By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
John Campos, 41, of Keizer, is making a name for himself in his third year on the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) Modified circuit.
Campos won his third race of the season on Saturday, July 8 at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon.
Competing in the Clair Cup, Campos started outside on the third row.
However, after a caution, Campos took the lead before the 10th of 30 laps and never let it go.
“They’d just put a little bit of water down on the track before we got going,” Campos said.
“The track was really dusty and had a little bit of a cushion around the top edge of it. Basically, I was the first car to get up there and find it and use it to my advantage. I took the lead and nobody could catch me from there.”
Campos estimated he maintained about a quarter of a lap lead over the field, which included 14 cars.
The clay oval track at Willamette Speedway is a third of a mile.
“We just had a good hot rod that night,” Campos said. “We had a good car and we just never really got challenged after I took the lead.”
Winning came with a $1,000 prize, which is double of a typical race. And since fireworks were after the race, Campos said it was a packed house.
The win also helped Campos remain on top of the IMCA Modified Oregon point standings. A state championship would bring even more prize money.
Campos, who also works as a shipping manager at Pacific Building Systems in Woodburn, races about every weekend from April through September and would like to make it his full-time job. He hates the word ‘hobby.’
“It’s more than a hobby just because you spend so much of your life with it,” Campos said. “Obviously, if we could have it as a career and not have to go to work everyday I would.
“I’d love to pack it all up and just hit the road and go. One day it would be nice to make the effort and see what you can do. It’s a long shot.”
Campos grew up around the sport, watching his dad race at the Roseburg Fairgrounds.
Campos has been at it for nearly 20 years. He was in the late model division before switching over to modified three years ago.
Campos races for Break the Chain, an organization that helps fight addiction and violence.
“They’re racing to break the chain,” Campos said. “It’s just a good cause and I wanted to run it on my car and help spread that word.”