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Local racer goes for quite a ride last week

April 13, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

Last week was quite an exciting one for Southwest Racing Association driver Josh Wood.

The 21-year-old Brawley resident picked up his first win in the modified class at the SRA's races Saturday. Three days earlier he became a father for the first time.

"Nothing could compare to having the baby," he said. "That's just wild."

While winning a race certainly could never compare to the beginning of a new life, Wood was still excited about his first win in the modified division.

"It was a good finish," he said. "We've always had bad luck. Something late in the race would happen. Last week everything just fell together."


Last week's win was the peak of a season that started in quite a valley for Wood. He blew a motor in the first race of the year but has methodically worked his way up the SRA's modified point standings and following last week's race he was fifth.

"The start of the season wasn't very good," he said. "We had some bad luck."

Wood began his racing career at age 15 when he borrowed a car to compete in a factory stock race. At age 16 he began to compete full-time in the pro stock division. This is his first year racing in the modified class and he thinks he is steadily improving.

"At first I didn't know anything," he said. "But since then I've been learning."

The biggest key to Wood's success has been his new car. He didn't have the car at the beginning of the season but once he got it his results dramatically improved.

"There's no comparison to any other car," he said of his new ride. "You can't compare the way it works to any other car I've been in."

With the lack of a local racing facility until this year, Wood had competed in recent years in Arizona, namely Yuma, Tucson and Casa Grande. He certainly appreciates that races are now being staged virtually right in his back yard.

"It's a lot easier," he said. "We don't have to spend the money on transportation and the track is only 10 minutes from my house."

With just two races left in the SRA's inaugural season, Wood is happy with the association's progress but hopes to see more people come to the Imperial Valley Speedway.

"The crowds are getting a little bigger," he said. "The track was closed for so long it's going to take another year to get more people in the stands. But the crowds do keep getting bigger every race."

The SRA's races at the Imperial Valley Speedway in the Imperial Valley Expo will start at 7 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for children. A family pack (admission for two adults and two children) is available for $15.

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