Orangevale’s Spencer to claim first racing championship Saturday

By: Bill Sullivan, Associate Publisher
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When Orangevale’s Cody Spencer started the racing season, he wasn’t really expecting a lot in the way of victories; after all, 2016 saw the local sprint car racer have an onslaught of hard luck and big repair bills. He was looking to get more seat time and experience.

Entering the final points race of the season this Saturday night at Marysville Raceway Park, Spencer can rest easy. He will officially become the 2017 track champion in the wingless sprint car division regardless of how he finishes. With five wins to his name this season, it’s pretty certain he will be gunning to celebrate his first career title in victory lane.

With a 56-point advantage entering the night, Spencer has already clinched the championship title. He credits much of his season success to his team owner, Mark Dolner, who asked him to be his hired driver at the start of the year. Prior to that, Spencer fielded his own winged sprint car.

“After last season, I didn’t even want to race sprint cars anymore,” Spencer said. “That all changed when Mark came to be and gave me the opportunity to drive for him.”

So, the once ready for retirement Spencer strapped back in the driver’s seat last spring to give it another try. The team had no plans in racing for championship points or designated strategy; they simply wanted to go racing. For Spencer, his best work took place when he wasn’t even expecting it.

“I definitely didn't expect to get five wins this year, and really didn't expect a championship. If you would have told me earlier in the year that we would win a race, I would have thought you were crazy with all the bad luck I have had,” Spencer said. "This year wasn't really planned out; we were just going to run a couple of races together and see how we meshed as a team. I'd say it went pretty well.”

In addition to the support of both Mark and Yvonne Dolner, who have been involved in racing for decades from the leadership of their father, the late E.J. Dolner, Spencer credits his crew for their work and determination.

I can't put into words what Mark and Yvonne Dolner do as car owners,” Spencer said. “They have gone above and beyond this year, making sure we have a car that's capable of winning every time we hit the track.”

While some race teams have inflated budgets, this one is on a tight budget and it was passion and determination that led them to a championship title rather that excessive funds.

“My crew chief Greg Peterson and I work really well together, he was a championship caliber driver that has taken me under his wing this year and taught me a lot,” Spencer said. “They say races are won in the shop, and that's what Dave Peterson is there for, he does an excellent job of maintaining the car, making sure it runs top notch every week.”

Spencer will take the green flag Saturday night at Marysville Raceway Park when the green flag waves on the night at 7 p.m. He’s expecting a lot of family and friends to be in attendance to celebrate the climax of his young career.

For information on the event, go to