Thursday, June 24, 2010

Six Divisions In Action Saturday Night At Antioch Speedway

Antioch Speedway returns with a regular show Saturday night as point racing resumes. It's been an interesting season with good racing, some close battles and plenty of ups and downs, and the season is only half done. There is still plenty of racing left to go and eight championships to decide.

First, though, the Over/Under number is 62 for this race. Last time out we came in slightly under, but it may have been a victim of graduation week.

Racing this week in the six division program will be Wingless Spec Sprints (14), Hobby Stocks (12), Super Stocks (8), Dwarf Cars (12), Four Bangers (8) and Nor Cal Hardtops (8).

A Few things to think about heading into Saturday

Can anybody stop Tommy La Liberte? Four Wingless Spec Sprint wins in a row. It could be five, but he spun while leading that race all those weeks back and managed to ride the high groove up to second behind Jeff Kindt. Even more amazing is that former Watsonville, Petaluma and NCMA Select Series champion David Press only trails by ten points. In championship racing, it's not all about winning. Consistency matters too. Also, with former champions Jim Perry Jr. and Billy Macedo skipping races, this has become a two car batle for the title. So, who can beat Tommy to the checkers this week?

Is Machado taking over in Super Stocks? Mitch Machado won last time out in the season best ten car field. Too lazy to look at notes, but that has to be at least four. The lead is now 24 points over Larry Damitz and 32 over Fred Ryland. Now, if we start getting the cars, that can be made up quickly, but if we slip back down to six, it makes it that much bigger a lead. I have my eye on three time champion Mike Gustafson, who has mastered preliminaries lately with two heats and a dash win. If he can keep the tires inflated on that #2 car in the feature, watch out. Also, former Street Stock champ Todd Gomez looked good in his season debut, and hopefully we will see more of him. More cars will make this division a great show, and make it tougher on Machado to win.

Are you ready for a surprise winner in Hobby Stocks? I am. Melissa Hansen and Brad Myers have been awesome with three wins between them in the #33 car, giving them an 82 point lead over Chris Sorensen. That last race belonged to Sorensen, but it seems like something is jinxing him lately. Jack Jonker got that win, and the absent from the last race Eric Schantin has a win as well. Dan McCown sits third in points. A win for the former champ would not surprise me, but it may be coming soon. Two drivers I have my eye on are top five ranked Mike Rydman and "Smokin" Joe Cancilla. The right break and one of these drivers may get that win. He's not new to racing, but Kelly Dauksch could win if he races again. I, for one, am hoping his time in the #24 car is not a one shot deal. In fact, I'd love to see more where he came from, such as Ron Waldrop, recent Stockton Enduro winner Chris Lancaster or somebody like Larry Cates come out and race. I'm making myself nostalgic. I better stop.

Will or "when will" Ricardo Rivera catch Nick Squatritto? Squatritto has Rivera by 42 points in Dwarf Car competition, but I still can't help but think the five time champion is coming to get him. This is where being consistent will be Squatritto's biggest asset. Rivera is actually 12 points behind Jerry Doty for second at the moment, and all three are feature winners. John Meyers calls Rivera "Superman", and the way he drives, that name seems to fit him well. I have my eye on Tom Brown, who won two Mini Truck features before bailing out on the battle and debuting his Dwarf Car with a second place finish. Fourth ranked Clayton Doirtzbach may be another one to watch, and I'm actually anticipating a bigger field of the always exciting Dwarf Cars than I predicted above.

Will the Four Bangers produce a double digit car count? The only regular class at the track not to have at least one night with ten or more cars is the Four Bangers. The top two drivers in points are still looking for their first win. Dayna Andersen leads Ken Radabaugh by six. The track had reported Andersen as being DQ'ed last race, but I'm guessing that decision may have been overturned. Also, defending champion Patty Ryland will move closer to the lead duo once the points are adjusted to reflect the fact that she drove her #7 car to that second place finish last race. Jimmy Corwin, however, dominated the race that night in victory. As wild as this division can get, it could be that we get another new winner this week. The top two in points seem the most logical choice, but it could be anybody. Let's get over ten cars and let the checkered flag fall where it may.

Can we keep the Hardtops race to just Hardtops? I respect and admire Larry Damitz, but his Super Stock with the Hardtop body on it dominating the show last time was way out of place. Perhaps we can bring in Bobby Hogge IV next to race his Late Model against the Hobby Stocks. Anyway, Conrad Cavallero has done a wonderful job of putting this thing together, and it's nice to know there are at least 12 cars (or more) out there. Just getting the #39 of Tommy Thomson (or Terry DeCarlo) and the #6 of Dan Williams out there makes for a good battle. I'm hoping to see Pete Paulsen's beautiful red, while and blue #66 back out there and running this time. It would be nice to see Mike McCann back in action too. He had a good battle with Conrad for a while there last time.

I meant to be brief with this, but I just want to add that this class is pretty darn cool. I love the fact that Hardtops, Sportsman and vintage Supermodifieds are still racing in California in the year 2010. I'd also love to see the Okie Bowl Hardtops invited to a show at Antioch. It's a trip for those guys, but I'd bet a few could make it to mix it up with the Nor Cal boys. The Nor Cal effort does some dirt and some pavement, and they are usually pretty entertaining wherever they go. I bet this time will be no different.