Friday, January 4, 2019

In Memory Of Dean Cline, Plus Stockton Dirt Track, Orland Raceway, Southern Oregon Speedway


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

Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion Can Be Heard HERE


The DCRR Racing Radio Show
Backup Link HERE
Our December Show. We May Do Special Updates On Twitter.




In Memory Of Dean "The Blinker" Cline

We just got into the year 2019 with the sad news of the passing of Dean "The Blinker" Cline. He is truly a legend of the sport. More than that, he was a gentleman and one of the great ambassadors of auto racing.

Dean was one of the local pioneers racing at Antioch in the 1960s. However, unlike some of the locals who were getting beat by the drivers who came in from out of town, Dean had his days when he outran them all. He went from the Hardtop Claimers to the Stock Cars and the Sportsman division. In fact, he ran in multiple different divisions and was a winner in all of them.

Dean had a knack for building fast and competitive race cars, which obviously rubbed off on his son Lance, who built the successful Cline Racing shop in the 1990s. Though Dean was winning races in impressive fashion, he typically shunned racing for points. For him, it was all about having fun and the spirit of great competition among his fellow racers on any given Saturday night.

Therefore, you don't see a long list of championships associated with Dean. In 1968, he had a huge point lead in the Stock Car championship battle as it headed down the stretch. He ended up selling his car to the driver who was in second, Wayne Price. Price ended up winning the championship that season. Later on in the 1970's, he again bowed out of a point battle and sold his race car while he was the leader. In 1979, he won his lone championship in a very close battle with Donna Walton.

There are only a few drivers who can lay claim to the fact that they won races at Antioch in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980's, 1990s and 2000s. Dean was one of those racers, along with fellow Hall Of Famers JD Willis and John M Soares. In fact, he won over 40 Main Events in his career. In the 1980's, after going from the Sportsman division to Stock Cars, Dean found that the growing Street Stock division was fun and decided to build a car.

There had been concerns about his experience and whether he should be permitted to run the division or not back in 1985 and 1986. To show that it wasn't about him trying to dominate the field or grab a championship, Dean elected to race for no points. He won several races during that time. He also had that trademark that everybody knew him by on his race car.

Dean was known as "The Blinker" because of the red light on his roof. When that blinker was lit, it meant he had his foot to the floor and he was going to the front of the pack. It was all about putting on a show for the fans. In fact, that light could easily be seen as a tell for the driver running behind him. A resourceful driver might use that to their advantage. But Dean saw it as a way to entertain the fans and give them something else to look at. He liked to have that light shining brightly when he was out on the race track.

Dean was more than just somebody who went out there and won races. He was one of the more friendly and popular racers in the group. If he could help you with something, he was happy to do so. He had time to talk to the fans as well. I recall when Dean came back to the sport in one of his son's race cars in the late 1990s. He always made it a point to come up to me and say hi. He was one of my favorite people to talk to.

Though he was getting up there in age, Dean wasn't quite ready to leave. He went from the Pure Stock division to the Mini Truck division, which was just getting started, and he ran competitively there. A run down of the list of divisions in which he competed included Hardtop Claimers, Sportsman, Stock Cars, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks and Mini Trucks. He won races in every class.

In 2018, Dean was inducted along with nine others into the inaugural class of the Antioch Speedway Hall Of Fame. He leaves behind a great legacy of racing that other drivers can aspire to achieve. I hadn't talked to Dean in probably 15 years, but I will always remember our conversations. He may be gone, but he will always live on in the hearts of those who knew him.


Orland Raceway To Hold Benefit Race On Saturday

Orland, CA...When the Camp Fire devastated the town of Paradise, many people were left homeless. There were some who weren't able to escape with their lives. The fire also took a toll on the racing community as several racers, sponsors and fans lost their homes as well. They have been left to pick up the pieces as they figure out what to do next.

In November, past promoter and Mini Truck star Dan Webster begin putting out feelers to find out if it was possible to hold a race at Orland Raceway. What he found was that there were drivers across six divisions who were willing to come race. The race Webster was proposing would be a fundraiser. Drivers would compete for trophies. All money raised through the gates would go towards two organizations that have played a role in helping the victims.

First, the details needed to be hashed out. Promoter Rich Hood was interested in making this race happen, and the Glenn County Fairgrounds was supportive of the idea as well. However, many of the displaced fire victims were staying at the fairgrounds. They had to figure out what date would work. The date in question will be Saturday night, January 5th.

Orland Raceway has booked it's regular Mini Stock, Mini Truck and Pure Stock divisions. Also on the card will be the Sport Modifieds, California Hardtops and Dwarf Cars. It will be six divisions of great racing, and all the proceeds will go to Far Northern Regional (www.farnorthernrc.org) and Northern Valley Animal Disaster Group (www.nvadg.org).

The track still has an awards banquet to come, which will happen in early February. But Saturday's big race is expected to draw a good turnout of race cars across all divisions. The gates will open at 1 p.m. with racing set to start at 2 pm. Adult tickets are $8, ages 7 to 12 are $5 and children 6 and under are free. Concessions and beer will be available. There will even be a live band.

2018 was a banner year for Paul Stephens, who used consistency to outrun Chico champion Jeremy Langenderfer for the Pure Stock championship. Langenderfer was last year's champion and won more races in this division than anybody this season. Past champion Steve Martin was not too far behind Langenderfer in third.

An equally exciting battle was taking place in the Mini Stocks, where Tom Davis managed to just barely hold off the impressive Barbara Crain to repeat as champion. Likewise, Keith Ross outran Dan Webster to win the Mini Truck title once again.

When drivers from divisions featured at various other tracks heard that this race was being scheduled, they were all asking if they could be included. The California Hardtop drivers regard Orland Raceway as one of their favorite places to race, and such notables as Jason Armstrong, Ken Clifford and Joe Shenefield immediately got on board with supporting this event.

Several competitors from the Dwarf Car and Sport Modified divisions also asked if they could come race. The Sport Modifieds made a pair of visits to the speedway this year and are hoping to be on the schedule some in 2019. The Dwarf Car division hasn't been seen the one-fifth mile dirt oval in over a decade, but several competitors are anxious to make their return.

Fans wanting to satisfy their need for speed have an opportunity to do so on Saturday night. You might require a jacket and some hot cocoa, but there will be plenty of great racing action to see. Drivers will be coming from throughout California and Oregon to compete. The best part is that this event will help people in the community who are in need. For further information, check out Orland Raceway on Facebook.


McDaniel, Nation, Palmer, DePriest Win New Year's Event 
At Stockton Dirt Track

Stockton, CA...January 1...Ryan McDaniel kicked off the 2019 racing season in California with a $1,500 victory in the 30 lap Dirt Modified Main Event Tuesday evening at the Stockton 99 Dirt Track. A strong turnout of 26 competitors we're on hand for this event. The third generation competitor and 2018 Yreka champion was the winner of his heat race, and that gave him a start at the front of the pack for the Main Event. McDaniel charged ahead at the start, followed by Bobby Hogge IV. Hogge surrendered second to four-time Antioch champion Troy Foulger on a lap nine restart. Hogge headed pit side during a lap 11 caution period with a flat tire. McDaniel continued to lead Foulger and Bakersfield standout Robby Sawyer on the restart. However, Hogge rapidly worked his way through the pack and was back to third by lap 18. Hogge moved past Foulger for second on a lap 25 restart. However, there was no stopping McDaniel as he scored the impressive victory ahead of Hogge. Foulger settled for third, followed by Duane Cleveland, Antioch champion Nick DeCarlo, Anthony Slaney, Josh Combs, Buddy Kniss, Raymond Keldsen Jr and Raymond Lindeman.

The 26 competitors were divided among four eight lap qualifying heat races, and Foulger won the first heat in front of Kniss. The second heat race win was scored by Kellen Chadwick ahead of Quincy champion Jeff Olschowka. McDaniel collected the third heat win ahead of DeCarlo, and the final heat race victory went to Hogge in front of Cleveland. The remainder of the field was filled by the 12 lap B Main, and Mitch Machado won that race ahead of Keldsen, Lindeman, Shawn DeForest and Thomas Martin.

Santa Maria and Bakersfield star Jason Nation won a thrilling 25 lap B Modified Main Event. The race was led impressively by Brent Curran from the start with Nation and Doff Cooksey in pursuit. Cooksey briefly took second from Nation on a lap two restart, but he surrendered the position back to Nation on a lap six restart. The lead three drivers ran in that order for most of the race. As they came up on slower traffic on the final lap, Curran saw his pace get slowed, allowing Nation to race by for the thrilling $500 victory. A disappointed Curran settled for second, followed by Cooksey, Tommy Fraser, Kenny Shrader, 2018 IMCA State champion Austin Manzella, Jared Mounce, Guy Ahlwardt, Bubba Nelson and Chris Falkenberg.

The B Modifieds had a strong turnout of 25 competitors, and they to ran four qualifying heat races. Curran won the first eight lap race ahead of past Antioch and Merced champion Fred Ryland. The second heat race win was scored by Bakersfield star Michael Johnson ahead of Ahlwardt. It was Fraser out running Nelson to win the third heat, while Keith Brown Jr picked up the victory in the fourth heat ahead of Nation. Chris Sieweke turned in a dominant performance in winning the 12 lap B Main by half a lap in front of Jason Ferguson. Rookie Cameron Swank settled for third, followed by Kyle Wood and Falkenberg.

Placerville star Jason Palmer picked up the victory in the 20 lap Bomber Main Event. The 2017 champion settled into an early second behind fellow Placerville regular Dave Silva on a lap two restart, and he charged by for the lead on lap 5. Ryan Peter slipped past Silva for second on lap 12 and took up pursuit of Palmer. However, Palmer set a rapid pace and won by a good margin ahead of Peter. Jim Brookshire outran Brad Myers in a close battle for third as the final lead lap finishers. Jerry Crawford, Craig Tatum, Josh Leach, Ken Winland, Tyler Finklea and Silva rounded out the Top 10. Peter and Palmer each won eight lap heat races.

Merced Speedway star Sean DePriest emerged as the unlikely winner of the 20 lap Basically 4-Cylinder Main Event. Multi-time Merced Speedway champion Chris Corder, who started his racing career at the pavement track in Stockton, set the early pace ahead of Jeremy Tjensvold and Petaluma Speedway champion Tom Brown. Brown moved into second on a lap eight restart, but he surrendered the position to DePriest a lap later. Corder was running strong in the lead until busting a ball joint on lap 19 and falling back. This allowed DePriest to move into the lead and gain the satisfying victory. Jennifer Corder was second, followed by Kelly Campanile, Roberta Brose, Joe Flowers, Chris Corder, Kate Beardsley, Brown, Tjensvold and Bill Bryan. Eight lap heat race wins were recorded by DePriest and Brown.

The Stockton Dirt Track will host another January event on the 26th. The Winged 360 Sprint Cars will be in action for a $3,000 to win race. Joining them on the card will be the B Modifieds, Bombers and Basically 4-Cylinder cars. For further information, go to www.stocktondirttrack.com.


The Editor's Viewpoint

I just wanted to post a brief note. I debated whether to put anything up right now as I am still waiting for news on certain things and enjoying the down time. Soon, I'm going to be working on the season recap articles for both of the blogs. However, after the recent news of the passing of Dean Cline, I'm going ahead with this posting.

I had heard that Stockton was hiring somebody to cover their event, but I have seen nothing as of press time. I watched the live scoring, so again I have attempted to put a live scoring article out. They have a lot of good things planned in Stockton, on both dirt and pavement, so it is my hope that they hire somebody. I don't quite understand why race tracks don't feel it's necessary to hire media people to spread the word. It's only going to help them.

I've seen it proven over and over in my time in racing that when you have somebody out there engaging the fans with information about what's going on, fans are more inclined to come out and watch the races. What it means is publicity people help make race tracks money. Often times, the promoters don't want to put the investment into hiring somebody to do the job. However, this is one of the positions that you have on your staff that, if filled properly, leads to more money coming through your gates.

I anticipate the DCRR Racing Media effort continuing in 2019. I will be evaluating each track that we covered last season and deciding what to do on a track by track basis. As always, I'm on a year-to-year basis with the racing media effort. Bear in mind that my absence from the sport beyond 2019 does not necessarily mean that this blog will not continue. It also opens up the possibility of me having time to really work on books. But in the meantime, it looks like I'm still going to be busy with the media effort throughout 2019. Hopefully, we'll make a difference here and there.

I have basically decided to put this post up because of the news of the passing of Dean "The Blinker" Cline. He was a great racer, but more than that, he was a great person. My desire to get the ball rolling on the Antioch Speedway Hall Of Fame last season was in part due to making sure that people like him were honored for their great contributions to the sport. I'm very proud to have seen him inducted, and more so that though he was unable to attend, he received his award and was told how much he meant to so many people.

As I think back on the great career that the Dean had, I can think of nobody better to have a special race for in his memory. Antioch Speedway ran a special Hobby Stock event last season for 50 laps. Coincidentally, Dean's car number throughout his career was 50. Also, he ran the fendered Stock Car class at the track for many years. I think it would be a cool idea to rename this race, which is also likely to be the one that's part of the new Hobby Stock Challenge Series, the Dean Cline Memorial. Just a thought. Then again, I'm for remembering all of the greats in any way that we can.

I don't want to run long on on my comments here, but I would like to organize a committee to expand on the Hall Of Fame at Antioch Speedway in years to come. I took some criticism for taking the bull by the horns and getting this thing started myself. What gave me the right and all of that stuff. Fine, I get it. Other people need to be involved in this, and it was never my desire to be the lone voice. Furthermore, I don't even know where I will be in regards to the sport years from now, so having other people involved in this is essential to keeping it going. As I proved this last season, it doesn't have to be overdone to be successful. It just takes some effort. With a few people behind the scenes doing it, it will get better.

I feel very fortunate that people have expressed an interest in being a part of the nomination process and helping keep this thing going in the years to come. Somebody else will eventually be leading the charge, or so I hope. There are many great racers at Antioch Speedway who deserve to be honored. I don't know what 2019 will bring for the Hall Of Fame, but I have certain ideas of who should get in. Other people do as well. My hope would be that some point in August would be the time to add the next group of inductees. As things are still up in the air at Antioch Speedway, I'm not going to speculate any further.

Just a note on the race at Orland Raceway this Saturday. I understand that despite the threat of rain coming, the track intends to run this show. It doesn't look like it's a question of if there will be rain, but when there will be rain. We can discuss the varying degrees of rain, but it certainly makes it a challenge to try to run a race on a dirt track. Sometimes, strange things happen. I recall the race at Chowchilla Speedway where Tom canceled the show during the night. Due to the reaction of the fans, he got the drivers to come back out and finish the show. Can Orland get away with such a thing? I don't know. It's definitely being held for a good cause, and I just hope for the best. Rich Hood has already shown a willingness to do good things for his community, and I would love to see this be another case of that.

Though there are probably a few other things I could say in this column, my intent was to be brief. So I'll leave it at that. Until next time...


Plenty Of Things To Be Excited About 
At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...We're a couple of months into the offseason, and it won't be long before the 2019 season will be upon us. But before we get there, there will be an awards banquet celebrating the 2018 season. This will happen at Los Arcos Restaurant in Medford on January 26th.

Once again, the Top 10 drivers in all of the track's regular divisions will receive trophies, and "Rookie Of The Year" winners will also be honored.

All in all, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future of the 23 year old racing facility. When it was built, the people and the racers flocked to the speedway be a part of the excitement. Huge numbers of fans spectated some great racing excitement, and seeing more than 100 cars in the pits was common when things really got going during the first 10 year period.

By the time KJE Enterprises entered the picture to begin promoting in 2016, the speedway was far from those glory days. The previous half dozen years weren't anything to brag about, but at least racing was still continuing on the 3/10 mile clay oval. Promoter Mike McCann set about adding new attractions to the schedule and new divisions to give the fans more variety to enjoy. In these past three seasons, we've seen an increase in attendance and car count. Though it's not on par with those early years, it's certainly better than what the fans were seeing in the immediate years leading up to McCann taking over.

There were a few occasions when long time fans even had to admit that they hadn't seen numbers like this in years. The Roger Haudenshild Tribute race had nearly 100 cars. The R Charles Snyder Salute had well over 100 race cars in the pits as the biggest car count the track had seen in over a decade. The season finale tipped in at 80 competitors, prompting some people to wish the season could go on for just a few more weeks.

There were certainly some moments to be proud of. A future column will review the season itself, but we can take a look at some good moments we had at the speedway in 2018. It may not seem like much to some, but Albert Gill winning his third IMCA Modified championship was quite an accomplishment. Gill was faced with the pressure of needing to make the Main Event in the star-studded R Charles Snyder Salute. He did so by impressively winning his B Main, thereby punching his ticket into the show. He has won all three of his championships in the last five years.

David Hibbard blazed a trail in the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car Series by winning five Main Events in the first six races. By the time the season finale came along, he didn't have to be there to win the championship. David has been a leader in the revival of Sprint Car racing in the area, and he is the first to admit that it's great seeing so many young, up-and-coming racers on a roster that continues to grow.

Another David who has the respect of his peers is Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stock champion David Steele. David carried a nice experience advantage over his fellow competitors as he was on a quest to win his first local track championship and take his seat atop the track's all time Mini Stock Main Event winner's list. He accomplished both tasks. To show you how impressive he was, Steele won nine Main Events, and his two worst finishes were second place.

It's not often you miss a race and are still able to win a championship. It becomes even more of a challenge when you're trying to dethrone the reigning champion. Second-generation competitor John Dees was a model of consistency with five second-place feature finishes during the season and one win. When John again picked up a second place finish in the finale, he accomplished his Late Model championship winning goal.

Rookies usually spend the season learning, and we get a sign of what they can do with a couple of nice moments during the season. However, Bree Tritchler accomplished something some drivers race their whole careers and don't get done. She won the JOAT Labs Hornets division championship on the strength of five second place finishes and one victory. She needed her second place finish in the season finale to close the deal.

The SODCA Dwarf Car division, which had their banquet back in October, fielded some of the biggest car counts at the speedway all year. A nice mixture of veteran competitors and newcomers gave them full fields most of the time. The competition was so tough that there were roughly a half-dozen drivers with a shot at the championship going into the finale. However, it was third generation racer Josh King using a second place finish in the final race to hold off Chad Cardoza to reclaim his position at the top of the point list. Young Michael Johnson was the top rookie of the season and won his first heat race late in the year as one of the track's rising young stars.

Another division putting some of their best car counts ever on the track this year was the IMCA Sport Modifieds. It seemed like everybody was getting a car to run this class, and it was a wide-open battle. Past Mini Stock champion David Marble kicked things off with his first win in the division and backed it up with several Top 5 finishes. By the time the season finale came along, he had secured the championship over the rookie Branden Wilson. Marble now has a Sprint Car as he looks forward to his next challenge.

Since the Valley Store All Late Model Lites were brought back to the roster in 2016, Charlie Eaton has been one of the most consistent drivers. It seemed like usually he was finishing second or third, but this year, he took it up a notch with a division leading three wins to write his name into the record books as a Southern Oregon Speedway champion.

The R Charles Snyder Salute stands head and shoulders above the other races as the marquee event of the season. The community seemed to band together to help make this show even bigger. Sponsorship grew the IMCA Modified winner's prize money to $5,000, while the IMCA Sport Modifieds were racing for $2,000 to win. In fact, the Sport Modifieds fielded over 50 cars for the two-day event. The Modifieds checked in at over 40. Guy Ahlwardt came from Antioch, California and surprised the Sport Modified competitors by holding off local ace Jorddon Braaten for the impressive win. Bobby Hogge IV won the Modified race.

The track hosted one of the biggest races of the year for the Winged Sprint Car class in Oregon. Roughly 20 competitors checked in to run the Ironhead Nationals, and Summer Thunder Series competitor Garen Linder returned to his hometown to score an impressive $2,000 victory.

When you're talking about impressive victories, the race of the season for the Sprint Car class happened in the season finale. Outlaw Kart star Tanner Holmes was running fifth on lap 18 when the teen leadfoot noticed the groove on the outside was faster. He moved up. A series of passes put him in a position to make a last-lap pass on the front stretch to take the win away from race long leader Mike Wheeler. Holmes won the last two Main Events for the class.

The biggest Wingless Sprint Car race in the state also happened at Southern Oregon Speedway. Defending Herz Precision Parts Cascade Wingless Sprint Car Challenge race winner Geoff Ensign left little doubt when he battled Shawn Arriaga early on before pulling away to the $3,500 victory. Another talented up-and-comer, Jeffrey Hudson, won a three-car battle late to finish a $1,500 second.

Nick Trenchard has a knack for winning when the money is on the line. The Sixth Annual Rodger Haudenshild Tribute race was paying $2,000 to win for the Modifieds. Trenchard defended his win in the previous race with another triumph. In the companion Sport Modified class, it was Californian Fred Ryland winning the prize, which was over $1,000. Dr. Scott Lenz left with more money when he won the Calculated Comfort Outlaw Pro Stock portion of the show.

Dwarf Cars took center stage to kickoff August as nearly 60 competitors showed up for the annual WSDCA Dwarf Car Nationals race. Ryan Diatte was the star of the weekend in the Pro class as he won both the Preliminary and final Main Events. It was 2016 race winner Tim Fitzpatrick coming back to win the Veteran Main Event finale. Another local star, Brett James, won the Sportsman Main Event. Southern Oregon Speedway also got to be part of the Dwarf Car Speedweek as the opening race win went to Camden Robustelli. Several members of the PHRA came to town, giving them a field of roughly 40 competitors.

Southern Oregon Speedway also proudly hosted the second annual Southern Oregon racing Hall Of Fame. This event was created to pay homage to some of the all-time greats of Southern Oregon racing. This year, Bruce Rayburn, Dave Duste Sr, Dane Smith, Dick Wallace and Rick Hunsley where all inducted at the August event.

These are just some of the things to be proud of from 2018. It was a team effort. Of course, numbers wouldn't be up if it wasn't for the great support of the fans and all of the competitors who came out to be a part of the show. Numbers were looking particularly good in Dwarf Cars and Sport Modifieds, and the Modifieds had their best season in four years. With a boost from several Outlaw Kart competitors, the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car division had its best year since the class was restarted in 2016.

There's still much work to be done to get things where everybody really wants to see them, but plans are underway to make 2019 the best season in years at Southern Oregon Speedway. The first order of business will be the awards banquet, which again will take place at Los Arcos Restaurant in Medford on January 26th.  For further information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

News And Rumors

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

Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion Can Be Heard HERE


The DCRR Racing Radio Show
Backup Link HERE

Still sitting here waiting for news that greatly impacts my future.  I've also been uninspired while I wait for the word and afraid I might say something that sparks unneeded negativity.  However, things are happening.  I figured I'd dust off a column originally created by my good friend Don O'Keefe Jr. In another odd twist, this is the first time in years that I'm actually opening up a new post here on the blog and typing directly.  This is just a few things in brief.  I still plan season recap articles for several tracks.  Depending on the news, I'll do season previews after that and go about doing whatever in 2019.  There will be some Jefferson Racing News thrown in here with the usual DCRR stuff.

News & Rumors

The biggest news of the off season right now goes unreported, because we are waiting for the final outcome.  No announcement has been made regarding the protest over the original decision on who was named promoter of Antioch Speedway. This is the fourth week since the protest was filed, and we anticipate that an announcement could be forthcoming at any time. We will refrain from speculation on the topic.  The only announcement that has been made regarding Antioch was the opener for the California Hobby Stock Challenge on April 13th.

Likewise, we await word on who will become the promoter at Siskiyou Motor Speedway.  We haven't heard any confirmed reports as to who might be interested in taking over the track.  We know the SCMA, which has promoted the track for many years, has elected new officials and is proceeding as if they will be in charge once again.  We've heard rumors regarding a new special race coming at some point in 2019, and this one will feature Street Stocks.  Whether that sparks interest in the track reviving its own class, we don't know.  The IMCA Modified Wild West Speedweek Tour is interested in returning in 2019, and the new Tri State Pro Stock Series has tentatively penciled in the Billy Geyer Memorial Race on May 4th.

Merced Speedway was the second California track to offer up a schedule.  They aren't overbooking any classes, and the six championship divisions from last season will return in 2019.  It's interesting to note that IMCA Modifieds and Sport Modifieds are often times not booked on the same night.  Rather than stay dark on the first week of August, the track will open.  The local classes can still head to Watsonville for the Mike Cecil Memorial, but Merced has the honor of hosting an Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Tour, Presented by Abreu Vineyards, race that night.  Two USAC Midget races were booked (April 20th and July 27th) along with two BCRA Midget Lites appearances (April 27th and June 22nd).  There's also a Hunt Wingless Spec Sprint Series race on July 20th and IMCA RaceSaver 305 Sprint Car races on April 6th and May 25th.

Furthermore, Merced will host a Dwarf Car Nationals event, and it will happen on April 12th and 13th, instead of in July.  The season will end with the Fourth Annual John Fore Jr. Memorial on October 26th and 27th, and they will also honor the previous promoter on June 15th with the Ed Parker Memorial.  The track will have two two-race series events with Bakersfield Speedway for the IMCA Modified and Sport Modified classes in June and August.  Not on the schedule, to the disappointment of many, is the Ted Stofle Classic, Timmy Post Memorial, Bill Egleston Memorial or the Matt & Glass Cancer Fund Raiser.  Race Director Doug Lockwood has said the track will honor all of the greats at the Annual Legend's Night Event on August 10th.  Interestingly enough, the Sportsman division has had it's marquee night on that occasion, but it's currently not scheduled on that night.  Maria Egleston has said that she is looking for a place to host the race honoring her late husband.

A solution to honoring Matt Van Hoecke of Matt & Glass may be possible.  This event usually ended the point season, and the new California Hobby Stock Challenge Series will close their season at Merced on September 14th.  All Hobby Stock Series events will pay at least $1,000 to the winner as long as they are members.  Three of the five other events (the 32 lap Richie McGowan Memorial at Bakersfield Speedway on June 29th, the 80 lap Mike Cecil Memorial at Ocean Speedway on August 3rd and the Danny Simkins Memorial at Santa Maria Raceway on August 31st) all have significant meaning to the people at these tracks.  Series organizer Tom Sagmiller knew Matt and could easily make this a special race in his honor.  The series opens at Antioch Speedway on April 13th, as mentioned above.  Depending on what happens when the announcement is made regarding the track's promoter, that date could be moved.

Not to be left out of the series conversation is the Tri State Pro Stock Series.  Nevada's Gordon Russell Jr and Oregon Outlaw Pro Stock competitor Roy Bain began talking about a four race series.  This idea was basically sparked by the idea that the Oregon group had the Billy Geyer Memorial at Yreka and the Nevada group had the Gordon Russell Sr Memorial in Cedarville and a big race in Nevada.  Plus, there has been an interest from Nevada competitors in making a visit to Southern Oregon Speedway.  As things were coming together, however, past Orland and Marysville champion  Jerry Bartlett expressed his desire to sell his Sport Modified and return to his Stock Car roots.  Bartlett went to Tony Noceti of Stockton to get a race date, and things began to come together swiftly.  Stockton was so interested that a second date there was brought to the table, and it got bigger from there.

While rules are being hashed out, Nevada Pro Stock and Oregon Pro Stocks are legal, and it was mentioned that Bakersfield Pro Stocks and Marysville Super Stocks (without wings) were pretty much legal.  Drivers were instructed to send their rules for approval, and they would run their track's rules for these events.  The schedule will include the Billy Geyer Memorial at Siskiyou Motor Speedway on May 4th, the Gordon Russell Sr Memorial at Cedarville on June 29th, a July 13th race at Stockton Dirt Track, August 17th at Reno-Fernley Raceway and the finale at Stockton on September 14th.  This is where the "better" comes into play.  Many time champion  Robert Miller and his brother have stepped up to sponsor the Stockton finale as a memorial to their father.  It will be the Al Miller Memorial and pay at least $5,000 to win, making this the biggest paying Pro Stock race on the West Coast.  All races will pay at least $1,000 to win.  Southern Oregon Promoter Mike McCann expressed interest in getting a date, but by then it was too late.

For the first time in some 20 years, the Southern Oregon Dwarf Car Association will not be hosting a Western States Dwarf Car Nationals event.  Word was that WSDCA leadership felt that Southern Oregon Speedway did not want to host the show, which is a sentiment that has never been expressed by that track's management.  The hosting honors slipped past PHRA and down to the Northwest Dwarf Car Association, who requested co-host help from SODCA.  The two worked together for a Regional event at Coos Bay Speedway two years ago.  This time around, the request was denied.  Therefore, the NWDCA, Oregon's third Dwarf Car group, will host the Nationals event at Cottage Grove Speedway in August.  Southern Oregon Speedway is working on something, but details are still being hashed out.

There will be an awards banquet for Southern Oregon Speedway on January 26th.  Management is working on scheduling at the moment, and all divisions featured this season are expected to be included next year.  A few surprises will be forthcoming.  As a bit of a teaser, the Iron Giant Street Stock Series should be heading back to the track in May, and the West Coast's premiere Street Stock Tour has some nice surprises in store in the form of additional tracks.  One track being considered is Siskiyou Motor Speedway as it is hoped to entice California drivers to come race.  Rumors have persisted that Street Stocks might be brought back to the Medford track.  Management is not pushing this narrative.  There were also people in the Yreka area insisting that there is something to pursue at that track.  Whatever the case, it could be that the Iron Giant Street Stock Series could have a double header weekend on Memorial Day at Medford and Yreka.  By the way, California Hobby Stocks seem to fit better with the more traditional Street Stocks of Oregon.

Willamette Speedway Promoter Jerry Schramm made an announcement in September that he is upping his game with the IMCA Stock Cars.  There will be a purse increase of $500 to win and $100 minimum for 10th, plus point fund money for the Top 10 point competitors.  The addition of IMCA Stock Cars to the roster this year was seen as a shot at the Street Stocks.  There are more metric cars in the Street Stocks these days, and all it's going to take is other tracks starting IMCA Stock Cars to give this class a foot hold in Oregon.  This seems inevitable, though one might think that a place like Medford or even Yreka would be a better place to start, rather than a track with a thriving Street Stock division.  We'll see if this latest announcement will establish the IMCA class as anticipated.

In a bit of a head scratcher, Watsonville's Ocean Speedway has announced a new Midget division is coming in 2019.  Past track promoter Mike McCluney is spear heading this effort.  McCluney has spent recent seasons involved with the Focus Midgets and is no doubt inspired by the success of the Northwest Focus Midgets in Washington.  However, that success is in no small part due to the promotional efforts of Carla and Gaylon Stewart.  In California, the traditional BCRA Midgets are struggling, causing some observers to say that it might be time for BCRA to drop pavement and concentrate on growing car count on the dirt again  The Focus Midgets at Madera and Ventura struggle to get more than six cars on any occasion .  Is this going to work at Watsonville, which is traditionally a Stock Car track?  If it had to be open wheel, wouldn't the Spec Sprints, which had a double digit average at the time of its termination, be a better fit?

The fact is, it would seem that Watsonville is ripe for its own Super Stock/Limited Late Model class in the vein of Petaluma or Antioch if a new division must be added.  Car count would most likely hit double digits in a reasonable time as perhaps a few names not seen in recent years at the speedway return.  On the other hand, one could make a case for staying the course with what the track already has.  Numbers were up in most of the classes, and the racing was good this season.

There are grumblings in the Spec Sprint ranks regarding rules changes, and some are starting to speculate that it could become a Wingless 360 Sprint Car class in three years.  There have been people pushing for rules changes since the division was started in 1999, but Antioch Speedway has mostly stayed the course with the rules that were originally written by Don O'Keefe Jr.  A couple of years ago, there was some talk about a 6-10 race Wingless 360 Series in Northern California due to the fact that track's like Petaluma, Watsonville and Placerville were booking dates.  There is a certainly an interest in such a class without sacrificing the Spec Sprint rules to do it.  We'll have to see what happens here.

Interestingly enough, a few teams have discussed the possibility of a new series.  The bigger challenge is could you form something when Petaluma, Watsonville, Merced are unlikely to book initial dates and Antioch Speedway is up in the air?  How badly would the racers want this, and would making trips to Orland, Yreka and other such places be worth pursuing to get it started?  Two years ago, multi time NCMA champion Scott Holloway made some noise about trying to convince his old club into coming back to the dirt.  The NCMA has quietly crept along as one of California's oldest continuing open wheel sanctioning bodies.  Does anybody have the will to step up to the plate and take a swing here?

Sonny Sell and a team of volunteers have been working a little bit at a time towards getting Rocky Hill Speedway in Porterville cleaned up and suitable for racing again.  Sonny is taking it one day at a time and not making any grand announcements on when the first race will be.  Down the road in Hanford, Keller Auto Speedway management made a late decision to go ahead and have a January banquet to honor this year's top competitors.  What is interesting is that they only held about ten total events this season, and the only point listings you could find on the website all year were the IMCA Stocks Cars.

Hanford is where the first IMCA Stock Car program began on the West Coat about 15 years ago, and they were getting as many as 16 cars on occasion this year.  Brock Hamilton will strep up this year to collect the championship hardware. Alan Mendes, Prestin Martin, rookie Shawn Schwartzenberger and Larry Thompson made up the remainder of the Top 5.  The Mini Stocks also had a six race series.  Jason Cook won four races, but his absence from one race dropped him to fifth.  Andy Boydstun emerged as the surprise champion.  Andy was either racing his Mini Stock or offering his truck as a push vehicle at various Sprint Car events this year, and he held off Paul Schwartzenberger by just ten points for the title.  Clinton Massey, Gene Glover and Cook rounded out the Top 5.  Boydstun also topped the point list after four races at Kern County Raceway.

There will be a King Of Kings Winged 360 Sprint Car champion, and Matthew Moles will be claiming the honors.  Only he and second ranked Tucker Worth competed in all five Hanford races.  Cole Macedo and Jace Vanderweed tied for third and Craig Stidham was fifth.  You could find the State of California IMCA RaceSaver 305 Sprint Car points online, but a Hanford list wasn't released until recently.  State champion Grant Duinkerken won the local title as well, but he did so by just a point ahead of Zane Blanchard.  Brendan Warmerdam held off Blake Robertson by just four points for third with State point runnerup Albert Pombo in fifth.  Speedway officials will be handing out the hardware on January 12.

Schedules are going to start coming out in the days ahead.  Merced Speedway wasn't the first California track to release a schedule.  That honor went to All American Speedway in Roseville.  After lengthy negotiations to secure the contract as promoter, NASCAR K&N West Series race promoter Bill McAnally had an abbreviated schedule this season.  He's planning a 14 race season next year that will feature Late Models, Modifieds, Bombers, F4's and Jr Late Models most of the time, among other classes.  The track will also host some Enduros and a visit by the Big Rigs.  October 13th will also be the night for the NASCAR K&N West Series.

Up until recently, a New Years race at Antioch Speedway might have been possible.  Incumbent promoter John M Soares favored the idea.  Jeremy Prince anticipated that January 1st might be the day his team could begun working on the track.  As mentioned above, there was no final decision on who will promote the track for the next five years as of press time.  Soares has been making plans for what will race there, and no major changes in the roster were anticipated.  The Prince team was making plans as well.  Despite the terrible injury sustained by Prince at Dixon in October, there is no worry about work being taken care of.  Jeremy already has a team in place to do what needs to be done as he recovers.  The 2019 season should go on as scheduled.  The only question now is, who will be promoting the show.

This might have been the end of this part of the column, but we've heard a couple other scheduling news items.  There had been rumors of Tony Noceti of Stockton 99 Dirt Track Speedway hosting as many as eight B Modified races, and this is true.  There was also a rumor that Noceti was looking to run a New Year's race.  This is also true.  Noceti will run his first B Modified race that night along with A Modifieds, Bombers and B4 Mini Stocks.  The latter two divisions will continue to be core classes on the Stockton 99 Pavement Track, which also has Late Models and Mini Cup cars as regular classes.  Several other special attractions will continue on the pavement, and there will also be about a half-dozen open wheel nights that will feature the Gunslinger Sprint Cars, Legends Of Kearney Bowl Super Modifieds and other open wheel classes.

Open wheel racing will remain a staple on the Stockton Dirt.  King Of The West/NARC Fujitsu Sprint Cars, Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Series, Presented by Abreu Vineyards, Sprint Cars and Hunt Wingless Spec Sprints will be there.  The LeRoy Van Conett Salute, Gary Patterson Memorial and Asparagus Cup Sprint Car races will be there, but Noceti's New Years race is the first step towards him establishing his own program on the track as well.  The afore mentioned Pro Stocks will have two dates, and really the dirt tack offers a little something for everybody.

The NARC/King Of The West Sprint Cars have announced a 19 race schedule with a date to be announced.  The first eight races will take place at eight different tracks, and this schedule is bigger than last year.  Kern County Raceway, Petaluma Speedway, Ocean Speedway, Silver Dollar Speedway, Santa Maria Raceway, Placerville Speedway, Stockton 99 Dirt Track, Keller Auto Speedway, Tulare Thunderbowl and Calistoga Speedway are all on the schedule.  All of the traditional big races, such as the Dave Bradway Jr, Memorial, Pombo-Sargent Classic and the Gary Patterson Memorial, remain on the schedule.  The intriguing item of note is that dates line up in August and early September that raise the possibility that Speedweek could return.  Jim Allen has hinted at making this happen since the NARC name was brought back.

The stretch of races that makes one curious about what could be happening includes Placerville (August 21), a pending date (August 22), Stockton 99 Dirt Track (August 23-24) and Calistoga (August 31, September 1).  However, NARC officials haven't made any announcements in regards to that.  It could be that they are waiting to see what comes of the pending date.  What track might that be?  If we might speculate, our first thoughts were Watsonville or Petaluma, but we believe that would have been announced.  Merced could be possible, but again, this probably would have been announced.  Antioch Speedway perhaps?  We're not going to get into any of this other than to say that our sources indicate there was somebody who hopes to be representing Antioch Speedway for the next five years who was in Reno and was talking to various groups.  You can find the NARC/KWS schedule HERE.

Before we close, we head back to Hanford where we not only see a new schedule, but also a nice example of two tracks working together.  Hanford has rebranded their Winged 360 Sprint Car class Kings Of Thunder and is sharing them with neighboring Tulare Thunderbowl.  This leads to a 15 race schedule between the two tracks with nine at Hanford and six at Tulare.  The season will kick off at Hanford on February 23rd, and it includes a joint appearance with the World of Outlaws in March at Tulare and support of Sprint Car Challenge Tour races at both Tulare and Hanford.  While we wait for the full Tulare schedule, we have a 14 race Hanford schedule.

Hanford will continue to feature the Winged 360 Sprint Cars and the growing IMCA RaceSaver Winged 305 Sprint Cars.  There will also be point series events for the IMCA Stock Cars, Mini Stocks and IMCA Sport Modifieds.  They have attempted to book Sport Modified races when Merced Speedway is not running the class.  The Sport Modifieds have four dates, which would meet the minimum total required for IMCA to acknowledge it as a series.  However, the final race can not be for points due to it conflicting with the IMCA Nationals in Iowa.  Management will have a point fund for the series and will reportedly have a one race throwaway rule.

In an effort to continue an old tradition started by Don O'Keefe Jr, we're gonna present to you some news and rumors.  It's up to you to decide what is news and what is rumor.

The NARC/KWS Sprint Car Tour will be bringing back Speedweek in 2019.

Willamette Speedway will be sold soon and Jerry Schramm will begin his plan to make big improvements to Sunset Speedway.

The Late Model class at Southern Oregon Speedway will be promoted bigger than they ever have before at that venue as a new sponsor comes on board.

Antioch Speedway will return to IMCA for both Modifieds and Sport Modifieds.

An interested party would like to buy Hills Ferry Raceway with intentions of running some bigger car races on the track in addition to other forms of racing.

Rocky Hill Speedway will open to racing again in 2019.

In an effort to boost car count, Siskiyou Motor Speedway will have at least some Friday night races in 2019.

In an attempt to bring new drivers to the track, Antioch Speedway will cut a smaller track in the infield for Outlaw Kart and Micro racing.

Coos Bay Speedway will continue their partnership with NASCAR for a third season.

Placerville Speedway will continue to feature Winged Sprint Cars, Limited Late Models, Pure Stocks and Mini Trucks next year with visits by the NCDCA and BCRA and a big season finale two day event for USAC West Coast Midgets.

Silver Dollar Speedway and Orland Raceway will both drop the Wingless Spec Sprint division, leaving Antioch and Petaluma as the last tracks to have their own divisions.

Merced Speedway will begin to induct members into the track's Hall Of Fame in 2019.

The odds of a tenth outdoor race track opening for racing in Oregon have improved.


Despite the fact that there are three interested parties willing to invest in sponsoring the event, All American Speedway will once again not have a Vintage Classic in 2019.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Merced Speedway News, Possible Orland Raceway December Race, More

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Pit Stops 
Merced Speedway News, 
Possible Orland Raceway December Race, More

There's news from Merced regarding the new promoters at Merced Speedway. It has just been announced that S&S Motorsports are the new promoters of the 68 year old racing facility. S&S Motorsports is a partnership between past track champions Paul Stone and Chris Shannon.

In recent seasons, while he has stepped out of the spotlight and supported his son DJ's racing effort, Chris Shannon has still been a sponsor of the speedway and several cars. The Shannon Pump business is highly respected in the community. Chris has raced in the past in Late Models and is also a past Modified champion at the speedway.

Paul Stone started out racing in the Mini Truck division at the speedway in the 1990s and is also a multi-time IMCA Modified champion. He and brother Steve were investors in the opening of Chowchilla Speedway back in 2000. He has won several Main Events at the speedway in recent seasons while also competing at various venues across the country.

Both Stone and Shannon are excited about building upon the foundation established by the late Ed Parker. To help them in this goal, they have brought in Doug Lockwood as the Race Director. Lockwood has spent recent seasons serving in that capacity with the USAC Sprint Cars and Midgets. He has also been involved in the Chowchilla Barn Burner Series.

Doug grew up at Merced Speedway and began pitting for people such as Steven Williams before branching out to become an official. He is enthusiastically looking forward to doing what he can to help make the speedway even better than it's been in recent years.

They will have a tough act to follow as Parker had strengthened the car counts in the IMCA Modified and IMCA Sport Modified divisions, and the speedway saw perhaps it's biggest car count ever this last season with over 130 cars in the pits.

No major changes are being announced in regards to the divisions being offered as regular classes. The IMCA Modifieds and Sport Modifieds will be back with the popular IMCA sanctioning. The local Hobby Stock, Mini Stock, Valley Sportsman and Mini Late Model divisions will also be a part of the program.

There is also an interest in having certain Sprint Car series races and perhaps other special attractions on the 2019 schedule, but nothing has been finalized on that front. The RPM Promoter's Workshop in Reno will happen at the end of the month, and negotiations are sure to take place. The team will announce the schedule and any rules adjustments in the not-too-distant future, and fans are advised to look for the track on Facebook or at the official website, www.racemerced.com.

Speculation is that many of the races that have special meaning to the Merced racing community will remain on the schedule, but as always, there will be a negotiation to finalize those details. The important thing is that Merced Speedway will continue to operate in 2019 and beyond.

The news at Antioch Speedway is not as clear-cut. After the RFP packages were graded by the board committee, a winner was declared last week. Within hours, an official protest was filed in Sacramento. Exactly what was protested was not disclosed to this corner, but officials are reviewing everything meticulously before making any official announcements. With a large gathering of racing enthusiasts at the recent fair board meeting, the board announced that they could not comment on the bid as it was under protest.

Obviously this has caused speculation, and some people have probably commented on who the promoter is, though that is not official. As to the rumors that schedules and rules are being worked on for 2019, that is likely true among all of the potential promoters. Given that the offseason goes by rather quickly, anybody who would be named the official promoter of Antioch Speedway in 2019 would want to have things in order for special announcements as soon as possible. Beyond that, we are going to reserve speculation until an announcement is made. We anticipate hearing the news by no later than next Friday.

Word from Yreka has been pretty quiet. At the end of October, the contract between the Siskiyou County Fairgrounds and the Siskiyou County Motorsports Association was set to expire. There have been rumblings that the fair board was looking for somebody else to run Siskiyou Speedway or even considering promoting the place themselves. However, we've heard nothing on the subject in recent weeks. Scheduled topics at the November 20th fair board meeting include the big race track and the smaller Outlaw Kart track. At that time, plans should be revealed.

The Siskiyou County Motorsports Association is moving ahead with business as usual, anticipating that they will be in charge of the speedway in 2019 as they have been for the past 19 years. They have also announced that there will be an association meeting on the 20th which will reveal the results of the board member elections.

It's difficult to speculate who might actually step up to take on the promotional job at a speedway that has had its car count decline steadily in recent years. Just keeping those gates open is a challenge, but it's one that the association has been willing to take on. If faced with the possibility that nobody wants to bid other than the association, would the Fair Board choose to leave it the way it's been, take it on themselves or even consider closing the gates? We're hoping they at least keep it going with the association, but we can only speculate.

The Tri State Pro Stock Series finally announced their five races for the 2019 season. Though it had been speculated that Southern Oregon Speedway would become the fifth track in the series, no attempt at negotiations with Southern Oregon Speedway promoter Mike McCann was made. Instead, the series will have a race in Yreka, which is the Billy Geyer Memorial race, a race in Cedarville, which is the Gordon Russell Sr Memorial, a race at Reno-Fernley Raceway and two races at Stockton 99 Dirt Speedway. Sponsorships are in the process of being secured for point fund and race purse money.

There isn't a lot of news coming out of Southern Oregon Speedway. Plans call for the divisions everybody saw compete at the speedway last season to be back in action again next year. As of now, signature races for the speedway, such as the R Charles Snyder Salute, Rodger Haudenshild Tribute, the Wild West Speedweek IMCA Modified race, Ironhead Nationals Sprint Car race, Hall Of Fame Night and the Cascade Wingless Sprint Car Challenge race, should all be on the 2019 schedule when work begins on that.

Management was pleased with the progress made in the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car and IMCA Sport Modified divisions. IMCA Modified car count was up slightly, and most of the track's divisions maintained their numbers. There is speculation of something big in the works for the Late Model division, which is in its third year. This could lead to bigger and better things for the division, though we will refrain from saying what any of that means.

As of now, the Western States Dwarf Car Nationals event, which has been hosted by the Southern Oregon Dwarf Car Association for some 20 years, will not happen at Southern Oregon Speedway in 2019. An agreement could not be reached with the Southern Oregon Dwarf Car Association. Word is that the Nationals race will be taken to Coos Bay Speedway next season, though what that date might be remains to be seen. As of now, the Northwest Dwarf Car Association will host that race. Several northwestern states racing promoters, including Drake Nelson of Coos Bay, will be at the WARPA meeting that is taking place in Portland this weekend.

Racers are anxiously awaiting news on when Southern Oregon Speedway will be hosting the awards banquet. We can say that it looks like this will happen either on the third or fourth week of January. Details are being finalized. The Top 10 drivers in all of the track's core divisions will be honored, and "Rookie Of The Year" winners will be awarded as well.

Work continues on the preparation of Rocky Hill Speedway in Porterville. Though nothing is being planned for this year, the hopes are that the gates will open for at least some races in 2019. Sonny Sell has remained mum on any of that as the immediate goal is to make the facility worthy of having a race. Several people have volunteered their help in various areas to help him get the job done.

And finally, there is the potential for a special race at Orland Raceway in December. This event would serve as a fundraiser for the people who lost their homes in the Camp Fire in Paradise recently. The fire took a toll on the racing community as several teams that were supportive of racing at both Orland and Chico lost their homes and their race cars.

Past Orland Mini Truck champion and past promoter Dan Webster has spoken with current promoter Rich Hood and the Glenn County Fair Board about the possibility of having a special race, and all parties have come out in favor of the idea. However, Webster wanted to know that there would be support among the racers if such an event was booked. The proceeds would go to people who are in need of the help.

Response has been overwhelmingly positive among the track's core divisions, the Pure Stocks, Mini Trucks and Mini Stocks. Drivers from the California Hardtop Association and Sport Modified divisions have also expressed an interest in supporting the show, and a rough estimate would suggest that a field of competitors somewhere in the 60 to 70 car range could be possible. This race is all about helping people, but it would also strengthen Orland Raceway's reputation as a track that gives back to the community.



The Editor's Viewpoint

I always say I don't want to be long-winded with this column, but let's see if I can pull it off this time. The fact is, there was going to be no posting today until I heard the news from Merced Speedway. It caught me by surprise as my sources told me that the decision probably wouldn't come down until the end of the month. Perhaps things were expedited here?

What my sources had told me initially was that the board was ready to deal with somebody very early on until it was pointed out that the track needed to go out for bid by law. I have been told by somebody in the know that they could have awarded the track to somebody on an interim, one-year basis, but they chose to put it out for bid. They actually sought out qualified promoters and sent registered letters to potential candidates. They were covering their bases.

I heard that the Stone family and Chris Shannon were interested in the track. What I didn't hear was that these two entities were interested in going into business together. As it was, I felt that they were individually both qualified to get this job done. As a team, watch out! The track has been awarded to S&S Motorsports, which consists of Paul Stone and Chris Shannon.

What you need to know about these two people is they are longtime supporters of Merced Speedway. They care a great deal about the racing community, and at times they have been known to put their money where their mouth is. Both have sponsored various racers. Stone has gone as far as investing in the opening of Chowchilla Speedway in 2000. Shannon sponsored at least one race at the speedway over these past few seasons. Both are past track champions. There's not a doubt in my mind that they are qualified to do this job.

For the Race Director, they brought in Doug Lockwood. To me, this seems like a great choice. I think he's a disciple of the Doug Williams school of racing, which earns him points in my book as well. He has spent the past several seasons as an official for USAC. I can imagine that it might have been bittersweet for him to resign his post with that group, but taking on the job at Merced Speedway I know is a dream come true for him. He's coming home to the track he loves.

People are already speculating about this and that, but they need to stop. They are not dropping any divisions. Six divisions will crown champions at the banquet in January. They are the  IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Valley Sportsman and Mini Late Models. All six divisions will have a spot on the schedule in 2019. However, you need to bring in special attractions here and there, and there will be Sprint Car racing. What exactly that means, we'll have to wait and see. They will be at the RPM Workshop in Reno seeing what they can get done. But don't worry, there will be a good schedule and racing will go on In 2019. To my knowledge, this will be the 70th consecutive championship season at the track.

Something I get sentimental about is the nostalgia races that honor the tradition. However, knowing these guys, most of those special events will probably remain on the schedule in 2019. I won't speculate what those are or when they will be. I was never worried about the track closing as I know that the Merced County Fairgrounds is supportive of racing and feels it's a very important part of what they do.

We were expecting that we would know for sure who was running Antioch Speedway in 2019 by now. They went through the process of grading the RFP packages that were submitted. A winner was actually posted at the fairgrounds, as per the procedure. However, within 24 hours, the results were protested. What the protest is, I'm not going to speculate. Fact is, if you are a bidder and you don't win, you have the right to do this. It has happened in the past.

As I'm writing this, the protest is being reviewed by the people up in Sacramento, and they will do their due diligence. On this level, they want to make sure that they dot all the i's and cross all of the t's before rendering their decision. Once that decision is made, they want things to proceed expeditiously.

Does this mean that the original winner will get the track, the next in line will get the track or could this thing go back out to bid again? Obviously, we don't want to see it go out to bid again as this will delay things more. I won't speculate on what is going to happen.

The important thing to me is that Antioch Speedway opens their gates for a 2019 season. I'm also hoping that the divisions that had a chance to race in 2018 will continue to get that opportunity without a bunch of major rules changes making it more difficult for them to be there. There has been much speculation made, and some people are out there declaring the winner already. There is no official winner just yet. However, I have no problem believing that all of the potential promoters are working on 2019 schedules and rule sets. You need to get started on those things as soon as possible.

Late last night, it was brought to my attention that an effort is being made to put on a race in December at Orland Raceway. At first glance, I'm not in favor of racing this late into the year, but there is good reason for this race to be put out there. Past Mini Truck champion and past Orland promoter Dan Webster proposed this idea as a way to raise funds for the people who lost everything in the devastating Camp Fire in Paradise. That fire affected the racing community as several racing teams that race at both Orland and Chico were among those who lost their homes.

Dan has spoken with Rich Hood, who is the current Orland Raceway promoter, and Glenn County Fair Board officials. It seems like everybody is in favor of this idea if support can be thrown behind this by the racers. As the fairgrounds is being used right now, all of the logistics would have to be planned out. Webster has put the word out to the racers to find out who would come, and many of the drivers in the track's core divisions are supportive. In fact, several Sport Modified and California Hardtop teams also want to race if this happens.

That's where we are at this point. If something were to happen, you would likely see the news on the Orland Raceway Facebook page. When we know something, we can put the word out. I have offered my writing services if they are needed. It really makes me feel good to see how much the racing community rallies behind their own at a time like this. Some good people I know have lost everything.

I'm getting a kick out of the updates from Rocky Hill Speedway in Porterville. Sonny Sell and others are out there doing everything they can to get that place whipped into shape for some racing in 2019. In fact, they seem to be doing this at night too. There was a picture on social media of Sonny on a tractor that had headlights. Hey, whatever you need to do to get the job done. Central Valley Mini Stock President Dan Myrick was out there today offering a hand as well. I have no doubt that racing will happen there in 2019, and if our media effort is going in full force, I intend to include the Porterville track in what I do.

Right now, what my next plan will be is in limbo. I cannot sit here and tell you that I am doing anything for sure in 2019. The blog will stay here and be used in some capacity, but how often is the question. Things were offered to me for the 2019 season that had me very excited and optimistic, and that has been in flux in recent days. It's been a roller-coaster ride, to be sure.

To be honest with you, it's also been very difficult for me to focus when I sit down to write. I want to do some non-racing material, and my brain just won't go there. I want to work on racing material, and my brain is having the same problem. In the midst of all this, I've had some sad news in my family as another person dear to me has passed away. Seems like I'm losing the people who meant the most to me in my life.

So what I do in 2019 is up in the air. I can only tell you that I'll do my best. If I'm involved for another season in racing, I will go all out in what I do to help make things better. Other than that, I'm just going to keep my mouth shut and hang back in the shadows for a few days. I find it better to do that than to say something that ultimately leads to negativity from others.

On that note, I'll end this column. At least I didn't take as long this time...

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Pit Stops, Plus Dixon Speedway, Kern Raceway, More

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I made the decision to edit the originally posted content in order to await a final decision on the matter of Antioch Speedway.  We'll have more on that once we get the final word.

Pit Stops

We were all set to proclaim the winner of the bid to run Antioch Speedway for the next five years, but we have to put that announcement on hold for the next few days out of respect to the interested parties. Things still have to clear a few hurdles before it's officially announced. However, we can tell you that there were only two interested parties who ultimately submitted bids. This will probably come as a surprise to some, who were expecting to see at least one other experienced promoter step in and make a challenge.

When all was said and done, however, Jeremy Prince was the only one to step forward and challenge the incumbent promoter John M Soares and Oval Motorsports. Prince has been active in recent seasons as a promoter of Dixon Speedway, which has a successful Micro Sprint program these days. He also raced at Antioch in multiple divisions in the past and is the son of a past Vallejo Speedway competitor. Soares has overseen many changes and improvements to Antioch Speedway during his 20 years as promoter.

Ultimately, there wasn't a lot of chatter on social media regarding Antioch Speedway, but there was good reason. Many Antioch Speedway competitors were in Las Vegas competing in The Duel In The Desert. The 21st running of this event drew several drivers from Antioch in both the Modified and Sport Modified classes. For the roughly 300 Modified and Sport Modified racers who made the trip, it wasn't just about going out there and trying to get a win. It was the opportunity to go out there and attempt to tame the 1/2 mile dirt oval.

The Antioch racer who had all of the other locals talking on Saturday night was Buddy Kniss. Kniss has rapidly climbed the ladder at Antioch Speedway from Dwarf Cars to Limited Late Models and now Modifieds. He also balances a very busy schedule during the year that sees him competing in baseball as well. The third generation racer entered the Young Guns race. From his front row starting spot, Buddy proceeded to lead all 10 laps for the popular victory. The team, which includes father Chester Kniss, had battled various mechanical problems with their cars during the three day event, but Saturday was the night that sent them all home with a smile.

More information has emerged in regards to the Hobby Stock and Pro Stock Series that have been proposed for 2019. The California Hobby Stock Challenge Series was announced to be a five race series, and all of the events will pay $1,000 to win and $100 to start guaranteed for series members. Thanks to the sponsorship acquired so far, they will be paying $1,000 to the five race series champion, $500 for second and $300 for third with everybody down to tenth getting at least $100 and the Top 10 getting trophies.

Selected dates will include one pavement show at Madera Speedway. The Richie McGowan Memorial Hobby Stock Race at Bakersfield Speedway will also be a series event. The Danny Simkins Memorial at Santa Maria will be included. The Mike Cecil Memorial event at Watsonville and a race at Antioch Speedway. The series is already generating much interest, and series tracks will allow the drivers to run their set of rules at the varying different events. Tow money will be offered based on the distance the drivers travel from their various home tracks, which has been outlined on the California Hobby Stock Series Facebook page.

Gordon Russell Jr, who has served as the Business Manager for the Nevada Pro Stock Association, recently made an announcement on one of his videos on Facebook. The proposed Tri State Pro Stock Series has four dates secured, including the Billy Geyer Memorial Race in Yreka in May of 2019, the Gordon Russell Sr Memorial Race in Cedarville in June, a race at Reno-Fernley Raceway in Nevada and a September event at Stockton 99 Dirt Speedway. All races will pay at least $1,000 to win, according to Russell. Point fund money is being secured. An as of yet unannounced fifth event could be added to the schedule, and speculation is that this could be at Southern Oregon Speedway. Russell pointed out that if it becomes a five race series, there may be a one race throwaway rule for the drivers. The Nevada group, the Oregon group and drivers representing various California tracks could all be a part of the special series, and speculation is that there could be over 40 drivers at some of these events.

The Central Valley Mini Stock Association is planning for their biggest season yet next year, and they have expressed an interest in having a race at Rocky Hill Speedway in Porterville in the event that this track gets opened in 2019. The group came into being with the majority of their races at the 1/5 mile dirt oval Lemoore Raceway in 2017. However, Series President Dan Myrick is looking to add at least three other tracks to the schedule in 2019 and is working on rules that'll keep the group in line with the other efforts in the area.

Myrick expressed an interest in supporting Rocky Hill Speedway recently. Sonny Sell has gotten everybody talking since starting his effort to clean up the place. In the past two years, Rocky Hill Speedway has fallen into a bit of decay. Sell has done weed abatement and has removed all of the bleachers from the hillside as he plans to install new ones. Though the intent is to get racing going again at the over 70 year old racing facility, Sonny is careful not to make any big proclamations as far as what to expect in 2019. His activity has certainly gotten the community talking, and various racers have even shown up to offer some support in the cleanup effort.

The Camp Fire, which has ravaged the town of Paradise, has taken a heavy toll on the racing community. Several racing teams have lost everything in the fire. Some of the teams we know to have been affected include Sprint Car racers Justin Funkhouser, Bill Hopper and the Perry family. Marysville Hobby Stock champion Shannon Collins and past Antioch Hobby Stock champion Dan McCown also lost homes in the fire. King of the West and Sprint Car Challenge Tour champion Kyle Hirst also lost some of his property. This is just a list of the names that we know of, but it's likely that others were affected as well.

California racing scribe Daren Ricks Campbell, who is very active on Facebook in writing articles for various racing teams, also lost his home. Rather than putting up a GoFundMe page, Daren has put it out there on Facebook that he will write season recap articles for drivers for just $35. In this way, he feels like he isn't just taking, but he's also giving back to the racing community. Even in a time when he has lost so much, this young writer is still trying to help the sport.

Find Daren online at his official web page https://drcmotorsportsmedia.com/

People looking to help families in need will probably be more effective by donating to area churches that are raising supplies and money to help those who were affected. Or, look up names of those people on GoFundMe and donate directly to them there. When donating to some of the national charities, sometimes the help doesn't get there as quickly as needed.


Laughton, Hagopian, Stoll Win Lonnie Kaiser Memorial 
At Dixon Speedway

 Dixon, CA...November 2-3...Chad Laughton won the 30 lap Wingless Micro 600 Main Event Saturday night at Dixon Speedway. It was the second night of racing at the 6th Annual Lonnie Kaiser Memorial Race, which pays tribute to the late Vallejo Speedway Hardtop racer. Laughton was joined in the Winner's Circle by Jake Hagopian in the 600 Super Micro Sprints, Caden Stoll in the 600 Restricted Micro Sprints and Junior Sprint competitor Caleb Debem.

The highly-competitive Wingless 600 Micro field had some of the best competitors from California, and Laughton set himself up in a good position by winning the 10 lap Trophy Dash to start the evening. With a front-row Main Event start, Laughton charged into the early lead ahead of 600 Super feature winner Jake Hagopian, who was trying for a double victory evening. The lead two ran that way through a pair of mid-race yellow flags, but the red flag on lap 12 signaled the end of Hagopian's run in second. JJ Bright took up pursuit of the flying Laughton on the restart. However, Laughton ran smoothly and hit all of his marks for the impressive victory. Bright was running second until being overtaken by Brandon Carey on lap 23. Carey would finish second, followed by Adam Kaeding and Robbie Lewis. Bright settled for fifth, followed by Petaluma Speedway champion David Engstrom, George Nielsen, Angelina Dempsey, Josh Hurley and Danny Carroll.

The two-day event saw the drivers qualify on the clock on Friday night and run heat races that would determine who ran the Dash and where everybody else would lineup for Saturday's big show. The Wingless division had 33 competitors, and Lewis was the quick qualifier on the 1/5 mile dirt oval with a 10.747 lap. Engstrom was second quick at 10.772. They ran 10 lap heat races on Friday night, and Hagopian won his ahead of Lewis. The second heat race went to Carroll ahead of Engstrom in a closer battle. Bright won the third heat race over Blake Parmley and the final heat race victory went to Nielsen in the closest battle of all in front of Carey. 

Jake Hagopian grabbed the 30 lap feature win in the 600 Super Micro Sprint feature. It was another highly competitive field, and Hagopian led all the way in victory. Hagopian raced into the lead at the start ahead of Cody Key. JJ Bright settled into third on lap two, and the lead three cars ran in that order for the rest of the race. Though Hagopian didn't quite pull away from Key, who ran a close second, he nonetheless ran a flawless race for the win. Bright was a strong third, followed by Nathan Bordenave, Brandon Carey, track champion Kyle Mentch, Vincent Duggan, Jessica McManus, Darrell Busby and Ethan Lesser.

Key was the quickest of 23 Super 600 Micro competitors in qualifying with an impressive lap of 10.088. Nathan Bordenave was second quick at 10.127. There were three heat races on Friday night, and the first 10 lap event went to Hagopian ahead of Blake Bower. Busby held off Key in a close race for the second heat race win. Mentch won the third heat in another good battle with Bordenave. Saturday's eight lap Dash went to Key ahead of Hagopian.

Caden Stoll grabbed the victory in the 25 lap 600 Restricted Micro Sprint Main Event. Stoll led the race from the outset with Rickey Sanders in pursuit in second. The race had four yellow flags, but it was Stoll leading Sanders on each restart as they drove to a 1-2 finish. Jade Avedisian was a race long third as Matthew Tatoole, Sage Bordenave, Brandon Riveira, Thomas Vo, Izaac Sharp, Riley Whitehouse and Jeffrey Pahule rounded out the Top 10.

Stoll bested the 15 car field in Friday night qualifying with a lap of 10.834. Pahule was second quick at 10.914. Sanders won the first of two 10 lap heat races in front of Avedisian. The second heat win went to Pahule ahead of Bordenave. Saturday's six lap Dash win went to Stoll in front of Sanders.

The young competitors of the Junior Sprint Car division got to compete during the weekend, and it was Caleb Debem winning their 20 lap Main Event. Debem got the lead from the outset and drove an impressive race to win by over half a lap in front of Peyton Whitehouse. Brody Rubio settled for third, followed by Cynric Vo, Colton Key and Lucas Mauldin. In Friday night qualifying, Key had the fastest lap of 13.477, beating a 13.639 effort of Debem. The 10 lap heat race win went to Mauldin, just ahead of Debem. On Saturday night, Debem won the four lap Trophy Dash in front of Maulden.

Special thanks to the amazing sponsors this year for the Lonnie Kaiser Memorial Race

All-Flow Mufflers
Barton Chiropractic
BMC Consulting
Booher Consulting
CED Bay Area
CMP Motorsports
Crow Enterprises
Dales Guitars and Music Lessons
Debem Racing
Grandpa Bill in Memory of Grandma Pam
Hamblin Motorsports
Hoosier Tire West
JBR
Joe’s Racing
Keizer Aluminum Wheels
KPR
Line-X Kustoms & Accessories
Motion Media Wraps
MTR
MTZ Auto Repair
Neal & Son Transportation Inc.
Pacific Elecric
Pro Gas
Allied Propane Service
Salmon Motorsports
SD Plumbing Inc.
Snap-On Tools by Joe W. Lewis
Team Ford Woodland
Stork Club
Valley Pacific
Xtreme Scaffolding & Swing Stage, Inc.


Montgomery, Dalby, Duinkerken 
Win George Snider Classic Race At Kern County Raceway

Bakersfield, CA...November 2...Kaleb Montgomery scored the victory and in the 30 lap Wingless 360 Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Kern County Raceway. The occasion was the George Snider Classic On Dirt, and Montgomery gained the lead halfway through the race. For the first 14 laps, Tristan Gaurdino led Montgomery and Geoff Ensign. Unfortunately, Gaurdino had problems for a yellow flag after 14 laps. Montgomery assumed the lead at that point, followed by Ensign and Steve Hix. The Top 3 ran closely, and Ryan Timmons moved past Hix for third on lap 20. Ensign was wheeling the Ted Finkenbinder car and kept the pressure on Montgomery for the final 10 laps. However, Montgomery was up to the task as he won ahead of Ensign, Timmons, Michael Faccinto, TJ Smith, Gaurdino, Hix, Koen Shaw, Shannon McQueen and 2018 RaceSaver Sprint Cars Series runner-up Albert Pombo. Montgomery was the first driver out on the track and out-qualified the 15 competitors with a lap of 14.177. Timmons had a 14.218. They ran two eight lap heat races with wins being recorded by Ensign and Faccinto.

Robert Dalby scored the win in the 25 lap Midget Main Event. Dalby had a front row start and led all the way, but he was pressured early on by Ensign in the Finkenbinder entry. Max Adams was running a close third and took second from Ensign on lap 16. However, nobody was going to stop Dalby as he scored the hard-fought victory ahead of Adams and Ensign. Shannon McQueen settled for fourth, followed by CJ Sarna, Jonathan Henry, Kyle Beilman, George Rucker, Ashley Heredia and Matt Stewart. In qualifying, Dalby bested the 12 car field with a lap of 14.437, beating the 14.581 of Adams. They ran two eight lap heat races with wins going to McQueen and Beilman.

The IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Car competitors were on hand for what was basically an unsanctioned race, but IMCA State of California champion Grant Duinkerken won the 25 lap Main Event. Monty Ferreira was the early Main Event leader ahead of Duinkerken and Richard Weddle. Following a lap three yellow flag, Ferreira continued to lead with Duinkerken in close pursuit. Duinkerken was pressuring Ferreira over the next few laps before making his pass for the lead on lap 10. Once in front, Duinkerken stretched his lead to about a straighaway by the waving of the checkered flag. Ferreira settled for second. Grant Champlin took third from Kyle Rasmussen on lap 17 and would finish there as Rasmussen settled for fourth. Brandon Warmerdam, Chris Ennis, Michael Pombo, Tony Everhart, Weddle and Phil Heynen made up the balance of the Top 10. Warmerdam was the first qualifier and set the fastest lap of the 12 car feild with his 13.210 effort. Ferreira was second quick at 13.258. Warmerdam won the first eight lap heat race, and Rasmussen grabbed the victory in the second eight lapper.


Abreu Wins Thriller In Gary Patterson Memorial 
At Stockton Dirt Speedway

Stockton, CA...November 3...Rico Abreu scored the $4,000 win in the King of the West/NARC Fujitsu 410 Winged Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Stockton 99 Dirt Speedway. The occasion was the 35th Annual Gary Patterson Memorial Race, and Abreu and new champion Kyle Hirst brought the crowd to their feet with a thrilling battle.

Hirst set the early pace in the Main Event ahead of Shane Golobic and Abreu. Golobic was giving it a good run, but a tangle with a slower car on lap seven brought out a red flag and ended his race in disappointment. Hirst led Abreu and DJ Netto on the restart. Abreu began to pressure Hirst for the lead and made a brief move to lead the 19th lap. Hirst went zooming back to the front a lap later with Abreu in very close pursuit. Following a lap 26 yellow flag, the battle intensified. Hirst led the restart, but it was nearly a photo finish at the line. Abreu went charging into the lead on lap 28 and led the rest of the way for the crowd thrilling victory. Hirst settled for second, followed by Netto, Mitchell Faccinto, Bud Kaeding, Colby Copeland, Willie Croft, Chase Johnson, Andy Gregg and Jason Statler.

A solid turn out of 28 competitors came out to close the 2018 season for the Winged 410 Sprint Cars. Golobic was the second driver out to qualify and set the standard at 12.895 for the fastest lap. Hirst was second quick at 13.072. They ran four 10 lap heat races, and Tanner Thorson won a close battle with Croft in the first heat race. The second heat race win went to Copeland ahead of Hirst. Justyn Cox won by a comfortable margin ahead of Netto in the third heat, and Faccinto outran Kaeding to win the fourth heat race. Hirst grabbed the pole for the Main Event and $1,000 by virtue of his six lap Sun Valley Trophy Dash win ahead of Golobic. The back of the pack was filled by the top finishers of the 12 lap B Main, and Bobby McMahon won that race ahead of Kurt Nelson, Dustin Golobic, Kenny Allen and Gary Paulson.

Shane Golobic collected the big $5,500 victory in the Sprint Car Challenge Tour race, which is sponsored by Elk Grove Ford and presented by Abreu Vineyards. The Gary Patterson Memorial Race, which was the biggest event of the season for the tour, wrapped up an exciting season as Kyle Hirst won the championship. Michael "Buddy" Kofoid raced into the early Main Event lead ahead of Shane Golobic and Colby Copeland. After the second yellow flag of the race on lap 4, Justyn Cox began to pressure Copeland for third, making the pass on lap six. Kofoid led through another yellow flag. However, on a lap 14 restart, Golobic charged past Kofoid for the lead. Golobic set a good pace down the stretch, but Cox began to make a run. Cox took second from Kofoid on lap 27 and closed in on Golobic before settling for second. Kofoid was third, followed by DJ Netto, Rico Abreu, Sean Becker, Kalib Henry, Copeland, Garen Linder and Willie Croft.

The Sprint Car Challenge Tour brought 43 cars for their season finale and did qualifying just a little bit differently. The drivers drew for their heat races, and they came out as a group to qualify on the clock for each heat race. That determined the lineups for those races. Kofoid won the first 10 lap heat race ahead of Henry. Golobic outran Netto to claim the second heat race victory, while Tanner Carrick outran Becker to win the third heat. Tucker Worth outran Abreu for the victory in the fourth heat.

Kofoid managed to grab the pole position for the Main Event with his six lap Trophy Dash win ahead of Shane Golobic. Thanks to Race Punk/San Joaquin Asparagus Festival, the win paid Kofoid $1,100. Ben Worth won the 12 lap C Main ahead of Joey Ancona and Kenny Allen. Hirst had to win the 15 lap B Main to make it into the Main Event. Justin Sanders, Kyle Offill, Bradley Terrell and Zane Blanchard rounded out the Top 5.


Solwold, Faccinto Win Features
 On Opening Night Of Gary Patterson Memorial

Stockton, CA...November 2...Jason Solwold won the 25 lap Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event Friday night at Stockton 99 Dirt Speedway. This was Night #1 of the 35th Annual Gary Patterson Memorial, and the Winged 360 Sprint Car feature paid $2,500 to win. Solwold used his win over Tanner Carrick in the six lap Trophy Dash to earn the pole for the Main Event. He would lead all the way for the victory. Carrick ran second for most of the race, and as the midway point hit, it was close between the lead two cars. However, Tony Gualda began to close in on the lead duo, and Carrick was passed by Gualda for second on lap 20. Justyn Cox briefly gained third, but he lost the position to DJ Netto on a lap 22 restart. The three lead drivers ran closely in the remaining laps, but Solwold prevailed at the checkered flag. Gualda settled for second, followed by Netto, Cox, Kalib Henry, Shawn Conde, Shane Golobic, Colby Copeland, Mitchell Faccinto and Mason Moore.

The Winged 360 Sprint Cars brought 38 cars for the special event and Solwold set the quick time of 12.975, beating the 13.248 effort of Michael "Buddy" Kofoid. Eight lap heat race wins went to Matt Peterson, Copeland, Cox and Gualda. Solwold outran Carrick to win the six lap Trophy Dash. It was Conde winning the 12 lap B Main ahead of Chico and Placerville champion Andy Forsberg, Kyle Offill, Moore and Garen Linder.

Michael Faccinto won the 20 lap C&H Veterans Services Hunt Wingless Spec Sprint Main Event. Faccinto was driving the Barry Pries car, and he won for the third time this season while Shawn Jones wrapped up the series championship with a fifth place finish. Faccinto led from the start of the race with Petaluma champion Shayna Sylvia running second for the first two laps. Jake Morgan settled into second on a lap three restart. Despite some yellow flags and red flags during the course of the race, Faccinto maintained the lead on each restart. On the 16th lap, three-time series champion Terry Schank Jr moved past Morgan for the second spot, but Faccinto won by nearly a straightaway. Morgan settled for third, followed by Jarrett Soares, Jones, past Chico champion Angelique Bell, Tony Bernard, Adam Teves, Robert Floyd and Troy DeGaton.

There were 25 Wingless Spec Sprint competitors, and two-time series feature winner Bradley Terrell set the quick time of 16.107, beating the 16.501 of Faccinto. The three eight lap heat races were won by Jones, Faccinto and Schank. However, there were enough scratches to cancel the B Main. Sylvia won the six lap Trophy Dash ahead of Faccinto.

Ben Weisz won the 20 lap Dwarf Car Main Event. For most of the race, it looked like Jonathan Henry would be victorious. Henry set the early pace ahead of Ryan Winter, who was driving the Shawn Jones car. Following a lap 10 caution flag, Weisz moved into second, but he surrendered the position to Danny Wagner on a lap 11 restart. It was Henry leading Wagner and Weisz when the yellow flag waved on lap 17. It was a good battle on the restart with Henry leading one more lap before being passed by Weisz, Jones and Wagner. The Top 3 remained the same to the finish with Petaluma champion Scooter Gomes finishing fourth. Shawn Whitney finished fifth, followed by Josh Weisz, Eric Wiesler, Henry, Ryan Plexico and Dan Geil. The two eight lap heat races were won by Winter and Ben Weisz.


The Editor's Viewpoint

 In an instance, your life can change. I'm still recovering from the loss of my home and know what a struggle that is, but I also look in the mirror to see the blame for all of that. For the people of Paradise, California, it wasn't really their doing. A fire swept across that town and burnt many people out of their homes. In an instance, they lost everything that they owned. It also took a toll on the racing community as several competitors lost everything. Among the people I am aware of are Bill Hopper, Lyle Hopper, the Perry family, Shannon Collins, Dan McCown and Justin Funkhouser.

Up-and-coming racing scribe Daren Ricks Campbell also lost his home in the fire. Basically, the people in Paradise are in need of any help they can get. Even the basics, clothing and toiletries, are very important at a time like this. You will see various GoFundMe pages on social media directly linked to racers. Or, there may be churches in the area or community centers. Donate there. With some of the bigger organizations, sometimes all of the money and things don't get where they need to go or take too long to get there.

Getting back to Campbell, he's not starting a GoFundMe page. Instead, what he's doing is offering his services to write season recap articles for the competitors. It's really a nice deal for the kind of recap that he gives at only $35. He will be doing research for the drivers, and if he reaches out for any help in getting information, I will offer my services to him free of charge. Support Daren as he is the next generation in motorsports journalism and is providing great coverage to our racing community.

Find Daren online at his official web page https://drcmotorsportsmedia.com/

I'm dumbfounded by all of the race tracks that don't have somebody out there handling publicity. These days, they can even hire somebody who is not on site and pay them some money to get recap articles and preview articles and that kind of thing out to the public. A few of the tracks that I covered have the budget to pay people. When I think about that, I look at somebody like Daren who could do the job. Perhaps one or more of these race tracks might be interested in reaching out to him for a season recap article or even to cover a banquet for those who haven't had theirs yet? Just a thought.

The offseason is upon us now. I was going to make a few observations about the bidding season for the promoter's position at various race tracks. At the top of the list is Antioch Speedway, and you can believe that I have some things to say on the matter. However, I'm waiting for the entire process to go through before commenting. I'll leave it at this. At stake is the future of who runs the race track for the next five years.

You will see a 2019 season at Antioch Speedway, but what happens depends on who is ultimately named as the promoter. John M Soares of Oval Motorsports put in a bid as did Jeremy Prince. What surprised me about the whole matter was that they were the only two who submitted bids. When I think about it, it really shouldn't surprise me that much. It is an expensive proposition running this particular race track, and it's not getting cheaper. Given the challenges of making rent and everything, I don't blame the other rumored established promoters for not ultimately jumping in.

While we're in the midst of all of this news, word came out of Dixon that Jeremy Prince was injured in an accident at that track. I don't have all of the details, but I understand there was a bit of heroism involved as Jeremy moved to protect his wife from injury. He sustained severe burns, and he is now recovering. Steve "Bubba" Dempsey, a past Petaluma Speedway champion, has created a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for Jeremy, which you can find  HERE

While we wait for this bit of information, it should be clear to everybody that regardless of who wins, things will go on as scheduled. Oval Motorsports will go about their business of bringing improvements and making it all happen as they have for the past 20 years. Even if Prince is down for a little bit, should he ultimately be awarded the contract, he has people who can get the job done. This really means that people should be getting their race cars ready. Other than that, I'm not speculating.

Merced Speedway is out for bid now. I believe the RFPs went out to those who expressed interest on the 6th, and there's about a one month period in which they are required to fill everything out properly and submit a bid. I'm not really worried about Merced Speedway as I know there will be a 2019 season. You hear a lot of rumors, and now I'm curious to see who ultimately puts in a bid.

The big player in the game may be John Prentice, who also runs the track in Watsonville. However, there is local interest from the Stone family, and I got word last week that there was another unnamed entity who was looking. Didn't get the name, but I was told we would be familiar with who this is once it's announced.

I await the fair board meeting at the Siskiyou County Fairgrounds in Yreka on the 20th. This is when they will make it clear what their intentions are for the big race track and the little race track. The rumor is that they are looking to find a new promoter and may even be interested in running the track themselves. What is rumor and what is true, I don't know. I do know that there are things that need to be done to turn the program around.

Whether it's the current association or a new promoter, they have to understand that the show cannot go on as it has. They need to start working on things to attract the cars back to the speedway. This might include attempting to rebuild an IMCA Modified class or a Street Stock division, starting the Hornets class or whatever. It might ultimately come down to switching from Saturday night racing to Friday night racing. One can only speculate. The truth will come out as to what the fairgrounds wants to do at the upcoming meeting on the 20th.

I was watching live scoring last weekend. Stockton 99 Dirt Speedway was in the plans and I also planned to throw Dixon Speedway in on the deal. They do their own thing out there on the 1/5 mile dirt oval with a nice little 600 Micro program. As I was getting live scoring set up, I discovered that Kern County Raceway in Bakersfield was running a dirt race. I threw them in on the deal, although I was a little surprised that they ran that type of program. It was also a Sprint Car show, but they were doing different things than Stockton.

I look at Dixon Speedway and am very intrigued by that place. It actually entered my radar prior to anything that happened before it was Cora Speedway. There was just a 1/5 mile dirt oval that I had heard about. The late Willie Myatt built a race car. Not news, he built many, but I think this was the last car he built for Bill Fairhurst. It was sold, and the guy who had it was reported to have rolled it practicing on that little track. I was told of Bobby Bankson practicing his NCMA car there, some 4 Cylinder cars practiced there and even a Winged Sprint Car.

Immediately, ideas started going through my mind about what could be. Orland Raceway is a 1/5 mile track. So is Ventura. What could be done at Dixon? On the way home from the RPM Promoter's Workshop in 2002, I recall going to Dixon with Don O'Keefe. Sadly, I didn't have film for my camera and we didn't have these digital phones we have now. I wanted to take shots and really ramp up the rhetoric. See if I could get some interest.

I started talking to racers at Antioch Speedway. You see, I had this thought. I go out there, see what it cost to rent the track for a day, even prepay the little food trailer so that people could eat on me, and we put cars on that track. I run a stopwatch, set unofficial records and just have a fun day of it. People could talk about what it is they'd like to see at that track and how things could go from there. Maybe we start something? Maybe we just have a fun day at the track.

My own mind was racing with the possibilities, but I didn't want to aim too high. I thought that this track could be one for the Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Mini Trucks, Dwarf Cars and that sort of thing. However, I did have a Wingless Spec Sprint driver and a Modified racer who were interested in practicing as well. Most of the drivers who told me they would go were Hobby Stock racers and we're talking about a dozen.

What ultimately turned me off on this deal was just the way things were going for me personally. I was wondering how many people might really back me up if I did this, because I would be throwing hundreds of dollars Into something that might only just be that one day and nothing beyond that. I had delusions of maybe one day being a promoter. Can you believe that? Fortunately, the loss of my home and the fact that I'm pretty much broke has cured me of that delusion, but I was a dreamer back then.

It was interesting to hear people later on that year, the final year before I walked away for over a decade, and they wanted to know if this was going to happen. So I had to tell them how I just couldn't do this under the circumstances. I wasn't a rich person then. I was ghetto rich. That is to say, I had more money than I'd ever had in my life, but people would laugh at what that was. Yet, I was willing to put $1,000 or more into doing something for racing. Heck, I wrote in my book how I was willing to pay Tom Sagmiller's Merced Speedway fine in Reno if it meant Chowchilla Speedway could finally get sanctioned. That's another story.

I walked away from the sport. Then, I heard about the troubles they had at the Vallejo Speedway 2 site. They had to move the track to another spot at the fairgrounds and then they ultimately were going to be kicked out. They were looking at Dixon. You know the sad thing about Vallejo? They have a nice fairgrounds location, and once horse racing died out, they could have followed the example of Stockton and allowed auto racing to come in. Can you imagine historic Vallejo once again hosting a race track for big cars? It's been talked about lately, but I don't know that this will ever come to pass.

Steve Hazelton was the guy's name back then, and he is the one who initiated Vallejo Speedway 2. I've heard this and that said about the guy, but he gets points in my book because he gave the next generation of racers a place to race. Some of those drivers have moved up to bigger and better things too. And at one time, Steve even ran some Hornet races on his little track, which I thought was really cool. It didn't take off, although I think part of that had to do with the troubles they were having with the fairgrounds.

Steve wanted to keep it going, and there was even a rumor at one time of him moving to another location in American Canyon. Actually, that track would have had big cars too. Didn't come to pass, and eventually his sights were set on Dixon. However, the racers went after it too, and that's when they formed CORA. The track was there, but they had to put everything up around it. The walls, the fencing, the lighting, the press box, the bleachers. You get the picture. A lot of things were donated, including people's time building stuff. Cora Speedway, which is now Dixon Speedway, came to be because of the effort of the community.

On the sidelines, I was always peeking in at message boards, looking for race results and all of that. I would look hard for information on that little track. I saw one of their newsletters, and it's downloaded into my files somewhere. Russell Shearer brought his two Hobby Stocks out there at one time. I actually ran into him when I was walking home one day, and he pulled in and we chatted about that little track. I thought it was really cool, and there was a distinct Antioch Speedway flavor to the place. Some of our drivers were getting their kids into the sport via this track.

Side issue, but wouldn't it be cool if Antioch Speedway cut a track in the infield for the youngsters to go racing? I had thought that perhaps the one building where they run the RC Cars on the fairgrounds would work for a winter series, but it might be a tad too small. However, I think kart racing on the infield at Antioch is just the thing. They need to inspire a new generation of racers, and I have come to appreciate these kids, having worked at Southern Oregon Speedway for three years as the announcer, publicity director and point keeper for the kart track.

Dixon Speedway grew and prospered. They established a Micro 600 class. Where they are these days, they have Super 600s that allow you more, Restricted 600s for the budget minded and Wingless 600s, which I think are pretty darn cool actually. There's also a Junior Sprint Car class. They've done karts and all that you would expect from a smaller track, but they also looked to do bigger things. I think this had been talked about, but it never quite worked out.

It's a small track, like I said. Yeah, you can actually run bigger cars if you configure it differently, but you're also talking money. Through the years, however, they've had full BCRA legal Midgets, Hardtops, Modifieds, Spec Sprints and other types of bigger cars make laps on that track. When it came to racing, they looked over at the Mini Stocks and the Dwarf Cars. You get into problems with these two classes for very different reasons. I come out in favor of this type of racing.

The problem with Dwarf Cars is that they are an association driven group. It's not that there aren't race tracks out there that have their own divisions, but in this area of California, you now have three different groups staking their claim on what this division will do. The NorCal Dwarf Car Association is the oldest of the three and carries a bit of clout. For instance, they can pretty much punch their own ticket in Northern California, and yet they've turned a cold shoulder to Orland Raceway, not even offering them a non point event with half of what they normally get, which would still go over big there.

So, Dixon was trying to get Dwarf Cars. Anybody who might come from the one track that doesn't run an association, Antioch Speedway, and whatever stragglers might come in from NorCal and South Bay ran there. Though they had their moments in car count, it never took off. I don't think there was the desire from Dixon officials to really put it out there that they were running this class. It's really a shame. For one thing, Dwarf Car racing in California was born on the small track at Delta Speedway in Stockton. It could still work in Dixon, but you need a dozen or so drivers committed to doing it.

The Mini Stock division also probably would have taken off. At one point, they were running a more open Mini Stock class for some dates as well as entertaining the Four Banger division. They had some good races there. What did the effort in was the fact that several of the area tracks stopped running the class. By 2015, there was no Mini Stock class at Chico, Marysville or Antioch. Without cultivating your own class, you have to rely on visitors who aren't coming because they don't have a home track where they're coming from either.

It's somewhat easier to focus on 600 Micros and Outlaw Karts, and the world needs that too. You also don't have the same type of demand when you're running these classes. You're trying to get racers to come out and compete, which they do. You're not as worried about how much you pack the grandstands. Some people come in with the teams, and you're okay with that. The minute you start aiming higher, you're putting yourself in a position where are you need to get the spectator count up.

On the other hand, I'm still of the opinion that there is a Mini Stock program there in the waiting. You could also add Dwarf Cars to that, but, you're going to need to do something to entice some of racers that don't like to be told what to do by associations. Without walking the facility now, I don't know if a Pure Stock division could even happen. As I said, there would be work to be done. And as always comes up in these deals, how much money do you have?

One reason I like a place like Dixon is because of its location. You can pull people from the Sacramento area and the Antioch area and even the Stockton Modesto area. You just have to give them a reason to come. I would certainly do the Mini Stock Enduro race once a year. I saw footage of the one they did a few years back, and it went pretty well. Understand that I'm not saying in any way shape or form that you drop or deemphasize the Micro Sprint class. They are the effort that this track revolves around.

What I am saying is that you could take a look at those divisions and see about cultivating something else. Certainly, it centers around the Mini Stocks and Dwarf Cars, but there might be other things you take a look at too, such as Mini Late models or different variations of the Mini Stock class if there is an interest. And you look at maybe doing something once a month. With Dwarf Cars, you have to be sure to keep off of the key dates that the associations run.

But Dixon Speedway has been around for over a decade. It's continuing a racing tradition in the area that actually goes back quite a few years. It's been a while since they ran cars at the fairgrounds. The fairgrounds has changed that much, but they had many big Sprint Car shows through the years as well as open shows that would bring Super Modifieds, Hardtops and the Sportsman division together. This is one of the reasons why I was intrigued by this little track in Dixon when I paid my visit back in 2002.

On Saturday night, they paid tribute to Lonnie Kaiser. I knew that this race was special. Of course, Lonnie raced Hardtops at Vallejo Speedway back in the day. But a few years back, I recall that they did have some of these other divisions on this night. The core four classes this last weekend delivered 70 cars. That's a nice turnout for this place, and it's a great way to end the season.

I've heard rumors about this and that, but the fact is there are plans already in the works to continue this program in 2019. They made an announcement that they were changing the point system for next year. So, racing goes on at Dixon Speedway. It's a worthy effort and something that's also worthy of putting on your schedule of tracks to visit at some point during the season.

Kern County Raceway is kind of an interesting deal. The track came to be as a pavement track alternative to the closure of Mesa Marin Raceway. They have a nice NASCAR program that they run on the pavement track, but it was also decided to put together the dirt oval on the property. Some people, including myself, questioned whether adding this track was necessary given the extensive history and tradition that is Bakersfield Speedway down the street. When people think dirt track racing in the area, they immediately think of Bakersfield Speedway.

Kern County Raceway was very careful in the way they rolled this track out. They made it clear that they weren't trying to replace the established track. They chose Friday nights as the night to run their races, and they run at the most bi-weekly. They do run classes that are generally associated with Bakersfield Speedway, but their Modified divisions are not IMCA sanctioned. I don't know if they've even pursued IMCA sanctioning.

This is a sore spot with me, because I was in a similar situation when I was at Chowchilla Speedway and Merced Speedway. Chowchilla wanted the IMCA sanctioning and ran on a night that the established IMCA track, Merced Speedway, did not run. But because the promoter at Merced at the time did not want Chowchilla Speedway involved, IMCA sided with that person rather than what the racing public wanted. I couldn't tell you if something similar is happening in Bakersfield. I can't imagine Scott Schweitzer being too worried about Kern County, although as a promoter, I'm sure he has thoughts going on in the back of his mind.

But there's another thought that I had about Kern Raceway. The pavement track is sanctioned by the NASCAR Whelen All American Series. As far as I know, that track and Irwindale Speedway are the only ones in the state with NASCAR sanctioning. My thought was, I wonder what would happen if they went with a sanctioning for the dirt track as well. Is this even something they would do? Would the Bakersfield Speedway racers want to buy a NASCAR license? Of course, this is me wondering who might be the first dirt track in California to go to a NASCAR sanctioning. We haven't seen that happen since around 2004 at Watsonville.

The other thing that lets me know that Bakersfield Speedway is okay with Kern Raceway having a dirt track as long as it's doing it on a Friday night is the fact that they have worked on a few things together. Most notably is the Motor City Throwdown weekends where they run Kern one night and Bakersfield the next. Scott has shown a history of being willing to work with other tracks. The last time Rocky Hill Speedway had a full season, Scott had worked out a series where the two tracks could share the Hobby Stock, American Stock and Mini Stock divisions for a series championship. I think Scott is one of those promoters who gets it.

if Kern Raceway keeps its eyes on the prize and doesn't try to overstep and compete for the Bakersfield Speedway market, I think this could be a good thing for racing in the area. They know that the pavement track is the primary track, but they can get ten or a dozen races in on the dirt track every year too. With a working relationship with the guys down the street, there's no reason that some of those scheduled dirt races can't be a little more special.

The open-wheel crowd will be heading down to Bakersfield Speedway for a USAC Midget race on November 17th, then, the USAC National Midgets and USAC West Coast 360 Sprints will be at Ventura Raceway on November 21st and 22nd for the Turkey Classic. Since they weren't doing anything this last weekend in California, it was decided to run a Wingless 360 Sprint Car race and Midget race along with the unsanctioned 305 Winged Sprint Cars. The question was, could it work? There were enough drivers in the area who were ready to go that they had about a dozen cars per class, and the show went on. I also like the idea that Kern Raceway entertains running Sprint Car shows in addition to the Stock Car oriented stuff. For instance, they ended their season in October with a show that featured the King of the West Winged 410 Sprint Cars. This race last Saturday was not even on the original schedule, so it was hastily put-together and still did okay in the car count department.

Tony Noceti is a player in the racing world. Tony was the guy that came in and rescued Stockton 99 Speedway from fading away for good. He's also the guy who came to the Stockton Fairgrounds when horse racing was taken out and said he could build a dirt oval and put on some big shows. To be honest, that last thing was huge for Stockton. For years, people have wondered if they could put dirt track racing on at the fairgrounds, and Tony made it happen. He wasn't content just to say here is a dirt track and some races either.

When Tony started putting together the schedule, World of Outlaw Sprint Car racing was a part of the equation. All of California's big Winged Sprint Car efforts, the King of the West, Civil War, Sprint Car Challenge Tour, Hunt Spec Sprint Series and even the BCRA Midgets got a chance at the track. And, people started coming out to watch. Racers wanted to be a part of this thing. It's been a success so far. About the biggest concern that racers have is the track can be rough on equipment. This does happen in racing, but we are seeing cars get destroyed. Whether this is because the track is a little bit big or for other reasons might be open for interpretation. But the bottom line is, people are coming to Stockton 99 Dirt Speedway, and Tony is the one who made it happen.

When it came to the Gary Patterson Memorial race, he gathered some of the true legends of open-wheel racing for an autograph session with the fans on Friday. Then, it was a $2,500 to win Winged 360 Sprint Car show along with the Hunt Series and Dwarf Cars. The weekend ended with a huge race for the King of the West Series and Sprint Car Challenge Tour. This was one of, if not the, biggest Winged Sprint Car racing weekends in Northern California this year.

I find it interesting that we get into November and we're still racing. Heck, there will be racing throughout November for those looking if the weather allows it. I make the joke, and perhaps I shouldn't, that on Christmas day there could be a track eventually running a Salute to Jesus or something along those lines. Believe me, if a racing promoter thought they could get away with it and get some fans, they'd do it. As it is, tracks are starting to look at a New Year's race as an option.

This happened around the time as I was walking away from Chowchilla Speedway when Tom Sagmiller got the idea of a New Year's Bash. George Steitz, being a guy who is all about putting on big races, threw his support behind Tom and they started doing those races. Fast forward to 2015, and Oval Motorsports stepped in with a full slate of New Year's racing. At the time, they were promoting Antioch, Merced and Chowchilla Speedways. So, Antioch had a two-day opener, followed by one race each at Merced and Chowchilla. Being as they were running an IMCA sanctioning, car count started out strong in both Modified classes and got smaller as the week wore on.

John was entertaining a new year's race the next year, but plans couldn't be hashed out fast enough to make it into reality. That, and he was in the process of walking away from Chowchilla and selling Merced to Ed Parker. But, the New Year's show came back last year. There had been rumblings about it coming to Antioch again next year, but that was an Oval Motorsports idea.

II'm sitting up here waiting on news and I know others at Southern Oregon Speedway are curious as well. There will be an awards banquet for this season, but it's likely to happen in late January. The Top 10 drivers in all of the regular classes and top rookies are set to be honored on that night. Management is currently working on plans for the 2019 season, and more will be revealed in the weeks ahead.

Other than that, I'm just going to kind of step into the background and watch things. My own future hangs in the balance of what is decided in the coming weeks. This means that I cannot announce what the plans are for what this blog will cover next year, other than to say the blog will continue. There are some intriguing things in the works that I'm following, one of which I think would go over very well in California with certain racers. But I can't speculate or speak anymore on that. I can enjoy this time away from racing to regroup and slowly work on other projects. When things get going for me, I'm all in and very busy.

Thank you for reading and thank you for your support. On that note, I'll in this column. Until next time...