Monday, July 12, 2010

Damitz, McCown Collect Antioch Speedway Victories

A wild and exciting night at the races produced plenty of action and a few surprises Saturday night. Coming from the back of the pack, ageless veteran Larry Damitz scored his second Super Stock feature win of the season. In a crowd pleasing Hobby Stock race, Wes Bentley led 19 laps in search of his first win, only to be beat back to the line by Dan McCown, who collected his first win of the season. Dan Gonderman grabbed his first win of the year in a crash shortened and brutal Dirt Modified feature. Watsonville visitor Robert Mesloh impressed with his Dwarf Car feature win, and point leader Travis Dutra won another Mini Truck Main Event. Making his first appearance since a brutal crash left him hospitalized lasy year, Roy Fisher was back in his Wingless Spec Sprint for some hot laps.

The Super Stocks ran two heat races, and Larry Damitz won the first heat with Mitch Machado and Michael Newman not far behind him. Mike Gustafson added another preliminary victory to his win totals with his heat race victory ahead of Fred Ryland.

Lloyd Cline and Jon Haney brought to Super Stock feature to the green flag with Machado and Damitz sharing the fourth row. Haney charged into the lead with Eric Berendsen riding the outside line into second. Ryland used a high pass in Turn 1 of the fourth lap to take third from Cline. On lap six, Ryland beat Berendsen back to the line to take over second on the inside groove. Michael Newman and Damitz both passed Cline on the outside on lap nine to grab fourth and fifth. Damitz made an inside pass on lap 11 to take fourth from Newman and crossed the line in a dead heat with Berendsen for third. When Damitz pushed high with Berendsen on the outside in Turn 2 on lap 12, Newman raced by both for third. Meanwhile, Haney and Ryland had a good lead over the rest of the pack. Gustafson stalled in Turn 4 for a lap 12 caution flag to bunch the field. Ryland made a pit stop during the caution period, and Haney chose the outside for the restart. As Haney continued to lead, Damitz got underneath Newman in Turn 2 with Machado running on the outside. There was contact as Machado moved into second and Damitz held onto third. Newman pitted with a flat tire. The lead trio ran in close formation, and an inside move on the front stretch of the 16th lap put Machado into the lead. You could throw a blanket over the lead three cars as they entered Turn 3 of the 17th lap. Damitz got a good run on the inside and passed both cars for the lead by the time they exited Turn 4. Machado got a flat tire in Turn 4 and would retire. Damitz would bring it home to a hard fought victory. Haney settled for second with Cline a season best third. Lori Brown took a checkered flag in fourth ahead of Berendsen, Ryland and Gustafson.

The eight Hobby Stocks ran one heat race with the win going to Melissa Hansen ahead of Dan McCown and Jack Jonker. Joe Cancilla and Wes Bentley brought the field down for the green flag in the feature as Hansen started back in eighth. Bentley led Cancilla and McCown on the opening lap. Going down the back stretch, contact between Jack Jonker and McCown sent McCown spinning for a caution flag. Bentley chose the inside on the restart and continued to lead Cancilla and previous feature winner Chris Sorensen. Hansen gained third on the back stretch of the third lap. Coming to the line to complete the third lap, David Smith and Pat Gooding tangled, ending the race for Smith. Bentley stayed with the inside for the restart and continued to lead Cancilla and Hansen. McCown moved past Hansen and made a back stretch pass on Cancilla for second on lap seven. McCown was working the inside in an attempt to pass Bentley, but he got out of shape in Turn 2 of the ninth lap, allowing Cancilla to race by on the outside for second. Hansen made an outside move a lap later to take third from McCown. Racing to the line to complete lap 12, Cancilla popped a right front tire after contact with Bentley as Hansen and McCown were now second and third. Working the inside, Hansen actually beat Bentley back to the line to lead lap 13, but Bentley regained the position by the time they exited Turn 4 a lap later. McCown was giving Bentley all the pressure he could handle with McCown and Sorensen running close behind in a four car race up front. Hansen had a flat right rear tire as they entered Turn 1 for the final lap. Bentley got out of shape exiting Turn 2, allowing McCown to move underneath for a side by side battle for the lead down the back stretch. This battle went to the checkered flag as McCown took the checkered flag a few inches ahead of Bentley. Jonker made a nice last lap charge to finish third ahead of Sorensen and Hansen.

There were 17 Dirt Modifieds in action, and they ran three heat races to set the grid for their Main Event. Bobby Motts Jr. and Dan Gonderman engaged in an exciting side by side battle for the first heat race win with Motts coming out ahead. Troy Foulger wouldn't let two caution flags keep him from cruising to a win in the second heat in front of Jeff Thomas. Andy Angelo out dueled Mike Salazar to capture the third heat race win. The top two in each heat also got to run a Trophy Dash with Salazar scoring a popular victory ahead of Thomas.

Motts and Foulger brought the feature to the green flag with Foulger setting the early pace. Motts settled into second ahead of Angelo, and a lap 2 caution flag flew for a spin in Turn 3. Foulger chose the outside and continued to lead Motts on the restart as Thomas raced into third. Thomas hit a rut in Turn 1 on lap three with the left side of his car getting a little air. He fell back a few positions as Angelo regained third. A spin on the back stretch caused a four car pileup for a lap four caution flag. Foulger led another lap before Sean O'Gara stalled in Turn 4 for another caution flag. Mike Salazar grabbed third on the restart, nearly spun on the back stretch and continued on in third as Foulger continued to lead Motts. An Angelo spin in Turn 4 brought out a lap seven caution flag. Foulger led Motts on the restart as Kenny Neu rode the outside groove into third. Working lap nine, Neu suffered a mechanical problem in Turn 1 and went to the high side. Salazar spun in front of the pack exiting Turn 2 and another caution flag flew. With the high side to his liking on the restart, Foulger continued to set the pace ahead of Motts as Aaron Crowell took third from Gonderman. A Turn 2 spin brought out a lap ten caution flag. Surprisingly, track officials continued to run double file restarts at this point, and Motts surprised by charging into Turn 1 with the lead on the inside. An inside move on the back stretch of the 12th lap regained Foulger the lead as Crowell ran a close third. Working lap 15, Nick DeCarlo made an inside move on Crowell, there was contact, Crowell brushed the back wall and spun sideways in front of the pack. Fortunately, there was no contact, and the yellow flag flew. DeCarlo was disqualified for what track officials deemed rough driving. On yet another double file restart, Foulger continued to lead Motts. Motts got a run on the inside down the back stretch, but there was contact, putting Foulger into the wall. Motts then slammed the back wall and got into the air, but the worst was yet to come. Joe Carr and Sean Wilson had nowhere to go and crashed in with Carr rolling violently down the back stretch for a red flag. Running third at the time, Gonderman made it through the carnage and would win the shortened race ahead of Terry DeCarlo, Norm Boeck, Todd Hermosillo and Salazar.

There were 13 Dwarf Cars in action, and they ran two heat races. Incoming point leader Nick Squatritto fell out of the first heat, and Jerry Doty picked up some points with his victory as Tom Brown charged to a second place finish. Taking the lead when Tony Carmignani fell off the pace and retired, Ricardo Rivera won the second head ahead of Watsonville competitor Robert Mesloh.

In the Dwarf Car feature, Squatrito's night went from bad to worse when he tangled with Chuck Golden in Turn 2 to cause a restart and end his night. Dan Liston led Duane Jordan back to the line to lead the opening lap as Mesloh settled into third. Jordan raced back into the lead on the back stretch. Jordan spun from the lead in Turn 2 to bring out a lap two caution flag. Liston picked the inside on the restart, only to watch Mesloh race past him on the outside exiting Turn 2. Rivera ran right behind Liston in third. Coming out of Turn 2 working the fourth lap, Liston got sideways in front of Rivera and they crashed for a caution flag. Both restarted in the rear. Mesloh chose the inside for the restart and led Clayton Dortzbach, Doty and Charlie Correia. A low move in Turn 4 of the fifth lap gained Rivera fifth from Mike Corsaro, and an inside pass in Turn 1 of the sixth lap put Doty into second. Rivera stuck it up on the high side in Turn 4 and took fourth from Correia on lap seven. An outside back stretch pass on lap eight gained Rivera third from Dortzbach. Liston spun in Turn 2 for a lap 12 caution flag. As Mesloh led the single file restart, Correia got a good run in Turn 4 and charged all the way into second. A low move in Turn 2 of the 14th lap regained Doty second. Rivera tried to make an inside pass on the back stretch, but contact saw him back off and regroup in fourth. Moments later, Rivera made the pass on Correia on the outside on the front stretch. Mesloh cruised to an impressive victory leaving the battle for second. Rivera moved along side Doty on the back stretch of the final lap, but Doty fought him off in Turns 3 and 4 to hold on for second. Rivera settled for third ahead of Dortzbach, Corsaro and Duane Jordan.

A short field of Mini Trucks ran one heat race. Dean Cline led two laps before falling out with mechanical woes as Travis Dutra won ahead of Ray Bunn. Cline scratched from the feature, but Greg Williams joined the action to keep it at five trucks. Dutra and Bunn brought the field to the green flag with Dutra charging into the lead. On lap five, Bunn attempted an inside pass in Turn 4 but got out of shape, allowing Dutra to pull ahead by a few truck lengths. Wagner ran closely behind Bunn for several laps. On lap 12, Bunn pushed high exiting Turn 2, allowing Wagner to race by for second. There was no stopping Dutra as he cruised to victory ahead of Wagner, Bunn and Ron Mayberry.

Next Saturday, the Golden State Challenge Series Sprint Cars make their final Antioch appearance of the season in a show that will also include the track's Dwarf Car division.