Monday, August 3, 2015

Full Reviews From Antioch and Merced Speedways, Plus Brief Weekend Previews For Both

First of all...

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

Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover

On Sale At Reduced Price

Don's California Racing Recollections:  Best Of The Blog And Beyond

Available via print on demand at Lulu in Hard Cover or Paperback

Also, what could be a series of informative books...

Short Track History Project at Gofundme 

Additional info on the Short Track History Project  HERE

DCRR Racing Media And PR Consulting  HERE

RCRR Racing Radio Show
Weekend Review Edition

Toby Karis filed a report for the Mike Cecil Memorial race at Ocean Speedway that you can read HERE

Crowell, McCown Score First 2015 Victories 
At Antioch Speedway

Taking advantage of his front row starting spot to lead every lap, Aaron Crowell led every lap to win the 20 lap IMCA Modified Main Event Saturday night at Antioch Speedway.  Crowell is a past Antioch Speedway champion, and this was his first win of the season in his GRT chassis.  Marysville visitor Jason Ferguson went flag to flag to win his first 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified feature.  After mechanical issues saw him load up the car he drives for Steven Rogers early, past Hobby Stock champion Dan McCown won the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event in the car normally driven by Rodgers.

Past IMCA Modified division point runner up Ed Daviess won his heat race ahead of Terry Kaiser.   Crowell gave a preview of things to come with a win in his heat race ahead of  2014 champion Carl Berendsen II.  Crowell drew the pole for the Main Event with Kaiser on the outside.  Crowell raced into the lead from the green flag with Kaiser second ahead of Nick Viscusi III and Daviess.  The race was destined to go caution free, and point leader Scott Busby started back in the fifth row.  A low move in Turn 4 of the 11th lap gained Berendsen fourth from Daviess as Crowell set a fast pace in the lead.  Busby had just moved into sixth in his smoking mount, but he ended up pitting on lap 15.  Crowell had built up a straightaway advantage by the time he grabbed the checkered flag for the impressive victory.  Kaiser was a season best second ahead of rapidly improving rookie Viscusi, Berendsen, Daviess, Norm Boeck, Bobby Motts Jr., Shawn DeForest, Adam Elby and Busby.

Ron Brown grabbed another six lap IMCA Sport Mod heat race win ahead of Ferguson, while K.C. Keller won his first heat race ahead of Trevor Clymens.  Ferguson had the pole for the Main Event and charged into the early lead with Clymens a close second ahead of Brown.  While the lead trio ran close in the race that was destined to go non stop, Al Johnson led a close five car battle for fourth.  Some close racing in the lead battle saw Clymens and Brown get together in Turns 3 and 4 with Brown emerging in second.  Keller slipped past Clymens for third.  The contact between Brown and Clymens enabled Ferguson to pull away to a straightaway advantage at the checkered flag for the impressive win.  Brown settled for his third second place finish with Kelleer a season best third.  Clymens was fourth as point leader Fred Ryland made a late pass on Johnson for fifth.  Paul Mulder and Patti Ryland rounded out the finishing order.

The Hobby Stocks had two heat races, and Kimo Oreta won his six lapper in front of Natalie Perry.  Michael Cooper was the other heat winner ahead of Frank Furtado.  Danny Jones has had terrible luck of late, and he charged into the early Main Event lead from the second row.  Perry settled into second ahead of Cooper.  Jones had built a straightaway advantage as Perry had the rest of the pack running nose to tail behind her.  Cooper took a look to the inside of Perry in Turn 3, only to spin for a lap nine caution flag.  Jones chose the outside on the restart and continued to lead.  McCown was up to fourth from the fifth row, and he charged around the outside of Perry for second.  McCown was hounding Jones for the lead, but Jones had a broken right ball joint.  Jones hit the wall in Turn 1 after 15 laps to end his race.  McCown chose the outside and continued to lead the restart as Oreta rode the outside around Perry for second.  Jordan Swank spun in Turn 3 for a caution flag.  McCown again led the restart and would lead the rest of the way for the win.  Oreta settled for second after starting 11th, while Perry was a season best third.  Frank Furtado ended up fourth ahead of Chris Sorensen, Cooper, Chase Templeton, J, Swank, Jones and Robert Niven.

Racing returns next Saturday night with DIRTcar Late Models, Northern All Stars Winged 360 Sprints, Hobby Stocks, Limited Late Models and IMCA Sport Modifieds.  For more information, check the official Oval Motorsports Website.

Perry, Corsaro Garb Antioch Speedway Victories

Making a charge from the third row, Jimmy Perry III impressed with his fourth Northern All Stars Wingless Spec Sprint Main Event win Saturday night at Antioch Speedway.  The third generation racer Perry’s win came aboard his Perry’s Racing Engines sponsored Sprint Car, and his 17th career victory has him third on the division's all time win list behind his father, Jim Perry Jr. (31), and Darrell Hanestad (28).  Mike Corsaro set a blistering pace to capture his second 20 lap Dwarf Car Main Event win in impressive fashion. 

Perry won his six lap Spec Sprint heat race ahead of Marcus Smith, while Rick Panfili won his first career heat race in front of point leader Kyle Bakkie.  Polesitter James East charged into the lead at the start of the Main Event in front of Peter Carlotto and Bakkie.  A high move in Turn 2 of the fourth lap put Perry into third, and he made a low pass in Turn 2 of the sixth lap to grab second from Carlotto.  Perry made his move around East for the lead with an outside pass in Turn 2 of the ninth lap.  Perry began to pull away to a huge lead with East a comfortable second.  Carlotto had his hands full trying to hold of Bakkie for third, but Bakkie finally made the pass for third on lap 19.  Perry built a half lap lead by the checkered flag for an impressive victory.  East settled for second in front of Bakkie, Carlotto, Smith, Panfili, Nick Dunn and Doc Brophy.

The Dwarf Cars had three six lap heat races with Josh Miller winning his heat in front of point leader David Teves.  Corsaro won his heat ahead of Adam Teves, while Kevin Miraglio won the third heat race ahead of Brian Gray. The division ran a memorial lap for Joe Reeder, who passed away during the week.  Most of the cars ran a special decal in his memory.  With an outside front row starting spot, Corsaro raced into the Main Event lead at the start ahead of A. Teves and Miller.  Corsaro very quickly pulled away, leaving A. Teves, Miller, Miraglio and D. Teves to battle for second.  A.Teves suffered a mechanical problem and fell out on lap nine, handing Miller second ahead of Miraglio.  Corsaro was about to lap sixth place Pat Urdahl when fifth place Miranda Chappa was eliminated in a multi car crash in Turn 4 that forced a lap 15 caution flag.  Corsaro’s nearly half lap lead was gone, and he chose the inside on the restart.  Corsaro maintained his lead on the restart and would lead the rest of the way for an impressive victory.  Miller settled for a season best second in front of Miraglio, D. Teves and Urdahl.  Kurtis Craig was a lap down in sixth as Brian Gray, Robert Coe, Tim Reeder and Toby Brown rounded out the Top 10.

Racing returns next Saturday night with DIRTcar Late Models, Northern All Stars Winged 360 Sprints, Hobby Stocks, Limited Late Models and IMCA Sport Modifieds.  For more information, check the official Oval Motorsports Website.

Wins For Tucker, Wilson And Falkenberg 
At Merced Speedway

Taking the lead from Dwayne Short and surviving a late challenge from Bruce Nelson, Gary Tucker won his second 20 lap IMCA Sport Mod Main Event Sunday night at Merced Speedway.  Point leader Alex Wilson won his first 20 lap IMCA Modified Main Event.  Chris Falkenberg won a battle with George Silva and Kevin Joaquin to win his first 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event of the Season.  Point leader Darren Miguel made a charge from last starting to win a non stop 20 lap Mini Stock Main Event.  Mike Drake won the 12 lap Dwarf Car feature.

The IMCA Sport Modifieds ran two heat races with Fred Ryland winning the first one ahead of Josh Hensley.  Bruce Nelson won the second six lapper ahead of Gary Tucker.  Dwayne Short has been coming on strong as of late, and he led the Main Event early from his pole start.  A Turn 4 pass gained Gary Tucker the lead as Nelson quickly struck to third.   Point leader Josh Hensley spun in Turn 3 for a lap six caution flag.  Tucker chose the outside and continued to lead as Short spun in Turn 4 with Nelson slowing momentarily to avoid contact.  This allowed Mark Odgers to race into second.  Nelson made an outside pass on the front stretch to grab second from Odgers on lap 11.  A lap 14 caution flag flew for a Marisa Odgers spin.  Tucker stayed with the outside on the restart and had his hands full keeping the hard charging Nelson behind him.  Mark Odgers fell to fifth behind Short and Mark Squadrito.  Nelson made a pass on Tucker for the lead as they worked lap 17, but the no racing to the yellow rule took effect as Hensley and Antony Giuliani tangled in Turn 2.  Tucker stayed with the outside and continued lead Nelson as Odgers was back in third.  Nelson’s car started smoking and stopped in Turn 2 as Tucker won ahead of Mark Odgers, Short, Giuliani, Marisa Odgers, Hensley, Nelson, Squadrito, Michael Aldrich, and Andy Welch.

Kyle Wilson won the IMCA Modified heat race.  The Main Event may have been short on cars, but the race featured quite a bit of action.  Bob Williamson was the early leader over Alex Wilson and Bill Egleston.  The lead trio ran close early on, and K. Wilson spun in Turn 2 and fell far behind the pack.  An inside move on the front stretch of the seventh lap gained A. Wilson the lead, but he got sideways in Turn 2 a lap later as Egleston raced by.  However, Wilson beat Egleston back to the line for the lead on lap nine.  As A. Wilson started to pull away from Egleston, K. Wilson began making his move.  K. Wilson passed Ricky Thatcher for fourth on lap 11 and made a back stretch pass on Williamson for third on lap 15.  As A. Wilson happily took the checkered flag in first, K. Wilson made a low move in the final turn to grab second from Elgleston.  Williamson won a spirited duel with Thatcher for the fourth place finish.

Michael Shearer made a last lap pass on Kevin Joaquin to win his six lap Hobby Stock heat race.  Chris Falkenberg won the other heat race ahead of Austin Van Hoff.  George Silva had a front row start for the Main Event and charged into the lead ahead of Van Hoff and Dexter Long.  Long brushed the back wall on lap five, allowing Falkenberg to gain third.  Falkenberg took second from Van Hoff on lap eight with Michael Shearer grabbing third a lap later.  Shearer’s Top 3 run ended in a cloud of smoke for a lap 10 caution flag.  Silva chose the inside on the restart and continued to lead Falkenberg and Kevin Joaquin.  The lead trio ran in close formation, and Silva brushed the back wall on lap 15 as Falkenberg raced by on the inside.  Joaquin grabbed second on lap 17.  As they ran through Turn 4 to head for the white flag, Falkenberg got sideways.  Joaquin was attempting an inside pass and they made contact.  Joaquin went through the infield.  Falkenberg recovered in the lead as Silva tried to close in on him for another run at the win.  However, Falkenberg went to win the race.  Silva was a season best second ahead of Van Hoff, Joaquin, Jennifer Corder, Dexter Long, M. Shearer and Kristie Shearer.  Jeff Lacy was a Main Event scratch.

Chris Corder scored a Mini Stock heat race win ahead of Kelly Campanile.  After finishing last in the heat race, Miguel found himself stuck in last at the start of the feature.  Corder and Campanile shared the front row and ran 1-2 at the start.  Miguel and Natalie Waldrop had a bit of contact as Miguel gained sixth on lap 4.  Waldrop pitted.  The flying Miguel made a Turn 4 pass to grab third from Kevin Lockerby on lap five.  Corder and Campanile had nearly a straightaway on Miguel, but Miguel steadily chipped away at that.  Lockerby pitted on lap 13, and Miguel caught the leaders by lap 15.  Campanile had gathered it up for one more run for the lead on the inside.  However, she spun in Turn 2 to avoid hitting Corder on lap 19.  As they raced to the white flag, Miguel made his winning pass on the outside.  Miguel scored an impressive 11th victory with Corder settling for second.  Campanile still salvaged a respectable third ahead of Michael Amos, Lucy Falkenberg, Lockerby and Waldrop.

The Dwarf Cars had a short field for their fourth race, and Mike Drake won the heat race.  Greg Richardson was a Main Event scratch.  Drake led all 12 laps of the Main Event.  Chuck Weir was a race long second ahead of Brian Gray.

Racing continues at Merced Speedway this Sunday night with a five division show that will include IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Limited Late Models and Dwarf Cars.  For further information, check the official Oval Motorsports Website.

Late Models, Winged 360 Sprints Headline 
Antioch Speedway Program

Antioch Speedway is bringing out two of the most popular divisions at the same time this Saturday night.  It will be the 12th appearance of the DIRTcar Late Models and the sixth visit by the high powered Winged 360 Sprint Cars.  Making it even better will be the inclusion of the IMCA Sport Modifieds, Limited Late Models and Hobby Stocks for the five division program.

It boils down to this in the Late Models.  With three races left, Jeff Decker has a 14 point lead over six time winner Richard Papenhausen in one of the closest championship battles at the track.  Decker has a win, but he has yet to win in his new car.  He finished fourth last time while Papenhausen was flying to his sixth victory.  It might seem like a forgone conclusion that Papenhausen can catch him the way he wins races, but we had one week where he won the feature and lost points to Decker, who had won his heat race.  These two both have one Antioch championship to their credit.

We also have just ten points separating David Newquist from Danny Malfatti for third in points.  Just 12 points separate two time winner Troy Foulger from Chester Kniss and Rob Norris in the battle for fifth.  More importantly than points is the close racing we have been seeing in these high horespowered machines.  Antioch is the only Northern California track to feature a full Dirt Late Model program.

In addition to these seven hard chargers, we just might see Antony Restad.  Anthony has two second place finishes and seems poised for a win.  Paul Gulielmoni does have a win this season, and we anticipate the two time Petaluma champion for this show.  With roughly a dozen cars showing up most nights and over 20 cars having raced this season, this is sure to be a good race.

Shawn Arriaga has reason to smile these days, and it's not just because he leads fellow one time feature winner Art McCarthy by 12 points in a close Winged 360 Sprint Car battle.  Shawn has been putting a second car together for his father, Fernando "Fred" Arriaga.  Fernando raced Super Modifieds at San Jose in the 1980's and some Sprint Cars in the 1990's, but this is a rare chance for the father and son to race together.  Shawn is very proud of his family of racers, which includes grandfather Gil Richardson and mother Sheri Hill.

Arriaga and McCarthy may seem like the drivers to beat, but two time winner Jake Haulot and 2014 champion Chris Magoon may have something to say about that.  Haulot leads Magoon by just 14 points in the battle for third.  Haulot won last time, but Dan Gonderman let that one slip away.  The fifth ranked driver still had a season best second.  Other drivers we may be seeing this week include Chico Economy Sprint point leader Brandon Powell, Ricky Brophy, Chase Wood Sr. and Eric Humphries.  Scheduling may see some visitors from out of town this week.

It's weird to say IMCA Sport Mod point leader Fred Ryland is in a slump, but the runaway point leader hasn't won since June and has struggled lately at Antioch.  With six wins at Antioch, it would be a mistake to think he can't win this week.  The battle continues to be for second in points between one time winner Paul Mulder and Al Johnson.  Mulder has a two point advantage,  With one win this year and a second two races ago, Patti Ryland leads Chuck Golden by five points in the battle for fifth in the standings.

Rookie K.C. Keller is coming on strong lately and had a season best third and a heat win last week.  Another driver running strong is Trevor Clymens, who enjoyed a Top 5 run last week.  Marysville racer Jason Ferguson had a win last week and may be there this week as his home track is dark.   Others we'll be watching for include Al Sotomayor, Loyd Cline and Anthony Giuliani.  Giuliani had an Antioch win two races ago.

Larry Damitz holds command of the Limited Late Model point lead with a half dozen wins this year and a 48 point lead over two time winner Mike Gustafson.  Mark Garner joined the two time winner's club last time out and trails Gustafson by just two points.  Mike Hynes is only six points out of second.  Though Hynes has finished as high as second this season, the 2014 point runner up is still looking for his first win. 

Jim Freethy had a flat tire derail a possible win last time out, but he could very well have the car to beat this week.  There are a few cars in the works that we could be seeing before season's end, but a few we anticipate this week include John Keith, John Evans and the return of Lori Brown.  Two drivers waiting in the wings for debuts are Hobby Stock point leader Kimo Oreta and Calvin Louis.  Oreta and Calvin Louis Jr. should be there in Hobby Stocks this week.

With six wins now, Oreta leads the Hobby Stocks by over 250 points.  Nobody in the battle for second can get an upper hand on the other.  Danny Jones was leading last week when he broke a right front ball joint and clobbered the Turn 1 wall.  Jordan Swank and Michael Cooper both spun while running in the Top 3.  None of the three has finished higher than second this year, and the rookie Swank leads the tied Jones and Cooper by just 13 points in the battle for second.  After his Top 5 finish last week, Frank Furtado is in the hunt just 41 points behind Swank.

One driver all smiles after last week was sixth ranked Natalie Perry.  She drove a good race for a season best third place finish.  She is anticipated this week along with Robert Niven, Cameron Swank and Chris Sorensen.  Sorensen only came back last week thanks to Jason Jennings giving him a transmission to compete after he broke his own leading a heat race two races ago.  We may also see Steven Rogers back this week after Dan McCown drove his car to a feature win last week.  It was the 11th career win for McCown, who has one Hobby Stock championship to his credit.

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.

Top 5 In Antioch Speedway Points At A Glance

DirtCar Late Models

Jeff Decker    546
Richard Papenhausen 532
Dave Newquist    440
Danny Malfatti     430
Troy Foulger     361

Winged 360 Sprint Car

Shawn Arriaga     284
Art McCarthy     272
Jake Haulot     234
Chris Magoon     220
Dan Gonderman    194

IMCA Sport Mod

Fred Ryland     421
Paul Mulder     368
Al Johnson     366
Patti Ryland     316
Chuck Golden     311

Hobby Stocks

Kimo Oreta     890
Jordan Swank     627
Dan Jones     614
Michael Cooper    614
Frank Furtado    586

Limited Late Model

Larry Damitz     474
Mike Gustafson    426
Mark Garner    424
Mike Hynes     420
Jim Freethy    364

IMCA Modifieds, Hobby Stocks Race 
At Merced Speedway On Sunday

The one thing you can count on at Merced Speedway is that the racers will put on an entertaining program every Sunday night regardless of who shows up.  The Hobby Stocks and IMCA Sport Mods illustrated that beautifully last week as Gary Tucker and Chris Falkenberg won their respective events.  Even the IMCA Modifieds entertained the crowd last week as point leader Alex Wilson won his first feature of the season.  These three divisions will be joined by Limited Late Models and Dwarf Cars this week.

Alex Wilson and his brother Kyle are the hardest racers you'll find in IMCA Modifieds in the state.  They race everywhere they can, and Alex leads the State point race ahead of Kyle.  Kyle has racked up three Merced wins, but Alex finally got his first win last week.  Kyle came back from a spin to finish second as he moves into fifth in points.  It is Alex leading the Merced championship battle by 21 points over Bill Egleston.  These three drivers are anticipated this week.

Bob Williamson had a season best second place finish two races ago and led the first five laps last week.  Williamson trails Ricky Thatcher by just one point in a close battle for third in points, and K. Wilson is only 18 points out of that spot.  Every week the cast of competitors is different.  Paul Stone and Ryan Porter are both two time winners this season, and we could see either or both of them this week.  Antioch Speedway being dark this week could lead to a visitor or two from there, and we know the drivers who do show will race hard.

Speaking of racing hard, we had a few drivers jockeying for position to win last week in the IMCA Sport Mods, and that included Dwayne Short, Mark Odgers, Bruce Nelson and eventual winner Gary Tucker.  Tucker has been racing various divisions at Merced for well over two decades, and this was his second Sport Mod win of the season.  Mark Odgers was second, but Short guarded his second place point status by finishing a close third.  Short leads Odgers by 13 points.  Both drivers don't have much chance of catching point leader Josh Hensley, who leads by over 150 points.  Like Odgers, Hensley has a feature win this season. 

Mark's daughter, Marisa Odgers, is a Top 5 competitor at Chowchilla this season, but she started at Merced as a Mini Stock champion.  Marisa did a good job of getting a fifth place finish last week and keeping her pretty pink and black race car in one piece.  Nelson nearly won his third feature, but he had mechanical woes on the last lap and came to a stop in Turn 2.  It's not known if we will see him this week, but a few divers we're watching for this week include Michael Aldrich, Mark Squadrito and Nick Tucker.

Kevin Joaquin has three Hobby Stock feature wins and a commanding point lead.  If not for getting caught up in a few incidents that dropped him back, he could very well have twice as many wins.  Joaquin was gunning for a win last week when a sideways Chris Falkenberg slowed his bid for the lead and sent him briefly into the infield.  Joaquin finished fourth, but Falkenberg became the 13th different winner in 17 races.  Kristie Shearer joins Joaquin as a three time winner, but right front damage on her car sent her out early last week.

George Silva finally got a transmission together and led 15 laps of last week's feature before settling for a season best second ahead of previous winner Austin Van Hoff.  Van Hoff holds down forth in the standings.  With her fifth place finish ahead of fifth ranked Dexter Long last week, Jennifer Corder continues to hold down second in the standings in this her rookie season.  Most of these drivers should be there this week, and others we could see include Cody Parker, Shannon Nelson, Michael Shearer and Bobby Williams.

Six time winner Mark Garner has basically locked up the Limited Late Model Championship, but only 16 points separate three drivers in the battle for second.  Buddy Thatcher currently holds the spot by just six points over one time winner and two time champion Roy Hart Jr.  Only 16 points out of second is Scott Van Gelder.  We anticipate the top contenders will be there for this race.

The Dwarf Cars have had four races, and local Merced racer Mike Drake is now a two time winner after last week's victory.  Another Merced based racer, Chuck Weir, finished second last week and could be there.  We're not sure who might show up for this race, but we do know the other feature winners this season include Shawn Jones and Danny Wagner.

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.

Top 5 In Merced Speedway Points At A Glance

IMCA Modified

Alex Wilson     466
Bill Egleston     445
Ricky Thatcher     366
Robert Williamson 365
Kyle Wilson    348

IMCA Sport Mod

Josh Hensley     610
Dwayne Short     447
Mark Odgers     434
Bruce Nelson     367
Fred Ryland     358

Hobby Stock

Kevin Joaquin     732
Jennifer Corder 598
Kristie Shearer 499
Shannon Nelson     452
Austin Van Hoff 430

Limited Late Model

Mark Garner     386
Buddy Thatcher     200
Roy Hart     194
Scott Van Gelder 184
Peggy Sue Jarred 144

Dwarf Car

Mike Drake     192
Danny Wagner     108
Chuck Weir     82
Shawn Jones     56
Brian Gray     53