Oct. 24 attracted a record 19 cars, breaking the division car count record of 17 cars set in the previous race on Oct. 10. A total of 42 different drivers competed in the division throughout the year.

   The Barona Speedway season ended last month with a 100-lap Pure Stock enduro and two other races. The enduro was the first in the history of the track, and 14 Pure Stock vehicles took the original green flag.

   “Disappointed in the car count,” Salazar said of the enduro. “I wanted 25 to 30 cars.”

   The car count was actually two more vehicles than Toyota Speedway at Irwindale had for its Outlaw Figure Eight enduro the previous Saturday. The last night of racing season also saw 10 cars in the Factory Stock race and 12 in theSportsman Dwarfs race.

   A coin flip determined whether the enduro drivers went in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction for each 50-lap half. The initial coin flip provided for clockwise right turns, so the first half of the enduro was also the first time in the track’s 16-year history (Barona Speedway opened in 1994 with Ramona’s Clint Newman serving as promoter and was expanded to its current 1/4-mile configuration in 1999) that cars have driven in the other direction.  

“The spectators thought that was pretty cool,” Salazar said.

   Salazar expects to hold another enduro at the track next year.

   Additional 2010 plans include bringing back full-size sprint cars to the track.

   
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