Sunday, August 30, 2015

Alex Wilson Wins Fourth IMCA Modified Feature At Merced Speedway

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Alex Wilson Wins Fourth IMCA Modified Feature At Merced Speedway


Alex Wilson won the 20 lap IMCA Modified Main Event Sunday night at Merced Speedway.  It was the fourth win of the season for the point leader.  A. Wilson chased leader Ricky Thatcher for two laps before making an inside pass in Turn 4 of the third lap to gain the lead.  Kyle Wilson quickly struck to second, and the Wilson brothers ran side by side for several laps as they battled fiercely for the lead.  Over the final few laps, A. Wilson pulled ahead to an impressive victory.  K. Wilson settled for second ahead of four time champion Ramie Stone in his season debut.

Two time champion Bruce Nelson won the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event to become the 16th different winner this season.  Austin Van Hoff led most of the race, winning a duel midway through the race with Kevin Joaquin.  Nelson took second from Joaquin on lap 12 and made an inside pass in Turn 2 of the14th lap to gain the lead.  Nelson led the rest of the way for the impressive victory.  Joaquin finished second with Robbie Loquaci making a late charge for third.

Point leader Josh Hensley collected his second 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified feature win of the season.  Hensley grabbed second early on and chased down early leader Andy Welch.  Hensley made his winning pass at the start finish line on lap 11 and led the rest of the way for the win.  Welch settled for second ahead of Jared Tickel.

Darren Miguel impressed with his 12th Mini Stock feature win of the season.  Miguel took the lead on lap two and led the rest of the 20 lap race for the victory.  Dan McCabe made his first start in several weeks and finished a strong second ahead of James Stockton and Chris Corder.  Miguel regained sole possession of the point lead with the victory.

Racing takes a couple weeks off, but it resumes at Merced Speedway on Sunday night, September 20 with a five division show that will feature IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars and Mini Stocks.

Sunday August 30, 2015
Race Results

IMCA Modifieds
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Kyle Wilson, Alex Wilson.  Main Event (20 Laps)-A. Wilson, K. Wilson, Ramie Stone, Chester Kniss, Ricky Thatcher.

IMCA Sport Mods
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Josh Hensley, Dwayne Short.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Hensley, Andy Welch, Jared Tickel, Gary Tucker, Short.

Hobby Stocks
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Ty Shelton, Bruce Nelson, Andrew Krumm.   Main Event (20 Laps)-Nelson, Kevin Joaquin, Robbie Loquaci, Kristie Shearer, Austin Van Hoff.

Mini Stocks
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Darren Miguel.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Miguel, Dan McCabe, James Stockton, Chris Corder, Jennifer Corder.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

McCarthy Grabs Second Sprint Car Win, Arriaga Antioch Speedway Champion

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McCarthy Grabs Second Sprint Car Win, Arriaga Antioch Speedway Champion

Art McCarthy drove to his second Winged 360 Sprint Car 20 lap Main Event victory of the season Saturday night at Antioch Speedway.  The win wasn’t enough for McCarthy to regain the point lead as Shawn Arriaga used his fourth place finish to wrap up the season championship for this division.

After winning his first heat race, Dan Gonderman had a front row start for the Main Event and set the early pace ahead of McCarthy.  Gonderman was tentative as he approached a slower car, resulting in a back stretch jam up of cars on lap ten that saw Gonderman and Colby Wiesz crash.  McCarthy had the lead from there and led the rest of the way to win ahead of Bobby McMahan and Jake Haulot.

Petaluma point leader Nick DeCarlo won the 15 lap IMCA Modified Main Event.  As Aaron Crowell led from his front row start, DeCarlo steadily worked his way to the front from a sixth row starting spot.  DeCarlo gained second on lap six, but he trailed Crowell by a straightaway.  DeCarlo nearly caught Crowell, but it was a lap 12 yellow flag that gave him his opportunity.  DeCarlo took the lead from Crowell on the restart and led the final three laps for a well earned victory.  Shawn DeForest out dueled Oreste Gonella for a second place finish.

Anthony Giuliani won the 15 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event for his fourth win of the season.  Giuliani made an inside pass in Turn 4 of the 12th lap to take the lead from Patti Ryland and went on to victory.  Trevor Clymens led the first seven laps before being passed by point leader Fred Ryland.  F. Ryland lost his hood on lap nine and was black flagged.  That gave Clymens back the lead, but he was passed by P. Ryland on lap 10.  P. Ryland followed Giuliani closely for a second place finish as Clymens settled for third.

Point leader Kyle Bakkie won his fourth Wingless Spec Sprint 20 lap Main Event of the season.  It was his first win since flipping his car back in June.  Roy Fisher set the early pace, and Bakkie gained second with the departure of Jimmy Perry III on lap 13.  Bakkie beat Fisher back to the line on lap 16 and led the rest of the way.  Fisher settled for second ahead of a solid third place effort for Keith Shipherd.

Mike Gustafson impressed with his third 20 lap Limited Late Model feature win of the season.  Gustafson had the pole and led every lap of the race in victory.  Mike Hynes came from the fifth row to finish second after making a brief challenge for the lead.  Lori Brown matched her season best effort in third with John Evans the final lead lap finisher in fourth.

Kimo Oreta won a time limit shortened 13 lap Hobby Stock Main Event for his eighth win of the season.  Despite several yellow flags, Oreta held off all challengers on the restarts to secure his eighth feature win of the season.  Placerville visitor Jay Bryant crossed the finish line second, followed by Steven Rogers and Natalie Perry.

Two time Dwarf Car champion  Danny Wagner made a triumphant return with his third 20 lap Dwarf Car Main Event win of the season.  Wagner bided his time as he ran second to point leader David Teves early on and was briefly dropped to third by Mike Corsaro on lap four.  Teves lost power on lap five with Corsaro gaining the lead.  Wagner followed Corsaro closely until making his winning pass in Turn 4 of the 12th lap.  Wagner built a straightaway advantage by the time the checkered flag fell as Corsaro settled for second.  Kevin Miraglio finished third, just ahead of a season best fourth for Kurtis Craig.

Racing takes a week off, but resumes on Sunday, September 13 as Antioch Speedway will have World Of Outlaw Sprint Cars and IMCA Sport Modifieds.  The next regular program is Saturday, September 19 as DIRTcar Late Models, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Wingless Spec Sprints, Limited Late Models and Hobby Stocks will be part of a six division program.

Race Results
Saturday Night, August 29, 2015

IMCA Modifieds
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Nick Viscusi III, Shawn DeForest.  Main Event (15 Laps)-Nick DeCarlo, DeForest, Oreste Gonella, Brian Cass, Bobby Motts Jr.

Winged 360 Sprint Cars
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Shawn Arriaga, Dan Gonderman.  Main Event (20 laps)-Art McCarthy, Bobby McMahan, Jake Haulot, Arriaga, Gonderman

IMCA Sport Modifieds
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Anthony Giuliani, Fred Ryland.  Main Event (15 Laps)-Giuliani, Patti Ryland, Trevor Clymens, K.C. Keller, Chuck Golden.

Wingless Spec Sprints
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Alan Miranda, Kyle Bakkie.  Main Event (20 laps)-Bakkie, Roy Fisher, Keith Shipherd, Miranda, Marcus Smith.

Hobby Stocks
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Marc Key, Russell Shearer, Jay Bryant.  Main Event (13 Laps)-Kimo Oreta, Bryant, Steven Rogers, Natalie Perry, Robert Niven.

Limited Late Models
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Larry Damitz, Jim Freethy.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Mike Gustafson, Mike  Hynes, Lori Brown, John Evans, Freethy.

Dwarf Cars
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Adam Teves, Kevin Miraglio, Curtis Kraig.  Main Event (20 laps)-Danny Wagner, Mike Corsaro, Miraglio, A. Teves, Kurtis Craig.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Pit Stops From Merced Speedway And Antioch Speedway

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Pit Stops

It's definitely a different time in racing where points are almost a secret.  We are heading into the last race of August with just a few races remaining in the 2015 season.  The year seems to have blown by.  Antioch Speedway is coming up on it's annual "kitchen sink" race in which Oval Motorsports has thrown everything onto the schedule.  Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars are all on the schedule.  Meanwhile, Merced Speedway has a more modest IMCA Modified, IMCA Sport Modified, Hobby Stock and Mini Stock show scheduled for Sunday.

The DIRTcar Late Models have two point races to compete for this season.  There's the Antioch Speedway battle that people know about, but there is also the Northwest Regional race that is lesser known.  Nothing has been made over the fact that the Regional title is worth $2500 to the champion or the fact that John M. Soares booked his schedule with the thought that his drivers would have the best shot of winning that money.  The only team this writer knows of that was aware of that money prior to Saturday night was the Richard Papenhausen team.

The UMP DIRTcar website hadn't even updated their website after the 12th race at Antioch, which was won by Papenhausen ahead of Jeff Decker.  At that point, Papenhausen led Decker by three points, and that increased to eight after his eighth Antioch win.  However, Decker still held a ten point lead in the track's point race.  This meant Papenhausen was leading with the money on the line, and Decker led in the quest for a second Antioch Late Model title.  Decker had said a month beforehand that points were not on his mind due to the stress and the lack of a reward at the end of the season.  His attitude was about to change last Saturday night.

As the previous winner, Papenhausen started back in tenth in the Main Event, while Decker shared the front row of with Soares.  Decker led immediately, while Papenhausen had worked his way to fourth for an early restart.  Moments later, Papenhausen got into the front wall attempting to make a pass and spun into Turn 1.  The result was a multi car pileup that brought out a red flag.  Papenhausen's Warrior chassis was dragged into the infield with a flat tire, rather than taken to the pits for the crew to make repairs. 

Because points were on the line and the Papenhausen Construction/Mohawk Trading #4p car was not dragged to the pits, Papenhausen's crew threw a tire and a jack over the fence and went to work on the car in the infield.  To the letter of the rules, that was illegal, but the crew's concern was they wouldn't have a chance to work on the car with enough time to get it back out there otherwise.  When Richard returned to the track entrance, he was informed that acting chief steward Steve Southerland made the decision to disqualify him from the race.

Decker easily led the rest of the race for his second win and tenth Top 3 finish of the season.  After points were calculated, Decker emerged with a 26 point lead at Antioch that will be tough for him to lose unless he doesn't finish the final race on September 19.  Current DIRTcar Regional points were not available at press time, but Decker unofficially leads by 25 points in that race.  Jeff admitted that he had no idea about the prize money at stake, and he's now very interested in it. With just the one Antioch race left, Papenhausen may have to find another DIRTcar sanctioned race to get more points, which seems unlikely.

Decker wasn't the only driver in Late Models making a move in the standings.  Coming off of his Top 5 finish last time, Danny Malfatti took full advantage of David Newquist's struggles on the night.  Malfatti held off a fierce challenge from Paul Guglielmoni most of the race for a season best second place finish.  That effort catapulted Malfatti past Newquist and into third in the standings.  Danny now has a four point advantage going into the September finale.  He's also enjoying a Top 10 season as a Winged 360 Sprint Car rookie at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville.  All in all, it's been a good season for Malfatti.

The closest championship battle for Oval Motorsports this season can be found in the Northern All Stars Mini Stocks at Merced Speedway.  This is a division that has seen its struggles, but two racers have not missed a race yet.  They find themselves tied at the moment.  That would be 11 time winner Darren Miguel and three time winner and defending champion Chris Corder.  Corder didn't even get his first win of the season until four races ago, but he has won three of the last four races and trimmed down Miguel's 30 point lead during that time.

It may come as a surprise, because Miguel was so hot at one point that he went to Rocky Hill Speedway and won $1000 for a feature win there and an additional $200 in the Dash For Cash.  The lower car count during his streak probably didn't work in his favor as he was only gaining a little at a time on Corder, who wasn't far behind him.  For Corder's part, he made the move to Alex Odishoo's car and inherited the motor problems that came with it  The #48 car is fast.  Once Chris figured out what was causing it to miss late in the race, he started winning.

Last week started off with Corder winning a heat race, but Miguel shot out of the gate like a cannon ball to grab the lead.  Just when it looked like he would get a much needed win, his transmission let go on him six laps in.  Corder had the lead then and fought off the efforts of the surprising Mike Germait to win again.  It's anybody's guess who will win this battle, but it makes Sunday's race all the more interesting.  It looks like both Miguel and Corder will be moving up to Hobby Stocks next season, so you know both of them would like to move up as the 2015 Mini Stock champion.

IMCA Sport Modifieds are a different story at Merced Speedway.  Josh Hensley will likely be the champion and "Rookie Of The Year" all rolled into one.  Nobody else launched a title run, but occasionally the heavy hitters show up to make things interesting.  Last week, that meant Fred Ryland was adding a much needed win to his National point effort as he came into the week ranked third.  Bruce "Bubba" Nelson finished second.  Santa Maria winner Jason Nation was third with 2014 Merced champion Rick Diaz fourth.  Had Diaz and Nelson been there all season, the points might look much different.

Mark Odgers was not looking at points either.  Given his experience and even in the oldest car in the field, Odgers might be making things very difficult for Hensley had he wanted to run for the title.  However, he did admit a few weeks ago that making a move on second in points was very appealing to him.  That position is currently occupied by the steady Dwayne Short, but Odgers has been trimming what was roughly a 30 point advantage a little at a time every week.  Both drivers are dealing with problems.

If you've been paying attention, you've noticed Short's black #27 car has been fast at the start and started slowing down during the last ten laps in recent weeks.  It turns out that he discovered a problem with one of the heads going into the latest race.  Unfortunately, the new head didn't come in in time, forcing him to patch up what he had and make do for another week.  Odgers, meanwhile, was running on a prayer last week with a broken rear end.  It somehow held together for a seventh place finish, while Short was outside the Top 10.  Short now leads by just three points.  Mark will get things fixed, but he's unsure how it will handle this week.  Short is likely to have the new head for this race and will be hoping it will run strong for a complete race this time.

While Merced was having a strong 17 car showing in its Sport Mod division last Sunday, Antioch was doing pretty well with its own class.  Fred Ryland has the championship well in hand at the moment, leaving Al Johnson and Paul Mulder to battle it out for second in the standings.  Johnson has picked up the pace in recent weeks, despite still searching for his first feature win.  Johnson drove his white #43 car to a respectable sixth place finish last week, while Mulder was a disappointing 13th in the 15 car field.  Johnson now leads the one time winner Mulder by seven points in a good battle for runner up honors.

The name Clymens has been a fixture at Antioch Speedway going back to the 1970's when a driver named Tommy Clymens raced in both the Sportsman and Stock Car divisions.  Then, we had his wife Debbie, who proved that women could race with and beat the men as she was not afraid to get in there and trade paint with the best of them.  Tommy and Debbie's three sons all started racing when the Hobby Stocks came along in the 1990's, and it was Trevor Clymens who really showed his abilities as a Top 3 point runner and feature winner back in those days.

Trevor recently returned in a beautiful, blue race car that was fast right out of the gate.  Last week was his night to shine, and Trevor shined brightly in the lead from the start.  Anthony Giuliani had won his last three starts at Antioch, though a disappointing night on Friday saw him lose his point lead at Watsonville to Matt Hagio.  When Anthony gained second, some may have thought he would catch Trevor, but that didn't happen.  Trevor won the race with three of the top division racers behind him in Giuliani, Rick Diaz and Fred Ryland.  To win the way he did and with who was behind him had to be a satisfying moment for Clymens.  It might give hope to the rapidly improving K.C. Keller, who finished fifth.

While Kimo Oreta has racked up his seven wins this season on the way to his third straight Hobby Stock championship at Antioch Speedway, it can't be said that nobody wanted second place.  Stock Car veteran Danny Jones, rookie Jordan Swank and Michael Cooper have been racing hard for that honor all season long.  Jones had racked up five second place finishes, but his quest for a win had him dealing with one problem after another.  After his motor issues in the previous race, Danny took last week off.  Sometimes taking a step backwards is the only way you can move forward.

Cooper had finished a strong second while Jones was having his problems, and that gave him second in points coming into last week.  If anybody was wondering how much improved the 2014 Mini Stock point runner up Swank is at this point in the season, he showed them with one of his best efforts yet.  It's not just that Jordan won his heat race and finished third in the Main Event.  He beat Oreta to get both finishes.  With Cooper struggling back in eighth, Swank now leads his brother in law Cooper by 13 points.

Jones has dropped to 61 points behind Swank.  Despite finishing last in the latest race, Frank Furtado is only two points behind Jones.  The Swank team has indicated that they will have to miss another race due to another wedding in the family.  While the status of Jones may be a mystery, it's likely that Furtado will keep plugging away in his #81 car.  Jordan's cousin, Cameron Swank, continues to look good in his #21 car as he finished fifth last week to maintain his Top 10 point effort.

The star of the night at Antioch was Merced and Chowchilla champion Kevin Joaquin.  He was flying that night, which makes Richard Shearer's heat race win ahead of him all the more impressive.  Come Main Event time, nobody was going to beat Kevin.  He had a half lap lead by the time a late yellow flag flew, and he easily won ahead of another Merced Speedway regular, "Mr. Excitement" George Silva.  It was revealed earlier that night by Kevin's grandfather that the team has a BCRA Midget Lite for next season.  If that is his move, it won't be a surprise to see him race the Hobby Stock occasionally unless he sells it.

The Merced Hobby Stock point race is not a mystery.  Kevin is the champion.  It looks as if the steady Jennifer Corder is second and "Rookie Of The Year" as well.  Austin Van Hoff may have third unless he is unable to get his race car, which was damaged in a hard heat race crash, repaired.  In which case, three time winner Kristie Shearer may have a shot at that spot if she wants it back.  Even rookie Dexter Long may have a challenge from Silva, who trails him by 21 points for fifth.  But, there is another thing happening in this division that is even more interesting than the points.

Past Chowchilla Hobby Stock and Merced Sportsman champion Shane Hausmann was back for the first time this year, and he meant business.  Shane led the entire race ahead of Marc Key, who we haven't seen in while.  Key is the nephew of the only Street Stock driver to win a Ted Stofle Classic, Tom Key, and he ran strong for a second place finish ahead of Joaquin.  However, Hausmann was not to be denied victory.  Even with his car smoking late in the race, Hausmann became the 15th different winner in the 20 races held so far this season.  That speaks to how competitive this division has been all season long,  You never know who will win on any given week.

The winner's list is led by three time winners Joaquin and Kristie Shearer, who finished fourth last week ahead of a season best fifth for Phil Vaughn.  The only other multiple winner is two time winner Austin Van Hoff, who sat out the feature after a hard heat race crash with Bobby Williams.  The other 12 drivers on the win list this year are Hausmann, M. Key, Gary Hildebrand, Joe Willoughby, Darren Miguel, Shannon Nelson, Cody Parker, Kodie Dean, Chris Falkenberg, Chris Mayer, Ryan Hart and Ted Stofle Classic Winner Michael Shearer.  Can somebody else add their name to this list before the end of the season?

The IMCA Modified division at Merced is a bit of a mystery at the moment.  Car count was holding steady at 10-12 cars until recently, but now it's struggling at 7-8 cars.  Bob Williamson had remarked when he competed the last time that he would be missing races.  A frustrated Bill Egleston decided to park from second in the standings.  We basically have Alex Wilson and his brother Kyle Wilson showing up along with Ricky Thatcher and whomever else wants to race.  This may be a cause for concern.

Alex Wilson is well on his way to IMCA State and Merced championships.  Even Ryan Porter and hard charging visitors Troy Foulger and Robby Sawyer couldn't challenge A. Wilson in his third win last week.  Now, both Wilson boys have three wins and seem to be the drivers to beat on race day.  Porter may have something to say about that as a three time winner himself, but the division needs the return of Egleston and Williamson and such hard chargers as Paul Stone, Karl Rose and Ramie Stone now more than ever.  R. Stone is said to be about ready to make his return to the division he has won four championship in throughout his career.  As far as points, Egleston will fall from second if he misses this week, and Thatcher is clinging to a 15 point lead over K. Wilson in what would be the new battle for second.

The future of the Sportsman division at Merced Speedway will be another question on people's minds, but their return on Legend's Night gives hope that there can be a 2016 season.  Five of the six drivers who have competed this year showed up and were joined by two time division champion  Mike Friesen.  Mark Odgers commented before the races that he nearly brought his car despite his concerns over keeping the Vern Willhoite tribute body in good shape.

Before the races, Mike Palmberg optimistically spoke of next year and a couple drivers who are working on cars.  Most of the drivers there felt that this division will perform better next season if given a chance.  The Birdsong car has been at every race, and Marcus Lung and Jeff Bristow have been at most of them.  Eric Sealy has made a few, and he was the class of the field on Sunday in an impressive victory.  He was beat by Palmberg in the heat race to prevent a sweep.

Palmberg ended up second in the feature, but that was aided by the right front flat tire Friesen suffered on the last lap as he fell back to fourth.  Marcus Lung was third and should be the champion, though Kenny Birdsong is listed as the point leader.  Chris Birdsong earned some of those points, which should be discovered on point audit.  The important thing is that the Sportsman division got to finish out their 17th season since Chuck Griffin brought the class back in 1999, and there is hope for an 18th season.

Speaking of nostalgia classes, if the California Hardtop Association's return to Antioch was an audition for 2016 race dates, it would have to be considered a success.  There were 12 cars on hand for this race, and it came together in a little over a month's time thanks to Mike McCann and John M. Soares having discussions.  There had been a lot of misconceptions about the Hardtops and Antioch that just were not true, chief of which was the false rumor that the drivers didn't want to race there.

McCann did a poll of the racers that saw Antioch as the second most desired race track behind only Placerville.  The long time promoter decided to step in and organize this race on the heels of a Califstoga race in July that saw 14 drivers show up to race, only to find out they would not be allowed on the track.  Mike didn't want to see the division fragment and fall apart, and he saw the Antioch date in August as an opportunity to bring some stability back to the situation.  He also conducted the poll to find out where the drivers stood on certain issues.

There were a few other drivers committed to race on Saturday who had last minute problems take them out, including local division booster Dave Mackey and Zach Frazer.  George Conner had been trying to get Mike McClure's beautiful Leroy Geving tribute car to the track, and now George is talking about building a new car for next year.  This only shows that there are other cars out there, and Antioch saw 12 of them from an estimated roster at least in the 20's.

Rob Waldrop came into the night as the driver to beat in the Bill McLaughlin car.  Tommy Thomson had the beautiful green #39 car that he won the final Hardtop race at Vallejo Speedway with in 1979.  Dan Williams was back, and of course you know Larry Damitz came to play.  Mike Friesen brought his two cars, the #00 and the #77m Sammy Huff tribute car.  The two Armstrong cars and the two Clifford cars were there.  Dan Whitney made the trip from the Orland area and John Turner was there as well.

Turner influenced Ron Ruiz's decision to get a Hardtop.  Ron was in Stockton in 2013 when he heard Turner's name announced as part of the Hardtop race.  He went to school with a John Turner, and when he went to meet the man, he found out that was the same guy.  Soon, Ron got his own car.  It wasn't pretty, and he crashed, but he got the bug to race these cars.  He got another car, which he is still fixing.  His motor is in the #7 Jason Armstrong car while he finishes his car.  Ron found himself battling Turner on Saturday, but Turner held him off for the sixth place finish.

A point of controversy in the division is the #100 car of Larry Damitz.  Larry actually raced Hardtops in Pacheco and Vallejo and even Petaluma for 20 years before moving to Super Stocks.  When this class came to Antioch, he wanted to play, so he put this car together.  It has a Hardtop look, but it's not quite as authentic as most of the cars in the class.  The 86 year old Limited Late Model point leader charged to the lead by lap 12 and won the first place trophy provided by McCann.

Rob Waldrop led very early on and set a good pace as he was in traffic by lap six.  However, he couldn't hold off Damitz and had a brush with the back wall.  Waldrop's car was sparking underneath, but he still got it to the finish line for the second place trophy.  He also won a heat race winner's plaque, as did Jason Armstrong, who was subbing for his father in the #77 car.  Jason had third place in hand, but motor issues arose on lap 12 to put an end to that.  That put Tommy Thomson in third.  Tommy battled with Dan Williams and Ken Clifford before grabbing the third place trophy, while Williams and Clifford completed the lead lap finishers.

The racing was good, and the Hardtop drivers put on a good show.  While they are now talking about next year and more races at Antioch, the next date on the calendar is the Louie Vermeil Classic on September 5-6 at Calistoga Speedway.  This big Sprint Car event has other festivities, including a Hall Of Fame gathering that will induct BCRA Midget legend Norm Rapp into the Calistoga Speedway Hall Of Fame.  But, the big question is what is in store for the Hardtop drivers who show that weekend?

CHA President John Philbert, who plans to race that weekend, has reassured the drivers that heat races and Main Events will happen for the Hardtops on both nights.  Thomson still had some questions, so he made a call to USAC's Tommy Hunt since the Sprint Cars are the weekend headliners.  According to Thomson, Hunt said the Main Events and heat races will happen, and he apologized for the issues that occurred the last time.  Last time out, 14 Hardtops were there and didn't get to race.  What will the turnout be this time?  Considering the legacy of the track, it won't be a surprise to see a good turnout again.

It's not USAC, but Antioch Speedway has two Sprint Car classes this weekend and a couple of point battles to keep an eye on.  The closest championship battle at the track is happening in the Winged 360 Sprint Car division as third generation racer Shawn Arriaga leads Art McCarthy by 20 points going into this point finale.  Arriaga doubled a ten point lead with his dominating performance last time out in a flag to flag romp.  He will have to start no better than tenth this week, but there is a question of what car count will be like.  A good car count gives the past Antioch champion McCarthy a fighting chance to regain the lead.

Arriaga might have a challenge coming from the back.  Jake Haulot found that out last time as he started in the fifth row of the non stop race.  He managed to make it all the way into second with a late traffic pass on Jeremy Burt, but that's as far as the two time winner could go.  Haulot now leads 2014 champion Chris Magoon by 22 points in the battle for third.  Word was the Haulot team was considering fielding a car for Jake's brother Matt, but that's unconfirmed at the moment.

The Top 5 drivers, which includes fifth ranked Dan Gonderman, along with Top 3 Marysville racer Jeremy Burt might be there, but who else might compete is a mystery.  In Watsonville, they are running the 55th annual Johnny Key Classic which pits the track's Taco Bravo Sprint Car competitors against the Civil War Series drivers, and car count is expected to be huge,  A few teams could still skip the big show as Antioch does see drivers who choose not to race the Civil War events.  Just who that might be is anybody's guess.  A good car count would add to the drama of the championship point race.

Meanwhile, the Wingless Spec Sprint championship is Kyle Bakkie's to lose.  The 2014 point runner up now leads Rick Panfili by 64 points.  The three tine winner added to his advantage with a second place finish last time behind the welcome return of two time champion Billy Macedo.  If first is in the bag, second is up for grabs.  Neither Panfili nor rookie Marcus Smith has a feature win this season, but both have finished as high as second.  Panfiili struggled a bit last time, while Smith drove to a fourth place finish, right behind Alan Miranda.  That finish now has Marcus just 16 points behind Panfili.

Miranda and Jimmy Perry III are not in danger of losing fourth or fifth in the standings at the moment, but that doesn't mean they aren't gonna race hard for a win.  Miranda has extra incentive.  He's finished as high as second this year.  He led for 19 and a half laps one night before being taken out when second went in too hard trying to get underneath him.  Perry, on the other hand, leads the division with four victories.  Two time winner Roy Fisher is ten points ahead of one time winner James East in the battle for sixth.  What's interesting is that only one driver (Chase Wood Jr.) in the Top 10 has not earned at least one second place feature finish in the competitive division this season.

Larry Damitz continues to amaze.  Last week, the Limited Late Models were off, so he went out and won the Hardtop feature and finished fifth in the Late Model Main Event after grabbing a heat race win.  In 11 Limited Late Model races at Antioch,  Larry has six wins.  Even when he's not winning, he's running up front.  Larry was third last time out and maintains a 48 point lead over Mike Hynes in what may end up being his fourth championship season in the last five years.  It's a little too soon to make that declaration.'

The battle for second is sure to go down to the wire, and Hynes served notice that he's not going away just yet.  Hynes also enjoyed a Top 5 Late Model run last week in fourth, but the week before, he was finally winning his first Limited Late Model Main Event ahead of Jim Freethy.  The win moved Hynes two points ahead of the man he once crewed for, Mike Gustafson.  Mark Garner is now 14 points out of second, and both Garner and Gustafson have two feature wins this season.  The last race produced a ten car field, which was the best seen in the division all season.

It's hard to say if the competition ran in fear when David Teves started winning in the Dwarf Car division at Antioch.  When David gained the point lead, his closest point rival decided to bow out of the race.  Teves is still running strong as his big Dwarf Car victory last week at Petaluma shows.  In fact, his son Adam finished fifth, and both Teves's won heat races.  With first and second seemingly in hand for the father son-duo, the battle is for third.

At the moment, two time champion Danny Wagner has third, though it's anybody's guess if he will choose to race at Antioch this week.  If he doesn't, Mike Corsaro and Kevin Miraglio are ready to move by him as they battle for position.  Corsaro ran away and hid from the competition last time the class ran at Antioch as he grabbed his second victory.  He has also won at Merced since then.  Mike trails two time winner Wagner by 14 points with Miraglio ten points behind him.  Miraglio has won a Main Event at Watsonville this year, but it won't be a surprise to see him win at Antioch.

The IMCA Modified division is interesting not so much because it's a close race, but because of the man leading the points.  That would be Scott Busby, who is second only to J.D.Willis on the track's all time win list with 68 victories.  Scott leads Bobby Motts Jr. by 27 points on the strength of his four victories to one for Motts.  Busby has not raced for points at Antioch since 1997, the last time he won the championship.  He is currently tied with Troy Foulger with four Modified championships, and this title would put him back on top in that category as well.

While the IMCA invert keeps putting Busby deep in the pack in the Main Event, Aaron Crowell has been on a roll.  Crowell has won the last two Main Events with sixth ranked Shawn DeForest winning the feature before that.  If you know anything about Busby, you know he's not happy being stuck in the back and not being part of the battle for victory.  But, if he's in the battle this week, he'll likely have to deal with Crowell, DeForest and the hard charging brothers, Alex and Kyle Wilson.  The Modified show this week should be interesting.

Once again, Antioch Speedway has a loaded program this Saturday night that will include Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Northern All Stars Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  On Sunday night, Merced Speedway will host IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks.  For further information, check the official Oval Motorsports Website.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Full Antioch Speedway And Merced Speedway Race Reviews And Weekend Previews


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 Go Fund Me 

Additional info on the Short Track History Project  HERE

DCRR Racing Media And PR Consulting  HERE


Jake's Performance Hobbies Mini Stock Main Event action from last week at Petaluma Speedway can be viewed HERE

Jake's Performance Hobbies Mini Stock Main Event action from two weeks ago at Petaluma Speedway can be viewed HERE


Larsen Racing Products Dwarf Car Main Event action from two weeks ago at Petaluma Speedway can be viewed HERE

Heat race action from Bakersfield Speedway last week can be viewed HERE


DCRR Racing Radio Show
Weekend Review Edition


DCRR Racing Radio Show: Episode 58 by GenWhat 

 


Wilson, Ryland, Hausmann Winners  
On Legend’s Night At Merced Speedway

Taking the lead from Ricky Thatcher on the third lap, Alex Wilson won the 15 lap IMCA Modified Main Event Sunday night at Merced Speedway.  It was the third win in the last four weeks for Wilson, who leads both the Merced and IMCA State of California point standings.  Winning a late race duel with Jason Nation, IMCA State of California point leader Fred Ryland won the 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event.  Shane Hausmann made an impressive season debut by becoming the 15th 20 lap Northern All Stars Hobby Stock feature winner in the 20 races held so far.  Eric Sealy dominated with his win in the 12 lap Valley Sportsman feature, and Chris Corder moved into a tie for the Mini Stock point lead after out dueling Mike Germait for his third 10 lap Mini Stock Main Event win.

It was Legend’s Night at Merced Speedway, and the track paid tribute to some of the great drivers who have made the track so special through its 65 year run.  Johnny Sass announced at the track for 60 years, and he was on hand to help do the interviews.  Track legends on hand included Dennis Moomjean, Tom Barbour, Larry Pierini, Gordon Rodgers, Ron Yetter and Mike Friesen.  These drivers were interviewed during the break between the heat races and Main Events, and the announcer paid tribute to the track’s history throughout the night.

Darrell Hughes II won a battle with Troy Foulger to claim a six lap IMCA Modified heat race victory.  Ryan Porter won the other heat race ahead of Bakersfield visitor Robby Sawyer.  Steve Streeter was a Main Event scratch, and Ricky Thatcher set the early pace from the pole.  Working lap three, Thatcher pushed in Turn 2 as Kyle Wilson and Alex Wilson raced by.  Troy Foulger spun to avoid another car in Turn 2, collecting Sawyer for a caution flag.  A. Wilson charged past K. Wilson for the lead with the brothers running side by side for two laps before a caution flag flew for Thatcher.  A. Wilson continued to set the pace on the restart as Porter made an inside pass on the front stretch for second on lap seven.  Foulger followed Porter into third.  A. Wilson set a rapid pace and would win by nearly a straightaway.  Porter won a good battle with Foulger for second, and Sawyer won his side by side battle with K. Wilson for fourth.  Hughes took a checkered flag in sixth with Thatcher seventh.

The IMCA Sport Modifieds had three heat races with one of their better turnouts this season.  Mark Odgers won his six lap heat ahead of Bakersfield visitor Garret Jernagan.  Long time Merced racer Bobby Smith got behind the wheel of the John Fore Jr. car and won his heat ahead of Gary Tucker.  Fred Ryland won the final heat ahead of 2014 Merced champion Rick Diaz.  Tucker had a front row start for the Main Event and led a lap before a caution flag flew.  Tucker went with the inside for the restart, only to watch as Ryland raced by for the lead.  An inside pass on the front stretch of the fourth lap gained Nelson second from Tucker, and recent Santa Maria winner Jason Nation took third from Tucker a lap later.  Nation slipped past Nelson for second on lap seven and set his sights on Ryland.  A lap eight caution flag gave Nation his opportunity.  Ryland chose the outside for the restart, but Nation had the lead by the time they exited Turn 2.  A low move in Turn 2 of the 11th lap gained Garrett Jernagan third from Nelson.   When another spin forced a lap 15 caution flag, Nation figured the inside line was the best choice for the restart.  However, Ryland got the bite he needed on the outside and regained the lead by the time they hit Turn 1.  Nelson got a good run on the final lap and made an inside pass in Turn 2 to pass both Nation and Jernagan.  Jernagan fell back, and Ryland scored a much needed with ahead of Nelson, Nation, Diaz, Thomas, Tucker, Odgers, Mike Drake, Andy Welch and Smith.

The Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks had one of their best turnouts of the season, and Robbie Loquaci won his second straight six lap heat race ahead of Hausmann.  That race featured a hard crash on the front straight at the end of the race that ended the night for last week’s feature winner Austin Van Hoff and Bobby Williams.  Marc Key won the other heat race ahead of Michael Shearer.  Hausmann and Key shared the front row for the feature, which had to restarted  after a few cars got together on the front stretch and spun.  Hausmann led the restart ahead of Key.  George Silva took third from Loquaci on lap three, but a high pass in Turn 4 of the third lap gained point leader Kevin Joaquin third.  Dennis Copus spun in Turn 2 for a lap five caution flag.  Hausmann chose the inside for the restart and continued to set the pace as Joaquin made a Turn 2 pass on Key for second.  Key was slightly smoking as he made a low pass in Turn 2 of the 11th lap to regain second.  Silva fell back from fourth on lap 14 as a caution flag flew.  Hausmann had also begun smoking by then.  Hausmann stayed with the inside and continued to lead Key and Joaquin on the restart,  Despite smoking a bit, the Hausmann and Key cars held together for the 1-2 finish.  Joaquin was third ahead of Kristie Shearer, Phil Vaughn, Dexter Long, Kodie Dean, Jennifer Corder, Silva and Copus.

The Valley Sportsman division was back for the first tine in over two months, and Mike Palmberg won the heat race ahead of Sealy.  Sealy had a front row start for the Main Event and set the pace from the start ahead of point leader Marcus Lung and Palmberg.  Jeff Bristow spun in Turn 2 for a lap two caution flag.  Sealy chose the inside and remained in command on the restart ahead of Lung and Palmberg.  Palmberg spun for a lap four caution flag, and Sealy led the restart.  Mike Friesen and Kenny Birdsong shuffled Lung out of the Top 3.  Sealy began to pull away, and the final yellow flag waved when Lung spun on the back stretch on lap eight.  Sealy led Friesen and Birdsong on the final restart.  As Sealy again pulled away, Lung slipped past Birdsong for third on lap ten.  Paulmberg made a low pass in Turn 2 of the 11th lap to take third from Lung.  When Friesen got a right front flat tire on the last lap, Palmberg and Lung both got by for second and third with an inside pass in Turn 2.  Sealy scored  a convincing victory ahead of Palmberg, Lung, Friesen, Birdsong and Bristow.

Chris Corder continued his effort to regain the point lead by winning the Mini Stock six lap heat race ahead of Darren Miguel.  Teammates Jimmy Stockton and Mike Germait shared the front row for the Main Event, but Miguel charged into the lead at the start.  An inside pass on the front stretch of the second lap gained C. Corder second.  Corder was in pursuit of Miguel for the lead.  Miguel was running strong until he crossed the line on lap six and he blew a transmission.  Corder had the lead for the restart, but Germait surprised him by leading that lap.  A low move in Turn 2 of the ninth lap regained C. Corder the lead.  C. Corder went on to win ahead of Germait.  Jennifer Corder made a last turn pass to take third from Stockton as Miguel rounded out the finishing order.

Racing resumes at Merced Speedway next Sunday night with a four division show that will include IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks.  For further information, check out the official Oval Motorsports Website.


Decker Adds To DIRTcar Late Model Point Lead 
With Antioch Speedway Win

Jeff Decker scored the victory in the 20 lap DIRTcar Late Model feature Saturday night at Antioch Speedway.  The win was Decker’s second of the season in his Pink Poodle Gentleman’s Club Late Model and his tenth Top 3 finish.  It stretched his point lead to 26 points over Richard Papenhausen, who was eliminated from the action in an early crash.

There was every indication that eight time winner Papenhausen would be fast again as he won his heat race ahead of Decker.  Limited Late Model point leader Larry Damitz won the other heat race ahead of John M. Soares.  Soares and Decker had a front row start for the Main Event with Papenhausen starting back in tenth.  Decker charged into the lead ahead of Soares and Damitz.  Decker had a straightaway lead by lap three, and Papenhausen was already fifth and working on fourth place Kniss when Damitz spun from third in Turn 2 for a caution flag.  Decker chose the outside and continued to lead.  Papenhausen attempted to ride the high the high line into second, but Soares moved up to set up for the outside in Turn 1.  Papenhausen’s nose clipped the rear end of the Soares car and hit the front wall.  He attempted to gather it up and ended up spinning in Turn 1.  With nowhere to go, Kniss crashed into Papenhauisen as did the four cars behind him.  Kniss and Dennis Souza were eliminated.  Papenhausen made repairs but was not allowed back on the race track due to his crew coming onto the track during the red flag.  The DNF may cost him both the track and Regional championships.  Decker chose the outside on the restart and continued to lead Soares and Danny Malfatti.  Soares slowed on the back stretch and pulled into the infield from second on lap six.  This put Malfatti into second ahead of Paul Guglielmoni.  Limited Late Model regulars Mike Hynes and Damitz were fourth and fifth.  Damitz was lapped by the flying Decker on lap 11, and Hynes was lapped on lap 15.  As Decker held command, Malfatti had his hands full with Gugliemoni pressuring him for second.  However, Malfatti was up to the challenge.  Decker scored the much needed victory.  Malfatti was a career best second with Guglielmoni the final lead lap finisher in third.  Hynes was fourth ahead of Damitz, Travis Meyerhoff, David Newquist, Soares, Kniss and Papenhausen

DIRTcar Late Models return on September 19th for their season finale.  Next week’s stacked program will feature IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints, Hobby Stocks, Limited Late Models and Dwarf Cars.  For further information, check out the official Oval Motorsports Website.


Clymens Earns First Win, Joaquin Wins For Second Time 
At Antioch Speedway

Trevor Clymens scored the victory in the 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event Saturday night at Antioch Speedway.  Clymens is a past Hobby Stock feature winner and Top 5 Hobby Stock point competitor, and this was the first career win in this division for the third generation racer.  Merced and Chowchilla champion Kevin Joaquin made only his second visit to Antioch Speedway and won his second 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event.

Clymens started his night off with an IMCA Sport Modified heat race win ahead of Al Johnson.   Point leader Fred Ryland used a last lap pass to win his six lapper ahead of K.C. Keller.  Clymens had the pole for the Main Event and raced into the lead at the start ahead of Johnson.  A Jeremy Hoff spin in Turn 2 forced a lap two caution flag.  Clymens chose the outside and continued to lead Johnson and K.C. Keller on the restart.  Last week’s winner, Anthony Giuliani took third from Keller on lap four, and Clymens already had a straightaway advantage over Johnson by lap five.  Giuliani slipped past Johnson for second on lap seven.  13th starter Rick Diaz was fifth behind Keller by lap six, and he passed Keller for fourth a lap later.  A high move in Turn 4 of the 11th lap gained Ryland fourth from Diaz.  They both moved in on Johnson with Diaz taking third on lap 13.  Giuliani used traffic to close the gap on Clymens, but Clynens was not to be denied as he scored a well earned victory.  Giuliani was a strong second, and Diaz won a good battle with Ryand for fourth.  Keller finished fifth ahead of Johnson, Chuck Golden, Nick Tucker, Hoff and Patti Ryland.

The Hobby Stocks had two heat races, and Richard Shearer won a battle with Kevin Joaquin to win his heat race.  Austin Van Hoff finished second.  Jordan Swank won a battle with point leader Kimo Oreta to win his heat race.  Joaquin and Cameron Swank shared the front row of the Main Event, and Joaquin charged into the early lead over C. Swank and George Silva.  Just a few laps in, Joaquin was already a straightaway ahead of C. Swank and lapping slower traffic by the halfway point.  Silva was battling C. Swank for second and made an outside move down the front stretch on lap 13 to take second.  J. Swank and brother in law Michael Cooper were battling fiercely for fourth when the only caution flag flew on lap 16, wiping out a half lap lead for Joaquin.  Joaquin chose the outside and continued to lead the restart as Silva, J. Swank and tenth starter Oreta shuffled C. Swank back to fifth.  Joaquin had a straightaway advantage at the checkered flag with fellow Merced racer Silva finishing second.  J. Swank used his third place finish to grab second in the standings.  Oreta finished fourth ahead of C. Swank, Van Hoff, Shearer, Cooper, Lindsey Buirch and Robert Niven,

DIRTcar Late Models return on September 19th for their season finale.  Next week’s stacked program will feature IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints, Hobby Stocks, Limited Late Models and Dwarf Cars.  For further information, check out the official Oval Motorsports Website.


Damitz Ends Waldrop’s Four Race Win Streak 
In California Hardtops

Making a charge from the back of the pack, Larry Damitz won the 15 lap California Hardtop Association Main Event Saturday night at Antioch Speedway.  Damitz took the lead from Waldrop late in the race to score the well earned victory.  Waldrop had won the previous four CHA Hardtop races, but he settled for second in the Bill McLaughlin car.  Tommy Thomson came from last to finish third in the event.  The Top 3 finishers all received trophies, sponsored by long time racing promoter Mike McCann.

The Hardtops ran two six lap heat races, and Waldrop picked up a win ahead of Ken Clifford.  Subbing for his father Dennis, Jason Armstrong won the second heat race ahead of Damitz.  The heat winners received plaques, which were also sponsored by McCann.  K. Clifford and Ron Ruiz shared the front row of the Main Event with Waldrop starting third, Damitz tenth and Thomson 11th.   Matt Poulson was a feature scratch, and Waldrop chased K. Clifford for one lap before making a low pass in Turn 2 to grab the lead.  Damitz made a low move in Turn 3 of the third lap to take third from Ruiz and slipped past K. Clifford for second with an inside pass down the back stretch on lap 4.  By then, Waldrop had a straightaway lead over past Vallejo Speedway and Petaluma Speedway Hardtop champion Damitz.  An inside pass on the front stretch of the sixth lap gained Jason Armstrong third from K. Clifford.  The flying Waldrop was soon lapping slower cars, and Damitz closed the gap on him by lap ten.  An outside pass on the front stretch of the 12th lap gained Damitz the lead from Waldrop, and Waldrop brushed the back wall trying to get by before a caution flag flew when Armstrong’s car slowed in a cloud of smoke.  It ended an impressive third place run for Armstrong.  This moved Thomson, who was having a good battle with Dan Williams, into third.  Damitz went with the outside on the restart and continued to lead the way.  There were sparks coming from underneath Waldrop’s car, but it stayed together until the checkered flag.  It was 86 year old Damitz grabbing the win ahead of Waldrop, Thomson, Williams and K. Clifford, the final lead lap finisher.  Ruiz took a checkered flag in sixth, followed by John Turner, Dan Whitney, J. Armstrong, Friesen and Jason Clifford.

The CHA Hardtops are in Calistoga on September 5-6 as part of the Big Louie Verneil Classic.  They will run heats and Main Events on both nights.


Caraccilio Scores Second Straight 
BCRA Midget Lites Victory At Antioch

Charlie Caraccilo impressed with a 20 lap BCRA MIdget Lites feature win Saturday night at Antioch Speedway,.  The win was the second straight for Caraccilo, who scored a big $1000 victory two weeks ago at Placerville Speedway.  Caraccilo is a past 360 Sprint Car champion at San Jose Speedway in 1997 and 1998.

R.C. Smith won the first of two eight lap BCRA Midget Lites heat races ahead of Brian Corso.  Dakota Albright won the second heat ahead of point leader Craig Dillard.  Dillard had the pole for the Main Event and charged into the lead at the start.  Corso and Dillard settled into second and third on lap two, and Joe Provost spun in Turn 2 for a lap three caution flag.  Caraccilo continued to lead Corso and Dillard on the restart.  A lap six caution flag flew for Hunter Kinney in Turn 4.  Caraccilo continued to lead with Corso right behind him in second.  Corso was providing a challenge when he slowed on lap ten with a caution flag waving.  Caraccilio led Dillard and Albright on the restart.  Teammates Scott Kinney and Kayla Evans battled for fourth.   Even after a lap 15 caution flag, Caraccilo resumed command.  Nobody challenged Caraccilo as he scored an impressive victory ahead of Dillard, Alright, Kinney and Evans.

The BCRA Midget Lites roar back into action on September 19 as part of a big event at Placerville Speedway.


Sprint Cars, Modifieds Headline Big Show
Saturday At Antioch Speedway

As racing heads into the final month of the 2015 season at Antioch Speedway, we wrap up the month of August on the three-eighth mile clay oval with a loaded seven division program.  The Winged 360 Sprint Cars and Wingless Spec Sprints are both racing that night along with the IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds.  Also on the card will be the Hobby Stocks, Limited Late Models and Dwarf Cars.

The Winged 360 Sprint Car division is having their seventh and final race of the season for that division, and only 20 points separate Shawn Arriaga from second place Art McCarthy.  The highly competitive and popular division has five different winners in the six races held so far.  McCarthy started the season off with a win, but when Arriaga came back with a good finish a week later, he gained the point lead.  The third generation racer Arriaga added to his point lead last time out with an impressive flag to flag romp for the victory.

Despite the fact that young Jake Haulot has won twice, his lead over Chris Magoon is only 22 points in the battle for third.  The 2014 champion Magoon has struggled since finishing second in the season opener, but he’ll be gunning for a victory on Saturday night.  Fifth ranked Dan Gonderman has also finished as high as second, and the two time Spec Sprint champion is anticipated on Saturday night.  Ricky Brophy and past Marysville champion Jeremy Burt are among the others anticipated for this race.

The Wingless Spec Sprints are the more affordable Sprint Car class that has made it possible for many new drivers to go Sprint Car racing during the past 17 years.  After his second place finish last time out, three time winner Kyle Bakkie now leads Rick Panfili by 64 points with two races remaining.  While Bakkie appears headed for the championship, Panfili only leads rookie Marcus Smith by 16 points in a close battle for second.  Both drivers have finished as high as second this year, but Smith gained ground with a fourth place finish last time out.

The most recent race was won by two time champion Billy Macedo in an impressive run that snapped a two race win streak by four time winner Jimmy Perry III.  Perry is trailing Alan Miranda by 64 points for fourth, and even if he’s not likely to pass him, he is a threat to win.  Two time winner Roy Fisher could also be a factor in the battle for victory, and others to watch for include Peter Carlotto, Chase Wood Jr., one time winner James East and Jeremy Newberry.

Aaron Crowell may have the point leaders thankful that he isn’t running for points after his impressive second straight IMCA Modified feature win.  Point leader Scott Busby started deep in the pack last time and could only manage a sixth place finish.  Four of Busby’s 62 career wins in this division came this year as he leads one time winner Bobby Motts Jr. by 27 points.  Motts is a past Street Stock champion working on his best season yet in this division.  2014 champion Carl Berendsen II is still holding on for third with State point leader Alex Wilson 62 points behind him.  Wilson won last week at Merced and was second in the most recent race at Antioch.  He leads his brother, one time winner Kyle Wison, by five points in the race for fourth.

Even after a late start this season, Late Model veteran Shawn DeForest has looked impressive in the Jim Reid owned Modified.  DeForest has a feature win this season and is only 22 points behind K. Wilson for fifth in the standings.   Two other drivers we could be seeing this week are Josh Combs, Nick Viscusi and Adam Elby.  Viscusi impressed with a fourth place finish last time out.  Micro Sprint graduate Adam Elby made his second start in his father Chris’s car last time out and earned a Top 10 finish once again.

Fred Ryland continues to struggle to get back into the winner’s circle at Antioch, but the runaway Antioch point leader grabbed his 25th IMCA Sport Modified win on the circuit last week at Merced Speedway.  At the last Antioch race, he finished fourth to maintain a 62 point lead over Al Johnson.  Johnson is only five points ahead of one time winner Paul Mulder in the battle for second in the standings.  Chuck Golden is only 11 points ahead of rookie Patti Ryland in the battle for fourth.

Two drivers not really battling for points have been the hard chargers in recent weeks.  Last time out, Trevor Clymes won his first Main Event in this division.  Anthony Giuliani had won in his previous three starts, but he settled for second behind Clymens last time.  K.C. Keller continues to run strong as well and finished fifth last week.  Other drivers we'll be watching for this week include Al Sotomayor, Tim Hammett and the possible return of Ron Brown.

The Hobby Stock championship will go to Kimo Oreta for the third straight season.  Now it’s a question of whether he can grab his eighth win and if he is ready should Merced and Chowchilla champion Kevin Joaquin return after winning for the second time last week.  The other question is will it be Jordan Swank or brother in law Michael Cooper finishing second in points?  Swank had a great night last week as the likely “Rookie Of The Year” won his heat race and finished third in the feature with Oreta right behind him.  He needed that finish after Cooper had a season best second a week before that.  Can either of these two take it up a notch and win the Main Event this week?  Don’t be surprised if one of them does.

After five second place finishes this year, Danny Jones needed a week off to get a new motor ready.  The Stock Car veteran has been fast this year, but his recent attempts to get wins have ended in motor problems.  Frank Furtado is only two points behind Jones in the battle for fourth in the standings.  Jeremy Jennings is getting his car together for Tony Jennings to drive this week, and other drivers we’ll be watching for include Natalie Perry, Robert Niven and hard charging rookie Cameron Swank, who finished fifth last week.

Larry Damitz has won six of the 11 Limited late Model features held so far.  He leads Mike Hynes by 48 points in his quest for a fourth championship in the last five years.  After winning his first feature of the season last time out, Hynes is now two points ahead of two time winner Mike Gustafson and 14 points in front of two time winner Mark Garner in the battle for second in the standings.  These four have been putting on a show up front all season long, and fifth ranked Jim Freethy has been right there with them.  If his second place finish in the most recent race is any indication, Freethy may be next in line for a victory.

Lori Brown returned in a big way last time by winning her heat race and leading the first 14 laps of the Main Event before mechanical gremlins struck.  It’s been a few years since the past division champion Brown has won, and she is due for another one.  The division enjoyed it’s best car count of the season last time with the return of sixth place finisher Ryan Cherezian and Eric Berendsen.  The steady John Evans and John Keith are other drivers we’ll be watching for this week.

David Teves has a commanding 86 point lead over his son, Adam Teves, and he’s still winning races.  David made an appearance at Petaluma Speedway last week in a big Dwarf Car shoot out event and scored the victory ahead of some of the best drivers in the state.  David is on a roll and is anxious to get back to Antioch to go for another win.  Last time out, it was Mike Corsaro grabbing his second win of the season and pulling to within 14 points of two time champion Danny Wagner for third in the standings.  Corsaro has also had a win since then at Merced.

Kevin Miraglio is another driver you can usually find running up near the front, and he has a good hold on fifth in the standings with third place still within his grasp.  Miranda Chappa was on her way to a Top 5 finish last time out before getting caught up in a crash.  Others we’ll be watching for include Tim Reeder, Josh Miller, Jerry Doty, Brian Gray and Kurtis Kraig.

The racing this week should be exciting from flag to flag.  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 Five In Points At A Glance

IMCA Modifieds
Scott Busby     464
Bobby Motts     437
Carl Berendsen II 352
Alex Willson    290
Kyle Wilson    285

Winged 360 Sprint Cars
Shawn Arriaga     340
Art McCarthy    320
Jake Haulot     286
Chris Magoon    264
Dan Gonderman    232

Wingless Spec Sprints
Kyle Bakkie     636
Rick Panfili     572
Marcus Smith    556
Alan Miranda     506
Jim Perry III    442

IMCA Sport Modifieds
Fred Ryland    529
Al Johnson     467
Paul Mulder    460
Chuck Golden    432
Patti Ryland    421

Limited Late Model
Larry Damitz    576
Mike Hynes    528
Mike Gustafson    526
Mark Garner    514
Jim Freethy    460

Hobby Stocks
Kimo Oreta     1044
Jordan Swank     763
Michael Cooper    750
Danny Jones    692
Frank Furtado     690

Dwarf Cars
David Teves     664
Adam Teves    578
Danny Wagner    530
Mike Corsaro    516
Kevin Miraglio    506


Competition Heats Up In Hobby Stocks, Sport Mods This Sunday At Merced Speedway

Merced Speedway is heading for a two week break, but before that happens, there will be racing this Sunday night.  The Hobby Stocks and IMCA Sport Mods have been putting on some great shows lately, and these two divisions will be racing along with the IMCA Modifieds and the Mini Stocks.  The Mini Stocks currently have the closest point battle at the race track.

The Hobby Stocks have been the busiest division at Merced Speedway with 20 races held so far this season.  Even more amazing is that the highly competitive division has 15 different winners.  Last week provided the latest name to the winner’s list in Shane Hausmann.  A past Merced Sportsman and Chowchilla Hobby Stock champion, Hausmann led all the way in victory.  Marc Key was a feature winner earlier this season, and he returned for a second place finish last week.  Both drivers were dealing with smoking cars, but things held together long enough to get to the finish line.

Kevin Joaquin was hoping for a double win weekend after his win at Antioch a night earlier, but he settled for third last week.  The three time winner has clinched the Merced championship to go with his title at Chowchilla.  Like Kristie Shearer, he is eyeing a fourth feature win.  Shearer was back last week after missing a couple races and finished fourth ahead of a season best fifth for Phil Vaughn.  Shearer has lost third in points to Austin Van Hoff, but he may not make it this week as his car took heavy damage in a heat race crash last week.

Jennifer Corder continues to learn and get more comfortable in her Hobby Stock with each week, and she had a Top 10 finish last week to maintain her second place point effort.  Likewise, rookie Dexter Long drove to a solid sixth place finish in one of the biggest fields of the season and has a good hold on fifth in the standings at the moment.  Most of these drivers are anticipated this week, and others we could be seeing include Kodie Dean, hard charger Robbie Loquaci, George Silva and the Josh Hensley car.

Alex Wilson set out to win the IMCA Modified State championship this season, and he’s well on his way to accomplishing that goal.  With his third win in his last four starts, Alex has also broken the track’s point race wide open.   The battle right now is for third between Ricky Thatcher and Kyle Wilson.  Thatcher is still searching for his first win of the season, but he leads three time winner K. Wilson by nine points.

Ryan Porter seems to be climbing ever closer to the Top 5 in the standings after his recent strong finish in second last week.  That was his second straight runner up finish to go with his three victories so far this season.  The nature of this division is that you never know who will show up, and last week saw visits from four time Antioch champion Troy Foulger and Bakersfield title contender Robby Sawyer.  They finished second and third, respectively. Drivers we're watching for this week include Bob Williamson and Ramie Stone, who is close to debuting his new car.

The IMCA Sport Modified title seems like it will go to rookie Josh Hensley.  The one time winner has been a staunch supporter of the class all season long.  The battle right now is between Dwayne Short and Mark Odgers for second.  Short revealed that he had a problem with one of the heads in his motor that saw him slowing down late in the races, and his new head wasn’t ready last week.  As Odgers finished seventh last week and Short was outside the top ten at the checkered flag, Short’s lead is just three points now.

The drivers ranked fourth and fifth in the standings, Fred Ryland and Bruce Nelson, ran 1-2 in last week’s race.  It was Ryland’s seventh win of the year, giving the State point leader a little help in his quest to finish in the Top 3 in the National point race.  He was third going into last week.  Last week had a roster loaded with talent as Rick Diaz and Darren Thomas returned to finish fourth and fifth, respectively.  Gary Tucker was sixth and is another of the divers we could be seeing this week as we end the month of August and draw closer to the season’s end.

Darren Miguel has 11 Mini Stock wins, but Chris Corder is on a hot streak with three wins in the last four races.  Miguel was hoping to get back in the winner’s circle last week, but his transmission broke as he crossed the line to complete lap six in the lead.  Corder had to battle Mike Germait for a couple laps, but he completed his sweep of the night with a feature win.  As of now, Miguel and Corder are tied for the point lead, but Miguel would win any tie breaker based on wins.  This battle could go down to the last race next month.

For Germait, his second place finish was his best yet and follows the third he had a week earlier.  Germait and teammate Jimmy Stockton have been sharing a tow vehicle to get both cars to the track.  2014 runner up Jennifer Corder has been racing lately and finished third last week.  These five drivers are anticipated, and others we could be seeing include Natalie Waldrop, Alica Caldwell and Jeff Amos.

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 Five In Points At A Glance

IMCA Modifieds

Alex Wilson     580
Bill Egleston     477
Ricky Thatcher     464
Kyle Wilson     455
Bob Williamson     366

IMCA Sport Mods

Josh Hensley    706
Dwayne Short    544
Mark Odgers    541
Fred Ryland     468
Bruce Nelson    443

Hobby Stock
Kevin Joaquin     870
Jennifer Corder    686
Austin Van Hoff    527
Kristie Shearer    489
Dexter Long     440

Mini Stocks

Darren Miguel     826
Chris Corder     826
Kelly Campanile    384
Natalie Waldrop    346
Kevin Lockerby    323
Dennis Copus    323

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Wilson, Hausmann Merced Speedway Feature Winners


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 Go Fund Me 

Additional info on the Short Track History Project  HERE

DCRR Racing Media And PR Consulting  HERE


Wilson, Hausmann Merced Speedway Feature Winners

Alex Wilson won his third Main Event Sunday night in the IMCA Modifieds at Merced Speedway.  Wilson took the lead from Ricky Thatcher and built nearly a straightaway lead by the time the checkered flag flew on the 15 lap event.  Wilson continues to be the Merced and State point leader and was impressive in victory.  Ryan Porter outdueled Troy Foulger for the second place finish.

Shane Hausmann made his first start of the season and walked away with the win in thr 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event.  Hausmann withstood an early challenge from Robbie Loquaci and then had the pressure of Marc Key late in the race.  Hausmann and Key were both smoking slightly, but they held on as Hausmann became the 15th different winner in 20 races.  Point leader Kevin 1oaquin settled for a third place finish behind Key

Fred Ryland won the 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event.  Ryland gained the lead from Gary Tucker on lap two and led throughout the first half of the race.  Bakersfield visitor Jason Nation surprised Ryland on a lap 10 restart as he took the lead on the inside line.  A lap 15 restart provided Ryland his opportunity to regain the lead and he seized the moment on the outside.  Ryland sped home to his seventh win of the season with Bruce Nelson making two late passes to finish second.  Nation settled for third.

Chris Corder scored his third win in the last four weeks in the ten lap Mini Stock Main Event.  It was Dareen Miguel taking the lead from Mike Germait on lap two as Corder followed into second.  Miguel suffered a motor problem as he completed the sixth lap and retired.  C. Corder had to battle Germait side by side for a couple laps after the restart, but he would win.  Germait was a season best second ahead of Jennifer Corder.

Eric Seely impressed with his win in the 12 lap Valley Sportsman Main Event   Sealy started on the pole and led every lap for the victory.  Mike Friesen had second until a flat right front tire dropped him to the back on the last lap us Sealy won ahead of heat winner Mike Palmberg and new champion Marcus Lung.

Racing resumes at Merced Speedway next Sunday night with a four division show that will feature IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks.

Sunday August 23, 2015
Race Results

IMCA Modifieds
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Ryan Porter, Darrell Hughes II.  Main Event (15 Laps)-Alex Wilson, Porter, Troy Foulger,  Robby Sawyer, Kyle Wilson.

IMCA Sport Mods
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Mark Odgers, Bobby Smith, Fred Ryland.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Ryland, Bruce Nelson, Jason Nation, Rick Diaz, Darren Thomas.

Hobby Stocks
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Marc Key, Robbie Loquaci. Main Event (20 Laps)-Shane Hausmann, Key, Kevin Joaquin, Kristie Shearer, Phil Vaughn.

Mini Stocks
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Chris Corder. Main Event (10 Laps)-C. Corder, Mike Germait, Jennifer Corder, Jimmy Stockton, Darren Miguel.

Valley Sportsman
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Mike Palmberg.  Main Event (12 Laps)-Eric Sealy, Palmberg, Marcus Lung, Friesen, Kenny Birdsong

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Decker Pads Point Lead With Victory At Antioch Speedway


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 Go Fund Me 

Additional info on the Short Track History Project  HERE

DCRR Racing Media And PR Consulting  HERE



Decker Pads Point Lead With Victory At Antioch Speedway

Jeff Decker scored his second 20 lap DIRTcar Late Model Main Event victory Saturday night at Antioch Speedway.  Decker shot out of the gate like a cannon ball to lead from the start.  The race was marred by an eight car pileup on lap four that was triggered when Richard Papenhausen spun in Turn 1.  Papenhausen was out of the race.

Decker did not let the opportunity to add to his point lead over Papenhausen go to waste.  Decker resumed command on the restart and set a rapid pace in winning the race.  This left the battle for second, and Danny Malfatti battled Paul Guglielmoni to earn a season best second place finish.  Gugliemoni was the final lead lap finisher in third.

Trevor Clymens finally scored his first 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified feature win of the season.  Clymens had a front row start and at one point had full a straightaway lead.  When Clymens caught traffic late in the race, Anthony Giuliani moved up on his rear bumper.  However, Clymens made all the right moves to score a satisfying victory.  Giuliani was a close second as Rich Diaz outdueled point leader Fred Ryland for third.

Kevin Joaquin returned and scored his second 20 lap Hobby Stock feature win in two appearances.  Joaquin had a front row start and was never seriously threatened.  A lap 15 yellow flag erased his half-lap lead, but Joaquin still won by a straightaway ahead of fellow Merced visitor George Silva.  Second place point runner Jordan Swank won a late race battle with point leader Kimo Oreta to finish third.

Charlie Caracillo scored an impressive win in the 20 lap BCRA Midget Lites Main Event.  Caracillo was a top Sprint Car racer back in the 1990‘s, and he recently returned in a big way with a $1000 win in a BCRA Midget Lites race at Placerville.  Caracillo led all the way for the win and was never really challenged after Brian Corso broke while running second on lap ten.  Craig Dillard would finish second ahead of Dakota Albright.

Larry Damitz won the CHA Hardtop 15 lap Main Event.  The Limited Late Model point leader started back in tenth and reeled in a straightaway lead held by Rob Waldrop.  Damitz made his winning pass on the outside down the back stretch on lap 12.  Waldrop had led all but the opening lap and had a brush with the back well shortly after losing the lead.  As Damitz collected the win, Waldrop finished second with sparks shooting from underneath his car.  Tommy Thomson charged from 11th starting to finish third.

Racing resumes next Saturday night at Antioch Speedway with a seven division show that will include IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints, Hobby Stocks, Limited Late Models and Dwarf Cars.

Race Results
Saturday Night, August 22, 2015

Late Models
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Richard Papenhausen,  Larry Damitz.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Jeff Decker, Danny Malfatti, Paul Guglielmoni, Mike Hynes, Damitz

IMCA Sport Modifieds
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Trevor Clymens, Fred Ryland.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Clymens, Anthony Giuliani, Rick Diaz, F. Ryland, K.C. Keller.

BCRA Midget Lites
Heat Winners (8 Laps)- R.C. Smith,  Dakota Albright.  Main Event (20 laps)-Charlie Caracillio, Craig Dillard, Albright, Scott Kinney, Kayla Evans.

Hobby Stocks
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Russell Shearer, Jordan Swank.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Kevin Joaquin, George Silva, J. Swank, Kimo Oreta, Cameron Swank.

CHA Hardtops
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Rob Waldrop, Jason Armstrong,  Main Event (15 Laps)-Larry Damitz, Waldrop, Tommy Thomson, Dan Williams, Ken Clifford.