Thursday, April 9, 2015

IMCA Mods And Sport Mods At Merced, DIRTcar Late Models, Hobby Stocks At Antioch

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 DCRR Racing Radio Show

Additional Reading Material From Here And There

Once again, Ron Rodda has filed an interesting report in his From The Grandstands column.  This one talks about Placerville Speedway and can be viewed HERE.

Don O'Keefe Jr. has a News & Rumors Column with some interesting observations about crate motors, too many divisions and more. You an read it HERE,

The Petaluma Argus Courier has an article about what may be the next threat to Petaluma Speedway that can be read HERE.

Tony Karis filed this report about Ocean Speedway's season opener that you can read HERE.

A short article with results from Porterville's Rocky Hill Speedway tat can be read HERE

IMCA Mods And Sport Mods At Merced, 
DIRTcar Late Models, Hobby Stocks At Antioch

First of all, Next Sunday (April 19th) is coming up and it will be here sooner than you know.  On that Sunday afternoon, Chowchilla Speedway opens its gates for the third time this year as IMCA Modifieds and Sport Modifieds and Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks will be in action, making it the second time all three Oval Motorsports tracks will be racing on the same weekend.  We're hearing some talk about Nick Lawrence making his first start of the year in a Hobby Stock to try and give Kevin Joaquin and Kristie Shearer some additional competition.  Meanwhile, Mark "The Missle" Odgers has confirmed that he will be back at the track on which he was a Sportsman champion and Top 3 Limited Late Model racer in the past.  Look for him in a Sport Modified this time out.  It will happen April 19th at Chowchilla Speedway.

Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks, Limited Late Models, Mini Stocks and IMCA Sport Modifieds are back at Merced Speedway this Saturday night, and they're joined by the IMCA Modifieds.  The Dirt Mods have had double digit car counts in recent races, while the Sport Mods had been down prior to last week.  The Easter Weekend event yielded a 16 car Sport Mod field and an exciting finish up front as Jeremy Hoff and Bruce "Bubba" Nelson had a last lap drag race to the line for second.  Nelson had the spot and let it get away from him as he half spun in the final turn.  The two time Hobby Stock champion had to settle for third as Hoff came roaring by for second.

Given the way that Fred Ryland has been running this year, you almost forget about Nick Spainoward, but that's not a wise move.  Spainhoward was the 2014 IMCA State, Chowchilla and Watsonville champion, and he's not slowing down as his #2 status, one point behind the leader at Bakersfield Speedway, can attest.  With an off week at his home track, Nick rolled into town intent on making his presence known, and he left with the first prize money after moving by the Top 2 State point runners, Fred Ryland and Keith Brown Jr.

The car count hadn't been over ten in this class for a few races, and the 16 cars in the pits for this race was definitely a welcome site to racing fans.  Of course, the question is, can they maintain double digits this week with Antioch and Bakersfield both running?  Visitors from those tracks are what pushed the car count back up again, and if the absent locals aren't part of this week's field, it could drop again.

Josh Hensley has been doing his part to support the cause.  The Sport Mod rookie was a two time Top 5 driver in Hobby Stock points prior to moving up, and his old Hobby Stock has been seen at the track recently, driven by Mini Stock ace Darren Miguel.  When Rick Diaz decided he wasn't defending his championship this year, Hensley was there to grab the top spot.  As it was, Josh figured to be the top rookie in the field, but he could win both titles this season. 

The real question now is who will step up to become the top challenger for Hensley, who is building a pretty good lead for himself despite a last place finish and a ninth in his last two starts.  Fred Ryland is expected to be in Antioch, which could mean Jeremy Hoff is the next in line.  Jeremy impressed with a back of the pack charge to second last week.  On the other hand, he has spent the last two seasons at Antioch, ranking second last season and winning the 2013 championship.  Where exactly will Jeremy be on Saturday night?

If Jeremy isn't planing to improve on that second place status, Duane Short would be the next person in line. Just starting the Main Event this week could put Duane into second in points.  Like Hensley, Short came up through the Hobby Stocks, where he was eighth in the standings last season.  At this point, Duane is looking to get a good finish.  His last two starts weren't much better than Hensley's.  In fact, he may have a tough time holding off Bruce Nelson if Nelson returns for more after last week's third place finish.  Mark Odgers should also be in the mix for a Top 5 point position after finishing fifth last week, but word is he will be in Madera this week enjoying a night of Enduro racing.

Having drivers like Nelson, Hoff and Mark Squadrito in the field is the key to this division maintaining a double digit car count this week, and chances seem pretty good that this will happen.  For the first time this point season, ten drivers took a green flag in the Hobby Stock Main Event, and Bruce's wife Shannon Nelson was leading the pack to become the fifth different feature winner this season in Hobby Stocks.  The win keeps her in the battle for a Top 5 point position.

So far, the Hobby Stocks only have one repeat feature winner this season, and that would be point leader Kevin Joaquin, who has won twice.  Darren Miguel, Kristie Shearer and Watsonville visitor Joe Willoughby are the other winners.  Joaquin didn't have a great night last week.  He struggled to a sixth pace finish and didn't add too many points to his lead over Jennifer Corder.  There are a few drivers not in the win column who seem poised to get that fist win, and Corder is one of them.  Her Top 5 run last week was derailed after she pitted her smoking car, but she'll bounce back.

Travis Avila, meanwhile, was making his season debut in the #20 car, and he made it count with a second place finish.  The last few laps of that race were interesting as a few drivers jockeyed for position.  Avila served notice to the competition that he'll be somebody to contend with for feature victories.  Possibly still stinging from his disqualification at Antioch for failure to report to tech, second generation racer Christopher Brown made a surprise visit to Merced last week and came home with a third place finish.  He probably had a good time, but will he pass by Antioch again this week on the way to Merced?  All in all, it was a good show for the division last week.  It is hoped that car count will continue to increase this week.

Car count has been the concern in Limited Late Models at Merced this year.  So far, the track seems to be getting more support from Antioch regulars than the locals.  Mark Garner had mechanical problems last week at Antioch, but he is working to get the Delta Transmissions sponsored #76a car ready for Merced.  No word on whether fellow Antioch racer Peggy Sue Jarred will be back to try to improve on her career best second place finish as she blew a motor last time out.  Mike Hynes isn't expected to return this week for an attempt at a second straight win as he will likely be in Antioch with his Late Model.  After his fourth place finish at Antioch, John Evans could be back for more seat time at Merced.

If these or other Antioch racers are on hand at Merced, the question will be who is going to represent Merced for this race.  There has been word that some racers will be ready for this one, but the question is who.  We've seen three Merced drivers, two time defending champion Roy Hart Jr., past runner up Buddy Thatcher and past third place driver Scott Van Gelder.  Ronnie Cole, Robert Dias and Donnie Shearer are three who ran this division at least once last year, but no telling if they will be back.  Dias has run his Dirt Modified this year.  Cole is said to be preparing a Sport Mod and Shearer just finished fifth, right behind Kristie Shearer, in last week's Hobby Stock race.  If a few drivers come from Antioch and are matched in car count by the locals, it could be an interesting show.  We'll just have to see who is up to the challenge.

Three drivers have stepped up to the challenge to make a run at the IMCA Modified championship.  Alex Wilson unofficially leads these drivers with past champion Bill Egleston and Antioch's John MacDougall also in the hunt.  This trio is one start ahead of Ryan Porter and three time Street Stock champion Ricky Thatcher, who are also Top 5 ranked.  After four races, there have been four different winners.  Les Friend won the last time out, Porter got a big win ahead of Bobby Hogge IV, MacDougal won his first career feature and Chico champion Ryan McDaniel won the big money in January.  Will the streak of new winners continue this week?  We will see.

Wilson and Egleston will be looking for that win to assert themselves as the point leader.  Wilson has enjoyed Top 10 success in the standings at both Merced and Watsonville, and his quick start has him leading IMCA State points in addition to his Merced lead.  He managed to grab the lead after his Top 5 finish last time out.  MacDougall may be seen as the dark horse of the three.  Last season, he managed Top 5 seasons at Antioch in IMCA and Northern All Stars sanctioned Modified points, but some may wonder if that #68 car is for real.  His win earlier this season should answer that question.  The battle is on, and less than ten points separate the three.

Porter and Thatcher are down about 30 points after they missed a race, but it's still early in the game.  The night the past Merced Hobby Stock champion Porter was winning the Main Event, Thatcher led several laps of the feature before finishing third.  He also won his heat race last time out.  Simply put, Porter and Thatcher are fast and will make things interesting when they are in action.  Championships run in the Porter family as Ryan's father Tim is a two time Limited Sprint Car champion.  Speaking of championships, veteran "Bullet" Bob Williamson has two IMCA Modified titles of his own and is right there with Porter and Thatcher.  It should be a good show on Saturday as a double digit car count is anticipated.

In the Mini Stocks, the information wasn't exactly flowing for this class this week, but it looks like Chris Corder maintained his point lead after finishing second in the Main Event to Darren Miguel.  However, it's going to be close.  Miguel won that Mini Stock Main Event as well as his heat race.  The Top 6 in points going into last week were separated by only eight points, so Corder and Miguel may be the Top 2 at the moment.

Kevin Lockerby felt he had a winning car last week, but dealing with a newcomer in the field caused him grief and sent him into a tractor tire.  He ended up fifth and it will cost him in the points.  The past Mini Truck champion was just four points behind Corder going in, but it's likely that he was passed by Miguel and possibly Joy Alger, who finished third in the Main Event.

Dennis Copus, Natalie Waldrop and Steve Johnson were also in last week's field, but car count was down from the double digit turnouts of the previous races.  Word during the week was that Dale Falkenberg may bring his daughter's car to go racing this week, and it's anticipated that more cars will be in action this time out.  With Corder, Lockerby and Miguel in this field, you have some talented racers mixing it up.

Back at Antioch Speedway, IMCA Sport Mods, Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars and Wingless Spec Sprints are part of a five division show.  DIRTcar Late Models make their fourth appearance of the season, and people are getting excited about it. 

John Soares Jr. brought these popular Late Models back to Antioch last season after Petaluma Speedway dropped the class, and support has been building.  Established stars like Richard Papenhausen, Jeff Decker, Paul Guglielmoni and Rod Arnold got on board immediately.  Gradually, local drivers have started getting in, such as Chester Kniss, Rob Norris and Troy Foulger.  Soares is actually pretty optimistic about where this thing may be going.  We haven't even seen the "House Car" that Bobby Hogge IV wheeled to a pair of wins last year, but at some point soon, we probably will.

As a fan, you can't help but enjoy the show.  Papenhausen has shown that he's not slipping in the least.  The 2014 champion now has two wins in three starts and leads the other feature winner, Decker, by just two points.  This battle at times has gotten a little heated.  Decker is no chump and has won championships at Antioch, Watsonville and Petaluma.  The presence of that #84 car means that Papenhausen will have to earn any wins he gets.  And, Decker isn't the only one making a challenge.  There's also Foulger.

"Tricky Troy" as they call him has already proven how good he is with 26 wins and four championships in IMCA Modifieds at Antioch.  His decision to expand his horizons with a Late Model last year netted him a feature win, and he wants more.  He had a Top 5 finish and Trophy Dash win his first time out, but last time was Troy showing us that he came here to win.  He gave Papenhausen all he could handle before spinning to avoid taking out the leader late in the race.  Not only is Troy fast, but he's a clean racer too.  It just may be that this week is the week he'll get that next win in a Late Model.

Then, there's David Newquist.  David is doing double track duty as a regular at Chico Silver Dollar Speedway also.  In fact, he ranked third up there last season in that blue #04 car, and he had another Top 3 there last time out.  He's off to a respectful start at Antioch as well, and his Top 5 finish last time out has him ranked third in the standings, 14 points ahead of Danny Malfatti.  But, David didn't come to town to simply look respectful, he came to get a win.  Will he get that victory this week?  We'll find out on Saturday.

A field of 10-12 cars is anticipated as this class slowly builds, and the cast of characters anticipated for this one includes the above mentioned drivers as well as others like Mike Hynes, Dean Devolder. Terry Kuntz and Randy Shafer.  Second ranked Limited Late Model competitor Hynes has two non starts this year, so he's hoping three's a charm and he can make some good laps this time around.

A couple of drivers making good laps this season in Dwarf Cars are Danny Wagner and David Teves.  The two time defending champion Wager has won two of the three races so far, and yet he's not the point leader.  That honor falls to David Teves.  David has three Top 3 finishes, has done well in preliminary races and leads by two points.  This isn't the first year these two have battled for the championship.  Wagner beat Teves for his first championship in 2013.  Not to be forgotten in this battle is young Adam Teves.  Adam finished fourth last week with a heat win of his own and finds himself 22 points out of the lead in third as a result.

Right now, the gap seems to be building between the Top 2 drivers and the rest of the pack.  Adam has serious competition if he wants to hold on to third.  In fact, just 22 points separate Adam from tenth ranked Kevin Miraglio, and the man right behind him was second in points last year.  That would be Mike Corsaro.  Corsaro's third place finish last week keeps him four points behind A. Teves, and it's very early in the game to get comfortable with any point position.

After taking a break from racing, Jerry Doty is picking up right where he left off in fifth.  Doty was celebrating his 55th birthday last week, and what better way to do that than at the races.  Back in 2010, the former Baylands Stock Car racer surprised Ricardo Rivera and Nick Squatritto by beating them both for that championship.  The other two seemed the most likely to win, but Jerry was consistent and got good finishes.  That's what it takes to be a point racer.

Even with Petaluma having a Dwarf Car race last week, Antioch produced a 14 car field, and those numbers aren't expected to go down this week.  The other feature winner this year, Jack Haverty, is expected for this show along with Thomas Leiby, Chuck Weir and Charlie "The Hammer" Correia.  Tim Reeder and Miranda Chappa have been having a heck of a time out there as they try to get their cars dialed in.  Both have been involved in spins and other on track tangles, but they'll keep improving in the weeks ahead.  Reeder was actually a Top 10 driver in points last season.

Shifting gears to the Hobby Stock division, there is word of lots of cars being prepared for debut in the weeks ahead, including several newcomers.  Last week, Joey Ridgway made his first start of the season and finished seventh.  We also saw the return of Natalie Perry after motor problems at the season opener.  She also took a checkered flag in ninth.

The championship battle is very much a three car race between point leader Kimo Oreta, Melissa Myers and Nick Baldwin.  Oreta had been knocking on the door to victory this year with two seconds, but he emphatically kicked it in last week with his victory in the 20 lap race.  Myers had to battle from tenth to finish fourth, though she was passed late by third place finisher Baldwin.  Baldwin didn't make it easy on himself as he spun from third, but the heat race winner still battled back for that podium finish.  The three drivers will make it difficult for anybody else to get feature wins, but not impossible.

Jordan Swank had to feel like things were beginning to go his way last week.  The rookie had a front row start for the main event and surprised Perry by jumping out into the lead at the drop of the green flag.  Unfortunately, jubilation turned to frustration when he spun from the lead two laps into the race.  Jordan took a checkered flag in eighth and now has company in the battle to hold onto fifth. 

Danny Jones missed a race, but his back to back Top 5 finishes have him now within 12 points of Swank in the race for fifth.  Danny has been fighting motor problems, but he seemed to have the car pretty well dialed in last week as he finished second in the Main Event.  Could that red, while and blue #66 car have a date with The Winner's Circle in the near future?  You never know.

Robert Niven made his second start of the season and came from last starting to a lead lap sixth place finish.  He really turned in a nice drive in that orange #69z car, and this could be his first step towards an eventual victory.  As more cars show up, it's going to get even more interesting in this division.  A field of a dozen or so cars is anticipated, and we've already had 19 different competitors race at least once so far this year.

In Sport Mods, "Fast" Freddy Ryland finally came crashing down to earth last week when he spun at Merced and collected Keith Brown Jr., who was running third at the time.  This left Fred out of a Top 10 finish for the first time in several starts.  When last these cars were at Antioch, however, the Ryland's made their mark.  Fred won the Main Event, while his wife Patti collected a heat win and Top 10 feature finish.  Fred leads Brown in the State point race, and the Top 3 in IMCA National points going into last week were Ryland, Nick Spainhoward and Brown.

Brown has been logging a lot of seat time in his #128 car, and the results have been mixed.  His recent Merced start should have resulted in a Top 3 before he got caught up in the Ryland spin.  Last time at Antioch was a third place finish, but the time before that was a mechanical issue complicated nightmare that he'd rather forget.  Despite all of that, the third generation Antioch competitor finds himself within 15 points of Ryland for the lead.  That's three ahead of Al Johnson, who finished sixth last time.

Two hard chargers coming off of back to back Top 5 finishes at Antioch are 2013 Merced Mini Stock champion Al Sotomayor and Paul Mulder.  Unfortunately, both are having to make up for lost time after missing the January race this year.  Only 12 points separate 2013 Antioch champion Jeremy Hoff from 12th ranked Patti Ryland in the battle for fourth.  Hoff will have a decision to make on whether to go to Merced or Antioch, but he's behind the point leaders in either case.  When it comes to who might beat Ryland at Antioch, Sotomayor and Mulder are definitely two drivers to keep an eye on.

A field of 10-12 cars is anticipated for this show, and that number could be higher depending on who all shows for this race.  The field has been bolstered by the addition of racers like P. Ryland, K.C. Keller, Tim Hammett and Ron Brown, and all four are anticipated for this race.  Brown had a few mechanical issues to sort through after his debut last time out, but he's got a good crew keeping that beautiful #3 car running.  Hammett's last time out was a bit of a spinning nightmare, but the only way for him to put that all behind him and get better is to come back out and make some more laps.  The Sport Mods should be a good show this week.

Another good show should be the Wingless Spec Sprints.  The division enjoyed a much needed two week break, which will hopefully allow the drivers to regroup and get their cars together.  The announcement leading into the season that drivers would have to scale back a bit with the new rules left some racers happy and others very frustrated.  However, the show has gone on.  Management felt this was the only course of action to take if they were going to get more drivers out there in the future.  The Wingless Spec Sprints are now in their 17th season at the track.

We were waiting to hear confirmation of this, but according to the point list, Klint Simpson was in fact disqualified from victory last time out.  Simpson flat out dominated the action in a car that wasn't exactly up to code for the new Antioch rules.  It was legal to Petaluma rules, where he had a good run in second last week.  With that disqualification, Kyle Bakkie was elevated to victory, though that's not the way Kyle would like to have it.

Bakkie has gotten off to a strong start this season with two seconds and that win, putting him 12 points ahead of Rick Panfili in the championship battle.  Bakkie is coming off of a strong season last year in second, and he had every hope of making a run for the championship this season.  However, to do it, he'll have to deal with four tough competitors who are all within 36 points of him after three races.

Panfili saw his third place finish last time out improved to second.  "Rockin Richard" is a Spec Sprint original from 1999 and actually started racing with the NCMA before that.  He finds himself in an interesting position as the veteran of the field with the most Antioch seat time.  He now has two thirds and a second, but to date he is still searching for his first career win.  However, all indications are that this could be the year it finally happens.

Another drover who has been in this division nearly as long as Panfili is "Rallying" Roy Fisher.  Roy is just nine points behind Panfili and 21 behind Bakkie.  Roy is  a feature winner this season and has been a Top 3 driver in points in the past.  What he has not done yet is win a championship, and it looks like he came to change that this season.  Though he sits in third now, some may actually consider him the man to beat.

The next two in line may not be familiar names, but they are hard chargers.  Alan Miranda may be the next driver in line to get a feature win aboard his #11b car.  He has already come close and is just 12 points out of second in the standings.  Marcus Smith is even more of a newcomer, but he continues to log good laps in his #28 car and should continue to improve in the weeks ahead.

Actually, the last race had to be a bit frustrating for a few drivers.  Debuting past division champion Jimmy Perry III and Fisher started deep in the pack, and as Fisher was working to make it into the Top 5, he found a road block in the form of the #77 car of Ryon Siverling.  Ryon actually finished fifth at the checkered flag, though the DQ of Simpson moved Siverling and Fisher into the fourth and fifth positions.  Ryon was part of the 16 car field at Petaluma last week and managed a tenth place finish.

Who will be out for this race is anybody's guess, but there should be at least 8-10 cars.  Veteran Keith Shipherd has been working on a new motor for his #20 car and will be back when it's ready.  Speaking of ready, if that #21p car of Perry is running better, he'll likely be running up near the front.  The rule changes have put the class a little behind in car count, but it should improve as long as rules are left alone and other drivers get a chance to make things legal.  The one thing the new rules set has done is produce some close racing out there among the legal cars.

To recap, Merced Speedway will be featuring IMCA Modifieds and Sport Modifieds this week, along with Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Limited Late Models.  DIRTcar Late Models are coming to Antioch along with IMCA Sport Modifieds and Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars and Wingless Spec Sprints.  Both should be good shows, depending on where you chose to go Saturday night.  For all official information pertaining to these tracks and Chowchilla Speedway, the Oval Motorsports Website is the place to check out.

And furthermore....

Petaluma Speedway is dark, but only for this week.  However, the people of Petaluma and fans of that race track need to be mindful of the constant threat they are dealing with to close that track.  A new proposal is being kicked around to alter the fairgrounds by cutting it in half.  There are always rich and greedy, yes rich and greedy, businessmen who care more about $$$ than the community.  This is a problem with the world that leads into areas I'd rather leave to other places to discuss.

You also have the environmentalist wackos (yeah I borrowed that from Mr. Limbaugh, whom I don't listen to as I find left vs. right b.s. to be useless and boring).  They want to shut racing down for the environment.  When the earth decides to knock us from its surface, and it may one day, it won't be because of cars or people burning wood at night to keep warm.

So, they want to build on that property and shut down a tradition that goes back to the early 1960's.  The fact remains that the Fairgrounds lease is in effect until 2023, so nothing has to change for a while if they stick to their guns, but we should take threats like this seriously.  They are VERY serious.  Trust me on that.

This is why when I hear of things like driver boycotts at tracks I cringe.  Drivers and management squabble and the people who hate racing or want to build a new mall (like we need more) come right in and take it all away.  They want to close Ventura, they want All American Speedway, there's even an insignificant little gnat of a so called "human being" who wants to shut down Watsonville Speedway.  This is part of a larger concern I have where promoters (you know the names) should stop having their little ego contests and come to each others defense when threats like these arise.

When Dr. Dirt, Jim Soares, came in and took over Petaluma Speedway from his dad, he had to deal with threats, like the minor league stadium.  Jim never flinched.  He booked the races and those threats abated for a while.  Now, Rick Faeth is facing the same thing, and he's just trying to run races at Petaluma as well.  They had a good show last Saturday by all accounts, and they will next week too.  Petaluma Speedway still lives, and we should fight to keep it that way.

That Fairgrounds serves a multitude of purposes in addition to racing, though racing is a big source of revenue for them.  Everything from agricultural to crafts to various types of shows and gatherings, and then you have the annual county fair.  This is important.  Not all "progress" is really for the good of the community, and this idea that they need to build on that property needs to just go away.  They've built enough.  They have their precious stores across the street, and the two places can co exist now.

So, racing fans at Petaluma should be vigilant and ready to have their voices heard (in a respectful manner) when the need arises.  They will NEVER give up on trying to close that track or others, so we should all remember that and be thankful if we have a race track in our neighborhood in which to support.  Ask the people in Vallejo, San Jose, Grass Valley or Fremont what can happen.  Let's not let that happen to Petaluma Speedway.

That little miracle up north, Hayfork Speedway, has a race scheduled this Saturday to kick off the 2015 season.  Hobby Stocks headline with Mini Stocks, Hornets and an Enduro.  The people there had to build this program from the ground up, and I think they are doing a heck of a job.  They need to work on their publicity a little, but otherwise, putting a new dirt track into existence is okay by me.

Siskiyu Speedway in Yreka has a full slate of racing as well, including the popular Mini Stocks, Dwarf Cars, Super Stocks and IMCA Modifieds.  Yeah, just about everybody is racing now.  Sacramento Valley Raceway in Orland is next, but this weekend is another playday.  I'm anxious to see what the new management can do to attract the racers again, but the old management was pretty darn good and faced a real problem.

You see, after the Turner's, who people seemed to hate so much, left, Orland couldn't find anybody to do it even half as good as Paul & Carol could.  By the time Mike McCann got there, the damage had been done.  Chico was running Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Spec Sprints, so drivers started choosing Chico over Orland.  If Mike had just a few more good people working with him, it might have turned out better, because he truly is one of the better promoters.  I wish the new management lots of luck, because Orland is a track that's worth fighting for.

Placerville Speedway's traditional Sprint Car, Limited Late Model and Pure Stock show gets going Saturday with news that point funds have actually been increased for the other two divisions.  I love a track with a Sprint Car heritage that actually still respects the Stock Car classes.  See, it doesn't have to be either or.  It's actually possible to be a fan of both.  From what I am hearing, the Placerville crew has a great season planned.  They even have BCRA Midget Lites this week after they had a good show last week at Antioch.

Looks like the big Monster Truck event at Chico this week is keeping both Chico and Marsville dark to racing, but the Friday and Saturday night tracks will be back in action next week.  Friday night is still an option if you are in Watsonville.  Ocean Speedway has 360 Sprint Cars, IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks on the card.  All accounts show that last Friday was actually a good show, and Tommy Tarlton won the Sprint Car race, Bobby Hogge IV got the IMCA Mods, Tony Oliveira won Hobby Stocks and Shawn Jones was the Dwarf Car winner.  We don't have the name for the Mini Stock winner, but the division was there.  So, Friday night should be good down at The Ville.

Note:  Luke Babcock won the 15 lap Four Banger feature and the heat race. Car count was light with just six cars in the feature. Justin McPherson was second ahead of Shawn Markley Jr.

You don't have to worry about Mini Stocks being ignored at Rocky Hill Speedway in Porterville.  They love the class down there and feature both regular and Super Mini Stocks.  Jared Plumlee liked winning so much a week earlier that he won again last week, while Darren Estermann won the Supers.  There were a dozen Mini Dwarfs and those wins went to J.D Brown (Senior) and Cole Forster (Junior).  Hobbys and American Stocks are a work in progress, but John Collins bested Karl Noland in the seven car Hobby Stock field, while Cale Hosfeldt won the American Stocks.  One of the oldest Dwarf Car organizations in California, CDCRA, came to Rocky Hill, and Darren Brent went home with the win in that.

Rocky Hill is dark this week and back a week later, but we end with that gem they affectionately call "Okie Bowl" Speedway.  Of course, that's Bakersfield Speedway.  Modifieds are on tap this week, regular and Sport, along with Mini Stocks, Mod Lites and Mini Dwarfs.  Ryan Bernal led a parade of Sprint Cars well into the 20's in car count with an impressive victory last week.  Following Bernal in the "Parade Of Winners" last week were Clay Daly (Pro Stock), Kevin Collier (Hobby Stock), Roger Welch (American Stock) and Bobby Courtney (Okie Bowl Hardtop).  On any given Saturday night, if you are looking for a dirt track to visit, Bakersfield Speedway is still one of THE best tracks in the state.

We again close by reminding you that Antioch and Merced Speedways are both racing this Saturday.  And, Chowchilla Speedway is back on Sunday, April 19th.  For further information, check the official Oval Motorsports Website.