Sunday, May 31, 2015

IMCA Modifieds, Sprint Cars At Antioch, Sport Mods, Hobbys At Chowchilla

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 Review Edison Of The DCRR Racing Radio Show

Wanted to make sure this could be heard by all, and my video hosting site has had issues.  So, here it is.  I have a few things to say about the state of things at our tracks and how I think things can begin to be fixed.  Then, results.  May move this to the video host site later, but this way I know this is up in case I'm unable to don anything else.

Reposting this about the late June big money races coming up at Antioch Speedway

The buzz probably hasn't been out there about the late June Summer Nationals races at Antioch Speedway, but here's what is on the schedule:

June 26 (Friday):

Antioch – Summer Nationals –  IMCA Modifieds,  Limited Late Models, IMCA Sport Mods (no    track points but there will be national, regional, and state points), Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars.

June 27 (Saturday):

Antioch – Summer Nationals – DIRTcar Late Models, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Mods.  

NASCAR racer Kenny Wallace will be driving a Modified and a Late Model that weekend and is willing to drive any other race car made available to him.  He'll compete in every class he can.  The track traditionally runs a big race on the weekend of the Sears Point NASCAR race, and this is no exception.

Questions were asked to this reporter about the purse, and this is the word we got from John Soares Jr. at Antioch Speedway.  The Friday night IMCA Modified race will pay $1500 to win and a minimum of $125 to start, which could end up being $150.  The Sport Mods will race for $500 to win.  Expectations are for good car counts in both classes, and we are already hearing rumors of cars coming down from Oregon for this event.

The Saturday night IMCA Modified feature will pay $2500 to win and will pay the same to start as mentioned aboveSport Mods get $750 to win.  The Late Models get a minimum of $1500 to win and $150 to start regardless of car count.  John would like to pay $2000 to win if he can get 20 cars, and I'm thinking that will include an increase in the start money, though I didn't get clarification on that part.  However, these two races should be big.

For more information, go to the official Oval Motorsports Website.

 Big $1000 To Win Hobby Stock Races At Hayfork Speedway

I had this note passed across my desk as we were going live with our previous audio show.  Hayfork Speedway, which features Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Enduro Cars this year, wants Hobby Stock drivers to come on up and race.  How badly do they want them?  They are offering $1000 to win on July 11th and August 8th.

Mike Rydman, who is a past Top 5 Hobby Stock racer at Antioch Speedway, recently spoke with Hayfork Speedway promoter Dwayne Brown.  They are hoping the extra money will attract racers from Orland, Chico, Placerville and maybe even further south.  Hayfork Speedway is in its fourth season, and they have already had a few big money Hobby Stock and Mini Stock races in their short history.

Hayfork Speedway has a Facebook Page for updates and in case you may have questions.  You can find it HERE

IMCA Modifieds, Sprint Cars At Antioch, Sport Mods, Hobbys At Chowchilla

Oval Motorsports will have two Saturday night options for the fans to choose from this week.  At Antioch Speedway, there will be IMCA Modifieds, Winged 360 Sprints, Wingless Spec Sprints, Northern All Stars Limited Late Models and Hobby Stocks.  Chowchilla Speedway features three regular classes in IMCA Sport Mods, Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks.  In addition to those three divisions, they have added Dwarf Cars and the Valley Sportsman division to the mix.

The reason Chowchilla gets a Saturday night race is because neighboring Merced Speedway is dark for the Annual County Fair.  However, Merced comes back at you on Wednesday night (June 10) with IMCA Modifieds and Sport Mods.  On Thursday (June 11), the Dwarf Cars will be running for $1,000 to win and $100 to start as Mini Stocks are also on the card.  Early projections show that the Dwarf Cars should have a good field as several Antioch drivers plan to be there and should be joined by some racers from the South Bay and Nor Cal Dwarf Car clubs.

As always, this is an unofficial report from somebody trying to help support the cause and get the word out.  Your official site for all matters concern Antioch, Merced and Chowchilla Speedways is

The IMCA Modifieds co headline the Antioch race, and Jeff Thomas will be trying for two wins in a row.  A point runner up in this division not too many years ago, Jeff impressed by holding off Kyle Wilson to win the feature last time out.  The race before that, he blew a motor while leading late.  Despite the hard luck, Jeff has moved to fifth in the standings, 29 points behind Dustin Himes.

Himes has been quietly having a pretty good season.  He has finished in the Top five in the Main Event this season, and he currently finds himself only six points behind 2014 champion Carl Berendsen II in a close battle for what would be a career best third if he could pass him.  Berendsen seems fast enough to win in the former Aaron Crowell car, and you never know.  That win just may happen this week.

Of course, the two drivers in front of him in the standings may have something to say about that.  Because Carl missed the first two races, he's 52 points behind Motts for second.  Motts had a bout with the wall last time out.  Though the past Street Stock champion Motts took a checkered flag, he lost the point lead to third place finisher Scott Busby.  Busby leads Motts by four points in what seems to be his quest for a division leading fifth track championship.  Busby has added two more wins to his resume this year to give him 66 total for his career at Antioch (counting his Street Stock wins).  Motts is also a feature winner this season.

There is plenty of jockeying for position outside the Top 5 in the standings, and Merced and IMCA State point leader Alex Wilson has found his way into ninth after his last visit.  He and brother Kyle Wilson are both anticipated for this race, and Kyle has had a good go of it lately.  He has a pair of wins at Merced and was second at Antioch last time out.  Others who may be there include the hard charging Mike Salazar, Terry Kaiser and Chris Elby.  There always seems to be different drivers showing up, so you never know who may join the action this week.

Antioch's commitment to the Winged 360 Sprint Car division continues.  There have been three different winners in the first three races, and two of those drivers, Jake Haulot and Art McCarthy, are anticipated for this race.  Jake is the son of veteran racer Danny Haulot, and he has been racing at several places this season to gain more seat time.  It seems to have paid off nicely as he became the 12th different winner in the last 12 races two weeks ago. 

With that win, Haulot trails third generation racer Shawn Arriaga by six points in a close battle.  Arriaga's mother, Cheri Hill, was there as usual watching him finish third and win his heat race.  Cheri actually won her first Main Event at Antioch back in the 1990's in this division, and former Petaluma champion Shawn is on the list of winners for the last 12 Antioch races.  He knows he needs to win if he is to have a shot at the championship.

Only 14 points behind Arriaga in third are McCarthy and Chris Magoon.  Both are champions in this class at Antioch with Magoon winning it last year.  McCarthy also has two Petaluma championships on his resume and was busy making Haulot work for the last win as he finished a chose second.  It would surprise nobody to see McCarthy or Magoon score the win this week.

Dan Gonderman had blown a motor in the previous race and missed the latest show.  That allowed Brandon Powell to take over fifth by 12 points over the second generation racer.  Gonderman is one of the best ever in Wingless Spec Sprints at Antioch with two championships to his credit, but he's wanting to add Winged 360 Sprint Car feature winner to his resume.  He only leads Doc Brophy by four points for sixth, and all three of these drivers are anticipated for this show.

Oval Motorsports is working to try to establish a class here, but who else might show up is a guess.  Two others to look for to join the Top 7 drivers will be Ricky Brophy and Roy Fisher.  Brophy was unable to repair his car for the last race, but he should be ready for this one.  Roy Fisher missed the last race to run his Spec Sprinter, but it's anticipated that he will make this one after seeing how much his car was needed last time.  Chase Wood Sr. made his first appearance last time, and if this all happens this week, that will make ten cars.  Another possible competitor could be third generation racer Ryan Timmons, who was in action at the recent Marysville Civil War race.

Meanwhile, the Wingless Spec Sprints continue their rebuilding process.  Kyle Bakkie and Rick Panfili are in it for the long haul and running 1-2 in the standings.  While Bakkie won for the third time last visit, Panfili searches for his first win.  His late pass for third last time out keeps him 26 points behind Bakkie.  Bakkie caught Roy Fisher sleeping behind a slower car in that race and made an outside pass late in the race to get that victory.

Despite the mechanical issues keeping him from racing after hot laps, second generation racer Marcus Smith still sits third in the standings, 22 points behind Panfili.  Smith had a career best second place finish in the race before that and seems to be figuring the car out more with each race.  His lead over Alan Miranda is now 32 points in the battle for third.  Miranda is a good candidate for "Hard Luck Driver" after flipping his car earlier this year and then leading 19 laps of a Main Event before being spun out on the last lap.

If Fisher does run his winged car this week, rookie Chase Wood Jr. and NFL Alumni Jeremy Newberry will likely gain substantial ground on him for fifth.  Newberry seems to be getting closer to being a threat to win a Main Event.  He finished second earlier this season and led a few laps early in the most recent race before mechanical issues struck.  Meanwhile, Wood collected another checkered flag in fifth.  It's hard to tell who may be in the field this week, but recent feature winner Jimmy Perry III and James East seem like good possibilities.

Eric Berendsen would love to have his Limited Late Model at the track.  The former Top 5 Limited Late Model and Hobby Stock driver recently got his car back, but he's looking for some sponsorship to help him get it into racing shape again.  Calvin Louis may be ready to debut his new car this week, there's a possibility of seeing Ryan Cherezian again and John Evans could be back at any time.  That would be good news for fans of the division who want to see more cars.

Even when you do see more cars, that orange and blue #15 car of Larry Damitz and the blue #2 of Mike Gustafson will probably be up near the front.  These two account for five of the six wins so far this season.  Gustafson won for the second time this season last time.  The three wins Damitz has gives him an 18 point lead over one time winner and Merced point leader Mark Garner.  Garner has been winning his heat races at Antioch lately, but he's really wanting to get a feature win again.

He may need that win to hold onto second.  He doesn't seem to be gaining on Damitz or losing Gustafson in this close battle.  Gustafson is just six points behind Garner for second, while 2014 point runner up Mike Hynes is eight points back.  Hynes is the only one of the three with no feature wins at Antioch yet this season, but he has finished as high as second. 

Lurking 18 points behind Hynes in fifth is Jim Freethy, and he could get closer.  Jim recently debuted a new car with a better suspension setup, and the 2013 champion finished second last time out.  It could be Freethy who becomes the next new winner of the season.  Of course, Lori Brown has a pair of third place finishes this season and four feature wins in this division in previous seasons.  The past division champion is due for another win.  A Top five driver last season, Peggy Sue Jarred will be out to try and get herself a Top 3 finish.  If she can get her motor sorted out, you might be surprised by how well Peggy Sue can do in her #313 car.

At last report, the Hobby Stocks were poised to see a car count increase of their own.  No less than three cars were rumored to be about ready to debut.  There was the second car from Steven Rogers' team, wheeled by past division champion Dan McCown, a team car to Danny Jones, driven by past Top 3 Mini Truck racer Jessica Jones, and the division debut of 2014 Four Banger champion Brent Curran.  McCown could very well be a favorite in the race for wins.  He has ten Hobby Stock wins in his career at Antioch.  We've been saying all along that the car count is about ready to pop in a good way, and it may happen this week.

With one more win, Kimo Oreta will take sole possession of the all time win record in Hobby Stocks at Antioch.  At the moment, the two time defending champion is tied with past champion and current IMCA Sport Mod super star Fred Ryland.  Both drivers have 16 wins.  Oreta has won the past two to increase his already huge point lead in the process, but the last one didn't come because he was a dominant force.  Kimo actually ran a patient race and let the win come to him.  Leader Robert Niven made a mistake in Turn 4 during the second half of the race, and Oreta capitalized on it for the victory.

With Oreta off in another zip code with the point lead, we still have a very close battle happening for second.  It would be a career best for all three in this division.  Danny Jones was coming off of his third second place finish and looking for a win last race, but what he got instead was a blown motor on the opening lap.  Frankly, he was happy to have the two week break to get a motor together.  Jones is just five points ahead of the steady Michael Cooper and six ahead of rookie sensation Jordan Swank.  Swank had a career best third last time out and the 2014 Mini Stock point runner up has shown much improvement out there with each start.  The question is, which one of these three will be the first to score a feature win this year?  Maybe we'll find out this week.

Another driver working on a career best point effort is Frank Furtado.  Frank has struggled at times in his #81 car, but despite that, he took over fifth in the standings last week, 20 ahead of three time winner Melissa Hansen, who isn't chasing points this year.  The next competitor that we expect to see this week is Robert Niven.  With back to back Top 5 finishes, Niven is still a distant 74 points behind Furtado.  Other drivers we anticipate include Top 10 ranked Natalie Perry, Jeremy Jennings, Cameron Swank and possibly Russell Shearer.  Two time winner Jason Jennings hasn't had his car at the track in recent weeks, but we suspect the #42j car could be ready to go at any time.

At Chowchlla Speedway, the IMCA Sport Mods take the mantle as the headliner of the sixth event of the season.  After five races, the two names you need to know in the win column are four time winner Fred Ryland and one time winner Keith Brown Jr.  Not surprisingly, Ryland currently holds a 17 point lead over Brown.  Brown really gave it all he had last time, but suspension damage suffered in his battle for second led to him spinning from third on the last lap.  This rivalry will continue on Saturday, but could there be another winner this time?

It's hard to predict who all will be going to Chowchilla, but third ranked Josh Gish is anticipated.  Josh had a DNF last time and was third in the race before that.  He holds a 25 point lead over Nastasia Dodd and trails Brown by 19.  However, Dodd is also a Top 5 driver on the Southwest Tour S2 Modified Tour.  That group also has a race at Irwindale on Saturday, which is where she is likely to be.

With Dodd out of the picture, fourth is likely to change hands.  Merced point leader Josh Hensley is only a point behind her, while Marisa Odgers is three points back in sixth.  Marisa is coming off of a solid fifth place finish last time and is ready to move up the point ladder.  Paul Espino was fourth last time out and is another driver who could be in the field this week, along with John Fore Jr., Chris Falkenberg and Tim Elias.

In the Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks, Kevin Joaquin leads the way in the standings after getting off to a strong start with two feature wins.  It's not a huge lead, but he will need to stumble a bit to lose it at this point.  He hasn't finished too well in the last two races, but he has fished.  That hasn't always been the case for Austin Van Hoff, who is 34 points back in second.  Van Hoff is a past Top 3 driver in this class, and he is capable of making a move.  So, you can't call this a done deal just yet.

Fellow Chowchilla local Kodie Dean is 34 points behind Van Hoff in the battle for second.  Dean crunched his front end up pretty badly two races ago, but he rebounded in fifth last time.  Even with that finish, he finds himself in a tie with past Chowchilla Sport Mod champion Gary Hildebrand, who finished third last time out.  Hildebrand wants a podium point position, and his car wasn't ready that night, so he got to drive Josh Hensley's potent #86 Hobby Stocker.  Gary actually made a late move on past Chowchula Mini Stock champion Robby Loquaci to earn that third place finish.

Loquaci finds himself 18 points behind rookie Dexter Long, who was having his struggles last time out.  One man doing anything but struggling is two time Merced Hobby Stock champion Bruce Nelson.  Nelson has piloted Kristie Shearer's #73j car to back to back wins, and now he is just ten points behind Long for fifth.  The 1-2 finish has gone to the Shearer Team in the last two events as Michael Shearer finished second to Nelson both times.  It's anticipated that car count will do okay in this class.

Car count may be a question for the Mini Stocks.  Alex Odishoo was the winner last time and is a distant second to two time winner and point leader Chris Corder.  However, Alex is obligated to announce this race.  Word was he was trying to find a solution that might allow him to announce most of the night and race this division.  If he can't, Mike Congdon is just 14 points behind him and coming off of back to back third place finishes.  Odishoo would love to race, knowing that his car was fast enough to pass Corder for the lead late in the most recent race.

Beyond that, it's a guess as to who might be there. Jadon Harrington was a no show for the last race, but he had back to back second place finishes before that.  A Top 3 driver at Madera last season, Jadon would be a threat to win if he showed.  Brian Widdowson has driven the backup car for Chris Corder sometimes this season, so he could also end up there.  Corder himself has debated about switching to his #505 car for a race.  While it's not clear who may race, drivers to watch for include Mike Germait, Natalie Waldrop, Tyler Appelbaum and Joy Alger.

Dwarf Cars were added to the schedule, and Oval Motorsports actually has made an effort to reach out to the two traveling clubs in the area.  At Merced, a last minute scheduled race had one Nor Cal Dwarf Car driver, Mike Drake, and five Antioch competitors, Charlie Correia, Mike Corsaro, Chuck Wier, Thomas Leiby and Tim Reeder.  A disqualification of most of the field for failing to go to tech resulted in Drake's win in that race as Correia had crossed the line first.  There were some unhappy drivers afterwards, but Oval Motorsports later stepped in and resolved it to everybody's satisfaction.

These six racers are anticipated for the July 11 Fair race at Merced and could be in Chowchilla on Saturday.  It seems more likely that there will be South Bay Dwarf Car drivers than Nor Cal racers as the South Bay drivers come from the Wastonville track.  As to who those drivers might be?  It's difficult to speculate on that, but it won't be a surprise to see some of them.  Their lack of support at the Merced race was due to the fact that they had already scheduled a big shoot out race with the Petaluma regulars that night at Petaluma Speedway.

Can you name the four drivers who have won Sportsman championships at Chowchilla Speedway in the past 15 years?  That would be Keith Van Houten, Mark Odgers, Tim Prothro and Michael Sherarer.  It's hard to say whether you will see one of those drivers, though that may not be likely.  In fact, it would be difficult to predict just who may show up for this race.

It's known that there are a least 14 cars for this division in the area, but we've yet to see more than five cars show up for a race at Merced this season.  Marcus Lung is the Merced point leader and could see action on Saturday night.  Jeff Bristow, Kenny Birdsong and Mike Palmberg are three others who may be there.  Palmberg has been the representative for this class in recent years and is trying to rally the drivers for support.  Who will show is anybody's guess, but it is a neat division that hearkens back to the class of the 1970's.

Trivia buffs will know that this revival of the division started when Merced Pure Stock champion  Luis Miranda got together with then promoter Chuck Griffin, himself a past Top 5 driver in the Sportsman division, and hashed out a plan to bring this class back.  The fact that the Limited Sprint class had just left made it perfect timing for this division.  This is the 17th season for the Sportsman revival, but it is definitely in need of more driver support to keep it going.

To recap, Antioch Speedway will be featuring IMCA Modifieds along with Northern All Stars Winged 360 Sprints, Wingless Spec Sprints, Limited Late Models and Hobby Stocks on Saturday night.  Chowchilla Speedway also has Saturday night racing with IMCA Sport Modifieds, Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Dwarf Cars and the Valley Sportsman division on the card.  For further information, check out the official Oval Motorsports Website.