Cameron Veatch won the July 10 Factory Stocks main event at Perris Auto Speedway. The Temecula driver began the 20-lap race on the inside of the third row and took the lead when Anza driver Swede Ogren spun on the 13th lap.
“It was nice. I was getting worried that I couldn’t win any more,” Veatch said.
Veatch won the Factory Stocks season championship both in 2018 and in 2019, and he won four main events in each of those years. Perris Auto Speedway had no Factory Stocks races in 2020 before the coronavirus outbreak shut down the track.
The July 10 race was the fifth of 2021 for the Factory Stocks. “I’ve been fighting overheating issues,” Veatch said. “It got pretty hot three races ago; it got like 260.”
Veatch sought to address that between races. “I moved the fan back and put a smaller restrictor in,” he said. The engine temperature only reached 200 degrees two races ago, although Veatch still had car problems. “It was missing all over,” he said.
That was fixed somewhat before July 10. “It was better, but it still had a misfire,” Veatch said.
The cylinder issue wasn’t too much of an impediment on straightaways and wasn’t a problem on turns. “It would come out of the corner even faster than it ever has,” Veatch said.
Although Veatch hadn’t won a 2021 main event before July 10, he held the points standings lead. The track gives position points for the first three heat race finishes as well as position points for main event finishes. Veatch finished third, second, third, and fourth in his first four races of 2021 and entered the July 10 race leading Nuevo driver Mike Burks by 12 points, Hemet’s Jason Cook by 16 points, Chris Evans of National City by 19 points, and Ogren by 20 points. Burks won the June 26 main event and Cook finished second.
Veatch won the July 10 heat race as well as the main event, giving him the maximum possible 23 points for the night. “I had a nice outing,” he said.
The heat race was six laps. Veatch began on the pole, although he was hit by Cook early in the race. “I got ran into by the 84,” Veatch said. “It actually took part of my wheel off.”
The damage didn’t keep Veatch from completing the race, nor did it keep Veatch from overtaking Cook later in the lap. “I got back by him coming out of (turn) 4,” Veatch said.
Veatch assessed the damage between the heat and the main event. “I just had to put a left rear tire on it,” he said.
The Factory Stocks drivers help each other out if repairs are needed between the heat race and the main event or between practice laps and the heat race, although Veatch was able to change the tire without assistance. A broken drive shaft in the heat race prevented Menifee’s Kris Carnish from participating in the main event as a driver, so had any of the drivers needed tire changes during the main event Carnish would have handled that task.
Menifee driver Joseph Pack had the pole for the main event and Lanny Savage of Fontana started on the inside of the second row. “I got jammed up,” Veatch said.
Veatch knew he had 20 laps to go to the front, so he opted not to gain positions early in the first lap. “All of a sudden it was three or four wide. I just bided my time,” he said.
Staying back also allowed Veatch to avoid trouble. “One by one they just spun out in front of me,” he said.
Perris Auto Speedway is a half-mile dirt oval. “The track was pretty dry. Just keeping it positioned forward is a trick,” Veatch said.
Ogren started on the outside of the front row and was in the lead. “He was pretty fast,” Veatch said.
The lead changed on turn 2 of the 13th lap. “He got loose, and he actually spun the car around,” Veatch said. “I took advantage of that.”
Veatch avoided contact with Ogren. “I timed it,” Veatch said. “I just went right by him.”
Ogren was able to salvage third place. Darren Myers of Buena Park moved from third to second after Ogren spun, but Myers was unable to catch Veatch. “He wasn’t gaining much ground on me,” Veatch said.
“It was a nice win; I’ll take it,” Veatch said. “I was glad to win it because the guys were catching up to me and I was losing my points lead.”
Cook finished fourth July 10. Burks took seventh place. Evans did not race that night. “Not bad. I’ve got a pretty good points lead,” Veatch said. “It was down on power, and it missed, but it was just fast enough to do what it needed to do.”
Veatch is sponsored by Harley’s Custom Cycle Works, Killer Dueling Pianos, Temecula Transmission and Differential, and Wicked Woodcraft.
The 48-year-old Veatch was raised in Escondido and attended Escondido High School. He moved from Escondido to Fallbrook in 2003 and from Fallbrook to Temecula in 2008. He began his racing career on the Carlsbad and Barona drag strips.
Perris Auto Speedway also has a Night of Destruction series which initially included Figure 8, Trailer Figure 8, and Demo Cross races (it has since added Mini Stocks and Double Decker events), and Veatch went to the track with friends to watch the Night of Destruction races. The oval races enticed Veatch to compete in stock car racing. In April 2017 he purchased a Nova he found on Craigslist, and in May 2017 Veatch made his oval driving debut and Perris Auto Speedway driving debut. He finished seventh in that season’s Factory Stocks standings.
During his first Factory Stocks season, Veatch learned various aspects about improving his performance. He also assessed that Camaros were the most successful Factory Stocks cars at Perris. Jessica Schaffer had driven a 1978 Camaro but had blown the engine, and it was available for sale. Veatch purchased that Camaro in December 2017. “It came up for sale, so I bought it,” he said.
Although the County of Riverside didn’t allow Perris Auto Speedway attendance in 2020, the Barona Tribal Council was more lenient about Barona Speedway. A public health order is not part of the California Penal Code and is thus civil regulatory rather than criminal prohibitory, which means that a sovereign Indian reservation may, but is not obliged, to comply. Veatch participated in three Barona races last year, although he didn’t finish all of them.
“It got into the wall the first race and bent the car,” Veatch said.
In his third Barona race Veatch was hit from behind as he was slowing for traffic in front of him. The Camaro was damaged, but not to the extent where he couldn’t race at Perris in 2021. “I just kind of put it back together and took it out there for the first race,” he said.
“The whole rear end is moved over,” Veatch said. “The whole car is bent to the left to the driver’s side a bit, but it still works.”
The Cajon Speedway division rules included maximum left side weight percentage as well as a minimum car weight including the driver. (When Evans’ father was racing in the Bomber Stocks division at Cajon Speedway, he was unable to be at the track one Saturday, so Evans’ grandfather drove the car but was heavier than his son and was disqualified for excessive left side weight.) The Perris Auto Speedway and Barona Speedway weight rules only stipulate that the car including the driver must weigh at least 3,500 pounds both before and after the race.
The Factory Stocks have six more scheduled races on this year’s Perris Auto Speedway schedule. “Nice to be back home,” Veatch said.
Joe Naiman can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.