Decided to put a story together for Antioch again this week. If more details come my way, I may update or add to this. Looks like it was a pretty good night of racing Saturday night.
After some mid week rains fell on the one-third mile clay oval, beautiful weather greeted the racers and fans Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. When the checkered flag fell on the five divisions of racing, It was "Cowboy" Craig Smith (360 Sprint Cars), "The Outlaw" Kenny Neu (Dirt Modifieds), Mitch Machado (Super Stocks), Jerry Doty (Dwarf Cars) and Adrian DeSousa (Four Bangers) scoring the victories in their respective divisions.
With several drivers making their first appearances at Antioch, the 360 Sprints needed two heat races to set the grid for the Main Event. A feature winner in the season opener in March, Ryan Risconi won his heat race in front of 2007 Petaluma Speedway champion Shawn Arriaga. "Cowboy" Craig Smith collected the win in his heat ahead of former Petaluma champion Art McCarthy.
The #22b car of Brad Kieben scratched to leave nine cars for the feature. Smith added to his point lead with a feature victory ahead of veteran hard charger Eric Rossi and Arriaga. The McCarthy family fielded three cars in this event, and Adam McCarthy was the top finisher of the family in fourth. Bill Chester made his first start of the season in fifth ahead of Bobby McCarthy and Risconi. Keith Collins returned to the site of his first career feature triumph, but settled for eighth as Art McCarthy rounded out the field.
A solid turnout of Dirt Modifieds required three heat races to set the grid for the feature. Title contenders Nick DeCarlo and Rick Karnes scored a 1-2 finish in the first heat. Sean O'Gara held off Jeff Thomas in winning the second heat. Norm Boeck denied "The Outlaw" Kenny Neu's clean sweep effort as Neu settled for second n the final heat. Neu came back to collect Trophy Dash honors over Thomas.
Showing the form that has made him a two time Antioch champion, Neu became the third different winner in four races with his feature victory. The veteran Boeck was a season best second, and Thomas continued a strong early season effort in third. DeCarlo gained several points to move into second in the standings with a fourth place finish ahead of Karnes. "Superstar"Mike Salazar collected a sixth place finish ahead of point leader Troy Foulger, O'Gara, Dan Dozier and Andy Angelo. Terry DeCarlo's early season bad luck continued as he was sidelined with an engine fire.
Former Sacramento Raceway champion Mitch Machado continues to lead the standings in the Super Stock division, though many time Petaluma champion "The Sundrop Kid" Larry Damitz is not making it easy for him. Damitz kicked things off by winning the heat race in front of previous feature winner "Fast" Freddy Ryland. The Main Event belonged to Machado, who scored the victory in front of "Rookie Of The Year" hopeful Ryland, Damitz and Natalie Perry. A three time champion at Antioch, Mike "The Blue Knight" Gustafson made his season debut, but finished out of the running in fifth. Eric "Bad News" Berendsen's recent slump continued in sixth.
Two heat races set the grid for the Dwarf Car Main Event, and five time champion Ricardo Rivera won his heat in front of Nick Davis. Point leader Nick Squatritto captured his heat race ahead of Chuck Golden. Showing that he is not to be forgotten in the championship battle, second ranked Jerry Doty picked up the feature victory ahead of Rivera and Squatritto. Dan Liston collected a season best fourth place as Davis completed the top five.
The Four Banger division was bolstered by three visitors from Watsonville and two new drivers. Dana Anderson won the first heat race in front of Jim Corwin. The second heat race belonged to point leader "Peppermint" Patti Ryland ahead of the debuting Justin Silveira. Second ranked in a close championship battle at Ocean Speedway, Adrian DeSousa made an appearance at Antioch Saturday night and led a ladies night clean sweet of the podium as Anderson and Ryland finished second and third, respectively. Silveira and Ken Radabaugh rounded out the top five.
Next Saturday night, the 50th consecutive season of point racing at Antioch Speedway continues with a six division show, featuring Dirt Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars, Mini Trucks, Four Bangers and the first appearance of the Northern California Hardtops. It's sure to be another exciting night of racing.