Stock car driver Karl Rose loves a challenge, whether it comes in his personal or professional life.
When he isn't burning a path around Merced Speedway, Rose's creations are zipping through space, exploring the planets and the moon.
The aerospace fabricator builds satellites and lunar rovers, and he hopes his ability to turn a wrench will send his stardom soaring this Sunday at Merced Speedway
Rose's free time has been spent in the garage preparing for this weekend's Delta Series II, a challenge event between drivers at Antioch and Merced speedways.
The series gets going on Saturday in Antioch. On Sunday, the region's top modified stock car drivers, including Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas and Antioch Speedway champ Troy Foulger will be at Merced.
So long as their cars survive the Saturday program.
"I'm hoping they all come," Rose said. "The more cars, the more fun it is to drive. It's a greater challenge. It's great for the fans, too."
Rose, from Los Banos, has been racing since he was 10 years old. Dad Tom and brother Eric, both of Merced, have a stable of modified and sport modified cars.
Karl's yellow-and-black modified is one of the prettiest on the track, but he doesn't worry about getting it banged up. He waged a fierce battle for a win earlier this season with track champion Bill Egleston, bumping and spinning into the infield of the speedway.
"I had a quarter midget with beautiful flames painted on the side when I was about 12," Rose recalled. "I loved the car so much I was afraid to get it scratched. My dad said 'It's a race car, if you drive like you don't want it to get scratched, I'll take a sledge hammer to it.' I'll never forget those words. I focused on racing ever since."
Eric Rose has Vance Beltran of Atwater behind the wheel of his modified stock car. In the first Delta Series event two weeks ago, Beltran led most of the race when Foulger got along side of him in the fourth turn on the last lap and executed a slide that caused both cars to spin as they headed to the checkered lag.
Foulger won going backwards across the finish line.
"It was just racing. You have to shake those things off," Eric Rose said after his driver brought the fans to their feet. "The funny thing is if they spun clockwise, Vance would have won. Since they spun counterclockwise, it went to Foulger. What a finish."
For Atwater's Egleston, luck hasn't been with him in the postseason. He had a disappointing outing in the first Delta Series event, and then flipped his car in Watsonville last weekend.
Sport Modifieds and Hobby Stocks will also race program Sunday at Merced Speedway. There will be qualifying races and main events for each division.
Delta Series II
When: Sunday, 6 p.m.
Where: Merced Speedway, Merced County Fairgrounds, 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Admission: Adults, $10; children, $7; senior citizens, $8; family four-pack, $28.