Sunday, May 2, 2010

Close Battles Continue At Antioch Speedway

Decided to put another story out there since results were available. Still waiting on results front the Hardtops. If I get more details, I may add them to the bottom of this story.

The rainy week gave way to a sunny and windy day Saturday as the racing program continued at Antioch Speedway. Six divisions took to the three-eighth mile clay oval for some crowd pleasing action, and when it was all said and done, Nick DeCarlo (Dirt Modifieds) Ricardo Rivera (Dwarf Cars), Melissa Hansen (Pure Stocks), Tom Brown (Mini Trucks) and young Clayton Groves (Four Bangers) had collected the victories. The Northern California Hardtops made their first of three scheduled appearances with Larry Damitz taking the win.

Despite being a two time winner, Troy Foulger carried a slim four point lead over Nick DeCarlo into the fifth event of the season for the Dirt Modifieds. It would get even closer by night's end. Chester Kniss returned to action and collected a heat race win over Rick Karnes. Coming off of his strong top three showing last week, "Stormin" Norman Boeck won his heat race ahead of former Petaluma champion Joe Carr.

Consistency has kept DeCarlo in this battle, and the second generation star appears to have every intention of competing for this year's championship after his strong second place showing last season. Coming off of his top five run a night earlier at Watsonville, DeCarlo scored his first Main Event victory of the year. The point gain was minimal as point leader Foulger put the Bowers Racing Modified in second. "The Richmond Rocket" Bobby Motts Jr. made his best showing of the year in third in front of Sean O'Gara and Boeck.

There were 16 cars in action, and the balance of the top ten was made up of Nick Collins, Gene Haney, Scott Busby, Matt Petrell and "Superstar" Mike Salazar. Since the track will be dark on Memorial Day weekend, promoter John Soares Jr. is offering a $1,000 to win Dirt Modified race on May 15 if there are 18 cars. Soares wanted to give his drivers an extra money opportunity near the big weekend and decided to do it before hand as other tracks are offering big money shows on Memorial Day Weekend.

The only thing keeping five time Dwarf Car champion Ricardo Rivera from being the point leader at the moment is his absence from a race earlier this season. Rivera will slip into third after this event, while not gaining too much on leader Nick Squatritto or second ranked Jerry Doty. Rivera scored a win in the second heat race ahead of Doty, while Squatritto chased winner Roger Ingalls across the line in the first heat.

With over 40 feature triumphs to his credit at Antioch Speedway, Rivera makes a strong case for himself as perhaps the greatest driver in this division's history at the track. He added to the argument by posting his second Main Event win of the season. The point gain was minimal as Squatritto and Doty finished in the place and show positions. Clayton Dortzbach and 2008 Dirt Modified champion Rob Norris completed the top five. There were 12 cars in action, and Joel Osias, Charlie "The Hammer" Correia, Mike Corsaro, Sam Westhorpe and Ingalls made up the remainder of the top ten.

The Pure Stocks continue to have a close championship battle so far as well. When the night was over, Eric Schantin gained a little on Chris Sorensen, who will continue to lead the standings by a slim margin. Schantin won the first heat race in front of Paul DeLuca, and former Pure Stock champion "Mighty Mouse" Melissa Hansen won the other heat ahead of "Smokin" Joe Cancilla. The division got a Trophy Dash, and DeLuca collected the hardware with his win in front of Hansen.

The only thing keeping the #33 car out of this year's title chase is the fact that Brad Myers and Hansen are sharing driving duties. The two recently announced that they are engaged to be married. The part time driving duty is not slowing Hansen down. She collected her second Main Event victory in front of Schantin and Sorensen, who have less than ten points between them. Former division champ Dan McCown remains in the hunt after his fourth place finish ahead of Wes Bentley, Mike Rydman, Garrett Mayberry, David Smith, Jack Jonker and DeLucca. There were 12 Pure Stocks on hand for this race.

Ten Mini Trucks made the show but veteran Dean "The Blinker" Cline had mechanical woes sideline him after the heat races. Season opener winner Tom Brown won his heat in front of Jon Haney. Travis Dutra was the other heat winner over Dan Wagner. Brown continued a perfect night by winning the feature over, Haney, Dutra, Frank Rosa and Jerry Carpanello.

With 2009 Four Banger champion "Peppermint" Patty Ryland absent, Dayna Anderson will emerge as the new point leader. Anderson won the heat race ahead of Greg Fuse and Clayton Groves. Driving the #50 car and representing the Concord High School Minutemen, the young up and comer Groves captured his first feature victory ahead of Ken Radabaugh, Anderson, Dominique Myers and Fuse.

The Northern California Hardtops made their first of three scheduled appearances and provided their biggest car count to date as ten cars were on hand. "The Sundrop Kid" Larry Damitz had a win at their final race last year, and he liked it so much he threw a freshly painted Hardtop body on his Super Stock and did it again. Following Damitz at the finish were Dan Williams and Carmen Cavallero. Williams and Damitz were the heat winners. Among those in the field were the #39 car of Tom Thomson, the #92 of Jack Low, the #57 of John Philburt, the #7 of Bruce Smith, the #55 of Conrad Cavallero and the #66 of Pete Paulsen. There was a #1 Bailey Brothers replica car (may actually be that car restored) driven by Mike McCann. The next Hardtop race at Antioch is scheduled for June 26th.

Up next in the 50th consecutive season of racing at Antioch Speedway is next Saturday night's show, featuring Wingless Spec Sprints, Super Stocks, Dwarf Cars and Mini Trucks.

Details are in on the Dwarf Car Main Event.

Clayton Dortzbach and Charlie Correia set the pace to the green flag, but a Dortzbach spin in Turn 2 forced a restart. Troy Wagner emerged with the lead coming out of Turn 2 on the restart, but Nick Squatritto raced underneath in Turn 3 and had the lead by the end of the lap. Dan Liston was running third, but a back stretch pass on lap two gained Ricardo Rivera that position. Doty also got by for fourth before a tangle in Turns 3 and 4 forced a caution flag. Squatritto led the restart as Rivera jumped all over Wagner in a bid for second. A Turn 3 pass gained Rivera second as Dory moved by Wagner for third in Turn 2 a lap later. A yellow on lap five bunched the field again, and Squatritto used the outside to maintain the lead over Rivera and Doty. A lap eight restart saw Dortzbach move in for a side by side battle with Doty for third. Dory fought off those challenges, and the leaders were in traffic by lap ten. A low pass in Turn 3 of the 11th lap gained Rivera the lead from Squatritto. A lap 18 restart gave Squatritto one last shot at Rivera, but his late race bid fell short as Rivera collected the win ahead of Squatrito, Doty, Dortzbach and Rob Norris.

Details are in for the Hardtop race.

The #39 of Tom Thompson scratched after heat races, and Pete Paulsen's beautiful red, white and blue #66 car failed to start in staging and was pushed into the infield, leaving eight starters. Dan Williams and Carmen Cavallero brought the field to the green flag with Damitz and surprise entrant Mike McCann starting back in the fourth row. Williams set the early pace ahead of Carmen Cavallero and his brother Conrad Cavallero. Damitz had just made a back stretch pass on Jack Low for fourth on lap three, but contact in Turn 3 sent him spinning moments later. Williams continued to lead the Cavallero brothers in the restart, but lap five saw Damitz make an inside pass in Turn 2 to take third from Conrad before beating Carmen back to the line for second. Damitz quickly reeled in the leader Williams, and he made his winning pass in Turn 2 of the eighth lap. Damitz was flying around the track in his Super Stock with a Hardtop body on it, and he took the checkered flag a half lap ahead of Williams. Carmen Cavallero was the final lead lap finisher with Conrad Cavallero and Jack Low a lap down in fourth and fifth. McCann was battling for fourth before pitting as John Philburt and Bruce Smith were both two laps down at the finish.

Details are in for the Mini Truck Race.

Jon Haney and Frank Rosa shared the front row of the Mini Truck feature with Haney jumping out to the early lead. Tom Brown moved up to challenge Rosa for second. A low move in Turn 2 of the third lap gained Brown second as Dan Wagner followed into third. Travis Dutra grabbed fourth from Rosa on lap nine as Brown was steadily erasing a huge Haney lead up front. A low move in Turn 3 of the 13th lap enabled Brown to take the lead from Haney. Haney stayed with the leader Brown the rest of the way, but Brown collected his second win of the season. Wagner held off a late challenge from Dutra for third as Rosa rounded out the top five. (Note: Wagner was listed last on the official web site finish, which was likely due to penalty.)

Details Are In For The Four Banger Race.

Greg Fuse and Ken Radabaugh brought the field to the green flag with Clayton Groves alone in the third row. Radabaugh led a lap before being passed by Dayna Anderson. A yellow flag flew after two laps with both Fuse and Dominique Myers eliminated from the action. Radabaugh led the restart as Anderson slowed and was passed by Groves. Anderson battled Groves for second for three laps before her race ended in a cloud of smoke. Groves rode the outside to take the lead on the restart, but an inside pass in Turn 1 a lap later put Radabaugh back out front. This battle continued until Radabaugh lost a wheel in Turn 4, ending his race as Groves collected the victory.

A Few Details Are In For The Pure Stock Race.

Melissa Hansen started in the third row as outside front row starter Chris Sorensen led Wes Bentley and Paul DeLucca at the start. A yellow flag flew after one lap, and Hansen rode the outside line into second behind Sorensen on the restart. Another yellow flag flew after two laps. Hansen grabbed the lead on the restart as Jack Jonker managed to take second. A lost tire forced a red flag after four laps. Hansen led Jonker on the restart and was into lapped traffic by the midway point. Sorensen had managed to take over second, but problems in traffic saw him in a tangle for a yellow flag after 11 laps. Hansen led Eric Schantin on the restart. Hansen had things in hand when a yellow flag flew with one lap remaining. However, Hansen led the final restart and collected the win over Schantin. Sorensen rebounded for a third place finish as Dan McCown and Bentley completed the top five at the checkered flag.