BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Could motor sports be incorporated into the future of the Kern County Museum? Quite possibly.
Kern County Museum executive director Randall Hayes is in the exploratory stage of determining the feasibility of an eventual motor sports museum at the facility.
What Hayes has discovered thus far is that Kern County has a rich and diverse motor sports history worthy of recognition.
Hayes and the museum's chief curator, Lori Wear, have done some preliminary research into the history of motor sports in the county and have been fascinated by what they've uncovered.
"I've never been to a place where one field runs as deep and broad as racing does here," Hayes said. "Why here? This is part of the fabric of this community."
What Hayes has discovered is that, in Kern County, it seems that if it has an engine, somebody raced it -- motorcycles, boats, cars and even airplanes.
"The range of motor sports here is phenomenal," he said. "The more we dig, the more we find."
An informational meeting was held at the museum last week to gauge interest in the project and it appears to be high. A couple dozen motor sports enthusiasts were at that meeting and have been spreading the word.
"The phone has been ringing all week," Hayes said.
At this point in time, Hayes said the museum is trying to gather as much information on the history of racing -- the people, places and machines -- in the county as possible.
"We're storytellers," Hayes said of the museum. "We want to hear from people, record history and write the stories."
The idea is to gather as much history as possible now and start looking for items that could be displayed in a museum.
Hayes cautioned that it is way too early to be talking about raising money for a building, but said if there is interest that will come.
"People have been talking about it, so I said let's sit down and talk," Hayes said of the initial meeting. "Its up to the community. When you have enough people and enough interest these types of projects can get done. If there's a need and the community perceives that need and wants to fill, it will be done."
People with information, stories, pictures or video of racing in Kern County are asked to contact Lori Wear by email, email@example.com, or phone, (661) 868-8412.
Bakersfield's David Mayhew could be doing double duty and competing in his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race this weekend at Sonoma. Mayhew is third in points on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Series and will be competing in Saturday's Pick-n-Pull Racing To Stop Hunger on the 1.99-mile road course.
He will also be attempting to qualify the No. 98 Ford of Mike Curb today for Sunday's Sprint Cup Toyota/Save Mart 350 at the track. Mayhew qualified Michael McDowell's car for the Cup race last year at Sonoma, but McDowell drove that car in the race.
Five divisions of racing -- IMCA Modifieds, Sports Mods, American Stocks, Mini Stocks and NMRA Midgets -- will be in action Saturday night on the third-mile clay oval at Bakersfield Speedway.
Two-time winner Brad Pounds leads the IMCA Modified points race by 16 points over Gary Dutton, one of four other drivers with a solo win. Robbie Witwer of Ridgecrest leads Darrell Hood by two points Sports Mod competition.
Racing starts at 6.
Brennan Newberry of Bakersfield had quite an ARCA debut last weekend, crashing his primary car Friday then racing to a fourth-place finish Saturday at Michigan International Raceway. Ryan Reed of Bakersfield was running in the top five when he encountered tire problems, lost three laps and finished 12th. Reed is eighth in overall points heading into Saturday's 200-lap race at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway. Newberrry is not entered in that event.
Construction continues at the Kern County Raceway near Interstate 5 and Enos Lane. Beams, all of which had to be sand-blasted and repainted, continue to be put in place on the four-story superstructure that will house concession areas, bathrooms, suites and offices.
Workers are also finishing drain work, which when finished will allow crews to start preparing parking areas and the entry road for paving.
In addition, pads for six 8,000-square foot race shops are being cut. The first shops should be finished in August.
The inaugural Lucas Oil NMCA West Street Car Nationals are taking place today through Sunday at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. Competitors in 10 classes, including the six-second 240 mph Garrett Turbo Pro Street cars, will chase points toward a year-end prize and the title of World Champion.