Getting Up To Speed With…Jon DeBenedetti
By Ben Deatherage
During last week we talked to drivers that will compete in the 2013 Wild Wild West Modified Shootout but today we have the Series Director Jon DeBenedetti, yes that Jon DeBenedetti. One of the Pacific Coast’s most decorated Dirt Modified drivers. For the second straight year “Jon D” will be involved with the IMCA Modified series as its Series Director.
The Rogue River, Oregon pilot is a four-time (in a row) winner of the Cottage Grove Speedway Modified Nationals, has won the Shipwreck Beads Northwest Modified Nationals at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Washington three times, is a former winner of the Lon Skinner Memorial at White City’s Southern Oregon Speedway, and also is a former winner of the Dirt Track Shootout at the Chowchilla Speedway in California. In addition to his major events that he has won he also was the Southern Oregon Speedway track champion in 2002 and is the current track record holder.
Name: Jon DeBenedetti
Position: Series Director
Hometown: Rogue River, OR
Occupation: Project Manager
Years Involved In Racing: 36
BD: You’re running this series for the second straight year. Are you excited?
JD: Absolutely, I feel honored. I had a lot of fun last year. I really want to see this thing prosper and make it better for the racers.
BD: How hard is it to see all this good racing and not be on the track with them?
JD: Very difficult. But being the Series Director is the next best thing.
BD: From your point of view what is the biggest challenge these guys face?
JD: I think its patience and not getting over anxious and wad a car up. The key is building not rebuilding. When I say that I mean that you can get some good momentum from night to night by building off your results and getting better and better. Whereas if you’re getting in wrecks constantly or going backwards it’s very difficult to establish consistency.
BD: How did you get to the position of Series Director?
JD: Last year when I was running Southern Oregon Speedway I was approached by John Skinner and asked if I would like to run it. John and I thought it would be a good mix between the tour and the drivers.
BD: Out of your entire decorated career what would you say is your favorite race either as a director or a participant?
JD: Hands down the $100,000 to win Alltel 100 at Batesville Speedway in Arkansas back in 2004.That was when I was driving for Ron Martin and we went back there and qualified second out of three hundred cars. You had anybody that was anybody in Dirt Modified and Late Model racing at that race. We ended up finishing eleventh in the feature.
The Wild Wild West Modified Shootout will visit the Cottage Grove Speedway on Wednesday June 19th. Tickets for Adults/Seniors/Juniors (13-17)/Military are $8.00, Youths (6-12) $5.00, Children 5 and Under FREE, and a whole CAR LOAD will get you into the races for $25.00. Brian Poppa won the first installment in 2011 and Jesse Williamson is the defending champion.
2013 Wild Wild West Modified Shootout Schedule:
June 15th – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, Washington)
June 16th – OFF
June 17th – Sunset Speedway (Banks, Oregon)
June 18th – Willamette Speedway (Lebanon, Oregon)
June 19th – Cottage Grove Speedway (Cottage Grove, Oregon)
June 20th – Coos Bay Speedway (Coos Bay, Oregon)
June 21st – Siskiyou Motor Speedway (Yreka, California)
June 22nd – Southern Oregon Speedway (White City, Oregon)