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.