The Agajanian family and the American Motorcyclist Assn. have been holding national dirt-track championship races on the half-mile oval at Ascot Park since 1959, when Sammy Tanner, the Flying Flea, won the first one.
Since then, winners have included such riders as Kenny Roberts, Gene Romero, Gary Scott, Jay Springsteen and the late Ted Boody, but in the last couple of years the race has been between Harley-Davidson teammates Scott Parker of Swartz Creek, Mich., and Chris Carr of Manteca, Calif.
Parker, 27, clinched the AMA dirt track championship with his win last September at Ascot although he did not know it at the time. The title became his after a protest by Bubba Shobert from an earlier race was disallowed, enabling Parker to snap Shobert's three-year championship streak.
Carr, 21, won the two previous races at Ascot in the fall of 1987 and last year's spring race.
Saturday night, when the Gardena Gold Cup at Ascot Park will be run as the third round of the AMA's Camel Pro Series, Carr will be the series points leader as well as defending race champion. He finished second to Steve Aseltine of Canada in a short-track race at Daytona Beach, Fla., and second to Parker at Sacramento. Parker was shut out at Daytona.
Carr, the 1988 champion in the AMA's 600cc class, is coming to Ascot on a hot streak. He won a 600cc race at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix and also won a homecoming race promoted by his family on the short track at Lodi.
The emergence of Parker and Carr on their Harleys broke the Honda domination of both Ascot racing and the AMA championship. With Shobert the No. 1 rider, Hondas won four of the previous five races at Ascot and four straight national championships--one by Ricky Graham of Salinas and three by Shobert.
Shobert, who left dirt track racing to compete for the world 500cc road racing championship this season, is recuperating at his parents' home in Lubbock, Tex. He suffered head injuries in the United States Grand Prix last month at Laguna Seca.
Graham, who won at Ascot in 1983, and Doug Chandler, also of Salinas and the winner at Ascot in 1986 and 1987, will be back to defend Honda's honors against Carr, Parker and Springsteen, the 31-year-old, three-time national champion from Lapeer, Mich., who won four times at Ascot, but not since 1983.
STOCK CARS--Dan Press, who won eight races in a row at Saugus Speedway back in 1978, will go for his fourth straight Saturday night victory in the NASCAR Southwest Tour's Spears Manufacturing 100 at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield. Press, 40, from Frazier Park, has won races at Anderson, Calif., Stockton and Orange Show Stadium in San Bernardino.
The Southwest Tour event for All-American Challenge Series cars will be followed Sunday at Mesa Marin by the second round of the Winston West series, a 200-lap race featuring defending champion Roy Smith, Hershel McGriff and rookie Bill Sedgwick, winner of the season opener at Madera.
NASCAR Winston Racing Series competition is scheduled Saturday night at Saugus Speedway, Orange Show Speedway and Cajon Speedway, and Sunday night at Ascot Park. Street stocks will race Friday night at Ventura Raceway.
SPORTS CARS--The Cal Club will hold a Sports Car Club of America regional championship this weekend at Riverside International Raceway. It will be a tuneup for a national event at the same track May 27-29.
MOTORCYCLES--The new Inland Motor Speedway in San Bernardino will open next Wednesday night as part of Don Brown's off-road vehicle facility at Glen Helen Park, thus joining the night speedway circuit that runs Thursdays at Ascot Park, Fridays at Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa and Saturdays at Speedway USA in Victorville. . . . CMC motocrossers will race Friday night at Ascot.
District 38 in San Diego County will conduct 24-hour world endurance record attempts for motorcycles, ATVs and Odysseys this weekend on a 10-mile desert course in Plaster City West, 20 miles west of El Centro on Evan Hewes Highway. Competition will start at 7 a.m. Saturday.
MIDGETS--The ESPN Thunder Series portion of the United States Auto Club's Western Regional championships will continue this afternoon at Ascot Park. Surprise wins last week by Stan Fox at Ascot and Rusty Rasmussen at Saugus tightened up the standings. TQs will also run on the 5:30 p.m. program.