Friday, March 6, 2015

A Few Thoughts Heading Into The Antioch and Merced Openers

 First of all, the latest edition of The DCRR Racing Radio Show is below this post.


Just A Kid From The Grandstands:  My Time In Auto Racing

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Don's California Racing Recollections:  Best Of The Blog And Beyond

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I can type.  I have a new keyboard thanks to Don O'Keefe Jr.  Thank you Don.  Still getting used to it.  Just so you know, there could be some changes here and a big announcement. I hate dropping a hint like that and leaving it there, but the fact is that this can either be a good thing or a bad thing and I don't want to speculate.  When I say that I'm not sure what I will do next in regard to an audio show or an article, I really don't.

I'm still open to launching a History Preservation Project that will begin with some really nice books with facts and photos and stats from cover to cover.

The Go Fund Me Page is HERE and the post where I go into details of what this is all about can be found HERE.

I can not possibly begin this project without the support of people who want it to happen.  This is not a selling point, just a fact.  If you want this to happen, consider supporting the Go Fund Me Campaign, and I promise you will not be disappointed.

Moving on, the weather is cooperating, and that means racing is happening throughout California this weekend.

There was a really nice show for Bakersfield Speedway in conjunction with The Bakersfield Californian, which can be viewed HERE.  It is about 16 minutes long, and the promoter is the guest. 

Prentice Motorsports Group has announced their officials for their three Sprint Car Series, which can be viewed HERE.

I mentioned IMCA Sport Mod National "Rookie Of The Year" and Antioch Speedway Champion Rob Gallaher was on a show called Sound Off on Dirt Cast, which can be heard HERE.

Now it's time for five random thoughts leading into Saturday's season openers at Antioch Speedway and Merced Speedway.  Okay, technically they are not season openers, but close enough...

1-The Spec Sprint-360 Sprint Car connection should be on display at Antioch on Saturday.  The 2014 360 Sprint champion Chris Magoon is also a past Spec Sprint Champion at Marysville.  Two time Spec Sprint champion Dan Gonderman, Top 5 Spec Sprint and 360 Sprint racer Roy Fisher and 1999 Spec Sprint originals Rick "Doc" Brophy and his son Ricky Brophy are anticipated for Saturday night's opener as the track reinforces its desire to be a home for the popular 360 Sprint Cars.

With the Silver Cup happening up north in Chico, I'm not sure what the car count will be, but I can easily see a dozen or so cars on hand for this race, which would be a nice start.  The class can and will grow if given a chance.

2-It's taking a bit of getting used to, but Spec Sprints, a class I helped start with Don O'Keefe Jr., are now Econo Sprints.  I still consider it Limited Spec Sprints, and I do understand the track's intent is to get the cost under control.  Some people are worried about who might be there.  I've already heard rumblings that John Clark will have a car there as will Rick Panfili.  Panfili is one of the more budget minded racers, was on the original Spec Sprint roster in 1999 and had his best season in third in the standings last year.  As for such stars as 2014 champion Billy Macedo, Kyle Bakkie and Robert Jacobson, we'll have to find out on Saturday.  I'm hoping for the best for this class going forward.

3-"The Flying Hawaiian" Kimo Oreta is the latest driver going for a "threepeat" at Antioch.  He is happy in the Hobby Stocks, and the defending champion is ready to go on Saturday.  I've been seeing a lot of chatter out there that would indicate that the car count should at least be in the mid to high teens for the opener.  Who will be there is something I can't say for certain, but I can easily see names like Christopher Brown, Dan McCown, Brad Myers, Dan Jones and Steve Rogers on the list.

4-The Limited Late Models ended 2014 with car counts in the high teens and continue to be supported by two of it's winningest drivers, the all time win leader Mike Gustafson and Larry Damitz.  As champion for three of the last four years and the winner of the January race, Damitz is the man to beat.  However, guys like Mark Garner, Mike Hynes, Mike Learn, Jim Freethy and let us not forget past champion Lori Brown, will surely make their presence known.  I noticed Jim Robbins was in the field last year, which was nice to see.  Could he be there Saturday, and what of past Street Stock star John Keith?  Tune in Saturday.  It should be good.

5-IMCA Modifieds and Sport Mods headline a five division show at Merced.  There has been some speculation as to who is at the helm at Merced for Oval Motorsports this year as well as who will be racing, but I'm anticipating car counts should be in the mid to high teens in Modifieds and low 20s in Sport Mods. Last year, the strong start was a key to the track maintaining the great year both divisions had.

As if dealing with 2014 Modified champion Paul Stone is bad enough, he will be joined by his cousin, four time IMCA Modified champion Ramie Stone.  Even with the different track configuration from the last time he ran regularly, Ramie came within a few points of beating Rick Diaz for the Sport Mod title.  So, yeah, he's still a force.  Mike Adaskaveg reported that past hobby Stock champion Bruce "Bubba" Nelson is gunning for Diaz, who fully intends to defend his crown.

Fact is, there are many names in both divisions that should not be counted out of this week's battle and the battle to be Modified or Sport modified champion.  Merced was home to some of the best racing for either class in the state last year, and there's no reason to expect anything different this year.

6-Yeah, there's more.  This is me writing this, you know...

I love the Sportsman division.  Let me say it again, I love the sportsman division.  I would love to see this class make a return to Antioch if the guys wouldn't mind making an appearance.  I believe there are about 14 cars ready these days, and when a good portion of them show up, the racing is quite good.  Mike Henault topped the list last year, and once again, Tim Prothro was right in the mix.  I'm guessing both will be a part of the action and suspect at least a half dozen of them will be on hand Saturday.

7-Kevin Joaquin picked up the Hobby Stock win at Chowchilla last Sunday and was third in points at Merced last season.  I'm not sure what to expect from the class this year, but I know they are capable of double digit car counts.  Heck they had about 20 cars in January.  Don't expect Chris Falkenberg, who has moved up to Sport Mods and placed third at Chowchilla last week.  I anticipate many of the stars of last season, including 2014 champion Raul Rodriguez, Kristie Shearer, Robbie Loquaci and Ty Shelton, will be present.

8-Mini Stocks have sort of evolved from the Four Banger thing, and the track is anticipating continued growth from the class.  Jennifer Corder, who was second last season, ran both her Mini Stock and Hobby Stock last week at Chowchilla.  Meanwhile, Chris Corder is expected to defend his championship, but he can expect stiff competition from Brian Widdowson, Joy Alger and Alex Odishoo.  There is also Darren Miguel, won last week at Chowchilla.   I've heard that Lockerby Racing will be there as well.

9-I wanted to mention the Eddie Dale Memorial race at Rocky Hill Speedway this Saturday.  Eddie was a regular at the track in the 1980's and 90's and was the 1996 Street Stock champion.  They are keeping it simple there this year with Hobby Stocks, American Stocks and Mini Stocks the staple classes, but it's great to see racing continue on at Porterville.

As always, check the Oval Motorsports Official Website for all the official news concerning Antioch, Merced and Chowchilla, and have fun racing, wherever that happens to to be.  That's what it's all about.

In case you missed it, here's the DCRR Racing Radio Show link.

DCRR Racing Radio Show: Episode 16 by GenWhat