Southern, Benton, Hoffman, Juillerat and Cardey Win in So Cal Oval Karters at Perris

Hesperia’s Chris Southern taking a victory lap after winning his first KT100 main event of the season (Photo: Scott Daloisio)

Thomas Southern, Ronnie Benton, Dillon Hoffman, Steve Juillerat and Drake Cardey posted wins in their respective classes when the So Cal Oval Karters visited Perris Auto Speedway for the first time in 2017.

Under beautiful skies and warm temperatures, each of the five SCOK classes contested two heat races and main events.  In addition, several potential kart racers took part in the clubs “Arrive and Drive” program and the Norco Mower Association made its first appearance at The PAS.

The KT100’s represented the biggest class of the day and the big winner was Hesperia’s Thomas Southern.  Shaking off the disappointment of a broken chain just before the season opener at Wheel2Wheel Raceway in March, Southern started on the front row alongside his father, the defending KT100 class champion, Chris Southern.  At the drop of the Craig Zimmerman green flag, father and son raced side by side until they hit turn three the first time.  It is there that Thomas asserted himself and took sole possession of the point.  From then on, he gradually inched away until he had a half track lead at the end of the 20th and final lap.  Dad Chris, who won the season opener, stayed in second for the duration.  Las Vegas karter Art Klein, in a Scott Bohle owned kart, placed third with Ted Marshall and Tanner Smith of Los Angeles rounding out the top five.

Before the main event, the Southern’s split the KT100 heat races.

For the second straight race, San Diego’s Ronnie Benton smoked the competition in the Senior 4 Cycle class.  Like at Wheel2Wheel in March, Benton once again swept the show winning both heat races and the main event.  At The PAS on Saturday, he started on the pole and by the time the race was done, he had lapped the entire field.  Banning’s Desiree Gaynor, who started outside the winner on the front row in the main, made her season debut and came home second.  Chino Hills speedway motorcycle racer Tony de Almeida and John Leonhart of Norwalk placed third and fourth.

Cathedral City karter Dillon Hoffman came back from the disappointment of a seventh-place finish in the KT100 main event to win the Open Class 20-lap main.  Hoffman fought off the early challenges of Riverside’s “Dynamite” David Cardey, who has sipped victory champagne many times at The PAS in the USAC/CRA Sprint Car and California Lightning Sprint Car Series.  The win was Hoffman’s first in 2017.   Cardey, driving a pavement kart, finished second in his first ever PAS kart race.  Chris Southern, who won both the Open and KT100 season openers in March was third with Scott Bohle of Fountain Valley taking fourth.

Cardey and Southern won the Open Class heat races.

Whittier’s Steve Juillerat, the defending F200 champ, won both heats and the main event in the class for his second straight 2017 win.  Banning’s Scott Gaynor, driving an eye catching new kart, was second.

In the Junior 1 class, the “Dynamite Kid,” Drake Cardey, a seasoned veteran in pavement kart racing, made his dirt debut and won the main event.  Seconds after he took the checkers, the eight-year-old winner broke a chain and coasted back to the pit area.  Brandon Head, in only his second race with the SCOK, was second to the Riverside racer.  Head and Cardey split the heat races.

Up next for the So Cal Oval Karters will be their second race of the year at Wheel2Wheel Raceway on the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville on May 6th.

The So Cal Oval Karters would like to thank the following sponsors for helping make the championship series possible.  Burris Racing, Cory Kruseman Sprint Car Driving School,, Perris Auto Speedway, R&J Motorsports, THC Home Medical Services, T-MAC Racing and Yamaha of America Racing Engines.  If you or your business would like to become a partner of the So Cal Oval Karters, please call or E-mail Mike Nigh at (805) 857-2595 or

Perris Auto Speedway April 15 Results (with starting positions)


  1. Thomas Southern – Hesperia – 2nd
    2. Chris Southern – Hesperia – 1st
    3. Art Klein – Las Vegas – 5th
    4. Ted Marshall – 7th
    5. Tanner Smith – Los Angeles – 4th
    6. Randy Truax – San Diego – 6th
    7. Dillon Hoffman – Cathedral City – 3rd
    8. Scotty Bassett – Van Nuys – 8th

Senior 4 Cycle

  1. Ronnie Benton – San Diego 1st
    2. Desiree Gaynor – Banning – 2nd
    3. Tony de Almeida – Chino Hills – 3rd
    4. John Leonhart – Norwalk – 4th

Open Class

  1. Dillon Hoffman – Cathedral City – 2nd
    2. David Cardey – Riverside – 1st
    3. Chris Southern – Hesperia – 3rd
    4. Scott Bohle – Fountain Valley – 4th


  1. Steve Juillerat – Whittier – 1st
    2. Scott Gaynor – Banning – 2nd

Junior 1

  1. Drake Cardey – Riverside – 2nd
    2. Brandon Head – 1st

2017 So Cal Oval Karters Winners


March 18 – Wheel2Wheel Raceway – Chris Southern
April 15 – Perris Auto Speedway – Thomas Southern


March 18 – Wheel2Wheel Raceway – Chris Southern
April 15 – Perris Auto Speedway – Dillon Hoffman

Senior 4 Cycle

March 18 – Wheel2Wheel – Ronnie Benton
April 15 – Perris Auto Speedway – Ronnie Benton


March 18 – Wheel2Wheel Raceway – Steve Juillerat
April 15 – Perris Auto Speedway – Steve Juillerat

Junior 1

April 15 – Perris Auto Speedway – Drake Cardey


March 18 – Wheel2Wheel Raceway – Kailana Franklin

2017 So Cal Oval Karters 2017 Schedule

May 6 – Wheel2Wheel
June 10 – Perris Auto Speedway (road course)
July 15 – Wheel2Wheel
August 5 – The Grand Arena at Industry Hills
August 12 – Perris Auto Speedway
September 9 – Wheel2Wheel
September 30 – Perris Auto Speedway
October 14 – Wheel2Wheel
November 4 – Perris Auto Speedway

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