Friday, April 26, 2013

Thoughts On Merced, Antioch and Dwarf Cars At Dixon Speedway

The early numbers are in for Merced Speedway, and they are encouraging.  Car counts are up thanks in part to the move back to Saturday nights AND IMCA sanctioning.  I have to give a pat on the back to all involved for how things are going, but also say don't rest on your laurels, don't get too comfortable and don't get too nit picky about the bad stuff.  Just keep racing.

Saturdays mean Watsonville support is coming, just as I suspected it would.  These two tracks were sister tracks once upon a time, so I'm not too surprised.  However, there was Petaluma support last week, which is rare, and Antioch support.  The Sport Mods even had a B Main, while the Modifieds had a full Main Event.

I'll leave it up to Merced staff to write an article and provide the color, but the results are posted at Late Model Racer.  I will say congratulations to Mike Villanueva (IMCA Modifieds), Matt Sotomayor (IMCA Sport Mods), Kodie Dean (Hobby Stocks) and Jim Freethy (Super Stocks) on your feature wins.  All car counts appear to be up at Merced so far, so here's hoping this trend continues.

Antioch Speedway held a King Of The West Sprint Car Series race, the opener for the tour.  Willie Croft got the win, and there's a write up on the Antioch Speedway site.  Also on the card was the Dwarf Car division, where 15 cars competed in the Main Event.  Looks like it was a good shows from all indications.

I think the Dwarf Cars got a much needed boost of excitement with the return of five time champion Ricardo Rivera.  Ricardo was on the hunt for another win, but he would be denied by David Teves.  The Teves family fields a couple Dwarf Cars at Antioch and have brought those cars to Dwarf Car events at Dixon Speedway as well.

With Teves and Rivera in the 1-2 positions, it was veteran Charlie "The Hammer" Corriea bringing it home in third.  If Charlie is gonna run as well as he has so far this season, I'm wondering if a win is in his near future.  Dwarf Car veteran Duane Jordan and past Petaluma champion Sonny Calkins completed the top five.

I have more on Dwarf Cars, but I'm looking ahead to next week's Antioch race with concern.  Wingless Spec Sprints and Super Stocks open their seasons with Hobby Stocks, Four Bangers and Mini Trucks also on the card, while IMCA Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Valley Sportsman are racing at Merced.

I'm confident that Spec Sprints and Hobby Stocks will put on a good show, but I worry what Super Stocks and Mini Trucks will have.  There were only two trucks in the opener, while I think they had about six or eight cars in Super Stocks at most races last year.  I'm skeptical that there will be more Super Stocks this season, but I hope that's the case.  The Mini Trucks are in trouble if the other drivers don't get out there.

This leaves the pressure on Four Bangers to be the third car count for this show.  It's possible there could be a double digit car count for this class, and there should be.  If it doesn't happen, it will be a light car count for the show.  I've already highlighted my worry about what tracks up north are doing to Spec Sprints by starting a winged class, but I don't expected Antioch to be hurt by this move...  yet.  I guess we'll see.

You know, Dixon Speedway was trying to provide a big Four Banger race for the drivers last season on Memorial Day weekend.  I don't think anybody showed for it, possibly because entry fee was a little higher than drivers on that level are willing to pay?  Just an observation.  Could also be that the word wasn't put out properly too.  I still believe they could have a class if they wanted it and promoted it.

One of the problems is they aren't doing enough at Dixon to spread the word when they venture beyond the various micro midget and go kart classes they run.  Dwarf Cars are scheduled there, the word is barely put out there and then we don't know who wins.  It's never released.  If not for a YouTube video from February of 2012, we never would have known who won that seven car Dwarf Car event.

Well, in my search for Hardtop information, I stumbled upon information about Dwarf Car races held later in the year last season at Dixon.  In fact, there was a four car race in which one of the Teves cars flipped.  Fortunately, he wasn't injured in the flip that occurred in December, and the two Teves cars continue to race at Antioch.

There were races there later in December, in September and in October.  At that October event, David Teves, Ryan Winter, Adam Teves, Danny Wagner, Mike "Sparky" Grenert, Travis Dutra and Kurtis Kraig competed.  I'd love to tell you who won that event, but results aren't out there.  Thanks to some very well shot photos, I was able to find out who competed.

I'd also like to give a mention to the photographer at Action Captured Images for their great work at Petaluma, Dixon and wherever they go.  It's thanks to efforts like this that our sport is still chronicled in any form at all.  If you raced at one of these tracks and want a photo or are just a fan, support the cause and buy a picture.

I've seen good photographers come and go because it's expensive to do this and they aren't selling photos.  It's the same as us magazine publishers.  Eventually, you can't afford it and you move on.  There will come a time when nobody steps in to replace the one who leaves.  It's true.  What magazine is out there since Wheels closed shop, and who has stepped up after the passing of Gary Jacob?

Anyway, I'm not trying to be a downer.  I hope you enjoy the show at Antioch, Merced, Petaluma, Watsonville, Bakersfield or wherever you like to go.  Chowchilla is supposed to be doing a playday on Sunday.  Will you be supporting the cause?  If you do, tell the powers that be to at least get a web page and get a little more active in spreading the word.  It shouldn't be the secret that it is right now.

Oh, speaking of secrets, a Dwarf Car race is on the schedule at Dixon Speedway.  Actually, two of them are listed for the end of the year after the regular point racing is done.  They are listed for November 2 and November 23.  My hope is for good turnouts and maybe somebody actually letting us know how things went.  Well, a person can hope anyway.