Sunday, January 7, 2018

West Coast Sport Mod Tour, Antioch Speedway New Years Race, Orland, Merced And More



First of all...

The DCRR Racing Media Books


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

And

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


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Also...

DCRR Racing Media And PR Consulting  HERE

 The Antioch Speedway awards banquet article and more pictures can be seen HERE


The DCRR Racing Radio Show

IMCA Forces West Coast Sport Modified Tour To Disband

We were prepared to put a blog post out on Friday, but then a huge news story broke. We wanted to see where everything ended up or if there would be a follow up to that news. Therefore, we decided to wait a day. The West Coast Sport Modified Tour was rocked by the news that promoters were advised by Brett Root of IMCA to drop their scheduled dates for The Tour. Tour organizer Brian Cooper was still trying to assess the situation before deciding to pull the plug on this effort.

Cooper and some of his fellow IMCA Sport Modified racers had a vision. They wanted to bring together some of the best Sport Modified racers in the state of California and see who the best driver was. In a meeting held in late 2016, the West Coast Sport Modified Tour was announced. In a similar vein to the Pacific Sport Mod Series, this was intended to make existing IMCA Sport Modified races bigger at the select tracks.

In the face of overwhelming support from his fellow racers and sponsorship money coming in, Cooper set several race dates for 2017. Unfortunately, rainouts claimed many of the early races. The group was so enthusiastic about racing that they even increased car counts on two non series nights to show what they could do. At most of these Sport Modified events, car count reached into the 40's, and they were never below the 30's. It was a close championship race, won by Bakersfield's Nick Spainhoward.

With the overwhelming support given to him, Cooper went about trying to make the series bigger and better in 2018 while trying not to book on top of the race dates of any of the tracks supporting the series. The schedule had reached seven dates as it was announced that an agreement had been made for a return to Petaluma Speedway, a race that got rained out the year before. The first hint that something was wrong was Cooper voicing his frustrations over things going on with critics and behind the scenes.

On Friday, Cooper made an announcement that three of the tracks supporting the series messaged him that they were advised to drop the race dates. While Marysville and Chico, promoted by Dennis Gage, and American Valley Speedway in Quincy, California had not officially given him dates, Petaluma Speedway had. Not mentioned in this announcement was Ed Parker of Merced Speedway, but Parker joined the thread as people were putting in their opinions to thank Cooper for doing what he had done. Parker explained why he had to pull out of the series and why he is a staunch IMCA supporter.

Cooper made the announcement that he would still try to move ahead with the series at all non IMCA sanctioned tracks, which is somewhat limited in California as almost every track that has Modifieds or Sport Modifieds is sanctioned by IMCA. However, the task is not impossible if he were to try to secure a schedule with as many dates as they had last season.

It's not the first time that this group has gotten the attention of IMCA. In a rather scathing column in the IMCA newsletter last year, series such as the West Coast Sport Modified Tour were taken to task for their impact on the regular IMCA programs offered at various tracks in the surrounding areas. It was opined that series such as this one have a negative impact on local race track car counts, which Cooper disagreed with at the time. He pointed out that car counts always increased when The Tour was in town and car counts at his home area tracks were still strong.

The thread that was started on Friday, which has since been pulled down, drew the attention of Brett  Root. Root took exception to some of Cooper's comments, and he pointed out that Cooper used the IMCA brand name to start his series without permission. He furthermore said that Cooper's announcement that he would pursue the series at non sanctioned tracks showed that he never had the best interest of IMCA in mind at all.

Not long after Root made his comments, the thread was removed. From a racer's point of view, a series like this is perfect. More money is on the line at each individual race. Cooper had even lined up a point fund, trophy and contingency sponsors. Why would a racer not want to support this if they have the ability to do so? Plus, anytime a race is booked at any of these tracks, car count is likely to increase substantially. As you might expect, most of the racers were supportive of Cooper in this situation

One has to consider the situation for promoters at various race tracks. We are in a time when it is difficult for promoters to get a car count that attracts fans to pay and watch the races. A tour that offers more money gives racers encouragement to commit to the bigger purses and only support their local tracks a few times when it suits them. So, logic might dictate that without the option of the bigger money tour, racers will support their local tracks better. Will that be the case? Racers seem to race whenever they want to, and whereas racers were more interested in being supportive of their tracks 20 or 25 years ago, attitudes have changed.

In the message that Cooper produced that he says was from Gage, it was pointed out that Gage is trying to start a 305 Sprint Car class and is looking to have that sanctioned by IMCA as well. Gage is trying and put anything on his race track to get cars and increase fan interest, and this new Sprint Car division has performed well in the Central and Southern California area. Bottom line, promoters who might be IMCA sanctioned and don't support The Tour also have a legitimate concern that it will negatively impact their car count.

The sad fact in all of this is that Cooper and The Tour were only out there trying to make certain races bigger and better, and fans want to see full fields where drivers have to earn their way into the Main Event. Even at IMCA sanctioned tracks, B Mains are not the norm. From a PR standpoint, some might even say that IMCA is trying to shut down a series that makes racing a little bit better for the fans in California. However, you cannot dismiss the idea that IMCA needs to look out for what it perceives to be in the best interest of themselves and their member tracks.


Peery, Ryland, Corsaro Win Winter Classic 
At Antioch Speedway

Antioch, CA...January 1...New Year's Day meant the Winter Classic was happening Antioch Speedway Monday afternoon. Oval Motorsports began their 21st season of promoting the 3/8 mile clay oval with a special four division program featuring A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Dwarf Cars and Hobby Stocks.

The A Modified Main Event was won by Williston, North Dakota's Travis Peery. Peery competed at tracks in Medford, Oregon and Yreka, California before moving to North Dakota. He took the lead from Raymond Lindeman and then had a battle with five time champion Scott Busby during the final 10 laps.

On a restart with 8 laps to go, Busby used the inside line to take the lead from Peery. However, when Chester Kniss rolled in Turn 4, the ensuing red flag negated Busby's pass. Peery chose the inside on this restart and withstood an outside groove challenge by Busby over the next two laps to hold the lead. As Peery brought it home to victory, 2017 race winner Nick DeCarlo made a late pass on Busby for second. Busby settled for third ahead of reigning track champion Bobby Motts Jr. and Jeff Faulkner.

Fred Ryland took the lead from his wife Patti Ryland early on and won the B Modified Main Event. F. Ryland is the reigning Merced Speedway champion, and he held off reigning Chico and Marysville champion Philip Shelby down the stretch for a well-earned victory. Les Friend finished third ahead of Craig Nieman and Mark Garner.

Reigning champion Mike Corsaro scored an impressive victory in the Dwarf Car Main Event. Two time champion Danny Wagner led the first half of the race before overheating issues sidelined him. During the second half of the race, Corsaro led with Jack Haverty and Michael Grenert in close pursuit. Grenert made a pass on Haverty for second with six laps to go. Two laps later, Grenert made a slide job move around Corsaro in Turn 2, only to drift too high as Corsaro raced back into the lead down the backstretch. Corsaro scored a hard-fought victory ahead of Grenert, Haverty, Chuck Conover and David Michael Rosa.

The Hobby Stock Main Event featured an entertaining side-by-side battle between Chris Long and Orland Raceway star Brad Ray. After technical inspections following the race, Ray was disqualified and Long was elevated to first. Orland Raceway champion Jeremy Langenderfer was riding along in third when he spun on the last lap, handing the position to Chris Bennett. Bennett's third place became second with the disqualification of Ray.  Frank Furtado rallied for a third place finish ahead of Chris Brown and Russell Shearer.

The Antioch Speedway 2018 schedule should be made available shortly. For further information on what's happening at the track, check out the official website at www.antiochspeedway.com.


Orland Raceway Season Review

Orland, CA...The second season for Rich Hood as promoter of Orland Raceway brought lots of enthusiasm among the local competitors. Just when it looked like the track was on the brink of extinction at the end of the 2015 season, Hood breathed new life into the place in 2016. Plans were to make things a little bigger and better last season, and Hood even added more races to the schedule.

The track continued to feature the popular Pure Stock division along with Mini Stocks, the West Coast's longest running Mini Truck division, Micro Sprints and Wingless Gas Sprints. Also on the schedule was the popular Fan Appreciation Night where the racers and fans got to interact and the cars were on display prior to the races. The Thomas Schmitke Race For A Cure event continued, and the track added the Battle Of The Axles open comp shows in October. It all added up to a great season of racing on the fast 1/5 mile dirt oval.

Jeremy Langenderfer won many of the Pure Stock Main Events and was a consistent Top 3 finisher. Early in the season, Top 3 Chico Silver Dollar Speedway competitor Shannon Collins missed a race, but Collins slowly worked his way back into contention by season's end. It was close when the final checkered flag flew at the end of September, but Langenderfer won by just 17 points.

Reigning two-time champion Steve Martin was a solid third, and he only missed one event during the season despite some bad luck along the way. Amanda Koop showed much improvement during the season as she finished fourth in the standings, 16 points ahead of 2015 champion Paul Stevens. The Pure Stock division was also the most supported division on the card and continues to be a major hit with the fans.

Though the Mini Truck division doesn't have the count it once had, the drivers who do show up put on some exciting racing for the fans. Keith Ross won the lion's share of the races, while Dan Webster and Olin Crane were frequent podium finishers. As the season wore on, Ross gradually stretched his advantage over reigning champion Webster to 48 points. The past champion Ross was definitely the class of the field in regaining his crown.

The steady William Fogle made all of the races and had a solid hold on third in the standings. Long time competitor Crane continued to field vehicles in both the Mini Trucks and the Mini Stocks and was fourth in the standings. Olin chose not to make a serious run at points but instead concentrated on having fun. Zachary Baker beat past champion Ross Vige by just eight points to finish fifth in the final rundown.

Tom Davis set out to recapture his Mini Stock championship, and he was by far the class of the field. Sean Perry kicked things off with a feature win to start the season, but he found it difficult to evict Davis from the winner's circle on most weeks. Another Main Event winner during the season on multiple occasions was Donovan Chilton. At the top of the list, however, Davis pulled away to a 44 point advantage over Perry by season's end.

Long time Orland competitor John Kirkpatrick suffered from the reigning champion's jinx. He did, however, make most of the races to finish a solid third in the final standings. Jason Libbee wheeled the yellow Ford Pinto for much of the season, but a crash forced him to scramble for a new car to end the season with. Libbee ended up fourth in the standings by just 19 points ahead of the steady Barbara Crane. Crane had an impressive performance a few weeks from the season's end with her season high second place finish.

The 250 Micro Sprint division was the surprise of the season as car count held steady at 6-8 cars per week. However, it was the same old story most of season as Jackie Whitson Jr. won all but one point race during the season. Whitson won the championship by 54 points ahead of the only other driver to win a Main Event during the season, James Barnes. The steady Ronnie Heyer competed in all but one of the events to rank a solid third, while rookie Seth Libbee took fourth in the final run down, 32 points ahead of Jess Garland.

It was a struggle to get the 600 Micro Sprint division going as frequently there were just a few drivers competing. Among the drivers who took their chances on the 1/5 mile clay oval were Steve Harvey, Antonia Boscacci, Tyler Rockwell, Kyra Michelet, Tony Alosi and Rowdy McClennon. Hopefully, the division can rebound in car count as it had much better numbers in the previous two or three seasons.

Wingless Sprint Cars have been a part of the Orland Raceway program for just about every season since 2001. However, they were dropped from the program in 2016. An effort was put forth by the Jacobo Racing Team to get the class back and running under gas power. The change from alcohol to gas prevented several 2015 competitors from racing. Josh Jacobo won many of the races, while other hard chargers in the field included past Mini Truck champion Mario Romano, Rob Worthington, Josh Tucker and David Johnson.

A field of nearly 30 Pure Stocks competed in the season ending $1,000 to win Battle Of The Axles race, and local ace Paul Stevens held off Placerville star Scott Grunert and Susanville star Richard Longacre to win that race. Olin Crane won a wild Mini Stock race by gaining the $500 victory when the leaders tangled late. Tom Davis settled for second ahead of Shawn Merritt. The Mini Trucks had a season high 12 truck field, and Dan Webster bagged the $500 prize by holding off Keith Ross and Lanny Roan for the victory. Donnie Case won the $1,000 prize in the Destruction Derby that ended the evening.

A Wingless Sprint event two weeks earlier paid $500 to win, and it was Josh Jacobo scoring the victory in that race. Whitson won the 250 Micro Sprint race that night. After making an appearance back in August, the California Hardtops returned as part of the Open Wheel Battle Of The Axles night. The August event was won by Dave Reed. The October race saw Jason Clifford score the victory.  For updates on the happenings at the track, go to www.orlandraceway.com.

2017 Orland Raceway Points

Hobby Stocks
Jeremy Langenderfer 602
Shannon Collins 585
Steve Martin 491
Amanda Koop 445
Paul Stevens 429
Earl Adams 413
Brad Ray 390
Keith Ross 309
John Camper 278
Frank Leonardo 260
Richard Vanderplug

Mini Trucks
Keith Ross 690
Dan Webster 652
William Fogle 581
Olin Crain 432
Zachary Baker 292
Ross Vige 284
Jeremy Callen 160
Nicolas Siemens 125
Nate Skaggs 119
Jake VanTol 115

Mini Stocks
Tom Davis 680
Sean Perry 636
John Kirkpatrick 594
Jason Libbee 452
Barbara Crain 423
Dustin Hills 329
Donovon Chilton 202
Steven Spears 157
Paul Stevens 128
Sean Merritt 99

250 Sprints
Jackie Whitson Jr. 685
James Barnes 631
Ronnie Heyer 519
Seth Libbee 381
Jess Garland 349
Jackie Whitson Sr. 341
Dave McKinnon Jr. 293
Pax Gonzalez 251
Scott Halloway 230
Monica Aldrich 136

600 Sprints
Steve Harvey 184
Antonia Boscacci 105
Tyler Rockwell 105
Norman Harley Rose 100
Colby Greg 100
Kyra Michelet 94
Marty Plum 83
Tony Alosi 55
Rowdy McClenon 52
Maril Michelet 49

Wingless Gas Sprints
Josh Jacobo 106
Mario Romano 106
Rob Worthington 90
Josh Tucker 51
John Irwin 49
Gregory Gebhardt 40
Audry Webb 39
David Johnson
Chase Ford
Tanner Thomson


Merced Speedway Releases 2018 Schedule

Merced, CA...Promoter Ed Parker led the way for California tracks as he released his 2018 schedule for Merced Speedway in December. As has been the case since Parker took over the track prior to the 2016 season, careful consideration was put into the booking of the schedule. Knowing the times we are in now, drivers aren't able to run heavily booked schedules, and Parker takes care not to overbook any of his divisions.

Once again, Merced Speedway will feature the IMCA sanctioned Modifieds (15 races) and Sport Modifieds (14 races). The Hobby Stocks (16 races) and Mini Stocks (13 races) will both return as anchor divisions, and the California Sharp Mini Late Models (11 races) and Valley Sportsman division (7 races) will also compete at several races. Furthermore, Parker announced at the end of the 2017 season that the Mini Late Model division will have a championship season in 2018.

Another thing that sets Merced Speedway apart from some tracks are all of the special events booked throughout the course of the season. Among the highlights in 2018 will be the annual Ted Stofle Classic on April 28th. IMCA Modifieds and Sport Modifieds headline this one, along with the Hobby Stocks.  This race pays tribute to one of California's all time great Stock Car drivers, six time Merced champion Ted Stofle.

Also on the schedule will be the Western States Dwarf Car Nationals on June 15th and 16th. A car count exceeding 60 cars competed in their event at Merced in 2017. The Timmy Post Memorial Race will happen once again on June 30th, headlined by the IMCA Modifieds and Sport Modifieds, along with the Hobby Stocks and Mini Late Models. Legends Night remains an important event on the schedule, this year it's taking place on August 12th. While we've heard no confirmation of the beginning of a Hall of Fame, the racing event will include the Valley Sportsman division, Hobby Stocks, Mani Late Models, BCRA Midget Litess and the Legends Of Kearney Bowl Super Modifieds. Parker was negotiating the possibility of adding Hardtops to this event.

The Matt & Glass Cancer Fundraiser event will again close the regular season on September 22nd. IMCA Modifieds, Sport Modifieds, Mini Stocks, Hobby Stocks and Mini Late Models will all be a part of this race. When racing returns in October, the track has two big special events planned. However, Parker has also taken care to not book on top of two of Watsonville's big events. Merced is dark at the end of September to avoid conflict with the Pat Pettit Memorial Shoot Out Race in Watsonville, and Merced also dark dark the first week of August to not run against the Mike Cecil Race in Watsonville.

on October 5th and 6th, Merced Speedway plans to end the season in style with a two day event. On Friday night, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks are all part of the event, and Saturday night is the John Fore Jr. Memorial Sport Mod Race, which will include all four divisions on the card.

Merced Speedway will be active from the first play day on March 10th all the way to the October 6th race, and among the highlights of the season will be visits on Easter Weekend, March 31st, by the IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Cars. The BCRA Midgets will be back for a visit on April 21st as part of a special open wheel night of racing that also includes 360 sprints, Ford Focus Midgets and Valley Sportsman. BCRA Midget Lites will be there on May 12th along with their visit on Legends Night on August 12th.

It all adds up to an exciting season of racing at Merced Speedway. There will be 6 track championships on the line at Merced Speedway. Randy Brown is anticipated in a quest to win his third straight IMCA Modified championship. The competition will be tough, can he do it? Fred Ryland is the reigning IMCA Sport Modified champion, Kodie Dean is the reigning Hobby Stock champion and Chris Corder is the driver everybody is gunning for as he has won three of the last four Mini Stock crowns. Jeff Bristow is the reigning Sportsman champion, and we'll be looking to see who the first California Sharp Mini Late Model champion will be. There will be lots of excitement each and every week, and Parker and his crew endeavor to make each night special. As always, the schedule is subject to change. For further information, go to www.racemerced.com.


The Editor's Viewpoint

This is a bit long, but It's our official statement on thongs as they are now.

As I sit here writing this, 2017 is a memory. It's 2018. I've been enjoying the downtime. When I get in the middle of racing season while maintaining two racing blogs and handling official publicity duties up here, it gets pretty stressful. I think sometimes my automatic pilot kicks in and I'm just maintaining everything without too much mental effort. With the experience that I have gained through the years, it's not really too difficult to do this, but it does take a lot of time. It also helps me keep my mind off of things that still get me pretty angry when I think about them.

I had hopes, however misguided, that a change was coming for this year. It was a change that I was hoping for. In truth, I wouldn't be in the situation I'm in now if I had a choice. However, sometimes in life we take the hand that we've been dealt and make the best of it. That's really what I've been trying to do for these past two years. I have to cut myself off when I start talking about these things on this blog as I really don't want to go there. At times it's very difficult, and I will write whole colulmns that never see the light of day.

Unfortunately, the change that I was hoping to see never came. One thing I will say is I figured I had one shot at it, and I'm proud of the fact that I took it. It almost didn't happen. Thanks to my friends back in my old home area, I was able to make a trip. It was great seeing everybody, and it was good to at least have a certain face-to-face conversation that I've been wanting to have for over two years now. Maybe it didn't work out as I had hoped, but at least I tried.

When I left California after my November visit, I left with an offer. If I go back about 15 or 20 years, this offer would really be a dream come true for me. You see, I labored for 18 years maintaining The DCRR as a printed racing magazine. I put a lot of work into it. Technology and what was available to me changed during that time, and that made things easier towards the end. A lot of work went into putting those magazines out, and I don't think some people really understood that. It became a 40 hour plus per week job, and I assure you it didn't pay like that. If not for my father, I never could have done it.

I was offered the opportunity to revive Racing Wheels Magazine. This was an offer first given to me at the end of 2009 by the magazine's current owner, John M. Soares. I really couldn't tell you why John spent the money on a magazine that had died. The internet had swept through everything, and gradually the racing fans stopped reading. Why pay any kind of money for a printed magazine when many of the results you wanted we're at the click of a button? Of course, a lot of the color behind the statistics was gone as there became fewer writers, but you had the information as far as who won and what the point standings were.

I think John is probably a dreamer like me. He thought that maybe he could bring this paper back. Wheels had changed ownership during its later years before it went out of business. One of the bright ideas they came up with to try and save things was to print pictures in color. The problem was, that added to the cost at a time when sales were declining. Do I blame them for trying? Absolutely not. They had to do something. It also didn't help when their #1 writer, Gary Jacob, passed away.

John went for it, but he really didn't have a plan as to how to bring it back. He did have all of the computers, subscription lists and whatever they had on file. Unfortunately, all of that burned when John's house burnt down. When he offered me the deal, along with things that I would have liked to have heard from him last year, back in 2009, I declined. I won't lie and say that the idea of bringing that magazine back wasn't tempting, but I wasn't really in a good place mentally when it came to coming back to the sport in 2010. I don't think I fully realized how many friends I had until I came back in 2015.

I play a lot of things over in my head these days. It's hindsight. You know, you look back and wonder what would have happened if you had taken the left road instead of the right road? Most of the time, I look back believing that I took the wrong road, so I wonder at times what would have happened if I had come back prior to the 2010 racing season. I spent a lot of time talking with Jim Robbins back in 2015 about that, and he was constantly reminding me of what I should have done. Yeah Jim, I know.

The biggest obstacle in 2018 is the fact that I am living in Oregon, sort of out in the boonies and without easy access to places that I would need to keep a magazine going. Back home, I knew the location well and could even travel by bus if need be. Usually, I had rides. This is the biggest obstacle for me when it comes to bringing back the magazine. Another problem is I travel back and forth to the race track once, sometimes twice a week before race day. That takes five to six hours of travel time each day, and the day is Wednesday. In the racing magazine publishing business, Wednesday is a big day. It's mailing day.

I know fully well that there are people out there who miss Racing Wheels Magazine. The reason John would even make an offer like this to me is because he saw the work that I put forth in covering sometimes 6 to 10 race tracks per week on my two blogs last year. My racing media endeavor was certainly handling the coverage of the races pretty well, but it was severely lacking when it came to rewarding me financially for my work. Lacking? Who am I kidding? I'm spinning my wheels. The biggest motivating factor to me continuing this effort is the fact that I don't have to think about things in my life that are depressing me while I do what I do to at least keep a roof over my head. I think about what I'm going to do if the track I'm at doesn't work out, and I still don't know.

When you bring up Racing Wheels to longtime competitors, they will talk about how they would like to see it again. On Facebook, there are certain people who post clippings from old magazines every week. Racing Wheels was THE magazine, and there are over 40 years of archives because of them. John doesn't have any of that anymore, and my collection extends from the mid 1980's to about when the magazine folded, in addition to some miscellaneous magazines from the 1960's and 1970's. One of the things I would like to do in reviving the magazine is a "blast from the past" section where great articles, including those by my mentor Gary Jacob, would be included.

How do you revive this magazine when you don't have any of the information from when it last was in circulation? Also, what sort of style do to you use if you were to revive the magazine? Also, wouldn't reviving the printed magazine with some sort of online aspect to it be the way to go? My mind has been going over all of this this since I left California on my visit. I literally waited until the last day of the year to finally make my decision. Can I make it work from Oregon? I already answered that with an unfortunate no.

First, you have to comb through the magazines from the last few years, specifically when it comes to who was advertising with it. How many of those people are still in business? Would any of them be interested in a return? Then, you need to start some sort of subscription campaign via social media to see who might be willing to subscribe. Then, you have to come up with a game plan as far as when you will print. Will it be monthly? Bi-weekly? Weekly? These are very important questions, and I thought about all of them. Who will write for you? There are still a few talented writers, but can we secure them when more than likely they're going to have to volunteer their stories as there won't be enough money to pay everybody?

The format question is an important one. When I returned to Antioch Speedway in 2015, the track's webmaster and souvenir program designer, Mike Kord, delivered a printer to John's office that was capable of colored print and mass printing. This would be booklet form, and that's what John was recommending. For the longest time, over the years since John offered me this gig the first time, I thought that maybe a booklet form was the way to go for the revival. I still feel if it's the only choice due to cost, it would be the way to go.

However, I am convinced that it must be in newspaper form, and it must go as closely to style as the original Racing Wheels as possible. I understand that it's not within John's budget to buy a printing press, so the alternative is to find out if you can use somebody else's, and how much would it cost? Sometimes you have to print so many copies per issue to secure a certain deal, as was the case when I was doing my old magazine. As it turns out, there are places near Antioch that do this sort of thing, and I had people in mind to talk to. And, there's even the possibility of some trade out between us and them that would be mutually beneficial. So, my preference would be to go with a newspaper format. John and I had both agreed that printing bi-weekly would probably be the way to go.

There are a couple of things going on right now that catch my eyes. The battle for net neutrality and certain corporation's desire to start charging people for every little place they go to on the internet means that printed media isn't completely dead. If the internet goes badly, a lot of people will lose their interest in it. I see the internet going in a place similar to what we had in the beginning when there was America Online. You go to certain hubs, and they put out the content in each genre, sports, entertainment, news, etc, that they think you should talk about. Facebook is the place in which everybody currently congregates.

I also see an all-powerful monolithic motorsports internet entity developing very steadily. I'll leave their name out of this, because I'm not a fan of them and do not wish to give them more publicity. They started as a web page designing company, and they bought the site at which many race tracks would post their results and point standings for all to see. This company is getting their hands in the cookie jar, so to speak, as they are helping tracks sell tickets and merchandise.  Therefore, they are starting to get a better understanding of how much business the race tracks do. It's brilliant, from their perspective, and there are other ways for them to expand.

I admit I go into conspiratorial realms sometimes, but when I was doing one of my non racing blogging sites a year or so prior to coming back to the sport, I came across news of an artificial intelligence program that could write stories. As those programs develop, this particular website could go so far as to automatically generate articles for race tracks within minutes of the final checkered flag. Sounds far fetched, but there are already artificial intelligence written stories being used by news sites. It's not going to be here, it's already here.

The internet is still at odds with the printed media, and so therefore while it's still somewhat free, it must be used in a revival of the printed magazine. I've spoken with my friend Paul Gould numerous times in recent years about the fact that we could use both internet and printed formats. Paul has been an advocate of just using the internet, and I have been using the internet with my blog site. The thought occurs to me. Racing Wheels has been dead for about 13 years, while my own racing news site has been alive and covering racing regularly for the past three seasons. So, I've already had people asking me why would I even consider Wheels. I think if you've read my articles through the years, you know the answer. I love racing tradition, race nights honoring past greats with special races and Hall of Fame nights. If I wasn't this type of person, I doubt you'd be reading this blog now. It never would have been created.

I actually have given thought to how the internet could work and not be counterproductive to the printed magazine. I'm not going to get into what I'm talking about here as I may use it in regards to my own efforts. It's best to keep that stuff private, but suffice it to say, I think I had a plan that would benefit the subscribers to the printed format. So, every aspect of bringing this magazine back has been played forward and backward in my mind since the offer was made to me.

I had heard rumors in the weeks leading up to my trip that an offer was going to be forthcoming that would lead me back to Antioch. I don't have to tell you what my answer most likely would have been, but it starts with a y. I've heard they need of a new announcer that brings some enthusiasm back to the airwaves on race night. I know that Mike, who has done a fantastic job of keeping the programs and website and standings, is looking for somebody to step up and take over for him. It is largely because of him that I volunteered as much for Antioch Speedway as I did last year. So yes, I was ready to dive in to all things Antioch Speedway in a way I did 20 years ago.

I won't lie to you. I was just a little bit disappointed that Racing Wheels was the only offer made to me. On banquet night, I couldn't really have the discussion I wanted with John because people kept interrupting. I tried, but my ride was getting impatient and wanted me to go. Can't I have 5 more minutes? This is my wife on the line man. I did get a conversation with Donna, and I said things that I felt needed to be said to her. I really do wish the best for her. I have said before that I think the world of her. The woman behind the man and somebody who has meant more to the racing program at Antioch over these last 20 years than people may realize.

As luck would have it, John happened to be at the race track when I made a last ditch effort to see him the day before Thanksgiving. I walked there in the hopes that he'd be preparing the track for that Saturday's play day, and I was right. I was a little bit disappointed when his right hand man, Jay Banks, was there in the office when we were talking. So, I couldn't say all that I wanted to say, and John was no more forthcoming with any offer than he was at the banquet. The most we talked about was Racing Wheels and why it would be a good thing. I understand why he wants to bring it back, and I think I could do it under the right circumstances. It was a good conversation, but I still left the track disappointed that I didn't hear the offer I was hoping for.

One of the reasons I write things like this and never post them is because I know there are people who will say I'm being ungrateful, or I compain too much. Mike McCann has given me an opportunity to come up here and have a roof over my head. That's the main reason I came, because I didn't know where I would be staying otherwise. Though I can get motivated in the moment and do what needs to be done as a racing publicist, I at times would rather not be doing this anymore. I'm not a fan of where I see the sport heading or where it is now, but the dreamer in me always hopes we can bring change to things.

Though I have met some really nice people here, we've had a few accomplishments we can be proud of and there have been some good races, I'm not really happy to be here. I look at it more as maintaining an existence than living a life. But, in order to live a life you can be happy with, you must first at least exist. Giving up is not an option. If not for Mike, I would not have this  chance. I am relied upon to do a lot of different things at the race track, and I think I've done pretty well.  Put it this way, I've done my best. I'm proud of my effort. I ended the 2017 season feeling like I had fulfilled two years of good service, and if there was an opportunity for me to leave, I was ready to do that. I won't get into business up here, but I do worry about the future, or if there is one after the coming season. A lot depends on the racers themselves.

Answering John's proposal in many ways feels like closing that final door on everything for me regarding Antioch Speedway. At least ways, I don't see me coming back as long as things are what they are. I know it sounds crazy, but in the back of my mind, I really felt like there was a chance that it might happen one day. It almost made me not want to answer the proposal. Once I realized that I couldn't do it from here, I knew the answer was no. But, I owed him that answer. I won't say that Racing Wheels Magazine will never come back. It most certainly could. But it will take a lot of work, and it will take money. To John's credit, he was willing to invest money into it, and me being me, my mind was coming up with ideas to lessen The financial damage as much as possible.

I've also given thought to the possibility that what I and others like me do doesn't matter. I am somebody who has tried to keep history. In recent years, I've gone so far as to grab the final point standings from various race track's web sites before those tracks wipe it from their memory. I have grown to realize that promoters are more focused on the bottom line. Did we make money tonight or not? What did we do that made money? What did we do that failed? Did we make money this month? Did we not? You get the picture. Further down the line of importance you will find the actual records of what happened on race night, the drivers who won and lost.

I'll give you another example. When I went to Santa Maria Speedway in the early 1990's, they had a display that listed the past champions and that sort of stuff. At Antioch Speedway, other than a souvenir program that listed last season's points, you didn't see the records. The promoter would probably be hard pressed to name the champion from five years earlier. 10 years earlier? Forget about it. Not important. Is it important? Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. I always thought it was. It matters to the people who were making that history, I suppose. It's a negative line of thinking, but sometimes I go there.

It amazes me to see websites where they wipe out the history from that season to clear things up for next season, as if they're going to run out of room. Or, race tracks are trusting secondary sites to keep those records for them. Antioch had a really good website that was archiving history for about a decade before the webmaster got mad at the promoter and wiped things clean. It takes up so little data to have records on your website that it's silly to not keep them. A goal that I had when I did the website up here was to start archiving the history and doing my research. I've made much progress in that endeavor, though there's a little bit more to go.

I have this romantic notion of how the history matters to a race track. The greats of the day inspire the greats of tomorrow. Just as the greats of yesterday inspired the greats of today. Listing all of the champions for fans to see, honoring the greats on Hall of Fame Night and doing that sort of thing is important. It also shows people in the surrounding community that this race track has a history. It has mattered to people for years.

Up here, We had Hall of Fame night for the first time last year. The Deatherage family has been involved in Historical Night at Cottage Grove Speedway for well over a decade, and they began a tradition of making display boards with various clippings and pictures from different eras of the track's history. They started with three of them for us last season, and it was an interesting sight watching some of our older fans look at these clippings and talk to each other about what they were reading. I'm sure they were remembering those times at the old race track. It matters to them.

I think the one thing I can be proud of in my time in the sport is that I think I have helped make things a little bit better than they were when I got here. I probably cover some of this in my book, Just A Kid From The Grandstands. By the way, I should have a pdf version of that, which will be much cheaper for those who want to read it. I need to get my rear end in gear and make that happen. There are things that I can point to and be proud of. 18 years of printed magazines. The past three seasons with all of those race result articles on my blog, including being put into printed media at various times. The role I played with Don O'Keefe Jr. in starting Wingless Spec Sprints for John at Antioch. Can you believe the division will be starting its 20th season this year?

The most humbling thought that comes to my mind is something you might see in a movie. What would the world have been like had you not been there? We all make an impact on people we may not really understand. I don't know that there would be a Wingless Spec Sprint division had Don and I not did what we did. Without it, certain people wouldn't have won championships or had Main Event victories, and look at the tracks that have run this class. Look at the Hunt Wingless Spec Sprint Series now. That's a thought that puts me back in line when I wonder if maybe I shouldn't have ever been involved in the sport in the first place. Plus, all the good friends that I've made through the years.

I can only say that in 2018 I will continue my efforts on the blog. I will do my best. I'm not going to guarantee anything beyond that, but you'll be able to find most of what you've been seeing these last two years on the blogs. I would say to any track that likes the extra effort I make to get them more exposure that it would be nice to have a tip thrown in the tip jar every once in awhile as a thank you. It's not that I'm doing this for money, because I haven't made much since I came back. But, everybody understands that people have bills to pay and need money for certain things sometimes.

I will be at the race track this year, so my commitment to racing in 2018 is set. Since I'm going to be covering the race track up here anyway, and I enjoy certain other tracks that have meant a lot to me through the years, I'm just going to keep writing. It helps take my mind off of things I don't want to think about, and it's not like I have anything else going in my life. I might as well just keep writing.

John made the decision to run a New Year's race. The New Year's Bash has been renamed the Winter Classic. This is three years in a row the name has been changed, so if the goal is to run a New Year's race, maybe keeping a name brand that people can identify with would be a good thing? I'm not really 100% behind the idea of racing in January, other than the indoor venues. We have enough trouble keeping a car account during the actual racing season without giving drivers one more race to worry about. I make the joke To Mike and Don sometimes that perhaps we ought to run a Salute To Jesus 100 on Christmas. Yes, there's nothing sacred anymore.

Regardless, I always wish for the best for Antioch Speedway. I have endeavored To show my support for what John has done for that race track over these past 20 years. When he opened up the gates on New Year's, he began his unprecedented 21st season of promoting that race track. Nobody has promoted Antioch Speedway longer than him. Love him, hate him, but he is dedicated to this. Yes, I know that we're going to have people who are going to complain. That's just the way it's always been. There's nothing new in that.

I see the social media meme that speaks to how they say the negativity is killing racing. Reality is, social media is a part of it now. It's not going away. When you watch certain reality programs or sports on TV, they encourage you to get on social media while it's happening and put in your two cents on whatever is happening. So, that mentality eventually found its way to local dirt track racing. It's always been there. You've always had fans or racers who bitched about the place, but they didn't have a platform before. They would simply bitch to whomever would listen and come back again next week. If it was too much for them to deal with, they took a little time off. The only thing that has changed is the fact that we have the internet and social media now.

I believe what's hurting racing is what's actually hurting the world in general. People are just angry these days, and they need to take it out on something. They'll go into a situation that isn't 100% to their liking, and, if it's even 80% of what they like, they won't focus on the things that they like. They will focus on the 20% that they don't like. Somebody has to answer for that, or so they think. Maybe one night went bad, and in their minds there was favoritism against them. Whatever the case, it's a selfish, me me me attitude, and it's not good. This is what's hurting the sport.

What do you do about it? I'm the last person that's going to tell somebody that they don't have the right to their opinion. If you're not happy, you're not happy. I just think that if it's so bad at this place that you claim to love, then walk away. Stop spreading your hate. These places are supposed to be fun. The racer against the promoter mentality is not new either. There have always been people complaining about the greedy promoter. You would hear the term boycott thrown around. And at times, the driver's did boycott. Look it up. They even boycotted the great Bob Barkhimer once upon a time by declaring WAR on him.

The successful race tracks are the ones where the racers buy into it. And, there are cases where tracks and aren't doing as well as those successful tracks are doing. The difference is the racers are buying into the successful tracks. They're not buying into the track that isn't doing so well. If the racers don't get on board, it doesn't matter what you do. You're doomed. And, race tracks are fighting the idea that there are other things for people to do. It's real effort to work on a race car. It always has been, and the successful teams are the most dedicated teams. If you're not winning, it's easy to cut back on your racing schedule. It's easy to come up with plans to do something else.

Race tracks have even cut back on how many races they will give a particular division. They had to do that due to car count drop off as the season went on. Even when they do that, car count still slips. In certain divisions, racers will only come out when the purse is high enough. That track might even increase their pay to $1,000 to win one night. What usually happens is car count increases for that night and drops off the next week. Back in the day, racers wanted to be Saturday night racers at their home track. Now, some racers want to be pros and run a circuit. Good for the racer, bad for the track that can't pay its bills because it can't get the racers.

Racing is in a world of hurt. I've been telling people this for a few years now. They should enjoy the tracks they have now. We're going to start losing them. It's just a matter of time before some tracks we know and love will be gone. We just watched Chowchilla Speedway get leveled due to some very poor promoting in 2017, and we also lost Rocky Hill Speedway in Porterville. Perhaps that one will open again someday? Petaluma Speedway, Ocean Speedway in Watsonville? Those two tracks are on borrowed time folks. We can start losing them very soon, and there are people who want to make that happen. It all comes down to how badly people want their race tracks. A promoter can only do so much. A promoter is going to screw up. Without racers, there is no racing, and I see the mentality of some racers actually using their support as a weapon against the track.

That isn't particularly aimed at one track. I've witnessed it up here, and it's part of the problem we face in trying to turn around a program. The "us versus them" mentality was almost encouraged by previous promoters even going back to the older track that no longer exists up here. You breed the mentality into the racers to be standoffish, and they will be. Eventually, their desire to teach the race track a lesson will result in no race track at all. Then, who are they going to blame?

What's my point in all of this? People have to decide how badly they want to see things thrive. I will continue to have this blog up for as long as I can have a blog, and I am committed to doing what I can to help the cause throughout the 2018 season. I will make no commitment beyond that. If an opportunity presents itself either way, I'll be taking it. If it leads to a racing situation I'm happy with, I'll be going there. If it leads to me departing from the sport, I have no problem with that. I can only tell you that I'll do my best while I cover the sport.

Schedules are being released, so the news on that front will be heating up in the weeks ahead. Word I got was that John is getting closer to releasing the Antioch Speedway schedule that should hit all the marks the fans and racers expect from the track. John usually likes to wait until the other tracks book their schedules before announcing his. It's an effort to try and not book over the other track's big dates.

The Dennis Gage tracks in Chico and Marysville just released their schedules as I am writing this. Of note is the fact that the Winged Street Stock division has been dropped from the Marysville schedule, and the Winged Economy Sprint division has been dropped from Chico. Chico has also dropped the 410 Sprint Cars in favor of the 360 Sprint Cars, and they, along with the Street Stocks, Hobby Stocks, IMCA Sport Modifieds and Wingless Spec Sprints are the core classes with special events along the way. Marysville will again feature Winged 360 Sprints, Wingless Spec Sprints, the newly named Crate Sprints, 305 Sprints, Hobby Stocks and Sport Modifieds. I believe IMCA is sanctioning the Sport Modifieds at both of his tracks and the 305 Sprints as well, though I haven't heard confirmation. Both tracks have nice looking schedules and appear to be trying not to book over the big dates at other places. It also looks like the California Hardtops and Nor Cal Dwarf Cars will get dates at both places.

Placerville Speedway continues to feature the Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Pure Stocks and Limited Late Models on their new schedule along with some Little Truck races and visits from various groups, including the BCRA Midget Lites and Nor Cal Dwarf Cars. The Hardtops will be racing there as well, and the big races the fans have come to expect from Placerville are also part of a nice looking schedule. Scott Russell will again bring the fans at various tracks his Sprint Car Challenge Tour, thanks to some great sponsorship from Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards, among others. However, the aforementioned Gage tracks remain on board with the older Civil War Sprint Car Series.

When it comes to schedules, I have to give a tip of the hat to Ed Parker at Merced Speedway. Since he's taken over this race track, he has endeavoured to make a schedule in which his local drivers have an easier time supporting, while trying to work with Ocean Speedway in Watsonville and other tracks. Again, I am seeing IMCA Modifieds and Sport Modifieds will be back along with Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Valley Sporstman and California Sharp Mini Late Models. All of the traditional big races are back with a few surprises as highlighted in another column on this post. When it comes to people I would nominate for Promoter Of The Year, Parker has to be on that list. He's already one of the best in the state.

Further north, there's been speculation surrounding Siskiyou Motor Speedway in Yreka. We mentioned last year about missing funds from the SCMA's treasury. We heard that the association was anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000 in the hole. We've also heard rumors regarding the contract the association may or may not have with the fairgrounds. However, all of this is just speculation. Here is what we know at this point.

The Outlaw Kart group broke away from the association to keep things going in the event that the association did fold. Therefore, the summer races in 2018 should go on, run by a separate group. In fact, they are in the midst of a winter indoor racing series that will continue for the next couple of months. The association put out feelers on where everybody stood coming into the year. Where it is, they intend to keep IMCA sanctioning for their Sport Modifieds and will also have Modifieds. The McDonald's Mini Stocks will continue to be a part of the program, and the track is considering reviving the old Street Stock/Sportsman division. They are trying to find out who still has cars in the area that are willing to race. Word also was that they are working on dates for the visiting Outlaw Pro Stock Association and Southern Oregon Dwarf Car Association, while they have been penciled in for 360 Sprint Car Speedweek and IMCA Wild West Modified Speedweek events.

In short, whatever rumors may be circulating regarding Siskiyou Motor Speedway, the association is treating it like business as usual and attempting to put together a 2018 season. Until we hear otherwise, that's what we have to go on.

An intriguing bit of information further north at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Oregon finds that not only is Jerry Schram adding the IMCA Sport Modified division to the 2018 roster, he has also decided to add IMCA Stock Cars. Jerry is apparently concerned with the direction his Street Stocks are going with their rules and is looking to keep things alive in the future. IMCA is willing to allow the Camaros and Firebirds to run with the metric cars during a grace period of another year or two before everybody must be completely compliant with IMCA rules. They have done this with other tracks in the past. Schram will be releasing an IMCA Wild West Modified Speedweek schedule soon, and Willamette will also be part of the 360 Sprint Car and Limited Sprint Car Speedweek.

Southern Oregon Speedway should be announcing their schedule shortly, but the first order of business will be their January 20th awards banquet, honoring the Top 10 drivers in all of the regular divisions. No divisions are being dropped from the 2018 schedule, and all of the big events that were featured in 2017 will return. Some other big things are being planned as well, and local Sprint Car driver David Hibbard has purchased the ISCS name for his Sprint Car group that he plans to run select races at three different venues in 2018. The chosen tracks are Southern Oregon Speedway, Coos Bay Speedway and Cottage Grove Speedway. Though Southern Oregon Speedway doesn't use the limited name, they will be part of the Limited Sprint Speedweek Tour.

It's January, but the next couple of months should go by rather quickly. California tracks will be roaring with the sound of engines in February, and it will just get louder in the weeks that follow as more and more tracks open. In other words, get ready, racing season 2018 is just about upon us.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Awards Banquet Honors Antioch Speedway Champions And Pit Stops



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Awards Banquet Honors Antioch Speedway Champions

Limited Late Model champion Kimo Oreta showing off two of his trophies.

Antioch, CA...John & Donna Soares wrapped up their 20th season of promoting at Antioch Speedway with the awards banquet.  Eight champions and "Rookie Of The Year" awards and the Top 10 drivers in all eight divisions were honored.  The Top three drivers also received point fund money, and the champions received two championship jackets sponsored by Hoosier Tire and the track.

Soares went to the podium before the awards were handed out.  He thanked all of the racers for their support and talked a bit about the state of racing.  Soares noted that he feels the track is on the upswing.  "At many places, racing is down.  We're doing okay and the numbers are coming around, " said Soares.

For those keeping track of the history of the track, John & Gladys Soares, the current promoter's parents, opened the gates and ran the track from 1961-1980.  This means a Soares has promoted the track for 40 of its 57 seasons.  "Dad built this track, " Soares explained, " and I felt I should keep the family name here."

Marissa Polizzi finished second in Winged 360 Sprint points and certainly would have been Most Improved Driver if there was an award this year.

Art McCarthy made the biggest comeback of the season by making up over 60 points to win the Winged 360 Sprint Car title.  McCarthy won three Main Events en route to his second Antioch championship season.  Marissa Polizzi had a great season in second, and Burt Foland Jr. was third.  Jake Tuttle finished fourth in points and was this year's top rookie.

Second place DIRTcar Late Model point runner David Newquist (left) and third place competitor Shawn DeForest (right).

Jeff Decker skipped the speech, letting his seven wins and his third Antioch Speedway DIRTcar Late Model championship do the talking for him.  The battle for second went down to the wire, and David Newquist edged Shawn DeForest to finish there.  Kimo Oreta finished fifth in the final standings to win "Rookie Of The Year" honors.

Eric Berendsen finished third in A Modified points and was Rookie Of The Year.

Bobby Motts Jr. set out to win the A Modified championship in dedication to Steven Cunningham, a family member and fellow racer who died prior to the season.  Motts, who has teamed with Mike Ferry for years, is a past Antioch Speedway Street Stock champion.  One win and four second place finishes helped propel him to the championship.  Sean O'Gara had his best season in second, and Eric Berendsen claimed "Rookie Of The Year" honors with his third place point season.

Abigail Gonderman was seventh in Wingless Spec Sprint points and Rookie Of The Year.

Bryan Grier needed his fourth win of he season to wrap up his Wingless Spec Sprint championship.  Grier won a very close battle for the Spec Sprint title three years ago at Watsonville.  He remarked that it is very difficult to win a points race before thanking his crew for their hard work.  Rick Panfili was just two points out of the lead going into the finale, but an opening lap crash ended his race.  Second is sill Panfili's best season as he has been a part of the Spec Sprints since they were added to Antioch in 1999.  Five time winner Bob Newberry ended up third.  Abigail Gonderman finished seventh in points and won the "Rookie Of The Year" award.





Billy Garner (left) and Mark Garner (right) proudly display their trophies.


Kimo Oreta was already set to drive the Sun Drop Racing Late Model for his rookie season.  When Larry Damitz died before the season, they picked him to pilot Larry's #15 championship Limited Late Model as well.  Oreta responded by winning four Main Events, finishing second five times and giving the team their eighth division championship between Antioch and Merced.  Oreta thanked the Sun Drop team for letting him drive their cars.  He also recalled how he had switched from racing pavement to dirt and how Damitz was there to help him win his first Hobby Stock championship.

Jim Freethy had a solid season and held off Mark Garner in a close battle for second.  Freethy won three Main Events, while Garner won two.  Garner maintained an impressive double division effort, and he used three wins to finish second in B Modified points.  Chad Hammer finished sixth in Limited Late Model points to win the top rookie award.

K.C. Keller had an amazing B Modified season that saw him only miss the Top 5 once during the year.  He scored four feature wins and won the championship.  Following Garner was Chuck Golden in third.  Two time winner Todd Gomez was seventh in the standings and won "Rookie Of The Year" honors.

Chris Sorensen won more Hobby Stock features than anybody this year and was fourth in points.

Another of the close battles took place in Hobby Stocks.  It was a four car battle for much of the season before Chris Sorensen and Chris Long faded.  Cameron Swank had two wins late in the season after he had four seconds.  This resulted in him winning the championship.  "Rookie Of The Year" Brent Curran won two races.  Though he had four of his five second place finishes in the last five races, Curran settled for second in points ahead of fellow rookie Chris Bennett.

Jenna Frazier ran Dwarf Cars and was also seventh in Winged 360 Sprint points.

Mike Corsaro won his first Dwarf Car championship on the strength of three wins.  He was quick to thank long time Dwarf Car racer Charlie Correia for getting him involved in the sport and all of his support.  Devan Kammermann was the top rookie and second in points after a close battle with David Michael Rosa.

Soares is already at work planning the 2018 season.  You can go to www.antiochspeedway.com for more information.


Pit Stops

Promoter John M. Soares addresses the Antioch Speedway awards banquet.

The Pit Stop Reporter returned to Antioch for the 20th Annual Oval Motorsports Antioch Speedway Awards Banquet.  This event was well attended by over 200 people.  Promoter John M. Soares spoke optimistically of the past season and of the future in his brief address before the banquet.  With the weather being very cooperative for late November, the swap meet and playday on Thanksgiving weekend was looking like it would be a go.  A visit to thew track on the Wednesday showed the challenges Soares faced.

The front and back straightaways were still under some water, and Soares was working on the grader to get things ready.  The pits were ready.  The forecast called for possible rain on Saturday, but Soares was rolling the dice in hopes of making it happen.  For one thing, drivers would get a chance to make some laps and sell some parts to others in need.  Secondly, this was needed to help keep things going for the track.  Listening to John and his assistant Jay Banks speaking that afternoon, you not only could hear the optimism about the future.   They were working on things to make it happen.  Even in the heart of the offseason, things need to be done.  To that end, Soares and Banks went to Reno for the RPM Promoters Workshop.

Soares was open about his thoughts on the racing program he offers, the strong points and the things that need improvement.  He also spoke openly about overtures he personally made to work with one track.  Antioch Speedway has historically worked well with the track in the past.  The bottom lime is Soares is one of the few promoters on the west coast who offers Late Models and Winged 360 Sprint Cars, sometimes on the same night.  With A Modifieds, Wingless Spec Sprints and B Modifieds among the roster of eight divisions on his All Star Series card, the purse isn't cheap.  Soares spoke about that, but he will continue to offer up a packed program with some big events on the schedule.

The rumor was confirmed earlier this week.  The New Years Bash will return to Antioch Speedway on January 1st.  Soares first ran a January 1st race in 2015.  It is a risk as the weather could force cancellation and it is also very cold.  The effort will be made to get the program done at a reasonable time.  This year will again offer A Modifieds, B Modifieds and Hobby Stocks, and Dwarf Cars will also be on the card.  Soares recently commented that he is working on securing sponsorship for A Modifieds, and B Modifieds are set to pay $750 to win and $100 to start.  He is high on B Modifieds as they performed well in their busy schedule this year.  Car counts reaching 18 cars will receive $500 to win and $75 to start in 2018.

New Years at Antioch will be the only big track offering a race.  Traditionally, Marysville runs a playday that night.  It is interesting to note that Promoter Dennis Gage has dropped the winged Super Stock division from the program at Marysville for 2018, leaving such notables as Mike Walko, champion James Castleberry, Rod Oliver and Phillip Shelby without a track to run their cars.  Whether this could work in Antioch's favor in the Limited Late Models as they return for their 19th season remains to be seen.   Marysville's sister track in Chico made a not surprising announcement that they were dropping 410 Sprint Cars in 2018.  They were the only remaining regular Winged 410 Sprint Car program on the West Coast. 

How this might effect the King Of The West/NARC Sprint Car Series remains to be seen.  They did announce that plans to bring back Speedweek will be on hold for another year.  It has been announced that NARC will team up with the Sprint Car Challenge Tour for events at Placerville, Stockton and Hanford this season.  The Harvest Classic in Hanford will also include the IMCA RaceSaver Sprints.   Chico will have a Winged 360 Sprint program in 2018, and there are rumors of another Sprint Car division being added at Marsyville.  The Civil War Series isn't going anywhere just yet.  They have announced that they will run ten races between Watsonville, Tulare, Calistoga, Chico and Marysville.

NARC/King Of The West 2018 Schedule is HERE

Back at Antioch, about 20 drivers were on hand for playday, which included the eagerly anticipated Hardtop debt of Doug Braudrick.  Doug is a former Modified racer who's father was a car owner in Hardtops and Super Modifieds at Vallejo Speedway.  His Hardtop is a tribute to his father's car.  One of the things that hurt the Bay Area Hardtop effort this year was cars such as Doug's weren't ready.  He put a lot of effort into making sure his car was just right, and playday gave him a chance to shake it down before actually racing it.  Unfortunately, he never got to make laps at full speed, but he discovered a few problems that he will address before racing season next year.  Bay Area Hardtop booster Dave Mackey was there to support Braudrick.  Dave is tearing his car down for repairs, but he plans to be ready for the first Antioch race of 2018. 

Brent Curran is a proud new father, Hobby Stock point runnerup and Rookie Of The Year.

Brent Curran has had a great year.  The second generation racer became a new father this year  He came within a few points of a Hobby Stock championship, and he was the Hobby Stock "Rookie Of The Year" with two feature wins.  For the first time this year, Keith Brown Jr's #128 car was at the track, and Keith put Curran behind the wheel for his first laps.  Brent had lots of fun, and nobody can depute that he has the talent to make the move up when the time comes.  Tim Hammett was another racer taking advantage of practice in his B Modified.  We've heard discussions about possibly having more practice dates next year during the season, and one of the positive arguments for such a thing is that guys like Tim can get more seat time and get more comfortable in their cars.

 Trevor Clymens led the B Modified division in feature wins and was fourth in points.

There were several B Modifieds at the track, which also included Kevin Brown, Trevor Clymens and the Swank Racing car.  Clymens has his car so dialed in that he really doesn't need the laps.  Nobody has more feature wins over the past two seasons than him.  Then again, he's a big supporter of the track and has repeatedly used his Facebook page to get more support for the division.  Hobby Stocks included long time competitor Russell Shearer, Anthony Vigna and rookies Haley Gomez and Travis Tabucci.  Mario Marquez was one of the Dwarf Car racers making laps, and Top 5 competitor Shannon Newton was there with his Wingless Spec Sprint.  Newton fared pretty well with a pair of Top 5 feature finishes outside of Antioch after the point season. 

While the Antioch racers have a month to get ready for the New Years Bash, Merced Speedway competitors had their awards banquet on Saturday night.  There's much to celebrate this season as the track managed to have some big events this season.  Ed Parker is hard at work planning out the next schedule.  He puts much consideration into what to run on any given week as the goal remains to have the best car count possible.  Parker will work with various promoters to make sure certain race dates don't clash.  The business of the night was to crown Randy Brown (IMCA Modifieds), Fred Ryland (IMCA Sport Modifieds), Kodie Dean (Hobby Stocks), Chris Corder (Mini Stocks) and Jeff Bristow (Sportsman) as champions.  California Sharp Mini Late Models didn't race for points this year, but word is that will change next season.

They had a rather impressive spread of trophies at the banquet.  Champions again received championship rings.  This is another of the nice things Parker brought with him as promoter.  Joining the Merced racers for the banquet was the West Coast Sport Mod Tour.  The special tour races generally produced car counts in the 30's or more, and they actually gave Merced a free preview after multiple rainouts and greatly increased the numbers that night.  They produced a more than 40 car field at their scheduled race.  They crowned Nick Spainhoward as champion after a good battle with Michael Johnson.  We are delighted to see that Daren Ricks Campbell was brought on board to handle publicity for the Tour. 

Ryland Racing sponsored the Most Improved Driver awards.  In IMCA Modifieds, D.J. Shannon's back to back second's to end the season earned him that honor and tenth in points.  Chase Thomas enjoyed a third place point season in IMCA Sport Modifieds to win the award, but we give honorable mention to younger brother Tanner Thomas for finishing fifth with season high second and third place finishes.  With four wins, Kodie Dean's Cinderella season not only won him the Hobby Stock championship, it also won him Most Improved honors.  Lucy Falkenberg had three second place feature finishes as her third place Mini Stock season earned her the honors. 

We never heard who won Rookie Of The Year in the various classes, but Justin Villanueva appears to be the top rookie in 14th in IMCA Modifieds along with a season high second place finish.  Chuck Weir moved up from Dwarf Cars and had a feature win in front of one the biggest IMCA Sport Modified fields of the season.  He finished eighth in points.  Cody Parker was close behind him in ninth and had a season high second.   Another close race in Hobby Stocks found James Stockton finishing just ahead of Tony Peffer.  Both were up from Mini Stocks.  Stockton had a season high second, and Peffer won a race on the Stockton dirt track.   With two season high second place finishes, Shawn DePriest appears to be the highest finishing rookie in Mini Stock points, ranked fourth.  This, of course, is unofficial. 

An interesting proposal has come out of the Falkenberg Racing camp, but then when is Dale Falkenberg ever boring?  The track announcer has been buying Mini Stocks at a pace that would make even Chris Corder jealous.  Dale wants to see the division grow, and he was hard at work preparing some cars for the Dixon Enduro, which will also see Nathan Corn's son Matthew racing.  Dale wants to see Trophy Dashes return to Merced and is proposing a sponsorship for Mini Stocks to help make it happen.  Several California tracks have gone the opposite rout of Oregon and have dropped the dashes.  Leave it to Falkenberg to make a case to bring them back to Merced.  If there is a promoter willing to do it, chances are it's Ed Parker.

It's been a sad year for Sportsman fans.  Recently, car builder and sponsor Bill Baker passed away.  Baker teamed up with legend Rod Poor when the Sportsman division was brought back to Merced in 1999 and they won some races together.  He then teamed up with Keith Van Houten, who won a championship with him.  Baker was also a long time sponsor at the track.  Earlier this season, Shannon Fry passed away, and 2016 champion Kenny Birdsong lost his battle with Cancer.  Of course, the Sportsman division would not be heading into its 20th season at the track if not for Promoter Chuck Griffin adding it to the roster 1999.  Griffin also passed away this year.  Perhaps the best tribute the racers can give to their fallen friends is to come back with a stronger car count next season.

Dixon Speedway had a 200 lap Mini Stock Enduro and Dwarf Car race scheduled for the week in which Antioch was having their banquet.  However, enough rain during the week canceled those plans.  Word was that there would be a bigger turnout than a few years ago when 12 cars competed in a 100 lap race.  They had rescheduled this race for Saturday night.  Unfortunately, Merced's banquet meant some of the drivers who might have come wouldn't make it.  They have moved this show again to December 9th.  It's been said in recent years that Dixon has potential to be a home track for both Mini Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  Both have had several races there, and Dixon has seen Midgets, Modifieds, Hardtops and Sprint Cars turn practice laps on the one-fifth mile dirt oval in the past.  Hopefully, the weather cooperates and they get some good support.

Pictures have just circulated showing the racing surface of Chowchilla Speedway being leveled.  Sadly, the race track folded a few races into the 2017 season due mostly to poor planning and unrealistic goals.  This was the first season for that management, who promised a very ambitious season with open wheel racing on every other weekend.  Nobody seemed to consider where they were going to get all of the cars or how the drivers would be paid.  No promotional strategy was ever unveiled to entice fans to come watch on a Sunday afternoon.  The grandstands remain, which means you can't say racing will never be there again.  However, racing is gone from the big track for now as horsing events and a possible end of the year Destruction Derby take over.  It's a sad day for those who remember just how special that place once was.

There is an intriguing concept that perhaps could be tried in a Chowchilla rodeo arena.  It's a growing phenomenon that is happening across the country, and a few places on the West Coast.  Figure 8 racing in a rodeo arena.  The Alameda Fair has done this three years running.  The cars aren't going fast enough to hurt anybody, but they are going fast enough to be interesting.  The Salinas Fair, like the Turlock Fair, has tried Dwarf Cars in a Rodeo Arena, and now they have a successful Agri-Race with Mini Stocks and more cars than they know what to do with.  It's an oval race and certainly very wild and entertaining.

Why bother?  It would keep racing going in some form and give Chowchilla something to build on.  It could be paired with the one or two Destruction Derbies planned.  When you get eight cars, you have a full field.  You're not really competing with anybody in the area as Madera and Merced run on bigger tracks.  This would be unique to Chowchilla.  Your basic Mini Stock car is the cheapest big car to get, and local driver and fan support can be generated quickly.  The winner has bragging rights around town.  Maybe it eventually becomes a monthly event.  If it really takes off, who knows where it can go.  As is, it's not too much work going from a Figure 8 arena to a Rodeo Arena.  It's something to consider.  Local Sprint Car racer Steve Jaquith is so concerned about the future of racing in his home town that he's planning to meet with a local official to see if anything can be done to save the big track.

One long time promoter has offered his opinion on what to do if you ever put a track back at Chowchilla.  Mike McCann suggests if they ever cut a big track to do a more meticulous job of measuring the straightaways and the turns to provide for a better racing surface.  Since the track has been wiped out, it wouldn't be difficult to look at the dimensions at other tracks and come up with a different layout next time.

In Yreka, rumors are circulating that the association continues to work on raising funds to cover the missing funds from last season.  We've heard the total could be anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000, and a recent report suggested it's $23,000.  Where that puts 2018 is subject to speculation.  However, new board members have been elected and the goal is to keep things going.  The Outlaw Kart program separated from the SCMA in an effort to keep that alive if things take a turn for the worse on the big track.  Kart racing would still continue on the smaller track in 2018 either way.  They are in the midst of an ambitious Fall and Winter season, and things have been going okay for the most part.  We're hoping for the best and more racing in Yreka in 2018.

The PSM Sport Modified Series and awards meeting happened in Oregon on Saturday.  Group organizer Steve Kerstulovich continues to work hard to promote the effort, and he was surprised to receive an award for all of his efforts.  The room was full as several racers came from throughout the state came to discuss 2018 plans.  Cottage Grove Speedway, Southern Oregon Speedway and Siskiyou Motor Speedway will continue to be a part of the series.  If Sunset Speedway continues to run IMCA Sport Modifieds, they will be included as well.  The rumor is that Willamette Speedway will be adding IMCA Sport Mods, and they will be included if that is true.  It was suggested that American Valley Speedway and Diamond Mountain Speedway be added to Yreka as Northern California tracks, but as of now this will not happen.

Kerstulovich hopes to have a Tri Holiday Series, and Promoter Mike McCann was there to verify that the R. Charles Snyder Salute will happen in Medford on Labor Day weekend.  Cottage Grove and Willamette are the two other tracks being discussed as part of the series, but it was also pointed out that Yreka's Bo Hittson Memorial Race on Memorial Day Weekend is still an important race with a good turnout for Sport Mods.  Travis Pruett indicated that he was hoping to get Willamette to book the class as part of the Monster Truck show on Memorial Day Weekend.  If this happens, it could make that a possible date for the special series.  All of each participating track's dates will be included in the PSM Series from April through the end of September, including any rain makeups.

Several things were discussed before Dot's Trophy Shop In Cottage Grove sponsored impressive trophies for the Top 5 point competitors of this season.  Jorddon Braaten successfully defended his championship and received a nice $600 paycheck.  IMCA State champion Jayson Nelson finished second ahead of Cottage Grove champion Buddy McHargue, Medford champion Mike Medel and Daniel Ray.  All indications are that this coming season will be the best one yet for the Sport Mods.  Yreka and Cottage Grove were coming off of strong seasons, and Medford had its best year yet for the class.  Bob Thomas and Joby Shields were at the meeting and plan to race next season, while Donald Bandfield and James Anderson hope to join the class as well.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

DCRR Racing News Update From Various Venues

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

The Adobe Cup PitStopUSA.com Winged 360 Sprint Car race at Petaluma can be viewed HERE

The California Hardtop race at Orland Raceway can be viewed HERE

The Wingless Sprint Car race race at Orland Raceway can be viewed HERE

The DCRR Racing Radio Show
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


The DCRR Racing Radio Show

Golobic, Clymens, Bonnema, Diatte Win 
Ocean Speedway Finale

Watsonville, CA...October 13...Shane Golobic closed the 2017 season at Ocean Speedway with a victory in the 30 Lap Taco Bravo Sprint Car Main Event.  This was his first win of the season in this group, but the multi time track champion was coming off of a thrilling win in the 30 lap King Of The West/NARC Sprint Car Main Event.  Golobic started the night off with the second quick time in qualifying and a second place heat race finish, but he held off fast timer and 2016 champion Brad Furr to win the six lap Trophy Dash.  2015 champion Justin Sanders finished third in the dash, and the three champions spent he entire Main Event running at the front of the pack.  S. Golobic won, just ahead of Sanders and Furr.  Cory Eliason finished a strong fourth, followed by Michael "Buddy" Kofoid, Koen Shaw, Jeremy Chisum, Jerry Bonnema, Jason Chisum and Dustin Golobic.  S. Golobic came out second in qualifying and clocked in with a lap of 11.595.  His time held up as the quickest until 18th qualifier Furr bested him with his lap of 11.573.  The closest heat race of the night was the second heat as Koen Shawn held off S. Golobic.  Mathew Moles won the first heat in front of Furr, and Jason Chisum won the third heat ahead of Geoff Ensign.  Ensign used an 11th place feature finish to wrap up the track championship.

Trevor Clymens made a surprise visit and won the 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event.  Clymens is the 2016 Antioch Speedway champion.  Buoyed by his first win of the season a week earlier, 2017 point runnerup Mark Hartman was looking for two in a row, but Clymens was just too fast as he forced Hartman to settle for second.  Hartman previously raced Mini Trucks at Antioch Speedway.  Clymens also beat Hartman to win their eight lap heat race.  The Bieser family enjoyed their best night of the season as Alex Bieser finished third in the Main Event ahead of Duane Bieser.  John Ferro enjoyed one of his best efforts of the year as he won his heat race ahead of new champion Matt Hagio and finished fifth in the Main Event.  Hagio DNF'ed the feature in 11th as Charlie Hunter finished sixth, followed by Mike Kofnovec Jr., Jason Pugh, Dave Smart and Billy Robertson.

Ron Bonnema made his first appearance of the season and left with a 20 lap American Stock Main Event win.  Jerry Skelton was contending for his second win of the season, but Bonnema held him off for the victory.  Bobby Huckaby Sr. was a solid third with heat race winner Katie Briggs settling for fourth ahead of Vernon Silva.  J.C. Elrod wrapped up second in the standings with a sixth place feature finish as Mark Reist, Terry Traub, Tom Cline and John Farrell rounded out the Top 10.  Briggs won her eight lap heat race ahead of Farrell, and Huckaby won the first heat ahead of Skelton.

Cameron Diatte wrapped up his SBDCA Dwarf Car championship season with a 20 lap Main Event win.  It was a battle of the Diatte's up front as Cameron scored the win ahead of Ryan Diatte.  Ryan Amlen was a solid third ahead of Zach Price, 2017 point runnerup Mark Biscardi, Gene "Punky" Pires, Brady Beck, Chris Dorto, Justin McKenna and Bill Belfield.  Pires won his eight lap heat race ahead of Zach Price, while C. Diatte scored a win in his heat in front of Amlen.


There were no official results posted on what was the most successful evening of racing in the past few years at Orland Raceway.  Wild Iron horseman has been capturing the races on video and was there for the final race of the year.  Not all of the names were available, but we did the best we could in filing an unofficial report.

Stevens, Crain, Webster Win Orland Raceway 
Battle Of The Axels

Orland, CA...October 14...Paul Stevens won the 25 lap Pure Stock Main Event at Orland Raceway.  It was the first ever Battle Of The Axels, and the $1,000 to win race attracted 27 cars just for this division.  Stevens is the 2015 Orland champion, and this was the biggest win of his career.  Placerville star Dan Jinkerson raced into the early Main Event lead ahead of Stevens.  Jinkerson quickly bolted to a straightaway lead as three time Chico champion Brian Compton battled Stevens for second.  A low move in Turn 4 of the seventh lap gained Compton second.  Multi time Susanville champion Richard Longacre was fourth when a spin in Turn 4 forced a lap ten caution flag.  Jinkerson chose the inside and continued to lead Compton and Stevens on the restart.  A high pass in Turn 2 of the 15th lap gained Stevens second from Compton, and a lap 16 caution flag flew for a back stretch crash involving John Kirkpatrick and Brad Ray.  Stevens led the restart, and contact sent Jinkerson spinning in Turn 2.  Jinkerson got going without a yellow flag as Longacre and B Main transfer Dave Silva were second and third.  A lap 19 caution flag flew for a crash involving Jinkerson, and Silva spun to avoid them after the fact.  Stevens continued to lead on the restart as Compton took second from Longacre.  Longacre regained second on lap 12, but he lost the position to Placerville star and B Main winner Scott Grunert on a lap 23 restart.  Stevens went on to win ahead of Grunert, Longacre, Shannon Collins, Compton and Jeremy Langenderfer.  Grunert took the lead from Orland champion Langenderfer on a lap eight restart and won the 15 lap B Main with Silva and Ronnie Richards completing a Placerville sweep of the podium.

Olin Crain won a wild 25 lap Mini Stock Main Event.  Crain took advantage of a tangle between the leaders to score the $500 victory.  Two time Marysville Mini Stock champion Jimmy Ford raced into the lead at the start ahead of new track champion Tom Davis.  Past Hayfork champion Jack Turner spun in Turn 4 for a lap four yellow flag, and Davis pitted during the caution period.  Ford appeared to be the class of the field as Sean Perry settled into second ahead of Hunter Merritt.  Crain gained third on a lap six restart, but he had his hands full battling Merritt and Davis.  An outside pass on the front stretch of the 14th lap gained Perry the lead from Ford as Merritt gained third.  A lap 15 caution flag bunched the field, and Ford regained the lead from Perry on the restart.  Davis settled into third on lap 17.  As they worked lap 21, contact sent Perry spinning on the front stretch, and he collected Davis in Turn 1.  Ford led Dustin Hills on the restart.  As Ford exited Turn 4 on lap 24, he got just a bit sideways, and Hills took him the rest of the way around as they crashed on the front stretch.  Crain suddenly had the led, and he sped home to the thrilling victory.  Davis made a last turn pass on Merritt to finish second as Merritt settled for third.  Perry finished fourth ahead of an unidentified driver in the #7 car.

Dan Webster won a close battle to collect the $500 prize in the 25 lap Mini Truck Main Event.   Contact between Webster and new champion Keith Ross in Turn 2 allowed Olin Crain to race around both for the lead.  Webster brushed the front wall on lap two and lost his rear bumper for a yellow flag.  Crain continued to lead Ross and Webster on the restart.  Ross was pressuring Crain for the lead before beating him back to the line to take the position on lap eight.  Webster ran a close third in the entertaining three truck battle.  Crain was running the high side, but he finally went too high and drove off the track in Turn 1 on lap 19.  Ross chose the inside on the restart, but Webster raced by for the lead.  Webster held off Ross the rest of the way for the well earned victory.  The former Ryan Cherezian #12 truck, which is now based out of the Hayfork area, was driven to a third place finish ahead of Ricky Wagner and William Fogle.


Danny Myrick Wins Central Valley 
Mini Stock Feature And Championship

Lemoore, CA...October 29...Danny Myrick wrapped up the inaugural season for the Central Valley Mini Stocks with a 30 lap Main Event win.  The win wrapped up the championship for Myrick.  Dan Myrick and Danny Myrick had a close championship battle, but Dan's hopes ended with a busted tie rod while leading the B Main.  In reality, it would have been a nearly impossible task to overtake Danny Mryrick, who set fast time, won the Trophy Dash and won the fourth heat race in his clean sweep performance.

The Mini Socks produced a season high 19 car field.  Dan Myrick set the fast time with a 15.066 lap around the one 1/5 mile dirt oval.  Logan Doglione had a lap of 15.223, beating Ryan Doglione's 15.261 effort for second fast time.  Danny Myrick continued his momentum with a four lap Trophy Dash win ahead of L. Doglione.  Terry Caraveo won the first eight lap heat race by a wide margin ahead of Chris Goldsmith.  Gene Glover won the second heat ahead of Chuck Doglione.  Darren Wilson won the third heat in a close battle with Ben Davis, and Danny Myrick won the last heat ahead of L. Doglione.  Dan Myrick finished fourth in his heat to put him in the B Main, but he broke a tie rod while leading.  This handed the lead and eventual victory to Merced Speedway regular Shawn DePriest ahead of R. Doglione and Jeff Durant.

There were 16 starters for the Main Event, but the battle of attrition left only six cars on the track by the finish.  Danny Myrick set a rapid pace, but Rod Baronian stayed with him as the two lapped the whole field.  Myrick was the happy winner, just ahead of Baronian.  Wilson was a lap down in third, and C. Doglione and Goldsmih were each two laps down in fourth and fifth, respectively.  R. Doglione was the final finisher in sixth as Durant, Randy Brown Sr., Ross Maddox and Davis rounded out the Top 10.

The 2017 season finale was reason to celebrate.  People worked very hard to make this a reality, and a good portion of the regulars who competed this year drove cars built specifically for this effort.  Some cars came out of the wrecking yard to race ready status within a week or two.  The CVMS also wishes to thank House of JuJu, B&B Ag Transport and Jake Miller Hay Co. for sponsoring the CVMS season finale.  Also, thanks to Pacific Ag Rentals, Susie Myrick, Ella Brown and Erick Montgomery for all the great raffle prizes.  For further information on the group, check out the Central Valley Mini Stock Facebook page or go to www.centralvalleyministocks.com.


Davis, Oliver, Compton, Baldwin Win 
Marysville Gold Fever Races

Marysville, CA...October 21...The Annual Gold Fever Tax Cab Open Show was at Marysville Raceway Saturday night.  This is an event that stretches back many years, and the program included Limited Late Models, Super Stocks, Street Stocks, Hobby Stocks and Pure Stocks.  Some drivers did double duty by changing their cars over to run in a second division.

Matt Davis won the 20 lap Limited Late Model Main Event from last starting.  Most of these drivers  compete at Placerville Speedway normally, and Scott Woessner won the eight lap heat race ahead of Ryan McDaniel.  The McDaniel family is three generations strong as Ryan's father Randy and grandfather Plummer have also raced at Marysville through the years.  An opening lap crash eliminated past Marysville champion George Magenheimer and Kelly Ricardo, who was piloting one of the Micheli cars.  Davis made his way to the front and battled Winged Street Stock feature winner Rod Oliver for the win.  Wayne Trimble was a lead lap third.  Woessner fell out five laps from the end in fourth, and fifth place finisher McDaniel's race ended on lap five.

Rod Oliver won the 20 lap Winged Super Stock feature.  Rod is following in the footsteps of Danny Oliver, a past Late Model star at both Marysville and Chico.  The Dozier family has been a respected family in Marysville for decades, and Brandon Dozier kicked things off with an eight lap heat race win ahead of Oliver.  Oliver set a blistering pace out front in the rapidly run Main Event and won by over a half lap ahead of multi time Petaluma Speedway champion Steve Studebaker.  Bill Hall was the final finisher a lap down.  Merced Sport Modified champion Fred Ryland, Dozier and Marsyville and Chico Sport Modified champion Phillip Shelby completed the finishing order.

Sean Smith captured the checkered flag in the 20 lap Street Stock Main Event.  Again, Steve Studebaker was the closest threat to the winner, but it was much closer this time as Smith earned the victory.  Fred Ryland won his eight lap heat race ahead of Smith, but his problems in the Super Stock race made him a feature scratch for Street Stocks.  Studebaker won his heat race ahead of Steve Hammett, and Hammett finished a strong third in the Main Event.  Garrett Agnew and Bill Hall rounded out the Top 5 on the lead lap as Dave Silva was a lap down in sixth.  Leif Berglund scratched on the pace lap, and Richard Vanderploeg also failed to start the feature.

Brian Compton scored an impressive victory in the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event.  Compton is a three time Chico champion, and he won his eight lap heat race ahead of Kyle Cheney.  Past Antioch champion Brad Myers and past Orland champion Paul Stevens battled all night.  Myers held off Stevens to win their heat race.  With Compton a half lap ahead in the Main Event, the race was for second.  Stevens earned that finish not too far ahead of Myers and past Orland Mini Truck champion Brad Ray.  Brian Zachary, Shannon Collins, Breanna Troen and Cheney were lead lap finishers in order as Placerville Pure Stock champion Jason Palmer and Antioch champion Cameron Swank rounded out the Top 10.

Nick Baldwin outran Scott Grunert to win the 20 lap Pure Stock Main Event.  This division had the biggest car count as several Placerville racers supported the show.  Baldwin and Grunert are both past Placerville champions, and their battle up front was close.  Jason Palmer won a photo finish with Dan Jinkerson for third as Hobby Stock winner Brian Compton was a strong fifth.  Russ Murphy, Paul Stevens, Guy Bean, Jarod Mize and Brad Myers completed the Top 10 in the 17 car field.  Palmer managed to beat Compton to the line to win the first eight lap heat race.  Baldwin won the second heat ahead of Jinkerson and Murphy won the third heat in front of Grunert.


Pit Stops

The Antioch Speedway Awards Banquet is coming on November 18th.  The DCRR will be represented as we drop in on our old friends and celebrate the season with them.  Thanks to several people stepping up and sponsoring us, we're making an appearance and will probably be covering the banquet for various outlets.  While it will be great to see everybody, nothing else has been discussed and we're not commenting on any rumors surrounding this visit.  It's about face to face conversations with friends, putting some negative things in the past and looking ahead to the future.  We have already announced that The DCRR will be back in 2018 covering racing at various venues.

Antioch Speedway is in the news.  For starters, management is planning for next year and beyond.  John & Donna Soares now have promoted this track for 20 years.  Last season was difficult at times, but some improvements were made to the facility with more good things planned.  We've not seen further confirmation on a Thanksgiving Weekend Swap Meet and Playday, but Trent Wentworth posted recently that this was the case.  It was also hinted at that another New Years Bash will happen, which means the track won't have a lot of down time.  Soares will reportedly be headed to Reno for the Promoters Meeting, and he's also made some intriguing comments that will interest racers and fans.

Rumors were circulating about what divisions might or might not be back next season.  However, we're not hearing a word about any of this season's divisions not being a part of the show in 2018.  Most of the divisions performed about where they were expected to.  The surprising numbers were the increased car count in Hobby Stocks despite being booked 19 times this season.  Both B Modifieds and Hobby Stocks delivered B Mains for the Fall Brawl.  Mini Stock drivers wanting back were given a minimum goal of eight cars, though more would be expected.  There's been some talk among the racers on Facebook, and it won't be a surprise to see some Mini Stock race dates next season.  There's plenty of reason to be optimistic about Antioch Speedway in 2018.

Dixon Speedway will be having a 200 lap Mini Stock Enduro on the 18th.  We endorse this idea.  They will be joined on the card by the Dwarf Cars, who will have a 50 lap race.  The track has held races for both groups in the past, and you can find footage of some of that on YouTube.  Garrett Corn has been beating the drums for this race, and it looks as if there will be Merced representation in Dixon.  Indications are the car count will be bigger than 2014's 100 lap Enduro that was still very entertaining at 12 cars.  Hopefully, something like this can take root and become a more regular occurrence.

Thanksgiving Thunder hasn't found another track after losing both Porterville and more recently Hanford.  It's unclear if they will get another track in time, but Kern County and Tulare are reportedly the leading candidates.  An announcement will be made on this race's status by this weekend.  Of course, USAC will have the big Turkey Classic at Ventura Raceway on Thanksgiving weekend.  November 11th will be crowded with the Gary Patterson Memorial in Stockton, the Oval Nationals in Perris and the big IMCA event in Las Vegas.

On the heels of his success with the Battle Of The Axels, Rich Hood will be coming back for a third season at Orland Raceway.  Hood has done an impressive job of breathing new life into that track, but he knows there is more work to be done.  A string of good showings to close the season has to be encouraging.  He may be year to year at this point, but the Glenn County Fairgrounds has to be pleased with what they've seen after two years.

After a somewhat successful Rod Restad Memorial to close the season, Siskiyou Speedway has been rocked with disturbing news that they are at least $12,000 short in the SCMA treasury.  The curious part in the story is that bank statements highlighting the financial transactions were never supplied to the board when they made various decisions based on information that had been given.  We suspect the SCMA will soldier through this, but it highlights one of the ways in which the management will need to change if they want to grow a racing program there.  The only regular divisions are Sport Modifieds and Mini Stocks, and car counts weren't where they should be on "non special" nights.  The Outlaw Kart program has broken off from the SCMA to ensure its own survival in case the SCMA doesn't pull through.

Up north in Medford, Southern Oregon Speedway management is enjoying some down time, but plans are in the early stages for next season, including other additions to the facility.  John Holmes of Johnny Cat has graciously donated new clay for the race track.  Numbers have been slow to come up, though they are slightly better than 2016.  Things have been down for several years, and management knows this is a work in progress.  A few pieces of the foundation they hope to build upon were put in place this year with Hall Of Fame Night, the R. Charles Snyder Salute and the Cascade Wingless Sprint Car Challenge, but more is coming.

Petaluma Speedway canceled the final race of the season as the devastating fires and smokey conditions led to firefighters using the fairgrounds as a base.  The Adobe Cup a week earlier was a resounding  success.  The track was recently used to film footage for an upcoming racing movie starring John Travolta.  Ocean Speedway also wrapped up their season.  For years, the track would only run until the end of August or first of September, but it went to the second week of October again.  Promoter John Prentice was definitely put through the ringer this year, but he nonetheless had a respectable season at Watsonville, saw growth in the All Star Modified Series and kept the King Of The West/NARC and Civil War Sprint Car Series going.  Prentice and Petaluma's Rick Faeth will probably work together when they can, as has been the case over the past several seasons.

You can also expect Ed Parker of Merced Speedway to do his best to stay off of the big dates at Watsonville.  Parker has hit on the right scheduling formula for Merced.  It includes several big events, but none of the divisions are booked so heavily that car count suffers.  Both Modified classes and Hobby Stocks have been strong all season and should continue that trend.  You can expect Parker and company to book another great season of racing with more surprises in 2018.

Still sitting in the weeds is Rocky Hill Speedway and Chowchilla Speedway.  Rocky Hill had a limited schedule booked, but much needed repairs to the facility forced the whole season to be scrapped.  The question is, does this mean the track is gone for the long term, or will we get racing back in 2018?  Chowchilla was more a victim of an overly ambitious schedule that could not deliver the cars and had no fan support.  You have to go with a back to basics, smaller is smarter formula to make it work in Chowchilla.  At this point, does anybody even care?  Meanwhile, they will continue the winter Barn Burner Series at the Chowchilla Fairgrounds.


I received a message from Marilyn Yawnick of the SCMA about a bad situation at Siskiyou Motor Speedway.  There is a substantial amount of missing funds as of October 17th, and this is leaving the SCMA scrambling to get the money needed to continue.  The group just had their awards banquet and is proceeding with their elections.  The intent is to keep things going, but they need help.

Missing Funds Put SCMA and Siskiyou Speedway's 
Future In Doubt

Yreka, CA...The Siskiyou Motor Speedway awards banquet capped the 2017 season last Saturday with the crowning of D.J. Bottoms (IMCA Sport Modifieds) and Marilyn Yawnick (McDonald's Mini Stocks) as SCMA champions.  The ballots are going out to elect 2018 SCMA Board Members.  The intent is to keep racing alive at Siskiyou Motor Speedway.

In the midst of that optimism, there is concern over the future of the SCMA as the association  running the track.  According to 2017 SCMA Secretary Marilyn Yawnick, an audit was recently done of the group's funds, and it revealed that $12,000 was missing.  That figure could go as high as $20,000 in missing funds.

The name of the person suspected in this case was not revealed.  All financial reports filed during the season suggested that bills were being paid, and financial decisions made by the board were made based on false reports.  According to Yawnick, the board doesn't see the actual bank statements.

It was revealed by Yawnick that when the person in question was confronted about the missing money, the answers given were not provable.  Also, the person in question was not accepting accountability for the loss and was therefore unapologetic.  The Yreka Police Department has been contacted, but the SCMA as of now is in debt.

Concern over this matter recently resulted in the Yreka Outlaw Karts group breaking off from the SCMA.  The move will make things more challenging for the Outwlaw Karts, but they recently announced a winter indoor racing schedule.  There are enough people dedicated to Karts to keep that effort going, and they held a separate banquet to honor their champions last weekend.

The SCMA has been scrambling to find the funds to keep the group afloat.  Though there are people who have stepped forward, more help is needed.  The Yreka race track hosts such big events as IMCA Modified Speedweek, The Arnberg/Hitson Memorial, The Rod Restad Race and Sprint Car Speedweek as well as staging weekly events.

The track is looking for donors.  Yawnick points out that the track can and has made money.  With the youth movement in the regular racing program and the growing Outlaw Kart program, racing in Yreka is on the upswing.  Those looking to donate to the SCMA can visit the contact section of the web page at www.siskiyoumotorspeedway.com or send an e-mail to scma.webmaster@gmail.com.