Just when it was starting to look as though NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel dragster owner Dexter Tuttle was on to something, a crisis developed. Tuttle, the Yucaipa resident who owns the winning dragster young J.R. Todd drove at the season-opener in Pomona, and who has driven to third in the points race himself, was stunned by the defection of crew chief Jimmy Walsh to the Kenny Bernstein Funny car operation. As a result, Tuttle is scrambling to fill the spot. “I was shocked when it came down; I just didn’t see it coming,” Tuttle said. “We’ll just keep moving along and pick up somebody, hopefully in the next two or three races, or it might be three or four races.” As a stop-gap measure, Tuttle will be aided by veterans Jim Head and Johnny West. Head, who is campaigning his own Funny Car, will help tune the dragster and West will oversee daily race-car preparations at Tuttle Motorsports. “I want to thank Jim and Johnny for moving so quickly to help our team,” Tuttle said. “We have been fortunate because there is a two-week break in the schedule right now. That gives us time to reorganize and be ready for Gainesville (Fla., March 16-18). “I can’t hire anybody away (from another team), nor do I want to. The other thing is I am not going to start calling crew chiefs. That’s just not my style. “I’m not going to panic. We’re not in bad shape. Do I think we’re going to go to Gainesville and win? No, but I think they are going to know we are there.” ORANGE SHOW SPEEDWAY Racing resumes Saturday night on the quarter-mile oval with the premier Super Late Models, Pro 4s, Factory Fours and Mini StocKars on the card. In the season-opener last week, Tom Smith won the Outtlaw Figure8 main event. More than 2,700 were on hand for the return of the class. Jim Edmiston of Highland defeated Stock Pony defending champion Jim Mardis of Riverside after top qualifier Matt Goodwin ran afoul of lapped traffic while leading the 18-car contest. In Late Model acction, Brian Malone of Grand Terrace dominated the 15-car feature, with defending class champion Jim Conklin of Big Bear second. Darren Amidon of Santee dominated the Legends Cars main, with Trophy Dash winner Albert Flores of La Quinta second and Chad Schug of Oak Hills third. Dan Pacheca of Long Beach won the Demolition Derby. DRAGWAY HONORED For the second consecutive year, the dragstrip at California Speedway has been selected as the NHRA Pacific Division Summit Racing Series Track of Year. “We were thrilled to win back to back track of the year awards,” said dragway manager Dave Danish. “Our staff works very hard to put on safe but fun events and we are looking forward to a great 2007 season.” Track president Gillian Zucker credits Danish for the track’s reputation. “Auto Club Dragway has flourished under the guidance of Dave Danish,” Zucker . “Since joining the track in 2004, Dave has invested his passion and love for drag racing to make Auto Club Dragway the best sportsman track on the West Coast.” In addition to the Street Legal programs, the dragstrip has been awarded an NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Divisional event May 4-6 and the NHRA SportNationals Oct. 5-7. The Super Chevy Show will move to Fontana on March 23-25. LOCAL TRACKS The PASSCAR Modified Class will make its second appearance Saturday at Perris Auto Speedway, part of the card that will also feature Extreme Late Models, Street Stocks and Cruisers. Racing will start at 6:30 p.m. “We were very happy with the turnout in the Modified class for their season opener,” said promoter Don Kazarian. “We have a lot of local interest and there were a lot of cars from out of town as well. We expect to see more new cars debuting on Saturday.” Glen Helen Raceway manager Lori Bryant has released the dates of the 2007 HYR Endurance Race Series, beginning with the 6-Hour race March 18. Other dates include June 30, the sixth 12-Hour Endurance Race; and Oct. 13-14, the ninth 24-Hour Endurance Race. In 2006, the Six-Hour attracted 113 teams and 38 Ironman. David Pearson and Matt Gosnall took top honors in the 251 open Expert class. The course, designed by Ron Lawson and Gary Jones, features all various types of terrain, including washes, hills, asphalt, MX section, ridges and trees. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!