Monday, July 6, 2015

Quick Weekend Previews For Antioch And Merced

First of all...

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DCRR Racing Radio Show

Weekend Review Edition

DCRR Racing Radio Show: Episode 44 by GenWhat

Sprint Cars, Late Models Headline Next Show At Antioch Speedway

With the Fourth Of July break behind us, Antioch Speedway is ready for two straight months of weekly racing.  It starts on Saturday night with an action packed lineup that includes Winged 360 Sprint Cars, DIRTcar Late Models, IMCA Sport Mods and Hobby Stocks.  There aren't many tracks left in California that have Winged Sprint Cars and Late Models, and Antioch Speedway has them both on the same night.

The Sprint Cars have put on some great races so far this season as this program is being established on the three-eighth mile clay oval.  With five of eight races in the books, there have been five different winners.  On the list so far are Art McCarthy, Alissa Geving, Jake Haulot, Shawn Arriaga and Austn Liggett.  Liggett bested the 12 car field two weeks ago in his first appearance at the track.

The drivers finishing fourth and fifth last time, McCarthy and Arriaga, are the championship contenders as the division heads down the stretch.  Third generation racer Arriaga leads by eight points as he tries to beat the 2007 champion for his first Antioch title.  Haulot may be a bit behind the lead duo, but he leads 2014 champion Chris Magoon by just 16 points in the battle for third.

Other regulars to watch for this week include two time Spec Sprint champion Dan Gonderman, Ricky Brophy, Chase Wood and Chico point leader Brandon Powell.  With different drivers coming in every time to try their luck, you never know who will show up to give the locals a challenge.

Richard Papenhausen of Chico has five wins and seemed to be hitting stride in his bid to repeat as the Late Model champion.  Then, he injured his back leading into the Summer Nationals and sent his car to the track with a backup driver.  That enabled Jeff Decker to use a fifth place finish to take a 22 point lead in a still very close battle.  Word was that Papenhausen was planning to get back behind the wheel of his fast orange #4p car.

The Late Models have been putting on a good show this season, and there could be as many as a dozen cars this Saturday night.  David Newquist continues to have a solid season and holds a 26 point lead over Danny Malfatti in the battle for third.  Two Antioch based racers, Rob Norris and Chester Kniss, are running closely in the battle for fourth in the standings.  Norris leads by just 11 points.

Randy Shafer turned a few heads last time with a season best second place finish ahead of Anthony Restad.  Restad already has two Top 3 finishes in recent starts and is looking like he could just grab a feature win in the near future.  It may just happen this week.

Fred Ryland is slowly pulling away from the rest of the pack in the quest for his first IMCA Sport Mod championship.  Ryland collected his first Antioch win last week and leads both the National and track point standings.  Ryland's lead over Keith Brown Jr. is now 40 points.  Brown grabbed a season best second place finish at the Summer Nationals.

Al Johnson has struggled in recent weeks, and now he has just a three point lead over one time feature winner Paul Mulder in the battle for third in the standings.   Even rookie Patti Ryland is in that battle as she is 19 points behind Johnson.  The Sport Mods have seen the recent debuts of Trevor Clymens and a new car for Lloyd Cline as car count continues to grow.

With five wins to his credit, two time defending champion Kimo Oreta has about a 200 point lead over Danny Jones.  The battle is for second.  Veteran Danny Jones is still without a win, but his five second place finishes have helped give him a 20 point advantage over rookie Jordan Swank.  Swank now has a 21 point lead over teammate Michael Cooper, and Cooper only leads Frank Furtado by eight points in the race for fourth.

Some very competitive racers have been showing up in recent weeks, including 2010 champion Chris Sorensen.  Sorensen had a fourth place finish last time and is already a feature winner in his few starts this season.  Chris Long had a solid second place finish last time, and both of these drivers are a threat to won on any given week.  Others to watch for include Natalie Perry, Jessica Jones and Jeremy Jennings.

Top 5 In Points at A Glance

Winged 360 Sprint Car

Shawn Arriaga        238
Art McCarthy        230
Jake Haulot        184
Chris Magoon        168
Dan Gonderman        142

Late Models

Jeff Decker        446
Richard Papenhausen 424
Dave Newquist        374
Danny Malfatti        348
Rob Norris        283

IMCA Sport Mod

Fred Ryland        322
Keith Brown Jr.       282
Al Johnson        263
Paul Mulder        260
Patti Ryland        244

Hobby Stocks

Kimo Oreta        686
Dan Jones        487
Jordan Swank        467
Michael Cooper        446
Frank Furtado        438

Merced Speedway Pays Tribute To Ted Stofle With Special Race

Merced Speedway is switching to Sunday evenings for the remainder of the 2015 season, and they are kicking the move off with a special race honoring one of the track's greatest drivers.  The event is the Ted Stofle Classic, and featured divisions include IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks, Limited Late Models and Mini Stocks.

It's no exaggeration to say that Ted may have been the greatest Stock Car driver ever, and he's most certainly in that discussion.  Ted was a front runner anywhere he went, but he made his biggest mark with six straight Merced Speedway Stock Car championships from 1975-1980.  He also collected the prestigious NASCAR State championship on more than one occasion, won a championship at Watsonville and was even a Figure 8 champion at Merced.  Along the way, he won over 100 Main Events in that time period.

When he died in a tragic hunting accident after the 1980 season concluded, it was the news that shocked the racing community.  It's no exaggeration to say that he could have made a move up the NASCAR ladder and been successful.  In 1981, the track ran its first Ted Stofle Classic, and teams from everywhere came to be a part of it.  The race was discontinued after 12 seasons, but people talked about bringing it back in the years that followed.

Merced Speedway management finally made that happen last year with an event that had sponsorship dollars increasing the purses for the drivers.  That will again be the case this year.  As Ted ran #89, his race always ran 89 laps.  Last year featured a 50 lap Sport Mod race, won by Rick Diaz of Los Banos, and a 39 lap Hobby Stock race, won by Sid Finn of Atwater.  Winton's Paul Stone won the IMCA Modified portion of the show.  This year, it's the traditional 89 lap race, and the Hobby Stocks will get to run it.

Point leader Kevin Joaquin of Sonora would love to try for his fourth Hobby Stock win this week, but he has a commitment to a family wedding that will take him out of the action.  Fortunately, his lead over Modesto's Jennifer Corder is big enough that it is not in jeopardy.  It's actually Kristie Shearer of Los Banos and Shanon Nelson of Winton who could be the drivers to beat.  Third ranked Shearer now has three wins this year, while Nelson is also a feature winner this season.

An increased car count is anticipated, and this highly competitive field has had nine different winners so far this year.  Turlock's Gary Hildebrand, Chris Mayer of Salinas and Chowchilla's Kodie Dean are winners this year who are anticipated.  Others to watch for include Merced's Ty Shelton, George Silva and Bobby Williams and Chowchilla's Austin Van Hoff.  A win here will be a career highlight for the driver who earns it.

When the Modifieds return on Sunday, they will renew what has been a thrilling battle so far this season.  Antioch's John MacDougall and IMCA State point leader Alex Wilson of Salinas are tied for the point lead with Atwater's Bill Egleston just seven points behind.  Egleston cut six points off of the lead with a season best second place finish to Atwater's Ryan Porter last time out.  All four drivers are anticipated for this race.

Because it is Stofle's race, an increased car count is anticipated all the way around, and other Modified drivers to watch for include Bob Williamson of Merced, Ricky Thatcher of Mariposa, two time winner Kyle Wilson of Salinas and 2014 champion Paul Stone of Winton.

Point leader Josh Hensley of Ballico isn't really in danger of losing his IMCA Sport Mod point lead, but he would love to add a win in this prestigious race to his resume.  He finished fourth last time out and does have one win so far.  Mark Odgers of Mariposa has strung together some good finishes in recent weeks, including a third in his last start.  Odgers is poised to move into second in the standings this week, but he's more interested in trying to get a win than collecting points.

The man in fifth, Jeremy Hoff of Copperopolis, has two wins this season and would have to be considered a threat to win this week.  He can expect stiff competition from four time winner Fred Ryland of Brentwood, recent winner Bruce Nelson of Atwater and two time winner Rick Diaz of Los Banos.  With drivers like Nick Tucker  of Hillmar and Atwater's Darren Thomas anticipated for this race, it should be good.

With five wins in seven starts, Antioch's Mark Garner has a firm hold on the Limited Late Model point lead.  However, two time champion Roy Hart Jr. of Merced served notice to Garner that the competition is ready to step up when he won the most recent race.  Scott Van Gelder of Merced, Mariposa's Buddy Thatcher and Donny Richardson are anticipated in what could be the biggest turnout for this division this season.

Ballicio's Darren Miguel came into the season looking for "Rookie Of The Year" honors, but the seven time winner leads defending champion Chris Corder of Modesto by 12 points in a good Mini Stock battle,  Third ranked Dennis Copus, Speedy Davis and Kelly Campanile are others we're hoping to see this week.

Merced Speedway Top 5 At A Glance

IMCA Modified

John Macdougall 321
Alex Wilson     321
Bill Egleston     314
Bob Williamson     263
Ricky Thatcher     233

IMCA Sport Mod

Josh Hensley     474
Dwayne Short     319
Mark Odgers     290
Keith Brown Jr. 271
Jeremy Hoff     268

Hobby Stock

Kevin Joaquin     584
Jennifer Corder 444
Kristie Shearer 361
Shannon Nelson     360
George Silva     288

Limited Late Model

Mark Garner     332
Scott Van Gelder 184
Buddy Thatcher     152
Peggy Sue Jarred 144
Roy Hart     140

Mini Stock

Darren Miguel     524
Chris Corder     512
Dennis Copus     318
Kevin Lockerby     283
Joy Alger     216

Sprint Cars Back At Antioch This Saturday Night

One of the most competitive and unpredictable Winged 360 Sprint Car shows you will find in California is happening at Antioch Speedway this Saturday night.  Oval Motorsports and promoter John Soares Jr. have made the commitment to establish this division on the fast three-eighth mile clay oval, and a core group of drivers have gotten on board with the effort.

Soares is so committed to the division that he has offered a $1250 to win and $150 minimum to start purse regardless of car count.  This included a seven car turnout earlier this season.  He has further pledged to bump the purse up to $1500 to win at 16 cars.  This has prompted several drivers to drop in for a visit during the first five races.

Last time out, up and comer Austin Liggett impressed with his victory, and that race got intense up front with a mid race duel between he and eventual third place finisher Kurt Nelson.  Eric Humphries was second, and all three drivers were making their first Antioch starts of the season.

The purse money and the fact that this program is just being established makes Antioch Speedway the perfect place for a new Sprint Car driver to come make some laps, and young up and comer Brayden McMahan has been doing just that over the last two races.

Make no mistake, there is a championship on the line, and there are drivers very much interested in winning it.  At the moment, third generation racer Shawn Arriaga holds a slim eight point lead over Art McCarthty.  Both drivers have one win to their credit, and Arriaga  managed to finish fifth behind McCarthy in the most recent race.  That race got a title ugly for Arriaga at times and he was happy to salvage what he did.

Beating McCarthy won't be easy, and Arriaga knows that.  McCarthy won the track championship in 2007 and has two Petaluma titles to his credit as well.  He also has two seconds to go with his one feature win this year.  Arriaga isn't without a championship on his resume as he also has one Winged 360 Sprint car title at Petaluma Speedway.

Young Jake Haulot impressed with a feature win this year and currently holds down third in the standings, just 14 points ahead of 2014 champion Chris Magoon.  Magoon has struggled this season since finishing second in the opener, and he'll be hoping to turn things around this week.

Another good battle for fifth in points has Dan Gonderman leading Chase Wood by 12 and Brandon Powell by 30.  Gonderman has had his struggles, but he was happy to finally grab a checkered flag in seventh last time behind Wood.  Powell is leading the Winged Economy Sprint point race at Chico this season.  Not far behind these three drivers is Ricky Brophy, and all four are anticipated for this race.

The track has made a commitment to Sprint Car racing that includes special visits by the World of Outlaws and a regular Wingless Spec Sprint division.  The Spec Sprint class runs at several tracks, but it started at Antioch in 1999.  Track management has endeavored to get the rules under control this season to keep that class affordable.  As the Winged 360 Sprint Car division continues to grow, you can expect it to take a more prominent role at the track in the future. 

Antioch Winged 360 Sprint Car Notes

Winged 360 Sprint Car

Shawn Arriaga        238
Art McCarthy        230
Jake Haulot        184
Chris Magoon        168
Dan Gonderman        142
Chase Wood        130
Brandon Powell        112
Ricky Brophy        102
Dustin Golobic        86
Jeremy Burt        82
Brayden McMahan    74
Rick Brophy        68
Eric Humphries     54
Austin Liggett        52
Justin Sanders        52
Alissa Geving        50
Kurt Nelson        50
Anthony Espinoza   48
Bradley Terrell    46
D.J. Freitas        44
Pete Paulson        44
Zack Lynskey        40
Darrell Taylor        40
Roy Fisher        36
Ryan Timmons        30

Last 20 Feature Winners

June 20, 2015:  Austin Liggett
June 6, 2015:  Shawn Arriaga
May 16, 2015:  Jake Haulot
April 25, 2015:  Alissa Geving
March 7, 2015: Art McCarthy
August 2, 2014: Zack Lynskey
June 21 2014:  Bradley Terrell
June 10, 2014:  Chris Magoon
April 5, 2014:  Kurt Nelson
May 4, 2013: Shawn Arriaga
April 13, 2014: Chris Martin
September 17, 2011:  Billy Aton
July 30, 2011:  Craig Smith
September 15, 2010: Jeremy Burt
August 25, 2010: Craig Smith
April 24, 2010: Craig Smith
March  27, 2010: Craig Smith
March 20, 2010:  Ryan Risconi
September 26, 2009:  Jeremy Burt
August 29, 2009:  Jeremy Burt

Northern All Stars Winged 360 Sprint Car Schedule

August 8
August 29

Tenth Round Of Late Model Series Saturday At Antioch Speedway

DIRTcar Late Models are in the stretch run of an ambitious 14 race season at Antioch Speedway.  This Saturday night's event will be the tenth of the season as John Soares Jr. and Oval Motorsports has staked a claim on this popular division.  After the division was dropped at neighboring Petaluma Speedway, Soares made a curtsey call to Petaluma promoter Rick Faeth to see if he minded Antioch taking over the class.  Faith had decided to drop the division at his track.

With no objections, a seven race season was booked last season.  That effort was so successful that the schedule was doubled and the DIRTcar sanctioning was secured for this year.  The real question was whether or not there would be any support, but that has been answered in the affirmative.  After nine races, only two car counts of less than ten cars have been fielded with a season high of 16 cars.  In fact, over 20 cars have competed at least once this season. 

Track management is pleased with the progress that has been made in establishing this division so far.  In addition to all of the Bay Area based competitors, drivers have even made the trip from up north with their Crate Late Models to compete a time or two this year.  There's lots of buzz as potential new drivers talk about getting cars to compete in the future.

Anybody who does join the class knows that two of the toughest competitors you're going to find are the consistent Jeff Decker and defending champion Richard Papenhausen.  Papenhausen has five wins so far this season, but a back injury forced him to miss the Sumner Nationals race.  The 2007 champion Decker now has a 22 point lead over Papenhausen with five races remaining on the schedule.  Decker recently debuted a new car, and the one time winner knows he'll probably need to grab another win or two if he wants to keep Papenhausen behind him.

One of those drivers from up North, David Newquist, sits in the third point position  In fact, Newquist is also Top 3 ranked at Chico.  The third place finish he got recently has helped give him an 18 point lead over Danny Malfatti in a good battle for third.  Newquist is a big booster of this division and frequently brings a second car to the track, driven by Limited Late Model racer Mike Hynes.

Two local competitors with Dirt Modified backgrounds find themselves in a battle for fifth in the standings.  Past Dirt Modified champ Rob Norris is currently 11 points ahead of Chester Kniss.  Despite struggling to get a handle on his car, Norris has been grabbing checkered flags most weeks and learning more with each start, while Kniss has finished as high as third this season.  Kniss could be just one break away from getting a win. 

Two other drivers hot on the trail of their first victory finished second and third in the Summer Nationals.  Randy Shafer surprised a few people by holding off Anthony Restad and Ryan McDaniel for a season best second.  Restad actually had a recent second place finish and won his first start at Placerville not two many weeks ago.  Both of these drivers could be in line for an Antioch Speedway win this week.

Three drivers with one win each this year are Bobby Hogge IV, Troy Foulger and Paul Guglielmoni.  The extra money at the Summer Nationals was enough to entice Hogge, who won by a wide margin for a $2000 victory.  Bobby also impressed in July of last year with a pair of wins in the House Car.  Foulger grabbed a win earlier this season, and he drove the Bowers Racing Late Model to a win late last year as well.

Guglielmoni's win earlier this year may have come as a surprise, but it shouldn't have.  Paul is a past champion at Petaluma Speedway and a big booster of this division.  His team fielded three cars last time and frequently shows up with two cars on race night.  It's racers like Guglielmoni who are helping keep this division alive with their support.

Many of these competitors should be on hand this Saturday night, and others to watch for include another Guglielmoni teammate, Terry Kuntz, Dennis Souza and past Petaluma champion Rod Arnold.  Duane Cleveland is a champion up at Chico Silver Dollar Speedway, and he's been making appearances at Antioch when he can.  When things are holding together, he is right there in the thick of the battle and a threat to win.

DirtCar Late Model Points

Jeff Decker        446
Richard Papenhausen 424
Dave Newquist        374
Danny Malfatti        348
Rob Norris        283
Chester Kniss        272
Troy Foulger        253
Paul Guglielmoni   222
Dennis Souza        218
Terry Kuntz        170
Mike Hynes        152
Anthony Restad        150
Randy Shafer        142
Duane Cleveland    132
Rod Arnold        112
Larry Damitz        88
Travis Meyerhoff   58
Bobby Hogge IV        50
Ryan McDaniel        48
Ray Trimble        40
Dean Devolder        36
Chris Linder        34
Dominic Stone        34
Kenny Wallace        26

Recent Late Model Feature Winners

June 27, 2015:  Bobby Hogge IV
June 20, 2015: Richard Papenhausen
June 13, 2015:  Richard Papenhausen
May 11, 2015:  RIchard Papenhausen
April 25, 2015:  Troy Foulger
April 11, 2015:  Paul Guglielmoni
March 21, 2015:  Richard Papenhausen
March 14, 2015:  Jeff Decker
January 2, 2015:  Richard Papenhausen
August 16, 2014:  Troy Foulger
July 26, 2014:  Bobby Hogge IV
July 19, 2014:  Bobby Hogge IV
June 14, 2014:  A.J. Kirkpatrick
May 10, 2014:  Richard Papenhausen
April 26, 2014: Jeff Decker
April 12, 2014:  Jeff Decker

DIRTcar Late Model Schedule

July 25
Augsut 8
August 22
September 19

Past Late Model Stock Car Champions

1967-Chuck Choate
1968-Wayne Price
1969-Rich Oagle
1970-J.D. Willis
1971-J.D. Willis
1972-Mitch West
1973-Richard Johnson
1974-Don Robbins
1975-Willie Myatt
1976-Chuck Dyer
1977-Richard Johnson
1978-Bob Meeker
1979-Dean Cline
1981-Bruce Curl Sr.
1982-Dave Byrd
1983-Dave Byrd
1984-J.D. Willis
1985-Bobby Hogge III
1986-Ed Sans Jr.
1987-Jim Pettit II
1988-Jim Pettit II
1989-Bobby Hogge III
1990-Jeff Silva
1991-Jim Pettit II
1992-Steve Hendren
1993-Steve Hendren
1994-No Points
1998-Ed Sans Jr.
2007-Jeff Decker
2008-Andy Obertello
2014-Richard Papenhausen