Tuesday, June 16, 2015

IMCA Mods And Sport Mods at Merced, Late Models, Sprint Cars At Antioch

First of all...

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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 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.

A Brief Preview Of Summer Nationals At Antioch Speedway

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.

 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.

DCRR Racing Radio Show

Weekend Preview Edition

IMCA Mods And Sport Mods at Merced, Late Models, Sprint Cars At Antioch

Oval Motorsports race tracks will be roaring with the sound of the engines and the cheers of the fans in two places this Saturday night.  At Merced Speedway, there will be IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks.  Antioch Speedway is going to be very busy these next two weeks, mentioned above is the Summer Nationals on June 26-27, but this Saturday night will be an action packed program as well.  The DIRTcar Late Models, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Northern All Stars Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars will be part of the six division show this week.

Merced Speedway has featured one of the best IMCA Modified point battles you will find anywhere in the state, and two of the three contenders have never won a track championship before.  They are the drivers ranked first and second, John MacDougall and IMCA State point leader Alex Wilson.  You might think MacDougall is the dark horse in this particular battle when you look at things, but he's been very impressive so far this year.

The Wilson brothers, Alex and Kyle, come to the track with a nice rig and two very fast race cars.  Kyle Wilson is the defending IMCA State champion, currently second this year, but he has won a pair of recent Merced features.  Only a late start has prevented Kyle from being a part of this battle, but his efforts last week included a second in the Merced County Fair race and then a win a few nights later at Antioch that keeps him in the Top 5 battle at Antioch.

Alex is the one in fifth at Antioch, but a bit of a slump at Merced in recent starts cost him the lead to MacDougall.  John has been consistently in the Top 5 at the finish and is currently the only driver of the Top 3 with a feature win at Merced.  Currently, MacDougall leads A. Wilson by four points and Egleston by 13.  Egleston may be the one of the three who most needs that feature win.  With IMCA points a one point at a time deal, you don't want to be more than a few points out of the lead going into the last race.

Ricky Thatcher has twice nearly won the Main Event this year.  Both times, he led several laps after winning a heat race that night.  Both times, he fell back to third.  The second generation racer admitted that he just messed up coming out of Turn 2 at the Fair Race.  He had to gather it up in the infield, and that dropped him to third.  With veteran Bob Williamson further back in his under powered #19 car, Thatcher is two points ahead of him in the battle for fourth.  Really, if the three time Street Stock champion Thatcher can put together a consistent drive for all 20 laps, he is more than due for a feature win.

If the six drivers named above will be there, we anticipate that Karl Rose will be there as well in his fast #5r car.  Karl is on the verge of ranking Top 10 at Merced after his impressive Fair Time feature win.  Previously this season, he had finished as high as second on The Valley circuit.  Though he doesn't race full time this year, he is certainly a strong contender when he is there.  He is just three points behind tenth ranked Ryan Porter, a third generation racer with one very impressive feature win ahead of Bobby Hogge IV this season.  Porter put past Street Stock champion Robby Jeppesen behind the wheel of his car on Wednesday and watched him finish fifth.

We anticipate 10-12 cars for the Modifieds and are hoping for at least that in the IMCA Sport Mods.  There were 16 drivers on Wednesday as four of the fast guys who don't show up all the time, 2014 champion Rick Diaz, Bruce "Bubba" Nelson, Jeremy Hoff and Neill "Mayhem" Barcellos were all there.  While Diaz was leading Nelson and Hoff in the Top 3 for his third win of the season, past champion Barcellos had problems in his heat race to end his night.  We can never be sure when any of these guys are racing, but we know they are hard chargers when they are there.

Josh Hensley is working hard to show what a true champion he is becoming.  At the start of the season, he struggled to even get a Top 5 finish, but his fortunes have changed with his move over to a former Shawn Bryant car.  Josh has one Merced win in that car and a commanding point lead.  Last Saturday, Hensley led all the way for an impressive victory at Chowchilla.  The Hensley team has been a strong supporter of Merced and Chowchilla this season, including bringing the car Josh won several races with on his way to Top 5 rankings in Hobby Stocks at Merced and Chowchilla last year.  Then, there is the #86 Mini Stock of cousin Daren Miguel, who leads the Mini Stocks.

The points will show the steady Dwayne Short has taken over second ahead of Keith Brown Jr., who had a fifth place finish at Merced and a second at Chowchilla last week.  However, Brown will be at Antioch this week, and Hoff and Mark Odgers are both within striking distance of third.  Hoff may or may not be there, but the two time winner is only three points behind Brown for third in points, while Odgers is just 19 points back.  Odgers would be in second now at the very least if he were racing for points, but his goal is to race and have fun.  He was absent last week, but he's anticipated this week as he closes in on a possible win in the oldest car in the field.

Veteran Street Stock and Sportsman racer Gary Tucker is a feature winner this season, but he's been focusing on his son Nick Tucker's effort in the #84t car.  Nick just picked up a Top 5 finish at Chowchilla Speedway as he continues to improve.  Another newcomer to the racing wars, second generation racer Chase Thomas, had a Top 10 finish last week and has Top 5 finishes in his two previous starts at Merced and Chowchilla.  Thomas and Tucker could be there this week along with Tim Cecil, recent winner Garrett Jernagan and two time champion Shawn Bryant.

Teenager Kevin Joaquin has been doing a great job in Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks this season as he leads the point standings at both Merced and Chowchilla.  He's even talking about going to Antioch at some point this year.  Last Saturday, Kevin seemed to have his third win in hand when he made one mistake in Turn 4 and ended up with his second straight second place finish.  He has five seconds and two wins at Merced and a good hold on the Merced point lead.

Rookie Jennifer Corder has a good hold on second in points, but a little more bad luck in her blue #13 car, and she'll have to deal with a couple of feature winners.  Shannon Nelson and three time winner Kristie Shearer are 90 and 91 points behind her, and Shearer is coming off of back to back wins in her fast #73 car.  This may be the first time ladies have ranked second through fourth in a Merced point race, and all three have definitely earned these honors.

Dexter Long has fifth in the standings, just 16 points ahead of "Mr. Excitement" George Silva.  Long's rookie season has seen him struggle at times, and after his Chowchilla crash, it's questionable as to whether he will be in Merced this week.  After coming home with heat race and Main Event honors at Chowchilla last week, Silva is anxious to get back to Merced and go for another one.  At one point, he was third in the standings, but a run of really bad luck dropped him out of the Top 5.  He is only 18 points ahead of Austin Van Hoff, who has one second place finish at Merced this year.

We're thinking most of the Top 7 drivers should make this race. Rookie Bobby Williams should be there to race as well.  Bobby made some good laps at Chowchilla last week and ranks Top 10 at both Merced and Chowchilla this season.  It's questionable if two time fourth place finisher Adam Reed will make it after his crash at Chowchilla last week, but he'll be there if he can.  With over 50 different cars having competed at Merced so far this season, you never know who will race on any given week, but car count should be in the 10-14 car range for this week.

Where have all the Sportsman cars gone?  That is the question.  There have been roughly 20 different cars to compete at the track during the last five years.  Though you don't see them all showing up on race day, it used to be that you could get six to ten cars on any given night.  This season, they seem to get two or three cars and have only had two five car nights.  Obviously, that has caused concern that the division that is now in its 17th year since the 1999 revival might not last much longer.

Driver rep and long time track supporter Mike Palmberg has said he thinks there will be six cars on Saturday, which would mean at least one season debut may be possible.  Marcus Lung is the point leader with a 30 point advantage over Jeff Bristow.  Kenny Birdsong is another 36 points behind Bristow as he has split seat time with Chris Birdsong.  We anticipate that these three drivers, and possibly fourth ranked Eric Sealy and Palmberg will be there.  As to who else might decide to make a season debut, we can only speculate, but we want to see every car we can for this race.

Back at Antioch Speedway, it seems as if Richard Papenhuasen has hit stride in the DIRTcar Late Models, which may be bad news for the competition.  Papenhausen is coming off of back to back feature wins and leads the division with four wins in seven races.  The only driver coming close to him now is Jeff Decker, who has one win and mostly all second place finishes to stay within four points of him.  However, Decker knows he will need to get another win.  The big race is coming up in a week, and right now, 2014 champion Papenhausen is the driver to beat in his Mohawk Trading #4p car.

Beyond Papenhausen and Decker, you have a field of drivers trying to get things figured out with varying degrees of success.  Chester Kniss seems like he is very close in his Delta Transmission #28 car, and his third place finish last week moved him into a 19 point lead over Rob Norris in the battle for fifth.  Norris is still struggling a bit, but Kniss seems like he is one good break away from shocking the field with a feature win.  That may sound like a long shot, but Chet has wins in Dirt Modifieds and Limited Late Models and he can do this too.

A bit ahead of him in the battle for third, David Newquist leads Danny Malfatti by just four points.  Kniss is 50 points behind Newquist and not completely out of things if he can start stringing some good finishes together.  Newquist may be feeling the effects of trying to keep two Top 3 efforts going as he ranks second at Chico.  Malfatti also keeps busy on Friday nights as he runs a Winged 360 Sprint Car at Watsonville.  Can either one of these drivers grab a feature victory?  At this point, it seems likely that either Papenhasen or Decker will win, but we anticipate that the Top 6 drivers will be there this week.

Beyond that, we'll just have to see who shows up.  The numbers will show that 20 different divers have competed in Late Models at Antioch so far this year, which is actually not bad when you consider the times we are in now.  Paul Guglielmoni and teammate Terry Kuntz were not in action last week.  Paul had a second place finish in a recent race at Chico, while Anthony Restad won a Main Event at Placerville two weeks ago.  Anthony made his season debut at Antioch two races ago with a third place finish.  The 8-12 car count number seems reasonable here.

If the numbers at Chowchilla and Watsonville show anything, it's that Fred Ryland is due to get beat at Antioch again.  After Bruce Nelson and Jeremy Hoff won the first two races back in January, the only driver to beat the four time winner is his wife, rookie Patti Ryland.  Fred is closing in on 20 wins in his bid to win the IMCA National championship, and he needs every one of them.  So, if we are to ask who that driver may be that finally beats him this week, there are some good candidates.

A driver with the last name of Brown is a good bet.  Ron Brown is a little further down the point ladder, but he has two second place finishes in his last three starts.  However, Ryland's closest rival in the standings is third generation racer Keith Brown Jr.  Keith has been fast all season, though a bit unlucky every time he gets a glimpse of a possible win.  Only 26 points out of the lead at Antioch, Keith hasn't completely given up on the idea that he can win this championship.  He also leads Al Johnson by ten points in the battle for second.

There are a few drivers locked in that battle for fourth in the standings who are capable of winning.  Not the least of which is fourth ranked Paul Mulder, who already has a third place finish.  Paul is five points ahead of Al Sotomayor and six in front of Patti Ryland.  Another driver capable of grabbing a win is Chuck Golden.  Like Sotomayor, Chuck already has one second place finish and is 13 points out of third, while rookie K.C. Keller is 20 points behind.  R. Brown is in ninth, and we anticipate the Top 9 will all be there among the field of 10-12 drivers that are anticipated.

One of the neat things about the Winged 360 Sprint Car division that Antioch Speedway is establishing is that there is nobody really dominating it.  Art McCarthy is the closest with one win and two seconds, but he finds himself ranked third in the standings.  Both drivers in front of him, Shawn Arriaga and Jake Haulot, have feature wins, and Arriaga made an impressive late pass on McCarthy to take the win in the most recent race.  Arriaga and McCarthy are both past Petaluma Sprint Car champions, while McCarthy also has an Antioch title.  Haulot is only a couple seasons into his Sprint Car career, but he's learning fast.  Arriaga leads Haulot by 12 points and McCarthy by 14 in this close battle.

The driver in the most need of a win right now is Chris Magoon.  The defending champion is coming off of a dismal finish last time out and has slipped to 28 points behind Arriaga in fourth.  We've had four different winners in four races, so the numbers might favor Chris in his quest for victory.  At this point, fifth ranked Dan Gonderman would settle for a decent finish.  When he gets that #8 car dialed in, Dan has the skills needed to win a Main Event.

A check of the point list finds Gonderman leading Chase Wood by just 16 points in the battle for fifth.  Wood had been pitting for his son's Spec Sprint effort, but when he saw that the class needed cars, he figured he'd get his black #6 car back out there.  Only 20 points behind Gonderman, and a Top 5 feature finisher this year, Chico Winged Economy Sprint point leader Brandon Powell is also in the hunt for fifth.  He missed the last race due to a conflict with Chico scheduling, but will he be at Antioch or in Marysville for the Economy Sprint race there?

Antioch's commitment to this class has seen them pay $1200 to win and $150 to start even when there were seven cars in the field.  Management wants this class to flourish and will pay $1500 to win for a 16 car Main Event.  Ricky Brophy wants to be in that show, but he's struggled mightily with his car.  His father, Doc Brophy, has stepped out of his ride in favor of his son and will take the wheel of the #11 Spec Sprinter.  A third generation racer, Ryan Timmons was reportedly planning to be at this race, and beyond that, we can only speculate.  A two time Antioch feature winner in 2009, Jeremy Burt was in action last time, along with the debut of Brayden McMahon and Dustin Golobic, who finished third.

The Wingless Spec Sprints had a brutal 12 car Main Event last time that saw just two cars running at the end.  Plus, four cars flipped, including point leader Kyle Bakkie.  With attrition like that, it's anybody's guess what car count will be like as the class returns from a one week break.  Bakkie will be back as he very much wants this championship after his 2014 runner up season.  Kyle has three wins this year and a 30 point lead over the still winless Rick Panfili.  A Panfili feature win after all these years would be popular with all of the people who have been around to see him compete in this division through the years.

Marcus Smith was a flip victim last time out, but it didn't stop him from heading to Stockton last week to run the Hunt Wingless Spec Sprint race.  With a second place finish as his best effort so far this year, the rookie leads Alan Miranda by just 14 points in a close battle for third.  Miranda had that spot for a while until a flip caused him to miss a race making repairs and then he was spun out of a sure victory on the last lap.  His second place finish last time out seems to indicate that Alan may be closer to getting that elusive feature win.

Roy Fisher has both a Winged and Wingless Sprint Car, but he's chosen to go wingless the last two times both classes were at the track.  He was part of the race ending melee last time, though he was still credited with a Top 5 finish.  He already has two wins and may feel that the possibly of a third win is more attractive than running the other class.  Hopes of a third victory will probably get Jimmy Perry III back to the track this week.  Perry is also closing in on the battle for sixth after winning last time out.

Last time out, NFL alumni Jeremy Newberry and Bakkie both flipped to end the race, and Newberry was credited with a third place finish.  Jeremy now leads rookie Chase Wood Jr. by four points and Perry by 42 in the battle for sixth.  All eight drivers are anticipated for this race, and other possibilities include James East and the long awaited return of another division original, Keith Shipherd.  Shipherd was at the opener, but he blew a motor and has been out making repairs.  He finally made his return at the recent Hunt Series race in Stockton.

Kimo Oreta is pretty much on cruise control when it cones to the Northern All Stars Hobby Stock championship battle.  With four wins already, he knows that he would pretty much have to walk away to lose this championship, which will be his third if and when it happens.  Kimo's three race winning streak was snapped by Chris Sorensen last week as Kimo settled for third.

The battle at this point is between Danny Jones, Michael Cooper and rookie Jordan Swank for second.  Jones might be getting tired of second after his fourth second place finish, but considering things were bad enough with his car leading into that race, he'll take it.  He wasn't even sure he'd make the race.  Jones is 11 points ahead of Cooper, who impressed with his first heat race win last week.  Cooper needs all the points he can get as he is just nine points ahead of Swank.  It's likely that at least one of these three will get a feature win before the season is over, but the question is who?  Jones seems to be the likely candidate, but Swank is getting faster with each start.

It seems unlikely, but the steady Frank Furtado is closing in on Swank for fourth.  Furtado had a Top 5 finish two weeks ago and might have been thinking he's a comfortable fifth in the standings.  However, that would be a mistake.  Robert Niven has logged three Top 5 finishes in the last four races, and he now trails Furtado by 32 points in the battle for fifth.  Even though Oreta looks like the champion this year, nothing else in the Top 6 is settled just yet.

The Hobby Stocks have been bolstered by the season debuts of Jessica Jones and Brent Curran in recent weeks.  Curran had a third place finish in his first start and won a heat race last week, but that's really not a surprise for the 2014 Four Banger champion.  We're not sure if Curran may be trying to preserve his rookie status for the 2016 season, but we do anticipate that Jessica Jones, Cameron Swank, Sorensen and Top 10 ranked Natalie Perry will be among the competitors in action this week.  We think 10-14 cars is a reasonable expectation.

Switching to the Dwarf Car ranks, it wasn't a bad week for the Three Nuts Racing Team.  Point leader David Teves and his son Adam headed to Merced and didn't do too badly.  David may have had a second place finish if not for a flat tire.  He managed to come back to fourth behind Adam.  Back at Antioch, Adam did one of the things he does so well and won his heat race again.  In the main, it was David equaling his son's win total at two as he was chased across the line by Danny Wagner and Adam.  Wagner also finished second at Merced for a good week, and he trails David by just six points in a close battle.  Adam is 26 points behind his father and by no means out of the title chase.

Mike Corsaro grabbed another Top 5 finish and stays within 40 points of the lead.  However, his teammate, Charlie Correia, was not in action last week after a double barrel roll on the front stretch Thursday night left him with a shoulder injury.  Kevin Miraglio has taken over fifth in points, 34 ahead of Correia.  Kevin may be the most likely candidate of the drivers without a win to get one.  He may need that to keep fifth in points if Miranda Chappa keeps going the way she has been.  Miranda grabbed her first heat race win last week and finished sixth in the Main Event, keeping her 46 points behind Miraglio for fifth.

Attrition seemed to get the better of this division as a few drivers were missing after Merced.  Brian Gray, Toby Brown and Chuck Weir were out, and we still haven't seen Jack Haverty after his hard front stretch flip the last time he was at Antioch.  We still think the division can keep the car count in the double digit area with a few of the drivers missing last week back in action.  This division has been lots of fun to watch this year, and that championship battle seems like it may go down to the wire.

To recap, Merced Speedway will have a Saturday night race that will feature IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Mods, Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks and the Valley Sportsman division.  A six division program at Antioch Speedway on Saturday will include the DIRTcar Late Models, IMCA Sport Mods, Northern All Stars Winged 360 Sprints, Wingless Spec Sprints, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  The big Summer Nationals will come to Antioch June 26-27 and is an event you won't wanna miss.  For further information, check the official Oval Motorsports Website.

Pit Stops

There was a question as to how many cars would show up for the Dwarf Car/Mini Stock program at Merced Speedway on Thursday.  Dwarf Cars are not a regular class at the track, though there are a few racers lobbying for that to change, and Mini Stocks have been in a bit of a slump as far as car count.  By the time the pill draw was done, the Dwarf Cars had a 17 car field, while the Mini Stocks had their best car count in weeks with ten cars.  All in all, it was a good night of racing.

The Dwarf Cars got a couple of heavy hitters from the South Bay Dwarf Car group in past champion Shawn Jones and current point leader Gene "Punky" Pires Jr.  Antioch's Top 3 point runners,  David Teves, Danny Wagner and Adam Teves, were there.  Second ranked Petaluma competitor Chad Matthias was also a part of the show.  Charlie Correia was there as well, but the veteran of 20 years of Dwarf Car racing took a nasty tumble on the front stretch to end up with a shoulder injury.

The winner would take the $1000 paycheck, and it's no surprise to see that it was Shawn Jones getting the money.  Shawn has won many Dwarf Car races and is also a front runner in Wingless Spec Sprints.  Once he got the lead, he never let go of it, leaving Pires, Wagner and D. Teves to battle for second.  Pires retired and Teves pitted with a flat, leaving Wagner to earn a $500 payday for second.  Adam Teves managed to hold off his father David for the $250 third place finish.  For anybody wondering, they paid as advertised.

The Mini Stocks got a bit of money as well.  Normally, it's plaques for the Top 3 finishers.  There was still some question as to who might come out and race, but there were ten competitors doing battle in front of the County Fair crowd.  Not surprisingly, Darren Miguel logged his biggest win yet at Merced with a $100 payday.  George "Speedy" Davis was back for this show and grabbed a $75 payday in second, while 2014 champion Chris Corder was a $50 third.

From Merced, we go to Chowchilla.  The increased Merced car count didn't carry over to Chowchilla.  In fact, a couple of racers who might have been expected did not show.  Dennis Copus was a bit upset after Merced and he later apologized for his reaction to what had happened to him.  Alex Odishoo had a Top 5 at Merced, but his motor started acting up again.  He was so frustrated that he no showed Chowchilla despite the fact that he had lobbied for a night off from announcing to race at Chowchilla.  Word is that he's considering a move to Sport Mods in the future, though that is unconfirmed.

Chris Corder switched to the #505 car in which he won the January race at Chowchilla, hoping it would get him another win over Darren Miguel.  Darren is not racing regularly at Chowchilla because he's trying to keep the car in shape for his Merced title run, but his car was definitely needed on Saturday.  Corder may not have wanted to see him there, but his problems even cost him second to new second place point runner Mike Congdon.  However, it was Miguel collecting his second Chowchilla win, which moved him into fourth in points at Chowchilla.

IMCA Modifieds at Antioch turned out to be quite a show.  Shawn DeForest drove Jim Reid's car into the lead early on, but he spun from the lead, moving Kyle Wilson to the front of the pack.  Soon, he had company in the form of point leader Scott Busby.  Unfortunately, Busby spun in an incident that ended the race for surprise visitor Bobby Hogge IV.  Carl Berendsen II needed to pit with a flat, but he made a charge back to the front for a career best second ahead of the equally impressive Nick Viscusi III.

That answered the question about the Wilson brothers as Alex Wilson was also in Antioch and finished fourth.  The race at Chowchilla was also without the incoming point leader.  As we reported last week, Josh Vogt chose to maintain his title contendership at his home track in Santa Maria, meaning he would surrender his point lead to Daniel Luukkonen at Chowchilla.  The question was, who would show up and who would win?

It wasn't a big field, but Luukkonen and third ranked Ray Mayer were there, battling for the heat win.  Mayer lost the lead to Luukkonen, who won his first heat race.  Ricky Thatcher, Harley Turner and Tim Clark Jr. were there as well.  Clark had a new car to put through its paces, and he chased Mayer for ten laps in the Main Event until Turner spun for a yellow flag.  On the restart, Clark got the lead and sped home to victory.  Turner grabbed another second place finish, and Mayer was third after Luukkonen was penalized a spot for his part in a Mayer spin on the lap 11 restart.

Now, Vogt may be thinking he could surrender the lead and get it back over the final three Sunday races, but will there be three more races?  Oval Motorsports revealed that the July race has been pulled.  They race on June 28th and will return on September 20th.  Weather the other race will be held after the 20th remains to be seen, but without it, Vogt may have a hard time regaining the lead.  We'll just have to see how this plays out.  Luukkonen does have a Modified Mini Stock championship at Chowchilla in the past.

There was a bit of uncertainty as to who might show up for the Limited Late Model race that was scheduled at Chowchilla last week.  It wasn't a points race as the division is not a regular part of the show.  There was no real incentive to race.  Roy Hart Jr., the two time defending Merced champion and past Chowchilla champion, was the only one who came.  Hart never took his car off the trailer as he wasn't interested in making hot laps if nobody was there to race him.

Hart was the first local driver to beat point leader Mark Garner in the most recent race at Merced, and he is encouraged by the increase in car count in the last two races.  There have now been ten different drivers to race at Merced with more cars still waiting to debut.  Hart is feeling good about his chances to win more races down the stretch.  Buddy Thatcher was in the pits with his son and revealed the reason his car wasn't there was because the part he needed still wasn't there yet.  Both drivers are expected to be a part of the July 11th show at Merced.

The change in leadership from the days of Conrad Cavallero may have hurt the current Hardtop effort in Northern California.  Unlike the Bakersfield based Okie Bowl Hardtop group, you just don't know how many cars will show when the Nor Cal Vintage Hardtops are booked.  Oval Motorsports had some reservations about booking the class that go back a couple years when a double booking occurred, but they continue to give this group race dates.  It was disappointing when only three cars showed.

In this writer's opinion, the group had a good thing when Cavallero ran the show.  Though he upset a few people along the way, he ran a steady ship and the class grew.  Immediately after his departure, it looked like things were popping as car count reached into the teens and new cars were being debuted.  Unfortunately, that bubble burst.  If the leadership doesn't get this thing under control, the whole effort could fall apart.  When you have a car count available at least in the high teens and only three cars show up to race, including a questionable Hardtop, you have problems.  If they do get a second chance at Antioch, they'd be wise to make the most of it.

We end this column on a sad note as Mike Ferry has been injured in a motorcycle accident and was not in good shape as of late last week.  Mike has teamed with Bobby Motts Jr. going back to Bobby's early days in Street Stocks, and the two won a championship together there.  Bobby moved up to Modifieds, but when Mike had an illness that nearly took his life, Motts opted not to race last year to be there for his friend.  We know Mike is a fighter and we want to wish him all the best.  He is in our thoughts and prayers.

And furthermore...

Friday night racing continues at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville with a four division show that will include Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Four Bangers, American Stocks and IMCA Modifieds.  Last week, Justin Sanders (Winged 360 Sprint Cars), Bobby Hogge IV (IMCA Modifieds) and Shawn Jones (South Bay Dwarf Cars) were the Main Event winners.

Also on Friday night, Chico Silver Dollar Speedway has Enterprise Car Rental/JP’s Paint And Auto Body Night night at the races.  The 410 Sprints headline this show along with Wingless Spec Sprints, Winged Economy Sprints, Limited Late Models and Street Stocks.  Jonathan Allard won the 410 Sprint Car Main Event last week as other winners were Ryan McDaniel (IMCA Modified). Chris Warner (Street Stock), Brian Compton (Hobby Stock) and Logan Seavey (BCRA Midget Lites).

On Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway, there are three divisions of IMCA classes racing as IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks, IMCA Stocks, California Lightning Sprints and NMRA TQ Midgets are all racing.  Feature winners last week included Nick Bartels (West Coast Late Models), Traci Childress (American Stocks), Zach Forester (Mod Lites), John Isabella (CDCRA Dwarf Cars), Jakob Carey (Sr. Mini Dwarfs) and Mason Ratcliff (Jr. Mini Dwarfs).

Also on Saturday night, Santa Maria Speedway will have an open wheel night of racing that includes USAC Sprint Cars, Santa Marta 360’s, Mini Stocks, American Stocks, WRA Vintage Sprints/Midgets, Mod Lites, Mini Dwarfs and Jr. Midgets.  Kenny Kirkpatrick won the IMCA Modified feature last week.  Other winners included Tom Grzincic (Hobby Stock) Justin Crockett (Pro Stock) and Billy Simkins (IMCA Sport Mod).

Rocky Hill Speedway in Porterville is back in action this Saturday night with their regular program that includes Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, American Stocks, Super 4 Mini Stocks and a Mechanic's Race.  Jared Plumlee (Mini Stocks), Karl Noland (Hobby Stocks), Jake Peters (American Stocks) and Roy Atchinson (Super Mini 4's) were the winners last time.

Petaluma Speedway has a Civil War Series Sprint Car race this Saturday night along with IMCA Modifieds and 600 Mini Sprints.  Geoff Ensign won the PitStopUSA.com Winged 360 Sprint Car feature last week, while other winners were Mitch Machado (Super Stocks), Nick DeCarlo (IMCA Modifieds), Darien Balestrini (Mini Stocks) and Sean Dodenhof (BCRA Midgets).

Sacramento Valley Speedway in Orland also has Saturday night racing with a regular Mini Truck, Hobby Stock, Wingless Sprint Car and Mini Stock event.  Nathan Skaggs (Mini Trucks), Tony Richards (Wingless Sprints), David Pierce (Hobby Stocks) and Nick Vidovich (Mini Stocks) were the winners last time out.

Marysville Raceway is having an open wheel night of racing this Saturday night410 Sprints headline the show along with Winged Economy Sprints, Nor Cal Dwarf Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints and Sport Mods.  Last time out, feature wins were scored by Justin Sanders (Winged 360 Sprint Car), Craig Holsted (BCRA Midget Lites), Jimmy Ford (Mini Stock) Jerry Bartlett (Stock Cars).

Siskiyou Motor Speedway in Yreka is back in action on Saturday night. McDonald's Mini Stocks, Super Stocks, IMCA Sport Mods IMCA Modifieds, RWUB, Pitman Race and a Kid’s Bike Race are all part of the show.  The last regular show saw wins scored by Nick Trenchard (IMCA Modifieds), Jordon Braaten (IMCA Sport Mods), David Marble twice (McDonald's Mini Stocks) and Jeffrey Hudson (Outlaw Pro Stocks).

For pavement fans, there are a couple of options out there.  You can go to Madera Speedway for Race #4 of the $1,000 to win Loan Mart Open Late Models Series (split 50's). Also happening will be race #4 of the $500 to win Super Hobby Stock Series (split 30's), 360 Super Modifieds, Toyota Sedans, Legends of the Pacific, MSTs, Mini Cup and 4-BangersUkiah Speedway has Bombers, Jammers, Modifieds and Legend Cars.