Sunday, May 9, 2010

Laliberte, Ryland, Rivera Repeat Wiiners At Antioch

Figured I'd do another story for the heck of it. As always, I am unofficial, just thought I'd try to help create some buzz. If I get more details, I may put updates at the bottom of the story.

The 50th consecutive season of racing at Antioch Speedway continued with a four division program running on the three-eighth mile clay oval Saturday night. When it was all said and done, there were some familiar faces, Tommy Laliberte (Wingless Spec Sprints), "Fast" Freddy Ryland (Super Stocks) and Ricardo Rivera (Dwarf Cars), and a new face, Travis Dutra (Mini Trucks), in the winner's circle.

In the Wingless Spec Sprints, there have been four different winners in four races, but there was about to be a repeat winner. With 15 cars in action, there were two heat races to set the grid. The first one went to incoming point leader David Press, who was chased across the line by "Stroker Ace" David Hays Jr. 1999 division champion "The Piledriver" Dan Gonderman claimed the second heat in front of 2007 titlist "Jammin" Jim Perry Jr.

One thing about the Wingless Spec Sprints is that you have to be on top of your game to get a victory in this very competitive division. A couple of races back, Laliberte seemed to have things in hand before problems in traffic caused him to spin. He came back that night to finish second to first time winner Jeff Kindt. He won the next feature and liked it so much that he charged to his second feature triumph with Kindt in pursuit in second. 2008 champion "Bullet" Billy Macedo finished a solid third, and Press will probably escape with a slim point lead after finishing fourth. Hays bested Gonderman for fifth as Gary Nelson, Perry, Rick Sharp and Chuck Bradshaw made up the remainder of the top ten.

Though car count has been low at the start of the season in Super Stocks, there have nonetheless been some good battles. In fact, the championship battle between Mitch Machado and "The Sundrop Kid" Larry Damitz continues to be close. It was three time track champion Mike "The Blue Knight" Gustafson showing his prowess with a heat race win in front of Eric "Bad News" Berendsen.

In a short time, "Fast" Freddy Ryland has already accomplished quite a bit, like ranking second on the 2009 UMP National Pure Stock win list with ten victories on his way to the Antioch crown. This season, Ryland is going for Super Stock "Rookie Of The Year" honors, and he showed he could also be a threat for the track championship by winning his second Main Event. Ryland's first win may not have been as impressive, but on this occasion, he held off point leader Machado and second ranked Damitz, who settled for second and third, respectively. Berendsen ended up fourth as Lloyd Cline returned to action and placed fifth.

Five time Dwarf Car champion Ricardo Rivera served notice that he is not to be counted out in the Dwarf Car championship battle. The night started out with two heat races for the 13 Dwarf Cars, the first of which was won by Tony Carmignani ahead of title contender Jerry Doty. Rivera bested incoming point leader Nick Squatritto in winning the second heat. Rivera enjoyed it so much that he came back to capture his third feature triumph of the season in front of 2008 champion Ed Johnson. Squatritto didn't lose too many points from his lead as he placed third with Doty and 2008 Dirt Modified champion Rob Norris in pursuit. Charlie "The Hammer" Correia finished sixth as the balance of the top ten consisted of Clayton Dortzbach, Mike Corsaro, Joel Osias, and Norris.

Ten Mini Trucks were in action for this event as the #99 trucks continue to be the leaders of the pack. This time, it was a different #99 at the front as 2009 point runnerup Travis Dutra won his heat race over incoming point leader #99x Tom Brown. Jon Haney captured his heat race in front of ageless veteran Dean "The Blinker" Cline. Dutra continued a perfect night by winning the Trophy Dash ahead of Haney. Dutra then snapped Brown's two race win streak in the Main Event to make it a clean sweep. Brown settled for second ahead of Haney, "Rockin" Ray Bunn, Pete Paulsen, Jerry Carpanello, Cline, Dan Wagner, Greg Williams and Jim Brooks.

Next week is another four division show, headlined by a $1,000 to win show (based on 18 cars) for the UMP Dirt Modifieds. Also in action will be the UMP Pure Stocks as well as the Mini Trucks and Four Bangers.

Details are in for the Super Stock Main Event.

Loyd Cline and Fred Ryland shared the front row of the Super Stock Main Event with point leader Mitch Machado on the third row next to heat race winner Mike Gustafson. The outside row of Ryland, Damitz and Gustafson charged into the top three positions at the start. Gustafson slipped high in Turn 4 on lap two with a flat tire as Machado gained third. The lead trio ran in tight formation as they lapped Natalie Perry on lap seven. As they worked lap ten, Damitz was about to attempt an inside pass exiting Turn 2 for the lead when Perry spun in Turn 4 for a caution flag. Ryland chose the outside on the restart and continued to lead Damitz and Eric Berendsen challenged Machado briefly for third. As Ryland took the white flag out front, Machado beat Damitz back to the line by inches working the inside groove. Ryland went on to post his second victory ahead of Machado, Damitz, Berendsen and Cline.

Details are in from the Dwarf Car Main Event.

Former champion Ed Johnson and Rob Norris shared the front row for the Dwarf Car main event with point leader Nick Squatritto starting third row inside and defending champion Ricardo Rivera starting back in eighth postilion. Johnson charged into the lead ahead of Jerry Doty and Squatritto. Rivera had already found his way into fifth on lap two behind Charlie Correia. Doty got out of shape in Turn 2 of the third lap trying to attempt a pass on Johnson, moving Squatritto and Correia into second and third. Two good battles up front developed as Johnson fought off the challenges of Squatritto for the lead and Correia had his hands full with Rivera and Tony Carmignani in the race for third. A low move in Turn 4 of the sixth lap gained Rivera third. By halfway, the lead duo caught traffic as Rivera steadily reeled them in. As they made it through that traffic, it was now a three car battle between Johnson, Squatritto and Rivera. A low move in Turn 3 of the 16th lap put Rivera into second. Rivera pulled off his winning pass with an inside move in Turn 2 of the 19th lap. The race ran non stop without a caution flag with Rivera the impressive winner ahead of Johnson, Squatritto, Doty and Norris.

Details are in from the Wingless Spec Sprint Main Event.

Rick Sharp and Jeff Kindt shared the pole for the Wingless Spec Sprint feature, and Tommy Laliberte started last after requiring a push start. Kindt charged into the lead at the start, followed by Billy Macedo and Sharp. The order ran the same through two early caution flags for spins in Turn 2, and David Hays Jr. took third from Sharp on a lap five restart. The hard charging Laliberte had already found his way into sixth behind heat winner Dan Gonderman. Laliberte made an inside pass in Turn 3 of the 10th lap to take fifth from Gonderman, only to have the pass negated by a the last yellow flag of the race. The restart lap saw both Gonderman and Laiberte slip past Sharp for fourth and fifth. A low move in Turns 3 and 4 gained Laliberte fourth as Kindt continued to lead Macedo and Hays in a close battle up front. By lap 14, it was a close four car battle up front. On lap 19, Laiberte lost ground when he took evasive actions to avoid tangling with Hays. Conact between Hays and Macedo in Turn 3 of the 22nd lap saw Hays drop a position as Laliberte slipped by for third. Just after the lead trio took the white flag, Laliberte put it up on the high side in Turns 1 and to and made the leap from third to first. Laliberte went on to take the checkered flag for the impressive win. Kindt settled for second ahead of Macedo, point leader David Press and Hays.