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The originally posted show was preempted.
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The originally posted show was preempted.
Check out The DCRR on Twitter for special audio updates.
I made the decision to edit the originally posted content in order to await a final decision on the matter of Antioch Speedway. We'll have more on that once we get the final word.
We were all set to proclaim the winner of the bid to run Antioch Speedway for the next five years, but we have to put that announcement on hold for the next few days out of respect to the interested parties. Things still have to clear a few hurdles before it's officially announced. However, we can tell you that there were only two interested parties who ultimately submitted bids. This will probably come as a surprise to some, who were expecting to see at least one other experienced promoter step in and make a challenge.
When all was said and done, however, Jeremy Prince was the only one to step forward and challenge the incumbent promoter John M Soares and Oval Motorsports. Prince has been active in recent seasons as a promoter of Dixon Speedway, which has a successful Micro Sprint program these days. He also raced at Antioch in multiple divisions in the past and is the son of a past Vallejo Speedway competitor. Soares has overseen many changes and improvements to Antioch Speedway during his 20 years as promoter.
Ultimately, there wasn't a lot of chatter on social media regarding Antioch Speedway, but there was good reason. Many Antioch Speedway competitors were in Las Vegas competing in The Duel In The Desert. The 21st running of this event drew several drivers from Antioch in both the Modified and Sport Modified classes. For the roughly 300 Modified and Sport Modified racers who made the trip, it wasn't just about going out there and trying to get a win. It was the opportunity to go out there and attempt to tame the 1/2 mile dirt oval.
The Antioch racer who had all of the other locals talking on Saturday night was Buddy Kniss. Kniss has rapidly climbed the ladder at Antioch Speedway from Dwarf Cars to Limited Late Models and now Modifieds. He also balances a very busy schedule during the year that sees him competing in baseball as well. The third generation racer entered the Young Guns race. From his front row starting spot, Buddy proceeded to lead all 10 laps for the popular victory. The team, which includes father Chester Kniss, had battled various mechanical problems with their cars during the three day event, but Saturday was the night that sent them all home with a smile.
More information has emerged in regards to the Hobby Stock and Pro Stock Series that have been proposed for 2019. The California Hobby Stock Challenge Series was announced to be a five race series, and all of the events will pay $1,000 to win and $100 to start guaranteed for series members. Thanks to the sponsorship acquired so far, they will be paying $1,000 to the five race series champion, $500 for second and $300 for third with everybody down to tenth getting at least $100 and the Top 10 getting trophies.
Selected dates will include one pavement show at Madera Speedway. The Richie McGowan Memorial Hobby Stock Race at Bakersfield Speedway will also be a series event. The Danny Simkins Memorial at Santa Maria will be included. The Mike Cecil Memorial event at Watsonville and a race at Antioch Speedway. The series is already generating much interest, and series tracks will allow the drivers to run their set of rules at the varying different events. Tow money will be offered based on the distance the drivers travel from their various home tracks, which has been outlined on the California Hobby Stock Series Facebook page.
Gordon Russell Jr, who has served as the Business Manager for the Nevada Pro Stock Association, recently made an announcement on one of his videos on Facebook. The proposed Tri State Pro Stock Series has four dates secured, including the Billy Geyer Memorial Race in Yreka in May of 2019, the Gordon Russell Sr Memorial Race in Cedarville in June, a race at Reno-Fernley Raceway in Nevada and a September event at Stockton 99 Dirt Speedway. All races will pay at least $1,000 to win, according to Russell. Point fund money is being secured. An as of yet unannounced fifth event could be added to the schedule, and speculation is that this could be at Southern Oregon Speedway. Russell pointed out that if it becomes a five race series, there may be a one race throwaway rule for the drivers. The Nevada group, the Oregon group and drivers representing various California tracks could all be a part of the special series, and speculation is that there could be over 40 drivers at some of these events.
The Central Valley Mini Stock Association is planning for their biggest season yet next year, and they have expressed an interest in having a race at Rocky Hill Speedway in Porterville in the event that this track gets opened in 2019. The group came into being with the majority of their races at the 1/5 mile dirt oval Lemoore Raceway in 2017. However, Series President Dan Myrick is looking to add at least three other tracks to the schedule in 2019 and is working on rules that'll keep the group in line with the other efforts in the area.
Myrick expressed an interest in supporting Rocky Hill Speedway recently. Sonny Sell has gotten everybody talking since starting his effort to clean up the place. In the past two years, Rocky Hill Speedway has fallen into a bit of decay. Sell has done weed abatement and has removed all of the bleachers from the hillside as he plans to install new ones. Though the intent is to get racing going again at the over 70 year old racing facility, Sonny is careful not to make any big proclamations as far as what to expect in 2019. His activity has certainly gotten the community talking, and various racers have even shown up to offer some support in the cleanup effort.
The Camp Fire, which has ravaged the town of Paradise, has taken a heavy toll on the racing community. Several racing teams have lost everything in the fire. Some of the teams we know to have been affected include Sprint Car racers Justin Funkhouser, Bill Hopper and the Perry family. Marysville Hobby Stock champion Shannon Collins and past Antioch Hobby Stock champion Dan McCown also lost homes in the fire. King of the West and Sprint Car Challenge Tour champion Kyle Hirst also lost some of his property. This is just a list of the names that we know of, but it's likely that others were affected as well.
California racing scribe Daren Ricks Campbell, who is very active on Facebook in writing articles for various racing teams, also lost his home. Rather than putting up a GoFundMe page, Daren has put it out there on Facebook that he will write season recap articles for drivers for just $35. In this way, he feels like he isn't just taking, but he's also giving back to the racing community. Even in a time when he has lost so much, this young writer is still trying to help the sport.
Find Daren online at his official web page https://drcmotorsportsmedia.com/
People looking to help families in need will probably be more effective by donating to area churches that are raising supplies and money to help those who were affected. Or, look up names of those people on GoFundMe and donate directly to them there. When donating to some of the national charities, sometimes the help doesn't get there as quickly as needed.
Laughton, Hagopian, Stoll Win Lonnie Kaiser Memorial
At Dixon Speedway
Dixon, CA...November 2-3...Chad Laughton won the 30 lap Wingless Micro 600 Main Event Saturday night at Dixon Speedway. It was the second night of racing at the 6th Annual Lonnie Kaiser Memorial Race, which pays tribute to the late Vallejo Speedway Hardtop racer. Laughton was joined in the Winner's Circle by Jake Hagopian in the 600 Super Micro Sprints, Caden Stoll in the 600 Restricted Micro Sprints and Junior Sprint competitor Caleb Debem.
The highly-competitive Wingless 600 Micro field had some of the best competitors from California, and Laughton set himself up in a good position by winning the 10 lap Trophy Dash to start the evening. With a front-row Main Event start, Laughton charged into the early lead ahead of 600 Super feature winner Jake Hagopian, who was trying for a double victory evening. The lead two ran that way through a pair of mid-race yellow flags, but the red flag on lap 12 signaled the end of Hagopian's run in second. JJ Bright took up pursuit of the flying Laughton on the restart. However, Laughton ran smoothly and hit all of his marks for the impressive victory. Bright was running second until being overtaken by Brandon Carey on lap 23. Carey would finish second, followed by Adam Kaeding and Robbie Lewis. Bright settled for fifth, followed by Petaluma Speedway champion David Engstrom, George Nielsen, Angelina Dempsey, Josh Hurley and Danny Carroll.
The two-day event saw the drivers qualify on the clock on Friday night and run heat races that would determine who ran the Dash and where everybody else would lineup for Saturday's big show. The Wingless division had 33 competitors, and Lewis was the quick qualifier on the 1/5 mile dirt oval with a 10.747 lap. Engstrom was second quick at 10.772. They ran 10 lap heat races on Friday night, and Hagopian won his ahead of Lewis. The second heat race went to Carroll ahead of Engstrom in a closer battle. Bright won the third heat race over Blake Parmley and the final heat race victory went to Nielsen in the closest battle of all in front of Carey.
Jake Hagopian grabbed the 30 lap feature win in the 600 Super Micro Sprint feature. It was another highly competitive field, and Hagopian led all the way in victory. Hagopian raced into the lead at the start ahead of Cody Key. JJ Bright settled into third on lap two, and the lead three cars ran in that order for the rest of the race. Though Hagopian didn't quite pull away from Key, who ran a close second, he nonetheless ran a flawless race for the win. Bright was a strong third, followed by Nathan Bordenave, Brandon Carey, track champion Kyle Mentch, Vincent Duggan, Jessica McManus, Darrell Busby and Ethan Lesser.
Key was the quickest of 23 Super 600 Micro competitors in qualifying with an impressive lap of 10.088. Nathan Bordenave was second quick at 10.127. There were three heat races on Friday night, and the first 10 lap event went to Hagopian ahead of Blake Bower. Busby held off Key in a close race for the second heat race win. Mentch won the third heat in another good battle with Bordenave. Saturday's eight lap Dash went to Key ahead of Hagopian.
Caden Stoll grabbed the victory in the 25 lap 600 Restricted Micro Sprint Main Event. Stoll led the race from the outset with Rickey Sanders in pursuit in second. The race had four yellow flags, but it was Stoll leading Sanders on each restart as they drove to a 1-2 finish. Jade Avedisian was a race long third as Matthew Tatoole, Sage Bordenave, Brandon Riveira, Thomas Vo, Izaac Sharp, Riley Whitehouse and Jeffrey Pahule rounded out the Top 10.
Stoll bested the 15 car field in Friday night qualifying with a lap of 10.834. Pahule was second quick at 10.914. Sanders won the first of two 10 lap heat races in front of Avedisian. The second heat win went to Pahule ahead of Bordenave. Saturday's six lap Dash win went to Stoll in front of Sanders.
The young competitors of the Junior Sprint Car division got to compete during the weekend, and it was Caleb Debem winning their 20 lap Main Event. Debem got the lead from the outset and drove an impressive race to win by over half a lap in front of Peyton Whitehouse. Brody Rubio settled for third, followed by Cynric Vo, Colton Key and Lucas Mauldin. In Friday night qualifying, Key had the fastest lap of 13.477, beating a 13.639 effort of Debem. The 10 lap heat race win went to Mauldin, just ahead of Debem. On Saturday night, Debem won the four lap Trophy Dash in front of Maulden.
Special thanks to the amazing sponsors this year for the Lonnie Kaiser Memorial Race
CED Bay Area
Dales Guitars and Music Lessons
Grandpa Bill in Memory of Grandma Pam
Hoosier Tire West
Keizer Aluminum Wheels
Line-X Kustoms & Accessories
Motion Media Wraps
MTZ Auto Repair
Neal & Son Transportation Inc.
Allied Propane Service
SD Plumbing Inc.
Snap-On Tools by Joe W. Lewis
Team Ford Woodland
Xtreme Scaffolding & Swing Stage, Inc.
Montgomery, Dalby, Duinkerken
Win George Snider Classic Race At Kern County Raceway
Bakersfield, CA...November 2...Kaleb Montgomery scored the victory and in the 30 lap Wingless 360 Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Kern County Raceway. The occasion was the George Snider Classic On Dirt, and Montgomery gained the lead halfway through the race. For the first 14 laps, Tristan Gaurdino led Montgomery and Geoff Ensign. Unfortunately, Gaurdino had problems for a yellow flag after 14 laps. Montgomery assumed the lead at that point, followed by Ensign and Steve Hix. The Top 3 ran closely, and Ryan Timmons moved past Hix for third on lap 20. Ensign was wheeling the Ted Finkenbinder car and kept the pressure on Montgomery for the final 10 laps. However, Montgomery was up to the task as he won ahead of Ensign, Timmons, Michael Faccinto, TJ Smith, Gaurdino, Hix, Koen Shaw, Shannon McQueen and 2018 RaceSaver Sprint Cars Series runner-up Albert Pombo. Montgomery was the first driver out on the track and out-qualified the 15 competitors with a lap of 14.177. Timmons had a 14.218. They ran two eight lap heat races with wins being recorded by Ensign and Faccinto.
Robert Dalby scored the win in the 25 lap Midget Main Event. Dalby had a front row start and led all the way, but he was pressured early on by Ensign in the Finkenbinder entry. Max Adams was running a close third and took second from Ensign on lap 16. However, nobody was going to stop Dalby as he scored the hard-fought victory ahead of Adams and Ensign. Shannon McQueen settled for fourth, followed by CJ Sarna, Jonathan Henry, Kyle Beilman, George Rucker, Ashley Heredia and Matt Stewart. In qualifying, Dalby bested the 12 car field with a lap of 14.437, beating the 14.581 of Adams. They ran two eight lap heat races with wins going to McQueen and Beilman.
The IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Car competitors were on hand for what was basically an unsanctioned race, but IMCA State of California champion Grant Duinkerken won the 25 lap Main Event. Monty Ferreira was the early Main Event leader ahead of Duinkerken and Richard Weddle. Following a lap three yellow flag, Ferreira continued to lead with Duinkerken in close pursuit. Duinkerken was pressuring Ferreira over the next few laps before making his pass for the lead on lap 10. Once in front, Duinkerken stretched his lead to about a straighaway by the waving of the checkered flag. Ferreira settled for second. Grant Champlin took third from Kyle Rasmussen on lap 17 and would finish there as Rasmussen settled for fourth. Brandon Warmerdam, Chris Ennis, Michael Pombo, Tony Everhart, Weddle and Phil Heynen made up the balance of the Top 10. Warmerdam was the first qualifier and set the fastest lap of the 12 car feild with his 13.210 effort. Ferreira was second quick at 13.258. Warmerdam won the first eight lap heat race, and Rasmussen grabbed the victory in the second eight lapper.
Abreu Wins Thriller In Gary Patterson Memorial
At Stockton Dirt Speedway
Stockton, CA...November 3...Rico Abreu scored the $4,000 win in the King of the West/NARC Fujitsu 410 Winged Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Stockton 99 Dirt Speedway. The occasion was the 35th Annual Gary Patterson Memorial Race, and Abreu and new champion Kyle Hirst brought the crowd to their feet with a thrilling battle.
Hirst set the early pace in the Main Event ahead of Shane Golobic and Abreu. Golobic was giving it a good run, but a tangle with a slower car on lap seven brought out a red flag and ended his race in disappointment. Hirst led Abreu and DJ Netto on the restart. Abreu began to pressure Hirst for the lead and made a brief move to lead the 19th lap. Hirst went zooming back to the front a lap later with Abreu in very close pursuit. Following a lap 26 yellow flag, the battle intensified. Hirst led the restart, but it was nearly a photo finish at the line. Abreu went charging into the lead on lap 28 and led the rest of the way for the crowd thrilling victory. Hirst settled for second, followed by Netto, Mitchell Faccinto, Bud Kaeding, Colby Copeland, Willie Croft, Chase Johnson, Andy Gregg and Jason Statler.
A solid turn out of 28 competitors came out to close the 2018 season for the Winged 410 Sprint Cars. Golobic was the second driver out to qualify and set the standard at 12.895 for the fastest lap. Hirst was second quick at 13.072. They ran four 10 lap heat races, and Tanner Thorson won a close battle with Croft in the first heat race. The second heat race win went to Copeland ahead of Hirst. Justyn Cox won by a comfortable margin ahead of Netto in the third heat, and Faccinto outran Kaeding to win the fourth heat race. Hirst grabbed the pole for the Main Event and $1,000 by virtue of his six lap Sun Valley Trophy Dash win ahead of Golobic. The back of the pack was filled by the top finishers of the 12 lap B Main, and Bobby McMahon won that race ahead of Kurt Nelson, Dustin Golobic, Kenny Allen and Gary Paulson.
Shane Golobic collected the big $5,500 victory in the Sprint Car Challenge Tour race, which is sponsored by Elk Grove Ford and presented by Abreu Vineyards. The Gary Patterson Memorial Race, which was the biggest event of the season for the tour, wrapped up an exciting season as Kyle Hirst won the championship. Michael "Buddy" Kofoid raced into the early Main Event lead ahead of Shane Golobic and Colby Copeland. After the second yellow flag of the race on lap 4, Justyn Cox began to pressure Copeland for third, making the pass on lap six. Kofoid led through another yellow flag. However, on a lap 14 restart, Golobic charged past Kofoid for the lead. Golobic set a good pace down the stretch, but Cox began to make a run. Cox took second from Kofoid on lap 27 and closed in on Golobic before settling for second. Kofoid was third, followed by DJ Netto, Rico Abreu, Sean Becker, Kalib Henry, Copeland, Garen Linder and Willie Croft.
The Sprint Car Challenge Tour brought 43 cars for their season finale and did qualifying just a little bit differently. The drivers drew for their heat races, and they came out as a group to qualify on the clock for each heat race. That determined the lineups for those races. Kofoid won the first 10 lap heat race ahead of Henry. Golobic outran Netto to claim the second heat race victory, while Tanner Carrick outran Becker to win the third heat. Tucker Worth outran Abreu for the victory in the fourth heat.
Kofoid managed to grab the pole position for the Main Event with his six lap Trophy Dash win ahead of Shane Golobic. Thanks to Race Punk/San Joaquin Asparagus Festival, the win paid Kofoid $1,100. Ben Worth won the 12 lap C Main ahead of Joey Ancona and Kenny Allen. Hirst had to win the 15 lap B Main to make it into the Main Event. Justin Sanders, Kyle Offill, Bradley Terrell and Zane Blanchard rounded out the Top 5.
Solwold, Faccinto Win Features
On Opening Night Of Gary Patterson Memorial
Stockton, CA...November 2...Jason Solwold won the 25 lap Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event Friday night at Stockton 99 Dirt Speedway. This was Night #1 of the 35th Annual Gary Patterson Memorial, and the Winged 360 Sprint Car feature paid $2,500 to win. Solwold used his win over Tanner Carrick in the six lap Trophy Dash to earn the pole for the Main Event. He would lead all the way for the victory. Carrick ran second for most of the race, and as the midway point hit, it was close between the lead two cars. However, Tony Gualda began to close in on the lead duo, and Carrick was passed by Gualda for second on lap 20. Justyn Cox briefly gained third, but he lost the position to DJ Netto on a lap 22 restart. The three lead drivers ran closely in the remaining laps, but Solwold prevailed at the checkered flag. Gualda settled for second, followed by Netto, Cox, Kalib Henry, Shawn Conde, Shane Golobic, Colby Copeland, Mitchell Faccinto and Mason Moore.
The Winged 360 Sprint Cars brought 38 cars for the special event and Solwold set the quick time of 12.975, beating the 13.248 effort of Michael "Buddy" Kofoid. Eight lap heat race wins went to Matt Peterson, Copeland, Cox and Gualda. Solwold outran Carrick to win the six lap Trophy Dash. It was Conde winning the 12 lap B Main ahead of Chico and Placerville champion Andy Forsberg, Kyle Offill, Moore and Garen Linder.
Michael Faccinto won the 20 lap C&H Veterans Services Hunt Wingless Spec Sprint Main Event. Faccinto was driving the Barry Pries car, and he won for the third time this season while Shawn Jones wrapped up the series championship with a fifth place finish. Faccinto led from the start of the race with Petaluma champion Shayna Sylvia running second for the first two laps. Jake Morgan settled into second on a lap three restart. Despite some yellow flags and red flags during the course of the race, Faccinto maintained the lead on each restart. On the 16th lap, three-time series champion Terry Schank Jr moved past Morgan for the second spot, but Faccinto won by nearly a straightaway. Morgan settled for third, followed by Jarrett Soares, Jones, past Chico champion Angelique Bell, Tony Bernard, Adam Teves, Robert Floyd and Troy DeGaton.
There were 25 Wingless Spec Sprint competitors, and two-time series feature winner Bradley Terrell set the quick time of 16.107, beating the 16.501 of Faccinto. The three eight lap heat races were won by Jones, Faccinto and Schank. However, there were enough scratches to cancel the B Main. Sylvia won the six lap Trophy Dash ahead of Faccinto.
Ben Weisz won the 20 lap Dwarf Car Main Event. For most of the race, it looked like Jonathan Henry would be victorious. Henry set the early pace ahead of Ryan Winter, who was driving the Shawn Jones car. Following a lap 10 caution flag, Weisz moved into second, but he surrendered the position to Danny Wagner on a lap 11 restart. It was Henry leading Wagner and Weisz when the yellow flag waved on lap 17. It was a good battle on the restart with Henry leading one more lap before being passed by Weisz, Jones and Wagner. The Top 3 remained the same to the finish with Petaluma champion Scooter Gomes finishing fourth. Shawn Whitney finished fifth, followed by Josh Weisz, Eric Wiesler, Henry, Ryan Plexico and Dan Geil. The two eight lap heat races were won by Winter and Ben Weisz.
The Editor's Viewpoint
In an instance, your life can change. I'm still recovering from the loss of my home and know what a struggle that is, but I also look in the mirror to see the blame for all of that. For the people of Paradise, California, it wasn't really their doing. A fire swept across that town and burnt many people out of their homes. In an instance, they lost everything that they owned. It also took a toll on the racing community as several competitors lost everything. Among the people I am aware of are Bill Hopper, Lyle Hopper, the Perry family, Shannon Collins, Dan McCown and Justin Funkhouser.
Up-and-coming racing scribe Daren Ricks Campbell also lost his home in the fire. Basically, the people in Paradise are in need of any help they can get. Even the basics, clothing and toiletries, are very important at a time like this. You will see various GoFundMe pages on social media directly linked to racers. Or, there may be churches in the area or community centers. Donate there. With some of the bigger organizations, sometimes all of the money and things don't get where they need to go or take too long to get there.
Getting back to Campbell, he's not starting a GoFundMe page. Instead, what he's doing is offering his services to write season recap articles for the competitors. It's really a nice deal for the kind of recap that he gives at only $35. He will be doing research for the drivers, and if he reaches out for any help in getting information, I will offer my services to him free of charge. Support Daren as he is the next generation in motorsports journalism and is providing great coverage to our racing community.
Find Daren online at his official web page https://drcmotorsportsmedia.com/
I'm dumbfounded by all of the race tracks that don't have somebody out there handling publicity. These days, they can even hire somebody who is not on site and pay them some money to get recap articles and preview articles and that kind of thing out to the public. A few of the tracks that I covered have the budget to pay people. When I think about that, I look at somebody like Daren who could do the job. Perhaps one or more of these race tracks might be interested in reaching out to him for a season recap article or even to cover a banquet for those who haven't had theirs yet? Just a thought.
The offseason is upon us now. I was going to make a few observations about the bidding season for the promoter's position at various race tracks. At the top of the list is Antioch Speedway, and you can believe that I have some things to say on the matter. However, I'm waiting for the entire process to go through before commenting. I'll leave it at this. At stake is the future of who runs the race track for the next five years.
You will see a 2019 season at Antioch Speedway, but what happens depends on who is ultimately named as the promoter. John M Soares of Oval Motorsports put in a bid as did Jeremy Prince. What surprised me about the whole matter was that they were the only two who submitted bids. When I think about it, it really shouldn't surprise me that much. It is an expensive proposition running this particular race track, and it's not getting cheaper. Given the challenges of making rent and everything, I don't blame the other rumored established promoters for not ultimately jumping in.
While we're in the midst of all of this news, word came out of Dixon that Jeremy Prince was injured in an accident at that track. I don't have all of the details, but I understand there was a bit of heroism involved as Jeremy moved to protect his wife from injury. He sustained severe burns, and he is now recovering. Steve "Bubba" Dempsey, a past Petaluma Speedway champion, has created a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for Jeremy, which you can find HERE
While we wait for this bit of information, it should be clear to everybody that regardless of who wins, things will go on as scheduled. Oval Motorsports will go about their business of bringing improvements and making it all happen as they have for the past 20 years. Even if Prince is down for a little bit, should he ultimately be awarded the contract, he has people who can get the job done. This really means that people should be getting their race cars ready. Other than that, I'm not speculating.
Merced Speedway is out for bid now. I believe the RFPs went out to those who expressed interest on the 6th, and there's about a one month period in which they are required to fill everything out properly and submit a bid. I'm not really worried about Merced Speedway as I know there will be a 2019 season. You hear a lot of rumors, and now I'm curious to see who ultimately puts in a bid.
The big player in the game may be John Prentice, who also runs the track in Watsonville. However, there is local interest from the Stone family, and I got word last week that there was another unnamed entity who was looking. Didn't get the name, but I was told we would be familiar with who this is once it's announced.
I await the fair board meeting at the Siskiyou County Fairgrounds in Yreka on the 20th. This is when they will make it clear what their intentions are for the big race track and the little race track. The rumor is that they are looking to find a new promoter and may even be interested in running the track themselves. What is rumor and what is true, I don't know. I do know that there are things that need to be done to turn the program around.
Whether it's the current association or a new promoter, they have to understand that the show cannot go on as it has. They need to start working on things to attract the cars back to the speedway. This might include attempting to rebuild an IMCA Modified class or a Street Stock division, starting the Hornets class or whatever. It might ultimately come down to switching from Saturday night racing to Friday night racing. One can only speculate. The truth will come out as to what the fairgrounds wants to do at the upcoming meeting on the 20th.
I was watching live scoring last weekend. Stockton 99 Dirt Speedway was in the plans and I also planned to throw Dixon Speedway in on the deal. They do their own thing out there on the 1/5 mile dirt oval with a nice little 600 Micro program. As I was getting live scoring set up, I discovered that Kern County Raceway in Bakersfield was running a dirt race. I threw them in on the deal, although I was a little surprised that they ran that type of program. It was also a Sprint Car show, but they were doing different things than Stockton.
I look at Dixon Speedway and am very intrigued by that place. It actually entered my radar prior to anything that happened before it was Cora Speedway. There was just a 1/5 mile dirt oval that I had heard about. The late Willie Myatt built a race car. Not news, he built many, but I think this was the last car he built for Bill Fairhurst. It was sold, and the guy who had it was reported to have rolled it practicing on that little track. I was told of Bobby Bankson practicing his NCMA car there, some 4 Cylinder cars practiced there and even a Winged Sprint Car.
Immediately, ideas started going through my mind about what could be. Orland Raceway is a 1/5 mile track. So is Ventura. What could be done at Dixon? On the way home from the RPM Promoter's Workshop in 2002, I recall going to Dixon with Don O'Keefe. Sadly, I didn't have film for my camera and we didn't have these digital phones we have now. I wanted to take shots and really ramp up the rhetoric. See if I could get some interest.
I started talking to racers at Antioch Speedway. You see, I had this thought. I go out there, see what it cost to rent the track for a day, even prepay the little food trailer so that people could eat on me, and we put cars on that track. I run a stopwatch, set unofficial records and just have a fun day of it. People could talk about what it is they'd like to see at that track and how things could go from there. Maybe we start something? Maybe we just have a fun day at the track.
My own mind was racing with the possibilities, but I didn't want to aim too high. I thought that this track could be one for the Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Mini Trucks, Dwarf Cars and that sort of thing. However, I did have a Wingless Spec Sprint driver and a Modified racer who were interested in practicing as well. Most of the drivers who told me they would go were Hobby Stock racers and we're talking about a dozen.
What ultimately turned me off on this deal was just the way things were going for me personally. I was wondering how many people might really back me up if I did this, because I would be throwing hundreds of dollars Into something that might only just be that one day and nothing beyond that. I had delusions of maybe one day being a promoter. Can you believe that? Fortunately, the loss of my home and the fact that I'm pretty much broke has cured me of that delusion, but I was a dreamer back then.
It was interesting to hear people later on that year, the final year before I walked away for over a decade, and they wanted to know if this was going to happen. So I had to tell them how I just couldn't do this under the circumstances. I wasn't a rich person then. I was ghetto rich. That is to say, I had more money than I'd ever had in my life, but people would laugh at what that was. Yet, I was willing to put $1,000 or more into doing something for racing. Heck, I wrote in my book how I was willing to pay Tom Sagmiller's Merced Speedway fine in Reno if it meant Chowchilla Speedway could finally get sanctioned. That's another story.
I walked away from the sport. Then, I heard about the troubles they had at the Vallejo Speedway 2 site. They had to move the track to another spot at the fairgrounds and then they ultimately were going to be kicked out. They were looking at Dixon. You know the sad thing about Vallejo? They have a nice fairgrounds location, and once horse racing died out, they could have followed the example of Stockton and allowed auto racing to come in. Can you imagine historic Vallejo once again hosting a race track for big cars? It's been talked about lately, but I don't know that this will ever come to pass.
Steve Hazelton was the guy's name back then, and he is the one who initiated Vallejo Speedway 2. I've heard this and that said about the guy, but he gets points in my book because he gave the next generation of racers a place to race. Some of those drivers have moved up to bigger and better things too. And at one time, Steve even ran some Hornet races on his little track, which I thought was really cool. It didn't take off, although I think part of that had to do with the troubles they were having with the fairgrounds.
Steve wanted to keep it going, and there was even a rumor at one time of him moving to another location in American Canyon. Actually, that track would have had big cars too. Didn't come to pass, and eventually his sights were set on Dixon. However, the racers went after it too, and that's when they formed CORA. The track was there, but they had to put everything up around it. The walls, the fencing, the lighting, the press box, the bleachers. You get the picture. A lot of things were donated, including people's time building stuff. Cora Speedway, which is now Dixon Speedway, came to be because of the effort of the community.
On the sidelines, I was always peeking in at message boards, looking for race results and all of that. I would look hard for information on that little track. I saw one of their newsletters, and it's downloaded into my files somewhere. Russell Shearer brought his two Hobby Stocks out there at one time. I actually ran into him when I was walking home one day, and he pulled in and we chatted about that little track. I thought it was really cool, and there was a distinct Antioch Speedway flavor to the place. Some of our drivers were getting their kids into the sport via this track.
Side issue, but wouldn't it be cool if Antioch Speedway cut a track in the infield for the youngsters to go racing? I had thought that perhaps the one building where they run the RC Cars on the fairgrounds would work for a winter series, but it might be a tad too small. However, I think kart racing on the infield at Antioch is just the thing. They need to inspire a new generation of racers, and I have come to appreciate these kids, having worked at Southern Oregon Speedway for three years as the announcer, publicity director and point keeper for the kart track.
Dixon Speedway grew and prospered. They established a Micro 600 class. Where they are these days, they have Super 600s that allow you more, Restricted 600s for the budget minded and Wingless 600s, which I think are pretty darn cool actually. There's also a Junior Sprint Car class. They've done karts and all that you would expect from a smaller track, but they also looked to do bigger things. I think this had been talked about, but it never quite worked out.
It's a small track, like I said. Yeah, you can actually run bigger cars if you configure it differently, but you're also talking money. Through the years, however, they've had full BCRA legal Midgets, Hardtops, Modifieds, Spec Sprints and other types of bigger cars make laps on that track. When it came to racing, they looked over at the Mini Stocks and the Dwarf Cars. You get into problems with these two classes for very different reasons. I come out in favor of this type of racing.
The problem with Dwarf Cars is that they are an association driven group. It's not that there aren't race tracks out there that have their own divisions, but in this area of California, you now have three different groups staking their claim on what this division will do. The NorCal Dwarf Car Association is the oldest of the three and carries a bit of clout. For instance, they can pretty much punch their own ticket in Northern California, and yet they've turned a cold shoulder to Orland Raceway, not even offering them a non point event with half of what they normally get, which would still go over big there.
So, Dixon was trying to get Dwarf Cars. Anybody who might come from the one track that doesn't run an association, Antioch Speedway, and whatever stragglers might come in from NorCal and South Bay ran there. Though they had their moments in car count, it never took off. I don't think there was the desire from Dixon officials to really put it out there that they were running this class. It's really a shame. For one thing, Dwarf Car racing in California was born on the small track at Delta Speedway in Stockton. It could still work in Dixon, but you need a dozen or so drivers committed to doing it.
The Mini Stock division also probably would have taken off. At one point, they were running a more open Mini Stock class for some dates as well as entertaining the Four Banger division. They had some good races there. What did the effort in was the fact that several of the area tracks stopped running the class. By 2015, there was no Mini Stock class at Chico, Marysville or Antioch. Without cultivating your own class, you have to rely on visitors who aren't coming because they don't have a home track where they're coming from either.
It's somewhat easier to focus on 600 Micros and Outlaw Karts, and the world needs that too. You also don't have the same type of demand when you're running these classes. You're trying to get racers to come out and compete, which they do. You're not as worried about how much you pack the grandstands. Some people come in with the teams, and you're okay with that. The minute you start aiming higher, you're putting yourself in a position where are you need to get the spectator count up.
On the other hand, I'm still of the opinion that there is a Mini Stock program there in the waiting. You could also add Dwarf Cars to that, but, you're going to need to do something to entice some of racers that don't like to be told what to do by associations. Without walking the facility now, I don't know if a Pure Stock division could even happen. As I said, there would be work to be done. And as always comes up in these deals, how much money do you have?
One reason I like a place like Dixon is because of its location. You can pull people from the Sacramento area and the Antioch area and even the Stockton Modesto area. You just have to give them a reason to come. I would certainly do the Mini Stock Enduro race once a year. I saw footage of the one they did a few years back, and it went pretty well. Understand that I'm not saying in any way shape or form that you drop or deemphasize the Micro Sprint class. They are the effort that this track revolves around.
What I am saying is that you could take a look at those divisions and see about cultivating something else. Certainly, it centers around the Mini Stocks and Dwarf Cars, but there might be other things you take a look at too, such as Mini Late models or different variations of the Mini Stock class if there is an interest. And you look at maybe doing something once a month. With Dwarf Cars, you have to be sure to keep off of the key dates that the associations run.
But Dixon Speedway has been around for over a decade. It's continuing a racing tradition in the area that actually goes back quite a few years. It's been a while since they ran cars at the fairgrounds. The fairgrounds has changed that much, but they had many big Sprint Car shows through the years as well as open shows that would bring Super Modifieds, Hardtops and the Sportsman division together. This is one of the reasons why I was intrigued by this little track in Dixon when I paid my visit back in 2002.
On Saturday night, they paid tribute to Lonnie Kaiser. I knew that this race was special. Of course, Lonnie raced Hardtops at Vallejo Speedway back in the day. But a few years back, I recall that they did have some of these other divisions on this night. The core four classes this last weekend delivered 70 cars. That's a nice turnout for this place, and it's a great way to end the season.
I've heard rumors about this and that, but the fact is there are plans already in the works to continue this program in 2019. They made an announcement that they were changing the point system for next year. So, racing goes on at Dixon Speedway. It's a worthy effort and something that's also worthy of putting on your schedule of tracks to visit at some point during the season.
Kern County Raceway is kind of an interesting deal. The track came to be as a pavement track alternative to the closure of Mesa Marin Raceway. They have a nice NASCAR program that they run on the pavement track, but it was also decided to put together the dirt oval on the property. Some people, including myself, questioned whether adding this track was necessary given the extensive history and tradition that is Bakersfield Speedway down the street. When people think dirt track racing in the area, they immediately think of Bakersfield Speedway.
Kern County Raceway was very careful in the way they rolled this track out. They made it clear that they weren't trying to replace the established track. They chose Friday nights as the night to run their races, and they run at the most bi-weekly. They do run classes that are generally associated with Bakersfield Speedway, but their Modified divisions are not IMCA sanctioned. I don't know if they've even pursued IMCA sanctioning.
This is a sore spot with me, because I was in a similar situation when I was at Chowchilla Speedway and Merced Speedway. Chowchilla wanted the IMCA sanctioning and ran on a night that the established IMCA track, Merced Speedway, did not run. But because the promoter at Merced at the time did not want Chowchilla Speedway involved, IMCA sided with that person rather than what the racing public wanted. I couldn't tell you if something similar is happening in Bakersfield. I can't imagine Scott Schweitzer being too worried about Kern County, although as a promoter, I'm sure he has thoughts going on in the back of his mind.
But there's another thought that I had about Kern Raceway. The pavement track is sanctioned by the NASCAR Whelen All American Series. As far as I know, that track and Irwindale Speedway are the only ones in the state with NASCAR sanctioning. My thought was, I wonder what would happen if they went with a sanctioning for the dirt track as well. Is this even something they would do? Would the Bakersfield Speedway racers want to buy a NASCAR license? Of course, this is me wondering who might be the first dirt track in California to go to a NASCAR sanctioning. We haven't seen that happen since around 2004 at Watsonville.
The other thing that lets me know that Bakersfield Speedway is okay with Kern Raceway having a dirt track as long as it's doing it on a Friday night is the fact that they have worked on a few things together. Most notably is the Motor City Throwdown weekends where they run Kern one night and Bakersfield the next. Scott has shown a history of being willing to work with other tracks. The last time Rocky Hill Speedway had a full season, Scott had worked out a series where the two tracks could share the Hobby Stock, American Stock and Mini Stock divisions for a series championship. I think Scott is one of those promoters who gets it.
if Kern Raceway keeps its eyes on the prize and doesn't try to overstep and compete for the Bakersfield Speedway market, I think this could be a good thing for racing in the area. They know that the pavement track is the primary track, but they can get ten or a dozen races in on the dirt track every year too. With a working relationship with the guys down the street, there's no reason that some of those scheduled dirt races can't be a little more special.
The open-wheel crowd will be heading down to Bakersfield Speedway for a USAC Midget race on November 17th, then, the USAC National Midgets and USAC West Coast 360 Sprints will be at Ventura Raceway on November 21st and 22nd for the Turkey Classic. Since they weren't doing anything this last weekend in California, it was decided to run a Wingless 360 Sprint Car race and Midget race along with the unsanctioned 305 Winged Sprint Cars. The question was, could it work? There were enough drivers in the area who were ready to go that they had about a dozen cars per class, and the show went on. I also like the idea that Kern Raceway entertains running Sprint Car shows in addition to the Stock Car oriented stuff. For instance, they ended their season in October with a show that featured the King of the West Winged 410 Sprint Cars. This race last Saturday was not even on the original schedule, so it was hastily put-together and still did okay in the car count department.
Tony Noceti is a player in the racing world. Tony was the guy that came in and rescued Stockton 99 Speedway from fading away for good. He's also the guy who came to the Stockton Fairgrounds when horse racing was taken out and said he could build a dirt oval and put on some big shows. To be honest, that last thing was huge for Stockton. For years, people have wondered if they could put dirt track racing on at the fairgrounds, and Tony made it happen. He wasn't content just to say here is a dirt track and some races either.
When Tony started putting together the schedule, World of Outlaw Sprint Car racing was a part of the equation. All of California's big Winged Sprint Car efforts, the King of the West, Civil War, Sprint Car Challenge Tour, Hunt Spec Sprint Series and even the BCRA Midgets got a chance at the track. And, people started coming out to watch. Racers wanted to be a part of this thing. It's been a success so far. About the biggest concern that racers have is the track can be rough on equipment. This does happen in racing, but we are seeing cars get destroyed. Whether this is because the track is a little bit big or for other reasons might be open for interpretation. But the bottom line is, people are coming to Stockton 99 Dirt Speedway, and Tony is the one who made it happen.
When it came to the Gary Patterson Memorial race, he gathered some of the true legends of open-wheel racing for an autograph session with the fans on Friday. Then, it was a $2,500 to win Winged 360 Sprint Car show along with the Hunt Series and Dwarf Cars. The weekend ended with a huge race for the King of the West Series and Sprint Car Challenge Tour. This was one of, if not the, biggest Winged Sprint Car racing weekends in Northern California this year.
I find it interesting that we get into November and we're still racing. Heck, there will be racing throughout November for those looking if the weather allows it. I make the joke, and perhaps I shouldn't, that on Christmas day there could be a track eventually running a Salute to Jesus or something along those lines. Believe me, if a racing promoter thought they could get away with it and get some fans, they'd do it. As it is, tracks are starting to look at a New Year's race as an option.
This happened around the time as I was walking away from Chowchilla Speedway when Tom Sagmiller got the idea of a New Year's Bash. George Steitz, being a guy who is all about putting on big races, threw his support behind Tom and they started doing those races. Fast forward to 2015, and Oval Motorsports stepped in with a full slate of New Year's racing. At the time, they were promoting Antioch, Merced and Chowchilla Speedways. So, Antioch had a two-day opener, followed by one race each at Merced and Chowchilla. Being as they were running an IMCA sanctioning, car count started out strong in both Modified classes and got smaller as the week wore on.
John was entertaining a new year's race the next year, but plans couldn't be hashed out fast enough to make it into reality. That, and he was in the process of walking away from Chowchilla and selling Merced to Ed Parker. But, the New Year's show came back last year. There had been rumblings about it coming to Antioch again next year, but that was an Oval Motorsports idea.
II'm sitting up here waiting on news and I know others at Southern Oregon Speedway are curious as well. There will be an awards banquet for this season, but it's likely to happen in late January. The Top 10 drivers in all of the regular classes and top rookies are set to be honored on that night. Management is currently working on plans for the 2019 season, and more will be revealed in the weeks ahead.
Other than that, I'm just going to kind of step into the background and watch things. My own future hangs in the balance of what is decided in the coming weeks. This means that I cannot announce what the plans are for what this blog will cover next year, other than to say the blog will continue. There are some intriguing things in the works that I'm following, one of which I think would go over very well in California with certain racers. But I can't speculate or speak anymore on that. I can enjoy this time away from racing to regroup and slowly work on other projects. When things get going for me, I'm all in and very busy.
Thank you for reading and thank you for your support. On that note, I'll in this column. Until next time...