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