Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Who's Coming to Take The Money On New Years At Antioch Speedway?

I did see that they posted pictures of the Antioch, Chowchilla and Merced tracks being whipped into shape for the big shows coming up.  They are on the Antioch Speedway Facebook Page.

As always, you can check the Oval Motorsports Website for the important information on this big event.

So, it just occurred to me that Antioch Speedway is preparing to open it's gates for the 2015 season on January 1st, and there is NO real buzz about this show.  Hmmm...  Seems like somebody really dropped the ball on this one guys.  Ya think?  $2500 to win Modified races this week and $1750 to win Sport Mods, even a $1500 to win Late Model show (based on 15 cars), and yet NOBODY is talking about who might win?

This is a bit difficult to speculate on since we have no idea who may have pre signed for this.  Again, somebody dropped the ball.  Will Bobby Hogge IV be  coming out to play?  After that win in the Pat Pettit Memorial Race at Watsonville last year (his third in four years), Bobby would automatically be the driver to beat.  Can Scott Busby come out to play?  He's done some big things in his career, but I'm racking my brain trying to figure out if he's won a big money race at Antioch before.  Hmmm ...

How about Paul Stone?  I was just thinking about that big win in the Chowchilla Shoot Out back in 2001, the last lap pass on Dave Byrd.  I remember thinking, this man has just stepped up to show that these Valley Racers can beat the best of them.  How about up north?  Randy McDaniel has kicked a few butts in his day.  He's fast.  Richard Papenhausen too.  I'm guessing the 2014 Antioch Late Model Champion will compete in that class on Friday, but he races Dirt Mods too.

Who's coming?  I'd hope they could reach 40 cars for New Years, but with the weather being cold and Christmas having just passed, who knows?  Chowchilla did okay last year with that Dirt Mod and Sport Mod event in January.  Predictions?  I don't know.  Troy Foulger sort of faded on us last year, but he did have a Late Model win.  Kellen Chadwick has been known to take the big money.  On the other hand, Bobby Hogge IV.  Need I say more?

Sport Mods?  I'm tempted to say Nick Spainhward.  Mainly because he seems to be the top dog in the class these days.  It would be nice to hear from one of the best Merced racers I've ever seen, "The Big Dog" Ramie Stone.  I'm not counting on him showing up at Antioch.  Too bad Matt Sotomayor isn't around these days.  So, I'll go out on a limb and say "Fast" Freddie Ryland.  Seems like the man will drive, and win, in anything.

Limited Late Models?  I wonder if there might be an outside player coming in.  I'd love to see Shawn McCoy or Steve Studebaker come in from Petaluma, but as this is a regular point show, I doubt it.  Since it is for Northern All Star points, anybody who wants to play needs to be there.  Jim Freethy?  How about that Garner fellow?  I see Mark won races last season.  Mike Learn, the two time Petaluma champion?  Speaking of champions, I'd love to see Mitch Machado for this, but I doubt it.  How about "The Blue Knight" Mike Gustafson?  He's due for a big win.  Ron Brown, the man who helped put this class on the map.  In the end, I'll pick Larry Damitz, because, well, he's Larry Damitz, and I just love that he's still out there racing.

Really, I have no idea who will win Thursday or Friday at Antioch, not to mention Saturday at Merced or Sunday at Chowchilla.  I predict it will be cold, but the track will be ready  I hope they have a good show.  I'm just disappointed by the lack of hype or excitement for this race, and it's almost here.  So I thought I'd say something.  If he were still here, I know Gary Jacob would be on the scene...

One more note to leave on.   Since this class stared in 1987 here in California, who would you consider to be the greatest Dirt Mod racer?  Tough question, isn't it?  Bobby Hogge IV?  He does have a long resume of big wins and championships.  Scott Busby?  He did a lot as well.  Randy McDaniel?  He was up North winning championships.  Scott Pounds?  And early IMCA Western Regional Champion when the circuit got going here in Californian.  Paul Stone?  Quite a list of championships and wins to his credit.

Michael Paul Jr. or Kenny Nott?  They've done well at their respective home tracks.  Kellen Chadwick?  He won a championship and some big races on the West Coast.  Brian Cass?  Not flashy, but he's a front runner.  Troy Foulger?  Four in a row at Antioch.  Joe Carr?  He's built some fast race cars for people, and he did help put this deal on the map as the first champion in 1988 at Petaluma.  It's an interesting debate.  I have a few thoughts on the matter, but I'm gonna have to get back to more nostalgia with this book I'm working on.  Maybe next time...

Oh, by the way, Low Budget TV put together a nice little highlight video of last year's New Years race at Chowchilla that you may like.  From the looks of it, they had a good show there.