Dwarf cars fit Ross just fine

Delta racer wins Thunder Mountain points title

Austin racer Christina Gallegos takes the checkered flag in heat 1 of the Southern Sport Modified class earlier this season at Thunder Mountain Speedway near Olathe. Gallegos finished second in the points race this season to her father, Robert Gallegos.

Jim Ross bought his dwarf racing car a couple of years ago.

Now, the Delta man is a Thunder Mountain Raceway track champion, although he downplayed his season a bit.

“It was merely a win of attrition,” Ross said. “It’s not a matter of skill. I showed up quite often.

“There were a lot of guys better than me.”

He had one win this season, but was often second or third. Ross won the season track title by four points over Alisha Steinberg of Clifton. There were 23 drivers in the class.

Ross was one of nine track class champions for the 2013 season, which ended Sept. 14.

Ross, who owns the Delta NAPA Auto Parts store, bought the car from one of his employees two years ago.

NAPA is one of the major sponsors of the track, selling tickets to races and offering discounts to race-car drivers.

Dwarf cars have fuel-injected motorcycle engines.

“We race in second gear,” Ross said. “We hit 70 mph out of the straight-aways.”

Ross’ daughter, Samantha, won the go-karts (ages 11-14) track championship.

“She had a lot of fun,” Jim Ross said. “She has the skill set I don’t have yet. She picks a good line and runs a good line. Go-karts is the epitome of racing. The kids do it for fun.”

The 13-year-old won by four points over Kooper Davis of Montrose.

“When we first came to Delta, we noticed a race,” Jim Ross said. “We watched it and talked to other kids. She really wanted to do it.”

Jonathan Swank of Grand Junction won the go-karts points title for 8-10 year-olds. He won by four points over Riley Harris of Montrose. Two more drivers finished five points behind Swank.

Some longtime Thunder Mountain Raceway drivers also took home points titles.

Robert Gallegos, 57, of Cory won his second IMCA Southern Sports Modified points title. He has 11 track championships, including five years in a row, since the track opened in 1994.

The Sport Modified class is Bato cars with a Chevy frame and shock suspension. It is a smaller version of the race cars and work for smaller budgets. This is the third year Thunder Mountain Raceway had the class.

Gallegos won the Sports Modified class by 23 points over his 21-year-old daughter, Christina Gallegos.

“Her car blew up a couple times,” Robert Gallegos said. “She’s beat me before.”

Christina is one of Robert’s three girls. All three have or do participate in some capacity at the track.

Ginny races on occasion but didn’t this season. Victoria volunteers in field support and also provides field support at the track in Price, Utah.

Robert’s wife, Nancy, helps in the pit and keeps them fed.

“If you don’t have boys, you have the girls do it,” Robert said. “They are not rough and tough girls. You wouldn’t expect them to be race car drivers.”

He is considering taking next year off racing and working more in the pits for his daughters.

Chase Ruble, 27, of Delta won the IMCA Modified points title, beating his father, Enos, by 13 points.

“It was real good,” Chase Ruble said. “He’s getting real competitive with it. It makes it a lot of fun for me and him both.”

Enos got back into racing nine years ago when Chase took interest in the sport. They bought a race car together and shared driving it until recently.

The two have raced in a Colorado state points race. Enos is chasing a state points title and Chase plans to race in the Las Vegas Dual in the Desert later this fall.

“I had a few good shows and a couple bad ones,” Chase said. “Usually I race all over the country, but I stayed home this year.”

Cliff Cooper, 69, of Delta won the Hobby Stock points title in his 1977 Chrysler Plymouth Volare.

Hobby Stock cars have two-barrel carburetors and cast-iron exhaust manifolds.

He dominated the field with at least six wins this season. His lowest finish was third — twice.

“It feels pretty good,” Cooper said. “I enjoyed it this year. It was a pretty good class.”

Cooper was the only driver in the class with a Chrysler, he said. The rest of the drivers raced Chevrolets or Pontiacs.

He’s raced the Volare in the Hobby Stock class the past six years.

Ed Brown of Montrose won the Outlaw class, Gary Helken of Montrose won the Lightning Sprint class and Shannon Albright of Fruita won the Renegade class.

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