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Drags back in action

You might see Anthony Guida's 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle on the streets next year, but the yellow car with black stripes won't be racing after this season.

The Medford resident will return it to Champion Raceway one more time to defend his hot rod title before retiring it from the track. He'll race a 1969 Pontiac Firebird next season.

"It was kinda cool going up against the big dogs and beating those guys," Guida says.

The Chevelle that the racing veteran has tinkered with since he was 13 will be used for daily driving and some car shows.

"It's been my pride and joy for years," he says.

But, for now, he and others are focused on securing another points championship. Racing begins Friday at the NHRA-sanctioned 1/4-mile drag strip located at the Jackson County Sports Park.

Gates open at 5 p.m. and racing starts at 7 p.m. Friday. General admission is $10, with children 8 and under are free and car loads with four people maximum are $25. Car and driver cost is $30 ($20 for high school racers).

Racing action will also include the ET Championship series (beginning April 26) and several other special events this season.

The raceway, which opened in 1979, is operated and owned by Kirk and Michelle Hobson. They took over last January and their lease expires at the end of the year, Hobson says.

"We struggled last year," he says. "The place was in rough shape. We had to spend a lot of money and do a lot of cleanup. There is a lot of new equipment and we really want to see it succeed."

Hobson says he was encouraged by the attendance at last weekend's test and tune.

"We saw a lot of new people," he says.

The other 2013 Friday Night Street Legal champions were Brittini Bloomberg (high school), Jerry Stinson (motorcycle), Larry Chapman (sport compact) and Kevin Barden (street dot).

In last season's ET points series, Stinson was first in motorcycles, Ken Stevens in sportsman, Dave Martin in pro and Mike Souza in super pro.

Guida racked up 615 points during Friday Night Street Legal action last year. Bob Scott was second with 455 points.

In the Saturday ET sportsman points series, Guida came in second (460) to Stevens (540).

Guida expects stiff competition this spring and summer.

"It should be just as competitive or more competitive," says Guida, who studied at WyoTech. "I've heard there will be more cars at the track this season with a lot of out-of-town people because other tracks have closed."

Another highlight of the racing season at Champion is the Blown Alcohol Thunder Pro Comp Series race on May 10. The new series is designed to include all types of funny cars, altereds and dragsters that are equipped with any type of Roots blower or that are injected on nitro. The night will offer a doubleheader of racing.

Midnight Mayhem is June 10.

The NHRA National Open runs July 4-5 with nitro funny cars and nitro altereds. That Saturday will feature Night of Fire action with Warped Speed Racing and a concert. The Big Dollar Bracket Race is July 6.

The Western States Corvette Council race with free spectator admission is July 10.

On Sept. 20, the track will host the Hot Rod Nationals with AA gassers.

The season ends with the second annual Burn Out for Breast Cancer on Oct. 4.

Don Guida, Anthony's dad, also races in the same class.

Should the two face off when it matters most, the younger Guida would savor the moment.

"That would be pretty cool," he says.

For more spectator or driver information, call Hobson at 541-290-3724 or visit championraceway.com.

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email djones@mailtribune.com. Find him online at twitter.com/danjonesmt

Champion Raceway General Manager Kirk Hobson and his wife, Michelle, pose for a photo at Champion Raceway. Action kicks off on Friday.