Thursday, June 4, 2020

Antioch Speedway, Dixon Speedway, Siskiyou Golden Speedway, Editor's Viewpoint

First of all...

The DCRR Racing Media Books


Just A Kid From The Grandstands:  My Time In Auto Racing
Stories of my time in auto racing from the beginning to 2003
Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover

And


Don's California Racing Recollections:  Best Of The Blog And Beyond
Racing History, Stories, Statistics And Pictures
Available via print on demand at Lulu in Hard Cover or Paperback

If You Like Reading Our Articles
Support Us Via The Go Fund Me The Tip Jar HERE


Also...

DCRR Racing Media And PR Consulting  HERE

From the Grandstands By Ron Rodda HERE

Antioch Speedway Racing Discussion Can Be Heard HERE

Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion Can Be Heard HERE


The DCRR Racing Radio Show
Backup Link HERE


Audio show corrections
The Contra Coast County curfew has been lifted. 

Lakeport Speedway has been approved for practice this Saturday and races on June 13th and 20th. 

We were talking about the lawyer from Southern California working with WoO on covid-19 guidelines.  This was Agajanian.  I knew I had the wrong name as I did the show, but had trouble recalling the name that should have been obvious to me.


IMCA Modifieds, Tri State Pro Stock Series Headline 
Three Division Show At Antioch Speedway

Antioch, CA...This Saturday night, Antioch Speedway will be holding its third consecutive event on the quarter-mile clay oval in front of an empty grandstands. Due to the covid-19 guidelines that are put in place, the speedway still can't have fans to enjoy a night of good racing at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds facility. However, the event will once again be broadcast on internet pay-per-view at Dirt Oval TV.

There had been some concern as to whether or not this race could happen at the scheduled time due to the county supervisors putting a strict 8 pm curfew on the public due to all the looting and rioting going on along with the protests. However, it was just announced that the curfew has been lifted and the speedway will be able to operate under normal circumstances. The first race is set to fire off at around 6 pm. The IMCA Modifieds are back for their third race of the year, joined by the Tri State Pro Stock Series and local Super Stocks in a combined race and the local Hobby Stocks.

IMCA has the point standings listed on their official website. After four events are in the books, it becomes an officially acknowledged IMCA championship. On Memorial Day Weekend, Oregon's Collen Winebarger came to town and picked up both of the victories. This gives him a six-point advantage over Troy Foulger in the standings and an 11 point lead over 2018 State champion Shane DeVolder. The latter two competitors are anticipated, though there is no word on whether Winebarger will make the trip down. Willamette Speedway Late Model star Joey Tanner has said he will be there.

Foulger and car owner Billy Bowers teamed up to win four consecutive championships at Antioch Speedway from 2010 through 2013. Last season, they won the IMCA Modified championship at Merced Speedway, and they've been a factor at many race tracks in which they've visited in recent years. They were anticipating going for the championship at Antioch prior to the covid-19 situation, and it looks like they will probably be at any race Antioch Speedway holds for the class this year. The same holds true for DeVolder, who backed up the 2017 IMCA Sport Modified State championship with the State title in the Modified division a year later.

Oregon's John Campos was tied with DeVolder going into this race. While he may not be there, it's just possible that reigning IMCA State champion Trevor Fitzgibbon will be. Trevor had a Top 5 feature finish two weeks ago, which has him 12 points behind Winebarger. 2018 Merced Speedway champion Darrell Hughes II is only a point behind Fitzgibbon. Antioch Speedway will be the only track in the State running Modifieds, which means it's the only game in town if you want to race your car. 

Past Antioch and two-time Wild West Speedweek Series champion Kellen Chadwick is anticipated along with reigning track champion Buddy Kniss and 2016 title winner Bobby Motts Jr. Austin Burke and Cody Burke, winners of the past two championships at Watsonville, are anticipated as well. It should be an exciting show for the IMCA Modifieds that will be worth tuning into on Dirt Oval TV.

Promoter Chad Chadwick made some adjustments with the Super Stock rules in the hopes of sparking renewed interest in the division. With the Late Model division sort of fading away in California, this is the heir apparent to the class, but affordability must be a factor moving forward. Reigning track champion Kimo Oreta is expected to be here. Oreta piloted the Sun Drop Racing #15 car to his second championship in the class. The team itself also has five championships with Antioch Speedway Hall of Famer Larry Damitz behind the wheel. Other locals who should be on hand for this event include longtime Antioch competitor Mike Walko, Chad Hammer, Chris Long and Terry DeCarlo.

The Tri State Pro Stock Series was created by Roy Bain and Gordon Russell Jr prior to the 2019 season. The idea behind this class is to unite the rules in the Pro Stock/Super Stock division to allow for car count growth and the ability for drivers to travel to other places and know that they are legal. The group has driver's hailing from California, Oregon and Nevada. They already have two races in the record books. They both happened at Stockton and were won by Nevada's Jesse Gonzalez. On one occasion, he beat Ryan Cherezian for the victory. Both drivers are anticipated for this race.

Reigning series champion Mike Learn is no stranger to winning races at Antioch Speedway, and he'll be in town to try for another win along with Nevada Late Model veteran Bill Pearson, Brett Lawrence and Chaz Thompson. From the southern side of California, Late Model veteran Jerry Stewart is anticipated along with Ryan Smith, Bakersfield Street Stock champion Brady Bell and Dave King Jr. With Petaluma being forced to cancel their show for the Lumberjacks Restaurant Super Stocks, three-time champion Mitch Machado is anticipated along with past champion Matt While and division rookie Randy Miramontez.

The decision to open up the rules in the Hobby Stock division to allow drivers from other tracks to visit Antioch is going to make the division that much more competitive. This was highlighted by the Memorial Day Weekend event that saw two of Watsonville's top drivers score the victories. On Saturday it was Joe Gallaher and on Sunday it was his son and three-time Watsonville champion Rob Gallaher. Both drivers should be on hand for this race. Last season's championship runner-up, Breanna Troen, should be there to give it a good run. Past Antioch truck and Petaluma Dwarf Car champion Travis Dutra has joined the class and picked up a pair of Top 5 finishes on Memorial Day Weekend. Also joining the division with an impressive Top 5 run that weekend was Trent Wentworth, who is also anticipated. There are some good drivers in this class, which should see the car count reach into the 20s at least this time around. Some of the drivers to watch for include last season's top rookie Ken Johns, James Thomson and Josh Leach. This is sure to be an exciting three division program.

Antioch Speedway has been the talk of the internet after it's strong start in terms of car count over the past two races and practice before that. This show of IMCA Modifieds, Pro Stocks/Super Stocks and Hobby Stocks will be entertaining from start to finish. Though the fans are not allowed in the grandstands, you can watch all of the action on Dirt Oval TV. For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.


Dixon Speedway Roars Into Action On Saturday Night

Dixon, CA...Dixon Speedway returns to action this Saturday night with a full lineup of 600 Micro Sprint racing on the 1/5 mile dirt oval. This will be the first of two straight Saturday nights of racing, and the car count should be big once again this weekend with no other tracks in the state running these classes. Unfortunately, the grandstands will still be closed to spectators, and there was no word at press time regarding any place to watch internet pay-per-view. However, that could be updated at any time on the Dixon Speedway Facebook page. Competing divisions will include the Wingless 600 Micros, Super 600 Micros, Restricted Micros and the Junior Sprinters. 

With three races in the books, Kelvin Lewis is listed as the Wingless Sprint point leader. Lewis had a second-place finish at one of the Memorial Day Weekend events. His lead is 21 points over Travis Sullivan, who also had a second place finish during Memorial Day Weekend. Only 13 points behind Sullivan is Timothy Vaught. Cody Gray, who finished 3rd in the Sunday portion of the Memorial Day Weekend action, is just two points behind Vaught, while Robbie Lewis, who had a third place finish in the other Memorial Day Weekend show, is 11 points behind Gray in fifth. 47 points separate the Top 5 drivers in the standings. Brandon Carey won the first two races of the season with a good shot at three in a row before mechanical issues took him out of the Sunday show, which was won by Brandon Shaw. Austin Stone finished second in the season opener.

The fastest division of the group is the Super 600 class, and it's a good race at the top of the standings. Brad Hannum leads Devon Courtnier by just one tally. These two drivers won the Memorial Day Weekend feature races, and Hannam also had a second place finish in the season opener. 37 points behind Courtnier in third is two-time reigning champion Kyle Mentch. Mentch finished third in the Saturday portion of the Memorial Day Weekend event. He has a nine point lead over Sage Bordenave. 33 points behind Bordenave in the fifth position is Hailey Wood. Corey Day won the season-opening event. Caeden Steele is the only driver with all podium finishes so far, including a second in the Saturday portion of Memorial Day Weekend action. Gage Garcia finished second at the Sunday race. 

Shifting gears to the Restricted Micro division, we have another good battle at the top as only 25 points separate the Top 5 drivers in the standings. With back-to-back wins on Memorial Day Weekend, Austin Wood leads Izaak Sharp by 14 points. Sharp finished third in the season opener and finds himself tied with Brandon Riveira for the runner-up spot. Riveira had a third place finish at the Saturday race during Memorial Day Weekend. 11 points behind Sharp and Riveira is Bryant Bell, who finished second at the Sunday race. Bell and Matthew Tatoole are tied for fourth. Tatoole had a runner-up finish at the Saturday portion of Memorial Day Weekend. Dalton Parreira won the season opener ahead of Colin Kirby.

The entry level Junior Sprint division has been very interesting to watch with the increase in car count so far this year. Kyle Fernandez won the season opener and had second and third place finishes during Memorial Day Weekend. He has a 27 point lead over Brody Rubio, who checks in with a pair of third place finishes. 16 points behind Rubio is Hayden Stepps, and reigning champion MaKayla Tatoole is 10 points behind Stepps. Ranking fifth is the most recent feature winner Braxon Vasconcellos. Lucas Mauldin makes it three different feature winners in as many races, and Nathan Ward has a pair of second place finishes to his credit. 

There's been plenty of thrills, excitement and great racing action at Dixon Speedway so far this year. Word on any live streaming being available will be put out on the track's Facebook page. Also, the Race Monitor app is usually hooked into the track scoring unit, and that enables you to watch live scoring on race night to keep track of all of the action. For further information on this race and other happenings at the speedway, go to www.dixonspeedway.net or check the Dixon Speedway Facebook page.


Full Weekend Of Practice At Siskiyou Golden Speedway 

Yreka, CA...One thing is for sure. By the time an actual race is scheduled at Siskiyou Golden Speedway, the racers will know that their cars are dialed in. Promoter Kevin Barba has taken full advantage of the guidelines the county has given him to make the best use of the race track. This means that lots of limited practice sessions have been held at the dirt oval for the past two weekends, and there are three days of practice scheduled again for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Despite the fact that rain eliminated Saturday last weekend, the two days of practice that the track did have saw over two dozen competitors across seven different divisions make practice laps on Friday and Sunday. Barba and his crew were working non-stop to make everything right for the racers, and they had to put in extra effort after Saturday's rain to even make Sunday's practice possible. They didn't have time to think about it as it was announced on Monday that there would be three more practices this weekend.

While the staff would like to open the gates to a race this weekend, county health officials still aren't prepared to give clearance just yet. They have been monitoring the situation at the speedway and are pleased with how the covid-19 guidelines have been handled under these limited practice conditions. Therefore, they allowed this weekend's activities to proceed. This meant that track officials have opened up a certain amount of spots for each day for racers to come with their crews and test their cars.

The spots have filled up very quickly, and attempts to contact the Siskiyou Golden Speedway Facebook page may not result in securing a spot at this point. Drivers in various divisions are again planning to make some laps. Some of the people on the list include IMCA Sport Modified competitors Ethan Killingsworth, Jorddon Braaton, Chris Silva, Brionna Fuller and Ryder Boswell. Pro Stock racers planning to make laps include Matt Harlow, Steve Borror, Darek Alford and division newcomer Michael McLeod. Dwarf Car racers Fred Hay, Trevor Davis and Chad Cardoza will be there. There are several others who have reserved their spots as well, meaning the track will be alive with the sound of race cars.

You can expect that the crew will be working hard all weekend to make sure the track is prepared as well as possible. Privately, Barba and his team are hopeful that the green light will be given to open for a race in front of empty grandstands on the 13th, but we will have to wait and see what is said at the early part of next week. A hopeful sign may have been given from the Yreka Outlaw Kart track at the fairgrounds. They have been given permission for a gathering of 100 people to hold a racing program on Friday, June 12th. As of this writing, 64 slots have been taken up with 23 Karts signed up. Only 36 spots remained, but it's likely that those will all be taken by the time the race happens. Could a race at the big track be happening soon? 

In the meantime, three days of practice is better than no time at the track at all, and racers from the Yreka area and Southern Oregon are taking advantage of the opportunity to test their cars. Speculation is that the track will have a race very soon. The best place to find the announcement when it's made is the Siskiyou Golden Speedway Facebook page.


The Editor's Viewpoint

I kind of blew the plan earlier this week, but if you're reading this, it means the plan to do a second post at the end of the week is still in effect. Every day news comes in, and Monday evening saw a few news items that I wanted to add to the last post. I even added another article at the last minute, but I found myself mentally drained at that point. I figured I'd take a two hour nap and get up a little past midnight to do the audio show and get that post done. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in the morning. Guess I really needed the sleep.

I figured it was still just before 9 in the morning, so I'd do the audio show and get the post up. Wrong. First of all, I don't have any fancy podcasting equipment. I speak into a cracked cell phone with no phone service. I messed up on the first attempt about halfway through it. No problem. I started over and got to about five minutes from the finish when I got the message that I ran out of storage space. I hate when that happens, and it happens more than it should. After deleting files, I did the show again. I missed my 30 minute mark by about 20 minutes. I don't intentionally want to do 50 minute programs, but it ends up that way. 

This is a lesson that a dinosaur like me has a hard time learning. You need to get to the point quicker. Get in, get out. Audio shows should be 10 minutes long, no more than 15. Blog posts should have brief articles of anywhere from five to eight paragraphs at most, and you shouldn't have a bunch of articles. Obviously, I'm not doing any of it the way the blogging experts would recommend. My blog posts are generally like one of my printed magazines, only you're reading it on a computer screen. Magazines went out the window thanks to technology. But, I'm rambling here.

It was around 11 when the show was done. Normally, I'd listen through it to make sure I didn't misspeak too badly. I catch little errors sometimes that I'll let go, but I have to do it over if I have some major blunder. I'm doing a lot of stuff from my mind and off-the-cuff. The mind is good, but it's not as good as it once was. Anyway, because I was running late, I went ahead and just tried to upload it. Wrong. There was an issue at Daily Motion, and this process stretched three hours before I finally got something done. At 2 pm, the blog post was finally published. Nothing like being a good 14 or so hours late.

What I would like to do this year is make sure I get a post up early in the week. If I can't do it on Sunday night, I'd like to have it up on Monday. This is because I'm dealing with news. I want to get those articles about the weekend's races up as soon as possible. I'm also gradually working on a Viewpoint article. They usually start Friday afternoon, and I add a little bit each day. So, there was four days worth of information and observations in the Viewpoint. It was a very long column, probably too long.

Stress levels didn't get too high for me, but I admit I was frustrated with myself for not getting the post up on Monday. Tuesday morning was not fun. I'm already working on Tuesday afternoon for the next post. If this does go up, it should go up on Thursday night or Friday morning at the latest. This would be an update on whatever news is breaking in the effort to open up race tracks. It's a day-to-day process. Various promoters have to speak with their county health officials to make sure they meet guidelines that will allow them to do whatever it is they are doing. Will it be a practice of some sort? Will they be racing? That's the big question.

What we're dealing with right now is preventing us from having a grandstand full of fans watching the race. This is what the promoters really need. They're desperate for something, and promoters having races in front of empty grandstands are not necessarily happy about it. If you give them 25% of the grandstands, this enables them to sell as many tickets, in some cases, as they get on an average night. It depends on the venue. After they mark off the seating with six foot spacing and all of that, tracks can still sell somewhere between 500 and 700 tickets. All they need is permission to do so.

Then, it becomes what else do you have to do to meet the guidelines? Can you open up your concession stands? How are you going to handle the bathrooms with so many people using them? Do you need hand sanitizer dispensers around the area so people can wash their hands? Are you enforcing a mask rule? Will you be required to take people's temperatures before they come in? Can you accept cash? These are the kinds of things promoters are going to have to figure out before they can get to the the point where they can have fans. You also have to take into account that counties have to crunch the numbers of covid-19 cases to see what can be allowed. Now, we could have fans at some tracks by the end of June, but I am guessing. 

It does seem kind of ludicrous in light of the situation we're in now that we're worried about social distancing and all of that. I don't think the numbers have necessarily justified the fear they are instilling in us or all the hoops we have to just jump through to get back to business. In light of the civil unrest across the country, we may be having to worry about curfews or those kinds of things at some places. It certainly is a crazy time.

When you get into legalese and getting permits, sometimes it's all in the wording. This is certainly true for getting permissions to go racing again. I've used the example of the Sacramento Raceway Stadium Oval next to the drag strip. It's a neat little track that's been used for Motorcycles and Karts and that sort of thing. In the 1990s, they wanted to run big cars on the track. Because they used the term Stadium Oval, somehow that got them the permits to have a nice run of Friday night Stock Car racing for about five years.

If you get too cute with the idea, they can shut you down. I don't know if Coos Bay had officially entered Phase 1 yet when Drake Nelson hit on the idea to rename his track Coos Bay Speedway Bar And Grill. Because bar and grills could open at Phase 1 in limited capacity, he figured the new classification would allow him to run a race in front of at least some fans. He got as far as a Friday night drag race before he was shut down. They were talking Memorial Day Weekend at the oval track, but that obviously went out the window.

Madera Speedway was really at the forefront of California tracks working hard to open while working with state and county officials. I know the World of Outlaws did what they did, and some of the venues on the West Coast have follow their model. Promoter Kenny Shepherd didn't have that to work with when he worked on a five-phase plan that would see them go from very limited practices, one car at a time if need be, all the way to having fans in the grandstands for a regular show at some point.

They've advanced a little bit in that game plan, and Saturday night they are doing Club Races. Not regular races. Not just racing in front of an empty grandstand. Club Races. This is important, because the Madera County officials don't want drivers traveling from other race tracks unless they've been quarantined for 14 days before coming to Madera. That's the county officials' idea, not Kenny's. So when they say Club Racing, they're basically talking about regulars at Madera Speedway. This is also a way for county officials to know that Kenny's not just going to try to stack the pit area with race cars from all over California to make up for the fact that he doesn't have fans in the stands. That's an important point.

Dennis Gage at Marysville has done something similar. He's basically opened up for his local racers. Granted, the Sprint Car division has seen visitation from other tracks, but the track itself isn't lobbying for as many different racers as they can get. Basically, Dennis is trying to show that he can handle a regular type race that the track would normally run and still keep things within covid-19 guidelines. He's able to do this because he's paying half-purse and he's had streaming services to help generate revenue. Otherwise, Marysville may have sat dormant like its sister track, Silver Dollar Speedway.

Silver Dollar Speedway put the news out on Monday that they won't be opening in June or early July. Furthermore, the fireworks display is off. It's interesting how Butte County is being as restricted as they are, and I'm a bit surprised. Santa Maria Speedway can't even open for as much as a limited practice. Merced Speedway just chimed in that they are seeking approval from county health officials for a potential opener on June 20th. Right now, General Manager Doug Lockwood just wants to have racing of any kind if he can, but much like they're saying up in Roseburg, Oregon, Doug isn't talking about point racing or any of that. Just having a race, which would probably be in front of an empty grandstand at first. You talk about a grandstand that can use social distancing and still have quite a few fans watching, Merced Speedway is the place for that.

Oregon is headed for Phase 2, and one of the things this includes is outdoor gatherings of 100 or less people. This is an interesting situation here. You can't really have an open practice at 100 people. You're likely to have over 100 people, and you need that to make opening the gates for a practice worthwhile. I'm not sure what the numbers are for such a thing. In the past Southern Oregon Speedway has had a practice that charged $10 to get in. So, if you have 100 people, you made $1,000. However, you're having to pay insurance costs and EMT and whatever else to attempt to practice. You at least need to be able to get as many people as you can in the pits, or people will be paying more to get in.

The other thing about it is, if you can get as many people in the pits as you can, why run a practice? Why not run a race? The easy answer to that is you don't have fans in the stands, which is a huge chunk of the purse money you pay. Even if you've got all the cars and crews back there, that's not going to be enough to pay the normal purse once you take out all the costs associated with running this event. Streaming services are an option, if you can get them. However, the more tracks that are open on any given Saturday night, the lower the return will be on the streaming services. Best chance you have at a race is if the racers are willing to take a pay cut at 50% purse or whatever is decided.

I'm curious about the news that Drake Nelson was considering running a race with the 100 person maximum allowed in the pits at Coos Bay Speedway. This came out on the Pacific Sport Modified Series Facebook page on Monday. How exactly can you pull that off? Drake was reportedly thinking about IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds and the local Junior Stinger division. I'll ignore the idea that he's got a bunch of anxious Hornet and Late Model racers that would probably like to run and are his devoted locals. Whatever.

Obviously, if you're going to put a 100 person limit on who can be in the pits, this means car count is going to be limited. Let's assume that you can get all 100 people. In other words, you're not counting any officials you need to run the show. Let's assume you are allowing two people per car. The driver and crew member. Now, you have 50 potential cars. Some teams won't like that as there may be another essential crew member that they wouldn't be allowed to bring. Do you allow three people per car? That gets you to 33 cars. The number of potential participants just got lower.

At 33 cars, if you're trying to run three divisions, that's 11 cars per division. That's enough for you to run two heat races, a Trophy Dash and a Main Event. What would be the pay? It sounded to me like they were looking to see if they could get sponsorship for the purse money. Nelson was going to need whatever gate admission he got to justify running the race. Totally understandable. I don't like the limitations on cars. Somebody's feelings will get hurt because they can't reserve a spot, but if the track is going to run, they have to limit how many people can be there.

Let's say everybody was okay with two people per car. That gives you 50 cars. You are still going to be paying whatever the driver entry fee is and the crew member entry. Multiplying that by 50 cars, that's what gets taken in from the pit gate. You subtract the insurance, EMT and whatever other fees you might have. It still doesn't really make sense financially to attempt a race under these circumstances. At 50 cars, if you divide that by three divisions, you're looking at 16 cars per division. If a division underperforms, like bringing 12 cars, this could free up four spots to the other classes. This is why you do pre-race registration. You make sure all 100 slots are filled and it's easier for you to handle cashless transactions, if that's a requirement.

It still doesn't make a lot of financial sense to me, but there's also the idea that I was pitching a few weeks ago. Let's say you have 100 people that you can get for any of these Oregon tracks to open. I look at how Kevin Barba down in Yreka had three-hour time slots and ran three practices in one day a couple of weeks ago. Actually, he had three days set aside with three practices each. The bigger question is will the state health officials let you do it? If you already had one gathering of 100 people, even if they all clear out for the next gathering, would that be considered sanitary enough to hold a second event?

I feel ridiculous even having this discussion right now. We've gotten to the point where we're trying to take a number like 100 people and make it work. But let's just say you open your gates at 10 in the morning. You will be racing the first shift at noon. You're going to keep this program rolling, so you want the final checkered flag to be dropped by no later than 2:00 so the pits can be cleared by 3. Then, you're opening up the gates at 4 to do it again. You're only going to probably get in two racing sessions that way. Several tracks are rotating a half a dozen or more divisions, so obviously this is the way to get at least some racing in for most of the classes, even if there is a limit. 

If you have 100 people allowed into your pits, that means 50 cars. You might still have to put a cap on the car count you get. Let's say you have a strong IMCA Sport Modified division that is capable of delivering more than 25 cars. You might cap them at 25 cars. Putting a cap on the class means it's not going to be a sanctioned event, but it is an opportunity for drivers in the class to go racing if they reserve their spots. Let's say you support the show with 25 Dwarf Cars. This would easily fill 100 slots for one of your segments.

You might try to get three divisions in a segment. Let's say you chose Mini Stocks, Sprint Cars and Late Models. I know, we forgot the IMCA Modifieds. This is the problem. At three divisions, you now have 16 cars per class with 2 remaining. I don't think you'll have a problem filling 100 slots in the pits for people and getting 50 total cars. If you did that and had officials willing to work the whole day, five divisions could run a racing program of some sort in front of empty grandstands. Whether you had streaming services, I don't know. But you could still run heat races, Trophy Dashes and Main Events.

What this does is basically makes it so that your insurance policy would probably cover the full program. It might cost more for you if you split it into two days. In other words, one group gets to run with these restrictions on Saturday and the other group runs on Sunday. That becomes more costlier, so you do it all in one day instead. Of course, your EMT charges by the hour, meaning it's a longer day for them. Also, your crew are doing it a bit longer. So, would that pencil in a way that you could pay any sort of purse at all? Could you do half-purse? I don't know.

The biggest reason I've had this discussion on this column here is because there are Oregon tracks that may be looking at this very way to do some sort of racing. Obviously, Coos Bay Speedway has put the feelers out to the PSM group. What I heard was being discussed prior to the Memorial Day Weekend event being scrapped was a 16 car limit per class. It sounded like Coos Bay was ready to run most of their regular classes. Some of them didn't have 16 cars, so if they only delivered a half dozen, the other 10 slots would be free for another class. There was just a maximum total car and person allowance.

If you recall, when this stuff was being debated on social media, Heather Boyce at Cottage Grove Speedway indicated that she was watching what Coos Bay was doing. What she said was that she might have restricted races in front of no grandstands as well with a certain amount of cars being allowed. In her case, she wasn't just going to let it be first come first serve. She was going to open it up to people who had been supportive of Cottage Grove Speedway in recent years first. However, it highlighted that even Heather was looking at doing something with the restrictions. 

It has to be worth the effort to do this. Racers in the higher-end divisions start questioning whether it's worth it when the purse gets cut. A promoter starts questioning whether it's worth it to do it when they are not able to sell tickets to fans. There is quite a bit of work that goes into it. Of course, some of the work wouldn't necessarily need to be done if you don't have fans. You wouldn't have concession stands going, for instance. You wouldn't have the employees on that side of the fence to pay. You wouldn't have an announcer unless you had a pay-per-view stream for people to buy. You would basically just need a score keeper at that point.

My first instinct is to throw this whole idea out the window and say it's ridiculous. If this is how far we have to go to make something happen, it's not worth it. It's more work and more headaches. On the other hand, I feel the pain of the racers. I know they want to race. If what we were facing in regards to this virus was really as dire as they have claimed it to be, I wouldn't even want to have a discussion about this. However, the numbers don't really lie. Now, we've got rioting and looting thrown in on top of this whole mess. When will the madness end?

Regardless, Oregon appears to be headed for Phase 2 by this weekend in most of the counties. The others will probably join within the next week. As that happens and the case numbers are reasonable in their eyes, more things will open. I still look at the mass gathering rule being put in by the governor, but I have a feeling that this could actually disappear. We could still be talking about having racing in Oregon by the end of June and possibly getting fans in the stands in some instances in July. By August, we could be back in business, at least at the tracks that are going for it. Seasons will probably thrown out the window, meaning no champions in most cases, but fans could gather at the race track to watch some racing. 

I can't help but come to another conclusion here. If we get to the point where a mass gathering of 100 people can happen and the case numbers don't spike upward, the number of people allowed should be increased or not restricted at all. That's a discussion that will begin to happen before June ends. If you allow a track to have 200 people in the pits, somebody's going to go racing. 200 people is enough to do something, even though you still don't have the grandstands. As that works out, I think you get to the point where you can have grandstands in July sometime. So, regardless of the outcome of this State Supreme Court ruling that is supposed to happen at any time in Oregon, it's going to happen.

Drake Nelson has shown that he is busy trying to figure out which way will work best for him to do something, and I think he'll figure out the combination before too long. Could it be this race idea that he has in mind for potentially June 17th? He's not calling his place a bar and grill. He's not trying to put people in the grandstands. He's simply talking about what he can do with 100 people in the pits. If he comes up with something that works for him, there will be racing at Coos Bay Speedway. If he pulls this off, Heather Boyce will try to do something similar at Cottage Grove Speedway. Not a doubt in my mind about that.

I still come back to the idea that you could open the grandstands at a track in some sort of capacity, even if you're doing social distancing there. I know they're saying gathering in one location, but hear me out. The pits are a separate area from the grandstands. I know some tracks have the crossover gate where you can go back and forth, but you simply shut that. You furthermore don't allow in and out privileges from the pits or the grandstands. If you leave, you're going home. There is no leaving from the pit area to go to the grandstands or vice versa. Therefore, the people in the pits aren't coming into contact with the people in the stands. Makes sense, right?

If you allow 100 people to gather in the pits, you should also be able to allow 100 people to gather in the grandstands. Granted, that's not much, but it's still something. Better than nothing at all. You can maximize your adult ticket sales by saying only adults are allowed to spectate, thereby meaning that you'll have 100 adult tickets sold rather than some of them being kids tickets. It's a start, right? If you're allowed to have 200 people in the pits, you should therefore be allowed to have 200 people in the stands. No crossover gate privileges so that the people on one side of the fence are not interacting with people on the other. I know it makes too much sense, and state officials never even began to draft any sort of guidance for businesses such as race tracks. Otherwise, I think the situation would look a little bit different. 

Another note crossed my desk today regarding the California Speedweek for the Micro Sprints. This four-day series that would have taken place at the end of June has been canceled. Basically, although Lemoore Raceway is set to open on the 13th and Dixon Speedway has been having races without fans, Stockton Delta Speedway and Plaza Park Raceway have not opened yet. I haven't even heard any indication on when they are going to open either one of those venues, even to no spectators. It's obvious that they wouldn't be in a position to hold this series at the end of June. I don't know if they considered moving this back a couple of months or not. I'm not sure that could have worked, and it was decided to go ahead and cancel it this year and try again next year. This was the biggest Micro Sprint series in the state of California, and I hate seeing this one get cancelled.

I stand by the statement I made recently regarding the idea of an IMCA Modified/Sport Modified Speedweek in California. Some of the tracks that are running won't have championship point races, and we know the season in 2020 has been screwed up pretty badly. However, a week-long series championship is still something that could be done. Heck, if more than seven tracks wanted a piece of this action, you could go eight days, 10 days, whatever. I don't think going to an event for this series during the week would be an issue. Fans have been jonesing for it, so if the grandstands are open, they will go. Racers will go. 

When I say racers, I think it's fair to say you could have as many as 50 drivers in each division for a Speedweek Series, meaning you only need these two divisions. Anything else would be too much. You can't set up a series like this in June. Tracks still aren't open yet. July is problematic as some tracks might not be open with grandstands. August may be iffy as well. However, I think September would be the perfect time for this. Maybe you kick things off on Labor Day Weekend, or you start at the end of August right into Labor Day Weekend. I know schools will be back in session in September, but this timeframe could work. You should be able to have fans by then. 

You can take your pick of IMCA Modified venues, and there are some good ones. Antioch Speedway is already holding races. Petaluma Speedway should be up and running by then as should Merced Speedway. Ocean Speedway could be running. You could go to Marysville Raceway. I'm expecting that Bakersfield Speedway could be open for business by then. Maybe Keller Auto Speedway as well. I mean, this series would be good, and it would put a positive spin on the 2020 season. Promoters working together for the betterment of the sport under very difficult circumstances.

Will it happen? If I'm honest, I'm doubtful. You can't get three promoters to go outside and look at the sky and agree on what color it is these days. If someone makes a concession to another one, they feel like they're being weaker somehow. So, I'm doubtful that this type of thing would be put together. Even the guy who put together the Wild West Speedweek Series managed to screw things up prior to the whole covid-19 outbreak. Now, it looks like that one has been scrapped at least for the year. California has been begging for something given the growth of both the IMCA Modifieds and Sport Modifieds. I'm telling you, this would be a winner. People who couldn't make it there would gladly order pay-per-view to watch it at home. The best of the best in both classes would be competing, and we'd have two truly deserving champions by the end of the series.

What we have to understand is they're not making this easy. Since there is no blueprint for how to open up a race track in these conditions, at least as far as the state is concerned, you simply have to engage in the game of mother-may-I. I am wrapping up the Tuesday news with word that Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford has petitioned to be able to do something. Bear in mind, we are in June now. We are progressing along in the phase system, but they are only able to dip their toe in the water. While Santa Maria Speedway can't even get a car on the track according to their county officials, it looks like Kings County will allow four cars into the pits at Hanford. Oh goody. This is where we're at.

I understand that we are in a process, and having a limited practice at a track is a victory. It's a small victory, but it's a victory. In a week or two, maybe they can have a bigger practice. At this rate, maybe they can have a race in front of an empty grandstand in July. I know, I know. This whole deal changes daily, so there could be even better news in the next day or two. That's how it seems to work. It's just baffling to me how this deal is going. In Antioch, they got approval for a race before they hastily scheduled a practice for the week before.

Antioch Speedway is at a fairgrounds, and they got approval for a race. It wasn't just some race with the locals, they put 150 cars in the pits and I can only imagine how many people. The records are there, but it had to be three times or four times the car count. Could have been a little bit more. I don't know. When they got approval for the race, they threw in a practice the week before that race and had 100 cars. No fans, but you can hardly call this a dipping of the toe in the water. On the pit side of the gate, they drove in headfirst. That's the Antioch Fairgrounds. In Hanford, four cars may be allowed to practice in June, contact the track to find out. Okay then. That's the news from Keller Auto Speedway. As I say, check their Facebook page for more details on that. 

This final little ditty on Tuesday has to do with River City Speedway in St Helens, Oregon. I mentioned that they were moving towards at least having a practice, but there was an article in the newspaper in the area about doing some sort of racing in Phase 2. Okay, they know they can't have a crowd. Phase 2 says only 100 people. They admit there's 15 officials, so that's 85 more people in the pits. Obviously, they're hoping to petition county officials to give them a few more people in the pits. How many, I don't know. Will it work? Maybe, maybe not. You never know if you don't ask. I tend to be doubtful, but these are crazy times. I think the discussion about what to do with 100 people in the pits comes into play. I start with, "Okay, so you said 100 people? Does the staff count?" I don't know.

You have to understand that to get that approval, they have to do the whole song and dance with the health officials. Will there be a mask requirement? How do we implement the social distancing guidelines? Can we use paper money or digital transactions only? It sounds like it will be digital transactions there. Are we required to take temperatures at the gate? What are the guidelines for opening the bathrooms? Can we open the pit concessions and what are the guidelines? This is ridiculous. It's damn ridiculous. But, this is what every track will go through to try to open.

This Is the new normal. Don't you just love Orwellian speak? How do you like the new normal? What happens when they tweak that to make you jump through more hoops? Are you ready to do that too? This is where we're at. If I seem a little bit frustrated, I am. This is America, or I thought it was. I don't know what it's becoming, but you need to look around the world right now. They are rioting in the streets. We've been on lockdown over a virus that had a very low fatality rate. By the way, if you think the riots are just about a black man being pretty much murdered by a law enforcement officer, think again. The people were initially protesting or exercising their first amendment rights. I know the phrase black lives matter elicits different responses, and I'm not going to get into any of that. This protest has gone beyond that, and there are other factors and factions at play here. It's gone beyond what the protest started out to be. 

Standing up for our right to go to a race track may be the least of our issues here. By all means, we should stand up for our right to race. However, we should also stand up for our way of life. If we don't, it's going to change drastically. Remember those dystopian movies we were watching in the 1980s and early 1990s with people like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone? Yeah, it was cool to watch the good guys kicking ass, but look at the world they were living in in those movies. Was that some sort of predictive programming at play? I don't know. I'm asking. I have my theories. 1984 should resonate with people. Brave New World should resonate with people. Look around you. That's all I'm going to say. Fight for your right to race, sure. But there are bigger issues at play here 

One final thought for the evening. This highlights the craziness that we're going through as Contra Costa County enters the next phase. Guess what businesses, you can open up more. Oh wait, we've been having rioting and looting in the area. You'll have to deal with a curfew. You'd better be home at 8 pm like good citizens or you're breaking the law. isn't that nice. The county officials voted unanimously to have the curfew all the way through June 8th. That will cover the weekend. How does this affect Antioch Speedway, which was going to get started racing at 6 pm? An official statement hasn't been made by the track as I write this, although one of the people in the know suggested that they would just start earlier if they had to.

This can be done. Since curfew is lifted at 5 in the morning and doesn't come back until 8 in the evening, you have a 13 hour window to do your thing. Basically, you're gathering everybody at the track earlier in the morning and having the final checkered flag falling by 4 in the afternoon or so. This is what would probably happen, because at this point I think it would take a tornado ripping through the fairgrounds before Chad Chadwick would cancel anything.

I have to laugh at this whole thing, and it's not funny. Not in the damn least. Some of us are sitting here struggling financially after what they've done with this virus. I say what they've done, because we've all seen the numbers. I've seen no proof that it was as big a threat as the media made it out to be. I'm by no means trivializing the deaths that really happened due to the virus. I say really happened, not those that were added to the numbers to inflate them. I don't like anybody dying of anything, and I think you'd have to be a monster to say you like seeing people die. That's not the point. The point is everything got shut down, and now we're dealing with the fall out in so many ways . We'll be feeling it in the months ahead. That's not even including the next thing they throw at us. 

You're not even able to feel the least bit good about anyting. Fine, we are enduring this. Things are starting to get back to normal, slowly. Okay, we can't race in front of fans, but we can race. Okay, this track can't open to full capacity, but they can open a little bit. Fine. Then, Wham-O! We have riots on the streets. We have businesses that are already feeling the pinch getting broken into, looted and vandalized. 

Across the country, places are getting burned down. Guess what, you're free to go back in your home. You're under curfew. Oh goody. I'm laughing because at this point I'm tempted to cry. Forgive me if opening the race track isn't as high on my list right now when I look at the freedoms that are in jeopardy. But I do care about the track. Don't worry, unless they tell Chad he can't open the track, he will have a race this weekend, and you can watch it on Dirt Oval TV from the safety of your own home so you don't get hurt.

It's Wednesday morning in the game of, "Oh great, what's next?" I was reading the Yreka Outlaw Kart Facebook page, and what they are trying to do is work within the 100 person guidelines for a June 12th race. It's easier for them to do that as they generally average between 20 and 30 Karts. They have 23 Karts signed up and 64 total people, meaning they have 36 slots left to fill. I think the Kart count could get into the 30s, and it will still just be 100 people using social distance guidelines and all of that stuff. With an Outlaw Kart program, you have a better opportunity to work within 100 person guidelines. I've been saying this for a while, but the numbers have been declining in recent years at these little tracks.

I'm still watching an evolving situation in Yreka. At first I look at what they're doing at the Kart track and say, "Okay, so they're doing it with 100 people." That doesn't necessarily mean that Siskiyou Golden Speedway will have a race on the 13th. However, I mentioned that this is an evolving situation. Between now and early next week, Kevin Barba may get the kind of news he needs. He may be told he can have a race there if he chooses as long as he enforces social distancing guidelines. That does not mean he can have fans, of course. I still think that he would lean towards having a race at that point, rather than a full practice. However, he's going to need the understanding and support of the racers, such as if there is a 50% purse or whatever is doable to make any kind of race happen at all.

I've spoken a bit about race tracks opening up their own streaming services in house, rather than bringing the established companies to town. One of the reasons for this is it enables you to get a bigger share of the revenue generated, rather than having to split it with the streaming service. After you've invested in the infrastructure, you can start working towards building it up and making it profitable. You don't just snap your fingers and make it happen that way. These things take time. Obviously, this pandemic is the perfect time to try to do something in-house, and Steve Beitler has Skagit Speedway TV. They hope to have some graphics with lineups and also the announcer being piped into the broadcast.

As I've said, without repeating myself too much, we're going to have to look at different ways to market the sport going forward. Though I like the written word and advocate continuing that, we need to do more visual and audio stuff. Whether this starts out with pay-per-view broadcasts in house or you start with highlight clips, interviews and that sort of thing, it is a marketing tool. Promoters might be surprised at how reasonably affordable an investment this can be. It's really not as difficult as you might think. Streaming services are convenient because they are established. But tracks can quickly set all of that up themselves. 

All it takes is good video equipment to give the fans high quality. Having a PA system that enables you to plug the video equipment in with your announcer, and suddenly you've got a broadcast. If you've got a good announcer and somebody who knows how to work the camera, you're on your way. I remember Fred at RevPro was telling me back in 2015 that he could go live already at that point. He's one of the people that works with Speedshift these days, and he still sells high-quality DVDs of each night's races. You've got a guy there who's been doing it for a long time, and he is one of the best out there.

It's not that much of an expense when you think about it. You basically have to have a good enough internet service to handle things. There is your investment. That and good filming equipment and hiring a guy who will work the camera. The announcer is already being paid by the track. Whether you build the streaming service through your website or use one of the other platforms out there like YouTube, Vimeo or what have you, you can go live. What's interesting about Beitler is he's putting this thing out there at Skagit Speedway TV. He's got a captive audience, which means he should do good numbers right out the gate. Hopefully, he'll have the bandwidth to be able to keep the service up. These things do have speed bumps, so his Thursday Night Thunder program could be interesting this week. I do wish him luck.

I wasn't looking forward to the news that Petaluma Speedway put out just now, but I'm not surprised. I figured there was a 50/50 chance that the race track would hold the race on Saturday, and Rick Faeth said that by June 3rd he would issue a final statement. Unfortunately, county officials aren't being very cooperative with the fairgrounds at this time. He had to cancel the race on Saturday and is aiming for the Dwarf Car Nationals two-day event next week. However, I would still keep the odds at 50/50 at best. If one of their concerns is too many people gathering at the location and people coming from out of town that might be coming from places with higher covid-19 cases, they may not like the sound of a Dwarf Car Nationals event happening there. We will see.

Rick also took some heat from a Facebook commenter when he made his announcement. He put it up there tentatively that he's hoping to get the Dwarf Car Nationals, and it just so happens that the PitStopUSA.com Wingless Spec Sprint class is in support of the Dwarf Cars at the Saturday June 13th show. Rick didn't scrap his schedule. This is the same schedule he booked when he released it earlier this year in January. He got criticized by somebody from the Hunt Wingless Spec Sprint Series for daring to book on top of a race they are scheduling for June 13th. Rather than do the adult thing and discuss this privately, they felt the need to put it out there for all to read.

Here's the thing. Rick has probably been at his wit's end trying to communicate with county officials to get any sort of approval. I know that if the conversations on the phone or in person go long enough, it's mentally draining. Plus, he's maintaining the track so it's ready at a moment's notice. What he might not be doing is looking on the website to see who's doing what. He has a schedule he intends to run, he's just had to cancel several races due to the virus. 

Furthermore, Antioch Speedway does not have anything listed on their schedule for June 13th at this moment. They are taking it one week at a time. Therefore, Petaluma Speedway was the first track that booked Spec Sprints. Just saying. Now, if you come to the man reasonably, I'm sure you can come to sort of agreement. Don't villainize a man who is fighting for his race track and has other things hanging over his head in the future there as well. He's working his ass off.

A little further up north from Petaluma, Furia Motorsports is happy to report that they are on schedule for Saturday's race at Ukiah Speedway. At this time, I've seen no mention of streaming services, but they will be running their Limited Modifieds, Bombers, Jammers and I-4 Modifieds. It's basically a regular type of event without fans. They are sticking to the strict covid-19 guidelines, and I have no doubt that they will be enforcing them better than some other places. Once Ukiah Speedway drops a green flag on a race on Saturday night, they become the second fairgrounds race track in the state of California to have a race. Progress is slow, but this is progress.

Continuing the Wednesday news, it's been clarified that the curfew in Contra Costa country is 8 pm. People were questioning how this might affect Antioch Speedway for this Saturday's race, but management has assured everybody that it will go on as scheduled at the times listed. Pit gates are opening at noon and the first race should shove off around 6 pm. When you think about it, there shouldn't be that much of an issue as the people going to the race track certainly won't be walking the streets. They will be driving around in vehicles towing race cars. It's a simple matter of going home from there, which also shouldn't be an issue. 

Really, the only safety concern that a person might have is if they happen to be driving their vehicle down a road where there are a bunch of protesters blocking their way. That could turn into a whole scary situation, but I'd say it's doubtful to be the case. In other words, the show is going on as scheduled, and I would say they're going to have a strong turnout in the 70 to 80 car range.

To highlight the craziness going on here with one track opening and another one being told they can't, Scott Schweitzer got the green light to have a practice. We hadn't heard much of a hint that anything was in progress at Bakersfield Speedway, but this was just announced and it pertains to an open practice on Saturday. The track will be engaging in certain covid-19 guidelines, as you might expect. The best place to find out all of the details would be the Bakersfield Speedway Facebook page.

We've spoken a bit about the controversy on the Madera Raceway Facebook page when Kenny Shepherd basically shined a light on both Antioch Speedway and Stockton 99 Speedway in his response to one of the comments. I want to clarify again that I didn't think it was cool of Kenny to mention any track at all. You may have noticed that somebody who races at Stockton said something, but was that Tony Noceti saying it? In other words, unless you're being attacked by the promoter themselves, it's best to take the high road. Speak for your race track and the safety issues in place that made it possible for you to have the Club Race you're going to have this Saturday. I don't think that's asking too much.

There will be some speculation as to whether a call went out from Shepherd or any of his people to the health officials in Stockton in light of the news that the Southwest Tour race was canceled this Saturday. This was just announced today. Am I saying that this happened? Nope. However, everything's out there on Facebook that was said, and some people might draw their own conclusions. Whatever you might think, it also reinforces what Shepherd said regarding who might be doing things the proper way and who might not. It's a mess.

I highlight what the mayor of Los Angeles said when the harsh restrictions were put in place down there. The guy got on TV and said snitches get rewards. He encouraged people to snitch, and that's sort of the society that were devolving into now. It doesn't necessarily mean that somebody was observing what was going on in Stockton and called the health authorities. That may not be the case at all. It may be that the health authorities simply wanted to review what was going on and decide if another event should happen. Therefore, they didn't want an event at the Stockton 99 Speedway on Saturday, but there still could be something on the 13th. I really don't know.

It is what it is. You're going to have some racers and promoters sitting in frustration as they watch what's going on in other places and sit helplessly waiting to do something at their own place. Whether they would want to lash out at the people who are doing something or not, I don't know. 

Guidelines were never put in place across the board, and that should have happened. It should happen now. By now, the state of California understands that tracks are trying to open. They also understand that there could be health concerns. Somebody at the state level, perhaps the State Fair Board themselves, should be drafting a plan that can be implemented at every fairgrounds race track. That's just my two cents.

Coos Bay Speedway may run a race on the oval track as we enter the halfway point of June. Nothing has been said on the track's Facebook page as of Wednesday evening, and I really don't know that we'll see anything there before the weekend. They're doing something with the mud drags, and that's going to be the priority. That particular show seems to be adhering to the 100 person guidelines as laid out in Phase 2. We enter Phase 2 this weekend, so the timing is perfect. Drake Nelson reportedly reached out to members of the IMCA Modified and Sport Modified community for their input on a race, which was originally thought to be June 10th. That would be a Wednesday.

The additional information I've received appears to have come from Drake himself. This is from an anonymous source who is friends with Drake on social media. I can't gain access to his posts to know for sure, but I have no doubt this is authentic. June 17th would feature IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds and Jr Stingers. There's another race in there. I was wondering how he could forget all his main divisions and just come out with a show featuring two divisions that are not on his regular roster. Obviously, one of the reasons he reached out to these other two divisions is because they are capable of delivering him cars if there's organization behind the groups themselves. The PSM is known to throw their weight behind things they believe in.

On June 20th, they intend to run a program that will include Late Models, Limited Sprints, Street Stocks and a couple of the other classes. When I read this, it doesn't sound like he's working within the 100 person guideline. That may not be the case on the 17th either, so how exactly will he pull this off if it's not allowed in Phase 2? If the people at River City Speedway in St Helens are petitioning for a little leeway to allow a few more people in the pits, this could be what Drake is doing. This may also be why he's only talking on his own personal page right now. It would make sense that you don't make an announcement on the race track page until you know for sure.

I have said for a while that I believe that Drake will be the first promoter in Oregon to run a race on his oval track, and I'm sticking to that. He's on a private property, so he doesn't have to deal with anything from the county that might own the location the race track is on. However, he may have learned a lesson about getting too cute the way he did back in May. The state would see right through that. He may be looking at this the right way. You're probably not going to get fans in the grandstands on your first attempt. However, if you can get enough people in the pits, it might be worth the attempt. I eagerly await what is announced on the Coos Bay Speedway Facebook page.

It's Thursday morning as I'm adding more to this column. Last night I actually did the audio show, which went longer than I'd like with all the updates and observations, and yet there's more. Hopefully, I'm not going to hear something really huge and be recording the show again, although I'll try to be briefer if that happens. This is the interesting thing about doing the Viewpoint the way I am. It's kind of easier to write when you break it down day by day and don't take all the information overall and to write it all at once. I'd be spending an entire day on the column. This way is easier for me, and I think it gives a better view of the process.

Lakeport Speedway hasn't said too much that I've seen, But news just came across my desk. They've finally been given approval to hold some races in front of empty grandstands. On June 13th and June 20th, they should be doing some racing. I'm unclear on the divisions that will be included, although they run Limited Modifieds, Bombers, Jammers and that sort of thing as does Ukiah Speedway. They are talking about a practice this Saturday as well. I believe the Facebook page is NCRA Lakeport Speedway.

In the best example of good news/bad news, the USAC Western Midgets have canceled racing all the way through July 11th. There was some Petaluma and Placerville and Ventura thrown in there among other tracks, but that's gone. We are still waiting on word from Ventura of what's going on there. We know Petaluma lost this week, but we don't know what the latest is on Placerville Speedway opening again for anything. Obviously, this decision was made based on the association's information and not the track's. The tracks could always be running on the nights when this division was scheduled with a different division added in. Day by day, the news is changing.

On the audio show, I speculated on when we might be seeing 12 tracks in California running on a Saturday night. I speculated that I don't see that happening in June, but maybe July. It's the same sort of thing about when they will allow fans in the grandstands. One county might be different than another. I'm going to stick to the prediction that it will be in late June at the earliest or we'll see it in July. Speculation on when we'll see a race in Oregon? I'm bumping that up to 60/40 or 70/30 that we will have a race in June with no grandstands and possibly some limitation in how many cars are allowed in the pits. I'm looking at you Coos Bay.

Let this be the final note I put in this column on a Thursday afternoon. I'm sure there will be more, but this is relevant to the weekend at Antioch Speedway. I don't think Saturday's race was ever in doubt. If need be, times would have been changed, but there hadn't even been a hint that anything was going to be canceled. I can report now that the 8 pm curfew the Contra Costa County Supervisors had implemented through June 8th has been ended as of now. That's good news that they've got the violence under control in the area and also good news that people can go to the track without having to worry. It should be an enjoyable show to watch on Dirt Oval TV. Race on Antioch!

I'm struggling here. I will admit that. I'm at the end of my rope with the racing media effort. We're all having our struggles these days, so I know I'm not unique. I also know that I'm putting in time and getting nothing out of it in return. Therefore, I make no promises that the commitment I made coming into this season that I would cover things every week will continue. It's going to be a week-by-week decision. I'm looking around the world and I see what's going on. Suddenly, worrying about whether a track is going to open or not is the least of my worries. Whether my freedom is going to exist matters much more to me. If I were getting a return on the energy I put forth, I might care a little bit more and worry about the weekly racing blog effort more.

I want racing to resume. Even if I'm not involved, I want people to enjoy a sport that I enjoyed for many years. I don't like the idea of having to wear a mask at the track. Are you serious? Think of the different fumes that we breathe on race day, and we're not wearing masks for that. Socially distancing? If you read the damn guidelines, which I know aren't being enforced seriously at some places, you're not even supposed to go into other people's pits and talk. Really? Are you freaking serious? Cashless transactions only? Did we lose a war? It almost seems like we have, although was a shot fired in this case? What sort of racing are we looking at in the future with all of this stuff being put into place, and what other things are we going to have to do to keep racing going? Come on people. Wake up.

We haven't even gotten to the point where fans will be at the race track yet. Remember fans? We're advertising this streaming service or that to watch the races as if this is okay. I mean, I get it. We are compromising to make it work, but at what point do we have fans out there? Why are fans who want to be there not being allowed to risk it, but racers and crew members are? Who makes these rules and do they make sense to you? That's where we're at. I'm trying to tell you that this is not normal, or at least it shouldn't be. And simply putting the word new in front of normal doesn't suddenly make it acceptable. If there were people dying in the streets over the virus, I would understand. In fact, I don't think I'd even be talking about racing at that point. What would be the damn point?

I worried when I saw the World of Outlaws draft their proposal for opening up race tracks, and Mike was in agreement on this. He was pointing out things to me. This is what we're doing to open the gates. Because they had a lawyer and insurance guy on their side, it made it easier to sell to the tracks. Use these proposals to get your gates open. Go on your own, and you end up like Madera with a 14 day quarantine if a racer dares to go somewhere else. But are these guidelines that much better? 

Taking cash out of the equation? Are you not seeing what's going on here? The loss of cash is the loss of financial freedom. That's obvious. If you don't understand that, I'm not going to explain it to you. Somebody on the other end of a computer could end you're financial situation at the stroke of a key. Worse yet, the powers-that-be could designate you a bad citizen and take that away from you. I know, I'm talking scary stuff here, or conspiracy stuff, depending on your view. Maybe you think I'm crazy to say this. I don't know, and I really don't care.

By all means, we should fight for the things we believe in. For some of us, racing is a part of our lifestyle, and I get that. However, although I want to continue to document this craziness going on, I may withdraw from this whole thing a little bit earlier given the fact that I'm dealing with my own financial struggles right now. Putting hours into this every week is becoming less important to me. 

I've watched this virus situation pretty much destroy the momentum that we've worked so hard to establish up in Medford, and the path to opening the gates at that race track is unclear. At what point can that be done with a crowd in the grandstands for a race night? Am I witnessing the end of my involvement in this track. What am I going to do next? 

I get not having any support for my media effort. I started doing this whole thing voluntarily because I wanted to make a difference. I stand by my work over the last five years and know that I have made a difference. I have nothing that necessarily needs to be proven at this point. If I continue the weekly effort for a while longer, it's because I was motivated to do it for some reason, but I am putting it out here now that I may stop at any time. It's not something I'm going to stress myself out over anymore. 

I recognize now that when it comes to this sport, it's time for a new way of thinking about things. Somebody else may have better ideas than me. I can still pop in from time to time with observations. So it's one day at a time for me on this effort from here on out, and we'll see what happens. If somebody makes me the right offer, I'm listening. I'll leave it at that.

On that note, all in this column. Until next time...

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Marysville Raceway, Antioch Speedway, Stockton 99 Speedway, Siskiyou Golden Speedway, More

First of all...

The DCRR Racing Media Books


Just A Kid From The Grandstands:  My Time In Auto Racing
Stories of my time in auto racing from the beginning to 2003
Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover

And


Don's California Racing Recollections:  Best Of The Blog And Beyond
Racing History, Stories, Statistics And Pictures
Available via print on demand at Lulu in Hard Cover or Paperback

If You Like Reading Our Articles
Support Us Via The Go Fund Me The Tip Jar HERE


Also...

DCRR Racing Media And PR Consulting  HERE

From the Grandstands By Ron Rodda HERE

Antioch Speedway Racing Discussion Can Be Heard HERE

Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion Can Be Heard HERE


The DCRR Racing Radio Show
Backup Link HERE


Forsberg, Brown, Van Roekel Win 
Marysville Raceway Features

Marysville, CA...May 30...Taking the lead from Brad Bumgarner on a lap 16 restart, Andy Forsberg went on to win the 25 lap Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Marysville Raceway. The two-time reigning Placerville Speedway champion, Forsberg has seen mishaps take him out of the lead in two of the previous three features, but he was not about to let this one get away from him. 

Billy Wallace raced into the early lead. Bumgarner slipped past Jake Haulot for second on lap two with John Michael Bunch following closely into third. Forsberg put the moves on Bunch to grab third on the ninth lap as the leaders caught slower traffic. Bumgarner used that to his advantage as he moved high in the fourth turn to take the lead from Wallace. Haulot and Forsberg were having an equally exciting battle for third with Haulot getting the spot briefly on lap 13. Forsberg used a low pass and Turn 3 to regain the position on lap 14. Forsberg then made a similar move a lap later to take second from Wallace,. A lap 15 yellow flag flew for an Alec Justeson spin in Turn 2. Forsberg pressured Bumgarner immediately when the green flag waved and made an outside pass on the backstretch to take the lead. Forsberg began to pull away, only they have his lead wiped out by a lap 20 yellow flag for Lonny Alton. However, Forsberg resumed command on the next restart and would cruise to victory. Bumgarner settled for second, followed by Bunch, reigning champion Michael Ing, Haulot, Wallace, 2018 champion Mike Monahan, Korey Lovell, Ben Worth and Kevin Lovell.

Ing was the quickest of 16 qualifiers with a lap of 13.317. Monahan held off Wallace to win the first eight lap heat race with Bumgarner claiming the victory in the second heat ahead of Forsberg.

Dan Brown Jr turned in an impressive performance to win the 20 lap Limited Late Model Main Event. After a restart following a Rod Oliver spin, past Placerville Pure Stock champion Dan Jinkerson moved the Mike Lightfoot car into the early lead ahead of Tom Tilford and Jay Norton. A low pass and Turn 2 of the second lap gained Brown third before Tyler Lightfoot spun for a yellow flag. Jinkerson continued to lead Tilford and Brown on the restart. As Jinkerson held command, a battle ensued between Tilford and Brown. Unfortunately, Jinkerson slowed considerably exiting the fourth turn on the sixth lap and pulled into the infield. Moments later, Brown moved by Tilford to take the lead. Brown would pull away to an eventual half-lap advantage over second place, which was the battle in the waning laps. Tilford and Norton enjoyed a side-by-side battle before Norton went high in Turn 2 on the final lap to grab the second spot from Tilford. Tilford would settle for third, followed by Oliver, Richard Vander Ploeg, Eddie Gardner, Ray Trimble, Jinkerson and Tyler Lightfoot. Brown outran Oliver to win the eight lap heat race.

Jesse Van Roekel had some luck on his side as he won an ugly 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event. This race was riddled with 14 yellow flags that saw virtually every driver in the field involved in one mishap or another. Jim Brookshire led early with Zach Lindgren settling into second. Lindgren took the lead on a lap five restart. By then, Kyle Cheney had moved from 20th starting to third, and he made an inside pass on the backstretch of the sixth lap to take second from Brookshire. Despite the numerous yellow flags, Lindgren continued to lead Chaney on each restart. Chaney kept it close. As they entered Turns 3 and 4 for the final time, there was contact between the two drivers in their battle for the lead, causing both Cheney and Lindgren to spin. Suddenly, Van Roekel found himself in the lead, and he brought it home to the checkered flag, followed by David Caluya and Brookshire. Lindgren settled for fourth, followed by Zac Bulloch, Cheney, Devin Koranda, Zack Thornton, Rick Etchinson and Jason Clayton. Eight lap heat race wins were earned by Keith Ross, Thornton and Lindgren.

Jeff Macedo won the 20 lap Crate Sprint Main Event. Macedo led Mike Ballantine for two laps before Ballantine spun in Turn 2 for a yellow flag. Macedo continued to lead with reigning champion Brett Youngman following closely behind him. Following one more yellow flag for Ballantine on the fourth lap, the rest of the race went without incident. With Youngman pressuring Macedo for the rest of the race, Macedo still prevailed for the hard-fought victory. David Sims ended up third ahead of Ballantine. Sims also won the eight lap heat race.

For further information on coming events and other things pertaining to the track, go to www.marysvilleraceway.com.


Majdic, Ensign, Miraglio Win On Open Wheel Night 
At Antioch Speedway

Antioch, CA...May 30...Making a thrilling late race pass on Colby Johnson, Chase Majdic went on to win the 25 lap Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. The win paid $1,200 to Majdic aboard the Demo Mittry owned Sprinter.

Petaluma Speedway racer or Colby Johnson set the early pace from the front row ahead of Majdic and 2016 Antioch champion Billy Aton. Early in the battle, Majdic hit a rut in Turn 2 and nearly rolled. He managed to regain control and fell behind Aton. However, Majdic battled his way past Aton to regain second. Following a lap 23 yellow flag, Majdic put some serious pressure on Johnson and made a perfect slide job pass through Turns 1 and 2 to emerge with the lead. Johnson attempted to make the same move a lap later, but his car didn't stick in the second turn. Moments later, the final yellow flag waved for reigning track champion Jacob Tuttle. Majdic led the restart and brought it home to a satisfying victory ahead of Colby Johnson, five-time Chico champion Sean Becker, Chase Johnson and Zane Blanchard.

Shayna Ensign won the 20 lap Wingless Spec Sprint Main Event. Ensign is the 2018 Petaluma Speedway champion, and she recently married past Petaluma and Watsonville Sprint Car champion Geoff Ensign. Two-time Antioch Speedway champion Dan Gonderman had a front-row start and charged into the lead early on. Gonderman paced the first 10 laps as Ensign worked her way to the front. A low pass in the second turn of the 11th lap gained Ensign the lead. Gonderman had plenty of pressure from DJ Johnson, but he maintained second for several laps before being overtaken with a low pass Turn 2 of the 17th lap. The race had been slowed after a tangle on the back straightaway saw Tony Bernard roll. What time a factor Ensign led Johnson. Jake Morgan made a backstretch pass on Gonderman to gain third on the 20th lap. Moments later, a yellow flag flew to end the race five laps early. Ensign won ahead of Johnson, Morgan, Gonderman and Dylan Bloomfield.

2016 Antioch Speedway Dwarf Car champion Kevin Miraglio won the 20 lap Delta Dwarf Car Main Event. This was the first race for the division under the new DDCA banner. Past Watsonville champion Shawn Jones set the early pace ahead of NorCal champion Michael "Spanky" Grenert and two-time Antioch champ Danny Wagner. A low pass in the fourth turn of the 16th lap gamed Ryan Winter second before a yellow flag waived. Jones continued to lead Winter on the restart. However, Jones hit a rut in Turn 2 of the 18th lap and Winter slowed to avoid him, allowing Miraglio to race pass both drivers for the lead. Jones recovered in third and made a last-lap pass on Winter for second. However, Miraglio was the happy winner ahead of Jones, Winter, Wagner and Ventura racer Nick Velasquez.

Three-time Merced Speedway champion Chris Corder won the 12 lap Four Banger Main Event.

For news on scheduling and other happenings at the speedway, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.


Nascimento, Iest, Scantlin Win 
Stockton 99 Speedway Sunday Opener

Stockton, CA...May 31...Eric Nasimento Jr scored the victory of the 75 lap Stockton Late Model Main Event Sunday afternoon at Stockton 99 speedway. The race was a rapidly run event with no yellow flags throughout the first half. 

Aaron Shankle raced into the early lead ahead of Larry Tankersley and Nasimento. A low pass in the fourth turn of the sixth lap gained Nasimento second from Tankersley, and he set his sights on Shankle. The lead duo ran closely until Nasimento made a low pass in Turn 2 of the 11th lap to gain the lead. As Nasimento began to pull away from the pack, Shankle was followed closely by Tankersley and Gary Shafer Jr. Shafer made an inside pass on Tankersley for the third position on lap 27. Nasimento steadily built a half-lap advantage over the pack before a yellow flag for Greg Ufens caused a lap 36 slow down. Nasimento continued to lead Shankle and Shafer on the restart. Nasimento again began to pull away from the pack, leaving Shankle to battle Shafer for the second spot. Though there was another yellow flag to bunch the field, Nasimento again resumed command on the restart. Nasimento would go on to the victory with Shankle a solid second. Shafer had problems and fell back several positions as Sam Solari finished third, followed by Greg Potts, reigning champion Justin Philpott, Tankersley, Dominic Lopez, Shafer, Chuck Dozhier and Ufens.

Young Joey Iest won the 75 lap Madera-Roseville Late Model Main Event. Iest is the reigning Madera Speedway Jr Late Model champion. Reigning Southwest Tour champion Cole Moore raced into the lead with Ryan Philpott an early second ahead of Justin Marks. Jacob Gomes made a low pass in Turn 2 of the 11th lap to take third from Marks. Moore caught heavy traffic by the 16th lap with Philpott still in pursuit, and a lap 21 yellow flag flew for Hans Beeler in the fourth turn. Philpott surprised Moore by taking the lead on the restart, but the tenacious Moore ran closely with him. Following another yellow flag on lap 23, Moore continued to put the pressure on Philpott before finally regaining the lead. At the lap 30 mark, Moore led Philpott and Mike Beeler. An outside pass on the frontstretch of the 33rd lap gained Iest the second position from Philpott. Moore continued to lead through multiple yellow flag periods, but a lap 48 slowdown for Matt Wendt in Turn 1 gave Iest the opportunity he was looking for. On the restart, Iest put pressure on Moore, who got just a bit out of shape in Turn 2. Both Iest and Jeremy Doss got by for the first two positions. Moore recovered in third. Iest would lead the rest of the way for the victory with Doss second and Cole Moore settling for third. Philpott finished fourth, followed by Mike Beeler, Jason Aguirre, Matt Erickson, Holly Hollan, Wendt and John Moore.

Justin Scantlen ended up with the 25 lap Bomber Main Event win after Brandon Diede was disqualified in post-race tech. Scantlen charged into the early lead ahead of Diede and Jenna Ramos. On the 12th lap, Diede made an inside pass on the frontstretch to wrestle the lead away from Scantlen. Reigning champion MiKayla Stearns worked her way into the Top 3. Diede went on to claim what appeared to be the victory before the post-race tech. Scantlen emerged with the win after tech, followed by Stearns, Ramos, Kyle Singleton, Harrison Stone, Rodney Oliver, Allen Rider, Tony Walz, Mark Squadritto and Hunter Medina.

Cameron Austin won an entertaining 25 lap Legends of the Pacific Main Event. Jonathan Mawhinney set the pace for three laps before a yellow flag flew for Blake Borchers. On the restart, Cameron Austin made an outside pass down the backstretch to take the lead from Mawhinney as Cody Winchell ran a strong third. The lead trio mixed it up pretty good over the next eight laps and a pair of yellow flags. Mawhinney and Winchell were having a heated side-by-side battle for the second position until contact in the second turn sent both of them spinning for a lap 15 yellow flag. Winchell sustained heavy damage and retired, while Mawhinney restarted at the back of the pack. As Austin continued to lead the way out front, Mawhinney was putting on a passing clinic on his way to the front. Kevin Travels was holding second ahead of Scott Sabol, but Sabol got by Travels for the second position on lap 22. A low pass in Turn 1 of the 23rd lap gained Mawhinney the second position, but he ran out of time as Cameron Austin scored the victory. Sabol settled for third, followed by Travels, Brandon Rusbarsky, Ethan Nasument, Keith Clement, Rob Lathrop, Christian Bazen and Pete Pierce.
Joe Flowers won the 20 lap Basically 4 Cylinder Main Event. Andy Rumsey set the early pace ahead of Flowers and Rod Pevitali. They ran that way through the first eight laps before a yellow flag waved for Hannah Powell in the second turn. On the restart, Flowers made his move around Rumsey down the frontstretch to take the lead. Rumsey held second until surrendering the position to Kenny Burton Jr on the 15th lap. Flowers set a good pace and went on to an impressive victory, followed by Burton, Rumsey, Mark Hunt, Jeff Harris, Billy Rodriguez, Matthew Richardson, Powell, Vic Theberge and Nick Hall.

For scheduling and other news from the speedway, go to www.stockton99.com.


Even Rain Doesn't Halt Progress At Siskiyou Golden Speedway

Yreka, CA...May 31...Neither rain, nor pandemic has kept Kevin Barba and his hard-working crew at Siskiyou Golden Speedway from resuming some sort of activity for the past two weeks. The team has faced certain challenges along the way, but they've never given up in their commitment to restoring this track to a higher level of respectability not seen in several years.

When they were cleared to do limited practices on Memorial Day Weekend, Kevin devised a plan that would allow everybody who wanted to make practice laps to have the opportunity to do so. The weather was cooperative, and all nine time slots that were put out there for the weekend were able to happen. It might have been another case of limited practices last weekend, but the county gave them approval for slightly bigger practices.

Therefore, Barba set up a list for people to reserve the day they wanted to practice. The track would again be open on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. Furthermore, this was not a situation where they ran until it got dark. Barba made the decision to turn the lights on, which is a cost that goes to the promoter. Even on Sunday, they ran into the early evening so that everybody could get their laps. Sunday nearly didn't happen, but if you know Kevin's determination, that was not an option. 

It was hoped that the rain would just go around Yreka on Saturday, but as has been the case in the last year or two, the rain headed straight for the track. Saturday practice was a washout, and the damage done by the rain could have saw to it that Sunday went away as well. However, Kevin and his crew got to work on pumping the water off the track and the infield and then made sure the track racing surface was good enough for the drivers to get quality laps. Sunday practice would have to be considered a success. 

Among the things that have been done to improve the track was a Turn 4 hot entrance. This comes in very handy, especially when you have Sprint Cars that need to be pushed off onto the track. There were a pair of Sprint Cars on Sunday that made use of the new entry way. The buzz following these practices has been very positive, and there's an optimism in the air that we might be able to go racing here very soon.

The list compiled during the week of drivers wanting to practice at some point during the weekend hit 20 according to the track's own Facebook page. Roy Bain of the Tri State Pro Stock Challenge Series had his car there to allow Chaz Thompson to make some laps. Reigning IMCA Sport Modified champion Ethan Killingsworth and Gary Foster where there as well. Multi-time Yreka champion Nick Trenchard put his IMCA Modified through its paces. The Sprint Cars of David Marble and Branden Wilson were there on Sunday. Reigning Jefferson State Jalopy champion Marilyn Yawnick had her car there as well. This is just a sample as we haven't identified all of the drivers who were on hand. 

They may have just wrapped up their second-straight practice weekend at Siskiyou Golden Speedway, but it wasn't a typical practice. The crew had to remain busy not just in the week leading up, but on all three nights. Track prep went on during each practice to ensure the best racing surface for the drivers that was possible. It's just been announced that they will have three nights of practice again this weekend under similar guidelines laid out last weekend. They are taking driver sign ups now. For further information, check out The Siskiyou Golden Speedway Facebook page.


Tri State Pro Stock Series Heading To Antioch Speedway 
This Saturday Night

Antioch, CA...Antioch Speedway just announced that this Saturday night will have a show that will include the Tri State Pro Stock Series. Also on the card that night will be the IMCA Modifieds and the Hobby Stocks, and this is sure to be a show that will feature lots of cars. The Tri State Series is in its second year of operation with Roy Bain at the helm of the group. 

The series was put together last year when Bain got together with Gordon Russell Jr and Jerry Bartlett. The idea was to do something to put the Pro Stock/Super Stock/Limited Late Model division on the same rule set to allow drivers to support the class at various tracks. California has already pretty much said goodbye to the Late Models as we knew them, and the Pro Stocks are the spiritual successor to that form of racing. Bain and many other enthusiasts of the Pro Stock class want to see it preserved and grown from where it is now.

As it so happens, the Super Stock division at Antioch Speedway was created for the same reason. Back in 2000, then Promoter John M Soares added this division to his roster in an attempt to get some of the older Late Model chassis back out to the track. After a couple of years of build-up, the division started seeing car count hit the teens for a few years, and the track even worked together a little bit with Watsonville and Chowchilla. Unfortunately, the division has seen dwindling numbers at Antioch in recent years.

This is where new Promoter Chad Chadwick came in. Recognizing that the Super Stocks were still popular with the fans, Chad has taken a look at the rules and made some adjustments that he hopes will bring a few of the area cars back to Antioch again. Earlier this year, he even began communicating with Bain about the possibility of bringing the Pro Stock series to town to race head-to-head with the Super Stocks. Then, the covid-19 situation saw everything grind to a halt.

The season started like gangbusters for the Tri State Series. Tony Noceti at the Stockton Dirt Track had booked the group five times this year, and they held a pair of races in the first two months of the year with strong car counts as drivers came in from Southern California, Northern California, Nevada and Oregon to do battle. On both occasions, Jesse Gonzalez emerged victorious. Gonzalez recently won a Hobby Stock race in Nevada as well.

After a successful offseason of race date negotiations, Bain had lined up some big events for the group, only to watch the virus claim some of them. This included a third appearance at Stockton, the annual Billy Geyer Memorial race at Siskiyou Golden Speedway and the Gordon Russell Sr Memorial race, which was to take place at the end of June. Not wanting to watch his season slip away, Roy began making phone calls to various promoters to get the cars back on the track some place. This led to a tentative agreement with Chadwick at Antioch a few weeks ago that has now been confirmed for June 6th. Bain has further scheduled an impromptu date for the series at Susanville's Diamond Mountain Speedway on June 27th.

One of the things helping the Tri State Series has been some amazing sponsorship from Lyle Hopper of Winning Attitude Motorsports of Paradise. Hopper and his family have been involved in the sport for many years, and Lyle himself was a big booster of the NASCAR Late Model effort that was taking place at Watsonville, San Jose, Merced and Antioch in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He has offered $1,000 towards the purse for the Antioch race. Racers looking to get parts should contact Hopper and support a man who is doing his best to support this sport.

As mentioned, Jesse Gonzalez is coming into this event with a two-race winning streak. The Gonzalez family has been involved in Pro Stock and Late Model racing for several years, and they always hold their own against the competition. Another driver of the Nevada and Northern California racing wars, Bill Pearson, is competing. Likewise, reigning Tri State Series champion Mike Learn, a man who has won races at Antioch Speedway in the past, will be racing. There are some good drivers from the southern end of California, including past Bakersfield Street Stock champion Brady Bell, Ryan Smith, Dave King Jr and Late Model veteran Jerry Stewart. That's just a sampling of the talent that will be coming to Antioch Speedway, and there will be more.

Locally speaking, it doesn't get much better than two-time reigning champion Kimo Oreta. Oreta will be wheeling the #15 Sun Drop Racing Team car, which was made famous by five-time division champion Larry Damitz. Two drivers who were feature winners last season at Antioch, Chad Hammer and Chris Long, have both said they are planning to compete. 2013 champion Jim Freethy has his car ready to go, and others, including Terry DeCarlo and Ryan Cherezian, are anticipated as well. Cherezian has been knocking on the door to victory quite a bit in the last couple of years and had a second place feature finish in Stockton earlier this year. 

With IMCA sanctioning in the Modified division this year, that show will be very entertaining. The Hobby Stocks should have some top talent from out of town as well as local stars. The Tri State Pro Stock Series/Antioch Speedway Super Stock showdown will make this a must-see event on Saturday night. Though the grandstands are not going to be open due to the covid-19 situation, this event is expected to be available on internet pay-per-view. For further details, go to www.antiochspeedway.com, the Antioch Speedway Facebook page or the Tri State Pro Stock Series Facebook page.


Stockton 99 Speedway Unofficial Race Results May 31, 2020
Stockton Late Models
Eric Nasimento
Aaron Shankle
Sam Solari
Greg Potts
Justin Philpott
Larry Tankersley
Dominic Lopez
Gary Shafer Jr
Chuck Dozhier
Greg Ufens
JoJo Stearns
Dennis Byers
Barrett Sugden
Eloy Bazen
Ty Carlson
Danny DeVore

Roseville-Madera Late Models
Joey Iest
Jeremy Doss
Cole Moore
Ryan Philpott
Mike Beeler
Jason Aguirre
Matt Erickson
Holly Hollan
Matt Wendt
John Moore
Sheldon Cooper
Aaron Mullins
Jake Bollman
Hans Beeler
John McCollum
Jacob Gomes
Joey Brasil
Justin Marks
Gregg Potts
Cassidy Hinds
JJ Ferguson

Hobby Stocks
Justin Scantlen
MiKayla Stearns
Jenna Ramos
Kyle Singleton
Harrison Stone
Rodney Oliver
Allen Rider
Tony Walz
Mark Squadritto
Hunter Medina
Josh Cross
Robert Slagle
Roddney Tripp
Brandon Diede DQ

Basically 4 Cylinders
Joe Flowers
Kenny Burton Jr
Andy Rumsey
Mark Hunt
Jeff Harris
Billy Rodriguez
Matthew Richardson
Hannah Powell
Vic Theberge
Nick Hall
Andrea Rumsey
Rod Previtali
Ethan Rumsey
Zach Williams
Kayt Hunt
Ray Molina

Legends
Cameron Austin
Scott Sabol
Kevin Travels
Brandon Rusbarsky
Ethan Nasument
Keith Clement
Rob Lathrop
Christian Bazen
Pete Pierce
Pete Soto
Carlee Austin
Kayi Phillips
Blake Borchers
Rob Nasimento
Cody Winchel
Josh Flemming
Jake Bolman
Dylan Washburn
Richard Strmiska
JK Kinney
Mik Soiseth


Maryville Raceway Unofficial Race Results May 30, 2020
Winged 360 Sprints
Andy Forsberg
Brad Bumgarner
John Michael Bunch
Michael Ing
Jake Haulot
Billy Wallace
Mike Monahan
Korey Lovell
Ben Worth
Kevin Lovell
Alec Justeson
Steel Powell
Josh Wiesz
Jimmy Steward
Pat Harvey Jr
Lonny Alton

Limited Late Models
Dan Brown Jr
Jay Norton
Tom Tilford
Rod Oliver
Richard Vander Ploeg
Eddie Gardner
Ray Trimble
Dan Jinkerson
Tyler Lightfoot

Hobby Stocks
Jesse Van Roekel
David Caluya
Jim Brookshire
Zach Lindgren
Zac Bulloch
Kyle Cheney
Devin Koranda
Zack Thornton
Rick Etchieson
Jason Clayton
James Wooddell
Jacob Johnson
Keith Ross
Bryan Lloyd
Maurice Merrill
Sam Glover
Tim McHenry
Matt Rivera
William Merritt
Toby Merrifield

Crate Sprints
Jeff Macedo
Brett Youngman
David Sims
Mike Ballantine


Winnemucca Unofficial Race Results May 30, 2020
IMCA Modifieds

Ryan McDaniel
Chris Nieman
Josh Combs
CORY SAMPLE
ROBERT MILLER
Alex Stanford
Collen Winebarger
Chad Groves
Burt Beech
Ron Moser
Vincent Evenson
Brad Schmidt
Matt Murphy
Wade Kennemore
James Thibodeaux
Alec Childs
Rob Sanders
Dan Philpott
Brody Spangler
Wade Taylor
SCOTT FOREMAN
Alec Childs
Cody Blixt
DON CHILDS

IMCA Sport Modifieds

Brent Curran
Craig Nieman
Jimmy Ray Huffmon
Jimmy Ford
Andrew Peckham
Rusty McMilan
Skyler Winebarger
Brock Crawford
Scott Foster
Jeff Tuttle
Brian Cooper

Hobby Stocks
Jesse Gonzalez
Dan Dias
Shayna Nieman
Shawn LaRoque
Jesse Yanke
David Ausano
Brian Thorp
KC Kubichek
Jeff Marson
Roy Petersen
Yancy Shupe
Marie Curtis
Jesse Yanke
Keith Marson
Charlie Walker
Joe Quillici
Andy Damon

Dwarf Cars
Joe Frock
Mark Hanson
Tim Fitzpatrick
Michael Quillici
Glen Sciarani
Roy Petersen
Tim Steger
Mike Dahle
Alex Anderson
15
Dan Geil
Donald Petersen

Sprint Cars

bOB sHANK
Jordan Garretson
Bruce Ferrier
Kurt Goddard
Bob Shank
Jay Bradley
Tyler Cheek

Mini Mod

Rich Innis
Jim Durant
Jim Durant
Josh Evans
Jimmy Durant
Richard Evans


Fernley Raceway Unofficial Race Results May 29, 2020
IMCA Modifieds
Main Event

ALEX STANFORD
RYAN MCDANIEL
SHAWN NATENSTEDT
CHRIS NIEMAN
WADE KENNEMORE
MATT MURPHY
JAMES THIBODEAUX
ROBERT MILLER
RON MOSER
CORY SAMPLE
MARK SKENDER
WALTER BALL
WADE LUMSDEN
ROYCE GOETZ
MITCH MURPHY
BARRY STONE
DON CHILDS
BRODY SPANGLER
MALEN GONZALEZ
VINCENT EVENSON

B Main

ROYCE GOETZ
CORY SAMPLE
WALTER BALL
MARK SKENDER
MATT MURPHY
MALEN GONZALEZ
MITCH MURPHY
WADE LUMSDEN
JEFF WHITE
NEVIN KENNEMORE
BOYD MURCHISON
PARIS ARCHIE
STEVE MCQUEEN JR
FRED WHITE
JOSH COMBS

IMCA Sport Modifieds

BRIAN COOPER
CRAIG NIEMAN
JIMMY RAY HUFFMON
TREVOR TIFFEE
RUSTY MCMILLAN
COLLIN SANFORD
JEFF TUTTLE

Hobby Stocks
ROYCE GOETZ
RANDY BOYD
ROCKY GOETZ
DAN DIAS
RICK MILLER
SHANE BOYD
TOM HAXALL
RITCHIE ALTMANN
JOE CONROY
RICHARD ITALIANO
RONNY GOETZ
DYLAN SANFORD
TORI EDGINTON-AUSANO
SHAYNA NIEMAN

Pure Stocks

KATIE ROBINSON
MIKKI BEUCHAT
JESSE SHOWE 


The Editor's Viewpoint

It's been a bit challenging to maintain the media effort over the past couple of weeks. Back in March, I accidentally spilled water on the keyboard of my laptop. Very frustrating. I thought I had saved things, but immediately found that I had keyboard issues. It seemed like the computer itself was okay, so I could hook up a keyboard that I had and use the laptop that way. No problem. At the time, the racing media thing had been suspended while we all figured out what was going on with this virus deal, so I had time to see if this was going to be a problem.

Turns out it was a problem. The good news was the keyboard became functional enough for use. A couple of keys don't work, but not enough to keep me from typing on it. The bad news is I started getting the blue screen of death every hour or so. I knew I was lucky enough to get Windows to work, so I proceeded to pull all of the important files off of the computer onto a portable drive that I had. I have Windows on this computer, but it's guaranteed to crash within an hour of starting it up if not less. I do I have a backup laptop with a busted keyboard, but the hard drive on that one is unstable as well.

The solution right now is to run the computer off of an operating system from a flash drive. It's not ideal, but I have enough storage to save anything important and can keep things going. There will be an issue when it I need to use a Windows program that I have no access to, but for now I'm okay. Between that and the smartphone I use, I can keep going. The smart phone was accidentally dropped on its face during my visit to Antioch Speedway last year, but that didn't stop it from working. I don't have the funds to get another laptop or phone at the moment. While I've had a phone over the last few years, I have no service for the same budgetary reasons. I learned a long time ago to make do with what I have, so I keep moving along.

Budget is what it is. I have no budget. When I speak of struggling to maintain my media effort for racing, I'm serious. My services have not been retained at any race track, and with the track in Medford closed for now, there is no money coming unless I get reader support via The Tip Jar. Therefore, I either try to make the equipment I have work, or I give up. I literally didn't even have $20 in which to spend for internet streaming, which means that watching Antioch Speedway on Dirt Oval TV was not an option I was even considering. I have access to SpeedshiftTV, and that's all I can do. I could spend time complaining about all of this, but it is what it is. As I said, I either make things work with what I have, or I don't. 

It's Friday afternoon as I try to get a start on this weekend's blog post. I did two posts last week as I try to document the effort to open race tracks again under the covid-19 guidelines. This will be the last big story that I cover with my modern racing effort. I have no current plans to return in 2021 for any sort of weekly effort. I will continue to post on the blog as I desire and work on books, but short of any legitimate offer to be a part of a racing program at whatever track, I'm done. I could dwell on my frustrations that led to that decision, but it's pointless. It is what it is. 

I feel very strongly that the states have overreacted to all of this. The numbers of the people who have actually died due to this virus have been exaggerated, and some of the people actually died for other reasons. This is something anybody could find out if they bothered to do the research. Some states, generally the ones considered red states, have reopened quicker. The blue states have dragged their feet. I'm not trying to come at this from the standpoint of either party, because I frankly find both of them to be pretty useless. However, you'd have to be a fool not to see that this is being politicized. Race tracks are just one business suffering from this, but there are many.

In California, we have the beginnings of an effort to try and help bail out the fairgrounds. Most of the State Fairgrounds in California have had to cancel their County Fairs and many other big events. They count on this to generate the revenue that keeps them going. It's also worth noting that the fairgrounds have had their budgets cut on them in recent years. Places such as the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville are saying that they could ultimately go out of business, which would cost us Placerville Speedway if that's the case. I'm not sure where this is going, but I would recommend that you support your local fairgrounds. They might want to put in a strip mall, a housing project or whatever, but fairgrounds are a great gathering place for local communities. They are important.

One thing the virus did was kill four years of momentum that we had established at Southern Oregon Speedway. It's been slow, steady progress. We've done many things, and I'm very proud of those accomplishments. However, the state governor made some orders, the last of which dealt with no mass gatherings or sporting events through the end of September or until a vaccine is created. This was utterly ridiculous, but that is what she did. It was challenged in a local court in Baker City, and that was successful. The governor's people blocked that ruling within three hours, and we could get a ruling on this as early as the first week of June. Personally, I'm not sure how the State Supreme Court could let everything stand as is.

I would suspect that the phase system laid out originally would still be in effect, but this whole notion of nothing through September would probably go out the window. Therefore, it might make it possible for tracks to run with an empty grandstand by the end of June and possibly with fans in July. I really don't know. Much like it is in California, it would depend on the county. However, the month of May has been lost to us. We've lost five races at Southern Oregon Speedway, including what is usually a big season opener, the Memorial Day Street Stock Show that was cancelled back in March when the group folded and the Roger Haudenshild Tribute race that was to happen this past weekend. The race for Roger is one of our biggest races every year. The first few races of June are out the window, and that means the schedule as booked would have to be thrown out the window, assuming the track opens at all. 

I'm not going to comment on the status of the season in Medford one way or the other. I'm just saying it doesn't look good. We need fans to do business, and the county parks district understands that. Opening up in front of empty grandstands is problematic because you don't generate enough revenue. Marysville Raceway is doing that, and I am disgusted by some of the reactions within the community that continue to take shots at them for even doing what they do. If it were my decision, I'd shut the gates and tell them to come back when we can have fans. This is what you get for trying to be a promoter who is fighting for the racers, but I'll comment more about Marysville in a moment.

I went down to the Medford track on Thursday to do some mowing in the pits. We wanted to get things ready so that we could do something, but there is no major push from management to open under severe limitations. Limited practices or racing in front of empty grandstands, like I said, isn't likely to happen. I'll leave my statement as that, because it's not my place to speak for the track. These are simply my observations, and Mike McCann will make the appropriate announcement when he feels it's necessary. 

As I was mowing the grass, my mind started getting into racing mode. It's kind of interesting, because I've been at peace with just walking away and calling a day on my racing media effort. However, when I'm out there at the track doing anything, I start thinking about what else I can do. My mind gets into racing mode. I'm out there in 90 degree weather on the mower wondering why the hell we couldn't have had a race by now. Jim was out there on the track with the grader and it looked good. This is not in our hands. This virus situation has knocked racing and so many other businesses for a loop, and our economy will feel this for a while. Let's just forget the specter of the next wave of the virus or a new virus coming around the corner in the fall. 

Doom and gloom aside, Kevin Barba had what would have to be considered another successful practice weekend under the circumstances. True, he couldn't just open up for a full practice where everybody could come, but he did the next best thing. With three nights of practice scheduled, he gave drivers plenty of opportunity to make some laps and still maintain all of the covid-19 guidelines. Over 20 drivers had reserved their spots for practice, according to their responses on the track's Facebook page. People just want to get back out on the track.

What the second-year promoter has demonstrated by his actions is that he wants to open those gates to racing as soon as it is possible. I don't know that this coming Saturday will be it, but you never know. My guess would be June 13th, but I believe he will hold a race in front of empty grandstands as soon as possible. Now obviously, there could be a big car count of IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds when it happens as it's not likely that Oregon will have any racing to speak of at that point. The Mini Stock division could see visitation from the Medford area racers as well. This is just the three core divisions, but Barba has lots of possibilities for that first night that he tries to race.

You have to consider that the traveling Outlaw Pro Stock Association is chomping at the bit to get back on the track. There's also the Southern Oregon Dwarf Car Association. Then, you've got drivers in the Late Models and Sprint Cars. These are two divisions that run at Medford, but they've been left waiting for a race there until who knows when. In short, Kevin's phone will be busy once there's a hint that racing can happen. He could have a good turn out of cars. It's likely that there will be some sort of social distancing guidelines in place, so Kevin would have to figure out the logistics of just who he could get in the pits. What it boils down to is that I believe Kevin will be having a race there as soon as it's possible. As with any track, you need to check out the Siskiyou Golden Speedway Facebook page daily to see what the latest update is.

I start getting hopeful that we're coming through this mess. I'm sticking to my guns that there will be some racing in California in front of at least some fans by July. There might be tracks running in front of empty grandstands at the same time. There may also be tracks that are only able to have some sort of practice. It varies from county to county. Ocean Speedway in Watsonville made an announcement about a month ago but their target date to come back was June 5th. I've been curious whether that would be a firm date or not, but the answer came in just as I arrived back within Wi-Fi signal range on Thursday. 

Management has been communicating with the fairgrounds, which appears to be in favor of getting racing going again. Obviously, they're wanting to get some revenue. However, the county health officials hasn't responded to the proposals made by the track just yet. Therefore, they made the announcement that they would push the opening date three weeks out, which would make that June 26th. Between now and then, we could still get good news, or we could hear that it isn't quite ready yet. I'm not sure what to expect, but I can tell you that the King of the West Sprint Car Series is hopeful they will get things going. They've got a big show scheduled there on July 18th. It's the Howard Kaeding Classic and they are hoping they can have that at Watsonville in front of full grandstands.

Before leaving for the track on Thursday, I saw the news that Perris Auto Speedway postponed three events for June. No racing then, but those three dates could be rescheduled for later in the year. They're having a harder time down in that area of California getting anything going at tracks such as Santa Maria Speedway, Ventura Raceway and so on. When I got back, the Watsonville news was joined by the fact that Dixon Speedway still won't be able to have a race in front of fans in June. This won't stop Jeremy Prince having racing in front of empty grandstands, however. Covid-19 rules will still be in full effect.

We just watched Antioch Speedway have a practice two weeks ago with 100 cars and who knows how many people in the pits. On Memorial Day Weekend, the track shattered another record with 150 competitors and probably four times as many people in the pits. Antioch Speedway at the Contra Costa Fairgrounds is the only track on a fairgrounds property that has had a race at this point, and Madera Speedway just signaled today that they could be next. They could be joined by Petaluma Speedway, which mentioned that they would have a final announcement by June 3rd as to whether their June 6th program would take place.

The covid-19 guidelines in each county seem to be just a little bit different. Madera is running sort of a limited program, which they have termed Club Racing. Promoter Kenny Shepherd is keen on getting his Late Models on the track so that he can produce content for MavTV. The Late Models are his featured class, and therefore this division will be racing this coming weekend. What's interesting is that they put up one rule that suggested that any racers going out of town to race somewhere else would be on a 14 day quarantine and therefore unable to race at Madera. This is interesting in light of the May 31st race at Stockton 99 Speedway, which invited the Late Models from Madera and Roseville to race amongst each other, separate from the Stockton legal cars. 

This to me illustrates how ridiculous these covid-19 rules are. Either race, or don't. I don't blame Shepherd for any of this. He's been one of the promoters at the forefront of trying to do this the right way. Before the World of Outlaws created their little proposal on how to get tracks going again, Kenny had drafted his own path to racing and submitted it to the Madera County officials. They accepted it, and what has been done has been done in the interest of keeping Madera County citizens safe. 

We can talk about whether racing at another track out of the area and then coming back to Madera makes people unsafe or not, but we can't argue that these were the rules that were given to Kenny. You'd best be following those covid-19 guidelines. Your county may be happy with you, but if the state gets word that you did something wrong, you could be shut down, fined or even put out of business. This isn't a game.

I didn't look at the Madera Speedway announcement post on Facebook for a while after it was put up there. Later, all hell broke loose. It's rather interesting to me that people feel like Madera Speedway was taking a personal shot at Stockton 99 speedway, as in those drivers better not go to Stockton or they can't run here for two weeks. I don't think that's what was going on with Kenny. As I said, certain counties look at things differently, and Madera County officials were just trying to put in safety guidelines for not just the people at track but the people in their county. I don't get racers being negative at a time like this when management could simply say we're not opening until all restrictions are lifted.

I'm not so sure I would have advocated Kenny even bringing up Stockton 99 Speedway or Antioch Speedway in the comment thread. If you read what he said, he questions whether Stockton was legally able to run the race that they just had. Not cool in my opinion. I think he was on the defense and trying to back up the guidelines that his track had to follow, but you need to measure your words carefully. I support Madera Speedway running this race and even enforcing a 14 day quarantine rule if people go to other tracks. 

If that's a rule that they put in place, as stupid as it sounds to me, you've got to do it. What I don't really agree with is the promoter of Madera pointing a finger at the other track and basically insinuating that they legally shouldn't have run on the 31st. Not cool Kenny, not cool. I get why you said it, but as long as you're handling your business in your own area, don't be casting stones at the other place unless management from that place comes after you first.

Marysville Raceway figured out a way to get racing going again. No grandstands meant they didn't have money for a full purse. They feature the Sprint Cars and that is a high purse. Even 50% of the Sprint Car purse isn't necessarily cheap. Because racers wanted to get back out and do what they love to do, Promoter Dennis Gage figured this was the way to do it. Everybody was making a sacrifice. Dennis was making a sacrifice to at least not lose money in opening his gates, and racers were making a sacrifice to not run for a full purse in the name of at least getting to race. We have to make compromises to open the gates, or the gates are going to stay shut. Some tracks won't open the gates until all restrictions are lifted, and the reactions in Marysville highlight why I would probably not open under these circumstances.

I've seen people criticizing him for not opening the grandstands. First of all, that's not Dennis's call. That's a covid-19 guideline. They've had people sitting in the grandstands, but those are the pit crews. Obviously, you can't do much social distancing in the bleachers off of Turns 1 and 2. This allows the crews to go to the grandstand's and socially distance. They want you to maintain six feet of space between you and other people. Because there are no fans in the grandstands, the crews can use those stands. Otherwise, you would have the crews packed in the bleachers in 1 and 2, thereby not maintaining social distance measures as their races were going on.

A fan watching on SpeedshiftTV will just notice that as the Main Events rolled out, there are several people sitting in the grandstands. "Hey, why can those people sit there, but I can't? That's not fair." It's because of the stupid covid-19 guidelines. These guidelines are crippling the sport and causing race tracks not to open. Tracks that do open are risking a loss and hoping maybe they can break even. Promoters don't run race tracks to break even. It is a business. Even if you are doing this to give people a place to race, you're investing money and would like to make something for your effort. How many people want to put hours of work into something and receive nothing for their labor?

Making matters worse was the fact that the Memorial Day Weekend event saw Dennis pay a full purse, but that didn't come from money generated from the gates alone. He had sponsorship on board to help make the race special. To open the gates, he's had to cut the purse 50% for all classes while there is no grandstands. That was the compromise made. If the drivers ultimately decide that they can't go for that, the gates would probably stay shut until such time as the grandstands can open. Otherwise, you run for less and keep the gates open. That's the choice you make.

I heard a rumor that there were some promoters who agreed in California that they would not pay a full porce if they had no grandstands for the first few races at least. This is because some promoters are a little bit better off than others, and opening up with no grandstands is an even bigger risk for certain low budget promoters. I don't know if this was the true case or not since Antioch Speedway has opened its gates and not cut their purses at all. Then again, just because there was an alleged agreement between promoters does not mean that Antioch was included in that. I don't know, and this is just a rumor. Have I mentioned how much I hate the situation promoters are dealing with in order to open their gates?

What I do know, as I wrap up the Friday portion of this column, is that this situation sucks. Nobody wants to be running a track under these conditions, and I'm already reading stories from across the country of tracks that are closing. We're not going to have normal conditions through June. March and April were lost and May was lost for most tracks as well. Tracks opening in June likely won't have fans at first, and everybody won't be back to normal in July. This leaves a promoter to try and salvage what they can for the year or keep the gates closed and try again next year. Bad situation all the way around. 

I give promoters credit for trying to do anything under these terrible conditions. They are taking risks and some may even be losing money. They are hoping that these gestures will pay off when people remember they were at the forefront of getting things going again. I also can't blame promoters who are going to sit and watch this thing develop, waiting patiently for the time when they can have their grandstands back. We also need to remember that it's not just racing that is affected. The business world is hurting and places are going out of business. Everybody is feeling the pinch, and this is just the beginning. At times like these, we need that band together and get through it. We've made it through bad times before, and we can do it again if we don't let the noise divide us and force us to pick sides. It's a cliche, but united we stand, divided we fall.

It's now Saturday as I add a bit more to this column. There were a few news items that crossed my desk. The state of Washington can now say they put their first race in the record books. Deming Speedway ran their assortment of various Micro and Mini Sprints along with the Focus Midgets. They were definitely using social distancing guidelines in the grandstands, and the racers were just happy to get back at it again. Congratulations to Chance Crum on his Focus Midget win. Rain was coming in on Saturday, and some practices in Washington, such as the ones scheduled at Skagit and Evergreen, were cancelled.

Fernley Raceway was doing a Friday night race. I had hoped to keep an eye on things via Race Monitor or at least see results on MyLaps, but nothing has been put out there as I write this. Alex Stanford came in from Chowchilla and scored the IMCA Modified victory. There were some Californians making the trip to Nevada to do some racing there and Winnemucca as well. Nevada is further along than any of the West Coast states as they not only have racing but are doing so in front of fans. It's interesting to watch as some states do it one way and others do it another.

All week long, the forecast had been calling for rain in California from about 10 in the morning through 4 in the afternoon. The forecast has been consistent on that, so racing at Marysville and Antioch were in doubt. Neither track was going to throw in the towel, and I think both would have had plenty of reason to do so. You're not running in front of full grandstands, so it's not a big loss. On the other hand, you don't have to worry about losing fans who don't want to come because of the threat of rain. You have racers anxious to race who will make the trip if you're really going to try to do it. The downside was that either track is bound to attract at least some competitors from the state of Oregon. That's a long way to go to get rained out.

Neither track backed down. Antioch was going to get some possible rain during the late morning and early afternoon hours, but things were supposed to clear off by about 3 in the afternoon or so. The pits can handle a little bit of water, and it wasn't calling for heavy rain. The track can easily be packed in. There is a certain confidence, almost swagger, coming from management at Antioch Speedway. Despite the conditions that we are under right now, they've pulled off some successful things in the past couple of weeks, and you start feeling like you can do no wrong. When you're the new guy coming in as promoter, you're looking for the momentum. A lot of money has been invested, so you better have some confidence. I've never known Chad Chadwick to lack for confidence, even going back to his time behind the wheel. He's as excited to see Sprint Cars on that track as anybody, and there are some other exciting things coming around the corner.

While we wait to hear news on what those things are and we can document that Siskiyou Golden Speedway pulled off a successful practice on Friday night, the news isn't so good at All American Speedway in Roseville. Management just revealed that their fifth application through the Placer County Health Department was rejected. Bear in mind, they're not looking to have a race. They just wanted to have a practice of some sort, and they were rejected. I'm sure there are some frustrated people in Roseville right now, which I totally understand.

Management shared the response that the County Health Department gave them. It mentioned that the county doesn't really know how to proceed as the state has not put up guidelines for how to handle entertainment venues such as All American Speedway. You can read the brief response on the track's Facebook page, but it's really interesting that they would say that. One has to wonder, if the state hasn't put up guidelines for how we can proceed with sporting events such as the ones that take place at All American Speedway, how are any tracks in California doing anything right now? I'm going to pretend I didn't ask that question and move on to the next paragraph.

I add this last part prior to the races at Antioch Speedway. Cars are in the pits and yet I still see people wondering if the races are going to happen. I understand some people are making longer trips to get there, so they like to know they have a shot at racing. After Friday's successful practice at Siskiyou Golden Speedway, Kevin Barba was forced to pull the plug on Saturday's practice. The rain was hitting just a little bit too hard at the Yreka track, so they will do a Sunday practice and figure out what they can do for the people who were planning on practicing on Saturday. 

We get such a mixed bag of news that it's hard to be too happy when a couple of good things happen. The negative seems like it's just around the corner. On Thursday, Ocean Speedway reported that they were having no luck with the Santa Cruz County Health Department and were therefor expecting that they would be postponing the opening from June 5th to a few weeks out. However, they put out an optimistic note on Saturday afternoon. As they noticed that things are shifting to Phase 2.5, they are hoping to get the go-ahead to run the Friday race in front of empty grandstands. This is not a definite yes, but as of Saturday they were going to make one last play to make it happen.

One of the problems we have is highlighted by the Roseville announcement. As of last week, there were no guidelines issued by the governor as to how to go about opening up entertainment venues and when to do it. Obviously, our local motorsports venues don't deal with the volume of crowd that you're likely to see at some concert venues or any of the professional sporting events such as baseball, basketball, hockey and football. On a good night, there could be two thousand total people on either side of the crossover gate, if you're lucky, while you'll have thousands more at the other sporting events.

This is exactly why the World of Outlaws in conjunction with a well-known motorsports lawyer and motorsports insurance agent worked together to draft a set of guidelines to get race tracks back up and running again. It seems to me that some of the tracks that have managed to open in California followed those guidelines, but it doesn't sound like any of the governor's offices on the West Coast took a look at those guidelines to draft an official guideline for how motorsports events could get going again in those respective states. This has left promoters to petition their respective counties in search of a path to get going again.

There is plenty of confusion as we try to get things going. How exactly do you do it? "Those other guys over there are running, so why can't we?" It's a giant mess that has people frustrated and pointing fingers at each other. I'm going to stick by my cautious optimism that California will have racing at at least some venues with at least some fans in July. Because each county is different, I can see some venues still not open and others running in front of empty grandstands, which I mentioned above. If the state had bothered to draft some sort of guidelines to get racing venues up and running again, it might be different. It remains to be seen whether we get good news in Watsonville, but there's at least a chance that Antioch, Petaluma and Watsonville could all be running races this coming weekend.

I'm sitting here on Sunday morning as I add more to this column. Once again, Promoter Chad Chadwick made a statement with his latest race. It's still remarkable that Antioch Speedway has continued to be able to do what they have while other Bay Area tracks are trying to get anything started. Somebody had to be first, and Chadwick managed to be that guy. The car count was around 85 from what I've gathered, which is a nice statement for an open wheel themed race. Here's the thing, it also serves to let people know that this track is still open for Winged 360 Sprint Car racing. There might have been some questions about that when the initial schedule was released. 

Marysville Raceway was going to be steady as she goes with Winged 360 Sprint Cars and the supporting classes scheduled for the night, which I'll get into here in a moment. The question I had was why would Antioch make a play for Winged 360 Sprint Cars when Marysville was running the class? After all, Antioch only had about five races on their schedule for the class when it was originally booked before the virus. My answer to the question is, why wouldn't they? You're trying to put something on the track to get people to watch at home and get the drivers to come out.

The other thing is at some point you're going to have multiple tracks competing and running the same divisions and suddenly the internet streaming thing isn't going to be as big as it has been. It's big for the tracks that are using it now, but that's because many tracks on the West Coast still haven't opened up for business yet. You can get a captive audience of people who are eager to watch some racing. When we get to a point where people have too many options on what to watch, and if the grandstands aren't able to be open at the tracks, it's going to be interesting to see what the next move will be for the promoters. The internet streaming revenue is a key factor in why tracks are opening without grandstands right now. 

Don't kid yourself about Chadwick. The decision to book so lightly on the Winged 360 Sprint Cars originally was not out of a dislike for the class. It was more a concern about car count numbers for this class in recent years. Chadwick has spoken of some big series coming to town, which I won't name. It's not that he doesn't want Sprint Car racing, he wants cars. Cars bring the fans. It's a basic equation. In the Bay Area, Petaluma Speedway has not opened yet and neither has Ocean Speedway. Both could be opening this weekend. We are waiting for final word on that. Therefore, in addition to a few displaced Antioch drivers, Petaluma racers and Watsonville racers wanting to race had a closer option in Antioch than they would at Marysville. I'm not going to kid anybody and say that Antioch didn't take cars out of the field that would have been at Marysville otherwise.

There are a few things to consider when looking at the numbers. Antioch pulled in 25 Winged 360 Sprint Cars for their program. Marysville had 16. Antioch paid a full purse that included $1,200 to win and $200 minimum to start. Marysville opened for half the purse. Different strategies were employed by the promoters, and I'm sure sponsorship might have helped. I'm not privy to that information. It could also be that the Antioch promoter took this risk as a form of advertisement. Pay the full purse to show the guys why they want to come race at the track. When he says make Antioch Speedway great again, he knows it's going to take car count to get the fans to come out.

Much like the IMCA Modifieds, there is an abundance of Winged 360 Sprint Cars in California. On any given Saturday night, there could be about a half-dozen tracks running this class. Therefore, two tracks running this division won't hurt for car count. Antioch did very well with what they did, and Marysville was not necessarily a bad show with the cars they had. There was still some excitement. The thing the tracks are going to keep an eye on is internet streaming revenue. If that dries up too much before grandstands can be opened, what do you do? I think both tracks are operating under the assumption that within a few weeks, they may be able to sell some grandstand tickets.

Internet streaming is an interesting thing. There were people who bought SpeedshiftTV passes to watch Antioch Speedway the previous week. If you knew you were going to watch both days, you could just give Speedshift $40 and get a month of service. I think there was some assumption that if Antioch did another stream, that would be the service they would use. However, Marysville already had first dibs on that, leaving Antioch to scramble for something else. If you bought the stream one night at a time for Antioch, as some people did, you spent $44, and that was not going to get you access to the Saturday show. It was on Dirt Oval TV. There are actually four companies that have been known to stream in California. We haven't seen much from Fast 4 or Low Budget TV yet. Fast 4 generally does Outlaw Kart racing, and Low Budget TV hangs out down in the Bakersfield area most of the time but has been known to come up north. 

Disposable income becomes an issue. Look at it this way. Some people still pay an outrageous cable bill and they are paying more to maintain cell phone service. Maybe they'll buy a subscription to some of the streaming services, such as Amazon TV or Netflix. The problem is this adds up, and people have to cut their budgets. Believe me, nobody's really thinking about how this is impacting grandstand attendance when we're able to have that. People are spending so much money on other things in their budgets that even buying a ticket to come watch a weekly race at their local track becomes problematic. They end up picking certain weeks to go and other weeks stay home, rather than coming out every week as more people used to do back in the day.

If you pay for a subscription with one streaming service, there goes some of your money. Speedshift might be first in line for that. After buying another service, you could still be in a situation where the track you want to see isn't available on the services you pay for, and you don't have the money to get that particular live stream. Many people enjoyed watching USAC races on SpeedshiftV until Flo Racing came along to get that deal prior to last year. It's a competitive market right now, and there are lots of options for people. We just saw two of them this past weekend, and I don't think that either one of them suffered.

What I do like about Dirt Oval TV is that PJ Risso brought out a good announcer to cover the Sprint Cars at Antioch Speedway, rather than letting the local announcer do this job. His name is Ben Deatherage. I kind of think of him as a professor of sorts. He's going to tell you a little bit about the racers, but Ben can't resist telling you historical facts and giving you a geography lesson during the course of the night when there's a way to segue into that subject. I like Ben. As he's been expanding his records, I've assisted him in tracking down information on various tracks. He and his family are Oregon racing historians who have done good things to preserve the history, and Ben continues their legacy as a really good announcer, in my opinion. 

I don't want to get into a dissertation. I've discussed this topic multiple times in past columns, but internet streaming is the wave of the future. Infrastructure is the thing. If you can set up your own infrastructure at your race track, you can do more. You can certainly build up a virtual fan base of people not in your area who want to watch your product. You can also produce video clips of highlights and interviews. You can do shows every week hyping up the next event. I like the written word and am in favor of continuing that, but we are also becoming a visual people. Tracks need to look at this.

Antioch Speedway had a guy by the name of Brett Phillips who operates a drone. Evidently, there was a bit of an issue when he came out with his drone for the big two day event on Memorial Day Weekend. I'm told the issue wasn't necessarily with Chad Chadwick, and I'm not going to get any further into that. It's not something I have all the facts on, and that's not necessarily what this is about. 

I mention Brett for a reason. He has invested in a good drone and takes really nice footage. He already has the equipment to not only produce some good content that helps promote the track, he can go live. Suddenly, internet broadcasting can become a thing. All you need to do is put his content behind a paywall. Want to watch it live? Here is the fee. It's in house, so the track can get a bigger percentage. Either that, or Brett showed you the way to do it. Get somebody else. 

Phillips did his pit walk, which I like. It's a bit artistic in some of the shot angles he uses, which is nice. It whets the appetite to go out there and see what's happening. He did some of that pit walk stuff live on the internet. If that's put out there to the public at large, it can be used as a tool to sell tickets to your races. I've used the still photography angle when hyping Southern Oregon Speedway for the past four years, and it helps. People at home an hour or so before the races that don't have something to do see this pop up in their timeline. "Oh, Antioch Speedway is racing?  Such and such is there? We need to go." That's the value of what Brett was doing.

Antioch Speedway pulled in 37 Dwarf Cars as the new Delta Dwarf Car Association launched. While I don't think it was necessary to form an association for this class, I don't disagree with it. Racers simply wanted to be official members of the Western States Dwarf Car group and potentially host a big Regional or National event in Antioch. I get it. When Marysville had a NorCal Dwarf Car show a couple of weeks ago, it was obvious the track wasn't trying to pack the pits. NorCal themselves put out word on their Facebook page that only NorCal members could come, meaning there were about sixteen racers at Marysville that night. In this case, all were welcome in Antioch. I'd have to search my records, but this very well could have been a record car count for Dwarf Cars at Antioch Speedway.

You add in 18 Wingless Spec Sprints and a handful of Four Bangers, and there was plenty of action taking place at Antioch Speedway. I do like the statement that Antioch Speedway does open wheel racing too. One of the things that disappointed me about previous management was the needle sort of got stuck in the groove. The track only went to the Dirt Modifieds for anything big, or it got 90% of the attention. It's your bread and butter, so I get it. But, if there's potential to do other things big, why not do them? If you give Sprint Car racing some attention and the fans respond with more support, do you leave money on the table because you're a Dirt Modified track? Or, do you find ways to get those Sprint Cars out there when you can? 

I want to give Chadwick some credit here for being a thinking promoter. He's new, so he's also learning what will work and what won't work. When a promoter has been in the game for a long time and they failed at something a few times, suddenly it won't work. They won't try it from a different angle to see if it works. They go by the safe bet, and there's nothing wrong with that. If they pay the bills to keep the gates open, they're doing their job. With Chad, you've got a guy on a mission to make things bigger and better than they've been in years. To do that, he has to try different things and see how they work. 

Now, the racing is the thing we should be talking about, and I have to say a couple of things here. First of all, the track seemed to be in better shape this week than it was last week. It didn't look like there were any dust issues to me, though perhaps the weather helped with that. I don't know. What I do know is you got the kind of excitement in the Main Events that gets fans on the edge of their seats. Late race dramatics in both the Dwarf Car and Winged 360 Sprint Cars, which was the final feature race of the evening. This was another solid night of racing at Antioch Speedway, and that positive vibe emanating from the place continuous.

The only thing that disappoints me about a night like this is what disappointed me about the previous weekend. You have all of these cars, and you surely would have attracted a good crowd. Unfortunately, fans still aren't welcome in the grandstands due to the covid-19 guidelines. You don't have a clear opportunity to see how many fans would come for a show like this, and I think we all know the numbers would have been good. Then again, the circumstances we are under now might have helped produce the car count numbers the track saw. If there were other opportunities for Sprint Car racing, such as Petaluma Speedway, Placerville Speedway or maybe even Keller Auto Speedway, what would it have looked like then? When looking at it like that, Antioch Speedway has certainly done a good job of taking advantage of the opportunities this situation has presented.

Back at Marysville, the Sprint Cars put on a good show. You got just the right amount of action and there was some passing. Though the Crate Sprints put on a close race for the lead, I can't hide my disappointment in this division. I look at it as a division that they used to kill Wingless Spec Sprints at Marysville and Chico. What are we, seven years down the road? This division still hasn't justified its existence in my opinion, with all due respect to the people who are trying to give it a car count. Four cars does not feed the bulldog. Sorry.

22 Hobby Stocks is certainly a nice turnout. The Main Event went on and on forever, unfortunately. You certainly had plenty of excitement, but as the closer for the evening, there wouldn't be that many people up in the grandstands watching by the time the checkered flag fell. Had they stuck around, they would have seen the two leaders take each other out. The announcer, Troy Henning, indicated that every driver in that field was a part of at least one yellow flag. There were 14 yellow flags. Yikes. Still, this division has finally begun producing numbers over the last year or so, and you want to see that. 

The track continues to search for a higher caliber Stock Car effort that can produce a car count. For the past several years, they ran wings on their Street Stocks, but it was a chore getting double digits. Last year, they opened the rules and removed the wings. This resulted in some decent car counts at first, but those numbers tapered off. This division produced nine cars, which were mostly Limited Late Models from Placerville Speedway. The locals you might have seen from the old Street Stocks were mostly absent. It was still nice to see Late Model style racing happening at Marysville, and it wasn't unpleasant watching this. 

It appears as if the Late Model style will be on deck at Antioch Speedway this weekend with the Tri State Pro Stock Series coming to town. Marysville Raceway didn't have anything on their original schedule for this Saturday. I'm not sure what Dennis will do at this point. Troy seemed to indicate that they're not even close to opening Silver Dollar Speedway, which is Dennis's second track. Placerville Speedway isn't close at all, and we just heard that Roseville can't even get a practice going at this point. Therefore, it's possible that Marysville will hold some sort of race this weekend if the numbers pencil in a way that satisfies the promoter. As is the case with any track, you just need to check the Marysville Raceway Facebook page daily for those updates. 

Both Stockton 99 speedway and Madera Raceway held practices on Saturday. Madera is all set for a Club Race on June 6th that will feature the Last Models. This will give Promoter Kenny Shepherd an opportunity to generate some content for a future MavTV racing program. Stockton was set to go racing later today. It's kind of interesting to see the pavement track in Stockton, which is on private property, open up like this. It was not that long ago when the Noceti Group made it sound like nothing could happen in the area. Certainly, the news wasn't so pleasant at the two fairgrounds tracks in town. No doubt the people will be happy that something is happening, but the fans were already voicing their disapproval over not being able to go to the track to watch. 

This leads to another one of my rants about this whole mess. If you can gather people in the pits, why can't you have some people in the stands? You might get 300 people in the pits. Could be considerably more or it might be a little less. You could certainly socially distance people in the grandstands. At Stockton, you could do that with 500 people no problem, maybe more. You don't allow mingling between the pit side and the grandstands, so they are distanced in that sense. No crossover privileges. Covid-19 guidelines implemented on both sides. Why not? If we are to understand what they said on the All American Speedway Facebook page on Saturday, the state doesn't even have a plan for how to best move forward for the tracks. Why not?

Kevin Barba let us in on what happened in Yreka. He's been good at updating us on these things. The infield just inside the turns was flooded after Saturday's rain, so he got out there in the early AM hours on Sunday to pump the water off. Why? He's got practice lined up for racers who reserved their spots. Under these circumstances, he could say that it's a wash out. Too much rain. Kevin is trying to give the racers something to get excited about. As I said, he's busting his butt just to do what they're doing now. You can best believe he's going over the possibility of opening for a race as soon as the green light is lit. I think it will be in the next few weeks. In the meantime, he told them there would be a practice on Sunday, and he and his crew were working hard to make that happen.

While the state of Oregon waits to hear what the court ruling is going to be, tracks are still making statements. Heather Boyce at Cottage Grove Speedway recently said she will put out details on rental practices that could happen in the next couple of weeks, and she's hoping to do more after that. The people at River City Speedway indicated that they are working towards doing some sort of practice once we get to a point where 100 people are allowed to gather. Coos Bay Speedway has been holding rental practices this whole time. Douglas County Speedway just made a statement this morning that there will be no racing in June, and we'll see what happens in July. 

I'm continuing on Sunday evening after watching the SpeedshiftTV coverage of the first race since the virus situation at Stockton 99 Speedway. It really looked like they had a bonanza when it came to car count with over 90 competitors across five divisions. They had two Late Model divisions, which I admit had me a bit confused when I saw this originally on the schedule. On the schedule, it said the Stockton regulars would have their own race, while the racers from Madera, Roseville and elsewhere would get their own. What gives?

There is a simple explanation, and it was one of the few morsels of information the announcers imparted during the broadcast. Tony Noceti had a car count issue at the track, which I was well aware of. The Grand American Modified car count had already sort of tanked, and the Late Models were in danger when Tony decided it was time to scale the rules back to make the class more affordable. Looking at the numbers they've had for the past year or two, this approach seems to have worked. They had another solid turn out on this occasion, and the Stockton Late Model show was more enjoyable to watch than the other one. 

What frustrated me more was the announcing being done. It was the track's regular announcers, which is fine for the fans at the track, I suppose. If you like your announcer to be somebody who tells a few jokes here and there but doesn't give you a lot of information, these guys are great. I say guys, because there was more than one person doing the job. That disappointed me even more. If you're going to have more than one person in the booth, at least have somebody there who knows a few things. I know I was one of the people a little bit critical of the job Wade did at Antioch last week, but at least he had some information to give to people. He tried. Other than the bit about the rules, I learned nothing from these guys. 

Sometimes, Speedshift will pipe into the track's electronic scoring unit, so you'll see the running order scroll along the top. That didn't happen. The track didn't have Race Monitor going live, though I know they were using MyLaps. When you have a situation like that, it's good to have an announcer tell you how many laps are down and keep you informed of who's running at the front of the pack. They had key position changes that the announcers didn't even acknowledge while the camera panned to another battle. Very frustrating.  When I talk about the value of Internet streaming, I can't emphasize enough how a good announcer is important. Dirt Oval understood this when they went to Antioch, which is why Ben Deatherage was there to announce.

I don't take delight in being critical of announcing. When I do it, there is a point to be made. If you're just somebody who wants to watch cars going around a track on your television screen, the broadcast from Stockton 99 Speedway was sufficient. You got plenty of that. There were a lot of cars. The missed opportunity was the fact that the announcers could have added much more flavor to the show and made the track look that much better. This was a missed opportunity and not the best broadcast overall. Then again, at least Stockton had a race and local fans were probably more familiar with the names on the track than I was. Therefore, the lack of quality announcing may not have bothered them as much as it would somebody who wasn't familiar with the track.

It's only Sunday, and yet the racing news doesn't stop even today, despite all the craziness happening in the world. Silver Dollar Speedway made an announcement that most of us were dreading. June will not see any racing happening at the fairgrounds clay oval. In fact, the early part of July appears to be out the window as well. They had a fireworks show that has been canceled. 

This is beyond frustrating, and I'm getting tired of the inconsistency. Either all of the tracks should be allowed to open under the same conditions or none of them open until guidelines are drafted that all tracks can follow. The state should have guidelines in place to handle the situation. I sort of thought that we'd hear some announcement from Chico that a practice could happen, so this news came out of left field for me.

It's Monday morning as I add more to this column. I have to admit I like doing the column this way as news keeps changing. I can comment on things as they cross my desk each day and document the sport's return to normalcy. I'm thinking that this evening might be the time to put the post up as this column and four other articles are already done. It might depend on the news that I hear as we get later on in the day. It certainly is a crazy time though, isn't it? Between the pandemic and the craziness of the protests and riots happening across the country, I'm looking around to see if Jesus is anywhere around. Is this the end times? Anyway...

Washington State appears to be open for racing. Deming Speedway had a race, as was mentioned earlier in the column. This track generally features the Micro Sprints, Mini Sprints and the Focus Midgets. Pretty neat little track actually, and it gives fans a place to go on Friday nights. The bigger tracks have chimed in, and that means the two most popular dirt tracks in the state, Skagit Speedway and Grays Harbor Raceway. Both are opening this week. I guess the state got the green light. No car count restrictions in the pits. You just can't sell tickets to the fans yet, and both places have covid-19 guidelines to follow.

So basically, what the state is saying is this virus is scary and can kill people. If you're a race car driver or a crew member, we're willing to take the risk. Go kill yourself. But we're going to protect the fans who might be willing to take that risk as well? I don't know. It hurts my head to try to make sense of this nonsense, and it does feel like nonsense to me at this point. Washington is open to race, Nevada is open to race and California is sort of open but sort of not. Depends on where you live I guess. Oregon can go screw itself. Well, that's what they appear to be saying at the moment. We are all waiting for the news that will come out of the Oregon State Supreme Court hearing, hopefully this week sometime. I caution people that with any restrictions in place, some tracks may be slower to open than others, just as it is in California. 

In Washington, Steve Beitler made news during the offseason when he sold Grays Harbor Raceway to Bert Johnson. Some of you may know Bert as the guy who ran the WESCO Sprint Car Series. He's been actively involved in this sport for some time now, and he's ready to take on the next challenge. Beitler remains at Skagit Speedway, where he's announced Thursday Night Thunder this week. This racing program will be broadcast on Skagit Speedway TV. I didn't look too deeply into that, but this seems like they might be developing something in house?

I haven't heard what broadcasting, if any, will be taking place at Grays Harbor. Already the fans are voicing their disapproval of the situation. How come the racers can race, but we can't come out and watch? What's the point of racing if you can't have fans? First of all, the racers do like to have people cheering for them, but let's be honest. They'll race in front of empty grandstands. There will come a time in the future the way things are trending that they may even pay more to race in front of empty grandstands. You're not going to hear racers lobbying to get the fans in the stands if it risks making the race happen at all. Privately, they're just as unhappy about the situation as they have family and friends who want to come spectate. Best I can say is I'm still hoping that there will be fans in the stands at some places by July, if not late June. This applies to California, but you can easily move that to Washington and Oregon.

Kevin Barba and his crew continue to work very hard at Siskiyou Golden Speedway. I believe Travis Peery is involved in this effort, and I'm sorry to say I don't know all of the names. Misty Buchanan is the one getting on Facebook and showing live footage of practice. Kevin's been working on anything he can since before the season was even scheduled to start. I've highlighted how he was working on track equipment when he couldn't set foot on the facility. You can see the improvements. They were showing off their Turn 4 track entry as they pushed off Sprint Cars on Sunday.

It's only a practice and a limited one at that. Kevin and Jeff Olschowka out at Susanville seem to be the most progressive in their approach to practice. If we can't have everybody show up at practice all at once, will do it in time slots. We'll do multiple days if we have to. Therefore, just about everybody who wanted to practice at Siskiyou Speedway got a chance to do that. Saturday was a washout, but they still made it happen on Sunday after pumping water off the track and infield and doing track prep work. They are just trying to do anything they can to make something happen, so I give them credit.

They let it slip on the track's Facebook page on Sunday that they basically go one week at a time to figure out what they can do. Today, they have announced that they will have three days of practice as they did this past weekend. Drivers will be able to sign up through the track's Facebook page. I have a hunch that when they can have everybody at the track on the same day for a full practice, Kevin might actually push for a race. Since they're having all these practices this way, why do another practice when you can get everybody there? Why not just race at that point?

Of course, it's not as easy to do that if you can't have grandstands, which would probably be the case if they're able to race on June 13th or 20th. You could go after a streaming service, and you might get that. Somebody might pitch in and help sponsor the purse, such as the PSM was going to do with the race at Coos Bay Speedway that would have happened on Memorial Day Weekend. Or, they could run with half a purse as Marysville currently does. It's hard to speculate. I just believe that when they're able to get everybody there on the same day, Kevin might be more inclined to actually try to have some sort of racing event. 

I continue this early on Monday evening, hoping that maybe I can close the column and put it out before the end of the night. Heather Boyce at Cottage Grove Speedway formally announced that the track would be open for rental practices Monday through Friday. She's calling for two cars at $500 total for a four hour time slot of practice, but she's leaving Saturday and Sunday open. The big reason for that is she is hoping to have full practice at some point when restrictions loosen up just a little bit. From my understanding, Phase 2 in Oregon allows for 100 people to gather at a place, so it's possible that she could have limited staff at the track with the remainder of the spots being taken by racers and a limited amount of crews on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, I don't want to speak for Heather. I'm sure something will be on the track's Facebook page at the appropriate time.

Loren Kruesi continues to say some of the most interesting things on the Willamette Speedway Facebook page. He is currently the General Manager, but rumors that he's actually purchased the track from Jerry Schram are unconfirmed. He did mention recently that the sprinkler system he needs to install in the grandstands will cost him $250,000 rather than the $100,000 that was reported earlier. He must do this to meet the county code, but it sounds like he hasn't secured the funds for this yet. 

Before the virus came in and did its number on racing, Loren was still talking on social media as if he was trying to salvage some sort of season at Willamette Speedway while meeting the codes. He has been saying lately that there are no practices or races scheduled and the race that the track is hoping to have will be the World of Outlaws appearance scheduled for September. However, he's also dropped hints that he may try to hold a practice of some sort. While the track is in code violation, I'm not sure where things stand if he were to simply open up the pits to park race cars and just use the track itself. The grandstands would not be used, nor would any of the buildings that are in question. I guess we'll have to wait and see what he says in the days ahead on the track's Facebook page.

It's interesting that the Medford Drag Strip at the Jackson County Park is attempting to do a practice using some of the tactics employed by Drake Nelson when he attempted to open Coos Bay Speedway back in May. They are using the bar and grill approach to try to get a limited amount of fans up in the grandstands, while also getting competitors to the track for practice. They are basically trying to get clever with terminology like Drake did. The big difference is they aren't trying to have an actual race. I find that to be very interesting. While you can probably get away with that in a county such as Jackson County, where the Sheriff's Department has basically said they're not going to enforce anything, the state could still slap you down with a hefty fine due to the current orders that are in place. What we really need is the Oregon State Supreme Court to give us a ruling in racing's favor.

I also just came across what would have to be called a rumored potential date at Coos Bay Speedway. With Phase 2 in Oregon taking effect on June 9th, Drake Nelson may be hatching a plan to put a race on his oval track again. On the PSM Sport Modified page, one of the competitors was trying to beat the drum to get racers interested in a potential June 10th race, which would be on a Wednesday. He's telling the members of the group that if they could get some sponsorship, this could happen. When Nelson was talking about doing something on Memorial Day Weekend, the PSM had managed to raise over $1,200 to put in towards a purse if the race could have happened that weekend.

If a race were given the opportunity to happen, I have no doubt in my mind that this group will pass the hat around and come up with some purse money. Oregon racers are chomping at the bit to get on the track, and we all know that somebody has to be the first track to attempt a race. However, Phase 2, according to the guidelines, does not call for a sporting event or a mass gathering. It would simply allow for 100 people to gather. The person posting on the PSM page pointed out that the IMCA Modifieds and the local Junior Stinger division could also be on that card. Again, Nelson has said nothing publicly. In fact, he never said anything publicly about the Memorial Day Weekend as his track was shut down the weekend before when they were trying to run a second drag racing event.

This type of talk during this covid-19 situation is not unusual. Roy Bain was communicating with the Tri State Pro Stock people about the potential Antioch date on June 6th for a couple of weeks before it was officially announced. He was in communications with Chad Chadwick to let him know how much interest there was. Likewise, the Hunt Wingless Spec Sprint Series has done the same thing within the last week or so for a potential date that Antioch Speedway would book for them on June 13th. Nelson could very well be interested in doing something at Coos Bay Speedway on June 10th. This is just the preliminary talk. 

This is what has been interesting about writing this column a little bit each day for the past four days. Things appear to be one way, but the next day things change. Everybody is trying to figure out a way to get race cars back on the tracks, but they also don't want to incur the wrath of the state. Eventually, everybody's going to be back in business, but it's interesting to watch this process play out. I have been saying for over a month now that the first oval track in Oregon likely to have a race since this whole crisis hit will be Coos Bay Speedway. Will June 10th be the day? We'll have to keep an eye on their Facebook page for the next announcement.

Antioch Speedway just put up their schedule for next weekend. The IMCA Modifieds will be back to headline a show along with the Tri State Pro Stock Series in conjunction with the local Super Stock class and the Hobby Stocks. It's a three-division show that could still attract 70 or 80 cars given the fact that there may be few other options. The Petaluma Speedway Lumberjacks Restaurant Super Stocks are scheduled for this Saturday, that is if Rick Faeth is able to get the approval to hold the race there. There were Petaluma racers who were committing to the Antioch race when asked by Tri State Series organizer Roy Bain a couple weeks ago.

IMCA will make it an official point race when four events have been put into the books. Antioch already has two races down for both the IMCA Sport Modifieds and Modifieds, making this the third for the Modifieds. IMCA has modified their point system for Regional and National points. The track championship bonus points will now be available once your track has held six races, and they will be modified lower if there are only five or four races held. That information is on the IMCA website. Antioch will surely have a half-dozen races minimum for both divisions as there are no signs that Chadwick is going to stop having races until weather becomes a factor in the fall.

I haven't heard any announcement pertaining to grandstand admittance for Antioch this weekend, though I am a bit doubtful it will happen just yet. I also haven't heard about a live stream being available. If Marysville sticks to their plans to not have a race this Saturday, this could open the door for SpeedshiftTV to come to town, but I wouldn't know at this point. I'm sure having a pay-per-view factors into the plan, so I suspect there will be an announcement after this post has been put up.

The rumored event at Diamond Mountain Speedway in Susanville has just been confirmed. On June 13th, Promoter Jeff Olschowka will run a race consisting of IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks. On June 26th and 27th, the track will have a two-race weekend. The aforementioned divisions will be there both nights, (Minus Mini Stocks on the 27th), joined by the Tri State Pro Stock Series and the Late Models on June 27th. The track will be using special covid-19 rules that are mentioned on their Facebook page. They would like to have grandstand attendance, but at the time of this announcement, there is no word as to whether that will be able to happen. Grandstands on the 13th seems a bit ambitious in my opinion, but the final weekend of June could certainly be a possibility. In any case, you should check the Diamond Mountain Speedway Facebook page for updates on this.

The drama over Calistoga Speedway and the future of the Napa Fairgrounds continues, and I'm not so sure the fairgrounds will be there much longer. However, organizers of the Louie Vermeil Memorial race for Labor Day Weekend are tentatively going ahead with plans to have that race. This means there will be Winged Sprint Cars, Wingless Sprint Cars and Midgets running that weekend. They are taking reservations for this event, but currently they aren't taking money. That's a smart move as this whole situation is fluid. I'm sure that by the time August comes around, they'll have a pretty good idea whether they can do this or not. At least I hope so.

With the whole virus scenario playing out at the same time as this civil unrest taking place in the country, one thing struck me. It seems like they have forgotten about the virus. There's too much looting and violence going on, and the protesters generally aren't worried about social distancing. Most of them are at least wearing masks, so thank goodness for them being safe, right? This is a crazy time we're living in, and it highlights what I like to say about keeping your loved ones close to you and never passing up an opportunity to tell your family and friends how you feel about them. 

Though I can at times come across as being grumpy, sometimes bitter when I write this colunn, I don't want one thing to be forgotten in all of this. I greatly appreciate the support I receive. Whether it is a tip or just somebody reading, it's appreciated. I had been away for a long time, over a decade. I was blown away by the fact that I was allowed back through the gates and welcomed with open arms back in 2015. Though there's some bitterness over the fact that I couldn't continue to do this racing stuff in person in Antioch, I'm still grateful for the opportunities that are afforded to me thanks to Mike McCann and even the welcoming racing community in Medford these past four years. 

My thoughts on walking away from the sport don't come from a dislike of the sport. Even if there are things I don't like about what happens these days, I genuinely enjoy myself when I'm out there at the races doing my part to help the show. I get grumpy and stressed out working on the media stuff when it gets overwhelming, but I wouldn't be doing what I do if there wasn't a part of me who has loved this for a long long time. It's just that certain circumstances in my life have forced me to make some difficult decisions regarding my involvement in the sport. Rest assured, I appreciate everybody who has been so supportive of me during a sometimes very difficult time in my life.

On that note, I'm going to end this lengthy column. I will do another post later in the week if the mood strikes me or if I feel it is needed. Until next time...