Sunday, June 27, 2010

Gustafson, Sorensen Win, Press Snaps La Liberte Win Streak At Antioch

Decided to throw a little something together again for the heck of it. As I get more details, I may update things at the bottom of the story. As always, everything here is unofficial.

On the heels of last week's huge Dirt Modified event, regular point racing resumed Saturday night at Antioch Speedway with six divisions of drivers competing for victories on the one-third mile clay oval. Scoring feature wins in the show that totaled over 75 cars were David Press (Wingless Spec Sprints), Mike Gustafson (Super Stocks), Chris Sorensen (Hobby Stocks), Ricardo Rivera (Dwarf Cars) and Nick DeCarlo (Hardtops).

Tommy La Liberte has been the driver to beat in Wingless Spec Sprints this season, and his night started off impressively. The point leader after four consecutive feature wins, La Liberte won his heat race ahead of Gary Nelson and the picked up a Trophy Dash victory with Nick Larson bringing it home in second. Larsen finished second in his heat race, won by Sprint Car veteran Sparky Howard.

David Press had been the point leader early on this season. A former Watsonville and Petaluma Spec Sprint champion, Press had a victory in the season opener when the apparent winner was penalized for a jump start. This time, Press crossed the line first in victory with La Liberte in hot pursuit in a quest for what would have been a clean sweep. Following Press and La Liberte in third was Howard, who is currently second in the championship batle at Petaluma. Jeff Lee was a season best fourth as Larsen was fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Zach Lynsky, Dan Gonderman, Trevor Press, Jeff Banbury and Chuck Bradshaw.

In Super Stock competition, ten cars competed once again, giving the division two heats. Point leader Mitch Machado won the first heat with Bret Lawerence visiting for the first time since the opener and finishing second. Larry Damitz won the second heat as two time Street Stock champion Michael Newman made his season debut in second.

For the past three races, Mike Gustafson has won a preliminary event, only to have problems take him out of the feature. This time, the three time Antioch champion kept it all together and bested Machado to score his first Main Event victory of the season. Continuing his charge towards "Rookie Of The Year" honors, Fred Ryland finished third with Newman and Damitz also finishing in the top five. Completing the finishing order were Eric Berendsen, Jon Haney, Lloyd Cline, Lawrence and Natalie Perry.

The 12 Hobby Stocks competed in two heat races to set the grid for the feature. Jeff Bettencourt was back, but rookie Brad Myers forced him to settle for second in the first heat race. Dan McCoun and Chris Sorensen ran at the front of the second heat race for the 1-2 finish.

Since opening the season with a Main Event victory, Sorensen has definitely seen his ups and downs, including problems in traffic at the previous race knocking him from the lead and a likely victory. This time around, the championship hopeful stayed smooth and collected a much needed as McCown pursued him with a season best second place finish. The #99 car of Jim Freethy held off the point leading #33 car, driven by Myers on this night, for a third place finish as Nick DeLucca was fifth. Wes Bentley finished six as Joe Cancilla, Mike Rydman, Pat Gooding, and Bettencourt made up the remainder of the top ten.

There were 18 Dwarf Cars on hand, and five time champion Ricardo Rivera continued his climb to the top of the standings by winning the first heat in front of Tony Carmignani. Mini Stock graduate Tom Brown held off Jerry Doty in winning the second heat race. The third and final heat race was won by Petaluma regular Sonny Calkins with point leader Nick Squatritto finishing second.

Rivera's absence from one race this year may be all that is keeping him from the lead now, but leader Squatritto is determined not to give up any of that ground easily. As Rivera drove to yet another victory (he has over 40 of them in his career at Antioch), Squatritto kept the damage to a minimum with a second place finish. Visitor Bret Barstow finished third ahead of Carmignani and Doty. Doty may still hold a slim lead over Rivera for second in points after this race. Veteran Charlie Correia drove to a sixth place finish, followed by Nick Davis, Calkins, Clayton Dortzbach and John Davis.

The Four Banger division has been growing lately, and a season best field of 12 cars competed in this event. Antioch title hopeful Ken Radabaugh won the first heat ahead of Watsonville visitor Adrienne DeSousa. Coming off of a won Friday night at Watsonville, E. Drew Williams won the second heat in front of Patty Ryland.

Despite giving up ground in points by missing a race, 2009 champion Ryland is steadily making her way back to the front. Ryland won her third Main Event of the season, holding DeSousa to get the win. In DeSousa's only other appearance at the track this season, she was the feature winner. Justin Silveira finished a season best third with Williams and Dayna Andresen also in the top five. Radabaugh settled for sixth as Dan McCabe, Corky Galey, Joe Willoughby and Dominique Myers completed the top five.

The DeCarlo family enjoyed a battle in the Nor Cal Vintage Hardtop division as Dirt Modified title contender Nick DeCarlo got a ride in George Connor's #70 and Terry DeCarlo got behind the wheel of the #39 car again. When the checkered flag waved, it was Nick DeCarlo picking up the win ahead of his father, Terry DeCarlo. Dan Williams settled for third ahead of Carmen Cavallero, Sparky Howard in the Conrad Cavallero car and Kendra Smith. An unnamed driver in the #84 car finished last in the seven car field. Nick DeCarlo also won the heat race to sweep the finish.

The track goes dark for July 3rd, but July 10th sees action resume as UMP Dirt Modifieds, Super Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars and Mini Trucks will all be a part of the action packed program.

NOTE: Originally, 360 Sprints and Wingless Spec Sprints were on the schedule for July 10th, but the track announced a change with both classes being dropped due to conflict with scheduling at other tracks. This may be an effort to work with Petaluma, which has both divisions scheduled that night, but that is just speculation on my behalf.

Some details have emerged from the Hobby Stock Main Event.

Joe Cancilla and Nick DeLucca shared the front row for the 12 car Pure Stock feature with Chris Sorensen second row outside and Dan McCown third row outside. DeLucca and Sorensen would grab the top two spots on the opening lap. An out of shape Cancilla in Turn 2 allowed McCown and Wes Bently to gain second and third a lap later. DeLucca went into Turn 3 too hard on lap four, allowing Sorensen to race underneath for the lead. With six laps in the books, DeLucca spun in Turn 2, handing second to McCown as the caution flag waved. Sorensen chose the outside for the restart, and he continued to lead McCown as Jeff Bettencourt raced by Bently on the outside for third. Brad Myers settled into fourth. From the back of the pack, Jim Freethy took fifth from Bentley on lap 11. A caution flag flew after 11 laps for debris in Turn 2. Myers rode the outside into third as Sorensen continued to lead McCown. A low pass in Turn 4 of the 16th lap gained Freethy fourth from Bettencourt. Pat Gooding spun in Turn 3 for the third and final caution flag on lap 18. The outside line was clearly the place to be on restarts, and Sorensen continued to set the pace ahead of McCown as Freethy rode the high line past Myers for third. Sorensen ran a smooth and flawless race for his second feature win of the season. McCown was a season best second ahead of Freethy, Myers, DeLucca, Bentley, Cancilla and Mike Rydman.

Some details have emerged from the Nor Cal Hardtop Main Event.

The seven car Nor Cal Hardtop feature was restarted after Kendra Smith spun on the front stretch racing to the green flag. Terry DeCarlo charged into the lead at the start ahead of his son Nick DeCarlo. Dan Williams quickly settled into third. The DeCarlo duo began a side by side battle for the lead on lap three, swapping the lead several times. The #84 car unleashed a huge cloud of smoke on lap five, taking the car off the track a lap later. Smith spun for a yellow flag on lap 8. The DeCarlo battle continued on the restart as Williams ran close behind in third. A low move in Turn 2 of the 11th lap gained N. DeCarlo the lead for good, and he began to pull away from there. T. DeCarlo fought off the challenges of Williams. At the checkered flag, it was N. DeCarlo, T. DeCarlo, Williams, Carmen Cavallero and Conrad Cavallero*.

* Note: The web page lists Sparky Howard as driving the #2 car, but the track announcer announced it as Conrad Cavallero, who is the regular driver of the car.

Some details are in from the Four Banger Main Event.

The addition of several Watsonville competitors gave the Four Bangers a 12 car field for their feature, and Joe Willoughby set the early pace from his front row start ahead of Corky Galey and Dominic Myers. Devon DeOsso lost a motor in a big cloud of smoke on the front stretch for a lap three caution flag. Willoughby continued to set the pace on the restart as Justin Silveira raced past Galey for second on the front stretch as they completed the fourth lap. A low move in Turn 4 of the sixth lap gained Dayna Andresen third from Galey as Patty Ryland raced by for fourth. An inside move on the front stretch of the ninth lap gained Ryland third from Andresen. Ryland had reeled in a half straightaway lead of the front two cars by lap 14. With 17 laps complete, you could throw a blanket over the lead three cars as they entered Turn 1. Willoughby had problems setting up for the turn and hit the Turn 1 wall in nearly the same spot Myers had hit it at the previous race, ending what had been a great run up to that point. Silveira chose the inside on the restart, but suffered through another sluggish start as Ryland and Andrien DeSousa raced past. Ryland went on to score the victory ahead of DeSousa, Silveira, E. Drew Williams, Andresen, Ken Radabaugh, Dan McCabe and Galey, all on the lead lap.

Some details are in from the Super Stock Main Event.

Fred Ryland and Eric Berendsen shared the front row of the Super Stock feature with Mike Gustafson starting inside second row and Mitch Machado outside fourth row. Ryland charged into the early lead ahead of Gustafson and Berendsen. Machado made an inside move on Michael Newman for fourth on lap four, and a spin in Turn 2 forced a lap five caution flag. Ryland chose the outside and continued to lead Gustafson on the restart as Machado moved into third to make it a three car battle up front. Newman was running fourth, and Larry Damitz took fifth from Berendsen on lap ten. A lap later, Ryland got out of shape in Turn 2, allowing Gustafson and Machado to race into first and second. Machado pressured Gustafson hard the rest of the way in the fast paced event. With two laps to go, the leaders caught slower traffic, but Gustafson made all the right moves for the impressive victory. Machado settled for second ahead of Ryland, Newman, Damitz, Berendsen, Jon Haney and Loyd Cline, all on the lead lap.

Some details are in from the Dwarf Car Main Event.

The Dwarf Car feature was plagued with numerous spins and tangles on the dry slick racing surface that forced caution flags. Ricardo Rivera had a front row start for this race, which needed four restarts before a lap was in the books. Tony Carmignani actually beat Rivera back to the line to lead the opening lap before Rivera grabbed the lead a lap later. Point leader Nick Squatritto settled into second. Squatritto managed an inside move around Carmignani for second working lap eight, only to have the pass negated by a caution flag. Squatritto made the same move two laps later to grab second as Brett Barstow quickly followed into third. Rivera stayed smooth the entire race and collected the victory ahead of Squatritto, Barstow, Carmignani, Jerry Doty, Charlie Correia, Nick Davis and Sonny Calkins.

Some details are in from the Wingless Spec Sprint Main Event.

Sparky Howard and Zack Lynsky brought the field down for the green flag in the Spec Sprint feature. Howard paced the opening lap before Lynsky went low through Turns 1 and 2 to grab the lead as Tommy LaLiberte settled into third over David Press. LaLiberte beat Howard back to the line on lap two to take second. A caution flag flew after eight laps, and Lynsky made a pit stop, barely rejoining for the restart as LaLiberte was the new leader. Press made a low move in Turn 4 of the ninth lap to grab second from Howard as Jim Perry Jr. ran a close fourth. Both Howard and Perry went low around Press in Turns 3 and 4 of the 13th tap for second and third, and Perry made a low pass in Turn 2 a lap later for second. Going down the back stretch a lap later, Perry brushed the back wall and brought out a caution flag. On the restart lap, Press made an inside back stretch pass on Howard for second. A low pass in Turn 2 of the 17th lap gained Press the lead from LaLiberte. Press went on to score an impressive victory ahead of LaLiberte, Howard, Jeff Lee, Nick Larsen, Lynsky, Dan Gonderman and Trevor Press.