Got enough information to put something together now. I may update as I get more information. Looks like a good show and a pretty good crowd for this one.
Forty-eight drivers competed in the opening night of the two night, two track UMP West Coast Nationals Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. Though drivers came from all over the state and even out of the state, it was three drivers who know the track well who would collect the top three finishing positions as two time champion Bobby Hogge IV (1995-96) beat four time champion Scott Busby (1991-92-93 & 1997) and two time champion Kenny Neu (2007-09) for a $3,500 payday. Hogge is now eligible for a $1,000 bonus Sunday at Merced if he wins that $3,500 Main Event, which would give him an $8,000 payoff for two nights of racing if he can pull it off.
The Hogge-Busby battle the fans witnessed Saturday night will bring to mind the many great races the two had against each other at Antioch in the 1990's when both were competing for track and NASCAR Regional honors, and Hogge would follow in his legendary father's footsteps by winning a Regional championship, which he actually did twice (1996-97).
Promoter John Soares Jr. was hoping to make a few statements with the big money weekend at both tracks. He is hoping to make Antioch and Merced big players on the UMP Modified scene both Regionally and Nationally, and it is his desire to make both tracks a destination point for the fans and drivers. In the Main Event alone, Soares will pay $12,000 for each race, and this is the second huge purse paid for the Modifieds at Antioch this season. Soares paid a $20,000 purse back in June for a big race, and New Mexico long tow Stormy Scott won the $5,000 first prize on that occasion.
The 48 drivers each ran two heat races and a system of heat race and passing points was used to determine who would fill the first ten starting spots for the 19 car feature. The first set of heat races was won by Hogge, Busby, Chester Kniss, past Antioch champion Kellen Chadwick, Andy Angelo and three time Petaluma Speedway champion Michael Paul Sr. Neu, past Chico champion Duane Cleveland, Merced point leader Alex Stanford, Chris Sieweke, Chris Shannon and past Chico champion Richard Papenhausen were the winners of the second round of heat races as there were no repeat winners.
After points were tallied, Neu and Busby had earned the front row for the big money race, Chadwick and Hogge were in the second row, Randy McDaniel and Shannon were in the next row, 1993 Antioch Street Stock champion Mickey Hill and Austin Burke were in the fourth row and the fifth row start was earned by Nick Collins and Papenhausen. McDaniel, Hill, Burke and Collins made it without winning a heat race as six heat winners still had to work their way through one of the three B Mains.
There was plenty of talent spread through all of the B Mains, and the first B Main was won by Paul ahead of El Paso and New Mexico star Jimmy Ray and past Hanford champion Brian Cass. In an exciting race, Bakerfield star Robby Sawyer held off top five ranked UMP National racer Stormy Scott and Antioch regular Sean O'Gara to win the second B Main. Sawyer was said to have run a lap faster than the track record. Stanford came back to win the final B Main ahead of past Chowchilla-Antioch series champion Keith Brown Sr. and Cleveland.
With the 19 positions filled, it was time to race for the big bucks, and much of the race was a battle between Hogge and Busby that went back and forth. Hogge would eventually get the lead and go on to score the big victory. Busby settled for second ahead of Neu. Shannon picked up a fourth place finish, while Paul came from 12th starting to finish fifth. Chadwick was sixth ahead of 17th starter Cass, Scott, McDaniel and 18th starter O'Gara.