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
On Sale At Reduced Price
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 Summer Nationals 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 above. Sport 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.
The DCRR Racing Radio Show
Weekend Preview Edition
Footage from the Winged 360 Sprint Cars at Petaluma Speedway can be found HERE
Footage from the Wingless Spec Sprints at Petaluma Speedway can be found HERE
Footage from the IMCA Modifieds at Petaluma Speedway can be found HERE
Footage from the Dwarf Cars at Petaluma Speedway can be found HERE
Footage from the Mini Stocks at Petaluma Speedway can be found HERE (Not Up Yet)
Here's some in car footage from last week's IMCA Modified Main Event at Antioch Speedway HERE
Footage from last week's IMCA Sport Mod Main Event at Ocean Speedway right HERE
Footage from IMCA Modified at Ventura Raceway. You get a good view of these cars on that track, and you can watch it HERE
Here's an interesting article about some of the Super Modified drivers and the Legends Of Kearney Bowl, which can be found HERE
Antioch, Merced And Chowchilla Speedways All Have Races This Week
This week, Oval Motorsports has four events planned between its three race tracks, and it all starts on Wednesday at Merced Speedway during the annual Merced County Fair. IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds are both having races. A night later, the Dwarf Cars get a shot at the money with a $1000 to win and $100 to start Main Event. The Mini Stocks join them on the card. Saturday night, there are two options. One will be in Chowchilla, where IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds. Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks, Limited Late Models and Mini Stocks will be competing. At Antioch, the DIRTcar Late Models headline a five division show with IMCA Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars and Vintage Hardtops.
The midweek date for IMCA Modifieds could see an increase in the dozen or so cars normally seen at Merced as some drivers do enjoy racing in front of a Fairtime crowd. Also, drivers from out of town may be inspired to visit. Whatever the case, they will have to contend with the three drivers who have been battling hard for the track championship all season. After his fourth place finish last time, John MacDougall moved by last place finisher Alex Wilson to take a six point lead. Bill Egleston, who is the 2012 champion, is ten points back in third.
Two other top runners at the track are two time champion Bob Williamson and second generation racer Ricky Thatcher. Williamson leads the three time Street Stock champion by just three points in the battle for fourth. 40 points behind Thatcher, or a full field feature win's worth of points, is 2014 champion Paul Stone. Last time out, Stone won the Main Event, and he also has a second place finish this year in the Jack Mounce #44 car. Though Stone is set to compete in the Wild West Modified Speedweek event up north starting on Saturday, it's possible he'll be at Merced on Wednesday.
Others we're looking for at Merced this week include two time winner Kyle Wilson, recent Top 5 finisher Harley Turner, Top 10 ranked John Osgood III and either Mike Villanueva or Michael Shearer in the #67 Modfified. Villanueva finished a strong second last time out. It's just possible there could be a few surprise visitors from other race tracks, and speculation includes big names like Bobby Hogge IV, Josh Vogt and Austin and Cody Burke. Time will tell who does show up.
Josh Hensley is the runaway leader in the IMCA Sport Modifieds, and he's going to be shooting for his second feature win on Wednesday night. When Fred Ryland skipped his last two opportunities to race at Merced due to worries over car count, Dwayne Short moved in and took over second in the standings. Short now leads Ryland by 22 points, and Ryland is anticipated for this one as he shoots for his fifth win of the season. Mark Odgers had a second place finish last time and moved to within 12 points of Ryland. However, Odgers has said he will be away on business this week and will miss this race.
Keith Brown Jr's last start at Merced was a disappointing third in a race he felt he should have won. The second ranked State point runner has a five point lead over Jeremy Hoff in the battle for fifth. Brown plans to be there for this race, and chances are the two time winner Hoff will be as well. A double digit car count is anticipated for this race, and speculation is that one time winner Gary Tucker, D.C. Brown, Tim Cecil and Rick Diaz could be there. Rumors are that 2014 State champion Nick Spainhoward and last week's winner Garret Jernagen could also be coming from down south, but we shall see.
On Thursday, Merced Speedway has a surprise for the Dwarf Car racers. They are getting a special $1000 to win and $100 to start race. As a tune up, six drivers went to Merced a few weeks ago. Mike Drake was credited with the win after the others didn't go to tech. Charlie Correia, Mike Corsaro, Tim Reeder, Thomas Leiby and Chuck Weir all competed as well, which is not a surprise as these five Antioch regulars are the ones who live the closest to Merced.
The big question is who else might show. Early on, Three Nuts Racing announced that David Teves and his son Adam will be there for this race. These two drivers rank first and third, respectively. at Antioch and account for three wins there. Two time defending Antioch champion Danny Wagner accounts for three wins at his home track and plans to go to Merced as well. Petaluma's #2 driver, Chad Matthias, and Lionel Francis have indicated that they will be there.
On the questionable side, South Bay Dwarf Car competitor Gene "Punky" Pires is uncertain about whether or not he will be going. Gene is the point leader at his home track in Watsonville. Three more Antioch regulars, Michael Crommie, Kevin Miraglio and Amanda Chappa, have also indicated they are considering a visit to Merced, though those plans aren't firm yet.
Kelly Campanile has indicated she'll have her Mini Stock at Merced. This second generation Petaluma regular had her best success so far this season at Merced, where she has a heat win and second place feature finish. When she gets there, she'll have to contend with six time feature winner and point leader Darren Miguel, who has a six point lead over defending champion Chris Corder. Though he has several Top 3 feature finishes this season, Corder has yet to get a win at Merced. He knows that if he is to repeat as champion, he has to start getting those wins.
Third ranked Kevin Lockerby brought his trusty girl "Sandy" with him last time and finally drove her to his first feature win of the season. The 1999 Little Truck champion has a seven point lead over Dennis Copus, who had his best finish of the year in second last time. These five drivers are anticipated, but fifth ranked Joy Alger is not expected. She has been waiting for parts for her motor and can't get back until it's fixed. In the meantime, she's been spectating with Marshall Weaver. Likewise, Alisa Caldwell may not be back until her new car is ready after a hard crash left her old car pretty badly damaged.
David Richards made his debut in the black #86JR car, the team car of Darren Miguel, and it was announced late last week that the plan was to have this car at Merced. Another driver making his debut at Chowchilla last week was Robert Jackson, and he too is anticipated at Merced this week. Car count has been low in this class in recent weeks, but indications are that this Fair Race could see the best car count we've seen in several races. Steven Johnson, Mike Germait and Mike Congdon are others who could be in Merced during the Fair to compete for the win, place and show plaques. Announcer Alex Odishoo is also planning to compete in this race.
Chowchilla Speedway on Saturday may have a point lead change in the IMCA Modified division. Santa Maria's Josh Vogt is in the heat of a point battle at Santa Maria Raceway and leads at Chowchilla. He enters this race with a 13 point lead over Danny Luukonen with three feature wins to his credit. A past Modified Mini Stock champion, Luukonen would take the point lead just by showing up if Vogt is not there, but he will need to have a good showing. Vogt is good enough to erase a 15-20 point lead over the final three races.
Ray Mayer is 30 points behind Luukenon for second, but a win, coupled with Vogt's absence, could put him into the championship battle. Kyle Wilson just settled into fifth in the standings after his third place finish last time, and he and State point leading brother Alex are both anticipated for this race. Bill Egleston, the #67 Michael Shearer car, Randy Brown and John Osgood III are others who could be there as the division could check in right around the ten car level. Depending on how many Merced regulars come, it could be better.
Fred Ryland is dominating the IMCA Sport Mods with five wins in six races. He is going for IMCA National honors, but he needs wins in minimum ten car fields. Chances are pretty good that ten cars will be there for this race, and Ryland has been recruiting Antioch regulars to come race at the other tracks at which he competes. Last week, his wife Patti and third ranked Antioch racer Al Johnson were there. When the other two had problems, Ryland was winning ahead of two of the top area drivers, Rick Diaz and Jeremy Hoff. If those two are there once again, Ryland can expect another battle.
Keith Brown Jr. saw a battery problem keep him from racing. Though he fell 57 points behind Ryland in the point race, he still remained in second in the standings. Josh Gish was also a no show, and he was shuffled out of the Top 5 by Nastasia Dodd, Marissa Odgers and Josh Hensley. Dodd enjoyed one of her better finishes of the season in fourth and is just seven points behind Brown for second. Because of graduation and a late Friday night, Dodd chose her Chowchilla Top 5 effort over a similar effort with the Southwest Tour S2 Modifieds. This week, it could be Odgers who is a no show as her car was pretty banged up in last week's seventh place finish and her father, Mark Odgers, will be out of town all week due to work. Indications are that she will be trying to get ready to race.
A double digit car count like last week seems a good possibility, though where some of the cars will come from will remain to be seen. Drivers like Paul Espino, Tim Elias and John Fore Jr. were absent last week, and one or all of them could be there this time.
Point leader Kevin Joaquin didn't get the win he was looking for last week, but he did finish second. After dropping back to last early on, he worked his way back to finish second, and that stretched his point lead to 42 over fourth place finisher Austin Van Hoff. After his second straight third place finish, Gary Hildebrand broke a tie for third with Kodie Dean in his favor. He now leads Dean by just four points. These four drivers are anticipated this week, but the drivers in the fifth place battle may be a different matter.
Rookie Dexter Long was a no show last week, but that didn't hurt him as the drivers with the 1-2 finish in the previous two races, Bruce Nelson and Michael Shearer, were not there either. Only Robbie Loquaci was there, and he had motor problems sideline him after his heat race. Long leads Nelson by ten points in the race for fifth as Loquaci is 13 points back and Shearer trails Long by 18 points. With Merced off and because this is a Saturday night race, more cars from Merced and Watsonville are possible.
The Mini Stocks have been struggling to keep the car count above a half dozen. With a 70 point lead over Alex Odsishoo, Chris Corder seems well on his way to a Mini Stock championship. He looked impressive in his third win of the season last week, though that big lead was aided by the misfiring motor that cost Odishoo second to Mike Congdon late. Congdon is now 16 points behind Odishoo for second.
It's difficult to guess who might show on any given week at Chowchilla as nearly 30 drivers have raced at Chowchilla at least once this season. Third ranked Merced driver Kevin Lockerby made a surprise visit last week and came home fourth, while Robert Jackson was making his first Chowchilla start after racing earlier this year at Porterville. Lockerby has no set schedule and could show up anywhere at any time. Jackson is anticipated for this race, and drivers like Darren Miguel, David Richards and Dennis Copus are other possibilities.
We haven't heard whether this race has anything at all to do with the Merced point battle, but Limited Late Models are on the schedule,. They were also scheduled for the March 1st race this year, though nobody showed. Mark Garner, Scott Van Gelder, Buddy Thatcher, Roy Hart Jr., Peggy Sue Jarred, John Evans and Jeff Kendrick are some of the drivers to keep an eye out for. Hopefully enough cars show up to at least have a heat race and a Main Event. Hart is coming off of a win at the most recent Merced race and Evans had a season best third place finish last week at Antioch. Indications are that this class is starting to get drivers at Merced, but will they come to Chowchilla on Saturday night?
The DIRTcar Late Models are back in action for their seventh race of the season at Antioch, and despite his three feature wins, defending champion Richard Papenhausen is not leading the standings. That honor goes to Jeff Decker, who has a two point advantage. Decker has one win, four seconds and one third place finish. The heat race win he had along with his second place finish last time gained him the lead despite the fact that Papenhausen actually won the feature. All indications are that this battle could go down to the wire.
Danny Malfatti keeps himself busy racing his Late Model at Antioch and his Winged 360 Sprint Car at Watsonville. He enjoyed one of his better finishes in fourth last time, which enabled him to slip past David Newquist by just four points in the battle for third, Newquist is also a double track racer and is currently second in points at Chico Speedway, where he was a Top 3 driver last season as well. Just 37 points behind Newquist is one time winner Troy Foulger, but there was some uncertainty as to whether he will be at Antioch or up in Oregon racing a week long Modified Series.
Chester Kniss is likely to be there. It's clearly a family first effort, and The Kniss family celebrated their daughter's high school graduation and admittance into college last Friday before bringing their Dwarf Car to Antioch a night later to allow their son to make his first laps at Antioch. Kniss is 18 points behind Foulger in the race for fifth in points. Paul Guglielmoni is a one time winner and finished second at Chico last week. Paul and possibly teammate Terry Kuntz should be at Antioch this week along with Rob Norris, Dennis Souza, recent Placerville winner Anthony Restad and Mike Hynes.
Scott Busby continues to lead the point race he has yet to say he is officially committed to. After winning for the third time this year last week, Busby has a slim six point lead over one time winner Bobby Motts Jr. Motts has one win this year and had a third place finish last week. Bobby may need to get another win or two before season's end to beat four time champion Busby in this battle. Defending champion Carl Berendsen II had a heat win and fourth place finish and seemed to be a bit more comfortable in the former Aaron Crowell car. Carl's lead over Dustin Himes is now 16 points in the battle for third.
Alex Wilson has managed to slip into fifth, just five points ahead of Mike Salazar, who is coming off a nice fifth place finish of his own. Salazar impressed with a heat race win over Busby last week and could take over fifth in the standings. Wilson doesn't have a Merced race this week, but he and his brother Kyle could end up in Chowchilla on Saturday. K. Wilson was second last week, and he and Chris Elby are just six points behind A. Wilson in the race for fifth. Jeff Thomas had the spot, but the one time winner was a no show last week to fall 16 points behind A. Wilson. After the 16 car show they had last week, double digit car count is again anticipated this week.
Kimo Oreta drove into the history books last week with his fourth win of the season and 17th of his Hobby Stock career. He is now the division's all time Main Event win leader. With first place pretty well in hand for Oreta as he pursues his third straight championship, Danny Jones, Michael Cooper and Jordan Swank are mixing it up in a good battle for second. Jones leads Cooper by one point and the rookie Swank by ten. After the beating his white, blue and red #66 car took last week, Jones admits he may not be able to make this race, but he will be trying. The debut of the #66x of Jessica last week gives them a two car team.
Frank Furtado has just been making his laps this year, but he looked better than he has all season as he finished fourth in the Main Event. He now has a bigger lead in the race for a career best fifth place ranking. Brent Curran made just his first start of the season, and the 2014 Four Banger champion brought it home with a third place finish. Curran is anticipated for this show, and we may even see the man who finished second last week, 2010 champion Chris Sorensen. The car count was a better 14 cars last week, and others we are watching for this week include Cameron Swank, Natalie Perry, Robert Niven and Jeremy Jennings.
The division with the consistently best car count this season has been the Dwarf Cars, and they are back after taking a few weeks off. No less than four drivers are still in title contention. Since debuting the car he and his team built, David Teves has not finished outside the Top 3 and has one win. Teves leads three time winner and defending champion Danny Wagner by just two points. David's son Adam won the most recent race and is 24 points out of the lead. That's eight points better than another one time winner, Mike Corsaro, who sits in fourth.
Corsaro's teammate Charlie "The hammer" Correia has been doing this open wheel racing thing for decades and has been a Dwarf Car competitor about since this class came to California over 20 years ago. Correia recently celebrated his 77th birthday. His most recent Antioch start was another Top 5 finish, keeping him 12 points ahead of hard charger Kevin Miraglio in the race for fifth. Miraglio continues to rack up Top 5 finishes wherever he goes and seems due to win a Main Event at any time.
One time winner Jack Haverty needed the break to fix the damage on the car he flipped last time. We're not sure we'll see the #2j car this week, but we hope so. Others we anticipate for this race include the rapidly improving Miranda Chappa, Thomas Leiby, Jerry Doty, Tim Reeder and Brian Gray. The nice thing about the Dwarf Cars is that they put on a good show wherever they go.
From the night in September 2002 when Mike McCann, Chuck Prather and the guys brought Hardtops to Sacramento Raceway to now, the Hardtops have had a presence in California. In Bakersfield, they have the Okie Bowl Hardtops, and in the Bay Area, it is the Nor Cal Vintage Hardtops. Despite changes in leadership, the show goes on with a roster of over 20 cars still racing at various tracks.
We anticipate Antioch's all time winner in Spec Sprints, Jim Perry Jr., will be driving Dave Mackey's car in this race. "The Green Hornet" Tommy Thomson still has the car he won the last Vallejo Speedway Hardtop race with in 1979, and he's just as fast as ever with it. Dan Williams, Larry Philburt and Mike McClure were a part of the Nor Cal Hardtop thing early on and could be in action this week along with others, such as Dennis Armstrong, Rob Waldrop and John Fuller. Though this is a nostalgia class, they do race for wins. We anticipate a double digit car count for this race.
To recap the schedule for this week, the Oval Motorsports tracks roar to life, starting with Merced on Wednesday with IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds. A night later is the $1000 to win Dwarf Car race and Mini Stocks. Chowchilla races on Saturday night with IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Limited Late Models. Also on Saturday night is Antioch Speedway with DIRTcar Late Models, IMCA Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars and Vintage Hardtops. For further information, check the Oval Motorsports Website.
June 26th and 27th are the dates you will want to mark on your calender. It's the Summer Nationals at Antioch Speedway. This is the weekend NASCAR comes to Sears Point Raceway and it's traditionally the weekend Promoter John Soares Jr. likes to book something special at Antioch Speedway. Last year, it was a $3000 to win Winged 360 Sprint Car race, won by Bradley Terrell, but frequently Late Models and Dirt Modifieds are part of the show. Soares and Oval Motorsports loves to do things up big for the drivers.
For that weekend, Soares has booked NASCAR racer and personality Kenny Wallace to compete and will be providing him with a ride in the House Late Model for the Saturday race. That Late Model show will pay $1500 to win regardless of car count and will grow to $2000 with a 20 car field. Wallace may have his eyes on the prize, but among the drivers who will likely be going for the big win are Richard Papenhausen, Jeff Decker, Troy Foulger and Paul Guglielmoni.
Unconfirmed rumors have Bobby Hogge IV considering an appearance. Only two drivers have won more Main Events than Hogge in Antioch Speedway history, and he won two Late Model features there last season. You never know who will compete in this race, but a bigger than usual field in the 16-20 car range is anticipated.
The IMCA Modifieds will race for $2500 to win on Saturday and $1500 on Friday. Interestingly enough, point leader Scott Busby has a more difficult time getting wins at Antioch when the big money is on the line, though he has won 61 times in this division at his home track. Can he bag some of the big bucks this time? In addition to this season's top point runners, such as Bobby Motts Jr., Carl Berendsen II, Dustin Humes, Alex and Kyle Wilson, Chis Elby and Jeff Thomas, several top names from other tracks are anticipated.
Petaluma point leader Nick DeCarlo, six time Petaluma champ Michael Paul Jr., Watsonville point leader Bobby Hogge IV and the Burke brothers, Cody and Austin, are others who could show. Troy Foulger, a four time Antioch champion, is rumored to be planning to compete, as is past Antioch champion Kellen Chadwick, who has a knack for winning the big races.
The IMCA Sport Mods also have two nights of racing that weekend. They even get extra money as they run for $500 to win on Friday and $750 in Saturday. When you hear big Sport Mod race at Antioch, you suddenly think Fred Ryland will be getting a little extra for his wins. Ryland leads the Antioch, State and National point races with several wins along the way. However, he can expect some stiff competition for this event. The monkey wrench in all of this is that Ryland is competing for points at Watsonville, but there is an out as Antioch's Friday race is being specified as a non track point race.
This means Ryland will likely not be at Antioch, opening the door for a new winner if the scheduling holds true. Top candidates from the point list include Keith Brown Jr., Ron Brown, Chuck Golden and Megan Ponciano on Friday, and F. Ryland, Patti Ryland, Paul Mulder and Al Sotomayor can be added to the mix on Saturday. From Marysville, stars like Jimmy Ford and Alan Furuta could be on hand for this, and other names to watch for include Jeremy Hoff, Bruce Nelson, Anthony Guiliani and possibly 2014 IMCA State champion Nick Spainhoward.
The Friday portion of the show will also include Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars and will be a regular point race for all three divisions. Adding to the interest is the report that Kenny Wallace is willing to drive any and all divisions that are a part of the show. For further information, check the official Oval Motorsports Website.
There will soon be three generations of the Brown family competing at Antioch Speedway. The family accounts for almost 60 feature wins at the track since the 1970's. Currently, third generation racer Keith Brown Jr. is second in Sport Mod points at Antioch as well as Chowchilla and the state. His father, Keith Brown Sr., has won enough Main Events to rank Top 20 on the track's all time win list. Word is that there is an IMCA Modified in the works to get Keith Sr. back out to the track again.
Meanwhile, Keith Jr's son Austin Brown is going to be racing too. He will make the fourth generation of the family to race, and he will be running a special number. In fact, he will run his great grandfather, Bill Brown's, #92. Bill Brown was a two time Sportsman champion and won 19 Main Events in the most competitive division the track ever had. There had been some talk of starting Austin out in a Sport Mod, but it was decided that he would run a Hobby Stock at first instead.
The night went well as far as car count in the two Sprint Car classes last week at Antioch Speedway. The Wingless Spec Sprints had a 12 car field. Despite the fact that a few drivers anticipated did not show for the Winged 360 Sprint Car race, they still had ten cars. This was also despite the fact that Petaluma had a bigger paying race that night. Oval Motorsports has clarified that the Winged Sprints are paying $1200 to win and $150 to start, and that can grow to $1500 to win at 16 cars. They want this class to thrive, and the seven car show they had two races ago in fact paid Jake Haulot $1200 to win.
Ricky Brophy will be moving over to the Winged Sprinter his father started the season with while his father, Doc Brophy, will switch to a Spec Sprinter. Ricky was struggling mightily to get his own car up to speed. Brandon Powell was one of the no shows, and he was actually winning the Economy Sprint Car race at Chico. A month or so ago, word came from one of that division's competitors that drivers were already pushing the rules. Some believe that the class will not stay economy for long with wings on them.
It was an "Econo" rules package that rocked the Spec Sprinters at Antioch and saw the car count struggle. However, car count in recent weeks indicates that the drivers are coming back and things are improving. The Spec Sprints have had some close racing this season, but it got a little too close last week as the flips by Jeremy Newberry, point leader Kyle Bakkie, Kyle Standley and Marcus Smith would indicate. It was a good night for Newberry up until then, and he still finished third and won his heat race. Jimmy Perry III and Alan Miranda survived for the 1-2 finish, and many drivers are now thankful for the week off to make repairs.
Looking at the Winged Sprint Car point standings, there were some people wondering if Shawn Arriaga was really that good. This despite the fact that the third generation racer and grandson of Hardtop legend Gil Richardson had previously won a championship at Petaluma. Well, Shawn made a textbook pass on Art McCarhty, who thought he had a win in the bag up until that point. The win served notice to the competition that he is indeed for real. A highlight of the night for Shawn was getting his picture taken with Larry Damitz, who had won the Limited Late Model Main Event.
Damitz raced Hardtops against Arriaga's grandfather back in the 1960's, and it's anticipated that he will be racing with the Vintage Hardtops this week. Larry is an icon who continues to amaze people with his ability to win at 86 years old. His win last week was his fourth of the year and increased his point lead over new second place runner Mike Gustafson. The man they still call "The Sundrop Kid" is not counting points or worrying about championships. Nonetheless, the wins keep coming, and he could be on his way to his fourth championship in five years. Appreciate what is happening here. This reporter feels grateful to have been able to watch Damitz win this year and just spend time talking with him.
Paul Hanley made his first start of the year at Antioch, and he brought it home to a second place finish. If Paul was happy, so too was John Evans in the red #48 car. At times, Evans has struggled out there, but Saturday night saw him drive to a third place finish in the nine car field. It was his best finish so far. Mark Garner was probably having flashbacks to his crash a month ago after he and Mike Hynes tangled multiple times on the track last week. Both drivers failed to finish, costing Garner second to Mike Gustafson in the standings. Hynes did win a heat race earlier.
Chris Sorsensen was making only his second start of the season last week. The 2010 Hobby Stock champion won his heat race and was looking like a Main Event winner until steering issues got the better of him. He got just a bit tired from the struggle and lost first to Kimo Oreta. Second was still a nice outcome and he could win at any time looking like he did,. Russell Shearer had to be happy with his fourth place finish ahead of the steady Frank Furtado, in a season best fifth. The last time Shearer was at Antioch, he clobbered the front wall to end his night.
At Chowchilla Speedway, car count numbers weren't spectacular, but the Mini Stocks managed to produce a better turnout than anticipated. Alex Odishoo was able to get the start he wanted, but not the results. Two races ago, he had a similar result. Alex was challenging Chris Corder once again when his motor started misfiring. He kept going at a slower pace and amazingly still held on for third. Corder won again, but he has to be wondering when that win will come at Merced, where he is locked in a close point battle with Darren Miguel.
Mike Congdon was happy with his season best second place finish, and he still has thoughts of being able to win a race or even overtake Odishoo for second in points. Mike is generally a smooth competitor and manages to get it to the finish line more often than not. It's a rare night when Miguel doesn't finish, but that happened last week at Chowchilla. After winning his heat race, the Merced point leader fell out of the Main Event early on. It was newcomer Robert Jackson leading early in the Main Event before Corder passed him, Jackson, who has raced at Porteville this season, still finished fifth and was a welcome addition to the group.
Cody Parker was a surprise newcomer in Hobby Stocks. The 15 year old got the opportunity to drive a car for Street Stock veteran Jack Chapman Jr. last week, but he seemed a bit nervous at first. He almost didn't make it out in time to run his heat race. However, Parker calmed down and earned a fifth place finish behind second ranked Austin Van Hoff, who was fourth. Cody wasn't the only teen getting a chance to race and making the most of it.
In the Sport Mods, Chase Thomas drove the #209 car once again with his proud father, Street Stock legend Darren Thomas, serving as crew chief. Chase made his debut last week at Merced and came from last to fourth. This time around, he started 13th and was fifth by the time the checkered flag flew. Chase is mainly trying to stay out of trouble and learn the car, but so far he is doing pretty well.
The Hensley Racing Team was well represented with four cars in the pits at Chowchilla. Merced Sport Mod point leader Josh Hensley had a night he'd rather forget as he fell out very early. His cousin, Darren Miguel, had his Mini Stock there. There was also the car nicknamed "The Black Widow" and driven by David Richards. With his motor still not ready. Josh let Gary Hildebrand drive his Hobby Stock. Hildebrand was the only one of the four having much Main Event luck as he finished third. The past Sport Mod champion is third in the standings and hasn't given up on second just yet.
And there is good news from Petaluma Speedway, as officially announced by that track's management...
Petaluma Speedway Signs 5-Year Lease Extension
Glad Enterprises Inc. the parent company that operates Petaluma Speedway has reached an agreement and signed a 5-year lease extension with the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds. This is the final year of our current lease and our new contract will take us through the 2020 season. I'd like to thank Sarah Cummings the CEO of the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds and the entire 4th District Agricultural Association for the opportunity to continue to promote motorsports at this great venue.
Ocean Speedway in Watsonville has a Friday night program consisting of Taco Bravo 360 Sprint Cars, IMCA Modifieds and South Bay Dwarf Cars. Last week's action packed program saw wins going to Cody Burke (IMCA Modifieds), Dennis Simonovich (IMCA Sport Mods), Joe Willoughby (American Stocks), Luke Babcock (Mini Stocks) and Cliff Sloma (Police In Pursuit).
Kings Speedway in Hanford returns to action on Friday night with King Of Kings 360 Sprint Cars, IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds all competing. Last time these three divisons raced, winners were D.J. Netto (Sprint Cars), Brad Pounds (IMCA Modifieds) and Ricky Childress Jr. (IMCA Sport Mods)
It's Riebes Auto Parts Night at the races Friday night at Chico Silver Dollar Speedway. The 410 Sprints headline a show that includes IMCA Modifieds, Street Stocks, Hobby Stocks and BCRA Midget Lites. Winners last Friday included Keith Bloom (410 Sprint Cars), Ryan McDaniel (IMCA Modifieds and Limited Late Models), Brian Cooper (Hobby Stocks) and Damian Merritt (Mini Stocks).
Petaluma Speedway will race on Saturday night with a show that includes PitStopUSA.com Winged 360 Sprints, BCRA Midgets, Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks and Mini Stocks. Colby Copeland won the first race of the four race PitStopUSA.com Series for Winged Sprint Cars and Jason McInmtosh did the same in the Wingless Spec Sprints. Nick DeCarlo (IMCA Modifieds), Darien Balestrini (Mini Stocks) and Dave Mosier (Dwarf Cars) were the other winners.
At Placerville Speedway on Saturday night, the track's regular three divisions, Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Limited Late Models and Pure Stocks, will be competing. A check of the winner's list finds that Justyn Cox won last week's 360 Sprint Car race while Anthony Restad was the Limited Late Model winner. Another packed field of Pure Stocks needed a B Main, and the Main Event win went to Dan Jinkerson.
Bakersfield Speedway welcomes the Late Models back to the track this Saturday night. American Stocks, Mod Lites, Mini Dwarf and CDCRA Dwarf Cars will also compete. Last week, Danny Lauer won the IMCA Modified Main Event with Ricky Childress Jr. (IMCA Sport Mods), Gary Dutton (Pro Stocks). Kevin Collier (Hobby Stocks) and Doug Shepherd (Mini Stocks) winning the other features.
Marysville Raceway has Saturday night racing, featuring the Winged 360 Sprints, Mini Stocks, Super Stocks, Hobby Stocks and BCRA Midget Lites. Last time out, Brad Bumgarner won the 410 Sprint Car feature as Howard Law (IMCA Sport Mods), Ryan McDaniel (Limited Late Models) and Jerry Bartlett (Super Stocks) were the other winners.
Santa Maria Raceway has Family Night and Girl Scout Night all rolled into one Saturday night. It includes $10 tickets For Adults and any Girl scout in uniform gets in free. On the card for this race will be IMCA Modifieds, Sport Mods, Pro Stocks and Hobby Stocks. Stockton 99 Speedway Dirt has the King Of The West Sprint Cars and Hunt Wingless Spec Sprints both in action.
On the pavement, All American Speedway in Roseville has Street Stocks, Bombers, F4's, Pro 4 Modifieds and NCMA Sprint Cars on Saturday night.