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
DCRR Racing Media And PR Consulting HERE
Bako Motorsports Power Hour Previews this week';s races and Bakersfield Speedway and looks back at last week HERE
Jake's Performance Hobbies Mini Stocks Main Event from Petaluma Speedway last week can be viewed HERE
Jake's Larsen Racing Product's Dwarf Cars Main Event from Petaluma Speedway last week can be viewed HERE
DCRR Racing Radio Show
Weekend Preview Edition
DCRR Racing Radio Show: Episode 51 by GenWhat
Both IMCA Modified Classes Headline
Weekend Preview Edition
DCRR Racing Radio Show: Episode 51 by GenWhat
Both IMCA Modified Classes Headline
Saturday's Antioch Speedway Program
IMCA Modifieds were slated to headline the Antioch Speedway event this Saturday night, and Oval Motorsports has decided to add IMCA Sport Modifieds to the card. This five division program will also include Wingless Spec Sprints, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.
The competitive IMCA Modified division has had 12 races and seven different winners so far. Only four time champions Scott Busby and Troy Foulger have won more than once this season as Busby has four wins to three for Foulger. Busby is hot on the trail of his fifth division championship and leads one time winner Bobby Motts Jr. by 29 points. Motts is coming off of a Top 5 finish last time out, but he'll need a big break to make a move on Busby.
At the Sumner Nationals, Carl Berendsen II's car was wrecked bad enough that he only barely got it together in time to run the most recent race. Even with that bit of bad luck, the 2014 champion still has a huge advantage over Kyle Wilson and his brother Alex in the battle for third, Kyle has one win at Antioch this year and was second last time out, and both Wilson's are fast everywhere they go. Shawn DeForest won the non stop 20 lap feature last time and is anticipated this week along with Dustin Himes, Chris Elby and Josh Combs.
With six wins this season, Fred Ryland has a such a big IMCA Sport Mod point lead that even his failure to finish last week barely effected it. Ryland hurt his car in his move around eventual winner Anthony Giuliani for the lead last week. One time winner Paul Mulder and Al Johnson have a good battle going for second, and Mulder leads by just three points.
Patti Ryland had a strong second place finish last week, and that came with a broken foot. Patti did win a Main Event earlier this season and is the top rookie in the field. Chuck Golden, Ron Brown and Trevor Clymens have finished as high as second this season, and all three could contend for a win this week. K.C. Keller was back after a hard crash in June and had a season best fifth place finish last week. Others to watch for include Mark Garner, Al Sotomayor and the eagerly anticipated return of Keith Brown Jr.
A season high car count supported last week's Wingless Spec Sprint race, and that included Jeff Lee. Lee won the season opener and damaged a motor in the process. He returned for the first time since then and won again. Finishing a close second was point leader Kyle Bakkie, who got his title run back on track with that finish. Bakkie now leads Rick Panfili by 42 points.
Panfili had just made a move into fifth in last week's Main Event, but he suffered some damage in the process and coasted to a stop just in front of the finish line. Panfili leads rookie Marcus Smith by 26 points in the battle for second with Alan Miranda 34 points back. Like Bakkie, Jimmy Perry III is a three time winner. Perry just moved into fifth in the standings and should be there along with Jeremy Newberry, Chase Wood Jr. and newcomer Peter Carlotto. Carlotto made his Antioch debut with a fifth place finish last week.
Kimo Oreta holds a commanding lead in Hobby Stocks, and that didn't change after his dominating performance last week. The six time winner and two time champion is making plans for a move up to Limited Late Models. Jordan Swank impressed with a season best second place finish last week ahead of three drivers who battled right behind him. Danny Jones appeared to have a sixth second place finish in hand last week before mechanical woes sidelined him once again. Jones trails Swank by 13 points.
Only 23 points out of second is Michael Cooper. Cooper had second before Jones did, but he too was a victim of mechanical gremlins. Cooper was still in a celebratory mood as he married Jordan's sister Tayler Swank last Sunday. Calvin Louis Jr. is closing in on the Top 10 in points again after his latest third place finish. Other drivers we'll be watching for this week include Natalie Perry, Frank Furtado, Cameron Swank and Robert Niven.
David Teves broke the Dwarf Car point race wide open with his fourth Main Event win last week. He now leads his son, teen sensation Adam Teves, by 66 points. Adam has two wins of his own this season and has moved 20 points ahead of two time champion Danny Wagner. Wagner paid Petaluma a visit last week and left with the winner's trophy.
Speaking of winners, Mike Corsaro and Kevin Miarglio have both won on the Dwarf Car circuit this season and rank fourth and fifth, respectively, at Antioch. Pat Urdahl impressed with a second place finish last week. We're anticipating Pat this week along with Miranda Chappa, Jerry Doty, Tim Reeder and Curtis Kraig.
The racing should be exciting from flag to flag this week. Antioch Speedway is located within the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, 1201 W. 10th St. in Antioch, Calif. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens, and $10 for children 6-12. Children under six years old are admitted free. A family four pack of tickets is $40. Secured parking is offered by the Fairgrounds for $5. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m.
Antioch Speedway Top 5 At A Glance
Scott Busby 397
Bobby Motts 368
Carl Berendsen 314
Kyle Wilson 254
Alex Wilson 250
IMCA Sport Mod
Fred Ryland 385
Paul Mulder 334
Al Johnson 331
Chuck Golden 306
Patti Ryland 283
Kimo Oreta 836
Jordan Swank 591
Dan Jones 578
Michael Cooper 568
Frank Furtado 538
Wingless Spec Sprints
Kyle Bakkie 534
Rick Panfili 492
Marcus Smith 466
Alan Miranda 458
Jim Perry III 338
David Teves 616
Adam Teves 550
Danny Wagner 530
Mike Corsaro 460
Kevin Miraglio 454
IMCA Modifieds, Unpredictable Hobby Stocks
Part Of Sunday's Merced Speedway Program
Close competition and unpredictability are two things that define Mecred Speedway this season. This Sunday's five division program will include the crowd pleasing IMCA Modifieds, the wild and unpredictable IMCA Sport Mods, the highly competitive Hobby Stocks, the resurgent Mini Stocks and a special Dwarf Car race. It promises to be an exciting night of racing on the quarter-mile dirt oval.
Paul Stone returned last week, and the 2014 IMCA Modified champion grabbed his second win of the season in Jack Mounce's car. It was a dominating performance, but that's not a surprise when you consider Paul's resume as a champion at Merced and elsewhere. Topping the winner's list this season is Kyle Wilson with three, while Ryan Porter has equaled Stone's 2015 win total. Two drivers yet to win are the ones battling for the championship.
Alex Wilson holds a 19 point led over Bill Egleston following Wilson's third place finish last week. Wilson did get a win in Santa Maria last Saturday, which was the first of the season for the 2015 State point leader. Two time champion Bob Williamson was back with a vengeance last week with a season best second place finish, but he still trails Ricky Thatcher by two points in the race for third in the standings. Most of these hard chargers are anticipated this week.
Mark Odgers wrote his name into the books as the eighth different IMCA Sport Mod feature winner last week after a good battle with Dwayne Short for the lead. Odgers trails Short by just 14 points in the battle for second, while one time winner Josh Hensley holds a commanding point lead. Hensley made a late pass on Short last week for the second place finish. These three drivers seem to have offered the most loyal support to the track this season and have had some good battles all season long.
The IMCA Sport Mod roster seems to vary from week to week, and multi time winners Bruce Nelson, Fred Ryland, Rick Diaz and Jeremy Hoff show up when personal scheduling permits. Nelson actually won two races ago, and Diaz won three races ago. Unfortunately, a hard crash two races ago left Diaz with some chassis damage to repair. Drivers we hope to see this week include Gary Tucker, Darren Thomas, John Fore Jr. and Tim Cecil.
The Hobby Stocks have been so competitive that we've had 12 different winners in 16 races. Austin Van Hoff was the latest winner, and he used that win to move into fifth in the standings. Three time winner Kevin Joaquin might have had a chance had he not lost a lap in a tangle with another car during the race. He unlapped himself and finished fourth behind the season best third place finish of second ranked Jennifer Corder.
Speaking of season bests, we hadn't seen Dexter Long in several weeks as the rookie has had terrible luck. Last Sunday, he enjoyed a season best second place finish. He may just be ready to try for that win this week. Kristie Shearer was off on vacation last week, but she should be back this week to try for her fourth win. Other drivers we're anticipating this week include George Silva, Bobby Williams and Shannon Nelson.
With the debut of a couple new cars and the return of a couple more drivers, Mini Stock car count has gone up slightly. The big news last week was Chris Corder's win. The 2014 champion was winning his first Main Event of the season after a battle with Kelly Campanile, who finished second for the third time this season. Second generation racer Campanile may just be in line for her first win this week. After a rare DNF last week, point leader and ten time winner Darren Miguel will be looking to rebound. Miguel leads Corder by just 18 points in the championship battle.
After a fourth place finish last week, Natalie Waldrop gained another spot in the standings. The third generation racer now trails Dennis Copus for third by just 12 points. Campanile moved past Kevin Lockerby by just one point for fifth, and the one time winner Lockerby is hinting at a return soon. Other drivers we're hoping to see this week include the debut of the daughter of Andrew Krumm, Brian Widdowson and the second Chris Corder car. Joy Alger had a third place finish in that car last week as she celebrated her birthday.
The Dwarf Cars were added to this program two weeks ago as a cancellation forced the need for an addition. The track would like to have Dwarf Cars more often and is trying to put the word out. Merced's Mike Drake has one win this season and currently tops the point list after three races. Other winners include Danny Wagner and Shawn Jones It's difficult to speculate on who might come, but track management is hoping for a half dozen or more cars this week.
It should be an exciting night of racing in Merced. Merced Speedway is located inside the Merced County Fairgrounds, 900 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in Merced, Calif. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens and $8 for children 6-12. A family four-pack of tickets admits two children and two adults for $32. Racing begins at 6 p.m. on Sunday. The grandstand opens at 4:30 p.m.
Merced Speedway Top 5 At A Glance
Alex Wilson 431
Bill Egleston 412
Ricky Thatcher 335
Robert Williamson 333
John MacDougall 321
IMCA Sport Mod
Josh Hensley 578
Dwayne Short 412
Mark Odgers 398
Bruce Nelson 333
Fred Ryland 329
Kevin Joaquin 684
Jennifer Corder 556
Kristie Shearer 461
Shannon Nelson 452
Austin Van Hoff 380
Darren Miguel 680
Chris Corder 662
Dennis Copus 318
Natalie Waldrop 306
Kelly Campanile 284
The Pit Stop reporter decided to do one more column before we close down shop on the current situation. The DCRR Blog will continue as long as we are able to keep the page up.
At Merced Speedway, the Mini Stock division seems to be awakening from their slumber. Car count had gotten so bad that there were just three cars showing up sometimes. The Sunday move has given us two six car fields and an eight car field, and it's not just point leader Darren Miguel dominating the field. Some good competition has been provided by both Kelly Campanile and Chris Corder.
For Miguel's part, he's been happy with the way his red #86 car has been running. With ten wins at Merced, two at Chowchilla and a $1200 weekend at Porterville, he's pretty much proved himself to be a tough competitor. In fact, Darren revealed last week that the plans are for him to make a move up to a Hobby Stock next season.
Chris Corder has a Hobby Stock, but he blew a motor in his debut earlier this season. Motors have been a major issue for Chris recently as he's taken over the #48 car of Alex Odishoo. Chris is such a strong supporter of Mini Stocks that he frequently brings two of his cars to the races. Last week, he put Joy Alger behind the wheel of his #68c car, and the birthday celebrant finished third. It was nice to see Joy back at the track as she's been gone since blowing a motor in her car.
Corder inherited the same issue Alex Odishoo had with the #48 car. With about five laps to go, the motor starts missing. Alex did finally get a Chowchilla win with that car before moving on. He plans to get back in a Sport Mod again. Corder was running strong two weeks ago and leading before that miss took the lead from him with three laps to go. Again he watched as Miguel drove by.
The frustrating part is that Corder may be the 2014 champion, but he hadn't won a Main Event at Merced yet this season. He had three at Chowchilla. During the week, he fixed the computer, the valves and a few things in hopes that the problem was solved. He had to work for this one as Kelly Campanile led some laps, but it was Corder scoring the much needed victory. With all the effort that went into this win, you know that it meant a lot to Corder.
Campanile's Ford Pinto has been fast at Merced, and it just may be the second generation racer who is next in line for a feature win. She gave Miguel all he could handle in finishing a close second three weeks ago and fought Corder pretty hard before getting her third second place finish last week. A week before that, she was one of the victims of a driver who forgot where the break pedal was. Earlier that night, she found her brake pedal by accident, causing her to get sideways on the front stretch and lose a sure heat race win.
Campanile will be somebody to keep an eye on as will third generation racer Natalie Waldrop. Natalie enjoyed a good battle with Alger for third last week before losing the spot at the end. You can see that she is getting comfortable in the white #0 car, and she could surprise some people before the year is up. Her father, Rob Waldrop, revealed recently that he plans to put her in a Hobby Stock next.
In the meantime, Natalie is closing in on Dennis Copus for third in the standings with Campanile not far behind. Copus really wanted the spot and revealed his frustration recently that he has to watch his points slip away. Due to work, Dennis can't make it to the Sunday races at Merced. We did notice that 1999 Mini Truck champion Kevin Lockerby has hinted at a return to Merced for a race soon. Lockerby does have a feature win this year, and he'd love to take his trusted white #54 car "Sandy" to the winner's circle again.
Jeff Amos, Lucy Falkenberg and Andew Krumm were all in action last week. Amos had wrecked his old car and put this new car together for a debut two weeks ago. That didn't go so well, but he was back last week. Falkenberg was visiting from Texas and had her father Dale and brother Chris in the pits with her as she finished sixth. Krumm put this car together for his daughter, but she's still getting comfortable with shifting. So, he put the car through its paces last week for a fifth place finish. It's nice to see the Mini Stocks doing a little better at Merced, and hopefully this is a trend that will continue.
Speaking of doing better, the Dwarf Cars had 17 cars in action at Antioch Speedway. One driver not in the field was Danny Wagner, who went to Petaluma and won. The absence of the two time Antioch champion may not have made a difference anyway as point leader David Teves won for the fourth time from tenth starting. David's son Adam moved into second in points after a third place finish. The Three Nuts Racing Team has been supporting this Dwarf Car class pretty strongly.
They are wanting to see tougher competition and have helped racers like Pat Urdahl, Kevin Miraglio and Mike Corsaro. Urdahl had a pretty hard bout with the wall last time out in his Top 5 finish. With a new rear end in his #67 car, Pat led about half of the latest race and still finished a season best second. Corsaro had a new power steering system put in his car like the one D. Teves has. He was battling for a Top 5 position early on before mechanical gremlins struck.
Tim Reeder has been involved in racing for several years. He finally got behind the wheel of his Dwarf Car, but he crewed for Sprint Car racer Greg Rule back in the mid 1980's. The team was getting ready to field a second car that would have been driven by Tim when Greg passed away. Getting into the Dwarf Car has been lots of fun for Tim, though he has definitely had his share of struggles and bad luck in his #5n car. He's made several chassis adjustments and changes with the shocks, and at times it's gotten better. He didn't do great last week, but he took a lead lap checkered flag in 12th.
Chester Kniss Jr. has raced the 500 Mini Sprints out at Dixon Speedway, but the 14 year old was making his first start in a Dwarf Car. Though he did get lapped, the third generation racer still took a checkered flag. Further up, Josh Miller ran a good race and finished fourth ahead of Kevin Miraglio, Chris Kenner and Chuck Weir. Miranda Chappa was eighth and nearly won her second heat race earlier that night as this talented young lady continues to improve with each start. Her father, Danny Chappa, has taken her to other places to get more seat time, including the recent Dwarf Car Regionals in Watsonville.
Merced Speedway is having a Dwarf Car race this Sunday, but we haven't heard who will be showing for this race as Antioch races a night earlier. We've heard it was at least $200 to win and drivers like one time winner Mike Drake, Chuck Weir, Tim Reeder and Thomas Leiby live reasonably close. Last time out, Drake, Toby Brown and Chris Kenner showed up and Danny Wagner won, but it's anybody's guess who might show up for this race. The track seems perfect for Dwarf Cars, and there is a desire by management to have more Dwarf Car races there in the future.
The nostalgia weekend is coming on August 22 and 23 at Antioch and then Merced. Car owner Dave Mackey waited over 40 years to finally get his dream ride in a Hardtop. Mackey and Jim Perry Jr. built a car that Perry competed in last year. This new car is the #1 Dudley Racing tribute car in honor of Vallejo legends, "The Napa Flyer" Gene Dudley and Darrell Dudley. He ran the car for the first time in Placerville and is looking forward to the Antioch race.
Dave joins racers like "The Green Hornet" Tommy Thomson, Dan Williams and Rob Waldrop in looking forward to the August Antioch race. Dave also revealed a couple of things. Though he is a supporter of what Mike McCann is doing in working with John Philbert to get the Hardtop movement back on track with races at Antioch, he and others were prepared to go to Oval Motorsports on their own if McCann hadn't stepped in to try and reestablish a relationship with Antioch. He also said that the former Terry DeCarlo Hardtop has a new owner, and we could be seeing that car soon. Hardtops are in Chico this Friday and Marysville on Saturday.
Kenny Birdsong reported to us that the Valley Sportsman division is back for Legend's Night at Merced on August 23. Kenny is the biggest supporter of the cause this season as his car hadn't missed a race. Kenny claims that we will be seeing some cars we haven't seen in a while, and that has this reporter daring to hope that we might see Mike or Shane Hausmann or even Mike Henault. All three drivers are division champions. The goal is just to get the cars out there to save the class, but it gets better.
Kenny further reports that Watsonville Speedway legend Jerry Cecil will be driving a car in the Legend's race and an effort is being made to bring out a legend of Mecred, "Rapid" Rod Poor. Poor won many races throughout the late 1960's and 1970's as the top winner from 1968-78 at Merced, and he was part of the Sportsman revival in 1999. We've even heard that Dennis Moomjean will be driving the pace car. Antioch and Petaluma legend John Soares Jr. has shown an interest in running the Legend's Race if he can get a ride, and legendary announcer Johnny Sass is available to announce if called upon. Were it this reporter's call, Johnny would be there in the booth where he belongs.
Mark Odgers is a past Sportsman division champion and would love to be a part of this show. However, he is trying to keep the Vern Willhoite tribute body on his car in one piece and was a little alarmed by the damage it took when he supported the show earlier this season. Odgers has been a front runner in several divisions in his career and was Top 3 ranked in Street Stocks, Sportsman, Limited Late Models and Modifieds. At the moment, he's third and closing in on Dwayne Short for second in IMCA Sport Mods at Merced.
What's interesting is Mark wasn't really worried about points, but as the season has progressed and he's found himself with a chance of getting second, he wouldn't mind making that happen. Last week, Mark had even more reason to smile. His daughter, Top 5 Chowchilla driver Marisa Odgers, was there racing her Sport Mod, and this was the first time these two have raced Sport Mods together. It got even better than that.
Odgers had the bottom groove dialed in come Main Event time and made a couple of passes to take the lead from the impressive Short. Short was also looking for his first win of the season and grabbed the lead on a restart following Marisa's spin. Mark passed him a couple laps later and would go on to win after a lap 18 single file restart. Short was not happy about the single file restart as he felt he had a chance to win, but this is general procedure at Oval Motorsports tracks to go single file with three laps to go. Odgers was a happy winner and Short settled for third after Josh Hesley passed him.
Michael Aldrich and Eric Rose both felt they had something for the field as they started on the front row. Unfortunately, the two got together at the start with Rose hitting the back wall. Rose was done for the night. We hadn't seen Mark Squadrito for a while, and his crew was taping the number on his new body for this race. He took a checkered flag in fifth behind Marisa Odgers.
Mark Garner was all smiles coming into the weekend. He won a Limited Late Model feature at Antioch a week earlier with his father, Jerry "The Maverick" Garner, proudly watching from the grandstands. Last week, Tim Hammett had him driving his #33h Sport Mod at Antioch, and he even had Mark's slogan put on the roof of the car, "All For A Reason". Mark is dedicating this season to his ailing father, and Hammett has let him drive his Sport Mod. That means Mark is racing at Antioch about every week now.
Hammett struggled out the gate this year and was frustrated enough to want to walk away. Garner was one of those people who insisted that Tim keep at it. Tim wanted some advice on the chassis, so Mark has given him plenty. Major changes have been made, and Mark led a feature for half the distance before something broke heading into Turn 3. Mark finished a lead lap eighth last time out. He revealed that Hammett will have him driving a Sport Mod in Las Vegas in early November. What's not known yet is whether it will be this car or a new car. The good news is that Tim is not giving up and at some point will be driving again.
Mark also went to Merced on Sunday and held off Roy Hart Jr. to win his sixth Limited Late Model Main Event. Hart nearly spun trying to make a late pass, but he did snap Mark's heat race win streak at seven. These two were joined by Buddy Thatcher as the Limited Late Models continue to have their struggles at Merced. The good news for Garner is he appears headed for his first championship, while Thatcher will move into second with the absence of Scott Van Gelder, who was still recovering from his heat race crash two weeks earlier.
Back in Antioch, the Sport Mods were given the news that Brentwood Auto Parts has come on board as a title sponsor for four added races this season. Extra money will be added to the first five positions, and the first race is this Saturday. This was not necessarily the news Fred Ryland wanted to hear. It's not that he's worried about losing his Antioch lead, but the extra dates could hurt the point average for his IMCA National effort if car count goes down. After Saturday, Fred's absence from Merced may have signaled that he figures to only be second or third in The Nation when it's all done.
The flying Ryland charged through the pack and grabbed the lead from Watsonville point leader Anthony Giuliani, only to drift up in Turn 3. We hadn't heard, but it's possible something may have broken on his suspension. Fred ended up joining early leader and heat winner Ron Brown on the sidelines, but the Ryland name was still riding high. In this case, it was Patti Ryland with a much needed second place finish. She drove a good race, and she did it with a broken foot. Patti actually missed the race a couple weeks ago and turned the wheel over to the always ready Brian Zachary, so this was a nice comeback for the two time Four Banger champion.
F. Ryland was the point leader at Watsonville, but he abandoned the lead over concern about the low car count not being useful to his National effort as well as concerns over the purse. Anthony Giuliani was all too ready to step in and take over in his "Batmobile" #15 car. Anthony was a happy winner Saturday at Antioch, but he's also leading a close three car battle with two time winner Matt Hagio and the steady Al Sotomayor. Any of these three could win that championship, which will make the Watsonville battle interesting to watch. Sotomayor would love to get a win at Antioch. He finished fourth last week behind one time winner and second ranked Paul Mulder. After the hard crash he had in the Summer Nationals in June, K.C. Keller came back with a vengeance on Saturday with a season best fifth place finish.
Of course, Antioch Speedway had DIRTcar Late Models Saturday night, and once again they had 12 cars despite the absence of a few drivers we thought might be there. In 12 of 15 races held so far, only two shows have had less than ten cars. Jeff Decker came into the night with the point lead and eight Top 3 finishes. However, he doesn't want to get into talk of running for points. He is out there trying to win, which is why he debuted the new car with the different suspension a couple months ago. He admits it's different to drive, but it is faster.
One of the things about point racing is that Jeff admits it takes the fun out of it. During the mid part of the last decade, Jeff found himself running for points about every season. His first point run in a Late Model at Watsonville found him missing the season opener as he found issues with the steering that couldn't be fixed in time. Even after missing that race, he managed to come back and take the point lead on the final night of the season.
Jeff has won championships at Watsonville, Petaluma and Antioch, but he also says the cost and the stress of maintaining points takes the fun out of it. Plus, you're not getting much of a reward at the end of the season. For instance, he had less point fund money for his second Petaluma title than he did his first. The cost of these cars means fun has to be the priority over the points. If points line up that way, he'll take it, but he's not really paying attention to it. Of course, The DCRR always looks at such things as there is a reason they have kept points all these years.
Decker had a throwaway night the week leading up to the Summer Nationals. He DNF'ed in 11th. A week later, he used a fifth place finish to get the lead back from Richard Papenhausen, who suffered a back injury and had to miss that race. On Saturday, Papenhausen was doing what he does best. The 2014 champion won his heat race and the Main Event, while Decker finished fourth. The way the points broke down, Decker is now just 14 points ahead with three races left to go. It seems like six time winner Papenhausen will overtake him, but you never know what will happen.
A crate Late Model could actually win a Main Event by season's end. Anthony Restad runs a crate Late Model and won a race at Plaverville this season. He recently had a third at Marysville. Saturday night, he led early before Papenhausen passed him. Restad had his hands full with previous winner Troy Foulger and Decker right behind him, but he managed to grab his second runner up finish of the season. Foulger, meanwhile, slipped by seventh place finisher Chester Kniss by one point to claim fifth in the standings.
One driver not worried about points is rookie Travis Meyerhoff. Travis bought this car from past Petaluma Super Stock champion Dean Devolder and jumped into Late Models with no experience at all. He joins Terry Kuntz on the roster as a driver making a Late Model his first race car. Travis is just out there trying to learn the car and stay out of people's way, and he took a checkered flag in eighth. Danny Malfatti made a late pass on Chester Kniss for a sixth place finish. With David Newquist's DNF, Malfatti is now ten points out of third in another close point battle.
John Soares Jr. is only out there to have a little fun and remind himself of how fun it can be as a race car driver, but his fifth place finish wrote the track's #3 all time Sportsman feature winner into the record books yet again. John is the only driver with Top 5 finishes in the 1960's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 00's and 10's. It seems like only J.D. Willis and Dean Cline would be capable of joining him on that list were they to come back, but even they couldn't match John should he make the next big accomplishment. Were he to win, he'd be the only driver with a feature win in every decade. John has a Hobby Stock in the works. He's won in Late Models, Dwarf Cars and the Sportsman division through the years at Antioch.
The Wingless Spec Sprints had a 13 car field at Antioch as a few new faces joined the fray and a familiar name was back in "Rallying" Roy Fisher. Fisher had reportedly sold his Winged 360 Sprinter, but he revealed that the guy decided not to buy the car after paying his deposit. Roy will race it again before season's end and also run the Spec Sprint in a quest for Win #3. He still has something coming up that will make him miss a race, but he will be back. Roy had a Top 3 run going last week when he lost a muffler on the track to end his race.
The last time we saw Jeff Lee at Antioch Speedway, he was winning the season opening Main Event. In doing so, he blew a motor and was out for a while. However, Jeff brought his car back within the last couple of months and let other drivers have a go. In the recent Hunt Series race at Petaluma, Jonathon Henry drove it to a second in what was a wild race. Saturday night, Jeff had a front row start and led every lap to win his second race in impressive fashion.
It wasn't a win, but the second place finish Kyle Bakkie had was much needed. He had been struggling in the two races following his hard crash. The team worked on the left front of the chassis to get it back up to speed, and the result was the second place finish he had with the hard charging Jimmy Perry III right behind him. Both drivers now have three feature wins this season.
Perry was coming off of his third win and nearly saw it end before it started in a tangle with James East. The key pass was made for third before the leader, Keith Shipherd, crashed avoiding a spun car. Jimmy was trying to go low for the pass for third, but Alan Miranda protected that groove and forced him to make the high pass. Leader Rick Panfili tried the same thing, but he momentarily gave up the bottom coming out of Turn 2 on lap 16. That was all Perry needed to get the lead. Perry's third place finish last week gained him fifth in the standings.
Kyle Standley and David Dias made their returns to Antioch, and we also saw the Antioch debuts of Kevin Sarginson, Steve Demelo and Peter Carlotto. Sarginson's debut ended in a brush with the front wall as Demelo and Dias also fell out. Standley and Carlotto battled Panfili for fifth, and Panfili got together with Standley in his pass for the position. Not long after that, Panfili lost power, and Carlotto would finish fifth ahead of Marysville/Chico racer Standley.
Carlotto has road racing experience, and this was his first Antioch start in the class after pitting for some racers, including Keith Shipherd. He was happy with the top 5 finish behind Alan Miranda. Miranda is quietly creeping back up on Marcus Smith and Panfili, meaning the battle for second in the standings is not over yet.
Back at Merced Speedway, the Wilson brothers were doing what they do every week. They got to the race track early and had the cars up on jack stands as they changed gears and adjusted the suspension. The two brothers are as dedicated as they come. It's no wonder Kyle Wilson has three wins and brother Alex leads the Merced and State battles. Alex finally got his first win a night earlier in Santa Maria, and he's been feeling pretty good about how his #36 car is running lately.
Both brothers crashed early in Sunday's race, and Kyle made a pit stop with a flat tire. Soon, they were both in the Top 5, but they were greeted by a surprise in the form of two time champion "Bullet" Bob Williamson in the red and white #19 car. Alex settled for third to increase his Merced point lead, while Kyle closes in on fifth in points with a fourth place finish.
However, second belonged to Williamson. Bob got his start at Merced some 43 years ago racing in Stock Cars and then the Sportsman division. Since then, it was Late Models and then the IMCA Modifieds that he's spent over 20 years driving. When he's serious about points, Bob is a mainstay in the top 5, and he's won his share of races. He admits he's working on getting the setup just right for him in the corners, but it looked a,little better on Sunday.
Paul Stone has won his share of championships and races at Merced and Hanford. After his 2014 championship, he decided that he'd use his new car for big events out of the state, but long time supporter Jack Mounce didn't want Paul to completely avoid Merced. That meant he would be driving the black #44 car. On Sunday, Paul drive it again, and he drove it to a convincing Main Event victory. that makes two wins on the season for Stone.
Joel Myers was back, but this time he brought his #202 car instead of #46. Often you'll find him running near the front at Petaluma Speedway, and he recently had a second place finish battling with Robert Miller in Fernley, Nevada. He enjoys visiting Merced from time to time, and on this occasion he picked up a fifth place finish ahead of Shawn DeForest and Tim Gagnon, DeForest and car owner Jim Reid missed the setup this time and did what they could. Gagnon normally races in Nevada in his gold #53 car, but he did okay in his first Merced visit with a lead lap seventh. Not doing so well was title hopeful Bill Egleston, who had a DNF in tenth to lose more ground to A. Wilson.
While Stone was riding high in Modifieds, the Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks had a wild and exciting Main Event at Merced despite a lower car count. That count got even lower as the Josh Henley car, Steve Torres and Steve Rodgers were on the trailer with mechanical woes before the heat races. Rodgers hadn't been at Merced in his yellow Ford Mustang in several months. It clearly looked as if Ted Stofle Classic winner Michael Shearer might get his second win in the fast #72 car that came from the Irwin Racing Team in Bakersfield. Or, previous winner Cody Parker or point leader and three time winner Kevin Joaquin might win.
Joaquin revealed that his neck was still a little sore, but he was feeling better. He was also not bearing any grudge over the call to put him to the back after the Raul Rodriguez spin last time out. He just charged back to a third place finish and left it at that. The Parker team was riding high after 15 year old Cody's win last time out, but it was also revealed that he probably wouldn't make all the races as they just don't have to money to race that much. So on this night, one of those three figured to win. Things would get crazy and unpredictable.
The first indication came when Parker and Joaquin got together with Joaquin spinning into the Turn 2 infield. Kevin got it going, though he was lapped by the smoking Shearer. Parker fell behind Austin Van Hoff before receiving a black flag. Moments later, Shearer's motor gave up on him. Suddenly, 2015 Chowchilla point runner up Van Hoff had the lead, and he was not letting go of it. Van Hoff became the 12th different winner in 16 races and passed George Silva for fifth in the standings.
Behind him, Dexter Long was having a blast in the former Eric Sealy #911 car. Long has had one bad break after another, but the rookie got it to the finish line for a career best second place finish. Meanwhile, top rookie and second place point runner Jennifer Corder held down third until the hard charging Joaquin made a pass at the while flag. When he spun in Turn 2, Corder happily brought it home to a season best third place finish. The Hobby Stocks at Merced are anything but boring.
At Antioch, Kimo Oreta brings vast experience to the table, and it's hard to beat that experience when you start that blue #03 car on the front row. Kimo is working hard to get his Limited Late Model ready for a move up, and unconfirmed reports say that he could make that first start by season's end. In the meantime, he drove a smooth race and dominated the competition for his sixth feature win of the season. With a lead of roughly 250 points now, that third consecutive championship appears likely as long as he makes no big mistakes.
Second is a rather interesting battle in points, and that was reflected in the Main Event. A night later, Michael Cooper and Jordan's sister Tayler Swank were getting married, so the two celebrated with Michael's best run yet in second. He looked like he might get that when mechanical woes interfered. That gave second to Danny Jones, and you can guess what happened next. The five time feature runner up had more problems and fell out once again. Hopefully, there wasn't too much damage to the motor, but this put Jordan Swank in second. All three of these drivers now have second place finishes, but who will be the first to win a Main Event?
Swank didn't have an easy go of it. Calvin Louis Jr., Chris Long and heat winner Joey Ridgeway were right there looking for that moment to make a pass. Jordan wasn't giving up the spot, and he maintained second in points with that career best effort. With Jones and Cooper still not far behind him, it's a battle that may go down to the wire. Louis, meanwhile, used his season best third place effort to climb back into the Top 10 in points, which is where two time winner and 2010 champion Chris Sorensen currently is. Unfortunately, Chris broke a transmission leading his heat race. Chris has indicated that he may be out for the season as he has already exhausted his racing funds for the year. That is a shame as he really brings a pleasant attitude to the track and is one of the nicer racers to be around.
Natalie Perry got the "Mean Kitty" back together after missing a race repairing front end damage following her tangle with Brent Curran. Natalie had last minute problems nearly sideline her last week, but she made it back. Unfortunately, a bad radiator took her out of this Main Event. Making her first start in the #7 car that Jim Robbins impressively drive to a second place finish a week earlier was Lindsey Buirch. She got this car as a 15th birthday present, and she was doing her best to stay low and out of the way. She did okay in taking a checkered flag in sixth.
Oval Motorsports race tracks return to action this week. This reporter wants to say it's been a pleasure to cover all of this season and the past, but it looks like our efforts to do a weekly thing have come to an end. However, The DCRR Blog will remain as long as we can keep it. As for Saturday night, Antioch Speedway has IMCA Modifieds. IMCA Sport Mods, Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks, Wingless Spec Sprints and Dwarf Cars. Merced Speedway will roar to life with the sound of race cars on Sunday with IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Mods, Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Dwarf Cars. For all of the official information, check the official Oval Motorsports Website.
Stevens, Ross Win Third In A Row
At Sacramento Valley Speedway
Sacramento Valley Speedway in Orland held it's first of three consecutive Saturday night races with a five division program. Second place point runner Paul Stevens scored his third straight Hobby Stock Main Event victory. Mini Truck point leader Keith Ross followed suit with his third straight Mini Truck feature victory. Point leader Nick Vidovich won his third Mini Stock feature in the last four races. It was Tony Alosi winning his season debut in the 600 Mini Sprint Main Event, while point leader Jesse Garland won the 250 Mini Sprint feature.
The Hobby Stocks ran two heat races, and Paul Stevens and Brad Ray collected the victories. Despite missing the first race of the season, Stevens moved into second in the point standings with his third consecutive Main Event triumph. Stevens moved by a past champion, Rich Hood, for second in the standings, but it's still close as Hood finished second in the feature. Point leader and defending champion Steve Martin settled for third ahead of Paul Newman, Bill Hampton, Jeremy Langenderfer, Ray and Cody Bundy. Martin is now 75 points ahead of Stevens and 80 in front of Hood as Shannon Collins skipped the race and dropped from second to fourth in points.
Keith Ross won the Mini Truck heat race to make it five heat wins in six starts. The point leader then impressed with his third straight feature victory. Past champion Ross Vige had his best finish since he won the season opener as he placed second ahead of Dan Webster. Willie Tanson, Jeremy Callen, and William Fogle rounded out the finishing order. With Tyler Pebley skipping the race, Ross now holds a 110 point lead over Webster as Vige is 30 points out of second.
Nick Vidovich won his third Mini Stock feature in the last four races ahead of the season debut of Jared Flower. With a heat race win and third in the feature, Tom Davis didn't lose any ground to Vidovich in the championship battle. Past champion John Kirkpatrick settled for fourth ahead of Kenny Britt and "Rollin" Olin Crain. Vidovich still holds just a 20 point lead over past champion Davis in the championship race.
Jeromie Crismon won his third straight 600 Mini Sprint heat race, but his night took a turn for the worse with a last place Main Event finish. It was Tony Alosi winning the Main Event in his season debut. Skyler Richter was second for the second time this season ahead of Marty Plumb, Kyra Michelet, Christine Root and Crismon. Crismon now holds a 25 point lead over Richter.
Jesse Garland won his heat race and his second 250 Mini Sprint Main Event in three starts. Double division racer Jeromie Crismon was second ahead of Andrew Love and Rusty Hensley. Garland leads Crismon by 125 points in the standings.
Racing resumes next Saturday night with Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Mini Trucks, 600 Mini Sprints and 250 Mini Sprints all in action. For further information, check out the track's Official Website.