Thursday, June 4, 2015

Pit Stops From Merced And More

First of all...

Just A Kid From The Grandstands:  My Time In Auto Racing

Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover

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

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 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.

The weekend review from last week at Bakersfield Speedway happened once again on the Bako Motorsports Power Hour and ca be viewed HERE

Video from last Saturday night at Ventura.  This is the IMCA Modifieds. It comes without commentary, but you really have to marvel at the racing on that little track  Every August, they have a big race for this division during the County Favor. The video can be viewed HERE

Tony Karis filed a report from last week's races at Watsonville that can be found HERE

The DCRR Racing Radio Show

Weekend Preview Edition

DCRR Racing Radio Show: Episode 35 by GenWhat

Merced Speedway Pit Stops

Kevin Joaquin may be a bit relieved that Kriste Shearer has not competed in every Hobby Stock race this year at Merced Speedway.  Last year, Kristie beat him for second in the standings after he held that position in 2013.  Kristie was in contention when she missed some races.  She won a Main Event earlier this season, but she has been on a roll lately.

Kristie has collected back to back wins in the Main Event these past two weeks.  Her latest win came ahead of Chris Mayer, who had been shadowing her closely during the first half of the race.  It probably didn't hurt Kristie to have two time Merced champion Bruce "Bubba" Nelson in her corner.  Nelson has driven the #73j car to back to back feature wins at Chowchilla, making that car the one to beat.

Kristie is in a close point battle with Mrs. Nelson.  Shannon Nelson still holds third for now, but it's close.  Shannon had a Top 3 run in the Merced Main Event before falling back to seventh.  Like Shearer, Nelson won her heat race, making it a good night for both Shearer cars as Shannon was driving the car Michael Shearer has picked up back to back second pace finishes with in Chowchilla.

While Shearer was riding high, Chris Mayer had reason to smile as well.  Chris has only made two starts in his #47m car, but he came home with a win and a second place finish in those two starts.  He is establishing himself as one of the drivers to be reckoned with in Hobby Stocks.  And, this is a division that is loaded with talent.

Austin Van Hoff is on the move and gaining on the Top 5 in the standings.  He picked up one of his better finishes last time out in third.  Austin had a second place finish earlier this season and seems poised to grab a win soon.  It might just happen at his home track in Chowchilla.  Second place finishes are something point leader Joaquin knows quite a bit about.  Four of his five second place finishes have happened in the previous four races.  Kevin battled Van Hoff for third before settling for fourth.  If he keeps doing that, he won't need to worry about who is behind him in the points at Merced.

Raul Rodriguez has earned the respect of his peers with all of his Hobby Stock championships.  However, his son Raul Jr. is a good driver in his own right.  Though the 10m car took a beating this week and will need repairs, Raul Jr. still brought it home with a fifth place finish ahead of new fifth place point runner Dexter Long.  A rookie in this class in the former Eric Seely car, Dexter's sixth place finish was one of his best efforts this season.

Dave Chiesa was one of the stars of the Sportsman division.  Years later, it was Dave Chiesa Jr. competing in Street Stocks.  The latest member of the Chiesa family to compete is Dalton Chiesa.  Dalton made his season debut in ninth in the 15 car field.  Three of the top point runners in the class, Jennifer Corder, Ty Shelton and George Silva, all finished outside the Top 10.

Only two drivers managed to grab a checkered flag in the Mini Stocks, and they were two drivers who very much needed things to go their way for a change.  Kevin Lockerby started out okay this year, but his luck got so bad that he said he was making the switch to asphalt.  That was something he wanted to do all along, but a good start at Merced delayed that. 

Well, Kevin had been telling people the car was ready to go racing with the Toyotas at Madera.  Imagine their surprise when the white #54 car, or Sandy as Kevin named her, showed up last week and came home with the winner's plaque.  Considering his struggles in recent weeks, this was a proud victory for the 1999 Little Truck champion. 

Equally pleased was second place finisher Dennis Copus.  Dennis is actually battling Kevin for third in points.  He felt confident the bugs had been worked out of his #88 car, and he was correct as he earned the second place plaque.  Lockerby still insists that he will be headed to Madera and has indicated that he is willing to stop by and help Copus during the week if needed and if he has the time.

Darren Miguel was riding high coming off of his $500 victory at Porterville last week, and his night started off as it usually does these days.  He won a heat race.  You may have expected the red #86 car to come home with a victory, but instead he saw the black flag, as did rival and 2014 champion Chris Corder.  The point leader Miguel ended up third.  Corder had problems in his own car and got behind the wheel of past champion Alex Odishoo's red, white and blue #48 car to maintain his point run.  Odishoo and Corder have a friendly rivalry on the track, but they frequently arrive at the track together on race night at Chowchilla.

Mark Garner is a perfect six for six in Limited Late Model heat race wins at Merced, making him the heat race king.  Not only that, but he has four feature wins and two seconds.  However, the driver of the night was 2013-14 champion Roy Hart Jr.  People might have been wondering what was going on with Roy this year as he figured to be the one who would give Garner a run for the money.

Saturday night, things just clicked for the driver of the #41h car.  Hart chased Garner to a second place finish in the heat race, and the two would do battle in the Main Event.  This time, however, Roy showed why he is a two time champion by scoring a much needed victory.  This was also a moment of hometown pride for the local fans and an indication that the competition level is going up a little.

The field was again at six cars despite the absence of Buddy Thatcher and Jeff Kendrick, who made his debut in second in the previous race.  Thatcher's absence cost him second in the standings to Scott Van Gender, who was bringing it home to a third place finish in the Main Event.  Van Gelder has ranked as high as third in this division, but second would be a career best for him.  More importantly, he'd love to join Garner, Hart and Mike Hynes on the feature winner's list.

Tony Chavez was the latest driver to join the action, but the night didn't go well for him as he finished last in the Main Event. Peggy Sue Jarred and Donny Richardson made this a six car field, but the potential for more cars next time is definitely there now.

IMCA Modifideds has been a battle between Alex Wilson, Bill Egleston and John MacDougall this season.  McDougall has been shown as the point leader on the track's point page despite the fact that Wilson was actually the leader.  However, MacDougall made that a reality after the last race as he finished fourth. Egleston remained in striking distance after a seventh place finish, and Wilson had a rare DNF in 12th to drop to second.  The battle will be rejoined on Wednesday, June 10th, during the Merced County Fair.

Point battles are something Paul Stone knows all about.  The 2014 champion has won them and lost them, but this year is all about running big shows and trying to pick up wins at Merced when he's there.  Paul has teamed up with Jack Mounce for some Merced and Chowchilla races and looked good in fourth from last starting in the most recent Chowchilla race.  On Saturday, it got even better and he drove the #44 car from the third row to victory.  You had to know it was only a matter of time before he won.  It is hoped that Paul's cousin Ramie, a many time champion himself, will make his season debut soon.  Last report was that Ramie is looking for sponsorship, and if you are looking for a winner to back, he may be your man.

Speaking of champions, Mike Vallanueva has a Hanford title to his credit in the past.  The Shearer team put him behind the wheel of their beautiful #67 car at Chowchilla recently, but the night didn't go so well.  On this occasion, he had his work cut out for him starting back in the fifth row, but he made a charge that earned him a second place finish.  It just may be that Mike is in line for a victory if he continues to wheel this fast race car.

The man on a hot streak in recent weeks is Kyle Wilson.  While Alex has yet to win at Merced, brother Kyle had back to back victories at Merced, a Top 5 at the recent Chowchilla race and a second at Antioch.  Even though the win eluded Kyle this time, he was still in the hunt with a third place finish.  Kyle moved up a couple spots in the Top 10 after this finish and is battling P. Stone for sixth.

The #83 you might have expected to perform well in this race was past Antioch champion Kellen Chadwick, but he ended up a disappointed eighth.  Kellen has been struggling a bit to move up to the front this year, but he did win the first race of the year at Antioch in January.  On this night, it was Harley Turner's #83 car doing better with a solid fifth place finish.  It was his second fifth place finish of the season at Merced and it came ahead of John Osgood III.  Meanwhile, fourth place point contenders Ricky Thatcher and Bob Williamson both had nights they'd rather forget in tenth and 11th, respectfully.

Another new winner joined the ranks in the IMCA Sport Mod division as Garrett Jernagen came back from Bakersfield for only the second time.  He ran a close fourth last time, but this time around, nobody could touch his fast #4 car as he left the pack behind him.  People might have been expecting the other #4 car of Bruce Nelson to occupy that spot.  After a lot of hard work from several people getting Nelson's car ready for Merced, he was back.  Unfortunately, he ended up last in the ten car field.

The man in the oldest car in the field, Mark Odgers, showed that he could still drive.  Considering his lengthy resume of success, that really surprises nobody.  Odgers won his heat race and then had a season best second place finish.  Mark will continue to ignore the point list as he is out there having fun.  However, his success for the night moved him very close behind Fred Ryland for third in the standings. 

Despite a disappointing eighth place finish, Dwayne Short finds himself a career best second in the point standings.  Of course, Josh Hensley holds command of the point lead by a wide margin.  Josh  finally got his first win of the season in the former Shawn Bryant Car at the last race.  He is definitely much more competitive now as his third place finish this time would attest.  Hensley had started the season in an old home built car that was previously owned by George Medeiros.  George picked up a fifth place finish this week ahead of second generation racer Nick Tucker.

Spanking of second generation racers, Chase Thomas was making his father Darren Thomas very proud in his first start in a Sport Modified.  Darren is a three time Merced Street Stock champion, and his son appears to be a chip off the old block.  Despite starting last, Chase drove a smart race and was there at the end to grab an impressive fourth place finish.  Looking like that, you have to wonder when, not if, that first feature win will come.

While Merced Speedway is dark for a couple Saturday nights, there is racing during the Merced County Fair on June 10th.  The IMCA Modifieds and Sport Mods will be on the card.  A night later, Dwarf Cars are racing for $1000 to win and a minimum of $100 to start.  Also on the card will be the Mini Stocks.  For more information, check the official Oval Motorsports Website.

Chowchilla and Antioch have races this Saturday night, which were previewed in a previous article we did,  They can be found HERE.

And furthermore... and Petaluma Speedway have joined forces with the track's two Sprint Car series.  Not only is the company the title sponsor for the two classes, but they are also sponsoring a four race series for each division that has a separate point fund.  Saturday night is the first race of the four race series for the Winged 360 Sprint Cars and Wingless Spec Sprints.  Also on the card are the Laresen Racing Products IMCA Modifieds along with Dwarf Cars and Mini Stocks.  Winners last week at Petaluma included Geoff Ensign (Wingless 360 Sprints), Nick DeCarlo (IMCA Modifieds), Jim Blackwell (Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks), Bob Davis (Mini Stocks) and Jared Morrison (600 Mini Sprints).

Friday night racing at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville will be headlined by the IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Mods, American Stocks, Four Bangers and Police In Pursuit Cars.  The highly competitive racing last week saw wins collected by Shane Golobic (360 Sprint Cars), Matt Hagio (IMCA Sport Mods), Ron Bonnema (American Stocks) and Luke Babcock (Mini Stocks)

Also on Friday night, Chico Silver Dollar Speedway is back in action after a one week break, and 410 Sprints, Dirt Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks are all in action.  At the last point race, feature winners included Jonathan Allard (410 Sprint Cars), Duane Cleveland (IMCA Modifieds), Ryan McDaniel (Limited Late Models), Phillip Shelby (Street Stocks) and Brian Copper (Hobby Stocks).

Placerville Speedway will race on Saturday night, and 360 Sprint Cars headline an event that also includes Limited Late Models, Pure Stocks and BCRA Midget Lites.  When last they held a regular program, Greg DeCaires won the Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event.  Ryan McDaniel won the Limited Late Model Main Event.  Russell Murphy (Pure Stocks) and Bobby Michowicz (BCRA Midget Lites) were the other feature winners.

Further up north at Siskiyou Motor Speedway in Yreka, they will give the McDonalds Mini Stocks two 20 lap features as IMCA Modifieds and Sport Mods are also racing.  On Memorial Day Weekend, they held a big two race weekend, and Riley Simmons (IMCA Modifieds), Keith Foux (Sport Mods), James Welshonse (Mini Stocks) and Fred Hay (SODCA Dwarf Cars) won the Saturday night features.  It was Mark Wauge winning the John Arnberg Memorial Race for IMCA Modifieds on Sunday.  The Bo Hittson Memorial for Sport Mods went to Jorddon Braaten.  David Steele won the Mike Caveye Memorial for Mini Stocks and Brock Peters won the big SODCA Dwarf Car feature.

Bakersfield Speedway has a big five division show on tap for Saturday night, featuring IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Northern Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks Western Pro Stocks and Mini Stocks.   Speaking of big shows, last week's IMCA Modifieds and Hobby Stocks were pretty big with 22 and 25 cars, respectively.  Winners last week included Bobby Hogge IV in the IMCA Modified feature and Matt Wankum in the Hobby Stock race.  Other winners were Dakota Brown (American Stocks) and James Brandburn (Okie Bowl Hardtops).

Rocky Hill Speedway in Porterville is back this Saturday night with a program of Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Super Mini Stocks, American Stocks and a Ladies Race.  Merced racer Darren Miguel paid a visit for the big Mini Stock race on Memorial Day Weekend and brought home the victory.  William Hughes (Super 4 Mini Stocks), Zack Forster (Mod Lites), Devlin Autry (Dwarf Cars), J.D. Brown (Sr. Mini Dwarfs) and Cade Lewis (Jr. Mini Dwarfs) were the other winners.

The Ron Otto Memorial at Santa Maria Speedway on Saturday night will feature 360 Sprints, NMRA TQ Midgets, Mini Stocks, American Stocks, Mini Dwarfs and Jr. Midgets.

Madera Speedway offers everything but the kitchen sink on Saturday night as its an Open Wheel night of Midgets, King Of The Wing Sprints, Super Modifieds, Vintage Super Modifieds, NCMA Sprint Cars and more.  The NCMA sort of sneaks in under the radar, but this group is in its 28th season.  They've gone from stars like Darryl Shirk, Scott Holloway and Del Quinn leading the pack to this year's Top 3 of Audra Sasselli, Denny Burrell and Justin Kawahata, but the show still goes on.

Sasselli is fast, and she is the defending NCMA champion.  Burrell's last two seasons have seen him rank second and third, and he would very much like to take it up a notch this season.  He's no slouch out there, and he could be the winner on Saturday.  Jerry Kobza, Jeff Burrows, 2013 champion Eric Humphriers and J.R. Brown are others to watch for.  This race in Madera will be their fourth of the season.