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RUML DEFEATS JANNIRO AT FINISH FOR JR. KURTZ MEMORIAL CUP

RUML DEFEATS JANNIRO AT FINISH FOR JR. KURTZ MEMORIAL CUP
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Max Ruml used a thrilling outside power-pass on the final lap in the third and fourth turns and raced past race-long leader Billy Janniro Wednedsday. The So Cal speedway superstar from Orange County won the 4th annual Ray “Junior” Kurtz Memorial Cup for the second time. About 500 spectators, including Kurtz' widow Michele, witnessed the spectacular pass at Industry Speedway in the Grand Arena.


Kurtz owned the local Plastic Express Trucking firm and A. J. Watson-built No. 30 USAC Silver Crown car raced to numerous victories by Chuck Gurney and other drivers. Gurney was in the pits as he was for the inaugural running in 2016 in tribute to Kurtz, his long-time car owner. Junior and his family were long-time sponsors and attendees at Industry Speedway and sat near the finish line. Kurtz died unexpectedly on March 1, 2016 from a heart attack while in Las Vegas.


PAST WINNERS: The first three Kurtz Memorial Cup features had three different winners--B. Janniro (2016), M. Ruml (2017) and Austin Novratil (2018). Their names are inscribed on plaques afixed to sides of the perpetual Kurtz Cup. It is topped by a colorful helmet painted by Junior's stepson, famous Troy Lee, owner Troy Lee Designs in Corona. The perpetual trophy is kept in the home of Kurtz' widow Michele. Winners receive a Kurtz Memorial silver cup trophy.


Ruml was the only undefeated rider Wednesday. He scored a perfect nine points by winning all three of his heats. He also led every lap in the first of two semi-final events for the eight high-point riders in a 12 rider 500cc first division field. Gino Manzares finished second. Janniro, who won two heats and was second in the other, scored eight points and also selected the inside lane for his semi. He led all four laps of the second semi. Aaron Fox finished second.


FEATURE: Ruml was on pole with Janniro alongside in lane two, Manzares in three, and Fox at the wall. Janniro got the jump at the starting gate and his hole shot yielded the inside lane entering the first turn. Janniro took the lead in a tight four-rider pack. The nine-time AMA Speedway National Champion used the inside groove all four laps and appeared headed for victory on his Scopellite-owned GM.


However, Ruml (also with a GM engine) had other ideas. He held off Fox for second, with Manzares fourth. After three laps, only one-length separated Janniro and Ruml, who held a one length advantage over Fox. Fourth place Manzares was only two lengths from third position after three laps.


On the final lap, Ruml used the outside in the first two corners and down the backstretch in a move he has perfected this season. Ruml applied full-power on the outside through the third and fourth turns and shocked inside-running Janniro by passing him convincingly leaving turn four. Ruml won by two lengths over Janniro. Fox trailed by one length, with Manzares two lengths in back of Fox. Fans rose and cheered the exciting finish that will rank in Industry Speedway history as one of the most thrilling finishes ever.


Second and third place riders also received Kurtz Memorial silver cup trophies. Still sweating Ruml had to relish the victory against the acknowledged master and reigning speedway racing champion. Ruml posed on the podium top step with the colorful Kurtz perpetual trophy and with Junior's widow Michele.


The USAC 410 ci sprint car race at Perris Auto Speedway Saturday, August 17 is the annual West Coast Hall of Fame Night. Junior Kurtz will be saluted at the event and his No. 30 USAC Silver Crown car and the new Silver Crown car he had commissioned before his death will be on display. Both were on display at Industry last year for the Kurtz Memorial event. On Wednesday night Industry PA announcer Terry Clanton plugged the Saturday Kurtz tribute at PAS numerous times over the PA system.


Tim Gomez led all the way in the consolation race for third and fourth place riders in the two semi-finals. D-1 500cc rookie Sebastian Palmese, now 16, was second. Much-improved D-2 rider Dylan Black, 27, placed third. On lap 2 in the third turn P. 3 Brad Sauer, from Bakersfield, fell at the inside groove. Fourth place Black veered to the outside to avoid Sauer. Black also fell on the outside near the fourth turn wall. Both rose quickly, but excluded Sauer limped to the pits with his No. 21 bike. Black restarted and finished third.


SUPPORT DIVISIONS: David Lynch led every lap in the 500cc D-2 main for his first feature triumph this season. The race was shortened by a lap after second place Rudy Laurer fell entering the first turn on the final lap. His bike launched high in the air and just missed two trailing riders. Mike Miller and Kevin Fiore trailed Lynch in the three-lap event. Referee Steve Lucero ruled the race complete because more than 50% of the laps had been completed.


The 500cc D-3 main also had a crash-shortened outcome. Racing dentist David Newsham was leading on lap 3 when he fell and caused Mark Fillebrown to hit the ground as well. Neither was injured seriously. Dennis Osmer and Tyler Moszer finished one-two, with non-finishers Fillebrown and Newsham placed third and fourth.


SIDECARS:Five 1,000cc sidecars raced two heats, a consy and main event. Sidecar champion Joe Jones and SC “swinger” Josh Flammia won heat one. Dillon Osborne/Ashley Summers (No. 64) won heat two and also qualified for the feature. Kevin Kale/and swinger Tracy Gallagher won the consy over his dad Ace Kale/with Anthony Hernandez in the sidecar. Both Kale teams made the main event. Kevin Holman/Shannen Hennessey had to watch the competitive feature after dropping out of third position.


Ace Kale's No. 357 started the feature from the inside lane and led the first two laps over No. 64, Jones rig and No. 07. Jones' No. 1 Suzuki 1,000cc-powered into the lead on lap 3 on the inside leaving the second turn and led the final two laps. Osborne/Summers No. 64 closed quickly on the final lap and finished a close second. Ace Kale (357) finished third. His son Kevin (07) dropped out of fourth spot on the final lap.


JUNIOR DIVISION:
Four 250cc junior riders raced a pair of heats and feature. Slater Lightcap and Wilbur Hancock won the heats and both led the four-lap main. Hancock paced the first lap and Lightcap led the final three circuits. Hancock, Luke Whitcomb, and Andrew Russell followed at the Tom Fox checkered flag.


Five 150cc juniors raced in three handicapped 5-lap races. Riders started from the gate,10, 20 and 30-yard lines based on experience. Levi Leutz, 10, won the 2019 AMA 150cc National Championship event last month in Auburn. He came from the 30-yard stripe and won all three races. Jose Navarette (from the 20), Owen Williams (from the 30), rookie Max Anderson (from the gate), and Nick Dunn (from the 10-yard line) finished in that order.


PIT NOTES:
   > Austin Novratil finished second to Gino Manzares in event one of 32 Wednesday. In round two (event 10) Austin was a close second to leader Janniro on lap 2 when he fell hard on his lift side entering the first turn and hurt his hip. His No. 7, with a double overhead cam GTR Swiss-designed and manufactured engine, was out for the night with bent handlebars. Austin was sore as well. He said he will return for the Saturday night, August 24 California State Championship season-finale at Industry.


  > Four riders won the nine 500cc D-1 heat races. Ruml won three and the three other feature riders won two heats each. It took only three points in three rounds of heats to make the eight high-point positions and a semi-final berth.

   > Dylan Black (No. 201) made his first semi-final after being promoted from D-2 to D-1 in mid-season. Eloy Medellin replaced absent Bobby Schwartz and scored one point as did 500cc rookie Jake Isaac, 17, and D-2 rider Kayle Leo Grande, who raced in D-1.


   > Max Anderson, 10, is from Huntington Beach and wants to be called “the California Kid” according to his dad. He started the 150cc handicapped races from the gate. He led the first two laps in the second heat and the first two laps in the main. He finished fourth in all three five-rider races. His dad bought his Shupa bike from Shawn McConnell, whose daughter Shonny raced as a junior in 2008-09 and 2012-13.


   > TRAVIS HORN UPDATE: The star 50cc pee-wee rider in 2014-2015 was a winning 150cc rider from 2016-18. Travis, from La Verne, won the AMA 150cc National Championship event at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway in Auburn on July 13, 2018. He has not raced his No. 25 speedway bike this season. He has turned his attention to AMA flat track racing on his No. 25 KTM 85cc bike, purchased from champion Dominic Demaris, from Oak Grove, CA.


Travis assisted his brother Jenson get started in the 50cc pee-wee division this year during two early June races at Industry. Travis, who is named for Travis Pestrana, also attended the August 11 Junior Division Silver Cup event at Industry and watched from the pits as his speedway bike friends raced.
Travis, now 11, traveled with his family to Ashland, OH to race his 85cc bikes in the AMA All-Star National Flat Track Series from July 22-25. The Ashland County Fairgrounds hosted the event and Travis also won on the Harpster, OH half-mile. Travis raced on pee-gravel tracks in both the stock and modified divisions. He was undefeated in the stock DTX class.

Travis' results showed: Stock & Modified (half-mile) first and first; stock & modified short track (first & second), modified on Ashland half-mile (fourth after a fall in a heat race and re-mount). He raced to a pair of firsts in the stock and modified mains at Harpster, OH.

Sixteen riders in the main events came from New York, Pennsylvania, Florida and Australia.Travis won twice on a half-mile, once on a short track. and once on a TT course. His modified class results were not as successful. He will race his 85cc KTM next weekend in the Ohvale Talent Cup road race on a paved track near Pittsburgh, PA. Check the AMA website for results.