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Late Models, Modified Classes Highlight
Antioch Speedway Program Saturday Night
Antioch, CA...Antioch Speedway has a five division program on tap for this Saturday night. The All Star Series B Modifieds are back after a month off. DIRTcar Late Models will be there for their fifth appearance of the season. The A Modifieds, Limited Late Models and Hobby Stocks will make this a great night of Stock Car racing on the three-eighth mile clay oval.
The B Modified championship seems to be well in hand for Trevor Clymens. Clymens leads the division with five feature wins and holds a 200 point advantage over top rookie Ryan DeForest. DeForest won his first Main Event last time out with Clymens chasing him in second. The win moved DeForest 28 points ahead of Chuck Golden in a closer race for second. Golden is still looking for his first win of the season, but his third place position isn't in jeopardy at the moment. The next driver is 78 points back.
Kenny Shrader got off to a late start, but he has five Top 5 finishes in the last eight races, including a pair of third place finishes. He seems to be running well enough to win. After less than desired results at Watsonville last week, Shrader loaded up, came to Antioch, started in the fifth row and finished fifth in the A Modified Main Event. It's a bit closer in the race for fourth as Brent Curran is 14 points back and Tommy Fraser trails by 19 points. Curran has a win at Antioch, but he's been testing his skills at over ten different tracks and recently won at Quincy. The roster has some good drivers, and some who could make an appearance include Guy Ahlwardt, Todd Gomez, Aaron Crowell, Kevin Brown, reigning champion KC Keller and Matt Taylor.
The DIRTcar Late Model winner's board now finds three-time reigning champion Jeff Decker and Richard Papenhausen tied up at two wins each. Papenhausen has missed a race, but Decker is leading the standings by just 20 points over Marysville star Rod Oliver. Oliver has done it with consistency as he has one third and three fourth place finishes so far. Kimo Oreta is set to compete in two divisions Saturday night. Last year's "Rookie Of The Year" is 26 points behind Oliver in third and also has a third place feature finish. He's just four points ahead of Mike Hynes and six in front of Papenhausen.
Dennis Souza may be the best candidate to become the third different winner. He has a second this season. If he were to win, it would be his first win ever at Antioch. Past Modified champion Rob Norris is ready to go this week, and other drivers to watch for include David Newquist, Joey Olschowka and Paul Guglielmoni.
The battle for the championship in the A Modified division remains close. Four-time feature winner Nick DeCarlo had a rough night last week, while reigning champion Bobby Motts Jr. earned his sixth podium finish of the season in third. DeCarlo's lead over Motts is just ten points. Sean O'Gara has a tenuous hold on third in the standings, just 20 points ahead of four time winner Kellen Chadwick and 36 ahead of Bobby Montalvo. You never know when Chadwick is coming, but it could be this week.
Top rookie Buddy Kniss opted to get some experience in a big show environment last week, which dropped him from fifth to 26 points behind Montalvo. The stars of last week were two-time champion Carl Berendsen II and Anthony Slaney, who scored a 1-2 finish. This was the second win of the season for Berendsen, who made the decision to race at Antioch in order to race in front of his grandfather, who is moving out of the state. For Slaney, it was his second straight runnerup finish as he continues to run strong. Other drivers who might make an appearance this week include Trent Wentworth, David Zeiter, Raymond Lindeman and Shawn DeForest.
If you are a fan of close point races, you need look no further than the battle taking place in the Limited Late Model division. Mark Garner and Kimo Oreta are dead locked for the lead with Mike Walko just six points behind them. Garner and Oreta both have three wins after Garner's impressive drive to victory last week, but Oreta wins the tie breaker with two seconds to one for Garner. Walko, meanwhile, has been the most consistent of the three. He has two wins, and his one non Top 3 finish in ten races was a fourth place finish. This is a battle that may just go down to the final checkered flag.
Ryan Cherezian can see the three drivers ahead of him, but he needs some luck to go his way and a win or two. Cherezian is 40 points out of the lead and has one second and three thirds so far. He's had his moments, and the win may be just around the corner for him. You can never count out the division's all time win leader and two-time champion Mike Gustafson, who has one win this year. Other drivers to watch for include the steady John Evans, Chad Hammer and Jon Haney.
The big announcement this week was centered around an increased money race for the Hobby Stocks on September 8th. The 50 lap race will pay $1,000 to win and $125 to start based on 20 cars. The track's Big 3 may seem to be the favorites, but rules may allow for some big name visitors to come to town. When they get there, they will have to deal with Chris Sorensen. Sorensen is having an amazing season in the car he got this year from the shop of Fred Baker. Chris has six wins, five seconds and four thirds. He has only missed the Top 5 once in 17 starts. With those kinds of numbers, it's no big surprise to see him leading his closest challenger, Michael Cooper, by 100 points.
Cooper has four wins, but after scoring his fifth win of the season, reigning champion Cameron Swank is only 31 points out of second. Any of these three drivers could make a run at the money at the September race, and they go into Saturday as the drivers to beat. Two drivers knocking on the door to victory lately are rookies Breanna Troen and Anthony Wellborn. In recent races, Troen has notched two season best thirds, while Wellborn has six Top 5's in his last eight starts. A win could happen at any time for either one them. Billy Garner and top ranked rookie John Wacht would love to earn their second wins this week, and others to watch in the quest for victory include Josh Leach, Tom Cline, Haley Gomez and Ed Letterman. Long time racer Bob Brown finished second last week, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him get a win if he keeps coming back.
Saturday night is a night that fans of Stock Car racing can get exited about. It's a great lineup of All Star Series divisions you won't want to miss. For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
Berendsen, Fatu, Garner Win Antioch Speedway Main Events
Antioch, CA...August 4...William Fatu won the 20 lap All Star Series Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. In the past few seasons, Fatu has moved up from Mini Stocks to Wingless Spec Sprints and now into a 360 Sprint Car, and this was his first win in this division. Fatu shared the front row with David Dias and sprinted into the lead. Heat race winner Billy Aton's quest for his third win of the season ended when he spun on the back stretch on lap three with broken steering. After failing to finish the previous race, point leader Art McCarthy made a charge from the third row into second by lap seven. Fatu held a huge lead by then, but McCarthy steadily gained on him until catching him at the white flag. McCarthy made a run at him down the back stretch and into the final turn, but Fatu brought it home to a satisfying victory. McCarthy was a season-best second, followed by James Ringo, Jacob Tuttle and Matt DeMartini.
Carl Berendsen II earned the victory in the 20 lap A Modified Main Event. Berendsen is a two-time division champion, and this was also his second win of the season. He started back in eighth and quickly worked his way to the front of the pack. When he got there, he had to battle a determined Anthony Slaney, who was trying to get his first win of the season. However, Berendsen pulled ahead on lap six and collected the win, followed by Slaney, reigning champion Bobby Motts Jr., Chuck Golden and Kenny Shrader.
Mark Garner snapped out of his three-race slump and put his championship bid back on track with his third 20 lap Limited Late Model Main Event win of the season. Garner shared the front row with Lori Brown and bolted into the lead at the start. Brown spun from second for the only yellow flag slow down of the race on lap five. Mike Walko moved into second and challenged Garner on the restart. However, Garner pulled away to a straightaway advantage, and even a pair of slower cars in the final five laps didn't stop his charge to the much-needed win. Walko collected his third runner-up finish of the season, followed by Ryan Cherezian, point leader, Kimo Oreta and Mike Gustafson.
Reigning Hobby Stock champion Cameron Swank collected his fifth 20 lap Main Event win of the season. Swank started back in the fourth row, and Bob Brown was the early leader. Swank made an inside pass on Breanna Troen in Turn 4 for second on lap 4 and beat Brown back to the line for the lead on lap six. From there, Swank set a blistering pace and held a half-lap lead at the checkered flag. Brown finished second, followed by a season-best third for Josh Leach, point leader Chris Sorensen and Anthony Wellborn.
David Michael Rosa earned his third 20 lap Dwarf Car Main Event victory of the season. Rosa and point leader Mike Corsaro started mid-pack, and both drivers made a charge to the front. Corsaro is looking for his first win since the fifth race of the season, but Rosa made him settle for his fourth second place finish in the last six races. Street Stock legend David Rosa finished third ahead of Mario Marques and Jacob Williams.
All Star Series racing action resumes next Saturday night with the DIRTcar Late Models back along with the A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models and Hobby Stocks. For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
Unofficial Race Results
All Star Series Antioch Speedway
Winged 360 Sprint CarsHeat Winners (8 Laps)-Art McCarthy, Billy Aton. Main Event (20 Laps)-William Fatu, Art McCarthy, James Ringo, Jacob Tuttle, Matt DeMartini, Joey Ancona, David Dias, Tim Burcher, Billy Aton, Jeff Strole.
A ModifiedsHeat Winners (8 Laps)-Robbie Senn, Nick DeCarlo. Main Event (20 Laps)-Carl Berendsen II, Anthony Slaney, Bobby Motts Jr, Chuck Golden, Kenny Shrader, Eric Berendsen, David Zeiter, Bobby Montalvo, Nick DeCarlo, Josh Combs.
Limited Late ModelsHeat Winners (8 Laps)-Kimo Oreta, Ryan Cherezian. Main Event (20 Laps)-Mark Garner, Mike Walko, Ryan Cherezian, Kimo Oreta, Mike Gustafson, Lori Brown, John Evans.
Hobby StocksHeat Winners (8 Laps)-Cameron Swank, John Wacht. Main Event (20 Laps)-Cameron Swank, Bob Brown, Josh Leach, Chris Sorensen, Anthony Wellborn, Breanna Troen, Michael Cooper, Ed Letterman, Mike Matheson, John Wacht.
Dwarf CarsHeat Winners (8 Laps)-David Michael Rosa, Mike Corsaro. Main Event (20 Laps)-David Michael Rosa, Mike Corsaro, David Rosa, Mario Marques, Jacob Williams, Tony Carmignani, Chris Becker, Jessie Pfeiffer, Chuck Conover, Giovanni Bortoli.
Nelson, Hogge, Ryland Win Mike Cecil Memorial Race
At Ocean Speedway
Watsonville, CA...August 4...Billy Nelson scored an impressive victory in the Mike Cecil Memorial American Stock Main Event Saturday night at Ocean Speedway. This was the 21st annual event that is held in memory of past Street Stock champion Mike Cecil, and all three divisions competed for an increased purse. About 100 race cars filled the pits to be a part of this event.
The American Stocks ran an 80 lap race for $1,000 to win, and for much of the distance JC Elrod led the way over point leader Matt Kile. Nelson started back in 13th, but he was part of the Top 5 battle by lap ten. By lap 57, Nelson had passed Rob Gallaher for the third position and set his sights on Kile. There was smoke coming from the Elrod car by lap 65, but he continued to race out front. Nelson made a move on the front stretch on lap 68 to take second from Kile, and he made an inside pass in Turn 2 a lap later to grab the lead from Elrod. Nelson started to pull away, but he had scary moments in traffic during the final five laps. However, he kept his cool for the big victory. Elrod settled for second, followed by Kile, Rob Gallaher, Kristie Shearer, Joe Gallaher, Mike Calhoun, Shannon Nelson, Jimmy Bowman in DJ Keldsen. The eight lap heat race wins were earned by Nelson, Elrod and Kile.
Bobby Hogge IV won the 30 lap IMCA Modified Main Event for a $1500 payday. It turned out to be another great night at the races for Hogge as he led all the way for his fifth win of the season. While Hogge was out front blazing a trail for others to follow, the bigger story was Clint Reichenbach. Reichenbach started in eighteenth and was up to seventh by the waving of a lap 17 yellow flag. Reichenbach made a few more passes and was fourth by the lap 24 caution flag that flew when Randy Brown's run in fifth ended. Hogge continued to lead on the restart, and Reichenbach made late passes on Alex Wilson and Ryan Porter for a strong second place finish. Wilson settled for third, followed by State Point leader Shane DeVolder, Austin Burke, track point leader Cody Burke, Porter, Andy Obertello, Brian Cass and Chris Sieweke.
There were 34 Modifieds in action. The eight lap heat race wins went to Brown, Wilson, Sieweke and Hogge. The final starting positions in the Main Event were determined by the two 12 lap B Mains. Justin Villanueva won the first one ahead of Tim Cecil, and Reichenbach picked up the win in the second one, followed by Robert Marsh.
Fred Ryland picked up the win in the 30 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event. This was a $1,200 victory for the 2015 State champion. Ryland battled Austin Williams early on before moving ahead. The bigger story of the race was 2014 State champion Nick Spainhoward. Spainhoward had to win the second B Main to get into the show, and he made an impressive charge to the front of the pack. Unfortunately, as he and Ryland were working lapped traffic, a slower car got in his path and ended his race. Ryland went on to score the victory, followed by Matthew Mayo, Austin Williams, Aaron Crowell, point leader Jim DiGiovanni, Anthony Giuliani, Trevor Clymens, Chris McKellar, Justin McPherson and Guy Ahlwardt.
The 36 car field ran four eight lap heat races with Crowell, Giuliani, Ryland and Clymens earning the wins. They ran two 12 lap B Mains to fill out the remainder of the field, and Chris Falkenberg won the first one ahead of Cody Parker. Spainhoward outran KC Keller to win the second B Main.
Racing will return on Friday night with the Ocean Sprints, presented by Taco Bravo. The IMCA Modifieds, American Stocks and South Bay Dwarf Cars will complete the lineup. For further information, go to www.racepmg.com.
Legends Night Set For Saturday Night At Merced Speedway
Merced, CA...After a two-week break, Merced Speedway roars back to life this Saturday night with another special event. It's Legends Night, and it pays tribute to nearly 70 years of racing tradition at the Merced County Fairgrounds racing facility. The Valley Sportsman division takes center stage this week along with the Hobby Stocks, California Sharp Mini Late Models and BCRA Midget Lites.
Merced Speedway has been around for weekly racing action since 1950. During that time, they've had some big events. This has included of visit by what became the NASCAR Cup Series, The World of Outlaw Sprint Cars and a $10,000 to win USAC Midget race. The fans have cheered on many great racers during that time.
This includes the man they called Mr. Dirt, Vern Wilhoite. Vern won his first championship back in the 1950s. He went on to win more Sportsman championships and in the 1990s had a race on the schedule in his honor. Vern raced wheel to wheel with four time Sportsman champion Dennis Moomjean back in those days. Vern has since passed away, but Dennis has been one of the regulars at Legends Night since it was started by then General Manager Doug Williams in 2013.
Several drivers who competed at the speedway in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s show up for Legends Night, and some of them get the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the Valley Sportsman cars and make a few pace laps before stopping on the front straightaway to be interviewed. Back in 2014, legendary speedway announcer Johnny Sass even showed up to do the interviews. Sass announced at the speedway from about the time it opened until Chuck Griffin had his final year as promoter in 2009.
The Sportsman division was the featured class at Merced and many other venues from the mid 1960s until 1980. Chuck Griffin was one of the drivers on the roster back in its final days. When he had an opportunity to bring the class back in 1999, he didn't hesitate. Working with Pure Stock champion Luis Miranda, Griffin put a nice set of rules together and brought the class back to life. This is the 20th consecutive season of Sportsman racing at the speedway. They have crowned a champion in all but one of those seasons.
The #25m car Chris Birdsong was built by his father, 2016 champion Kenny Birdsong. The car was a replica of a car wheeled by Kenny's hero in the early 1970s, Rod Poor. Poor was notable in winning more Main Events than anybody else in the final decade of the division's initial run. Chris has won two Main Events in his own car this year and piloted the 2017 championship car of Jeff Bristow to his most recent win. Bristow has played car owner this year and has two other wins to show for it with IMCA Sport Modified racer Chris Falkenberg behind the wheel.
With all of those wins accounted for, it is Watsonville Speedway Hall of Fame driver Jerry Cecil leading the standings. Jerry had been retired for several years, but Jeanne Canepa, lured him back behind the wheel again. Saturday night is a point event, and Cecil leads Rick Elliott by eight tallies in the standings. Birdsong is still in the hunt, 32 points back.
The car count may even reach into double digits on Saturday, and there are at least 14 known cars in the area. One car will be driven by two-time division champion Mike Friesen. Friesen was there when the division was brought back in 1999 and also raced back in the 1970s. He is a lover of vintage race cars and also owns a Hardtop painted in tribute of past Merced Speedway great Sam Huff as well as a Super Modified.
These are unique race cars in that the cars feature various different body styles, compared to some of today's race cars that often times look the same other than the paint jobs. Some of the racers anticipated for Legends Night include Eric Sealy, Jeff West, Gary Hildebrand, past champion Mark Odgers and Watsonville Speedway Hall of Famer Ray Johnson.
The popular Hobby Stock division will be racing on Saturday night. After ten events, reigning champion Kodie Dean has picked up seven Main Event victories. With those kinds of numbers, you would anticipate him holding a huge point lead. However, the consistent Shannon Nelson, who has notched eight Top 5 finishes of her own, is just eight points back. The wife of two-time division champion Bubba Nelson is still looking for her first Main Event wins since 2015. Likewise, teammate Kristy Shearer is searching for her first win in three seasons. She trails Dean by 34 points as she remains in contention.
A rough start has slowed the pace of Austin Van Hoff, but he is still on track for another Top 5 season following his season-best second place finish last time out. Robbie Loquaci has one win this year and leads Michael Shearer by just 34 points in the race for fifth. Drivers will need to bring their A Game to beat the flying Dean, and some of the racers hoping they can pull off the win included John Hensley, Kalob Shelton, Race Shelton, Mike Stockton, Donnie Shearer and Mike Germait.
It's a two-car championship battle in the Mini Late Model class. With two wins to his credit, Tim Crews leads Carson Guthrie by 16 points. Guthrie is still looking for his first win. Third ranked Riley Jeppesen has one victory and leads the steady Ian Shearer by just seven points in the battle for third. A terrible start has left five-time winner Jesse James Burks way off the pace, but he is closing in on Shearer and trails by just 20 points.
The BCRA Midget Lites round out the program. These cars tour several different venues in California and were recently down south in Santa Maria for a shootout race with the local Lightning Sprint group. Some of the drivers to watch for include hard charger Danika Joe Parker, Bradley Dillard, Dakota Albright, Terry Bergstrom and the father-and-son duo of Scott and Hunter Kenney. Hunter is the current point leader.
Merced Speedway is proud of their heritage and their place within the community. This is the 69th continuous season of racing at the speedway. Long time fans of the track who may not have been around lately should mark this night on their calendar. It may be an opportunity to see somebody that you cheered on years ago. For further information, go to www.racemerced.com
Langenderfer Wins Schmitke Memorial Race
At Orland Raceway
Orland, CA...August 4...Reigning champion Jeremy Langenderfer won the Thomas Schmitke Memorial 20 lap Pure Stock race Saturday night at Orland Raceway. It was his fifth win of the season as he tries to keep pace with Paul Stevens in a close championship battle. Marysville point leader Shannon Collins rebounded from a bad night last week with his season best second place finish. Stevens had another solid effort as he finished third ahead of Thomas Pavlik and past champion Jerry Bartlett. Bartlett and Langenderfer won their heat races.
Keith Ross continued his march towards another championship with his win in the 20 lap Mini Truck Main Event. Ross and Tony Quinonez won their heat races, and Ross held off 2016 champion Dan Webster to win the Main Event. Justin Vance finished third ahead of Willam Fogle and Kalvin Kvalik.
Reigning champion Tom Davis won the 20 lap Mini Stock Main Event. Point leader Barbara Crain was going for her fifth Main Event win of the season, but she settled for fourth ahead of Pure Stock star Jeremy Langenderfer. Davis had earlier won his heat race, and he held off Sean Perry for the feature win. It was Perry's best finish of the sesaon as he remains in title contention in a close three driver battle.
Chico point leader Tony Richards won his third straight Wingless Gas Sprint Main Event and the heat race. Point leader Tanner Thomson finished second, followed by RJ Baker and Kyle Pendergrass. Point leader James Barnes won the 250 Micro Main Event ahead of Zack Webster.
Racing returns on August 18th with Kids Bike Night. There will be bike giveaways and bike races for three different age groups. The Pure Stocks will be racing along with the Mini Trucks, Wingless Gas Sprints and 250 and 600 Micro Sprints. For further information, go to the Orland Raceway Facebook Page.
Drivers Compete For Double Points At Lemoore Raceway
On Sunday Afternoon
Lemoore, CA...The Central Valley Mini Stocks return to action on the 1/5 mile Lemoore Raceway dirt track this Sunday afternoon. The fifth event of the season has the added attraction of double points. Anybody looking to make a big move up the point ladder has a better chance of accomplishing their goal.
To do that, however, the drivers will have to beat the Baronian brothers. Greg Baronian has won most of the Main Events so far with brother Rod the only other winner on the list. Because of that, Greg holds a 34 point advantage over Rod in the battle for the championship.
Dan Myrick hopes to get his first local win this week. Just a few weeks ago, he made his first ever appearance at Merced Speedway and left with the Main Event winner's trophy. Dan only trails Rod Baronian by eight points in a still close battle for second. He isn't too far ahead of Ryan Doglione, who is five points behind him in fourth.
All of the competitors enjoy the opportunity anytime they can race on the little track. In fact, Chris Goldsmith stepped forward to repair a damaged Turn 4 fence after the most recent race to make sure things would be ready to go for next race. Some of the drivers hoping that Sunday will be their day for victory include Goldsmith, Jeff Durant, Ben Davis and Randy Brown. Merced stars Jennifer Corder and Shawn DePriest are two others anticipated on Sunday.
The Sunday show will feature time trials on the clock, a Trophy Dash, heat races, B Main (if needed) and Main Event. It will be a relaxing and fun afternoon for the family to enjoy. For further information, go to www.centralvalleyministocks.com.
Santa Maria Raceway Unofficial Race Results August 4, 2018
USAC/CRA Sprint Cars
Results are not official
1 #5m Max Adams
2 #42 Danny Faria Jr
3 #91r Brody Roa
4 #21 AJ Bender
5 #4 Damion Gardner
6 #5 Logan Williams
7 #98 Verne Sweeney
8 #44 Cody Williams
9 #2 Austin Williams
10 #28m Matt McCarthy
11 #12b Joel Rayborne
12 #5J James Herrera
13 #4G Chris Gansen
14 #5x Tom Malcom
15 #92 Jake Swanson
16 #33B Brandon Wiley
17 #51 Austin Ervine
IMCA Sport Modifieds
Results are not official
1 #15F Markus Frazier
2 #88c Austin Ruskauff
3 #3 Dylan Potter
4 #7-7 Aaron Farrell
5 #96 Kelly Wilkinson
6 #04M Austin Manzella
7 #48 Mike Dean
8 #28 Paul Harris
9 #20S Kevin Johnson
Results are not official
1 #5 Sean Martin Sr
2 #98 Gary Rayburn Jr
3 #42 Kevin Pritchard
4 #49J Justin Jackson
5 #32 Jon Waterfield
6 #77 Chris Anderson
7 #46 Brian Childress
8 #16 Ed Wyand
9 #55K Kristina McGeary
10 #84 Hailey Wyand
11 #29 Bronson Cole Van Fleet
12 #57 Gregg Teller
13 #37 Jimmy Satlawa
Results are not official
1 #43P Jarod Pack
2 #38 Justin Jackson
3 #43 Levi Burgett
4 #46 David Kavanagh
5 #5 Zach Chavez
6 #23c Chris McElreath
7 #89 Megan Burgett
8 #77 Aaron Calvert
9 #5M Jeff Kessinger
10 #8 Justin Gangloff
11 #10 Butch Headrick
12 #43H Carolyn Headrick
NMRA TQ Midgets
Results are not official
1 #59 Scott Niven
2 #07 Kevin Kale
3 #40 Parker Thomas
4 #55 Dave Lambert
5 #2P Jason Arnolde
6 #36 West Evans
7 #77 Ace Kale
8 #20 Taelor Janes
9 #70 Donald Brasher
Ocean Speedway Unofficial Race Results August 4, 2018
21st Mike Cecil Memorial
Bobby Hogge IV
Darrell Hughes II
B Main 1
Mike White DNS
Jeff Decker DNS
B Main 2
IMCA Sport Modifieds
T.J. Etchinson III
B Main 1
Dwayne Short DNS
B Main 2
Craig Tatum DNS
Madera Speedway Unofficial Race Results August 4, 2018
Madera Late Models
John Tevis Jr
Manny Gonzales Jr
The Editor's Viewpoint
Southern Oregon Speedway has been an interesting experience for me. I don't think I even fully appreciate what we have done here. The track was so far down when we got here that there was a lot that needed to be done. It remains a work on progress. We have a lot we can be proud of but so much more to be done.
One of the things that keeps me grounded is the fact that when we pull a night off successfully, there's so much negativity associated with that success that you merely make a note of it, learn from it and move on to next week. You can't get over confident or complacent. Also, we get the back handed compliment a lot. People can see the changes. However, you hear a lot of, "You guys are doing good, but... "
My book will talk about a lot of things I may have hinted at here. Our third year has been an adventure for both Mike and myself. We've been tested in many ways. I think a frustration I have is the "clay" we had donated this year. When somebody makes an offer for free clay, most dirt track promoters will accept it. As a promoter, you take advantage of every free or cheap opportunity you can get. It costs a lot to be a promoter, which is something you can't fully grasp until you are there.
The clay came from somebody involved in racing for years, and it has had a negative impact on our season. There are many reasons why, but the fact that it has hurt our efforts to provide the type of track we prefer is a big reason. It's led to us starting and finishing later and has impacted the racing. Everything flows from that racing surface. If it's not what you are shooting for, it can hurt your efforts. Jim Rodgers has worked very hard to make the best of this situation.
We're coming up on a stretch of races that are important to me. One of the things I think helps a race track is having special events that fans can look forward to. It's not just about the money the racers will be competing for, but also the fact that the races have special sentimental value to the people who have been around that race track for years. I have lobbied certain other race tracks to add more of this type of stuff to their schedules, and looking at what Merced Speedway has been doing in recent years makes me smile.
I think part of the strategy in seeing more racers and fans coming back to the track goes hand-in-hand with special races. We have special winged and wingless Sprint Car races coming up this month. Mike is a Sprint car a guy, and you can't argue with the success he has had when it comes to either adding a Sprint Car program or building one up at his tracks. The Wingless Sprint Car race that we have at the end of August, sponsored by Herz Precision Parts, will pay $3,500 to win.
The two races I pushed for the hardest are coming up. First, there is Hall of Fame night. I know that Medford has had a long history of racing, and I've endeavored to learn some of that going back to the few months before I knew I was coming up here for sure. We had our first Hall of Fame Night last year, and it was a success. The second one happens on a August 18th. We have a great lineup of racing divisions, but there will also be several Medford racing Legends in the stands to watch some of their peers be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The September 1st and 2nd show is the R Charles Snyder Salute. I pretty much knew when I arrived up here that this race needed to happen, but finding the time to make it happen and was a challenge. Mike was interested, and when the opportunity arose, he added it to the 2017 schedule. It's a tribute to the long time voice of Southern Oregon racing. He was on the radio for some 40 years and also helped promote some big rock concerts through the years. He was very beloved by the community, which I could tell from articles that I had read before. I'm very proud of the R Charles Snyder Salute and Hall of Fame night. I'm equally proud of the Press Box I'm currently writing this article in, which is been named after Snyder.
When we complete the third season up here, I will know that we have left things better than they were when we got here. I'm not sure if a fourth-year up here is in my future or whether I will be somewhere else or even not involved in the sport at all. I'm honest when I say I'm looking for a change away from the sport, and I'm not certain that I can find what I'm really looking for in Oregon. I am sure that I will put myself in the best position to continue to get by, so I'm not sure what that means. I am sure that wherever I'm at, I will give 100%. If it's here for another year, I will do my best.
In my desire for change, I have to say that it's not because of some of the nice people that I've met here. There are some truly good people who get what we're trying to do. They understand the situation as it was before we got here. They know that while we may not be perfect, we certainly tried a lot harder to make things better. Mike is a no-nonsense, stick to the basics type of promoter. It has served him well in his long career as promoter. Sometimes, that rubs people the wrong way because he's not somebody who glad hands or even seeks praise. Just show up and support the races and know that you're going to get what he'll give you consistently every week. If he says he's going to do it, he will. You can set your watch by.
I keep looking down south to Doom and Gloom mentality at a couple of places I like. I sincerely hope that Merced Speedway people don't lose sight of the vision that Ed Parker put in place. Ed may not be here now, but anybody willing to follow his example can continue on his legacy. It's not that difficult to do. Just keep doing the things he did and give a damn about that race track. Ed didn't fake it. You knew he believed in what he was doing. It was out there for all to see every time he jumped on Facebook to give people updates. It doesn't have to be over folks. Just give a damn and don't give up.
Antioch Speedway has so many people out there bashing it that it gets very frustrating for me. I have never hid the fact that the only reason I ever got involved in doing what I was doing was because of that race track and the people involved. And so, I want what's best for the place. There are times I wish I could be there right now helping guide it. When thinking about the future of racing, that track is always at the forefront of my mind. I never thought that I would still be involved in the sport and not have anything to do at least in person with that race track.
I honestly don't see me continuing for any sort of lengthy career in the sport and not being back there. That is, if I continue. For the type of effort that I make, I've come to understand it takes me throwing myself into it 100%. I know no other way, but it's also burning me out. If I were in familiar surroundings or at least in places where I could get around and do other things once in a while, I could at least take a day every so often to get away. But racing surrounds me here and there is no escape. It's one of the reasons I need change. I need a personal life, and I need me time. That can happen in the sport, but I question whether it can happen where I currently am.
Petaluma Speedway is doing the Johnny Soares Classic in late August. I think it was Jim Soares who started this race to pay tribute to his father. I love the fact that it happens. I also love the fact that it is featuring the Wingless Spec Sprint division, the very division that myself and Don O'Keefe made all of that effort for back in 1998 and 1999 to start for John Soares Jr at Antioch. To see all the tracks that added it, the Hunt Series and this big race is a source of pride for me. The Hunt Spec Sprint Series gets this race and the extra prize money that it offers.
I think it's really neat that the California Hardtops are featured on this night. It's a natural fit when you consider that John ran Hardtops for a few seasons and was a two-time BCRA Hardtop champion. I wish the Hardtop leadership would understand that if they could plug themselves into these big nostalgia events, they could build their group around them. It doesn't matter about quantity of races. It does matter about quality of races. If the leadership would concentrate on a schedule that racers could more easily support and focus on getting as many drivers to the races as possible, they would be successful. The Hardtop racers happened to rank Petaluma high on their list of favorite tracks. Probably due to the fact that it's cool down there, but also, they have a nice racing surface. There should be a good turnout for this race, and I'm also hopeful that the Bay Area Hardtop race at Antioch Speedway, the annual Chet Thomson Memorial, will be big.
That's about all I have to say for now. I'm here on a Saturday afternoon getting ready for the second night of Dwarf Car racing. Another one of those big races. I'm not sure what the future has for this race, but regardless, it was a good idea that has worked well for many years. Signing off now. Until next time...