Double-X Speedway, drivers and fans celebrated the Memorial Day weekend by offering a tribute to favorite racer Jesse "The Rocket" Hockett with the annual "Tribute to Jesse" Race Sunday night. Headlining the evening was the ASCS Warrior Regions cars and stars, who came from near and far to do battle on the tight confines of the 1/4 mile clay oval in California. Also on the card were the Mid America Lightning Sprints, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks. Racing fans were abuzz with excitement as some of the nation and regions ASCS stars gathered to remember one of their own.
The headlining class of the evening, the ASCS Warrior Sprint Cars, put on a great show with region point leader Jonathan Cornell, hometown stars Randy Martin and Tyler Blank, and visiting stars Jason Johnson and Russ Hall leading the charge. The feature line-up was paced by Rob Hockett that Jesse had driven on his west coast racing trips and it was joined by Bob Hiller's DARE late model, the only car of this type that Jesse ever drove.The feature event was begun with the drivers doing the "Missing Man" parade lap in Jesse's memory.
When the field came to the green, the front row of Russ Hall and Jonathan Cornell led the charge into turn one, with Cornell, Randy Martin, Tyler Blank and Jason Johnson in tow. Consistently hitting his marks, Cornell opened up a lead over the field and started encountering lap traffic by the sixth circuit. At the checkered, Cornell was followed by Randy Martin, Evan Martin, Tyler Blank and Russ Hall in the top five. Cornell and his crew were congratulated in victory lane by Jesse's father Jack Hockett.
ASCS qualifying heats were won by Russ Hall, Evan Martin and Jonathan Cornell.
The Mid America Lightning Sprints made a visit to the Double-X with Phil Heavelow, no stranger to Double-X victory lane, claiming the feature event. Chasing Heavelow to the checkered was another multi-time Double-X Speedway winner Gabe Maycock. Beau Heavelow finished third, Mark Billings fourth and Zach Morehead fifth. Heat races were claimed by Maycock and Heavelow.
With the front row made up of contenders Derek Henson and visiting ULMA driver Jason Russell, the Street Stock feature event shaped up to be an exciting one. Russell, a former weekly competitor at Double-X took the early lead on lap one but Henson was not to be denied as he put his machine on the low side in turns three and four and made the pass on Russell to take the lead on the second circuit. Henson opened a slight lead but was soon to feel the presence of Ted Welschmeyer, who slipped by Russell to take second place on lap three. Welschmeyer continued to pressure Henson as the laps went by, but Henson claimed victory at the checkered by half of a car length. Following this duo across the stripe were Russell, Andrew Roark and Johnny Wyman in the top five. Henson and Russell claimed the heat races in the division.
A large field of Hobby Stocks were on hand to do battle as well. Gage Nicholson made his first visit to the track this year pay off as he claimed the victory ahead of Will Register. Brandon Lambert was third, California's AJ Wirts finished fourth and Mike Schrader came home fifth.
A regular weekly program is on tap for Sunday, June 2, at the Double-X. Gates will open at 5 p.m. with hot laps to begin at 7 p.m. and racing to follow at 7:30 p.m.
Race fans should mark their calendars for June 9, when the stars of WAR will make their only scheduled appearance at the Speedway this season. Upcoming events will also include the ULMA late Models and ASCS Warrior Region will be returning for two more events. For more information, go to www.xxspeedway.com.