Thursday, April 30, 2015

Four Divisions At Merced And Antioch Saturday And Chowchila Sunday

First of all...

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

Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover

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

Available via print on demand at Lulu in Hard Cover or Paperback

Also, what could be a series of informative books...

Short Track History Project at Gofundme

Additional info on the Short Track History Project  HERE

The Weekend Preview Edition Of The DCRR Racing Radio Show
With improved microphone

The Bakersfield Speedway portion of the Bako Motorsports Power Hours from YouTube can be viewed HERE.

Tony Karis filed a report from Ocean Speedway in Watsonville for the local paper that can be viewed HERE.

We filed a report moments after the races at Antioch Speedway to several sources, and it can be viewed HERE.

We filed a brief report previewing the Chowchilla Speedway Races for the Chowchilla News that can be viewed HERE

Amateur footage of Hobby Stocks last week at Ventura Raceway, but still pretty cool, can be seen HERE

The Sun Will Shine Over Merced Speedway Saturday Night

There was one thing refreshing about the rain out last week at Merced Speedway.  There were several racers who voiced disappointment in the cancellation. They wanted to race.  The pits were in no condition for the trailers, so the decision was made Saturday morning to cancel.  It was nice to see so many racers were ready to come out to Merced.  On Saturday night, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Valley Sportsman cars will be a part of the show.

Eight races into the IMCA Sport Modified point race, it appears to be a forgone conclusion that Josh Hensley will win the championship unless he starts missing races.  Hensley is a rookie in the class and learning in an old home built chassis.  Though he hasn't missed a race, he only has one Top 5 finish, but he leads Fred Ryland by 40 points and Dwayne Short by 44.

What's interesting is that Ryland isn't even chasing Merced points this season, but he has earned three of his 11 wins this season at Merced Speedway.  Ryland and one time winner Jeremy Hoff are the only Top 5 drivers with feature wins as 2014 champion and two time winner Rick Diaz, Gary Tucker and 2014 State champion Nick Spainhoward are the other winners so far.  Of the non winners, Keith Brown Jr. has earned two seconds, while Bruce Nelson and D.C. Brown each have one.

What seems to be going on is you have drivers running when they feel like it and going for wins.  Hoff, Diaz and Nelson could obviously be title contenders if that was what they wanted.  Nelson is a multi time Hobby Stock champion at Merced, while Hoff won the 2013 Antioch championship.  Diaz won the Merced title last year, but he appears to be going for the title at Chowchilla this season.

Regardless of which divers are there, 10-12 cars are anticipated for Saturday night, but figuring out who will be among them is the mystery.  Since it is IMCA and Antioch is dark to the class, Ryland and K. Brown are expected.  Hensley and Short will likely be there too, and D.C. Brown, Tucker and John Gish are others to watch for.  It is hoped that we will see the likes of Hoff, Nelson, Diaz, past champion Neill Barcellos and Mark Squadrito as they always make things interesting.  We anticipate Odgers Racing will be at one of this weekend's races, but they hadn't made an announcement as of this writing.

As a Top 3 driver last season, Kevin Joaquin certainly came into this season as a solid contender for the Hobby Stock championship, and he has not disappointed.  With two wins and a second in the most recent race, Kevin leads rookie Jennifer Corder by 36 points after eight races.  Even if Corder can't pull off a championship, she seems to be the likely candidate for top rookie honors.  The bigger question is can she join the Main Event winner's list this season?  As the Mini Stock point runner up last season, she had wins last year.

Third place is quite a ways behind the leaders, but there is a battle.  George Silva leads Dexter Long by two points and Ty Shelton by four.  Shelton has a couple of seconds this year, but he's another of those drivers looking for a win   The two drivers behind him, Kristie Shearer and Shannon Nelson, each have one win and are within 16 points of third place Silva.  Gary Hildenrand is another feature winner this year who is anticipated for this race, and he's currently eighth in the standings.

Joining Shelton in the "non winners who have finished second this season" category are Watsonville visitors Jill Merlin and William Kennedy along with Travis Avila and Chowchilla title contender Austin Van Hoff.  Each of them has done it once.  Car count could pop at any time as over 40 different cars have competed in eight races so far, and the count should be in the 10-12 range at least.  As always, you never really know who will win the Hobby Stock race at Merced.

Chris Corder is the defending Mini Stock champion and currently holds a 12 point lead over Darren Miguel after five races.  You might expect that Corder has won a few Main Events, but he has thus far been shut out.  Meanwhile, Miguel has taken the division by storm with three wins to go along with his Hobby Stock win.  Corder has been the model of consistency with three seconds and two thirds, but you have to believe he's overdue for a victory. 

Last time out, Corder settled for third as Robert Alger and Dan McCabe, a winner this season as well, ran 1-2 in the Main Event.  He added to his point lead as Miguel ended up a disappointed seventh.  Corder has to be thinking he will need to win something if he hopes to keep Miguel at bay this season.  This really looks like a championship battle that could go down to the wire, and it could take a win at the end of the season to make it happen. 

The lady with the highest finish in Mini Stocks so far is Bay Area visitor, Kelly Campanile.  This second generation racer has a heat win and a second in the Main Event to her credit.  However, it's Joy Alger making the best run in points.  Like Corder, Joy is hungry for victory as she sits 44 points out of the lead and 33 points ahead of fourth place.

Kevin Lockerby and Dennis Copus find themselves tied for fourth, and it looks like Lockerby will try again after blowing a clutch in his heat race last time to lose third in points.  Lockerby has a third and a fourth as his best finishes, but the 1999 Mini Truck champion may have his hands full with Copus.  Copus is set to debut a new Mini Stock this week.

Mini Stocks have hit double digits in car count this year, and it's anticipated that there could be 8-12 cars for this coming race.  The division welcomed Mike Germait and Alicia Caldwell into the fold last week, and both had Top 5 finishes.  It was also the first start of the season for winner R. Alger.  Could it be that Corder or another driver gets their first win of the season, win #4 for Miguel or somebody else getting the glory?  Stay tuned.

The Valley Sportsman division has sort of limped out of the gates this year and has only had five cars twice this season.  It is known that there are at least 14 cars in the area, but getting them to the track has been another matter.  Some drivers, such as Mark Odgers and Tim Prothro, have Sport Mods too, so their Sportsman cars don't often make it to the track.  2014 champion Mike Henault has yet to appear this season.

Marcus Lung has been at most of the races and leads the points, but only because Chris Birdsong and Kenny Birdsong have been splitting the driving duties in the #25m car.  An auditing of the points that puts all of Jeff Bristow's points together will put him 26 points behind Lung in second.  Long time Merced Cal Mod and Sportsman supporter Mike Palmberg made his season debut last time, making it six different cars to compete so far this year.  It would be nice to see at least six cars for this race, but we shall see.  An estimation is 3-6 cars will be there.

Chowchilla Speedway Set To Run Again On Sunday

The dry track debate and when to race at Chowchilla Speedway has reared its head on social media, and it hasn't always been a pretty discussion.  This reporter had a brief exchange with an IMCA Stock Car supporter about the possibility of that class, which fielded nine cars at Bakersfield last week, coming back to Chowchilla.  They ran some races there last season, but start time saw some racers elect to stay home.  There was also concern over tires and how they would hold up on the dry slick track.

Last time out, it was an undeniably dry and dusty racing experience, and promoter John Soares Jr. himself was not happy that it got that way.  John was unable to attend due to his commitment to the driving school thing he had at Antioch Speedway, but he intends to be there this Sunday.  Soares has had a history of getting out on the track with the water truck or grater when it looks like it's needed on race night.  More often then not, it has made a difference

The question that hasn't been asked is when should Chowchlla have its races?  When it was opened back in 2000, it was a Friday night track, and it had a good run on Friday nights.  The problem with that scenario is that you now have Watsonville and Hanford running Friday nights as well.  As Chowchilla would probably continue to be about a ten race deal next season under Oval Motorsports, it's possible that it can be booked in a way that would work. 

Chowchilla Speedway has gotten to the point where there are racers who will run there first or don't race at Merced much at all.  In short, the track has its own identity.  Running on Saturdays simply makes no sense, but if you are taking it off of Sunday afternoons, the two choices you have are Friday nights or Sunday nights.  The obvious problem with Sunday nights is people have to get up for work the next day.  Hence, you have Sunday afternoons as the compromise.

And, it is another Sunday afternoon race in which IMCA Modifieds, Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks are scheduled to be a part of the program.  The turnout last time was even better than anticipated, and there is a concern from Oval Motorsports that things go right and the racers have a good experience at the track.  If it does get a little dry, the water truck can be expected to make its rounds as needed.

The best battle right now is in IMCA Sport Modifieds.  Fred Ryland is on a quest for Sport Mod domination as he sets his sights on National and State Championship honors.  With 11 wins on the circuit, Fred is leading in both categories.  In fact, his two Chowchilla wins and third place finish has him eight points ahead of Rick Diaz at Chowchilla.  Diaz is the 2014 Merced champion, but he seems to be more interested in winning the title at his home track this season.  He finished second last time out.

Merced point leader Josh Hensley is off to a good start at Chowchilla .  He is currently 18 points back in third, just six ahead of John Gish.  It was Keith Brown Jr. picking up a much needed victory last time out, his first of the year at any track.  Keith ranked second in the State and third in the Nation at last check.  It's anticipated that all five of these competitors will be on hand Sunday.  Beyond that, speculation is that Marissa Odgers, Chris Falkenberg, Mark Squadrito, John Fore Jr. and Natasha Dodd may be there.  An estimation of 8-12 drivers seems like a good conservative number though there were 14 cars in action last time.

Santa Maria's Joshua Vogt won the IMCA Modified championship last season.  He liked it so much that he has come back this season.  Vogt also won the championship at the smaller Ventura track and won the recent Main Event at Santa Maria.  His two wins at Chowchilla show just how fast he is, but his absence in January has allowed former Bakersfield Street Stock racer Billy Wilker to hold a 19 point advantage.  The IMCA point structure really does come down to one point at a time.

Three who have supported Chowchilla over the years round out the Top 5 and are all within 13 points of Vogt.  They are Michael Shearer, Ray Mayer and past Modified Mini Stock champion Daniel Luukkonen.  Past Chowchilla Modified champion Randy Brown may or may not be there after his rollover last time.  As we reported earlier, his night got worse as his trailer's encounter with the pit gate on the way out left both his trailer and the gate damaged.

It's difficult to guess who might be there outside of those six competitors.  Chowchilla has always been a track where you never knew who might show up next.  The schedule is busy enough that a driver can race as many as three times this weekend if they choose to, and we'd guess 8-12 cars could show for this event.  There were nine cars in action last time, including Karl Rose and Harley Turner.  They finished second and third, respectively.

The Hobby Stocks are still a bit of a mystery.  Back in March, there were just four cars in action, but that number tripled last time.  The winner was still the same as point leader Kevin Joaquin held off Gary Hildebrand for the victory.  The wealth was spread around as past Mini Stock champion Robbie Loquaci and Mason Robichaud were the heat race winners.  While Robichaud's night went south with a last place feature finish, Loquaci grabbed a third place finish. 

The two who are in the title hunt at this point are Austin Van Hoff and Dexter Long.  Van Hoff, who was third in points last season, is 20 points out of the lead, while Top 5 ranked Merced racer Long is 30 points back in third.  2014 point runner up Kode Dean, who is based out of Chowchilla, had a fourth place finish in his season debut last week.  If you add in others, such Nick Lawrence, Kristie Shearer and Shannon Nelson, we could be looking at another 8-12 car turnout.

Mini Stocks haven't exactly set the track on fire this year.  Chris Corder opened the season with a win against a 14 car field in January, but seven car fields have greeted the last two races, won by Darren Miguel and 2014 Antioch champion Brent Curran.  In the previous decade, the track once ran three different classifications of Mini Stocks.  Mini Stocks have been a proud part of the tradition of this race track. 

Most of the drivers in the field last time had not competed yet this year.  Curran was making his first start in victory and runner up Jadon Harrington was also making his first start.  Announcer and racer Alex Odishoo had led several laps before slipping to third, and he is now second in the standings, 55 points behind Corder.  Miguel was missing from the pack as he drove the Josh Hensley Hobby Stock instead.  Who will show is anybody's guess.  We suspect Corder and Odishoo will be there among a field of 6-10 race cars, and the show will go on.

IMCA Modifieds Are Back At Antioch Speedway

After the excitement of last week's races at Antioch Speedway, the IMCA Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars will be part of this week's four division show.  Vintage Hardtops were originally scheduled, but they've been rescheduled to allow the racers to go be a part of the vintage show at Madera.  Management wants the Hardtops to come out in full force when they are scheduled to appear.

Hopefully, we are at the beginning of a championship battle between Bobby Motts Jr. and Scott Busby for the 2015 IMCA Modified championship.  These two have both had their moments at the track.  Busby is a four time Modified champion with more wins than anybody in the history of the division.  Motts has racked up over 20 Street Stock wins at Antioch and one championship there.  Motts has also clarified that he is going for this championship, while Busby has stopped short of saying he's after a fifth championship.

Motts won the most recent Main Event, which enabled him to shoot past Buaby and into the point lead.  Actually, Busby was in the hunt to win the race himself, but he got a little too close to leader Carl Berendsen II.  Berendsen ended up spinning, and Busby ended up at the back of the pack after the official penalty.  A few laps later, Busby retired, and Motts emerged with a four point lead by the end of the night.  Will Busby keep coming back and make this a contest?  It would certainly be an interesting battle as Motts has been fast this year as well.

Berendsen missed the two January races and decided he would not be trying to defend his 2014 championship.  However, after his third place finish in the former Aaron Crowell car last time out, he moved up to fifth in the standings.  He is just five points behind Chris Elby and 13 behind Nick DeCarlo.  No word on if DeCarlo will be there this week, but he's not expected to make every race.  Quietly, Elby has been going out there and making his laps, and the Modified veteran grabbed a Top 5 finish last time out in his fast #74 car.

Speaking of fast, Mike Salazar made his season debut in style with a second place finish last time out.  He could be in line for a victory looking like that.  Past point runner up Sean O'Gara had a second place run going before his motor gave up on him.  Dustin Himes, meanwhile, grabbed his first Top 5 of the year.  Word from Bowers Racing was that four time champion Troy Foulger may be there this week to run for his third feature win of the season.  Though the team is not running for points, they will be there when they can.

Petaluma Speedway has no Modifieds on the schedule this week, which raises the possibility of racers like Michael Paul Jr., Oreste Gonella and Norm Boeck showing up.  A turnout of 10-14 cars is anticipated for this race, and you never know.  There could be more, and this should be a good race.

The Dwarf Cars are in the midst of a six week run of race dates.  We tend to talk a lot about the Teves cars and Danny Wagner, but the reality is there are some good drivers in this division.  On any given night, there are six or eight others with a legitimate shot at victory, and there are sure to be a few others to join the win list in the weeks ahead, perhaps even on Saturday.

Kevin Miraglio is currently fifth in the standings, just 28 points behind teenage sensation Adam Teves.  Miraglio ran strong last week with a fourth place finish and heat race victory.  Since 2010 champion Jerry Doty had a bit of bad luck, Kevin managed to slip past for fifth in the standings, just two tallies ahead of Doty.  Miraglio and Doty aren't the only ones who seem to be knocking on the door to victory.

Mike Corsaro grabbed himself another podium finish in third last week.  He was second the week before.  He and teammate Charlie Correia have been making their presence known at Antioch Speedway for years, and either one of them could pop off with a victory on any given week.  Mike was second in the standings last season.  Mike is 22 points behind David Teves in the race for second and eight points ahead of David's son Adam in the battle to maintain third.

Of course, you can't talk Dwarf Cars at Antioch and not mention Danny Wagner.  It's hard to not notice the yellow #11d car when it's winning three Main Events and finishing second twice.  The two time defending champion holds a 16 point advantage over D. Teves in the battle to maintain the point lead.  This is a repeat of the 2013 championship battle when Wagner held off Teves to win his first track title.

However, David switched to a new car two weeks ago in an effort to step up his program a bit.  He was rewarded with a third that first night, but he took it up a notch last week when he held of Wagner for the victory.  David may be thinking he has the right combination in his quest to win the championship.  His son Adam finally logged his first feature win a few weeks ago, and either one of these drivers is a threat to win on any given week.

Not only have the Dwarf Cars been bringing a good car cunt, the racing has been exciting.  It got a little too exciting for one time winner Jack Haberty a couple weeks ago, and he left the track with front end damage.  Hopefully, the #2j car will be back on track this week as he maintains a Top 10 point position.  Young up and comer Miranda Chappa used another good finish in eighth to move up to tenth in the standings.  Miranda is nipping at the heels of Thomas Leiby for ninth.  Leiby had a strong second place finish back in March, but his luck has gone down hill since then.

With drivers like Brian Gray, Toby Brown, Dillon Hume and Tim Reeder among the pack, a field of 12-16 cars is anticipated for this race.  Will the Wagner-Teves battle up front continue, or will we be seeing a new face at the front of the pack?  We'll find out on Saturday night.

Kimo Oreta has been very consistent this season as the Northern All Stars Hobby Stock point leader.  "The Flyin Hawiaan" has one win and three seconds, and that has helped carry him to a 54 point lead over three time winner Melissa Myers.  Like Oreta, Myers is a two time champion in this division though she also has a Street Stock title to her credit.  However, it would take a patient and steady effort by her to have a shot at taking the point lead from Oreta, who came in with the goal of three straight championships.

Don't look now, but the steady Michael Cooper sits in third in the standings in the #57 car.  Michael had a Top 5 season last year as well, but he's trying to take it up a notch this season.  After a couple of disappointing efforts, Cooper managed a more respectable fourth place finish last time out, which helped propel him into third.  Nick Baldwin had been second in points before bolting for Placerville and avoiding a pre race tech at Antioch.  That resulted in a disqualification as he is now 26 points behind Cooper.

Actually, Danny Jones might have moved into third in points after the last race.  He drove his beautiful red, white and blue #66 car to a heat race win that night, but be broke something in the process to join rookie Jordan Swank as a Main Event scratch that night.  Jones is just six points ahead of Swank for fifth and trails Baldwin by 23 points.  Probably more important to Jones is his quest for a feature win.  Three races ago, he came pretty close with a strong second place finish.

With drivers like second generation racer Calvin Louis Jr., Robert Niven, Frank Furtado, Natalie Perry and the Jennings boys (Jeremy and Jason) among the roster, it's anticipated that a field of 8-12 cars could be on hand for this event.  Will somebody new join Jason Jennings, Myers, Oreta and Baldwin on the 2015 winner's list?  Antioch Speedway will be the place to find out.

In the Limited Late Models, we lead off with a guy who is out there making his laps and more often than not taking a checkered flag.  That would be the red #48 car of John Evans.  Last time out, John grabbed a checkered flag in sixth, and he finished fourth the time before that.  He's even made visits to Merced this year to gain more seat time.  John is currently sixth in the standings, just 16 points behind fifth place Jim Freethy and 28 ahead of the rapidly approaching Lori Brown.

Lori is on a mission lately.  It's not just about getting a good finish.  The past Limited Late Model champion hasn't won in a while, and she's in hot pursuit of her fourth win in her beautiful #65 car.  Lori rolled to her second straight third place finish last time out, but it wasn't easy with 2013 division champion Jim Freethy right behind her.  As her confidence builds, don't be surprised if Lori grabs the lead one night and never relinquishes it.

Usually, it's Larry Damitz doing the leading and winning, it seems.  The ageless veteran and three time division champion has grabbed two wins so far this season.  With one more win, he will have earned his 30th career win in this division.  As impressive as that is, and it is impressive, Larry still trails one man on the division's all time win list, and that man won last time out.  He's Mike Gustafson, and his most recent win gives him 44 career wins just in this division.   Not surprisingly, both of these drivers are Top 10 ranked on the track's all time win list.

The win for Gustafson moved him past Mark Garner into third in the standings, 18 points behind Damitz.  Still in second and ten points out is Mike Hynes, who was black fagged last time out for his part in a hard crash Mark Garner suffered through.  Hynes tried to erase the memory with a fifth place finish in the Late Model feature last week, but he was seen getting a copy of the Racing Edge Videos CD to view his mistake and try to learn from it.  It was a costly mistake for Garner, who is now 20 points out of the lead.

Some people may know the health battle Mark's father, the legendary Jerry "The Maverick" Garner, is facing.  Mark entered this season in a car with a chassis that was used by 1992 NASCAR Regional champion Steve Hendren.  It's owner, Chester Kniss, hooked Mark up with the car, and he's been out there racing hard.  Mark currently leads at Merced, but he has hopes of doing the same at Antioch.  He knows it won't be easy.

All of that was threatened when Garner suffered the front end damage in his hard crash.  Fortunately, he emerged from the battered purple #76a car unharmed, but the front end would need a new clip.  Making matters worse, the engine had damage.  Kniss made a special trip to the track that night to assess the damage and had Mark bring the car to his shop immediately.  The good news is, Garner will race again this week, and he has many people to think.

Said Mark in this text, "We tore the car up bad 2 weeks ago.  I thought I was done for a few weeks or more, but I have great friends and family.  To start off, Chet Kniss, Mike Kelly and my son Billy Garner knocked it out of the park last week, getting the new clip prepared for it.  We built the front end of the car in 3 days, very long hours.  And all the people that helped me get everything together, my mom and dad, my uncle Dave and aunt Michelle, Brian Rebello, Mike Yoes, Steve Perry, Ryland Racing, Brian Zachary, Laurance Reyes, Chris Heihn, the Brown family, Jeff Yokem, Robin Leeper.  I am very grateful for all the help and the support.  It's all for a reason this year.  Again, thank you all for the help."

Can Garner return victorious?  He was certainly fast that night and won impressively in his heat race. The competition will be tough.  We anticipate there could be 8-10 cars for this race, but there are cars waiting in the wings to debut this year.  With Garner, Gustafson, Brown, Freethy and Damitz among the field, it should be a good race.

To recap, Oval Motorsports has all three race tracks open for business this week.  At Antioch on Saturday night will be IMCA Modifieds, Northern All Stars Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf CarsMerced races on Saturday night as well with IMCA Sport Modifieds joined by Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Valley Sportsman cars.  On Sunday afternoon, the fourth event of the year at Chowchilla will include the IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks.  For further information, check out the official Oval Motorsports Website.

Note:  Little League Night At Merced Speedway is happening Saturday.  One little league player in uniform will be admitted in with one paying adult.

And Furthermore...

Friday Night's all right for a race, and there are three places you can go.  At Chico Silver Dollar Speedway, they are kicking off two nights of racing with a Friday night show consisting of 410 Sprint Cars, Limited Late Models, Street Stocks and Wingless Spec Sprints.  If you are keeping score, last Friday's Chico winners were Rico Abreu (410 Sprints), Chris Warner (Street Stocks), Kevin Bender (Nor Cal Dwarf Cars), and Brandon Powell (Economy Sprints).

But, that's not all Chico has going.  One of those events the racers mark on their calenders happens Saturday night.  It's the annual Dave Bradway Memorial race for the King Of The West Sprint Cars, along with the Wingless Spec Sprints.  We lost Bradway in a tragic accident at Baylands Raceway about 30 years ago, and this is a good way for Sprint Car racers to honor the memory of one of the best.

Saturday at noon at the Chico Fairgrounds, the Nor Cal Auto Racing Alumni Association is having a barbecue and Hall Of Fame induction.  They've been doing this for about a decade now to honor greats from Chico, Placerville, Shasta and other Northern California tracks. This year's honorees are Larry Musick, Harry Huddleston, Bill Fehrman and Bob Boeller.  Fehrman will also receive the Lloyd Burton Founder's Cup.  From the gone but not forgotten list, Don Vice, Marv Killingsworth and the Ponciano Brothers will be honored.  Honestly, this type of thing should be happening at every track with any kind of history, and kudos goes to this Nor Cal Racer's Alumni Association for making it happen.

If you wanna go down south, Hanford's Kings Speedway will have the King Of Kings 360 Sprint Cars, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, IMCA Stock Cars and Mini Stocks.  This packed program had a solid car count last Friday as Steven Tiner (360 Sprint Cars), Bryan Burns (IMCA Modifieds) and Gary Dutton (IMCA Sport Mods) were winners. The Friday night move has allowed Hanford to get more cars from Bakersfield and a few from Merced as well.

The long time Friday night track, Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, had a little reminder for the fans and racers this week.  Promoter John Prentice wanted to let them know that Stock Car racing matters, and to add emphasis, he just announced the Mike Cecil Memorial Race will continue as an American Stock race this year.  It's on August 1, it's 80 laps (yellow flag laps don't count the last 30) and it pays $1,000 to win .  This makes this race one of the biggest for this class in the state.  1-Hour Drain has come on board as the title sponsor for the race.

There seems to be a bit of confusion on the web as to what's next, but Friday night's race includes IMCA Modifieds, 360 Sprint Cars, American Stocks and Four Bangers.  For those keeping track at home, wins last week went to Brad Furr (360 Sprints Cars), Gary Vincelet (IMCA Sport Mods), Ron Bonnema (American Stocks) and Cliff Sloma (Police In Pursuit).

Not to be outdone in the announcement department, Petaluma Speedway issued this announcement for a makeup date from last week's Hunt Spec Sprint Series rain out.  "Petaluma Speedway has been able to reschedule the event that was cancelled last Saturday Night (4/25).  I'd like to thank Sarah Cummings, the Sonoma-Marin Fair CEO, for her assistance, and thanks go out to John Prentice of the Prentice Motorsports Group for rescheduling the Joe Hunt Wingless Series.  The make-up date will be Saturday Night May 23rd.  We'll be featuring the same lineup of divisions: Joe Hunt Wingless vs Pit Stop USA Spec Sprints, Larsen Racing Products Modifieds, Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks, Jake's Performance Hobbies Mini Stocks and Santa Rosa Auto Body 600's."

As for this Saturday night at Petaluma, the Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints, Super Stocks, Dwarf Cars and Mini Stocks are all on the card.  It should be an action packed show.

Our friends at Rocky Hill Speedway are back from a one week break to give us Mini Stocks, Super Mini Stocks, Hobby Stocks, American Stocks, Go Karts and a Ladies Race.  The Mini's have been the show so far, and those keeping track at home will note that Bob Ellis (Mini Stocks) snapped Jarred Plumlee's win streak in a solid 14 car field.  Other winners were James Tamariz (Super 4 Mini Stocks), Karl Noland (Hobby Stocks) and Ron Hurt (Central Valley Tanks).

Out at the track they affectionately call "Okie Bowl Speedway" but you may know as Bakersfield Speedway, it's Make A Wish Night$1000 is on the line for IMCA Modifieds as Hobby Stocks, American Stocks, Mod Lites and the two Mini Dwarf Car classes are also on the card.  Robby Sawyer (IMCA Modifieds) Levi Keifer (IMCA Sport Mods), Loren DeArmond (IMCA Stock Car) Doug Shepherd (Mini Stocks) and Doug Nunes (Lightning Sprints) were the winners.  Car count was strong in the other classes, and it was encouraging to see nine IMCA Stocks, including a second place finish by track Hobby Stock legend Rick Childress Sr.

In rapid fire, we close with mention that Late Models are part of Saturday night's races at Santa Maria, Yreka's Siskiyu Motor Speedway has a $1000 to win IMCA Modified race to go with Sport Mods and Mini Stocks, American Valley Speedway in Quincy opens with a regular show featuring IMCA Modifieds, Placerville Speedway has 360 Sprint Cars, Limited Late Models, Pure Stocks and BCRA Midget Lites and pavement racing happens at Madera Speedway (an open wheel and nostalgia night), Stockton Speedway (headlined by the SRL Spears Southwest Tour Series) and Lakeport Speedway, all on Saturday night.  There is plenty of great racing to be found up and down the great state of California.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pit Stops From Antioch Speedway

First of all...

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

Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover

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

Available via print on demand at Lulu in Hard Cover or Paperback

Also, what could be a series of informative books...

Short Track History Project at Gofundme

Additional info on the Short Track History Project  HERE

DCRR Racing Radio Audio Calls From Antioch Speedway

 DIRTcar Late Models, Northern All Stars Dwarf Cars and IMCA Sport Mods

Northern All Stars Winged 360 Sprint Cars and Wingless Spec Sprints

 Pit Stops

Rumors Regarding Closing Tracks

This week's column starts with a few rumors before we again walk the pits of Antioch Speedway.  The rain came early Saturday morning and claimed the races in Petaluma, Merced, Placerville, Tulare and Dixon.  The pits were only a little wet at Antioch, and the show went on there.

The nasty little rumor that won't go away is that Petaluma Speedway is running its last season. I will believe that when I see it.  It's already been reported that Petaluma Speedway is being threatened and that the fairgrounds may either lose a lot of space or close altogether.  The lease is good through 2023, and there are business people who want to close it now.

The track has been threatened a few times during the past decade.  At one time, there was a push to build a minor league baseball stadium.  Thankfully, the movement was crushed and racing continued.  Right now, all they can do is run the races they have booked, and Rick Faeth is doing a good job of promoting things this season.
However, the rumor was all over the pits this week, which spawned more rumors that are interesting.  None of this has been confirmed.  One source said that the stores across the street are not happy with the race track.  Sure, build right across the street and then bitch about the people that were there first.  Sound familiar?

The track has provided business for one or two of the restaurants across the street, and I doubt anybody there is complaining about things.  It's rumored to be one of the big chains doing the sniveling.  You'd think something could be worked out.  They say racers and race fans are loyal to companies who support racing.

Now, there are people who are rumored to be waiting to make a move should something happen at Petaluma.  There will be a lot of displaced racers should the gates finally close.  This is not unlike what happened when Baylands was closed.  Many divisions found a new home at Petaluma Speedway.  Winged 360 Sprint Cars and Mini Stocks are still there.

One rumor is that management at Ukiah is considering converting to a dirt track.  I'm both happy and saddened by this rumor.  Ukiah is a really nice paved track that has held some good racing through the years.  On the other hand, I can see where they might think some racers will go North on 101 to Ukiah.

Another rumor is that a dirt track could open rather quickly at Sears Point Raceway.  They've been saying that for years.  Rumor was a dirt track was built in the early 1970's when Vallejo Hardtop drivers went on strike, but nothing ever came of it.  Were Petaluma to close, a move like this might just make perfect sense.

As it is, however, racing is still happening at Petaluma.  The best thing to do now is support the cause and fight for that track as long as there is still a chance for a 2016 season.  Petaluma Speedway is a track with a great tradition and some great people who have raced there through the years.  That tradition needs to continue.

As long as people can bitch about racing, they will continue to do do so.  All American Speedway in Roseville is being threatened.  There are still people trying to close Ocean Speedway in Watsonville.  Ventura Raceway has people wanting to close that track.  As long as the community is there to rally support, we can keep those places alive.

I hate dormant race tracks.  I want to put cars back on Altamont Raceway again.  Rumor has it that it could happen.  I want Pearsonville Speedway to roar to life again.  Sacramento Raceway's Stadium Oval once had some good racing there, and I'd love to see it return.  Since tracks are there, you can never say never.

Some places are better off than others.  Orland Raceway is a track that has opened and closed a few times.  Mike McCann gave it a good shot for two years, and it should have worked.  In his case, he wasn't receiving a lot of cooperation from the fairgrounds.  One person from the area I spoke with last week had the opinion that there are people wanting to close the track once and for all to build houses on it.

Orland has reopened again under new management, and we've had other tracks close and reopen with new management.  In The Valley, Chowchilla Speedway has closed repeatedly, but the fairgrounds wants racing there.  The Merced Fairgrounds is in a similar situation. They want races there.  Part of what got Oval Motorsports that track was their ability to open it in mid 2010 when it looked like it was done.

We in California are luckier than we realize when it comes to race tracks.  Despite the threats against several of these tracks, racing continues at most of them.  Some of the threatened tracks have wisened up and formed organizations to keep them alive.  Yes, that sort of thing does make a difference.

The key thing is that racing continues.  Petaluma Speedway should live on, so people need to be ready should there be any public meetings.  It's not about being belligerent, but about speaking up for a race track that has been around since the early 1960's.

It is true that race tracks need to inspire the community to be willing to stand up for them too.  If people don't feel a part of something, why should they care if it's being threatened?  This is where I think even some of the tracks who aren't under threat should be building that community.

 Racing Tradition Matters

Oval Motorsports has three great race tracks in Chowchilla Speedway, Merced Speedway and Antioch Speedway.  All three of these tracks matter.  They will all have races this weekend.  We have a promoter trying to preserve these three racing institutions, and that's a good thing.

More can be done to build things up, and individually, they each have certain needs to be addressed.  I think it comes down to ties with the community, making drivers feel welcome and honoring the traditions that all three places have.  Sure, Merced and Antioch have been around longer, but even Chowchilla Speedway is 15 years old.

Merced will be doing a Legend's Night where some of the past greats will be on hand.  There's also the Ted Stoffle Classic.  Antioch needs this too.  I still go back to the fact that Bert Moreland and Bob Barkhimer have nothing being run in their honor, and John Soares Sr. founded Antioch Speedway.  Not to mention all the greats who are no longer with us.  It would be easy to book a special race or two.

Then, there's the Hall Of Fame.  Merced and Antioch should have one.  I can think of a case for one or two people at Chowchilla as well.  Somebody told me they wanted to do a Hall Of Fame at Merced, but they didn't know where to start.  Oh really?  At Merced?  You really don't know where to start?

Let me make it easy for you.  I see a Mt. Rushmore over Merced Speedway, four legends to start with.  Look no further than Dennis Moomjean, Vern Willhoite, Ted Stofle and George Steitz.  Numbers don't lie.  These are four of the greatest to ever race at that track, AND they won at other places too.  Start there.  Oh, and Johnny Sass as a member at large.  How could you not put him in?

I still like the pre race picnic gathering before the show, then we go have a big race and introduce the new Hall Of Fame class to the fans.  BCRA laid the blue print for this, and it is a winner in my opinion.  This is how I wanted to do this at Antioch Speedway.

As for Antioch Speedway, put John Soares Sr. in.  He started it all and deserves the honor.  I favor putting in Gary Pacheco, Dennis Furia Sr., J.D. Willis and Richard Johnson, the Mt. Rushmore of Antioch.  I fluctuate between Johnson and Dean Cline as the fourth, and I could easily put Cline in the first class.  Some are going to push for John Soares Jr., and I'm not against him going in the first year either.

Editor's Note:  I am punishing myself over the glaring omission of Bill Brown from my Antioch Hall Of Fame talk.  Truthfully, Bill is on my Mt. Rushmore along with Willis and Pacheco.  A strong case can be made for Furia as the fourth.  I was trying to put a Stock Car name in there, and Johnson and Cline are the two who come immediately to mind.  So many greats to chose from.

As for Chowchilla...  Well, we wouldn't be having this discussion if not for Tom Sagmiller now, would we?  Just saying... 

Back At Antioch Speedway

When John & Donna Soares pulled into the pits at Antioch Speedway Saturday morning, they fully expected to be canceling the show.  It had rained at their house, and they thought there would be enough water in the pits to keep the show from going on.  However, the well groomed pits withstood an hour of hard rain that morning and the track looked just fine.  The show would go on.

The Northern All Stars Winged 360 Sprint Cars were headlining a show along with the co headliner DIRTcar Late Models.  Also on the card were the Wingless Spec Sprints, Dwarf Cars and IMCA Sport Modifieds.  Running two big purse divisions is not something you see very often, and it was a risk to book them on the same night.

The track has made a commitment to try to build a Sprint Car show, and there is already a nucleus forming of track regulars.  Because of the rain out of the Civil War Series race at Tulare, car count increased to a more respectful 14 cars, and that included some competitive racers such as Alissa Geving, Bradley Terrell and Justin Sanders.  Terrell was unsuccessful in trying to cancel his hotel reservations in Tulare.

Brett Lay actually owns the #24b car that Geving was driving, and the car owner has family living in the area.  Brett expressed the desire to compete at Antioch whenever scheduling will allow as he fields his car at Petaluma Speedway regularly.  Last year, he put Terrell behind the wheel for the big money race in June and left with the $3,000 winner's share of the purse.

He was after the win last week, but he had a different driver behind the wheel.  This time, it was third generation racer Alissa Geving.  Geving pilots the car for Lay at Petaluma and is still in the hunt there in fifth in the standings.  As a three time Petaluma champion and a past "Rookie Of The Year" in the King Of The West Series, this talented young lady is a fierce competitor.

That should come as no surprise to anybody considering her family tree.  Her grandfather is who some say is the greatest Hardtop driver in Vallejo Speedway history, Leroy "Go Get 'Em" Geving.  Her father is Gary Geving, who has Sprint Car championships at Petaluma, Baylands and Antioch.  Gary just came out of retirement.  If not for his concern over the safety of his trailer, he may have brought his car to Antioch, but he was on hand to crew for his daughter.

We had a little streak of ten different feature winners in the previous ten races, and it was extended to 11 as Alissa held off the threats of Watsonville regular Justin Sanders for the victory.  Sanders was coming off of a Top three finish at his home track, and he did everything he could to get past Geving.  He ran such a high line in Turns 3 and 4 on the dry slick, yet smooth race track that his rear wheel bumped the wall on occasion. 

The Geving family wasn't the only family with three generations to have competed.  Ryan Timmons was making his first Antioch start.  His father Dave raced Street Stocks and Late Models at the track in the 1980's and 1990's.  Dave's uncle Doug raced Late Models as well.  Doug got his first car from Ken Gonderman, and he was actually there in the pits to offer his assistance.

Dave got Ryan into the sport at a young age racing Quarter-Midgets and Mini Sprints at tracks up and down the state.  After a pair of championships last season, Ryan was ready for a move into the 360 Sprint Cars.  Ryan has actually taken the wing off the car for some races this year as well, and it sounds like we could see him back at Antioch for more races.  Unfortunately, he retired from this race early and watched the finish from the sidelines.

The highest finisher of the track regulars was second generation racer Jake Haulot, who won a three car duel with Marysville competitor Peter Paulson and Shawn Arriaga.  The third generation racer Arriaga was not thrilled with the late race contact, but it was still a good night for the past Petaluma champion.  The finish could put Arriaga into the point lead and shoot Haulot into second.  A former Spec Sprint racer at his home track, Paulson had to be pleased with a Top 5 finish in his first Antioch appearance.

The reason Arriaga will move into the lead is the crash that took out Art McCarthy and Chris Magoon early in the race.  Both drivers have an Antioch championship to their credit in this division, and they were tied after McCarthy's win in the season opener over Magoon.  Neither driver was happy about the outcome this week, but both will come back strong next time.

Roy Fisher made his first start of the season in his Winged Sprint Car.  Roy had a win a few weeks ago in Wingless Spec Sprints.  In the process of winning that race, he discovered he had water damage to one of his heads, which resulted in his decision to take the last Spec Sprint race off.  Running the winged car this week was always in his plans, and he grabbed a checkered flag in eighth.  Another Spec Sprint alumni, Rick "Doc" Brophy, also took a checkered flag in ninth.

The Wingless Spec Sprints bounced back from five cars to 13 this week.  A couple others were looking to come, but the rule changes implemented just prior to the season meant that they would have to change things to be legal according to the new "Econo" rules set.  There were still a pair of Hunt Series racers in the field with Cody Fendley and Zachary Kavert, an Orland competitor in that track's 2014 champion Bill Hopper and the season debut of Al Ghiorso Jr.

Hopper has been racing for several years and has tried to be a supporter of this division at Orland.  He was a bit concerned after his second place finish to Gary Higgenbottom last week at his home track. The win paid $150 with second receiving $70, and some drivers felt the purse should have been higher for the eight car field.  With Hopper was a two time Top 5 ranked Winged Economy Sprint driver, Shawna Overton.  Shawna also has wingless experience and just enjoys racing these carbureted Sprint Cars.  Hopper's night wasn't all that good as he DNF'ed outside the Top 10.

After some experience in Dwarf Cars, Cody Fendley moved up to Spec Sprints this season.  He's been racing at Petaluma Speedway.  With the rain out there, he decided to come to Antioch.  Cody admitted that racing a Wingless Sprint was something he never really considered until he watched the class at Petaluma.  He's been enjoying this class so far.  The rookie was about to be a part of a wild and controversial Main Event finish.

Last time he was in Antioch, Alan Miranda ended up taking a wild ride on the back stretch as he flipped his car.  The damage was enough that he needed a week off to make the necessary repairs.  He got a good indication that things were better after winning his heat race, and then he led the Main Event from the start with Jimmy Perry III providing the early pressure.

Miranda saw a white flag and figured he was a lap away from a much needed victory.  That's when Fendley thought he would make his desperation move to try and take the lead.  Fendley made a move on the inside and pulled even at the end of the back stretch.  There was no way he could make that stick.  There was contact in the final turn, resulting in both drivers spinning.

That suited Perry just fine.  Jimmy has been struggling to get a motor running right under the new rules set, and he had a third place run going when the crash happened in front of him.  The past champion was all too happy to drive by and take the victory.  Not to be outdone, rookie Marcus Smith made a move from sixth to a career best second by the time the checkered flag fell.  With point leader Kyle Bakkie failing to finish, the points between Bakkie, Rick Panfili and Smith will get that much closer.

Zachary Kavert is another rookie up from the Mini Outlaw ranks at Red Bluff.  He's been running the Hunt Series races, but the most recent event was rained out.  This led to his decision to come to Antioch for the first time.  Zachary stayed out of trouble and would end up in fourth behind Ghiorso.  All in all, not a bad night for the team, and the best night of the season so far for the division at Antioch.

IMCA Sport Mods continue to have an interesting story at play in Fred Ryland and his quest for a National Championship.  Fred is racing anywhere and everywhere that he can to get his points.  He had a rare non Top 3 night at Watsonville Friday night, but he was back with a vengeance on Saturday.  Fast Freddy led most of the way and won the race by a half lap at the checkered flag.  He now has 11 wins on the circuit as the National point leader.

The win last time went to Fred's wife, Patti Ryland.  While he may be closing in on the top 10 on the all time win list, Patti has had her moments as well.  She revealed that becoming a racer was not something she thought about.  Her husband was the one into cars.  When he got his Hobby Stock and won his championship, she rode along with him.  Soon, she was in a Four Banger and winning back to back championships.

Next came Hobby Stocks, where she was a feature winner again, ranked Top 5 her first season and second last season.  She was ready for Sport Mods, and she's already shown a knack for winning heat races.  Her first career feature win in the class the last time out moved her into the thick of the battle for a Top 5 point position once again.  She is also the driver to beat in the "Rookie Of The Year" race.  Patti did pretty well this last time out with another heat win and a fourth place finish.

She finished behind Paul Mulder, who was thrilled with his double podium weekend.  Paul is one of Patti's rivals in the battle to make the Top 5 in points at Antioch, but the highlight of his weekend came on Friday night when he won his first Main Event at Watsonville.  Paul wasn't the only driver enjoying a little glory.  Chuck Golden won his heat race at Antioch and then enjoyed a career best second place finish in the Main Event.  Chuck is also in the battle for a Top 5 finish.\

Note:  According to the Ocean Speedway Press release HERE, Paul Mulder ended up being disqualified from the Watsonville win for failing to report to tech, handing Gary Vincelet the win.

Ron Brown thought he might be able to make a step up from last time out when he finished second.  Ron led a couple laps before spinning.  The car seems like it is very competitive, but Ron struggled a bit with the handle before finishing sixth.  Keith Brown Jr. would have loved that, but last weekend was another example of the up and down season he's had.  Keith finished second at Hanford on Friday, but he lost a motor in his heat race on Saturday.  Keith continues to ran second in the state point battle.

Josh Hensley is in his rookie season in Sport Mods and leading the points at Merced.  He's been struggling a bit in the car, but it's not a big surprise.  The two time Top 5 Hobby Stock driver at Merced is driving an old home built car that he bought from George Medeiros.  He did take a checkered flag at Antioch in his first visit, placing eighth.

The Dwarf Cars made a big statement with 19 cars.  The good news is that most of the drivers were actually Antioch regulars. and three cars came in from the 3 Nuts Racing Team.  David Teves and his son Adam were joined by John Davis, who was driving Al Ghiorso's #111 Dwarf Car.  Dana Craig had put the finishing touches on that car and reported that the team had some steering issues in David's first start in his new car last time out.

When you consider that David's car wasn't just right and he still managed a third that night, you had to wonder what the 2013 point runner up had in store for the competition on Saturday.  As it turned out, he was about ready win his first Main Event of the season.  As it was when his son Adam won a few weeks ago, David had that familiar #11d car of Danny Wagner right behind hm,  Well, David wasn't any more intimidated than his son was.  The father-son duo are now both feature winners this season.

When you are wining with Wagner right behind you, you really are doing something.  Unfortunately, David wasn't gaining much ground on the two time defending champion. Wagner had won his heat race and actually added a little to his lead over D. Teves.  The season is still early.  The important thing now is that Teves left the track feeling that he finally had something for his rival.  Even Adam did well with a heat win and a fourth in the Main Event.

Mike Corsaro seems to have hit his stride as well.  The 2014 point runner up collected another podium finish in third to maintain his hold on third in the standings.  Teammate Charlie Correia wasn't as fortunate as he had problems earlier in the race for a disappointing DNF.  Meanwhile, Kevin Miraglio had a good night with a heat race win.  He led some laps in the Main Event before finishing fifth, which should help his effort to move into the Top 5 in the standings.

The Dwarf Cars have been working hard this year and are in the midst of a six race streak at Antioch (seven if you count the upcoming race at Merced), and seeing this car count was actually very encouraging.  Chris Kenner had himself a nice debut in sixth, which was the spot Miranda Chappa held for several laps until spinning.  The top ten ranked Chappa got it back on track and would finish eighth behind Chuck Weir.  It was a much better outcome for Weir, who recently flipped his car at Watsonville.  Honorable mentions go out to Michael Crommie and Brian Gray, who finished ninth and tenth, respectively.

The last time Late Models were at Antioch, Chester Kniss had to be encouraged by the Top 5 run he was having up until his car died on him.  He had a fuel pump problem that night, but it was all fixed for this race.  The bad news was he barely got one lap in before he and Jeff Decker crashed in Turn  4.  Both drivers ended up in the pits, but Decker somehow managed to return without getting lapped.

All this talk of purse money has been buzzing on social media, but the reality is even the tracks offering guaranteed purse money aren't always delivering the car count. Decker, who is working on a new car, admits he would like to see more money in the purse but he also wants to go racing,  It's not cheap to run these cars, but he also knows the catch 22 situation.  Drivers want more money, promoters want more cars and promoters aren't always willing to pay more unless the cars show up and race.  Antioch management indicated the win money jumps to $1500 at 16 cars, and Antioch has had as many as 12 this year.

This race was the first count under ten as nine cars showed up.  Previous winner Paul Gugliemoni was a surprise no show.  The David Newquist cars showed up late, and once again, Newquist was beat by his teammate, Mike Hynes, who finished fifth.  Hynes was coming off of a Limited Late Model effort he would just as soon forget.  He ended up getting into Mark Garner, resulting in major front end damage to Garner's car.  His latest Top 10 finish in Late Models should bump him into the Top 10 in the standings.  Hynes is actually working on his own Late Model, but the #04x car of Newquist has gotten him out there so far this year.

Billy Bowers offered some clarification on his team's plans.  We'd sort of drawn conclusions that they were focusing more on winning Late Model races and running the Modified second.  Actually, Billy says they have plans to start hitting the money races and have a new car in the works.  They plan to leave the state for some of these races, and that may mean missing two Late Model races this year.  With 26 wins for Troy Foulger and four championships, they have nothing to prove in Modfieds at Antioch, but the #49 car may still be there for the coming race.  They also expect to run the next Late Model race.
Last year, the team demonstrated what they are capable of with a feature win in Late Models.  Some are saying that if the previous Late Model race was 25 laps, Troy would have won.  The third he got was still a brilliant comeback.  He had a fuel pickup problem that the team fought all the way through the heat races, but it was ready come Main Event time as he came from last starting to that third place finish.

Bowers commented that the team is running an old (2002 GRT) chassis and are down a bit on horsepower to some teams, but he believes it actually works to their advantage a bit in how Troy can drive the car on the track.  On Saturday, Troy led most of the way with 2014 champion Richard Papenhausen in close pursuit.  Anytime you can hold off Papenhausen, who has two wins this season, you know you are doing well.  Decker salvaged a third place finish after his early tangle with Kniss.

Antioch's sister track, Merced Speedway, called their races off due to the wet pits.  Options were considered to try to get the race in, but it was decided that it would be better to try again this week.  It's actually a double race weekend in The Valley.  IMCA Sport Mods, Valley Sportsman, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks will race at Merced on Saturday, and IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks race at Chowchilla on Sunday.

The Vintage Hardtops were to be a part of Antioch's show this week, but the group is booked as part of the nostalgia program happening at Madera on Saturday.  So, Antioch Speedway will feature IMCA Modfieds, Northern All Stars Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  For more information on Antioch, Merced and Chowchilla, check the official Oval Motorsports Website.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Geving, Perry, Foulger, Ryland, Teves Win At Antioch Speedway

First of all...

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

Available via print on demand at Lulu in Hard Cover or Paperback

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

Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover

Also, what could be a series of informative books...

Short Track History Project at Gofundme

Additional info on the Short Track History Project  HERE

DCRR Racing Radio Show Weekend Review Edition   
Wasn't able to post this one to Daily Motion due to length of show

Geving Grabs The Glory In Antioch Sprint Car Race

Taking the lead from early leader Peter Paulson, Alissa Geving went on to score the victory in the 20 lap Northern All Stars Winged 360 Sprint Car race Saturday night at Antioch Speedway.  Justin Sanders made a late bid to get by, but Geving was not to be denied as she drove a flawless race in the Brett Lay owned car.  Lay's car is the one Bradley Terrell drove to victory in the $3,000 to win race at Antioch last year, and Geving became the 11th different winner in the last 11 Winged 360 Sprint Car races at Antioch.

Rainouts added a few cars to the Antioch roster, and it was Petaluma regular Terrell winning the first heat race ahead of Sanders.  D.J. Freitas won the other heat ahead of Antioch title contender Shawn Arriaga.  Marysville competitor Paulson had a front row start for the Main Event and managed to lead one lap before surrendering first to Geving.  Sanders took second from Paulson on a lap two restart as Dan Gonderman and Arriaga rounded out the early Top 5.  When Antioch co point leaders Chris Magoon and Art McCarthy got together in Turns 3 and 4, a lap nine yellow flag waved.  Both drivers were eliminated, and Geving continued to lead Sanders and Paulson on the restart.  Arriaga and Jake Haulot shuffled Gonderman out of the Top 5 on lap 12 before a Roy Fisher spin in Turn 2 brought out another caution flag.  The next four laps saw three more yellow flags as a few drivers struggled to figure out the smooth, but dry slick track.  Sanders began running an extremely high line in Turns 3 and 4 to gather the momentum, but he ran a lower line in 1 and 2.  He could pull up on the rear nerf of Geving, but she was not about to let go of her lead.  Meanwhile, Paulson, Haulot and Arriaga had a close battle for third.  Haulot finally made the move for third on lap 19 as Geving brought it home to a well earned victory ahead of Sanders.  Paulson settled for fourth in front of Arriaga, Terrell, D.J. Freitas, Fisher, Rick Brophy and Gonderman.

Racing returns to Antioch Speedway next Saturday night with a program consisting of IMCA Modifieds, Northern All Stars Limited late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  For more information, check the official Oval Motorsports Website.

Wild Last Lap Gains Perry Victory, Ryland Wins Again At Antioch

In perhaps the most exiting race of the Saturday night program at Antioch Speedway, Cody Fendley's last lap pass attempt on race long leader Alan Miranda saw both drivers spin.  This opened the door for past champion Jimmy Perry III to race past for the surprising 20 lap Northern All Stars Wingless Spec Sprint Main Event victory.  IMCA Sport Mod National title hopeful Fred Ryland charged from last starting and proceeded to dominate their 20 lap Main Event.

The Wingless Spec Sprints needed two heat races, and Miranda won his race in front of Perry.  Point leader Kyle Bakkie won the other heat in front of Al Ghiorso.  Miranda and Perry shared the front row for the Spec Sprint feature, which had to be restarted after a four car tangle in Turns 3 and 4.  Miranda led the restart ahead of Perry and Ghiorso.  Another yellow flew early on for Bakkie, who was eliminated from the race.  Miranda had Perry shadowing his every move early on.  Ryon Siverling and Fendley dropped Ghiorso back to fifth on lap five with Fendley taking third from Siverling a lap later.  Jeremy Newberry crashed in Turn 2 for a yellow flag.  Fendley got by Perry for second on lap 10, and Miranda and Fendley pulled away slightly from Perry.  As they worked the final lap, Fendly got a good run on Miranda and pulled even on the back stretch.  However, Fendley misjudged the dry slick conditions, the two cars touched in Turn 3 and both spun.  Suddenly, Perry had the lead, and he would go on to score the victory.  Marcus Smith ducked underneath Siverling and Ghiorso in the final turn to steal a career best second.  Ghiorso was elevated to third with the disqualification of Siverling.  Zachary Kavert was fourth as James East, Rick Panfili, Miranda, Fendley, Jeremy Newberry and Bill Hopper rounded out the Top 10.

The IMCA Sport Mods had two heat races with Chuck Golden winning his race ahead of Al Sotomayor.  Patti Ryland won another heat race in front of Ron Brown.  Keith Brown Jr. blew a motor in his heat race.  R. Brown and Golden had the front row of the Main Event with F. Ryland starting back in the fifth row.  R. Brown charged into the early lead ahead of Golden and P. Ryland.  Brown's lead was short lived as he spun in Turn 4 of the third lap with Golden now leading P. Ryland and Al Johnson.  F. Ryland had moved all the way to fourth before a Tim Hammett spin in Turn 4 caused a lap four caution flag.  Golden had chosen the outside on the restart and continued to lead.  F. Ryland made a low move in Turn 4 of the fifth lap to take second from P. Ryland.  A high move in Turn 4 of the sixth lap gained F. Ryland the lead from Golden.  A four car tangle in Turn 4 brought out another caution flag, and F. Ryland led Golden and Friday night Watsonville winner Paul Mulder on the restart.  Once in the lead, F. Ryland set a rapid pace and had a half lap lead over second place when the checkered flag flew.  The second for Golden was his best finish of the season as Mulder, P. Ryland, Sotomayor, R. Brown, Johnson, Merced point leader Josh Hensley, K.C. Keller and Hammett completed the Top 10 at the finish.

Racing returns to Antioch Speedway next Saturday night with a program consisting of IMCA Modifieds, Northern All Stars Limited late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  For more information, check the official Oval Motorsports Website.

Foulger, Teves Share Antioch Winner's Circle

Fending off the constant pressure of defending champion Richard Papenhausen, Troy Foulger impressed with a 20 lap DIRTcar Late Model feature win Saturday night at Antioch Speedway.  The win made Foulger the fourth different winner in five races.  Making only his second start in the new car he and his team built, David Teves won his first 20 lap Northern All Stars Dwarf Car Main Event of the season.  He gained little ground in the standings as point leader Danny Wagner finished second.

The Late Models ran two heat races with Jeff Decker collecting a victory ahead of Foulger.  Papenhausen cruised to victory in his heat race ahead of Danny Malfatti.  From the start, Foulger raced into the lead in the Main Event ahead of Papenhausen and David Newquist.  A Turn 4 crash involving Chester Kniss and Decker brought out a lap one caution flag, ending the race for Kniss.  Decker also pitted, and he returned after a botched first restart attempt.  Foulger chose the outside on the restart and continued to lead Papenhausen and Newquist.  After a multi car crash in Turns 3 and 4, Foulger led Papenhasen and Dennis Souza on the restart. A low move in Turn 4 of the sixth lap gained Malfatti the third position.  The lead duo was already in traffic by the half way point of the race as Decker found his way into fourth.  An inside move in Turn 4 of the 12th lap gained Decker third.  Malfatti would also get lapped in fourth as only the Top 3 were on the lead lap at the end.  Foulger withstood all the pressure Papenhausen gave him and scored a well earned victory.  Decker settled for third as Malfatti, Mike Hynes, Souza, Rob Norris, Newquist and Kniss completed the finishing order.

There were three heat races for the Dwarf Cars, and Kevin Miraglio won the first heat ahead of Mike Corsaro.  Wagner won the second heat ahead of Jerry Doty and Adam Teves was the other heat winner ahead of Dillon Hume.  Miraglio and A. Teves shared the front row of the Main Event with D. Teves starting seventh and Wagner tenth.  Miraglio raced into the early lead before a Hume spin forced a caution flag after one lap.  Miraglio led the restart as Corsaro took second from A. Teves.  D. Teves was up to fourth by the time a lap six caution flag flew for a tangle between Hume and Robert Coe.  Miraglio chose the inside for the restart and continued to lead as D. Teves slipped past Corsaro for second.  A low move in Turn 2 of the ninth lap gained D. Teves the lead as Wagner was challenging Corsaro for third.  An inside move in Turn 2 of the 11th lap moved Wagner from fourth to second.  Despite a pair of yellow flags down the stretch, D. Teves maintained his lead and brought it home to a well earned victory.  Wagner settled for second ahead of Corsaro, A. Teves, Miraglio, Chris Kenner, Chuck Weir, Miranda Chappa, Michael Crommie and Brian Gray.

Racing returns to Antioch Speedway next Saturday night with a program consisting of IMCA Modifieds, Northern All Stars Limited late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  For more information, check the official Oval Motorsports Website.

Friday, April 24, 2015

DCRR Media And PR Consulting

Are you struggling to get any recognition for your race track?  Car count numbers not where you'd like them?  Attendance low?  I can help you with that.

I have been in the sport as a fan, writer, announcer, publisher and race track and driver advocate since 1977.

In 1985, DCRR Racing News was founded as a racing news magazine to help spread the word about the sport.  I published it for nearly 20 years.  Since then, I have developed a racing blog and published two books.

I also formed a partnership on a website that led to the creation of an audio show on the internet that I have continued to record since then.  Plus, I've used the internet to release audio broadcasts of the races.

I know the angles to get the word out for racing.  I know people aren't coming to the races if they don't know about them.  I also know that racers are more apt to support a race track that makes a promotional effort and gets the word out there.

In addition to my own publications, I've had articles published in several racing publications and have also had my articles featured in various local newspapers.

In this day and age, the use of both mediums, printed and internet, is important in getting the word out, and there's no reason you should be left behind.  Publicity matters, and good publicity can help make or break a race track.

I have the experience and the insight to help meet your publicity needs.

Furnish me with results, point standings and your schedule, and I can do the rest.  Track history is incorporated into what I do, and I have records of many of the race tracks here in California.

If you need somebody hands on, announcing and handling your track's publicity on staff, I'm the person you are looking for.

If you are looking for more of a consultant on ideas, somebody who can help train somebody more local to handle your needs, I can do that too.  I have experience in that area.

If you aren't getting the numbers you desire in the grandstands or the pits, what do you have to lose?  Doing nothing won't fix the problem.  Consulting with somebody who can help you turn things around, somebody who has a passion for the sport and what they do, is what you need.

Race Car drivers, I can help promote you and what you are doing.  Wanna get the word out to sponsors and rise up the levels in racing?  Having somebody putting out news releases after each race will make a difference.  I can help you with that.

I've been awarded by four track promoters, a group of drivers twice, twice by a traveling racing organization and I can help you too.

If any of this appeals to you, contact me today at and we can get started on making things happen at your race track.

A little more about How DCRR Media PR Consulting Can Help Your Track

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sprint Cars, Late Models At Antioch, IMCA Modifieds At Merced

First of all...

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

Available via print on demand at Lulu in Hard Cover or Paperback

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

Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover

Also, what could be a series of informative books...

Short Track History Project at Gofundme

Additional info on the Short Track History Project  HERE

 The Weekend Preview Edition Of The DCRR Racing Radio Show 

The Bakersfield Speedway portion of the Bako Motorsports Power Hour is up and can be seen HERE.

Tony Karis filed a report for Ocean Speedway's races last week that can be found HERE.

Sharon Martin filed a report for last week's races at Chico Silver Dollar Speedway that can be found HERE. 

Special Event In Antioch:  Natalie Perry was putting fliers up in the pits to let people know about the Relay For Life of Antioch Celebration.  The event will take place in the Deer Valley High School front parking lot on Saturday, April 25 from 10:00 AM-2:00 PM.  It is a celebration of Cancer survivors.  She was hoping to get some of the racers to bring their cars for the Day In The Park.  More information can be found at

Sprint Cars, Late Models Headline Five Division Show At Antioch

When the schedule was booked for Antioch Speedway this Saturday night, Oval Motorsports had big things in mind.  It may be a bit of a test.  You may not think twice when you see IMCA Sport Mods and Northern All Stars Dwarf Cars and Wingless Spec Sprints on the schedule, but then you see the headliners.  Not one but two "high end" divisions are part of the program as Northern All Stars Winged 360 Sprints and DIRTcar Late Models are headlining this show.

Both of these divisions are very much a part of what John Soares Jr. wants to feature at the track.  He's been trying to find a way to make it happen since taking over the track, but the timing hasn't been right.  After the track expansion of 2009, the plans were set in motion.  The Winged Sprints have run 15 races since then, and this year is the most ambitious schedule yet at eight races.  If all goes well, it could be an even bigger season for the class in 2015.

Note: A Race Preview Article For The Winged 360 Sprints can be found HERE

Driver support will dictate where it goes.  A little over half of the races were booked on off nights for the closest track, Petaluma Speedway.  This week is one of those weeks, so there are hopes of at least some visitors growing the field.  However, there's also a belief that the roster of drivers in the area is at least in the teens, boosted by the drivers who in recent years have moved up from Spec Sprints.

Antioch Speedway is trying to establish it's own car base and it's own identity for the Winged 360 Sprints.  Prior to 2009, races were generally shared between Petaluma and Antioch.  When John Soares Sr. promoted Petaluma, he would send the drivers to Antioch, while Antioch shared the Spec Sprints with Petaluma.  After John Sr., it gets a little more complicated.  Eventually, Petaluma started a Spec Sprint class, and Antioch has tried to establish a Winged 360 Sprint division of their own.

The man who seems to have been with Soares Jr. through all of this is Art McCarthy.  Art won the 2007 Antioch title and is a two time Petaluma champion.  The Arriaga family has supported Antioch when they could, going back to the 1990's.  Shawn Arriaga is another Petaluma champion, and he is anticipated for the field.  The Spec Sprint connection comes from the likes of past division champions Dan Gonderman and Chris Magoon, who is the defending 360 Sprint Car champion at Antioch.  Rick and Ricky Brophy, Zack Lynsky and Roy Fisher also have Spec Sprint backgrounds.

The criticism of hard core Sprint Car fans is that you don't have "name" drives in the field, but this group will make names for themselves given the opportunity.  Certainly, when you consider the backgrounds of racers like McCarthy, Arriaga, Gonderman and Magoon, they are not chumps.  Add in other names from the season opener (won by McCarthy), such as Anthony Espinoza, Brandon Powell and Darrell Taylor, and you have the building blocks for the foundation of a new class at Antioch.  If they come, Soares will definitely do good things with this class.

Just who is showing up this week is still a guessing game.  It's anticipated that most of the nine competitors at the season opener will be there, and it's rumored that a few new cars may be ready.  Anywhere from 8-12 cars could be a safe bet, and that could be better depending on who comes from Petaluma.  This could be considered a test to see where this division is at now.  Given the fact that the other high end purse division (Late Models) is on the card, it's also a bit of a risk doing both at once.  However, Soares has taken other risks in his time as promoter that have paid off.  This could be another winner.

DIRTcar Late Models have delivered no less than ten cars at any of their previous four races this year.  As we've reported already, Soares swooped in and grabbed this class with a phone call to promoter Rick Faeth after Petaluma dropped them in in 2013.  For many years, John's dad fought keep this class at Petaluma while other tracks had dropped it.

John Jr. himself ran Late Models at Petaluma and is a past champion.  So, to say that he has a love for Late Models is an understatement.  John also has a house car that Bobby Hogge IV won two Main Events with at Antioch last year.  Believe it or not, John has been tempted to get behind the wheel of that car himself.  Word is that during Antioch's holiday down time, he'll be heading out of state with a couple other racers to compete somewhere else.

In the meantime, Richard Papenhausen, Jeff Decker and Paul Guglielmoni have committed to Antioch Late Models.  All three have won track championships in their career.  Papenhausen is the defending champion, and point leader Decker won a championship at Antioch not too many years ago.  These three definitely want to see this class thrive and begin to attract other drivers into the fold.  There's indication that this is starting to happen, but a few drivers are still driving past Antioch to go south.

One driver leading the local charge is four time Dirt Modified champion Troy Foulger, who is already a force in the division.  Troy finished third last time out and is now just 17 points behind third ranked David Newquist.  Newquist is currently second at Chico and has been fielding two cars to Antioch, the second of which has been driven by Limited Late Model racer Mike Hynes.  Two other locals following Foulger's lead are past Dirt Modified champion Rob Norris and Chester Kniss.  Kniss looked good in the Top 5 last time out until mechanical problems sidelined him.

Guglielmoni indicated last time that Randy Shafer may be back with his car this week.  Shafer had to work last time and was unable to make it.  No word on whether sixth ranked Dennis Souza will be back after his rollover last time, but the damage didn't look as bad as it could have been.  There is probably a roster of available cars that goes into the 20's, but we'll keep projections in the 8-12 car range for this race.  The Decker-Papenhausen point battle continues as Decker leads by just two points.

IMCA Sport Mods have been noteworthy this year for all the racing being done by Fred Ryland and Keith Brown Jr.  Ryland has set his sights on National Championship honors and is running every race he can.  Brown hasn't missed many races himself and trails Ryland in the State point race.  Brown certainly helped his cause at Chowchilla last Sunday as he won the Main Event, which was his first of the season.  Ryland's Watsonville win on Friday makes ten for the season as he leads Watsonville, Antioch, Chowchilla, State and National points.  At Antioch, Brown trails Ryland by 15 points.

Sport Mods have generally been good for 10-12 cars this year, which is probably where they will be on Saturday, and Marysville and Merced also have races.  Al Johnson is still in the title hunt, just 20 points out of the lead, but everybody else missed the January shows to pretty much end any title hopes they may have had.  Only 13 points separate the next five point runners of Al Sotomayor, Paul Mulder, Patti Ryland, K.C. Keller and Chuck Golden, and all of these competitors are anticipated this week.

Of course, P. Ryland is coming off of a win the last time out after earlier winning her heat race.  The two time Four Banger champion and past Hobby Stock point runner up has set her sights on "Rookie Of The Year" honors, and it appears as if her main competitor in that battle will be K.C. Keller.  As far as her challenger in the previous feature, that would be veteran Ron Brown.  The two time Limited Late Model champion ran a close second to Ryland and seemed at times like he might be able to pull off the pass.  The fact that Ron seems comfortable in his beautiful yellow #3 car is bad news for the competition.

Rookie Tim Hammett has indicated that he's planning to come back and make some better laps this time around.  His season debut at Antioch was less than stellar, and he's hoping to erase that memory with a better performance this time around.  Megan Ponciano has been off in Oregon, and there's no word if we'll be seeing her #22 car this week.  If she is there, the past Hobby Stock champion will be a force to be reckoned with.  She is a four time feature winner in her Sport Mod career.

Danny Wagner certainly looks unbeatable in Northern All Stars Dwarf Cars, but the season isn't even half over yet.  Anything can happen.  The two time defending division champion has notched three feature wins so far and leads David Teves by 14 points after his latest win last week.  Teves debuted a new car last week, and the third place finish he earned would seem to indicate it is going to be a good car for him.  Just 20 points behind Teves after his second place finish last time out is a Mike Corsaro.

Corsaro has good company behind him in the battle for third.  Young Adam Teves, a feature winner this season, is eight points behind Corsaro, while 2010 champion Jerry Doty is only 12 points behind.  There's simply no room to get comfortable.  In fact, Jack Haverty, Charlie Correia and Kevin Miraglio are all within 22 points of Doty in the battle for fifth.  As competitive as the Dwarf Cars have been so far this year, you know the order will change several times before the season ends.

A good estimation is 12-16 cars for the Dwarf Cars, which have been supplying the biggest car count of any division at most of the races so far this year.  Rapidly improving Miranda Chappa had reason to smile last week after driving her beautiful #81 car to a sixth place feature finish ahead of the third Correia Team car of Randy Jahoda.  Sprint Car veteran Brian Gray was also making good laps in the former Ray Etherton car as he finished eighth last week.

The rule changes made in the Wingless Spec Sprint class as they have taken on the "Econo" rules has greatly effected car count.  To date, 16 cars have competed, though it's a good bet that some of those cars were not completely legal.  In fact, one driver was later disqualified after winning.  This also means that visitation from the other tracks may be light, if at all, and the division is relying on locals to build things back up.

An ugly early race incident two weeks ago sent Alan Miranda flipping and also eliminated James East.  Later, Jimmy Perry III blew a motor while running third.  None of the three were out there last week, and neither was young Chase Wood Jr.  In fact, Roy Fisher decided to take a week off after winning the sometimes ugly feature a week earlier.  This left just five cars for the last race, and Kyle Bakkie served notice to the other two drivers gunning for the championship that he will not be easy to beat.  After his second feature win, Bakkie has a 24 point advantage over Rick Panfili and a 40 point lead over rookie Marcus Smith.

Ryon Siverling is now 14 points behind Fisher and 34 behind third ranked Smith, despite missing the opener.  Former NFL offensive lineman Jeremy Newberry has been a welcome sight at Antioch these past two weeks.  With a fourth and a second in his two starts, along with a heat race win, it could be that Jeremy is in line for a feature win if he's there this week.  The division seems to be reeling at the moment, so projections are for a car count in the 6-10 range.

IMCA Modifieds, Sport Mods Headline Youth Baseball Night At Merced Speedway

Youth Baseball Night At The Races is happening at Merced Speedway.  Any child in uniform, accompanied by one paying adult, will be admitted free.  What they will see is a four division show featuring IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks and Northern All Stars Mini Stocks.

Despite any confusion in points, the IMCA Modified leader at Merced Speedway is Alex Wilson.  Wilson was a Top 5 finisher last time out, though the winner was his brother, Kyle Wilson.  Alex has been racing at Watsonville and elsewhere this year and leads the IMCA State point race at the moment.  His lead at Merced is a not too comfortable one point ahead of John MacDougall.  MacDougall got off to such a good start this season that he decided to skip racing at his home track at Antioch to focus on a Merced championship run.  With the second place finish he had last time out, he certainly helped his cause.

Not to be ignored in this battle is the third place driver, 2012 champion Bill Egelston.  Bill is only six points out of the lead.  If these three continue to come back, there's no reason to believe this battle won't continue to be close the rest of the season.  There's no telling who will come out ahead, but it may be the driver who steps up with a win down the stretch.

Bob Williamson knows what it's like to be in a championship race.  He's lost a few, but he's also a two time IMCA Modified champion.  Bob holds a two point lead over three time Merced Street Stock champion, Ricky Thatcher in the battle for fourth.  These five are generally there for most of the races, but the rest of the pack changes from week to week.  Drivers like Tim Porter and Les Friend have shown up and won races as well, and both of them could be there.  Estimations are that there could be anywhere from 8-12 cars on hand for this race.

The big test for Merced could be what effect, if any, Kings Speedway has on the car count.  The Hanford track is running Modifieds and Sport Mods on Friday night.  It's anticipated that the Sport Mods could have 8-12 cars of their own this week, which depends on a few of the hard chargers in the area who have decided not to race for points.  In fact, the championship doesn't seem to be in question, and it's only April.

Rookie Josh Hensley has been making all of the races and now holds a 40 point lead over National point leader Fred Ryland, who's not even expected to be there on Saturday.  Josh is definitely a rookie and has struggled to learn the ropes, but he's out there making his laps each and every week and getting more comfortable.  Dwayne Short is just five points behind Ryland.  Like Hensley, Short is a Hobby Stock graduate, and he is coming off of a lead lap sixth place finish last time out.

Really, the question about points is who wants them at this stage in the game?  With Ryland and Keith Brown Jr. only racing when Antioch is dark to the class, they've still managed to be Top 5 Merced competitors.  That will change the moment one of the locals steps up and claims it.  Right now, Jeremy Hoff is fifth, and he's coming off of a third place finish after leading several laps.  The question is, will Hoff show up at Merced, Antioch or not even race this week?

A few drivers who are likely to be in action this week are D.C. Brown, Gary Tucker and John Gish.  Odgers Racing could be back, but that has not been confirmed.  Work still continues on the Tim Prothro car, and he'll probably be back as soon as he can.  Whoever shows up, the show will go on, and it's sure to be another interesting race at Merced Speedway.

The list of Northern All Stars Hobby Stock winners continues to grow.  Last week, it was Marc Key winning or it may have been point leader Kevin Joaquin winning for the third time.  Joaquin is the only driver to win two main events so far this season, and he also won at Chowchilla last week, where he is also the point leader.  Joaquin's lead over rookie Jennifer Corder at Merced is now 36 after Corder's disappointing outing last week.

George Silva is hoping he'll be winner #8, which coincidentally is the number of his car.  After a good outing last week, George has settled into third in the standings, but it's not a comfortable third.  He is just two points ahead of Dexter Long and four in front of Ty Shelton.  A pair of ladies, and feature winners at that, Kristie Shearer and Shannon Nelson, are both within 16 points of Silva to make it a good battle for third.

Car count is slowly creeping up, and this division is poised to have it's biggest count of the point season.  We'll conservatively say 8-12 cars could be in action.  If recent winners Marc Key and Gary Hildebrand are part of the action, this race could turn out to be the best part of this week's show.  The one thing about Merced Hobby Stocks is that they have been very exciting to watch this season no matter who has been there.

Not to be forgotten are the Mini Stocks.  The Chris Corder-Darren Miguel battle was effected by Miguel's disappointing effort last week, but Miguel is still only 12 points behind the defending champion Corder.  Both drivers have feature wins this season, and they have been the class of the field.  However, it was Robert Alger getting in the middle of the battle with an impressive season debut performance gaining him the victory last week.  Joy Alger is on the outside of the championship battle, but at 44 points behind, she's not out of the hunt just yet.

Kevin Lockerby's hopes ended with a blown clutch last week that forced a Main Event scratch.  Lockerby has been racing at Merced while trying to get things together to race with the Madera Toyota Stars class, but he found himself ranked third until last week.  The steady Dennis Copus moved into a tie with Lockerby for fourth as both trail J. Alger by 36 points.  Alicia Caldwell and Mike Germait both had season debuts in the Top 5.  If they, and others like Steve Johnson and Natalie Waldrop are in the field, there's no reason to expect that the car count won't hit the 8-12 mark.  In fact, it could even be better.

Chowchilla will be back on May 3 with a similar program to this week's Merced show of IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks.  Antioch's big show consists of DIRTcar Late Models, Northern All Stars Winged 360 Sprints, IMCA Modfieds, Dwarf Cars and Wingless Spec Sprints.  For further information, check out the official Oval Motorsports Website.

And Furthermore...

We were waiting, and waiting for results from Sacramento Valley Speedway in Orland so that we could share them here.  Unfortunately, no such results were available by the time this article was ready to go live.  We did see pictures of five Wingless Sprint Cars, so we know they had some cars.  We'll keep an eye on things and put something here when we are able to.  Micro Sprints, Wingless Sprints and Mini Trucks are the featured divisions there this Saturday night.

If there is a track showing some love for Wingless Spec Sprints this year, it is Petaluma Speedway.  After Klint Simpson's latest win, he shared the podium with the Top 3 drivers in front of the sign for some pictures and was interviewed by promoter Rick Faeth.  This week, the Hunt Series Spec Sprints are the featured class, and winners so far are Joe Stornetta (Chico) and Colton Slack (Calistoga).  Who will it be this time?

Spec Sprints won't be coming alone as the IMCA Modfieds are back.  Defending champion Nick DeCarlo won a spirited duel with six time champion Michael Paul Jr. for the victory last week.  DeCarlo has said that he is going to Fernley, Nevada to race, but racers like past champion Oreste Gonella and Norm Boeck should be there to battle with Paul for the victory.  Defending champion Brent Blackwood leads the Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks back for a second 2015 appearance, along with Mini Stocks and 600 Mini Sprints.  Petaluma Speedway has had some great racing so far this season.

They're calling in the POSSE to Placerville Speedway this Saturday night.  That would be the Placerville POSSE.  This is the second of four scheduled extra money races for the 360 Sprint Cars.  They race for $2000 to win, but the extra money isn't just for them.  Limited Late Models race for $750 to win this week, and the Pure Stocks compete for a $500 first prize.  BCRA Midget Lites make this a four division show.  If you are keeping track, Steven Tiner (360 Sprints), Ryan McDaniel (Limited Late Models), Rich Zoller (Pure Stocks) and Shawn Jones  (NorCal Dwarf Cars) won the Main Events there last week.

It's time to "Double Down" at Ocean Speedway.  Point leader and past champion Tommy Tarlton wants some extra money, and he or somebody else can grab the bonus if they win the Ocean Sprint Car feature on Friday night and the Civil War Sprint Car race at Tulare Thunderbowl on Saturday.  The bonus goes to anybody that can score a two win weekend in Sprint Car competition at the two tracks.

Sprint Cars won't come alone.  The exciting American Stocks, IMCA Modifieds and Police In Pursuit cars are also a part of Friday night's program.  Last week, Bobby Hogge IV (IMCA Modifieds), Fred Ryland (Sport Mods), Robert Gallaher (American Stocks), Eric Weisler (South Bay Dwarf Cars) and Luke Babcock (Mini Stocks) were feature winners.

410 Sprint Cars have a busy weekend up north, as do the Winged Economy Sprint Cars.  The two divisions will be featured Friday night at Chico Speedway and Saturday night at Marysville Raceway.  Also getting in on the act will be the NorCal Dwarf Cars, who get to run both tracks as well.  Friday's Chico event is billed as The Bill Brownell Memorial Race, and local legend Shane Scott has helped put that race together,  Chico will also have Hobby Stocks, while Marysville will see the second appearance of IMCA Sport Mods and the Hobby Stocks.

Chico had an interesting 1-2 battle between Ryan McDaniel and Duane Clevelend where one beat the other in Limited Late Models and Dirt Modifieds last week.  Cleveland won the Modified race, while McDaniel won Limited Late Models, where he is the defending champion.  Also winning last Friday at Chico were Colby Copeland  (410 Sprints), Justin Henry (Economy Sprints) and Brian Cooper (Hobby Stocks).  Who will it be this Friday night?

Not to be forgotten are the Marysville winners from last week, where Justin Sanders beat a stout field for the 360 Sprint Car win.  Misty Castleberry had a good night with a Pro 4 Sprint Car win and a second in Wingless Spec Sprints behind Tim Sherman Jr.  Past Antioch competitor Mike Walko gave it a good run before settling for second behind Cortney Dozier in the Street Stock feature.  It was 2014 champion Jimmy Ford winning the Mini Stock feature.  Saturday night is sure to be another good night at Marysville Raceway.

Hanford's Kings Speedway gets things kicked off with a 360 Sprint Car race on Friday night with IMCA Modifieds and Sport Mods also on the card.  We had heard that Mini Stocks have also been added.  The two IMCA classes are also racing down the road at Bakersfield Speedway, where they also have the IMCA Stock Cars and Mini Stocks.

Racing season is in high gear up and down the state of California as Hayfork Speedway has Hobby Stocks and Enduros on Saturday and Siskiyu Motor Speedway has a full program, which includes extra money races for the IMCA Sport Mods and McDonald's Mini Stocks.  It's looking like it will be another great weekend of racing.