Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hobby Stocks At Chowchlla November 15, Noland Memorial Report From Porterville

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Hobby Stocks Headline Chowchilla Speedway
Season Finale November 15

Oval Motorsports will conclude the ten race season at Chowchilla Speedway on Sunday afternoon with an event including Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Dwarf Cars. With little buzz surrounding the previous race in October, a field of 16 Hobby Stock drivers were on hand, and management is hoping to increase that car count in November.

To that end, a field of 20 Hobby Stocks will run for an increased purse, which will include $500 to win the Main Event. In the event that car count gets even bigger, indications are that the purse could increase even more. This will be the last Hobby Stock race from Chowchilla all the way through Northern California.

Management is hoping to see an increase in Dwarf Car and Mini Stock car count as well, and drivers could see the rewards if that happens. The Mini Stocks ended 2015 on a strong note at Merced this season, and it's hoped that this can carry over to Chowchilla, where the division has been a part of all ten scheduled races.

Dwarf Cars were added to the 2015 roster at Merced Speedway as Oval Motorsports has been trying to establish the division in The Valley. Rookie Mike Drake won that championship over Chuck Weir. Northern All Stars competitor Mike Corsaro won the recent Chowchilla race ahead of teammate Charlie Correia. Corsaro has won features at all three Oval Motorsports tracks this season. Management is hoping to see Dwarf Cars come in from different areas for the finale.

The Hobby Stocks have a driver who has won at all three tracks, which includes Merced and Antioch. That would be Chowchilla and Merced champion Kevin Joaquin.  Kevin ran strong in the October race as he battled from the fourth row to finish second ahead of 2014 Ted Stofle Classic winner Syd Finn. However, Bruce "Bubba" Nelson was the class of the field.

A two time Merced champion, Nelson got behind the wheel of the Michael Shearer car and won his third Main event of 2015 at Chowchilla. Earlier in the afternoon, he won the Trophy Dash. Only a second in his heat race prevented him from mimicking 2015 Mini Stock champion Chris Corder's sweep of the afternoon.

The Hobby Stock division has been the work horse division at Oval Mororsports, having raced over 20 times each at Merced and Antioch and nine times at Chowchilla. Therefore, management wanted to give them a little more as a reward. Starting money was increased in the October race, and the dash win included a nice trophy.

For the drivers coming in from Bay Area tracks like Antioch and Watsonville or further north at tracks like Orland and Chico, this is the last chance to get a start this year without having to tow much further south. The race in October was a good one, and this one is shaping up to be even better as we tie a nice bow on the 15th Anniversary season at Chowchilla Speedway.

Like the Hobby Stocks, the Mini Stocks have been a part of Chowchilla Speedway since it opened. Chris Corder's season included a Chowchilla championship. He won four of the last five Merced races and just missed the championship there by two points behind the flying Darren Miguel. It is hoped that these two will be part of the next show along with teammates James Stockton and Mike Germait, who finished second and third, respectively, in the October race.

Weather permitting, the November 15th race at Chowchilla Speedway should be a good show.  Grandstands open at noon with the first race scheduled to start at 2.  Hopefully, more official information will be available on the Oval Motorsports Website

News & Rumors
With respect to my good friend Don O'Keefe Jr., I'm going to play "guest writer" for a very special column.  However, you can see Don's News & Rumors columns on his website right HERE.  They offer a lot of insight, and I do hope Don will continue them when he can.  Since I'm in the mode to write some racing material today, I decided I would take a shot at this column.  Hey, Don's welcome to do an Editor's Viewpoint if we wants.

We in the racing community are living a charmed life when it comes to all the race tracks we have in California.  In the last decade, we saw several tracks close before reopening.  We gained a couple new and returning tracks as well.  So, it's easy to think we will just have these tracks.  However, some promoters are barely keeping tracks going as attendance and car count drops.  They are the ones covering the losses, and you have to wonder how long they can do that.

We should not take it for granted that we will always have these tracks.  Two tracks that remain in constant danger now are Watsonville and Petaluma.  Watsonville is under threat of being closed for noise and Petaluma has people there who think stores or condos would be a better use of the property.  Management keeps fighting for those tracks, but it's a year to year battle.  Both tracks have raced weekly since the early 1960's.  Can you Imagine the sport without them?
The theme for this writer, for however long I continue, is track unity and keeping every track alive as long as we can.  I favor a unified coalition of promoters who work to keep rules compatible with each other, stay off of each other's big dates whenever possible and come to each other's aid if a track is threatened.  These and other subjects should be discussed every year at the RPM Promoters Meeting.  There should be a special meeting of California promoters to establish an agenda of unity.  This reporter is considering applying for credentials for a potential fifth visit to cover the big December event.

From what I have seen, the $4000 to win Rod Restad Memorial Race for IMCA Modfieds in Yreka was the biggest paying event for the division in California this season.  Yreka also has a banquet to honor their drivers, and the track is run by a board elected by the drivers.  As for banquets, I've heard talk about an Oval Motorsports banquet.  Indications are that it is possible, but the hold up is concern that there won't be enough participation from the drivers.  Management lost a significant amount of money on the previous one and still has a room full of unclaimed trophies.
Just a quick note on the winners of the Clyde Cordell Memorial Race at Hayfork Speedway.  Jack Turner won the Hobby Stock feature, Ross Vige won the Mini Stock feature and J.D. Hudman won the Enduro race.  They did have a Hobby Stock champion this season, but I can't seem to find the information now.  Hayfork was another miracle track that popped up in the last five years, and I salute the people in Trinity County for making that track happen.

Adam Zachary was the latest promoter to take over at Orland, renaming the track Sacramento Valley Speedway.  Adam didn't make radical changes there.  It's still at its heart a Hobby Stock, Mini Stock, Mini Truck track that also has Wingless Sprints and two classes of Mini Sprints.  It really takes a community to make small town tracks like these happen, and I was intrigued by the offer of Greg Rayl to start a Hobby Stock rental program there in the future.  Greg raced Late Models at Stockton in the past before starting a successful Mini Truck rental program at Altamont.  I have no doubt that he can make this fly if he chooses to pursue it.

Good promoters can make good things happen.  They inspire others to contribute to the cause and get good sponsorships behind them.  I see two promoters in particular who impressed me this year.  There was Allan Handy of Placerville and Scott Schweitzer at Bakersfield.  Both tracks had big car counts and strong fan support this year, showing what can still happen in California racing if the right effort is made.

The lower end program idea has been used to keep tracks going.  Hayfork, Porterville and Orland feature Hobby Stock and Mini Stock classes right now, partly due to economic issues.  In this way, you can establish a program without going broke as a promoter.  If faced with that choice or no racing, I know I would choose racing.  On the heels of the Hobby Stock and Mini Stock show at Chowchilla, I wonder if this is something that should be pursued there in the future?  Something needs to happen to give that track stability.

On the other hand, you have high end travelling groups like the BCRA Midgets and KOW Sprint Cars.  BCRA is already voicing some concerns about their future, though I have no doubt that they will be back.  KOW is an even more expensive class to bring to the track,  Those Winged 410 Sprint Cars cost money to race, but they aren't even bringing enough cars for B Mains some nights.  Promoters will begin asking if it's worth it.  One of the tracks they visit is one that depends on touring classes, Stockton 99 Dirt.  I have to wonder why Tony Noceiti hasn't tried harder to start some local classes, such as Hobby Stocks, Sport Mods or even Mini Stocks.

Now for the fun part.  It's time to talk about some News & Rumors.  As Don would say, it's up to you to decide what is news and what is rumor.

Sacramento Raceway's Stadium Oval next to the drag strip will begin running some Friday and Saturday shows featuring Spec Sprints, Hardtops, Mini Sprints and Mini Stocks next year.

Allan Handy will be stepping down as promoter at Placerville after this successful season.  The new promoter is a well known Sprint Car owner.

One promoter is considering a new E Modified class that truly will be an economic, low dollar class using older equipment, which will be specified in the rules.  

Northern California Hardtops will have new leadership, providing a new option for racers who enjoy driving these old cars on the dirt.

A New Dirt Modified series in the Bay Area will run races on at least three different tracks in 2016.

BCRA Midgets will take a cue from the Midget Lites and eliminate pavement dates to increase car counts on the dirt.

Street Stock racing at Marysville will be eliminated in 2016.

There will be a new promoter at Petaluma Speedway within the next year.

One long time pavement track will become a dirt track in the next year and will become a player in Sprint Car racing.

At least two tracks will drop IMCA sanctioning on their Dirt Modified program in 2016.
At least one new track will sanction IMCA Stock Cars in 2016, joining Bakersfield and Hanford,

Late Model racing will continue to have home tracks in the Bay Area and Southern California, and both efforts will grow in 2016.
A prominent promoter will sell out to a new promoter, giving that track it's third different promoter in the last 25 years. 

Taking a cue from Southern California, the figure 8 will get another chance with at least one race in the northern half of California next year.

The Valley Sportsman division will be back in 2016 and will begin the rebuilding process.

I will no longer be involved on a regular basis in racing in 2016.

Raymond Noland, Kylie Conway Win 
Dearl Noland Memorial At Porterville

With point racing done for the season, Saturday night signalled the start of the special race portion of the season at Rocky Hill Speedway in Porterville.  It started with a special race honoring Dearl Noland.  The Noland family has been a part of the racing tradition in Porterville for decades, and it was 2015 Hobby Stock champion Raymond Noland winning that division’s 20 lap Main Event.  The 20 lap Mini Stock feature saw a new winner in Top 5 Bakersfield point competitor Kylie Conway.  2015 champion Roy Atchison continued his domination in the Super 4 Mini Stock class with his tenth 20 lap win.  The American Stocks had enough cars to run their own 20 lap Main Event, and it was Trevor Baker picking up a win.  The popular Okie Bowl Hardtops were back to entertain the fans once again with James Bradburn getting the feature victory.

The Hobby Stocks had a few big names in the field to challenge Raymond Noland.  That included returning Modified veteran Charles Paul.  Paul gave it a good run, but he settled for second behind the flying R. Noland.  It was Noland’s fifth win of the season.  Steve Noland made his first start of the year and brought it home third ahead of Alvin Ince and Bakersfield competitor Brian Childress.  Hailing from Porterville, Kevin Collier spent the season winning the Bakersfield championship in dominating fashion, but he finished sixth in the Main Event ahead of the division debut of Clinton Massey, Cody Heinsohn and IMCA Stock Car competitor Rick Childress.

The Mini Stocks had a strong turnout with 14 cars starting the Main Event.  Bakersfield competitors swept the Top 3 at the checkered flag as Kylie Conway grabbed the win ahead of Shannon Triede and Misty Warren.  Shawn Schwartzenberger finished fourth and Robert Jackson returned to round out the Top 5.  Super 4 Mini Stock competitor Kit Murphy made his first Mini Stock start and finished sixth ahead of the division debut of Candy Noland-Soares.  Ken Shinarts, Bakersfield competitor Loni Spiller and Branson Trice rounded out the Top 10.  Third ranked Clinton Massey severely damaged his car in a hard crash in the Main Event.

Roy Atchsion’s amazing Super 4 Mini Stock season continued with another impressive feature victory.  Third ranked William Hughes’s quest for his first win of the season was thwarted once again as he settled for a division leading sixth second place finish.  Russell Silvas grabbed the final podium position.  Kit Murphy’s double division effort netted him a fourth place finish in the Super 4 feature as Steve Golden and Gary Meeks Jr. completed the finishing order.

Rocky Hill Speedway has remained committed to having an American Stock division, and low turnout has seen these drivers race with the Hobby Stocks most of the season.  However, five cars enabled them to have their own race this time.  Bakersfield point runnerup Trevor Baker held off fellow Bakersfield racer Nicholas Johnson to win the feature.  Ricky Lloyd finished third ahead of Mike Warren and Jake Daniels.

The Okie Bowl Hardtops have held most of their races at Rocky Hill Speedway this year and were thrilled to be a part of the Dearl Noland Memorial Race.  Having won earlier at both Rocky Hill and Bakersfield this season, James Bradburn won another Main Event ahead of previous winner Bobby Courtney and Rich Souza.  Josh Yadon finished fourth ahead of Tom Dugan, David Courtney and Jerry Hughes.

On November 7th, racing returns to Rocky Hill Speedway with Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Super 4 Mini Stocks, American Stocks and a Mechanics Race.  On November 11th, it’s the Fourth Annual Veterans Day race with the same four divisions along with a Battle Of The Badges & Dignitaries Race.  For further information, check out the official Rocky Hill Speedway Website.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Nelson Impresses With Third Chowchilla Victory

First of all...

On Sale At Reduced Price

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

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

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Short Track History Project at Go Fund Me 

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Nelson Impresses With Third Chowchilla Victory

Leading from the start of the race, Turlock’s Bruce Nelson won his third 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event of the season Sunday afternoon at Chowchilla Speedway.  The two time Merced Speedway champion withstood a late race challenge from 2015 track champion Kevin Joaquin to score the impressive victory.  Joaquin had third place finisher Syd Finn of Atwater right on his bumper at the checkered flag as Madera’s Robbie Loquaci and Quinton Harris of Watsonville rounded out the Top 5 finishers.

Nelson picked up a nice trophy earlier in the afternoon for his four lap Trophy Dash victory.  Finn won a heat race, and Watsonville Sport Mod champion Matt Hagio of Salinas won his heat race.  Unfortunately for Hagio, he broke something and loaded up before the feature.

Chris Corder of Modesto had a dominating performance in the Mini Stock division.  The 2015 track champion took the lead from Merced’s James Stockton on the second lap and went on to win the 10 lap Main Event by a straightaway.  Stockton was a solid second as Mike Germait of Merced held off Natalie Waldrop of Antioch in a good battle for third.  Corder swept the action with wins in the six lap heat race and four lap Trophy Dash.

Tracy’s Mike Corsaro won an ear;ly duel with David Rosa of Antioch in the 15 lap Dwarf Car Main Event before winning the race by a straightaway.  This was Corsaro’s fourth win of the year on the circuit.  Rosa held second until spinning in Turn 2 on the final lap.  That handed second to 77 year old Charlie Correia of Tracy as Antioch’s David Michael Rosa finished third.

Racing continues on Sunday, November 15th at Chowchilla Speedway with Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars and Mini Stocks all back in action to close the 2015 season. Chowchilla Speedway is located at the Chowchilla Fairgrounds.  Racing starts at 2:00 PM.

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Race Results

Hobby Stocks
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Syd Finn, Matt Hagio,  Trophy Dash (4 Laps)-Bruce Nelson.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Nelson, Kevin Joaquin, Syd Finn, Robbie Loquaci, Quinton Harris.

Mini Stocks
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Chris Corder.  Trophy Dash (4 Laps)-Corder.  Main Event (10 Laps)-Corder, James Stockton, Mike Germait, Natalie Waldrop, Clifton Massey.

Dwarf Cars
Main Event (15 Laps)-Mike Corsaro, Charlie Correia, David Michael Rosa, David Rosa.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

McClennon Wins Orland Finale, Noland Wins At Porterville

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

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McClennon Wins Finale, Hopper Champion 
At Sacramento Valley Speedway

Returning to his Wingless Sprint Car roots, Rowdy McClennon won the 20 lap season finale for the Wingless Sprint Cars Saturday night at Sacramento Valley Speedway in Orland.  McClennon is a regular 410 Sprint Car competitor at Chico and a past Wingless Sprint Car champion there.  Despite an ugly night, season long point leader Bill Hopper emerged with his second straight division championship.   Another regular Chico competitor, Gary Newman, won the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event, while Paul Stevens wrapped up the championship by starting the feature.  New champion Keith Ross won the 20 lap Mini Truck Main Event, while Nick Vidovich ended his championship season with a 20 lap Mini Stock Main Event win.

The Wingless Sprint Car championship battle was greatly effected in the heat race as incoming point leader Tony Richards broke a driveline to end his night.  Jeremy Wilson started a good night for his team by winning the heat race.  Richards and Bill Hopper were tied for the point lead, and Hopper was hoping to get a feature win.  It was a case of good news/bad news for Hopper.  The bad news was he flipped on the opening lap of the Main Event to end his night. The good news was he earned enough points to successfully defend last season’s championship.  With Hopper and Richards on the sidelines, it was Rowdy McClennon impressing with a feature win.  Wilson was a solid second as David Dias was back for the first time since the opener and would finish third.  Gerald Webber was fourth ahead of Ryan Owens and Hopper.

Gary Newman is a Street Stock regular at Chico, and he won his Hobby Stock heat race, while Scott Bigley was the other heat race winner.  This was Newman’s first start of the year at Orland, and he did it in style with an impressive feature victory.  James John rebounded from last week’s disappointing DNF with a strong second place finish ahead of past champion Steve Martin.   Rich Hood was back in action after missing a few races, and he finished fourth ahead of Cody Bundy, Lester Elsey, new champion Paul Stevens,  Bill Hampton, Bigley, Brad Ray and Jeremy Langenderfer.

All season long, Keith Ross has been setting the pace in the Mini Truck division.  Ross started a championship clinching night off by winning his eighth heat race.  He continued to dominate in winning his eighth Main Event of the season.  Nathan Skaggs has run a limited schedule, and he earned his third second place finish of the season to go with the win he had earlier this year.  Point runner up Dan Webster collected his fifth third place finish of the season.  Josh Tucker finished fourth ahead of “Rollin” Olin Crane and William Fogle.

Nick Vidovich has led most of the season in the Mini Stocks, and he started his championship clinching night with his second heat race win of the season.  Jeff Bennett was back and trying for his second straight feature win, but he had to settle for second behind the eighth win of the season for Vidovich.   Hobby Stock champion Paul Stevens finished third in the Mini Stock Main Event ahead of Eric Hammond and point runnerup John Kirkpatrick.

Rayl, Point Leaders Crismon and Ross 
Win At Orland

Greg Rayl became the latest new winner in the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event Saturday night at Sacramento Valley Speedway. in Orland.  Point leader Jeromie Crismon won his fifth 20 lap 600 Mini Stock feature, while Jackie Whitson Jr. won his fourth 250 Mini Sprint Main Event.  Mini Truck point leader Keith Ross continued to roll with his seventh Main Event win.  Hobby Stock point leader Paul Stevens collected his second straight Mini Stock Main Event win.

Hobby Stock car count dipped slightly as previous feature winner Brad Ray won the lone heat race.  Greg Rayl has history racing Late Models at Stockton and was a driving force in building Mini Truck count in the 1990‘s at Altamont.  On Saturday, he got behind the wheel of one of the Cooper Racing Team Hobby Stocks and showed the rest of the pack how it’s done with a Main Event triumph.  Mini Truck veteran Ray made his presence known in second as Earl Adams grabbed the final podium spot in third.  Shannon Collins and point leader Paul Stevens completed the Top 5.  Defending champion Steve Martin was a no show, handing Stevens a 90 point lead.  Martin leads Collins by just 15 points in the race for second.

Jeromie Crismon has been a force in the 600 Mini Sprints this season, and he continued the trend by winning both the heat race and Trophy Dash.  Crismon won his fifth Main Event in seven starts.  One of the two other feature winners this season, Tony Alosi, settled for second ahead of current point runner up Skyler Richter, Marty Plumb and the season debut of Dean Slinkard.  Crismon is well on his way to the track championship with a 190 point lead over Richter.  Richter has a 55 point advantage over Plumb in the battle for second.

Jackie Whitson Jr. has been tough to beat in 250 Mini Sprints.  If not for missing two races this season, he would likely be the point leader.  Whitson won both the heat race and Trophy Dash before rolling to his fourth feature win in five starts.  Dave McKinnon, point leader Jesse Garland and Rusty Hensley rounded out the finishing order.  Garland leads Whitson by 115 points with Hensley a distant third.

Keith Ross is leaving little doubt that the Mini Truck championship is his if he wants it.  Ross started the night off with a heat race victory.  He followed that up with his seventh feature win in the last nine races.  One of the nights he didn’t win saw him taking the night off.  Josh Tucker returned to action for the first time this season and was second ahead of Nathan Skaggs.  Dan Webster settled for fourth ahead of Mini Stock veteran Olin Crane and William Fogle.  Ross currently leads Webster by 80 points, while Fogle is another 110 points behind Webster in third.

Last time out, Hobby Stock point leader Paul Stevens made his Mini Stock season debut with a feature win.  On this night, he started things off with a heat race triumph.  Come Main Event time, point leader and seven time winner Nick Vidovich was looking for another win, but Stevens was there to deny him for his second straight win.  Vidovich settled for his second straight runnerup finish ahead of the fifth third place finish of the season for past champion John Kirkpatrick.  Jeff Bennett and Donovan Chilton rounded out the Top 5.  Vidovich holds a commanding 130 point lead over Kirkpatrick in the championship race with past champion Tom Davis a distant third after bowing out of the championship battle.

Results for the most recent race were not available at press time, but the season comes to a close this week with Wingless Sprint Cars, Hobby Stocks, Mini Trucks and Mini Stocks all in action.  For further information, check out the official Sacramento Valley Speedway website.

This just in from last week...

Compton, Webster And Bennett New Winners 
At Sacramento Valley Speedway

There were new drivers in the winner’s circle at Sacramento Valley Speedway in Orland Saturday night.  Making his first appearance of the season, Brian Compton won the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event.  Mini Truck veteran Dan Webster scored the victory in that division's 20 lap Main Event.  Jeff Bennett made his fourth start of the season a winning effort in the 20 lap Mini Stock feature.  Tony Alosi scored his second 600 Mini Stock Main Event win, while point leader Jesse Garland wrapped up his championship season with a win in the 250 Mini Sprint feature.

Brian Compton at one time was one of the top Hobby Stock competitors at Orland, and he just wrapped up another championship season at Chico Silver Dollar Speedway.  Compton gave indication of things to come with a heat race victory, while defending champion Steve Martin was the other heat winner.  Coming off of his second pace finish a week earlier, past Mini Truck champion Brad Ray was hoping to take it up a notch for another victory, but Ray again settled for second behind the impressive Compton.  Jeremy Langenderfer grabbed his third third place feature finish of the season.  The rest of the Top 6 was filled by drivers who were making their first starts of the season as Lester Elsey finished fourth ahead of Michael Adams and Scotty Bigley.  Point leader Paul Stevens finished seventh ahead of Martin, Shannon Collins, James John and 250 Mini Sprint point leader Jesse Garland.  Despite his disappointing effort, Stevens holds an 85 point lead over Martin and can clinch the championship by merely starting this week’s season finale.  Martin leads Collins by just 20 points in a closer battle for second.

Mini Stock ace “Rollin” Olin Crane was back in a Mini Truck and started the night off with a heat race win.  Dan Webster has been consistent this season with two seconds and four thirds in the Main Event.  On this occasion, he took it up a notch for his first win of the season.  It didn’t come easy as point leader Keith Ross gave chase for the second place finish.  Josh Tucker backed up last week's second place finish by placing third this time ahead of Nathan Skaggs, Crane, Leroy Beck and William Fogle.  Ross leads Webster by 75 points and can clinch the championship by just starting the final feature of the season.  Webster has a sold hold on second and Fogle will rank third this season.

Hobby Stock point leader Paul Stevens fielded a Mini Stock once again and began the night with a heat race victory.  Donovan Chilton was hot on the trail of his second win of the season, but it was not to be.  Jeff Bennett was back for the fourth time this season and improved on his previous season best third place finish with a feature victory.  Chilton ran strong and finished second ahead of point leader Nick Vidovich.  John Kirkpatrick settled for fourth ahead of Stevens, Dustin Hill and Eric Hammond.  Vidovich leads Kirkpatrick by 135 points and has therefore clinched the division championship.  Kirkpatrick and Tom Davis will rank second and third, respectively, regardless of where they finish in the finale.

The 600 Mini Sprint division has been the Jeromie Crismon show for much of the season, and Crismon and Tony Alosi were both preliminary winners.  Alosi had a feature win earlier this season, and he added another trophy to his mantle with a Main Event victory ahead of Skyler Richter.  That was the fifth runnerup finish of the season for Richter, who finished ahead of Crismon and Kyra Michelet at the checkered flag.  Crismon won the championship by 195 points ahead of Richter as Alosi finished third.

Turnout was a little light in the 250 Mini Sprints, but Jerrid Carter happily collected his first Trophy Dash win.  With Jackie Whitson Jr. a no show, Carter was hoping to add a feature win on the night, but it was point leader Jesse Garland winning his first Main Event since July and third of the season.  Carter settled for second ahead of Andrew Love.  Garland won the championship by 215 points over Whitson as Carter will rank third.

The season finale this week will feature the final showdown between the tied Bill Hopper and Tony Richards in a good Wingless Sprint Car championship battle.  Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Mini Trucks will also be in action  For further information, check out the official Sacramento Valley Speedway website.

New Champions Noland, Atchison 
Score Rocky Hill Speedway Wins

Point racing for Rocky Hill Speedway in Porterville is done for the year, but the track has several races left to run through the end of November.  On Saturday night, newly crowned Hobby Stock champion Raymond Noland collected his fourth 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event win.  Roy Atchison has been the dominant force in the Super Mini Stock division, and he won his ninth 20 lap Main Event.  Jason Cook returned to action and won his first 20 lap Mini Stock Main Event.

Michael Scruggs was back out to challenge for his second straight Hobby Stock feature win, but it was Raymond Noland running just a little stronger for the win.  Scruggs settled for second ahead of a respectable third place finish for Alvin Ince.  Joe Robinson has only competed in a handful of races in this his rookie season, and he matched his season best effort in forth as Bakersfield racer Brian Childress rounded out the Top 5.    Gene Clover finished sixth ahead of Mini Stock racer Shawn Schwartzenberger, Bakersfield champion Kevin Collier, Karl Noland and Cody Heinschn.

Only a second place finish in the previous race prevented Atchison from making it eight feature wins in a row as he collected another victory.  William Hughes enjoyed his fifth season best second place finish with Kit Murphy scoring his second season best third place finish.  2014 champion Adell Shelton settled for fourth ahead of Larry Ramirez and Gary Meeks.

Jason Cook won his first Mini Stock Main Event of the season.  Justin Moore was a season best second ahead of third ranked Clinton Massey, Brandon Trice and Shawn Schwartzenberger.

The Dearl Noland Memorial Race is next on the schedule for October 24th, and Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Super 4 Mini Stocks, American Stocks and Okie Bowl Hardtops are all on the card.  For further information, check out the official Rocky Hill Speedway Website.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Big Weekend For Hogge At Antioch And Merced, Random Thoughts And Rocky Hill Speedway

First of all...

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

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

Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover

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

The latest edition of the Bako Motorsports Power Hour for Bakersfield Speedway is viewable HERE

 The Civil War Sprint Car Series race from Petaluma Speedway last week is viewable HERE

The Santa Rosa Auto Body 600 Mini Sprints Main Event from last week at Petaluma Speedway is viewable HERE

DCRR Racing Radio Show
Weekend Review Edition

DCRR Racing Radio Show: Episode 63 by GenWhat 

Hogge Collects $2000 Victory In Impressive Fashion At Antioch Speedway

Bobby Hogge IV backed up last week’s win with an impressive 30 lap IMCA Modified Main Event triumph Saturday night at Antioch Speedway in the opening round of the Delta Valley Classic.  The win paid Hogge $2000 and was his 65th career victory at Antioch Speedway.  Hogge just wrapped up a championship season at Watsonville and is a three time Antioch Speedway champion.  Taking the lead from Jim Freethy on a late race restart, newly crowned Limited Late Model champion Larry Damitz won his eighth 20 lap Limited Late Model Main Event.

Shawn DeForest won a drag race to the line against Troy Foulger to win his eight lap IMCA Modified heat race.  Mike Salazar out dueled Chico champion Ryan McDaniel to win their eight lapper, and Brian Cass held off Randy McDaniel to win his heat race.  DeForest and Randy McDaniel shared the front row of the Main Event with DeForest racing into the early lead.  McDaniel lost second to Brian Cass with an inside pass on lap three, and a low move in Turn 2 of the fourth lap gained Bobby Hogge IV third.  DeForest had problems in Turn 3 on lap seven, allowing Hogge and Cass to race underneath for first and second.  Cass beat Hogge back to the line to lead lap eight before a caution flag flew for newly crowned champion Scott Busby in Turn 4.  Cass chose the outside and continued to lead Hogge on the restart.  Troy Foulger moved in to duel Randy McDaniel for third as Hogge was pressuring Cass hard for the lead.  Ryan McDaniel stalled in Turn 2 for a lap 12 caution flag.  Cass surprised by choosing the inside on the restart, only to watch as Hogge raced by on the outside to take the lead.  Foulger moved in to battle Cass for second as sixth row starter Paul Stone was up to fourth.  Stone grabbed third from Foulger and then made a low pass in Turn 4 of the 20th lap to take second from Cass.  Adam Elby spun in Turn 4 for a lap 20 caution flag.  Hogge stayed with the outside and led one more lap before Bobby Motts Jr., Chester Kniss and Nick Viscusi III got together in Turn 4 for a caution flag.  Hogge continued to lead Stone and ninth row starter Duane Cleveland on the restart.  Hogge set a good pace and had a comfortable lead at the checkered flag.  Stone was a solid second, and Cleveland beat Ryan McDaniel back to the line to finish third.  Foulger was fifth ahead of Kellen Chadwick, Darrell Hughes II, Mitch Enos, Terry Kaiser and Kniss.

Larry Damitz gained the lead from Jim Freethy on the last lap to win his six lap Limited Late Model heat race over Mark Garner.  Mike Gustafson won the other heat race, just ahead of Merced champion Roy Hart Jr.  Front row starters Freethy and Hart raced into the 1-2 positions at the start of the Main Event as Garner settled into third,  Mike Gustafson made an inside pass on the back stretch on lap four to take fourth from Ryan Cherezian.  Paul Hanley spun in Turn 4 for a lap five caution flag.  Freethy chose the outside and continued to lead Hart on the restart as Gustafson grabbed third.  However, Gustafson slowed a lap later to put Garner back in third.  A high move in Turn  4 of the 10th lap gained Hart the lead from Freethy, and a lap 12 caution flag flew for Mike Hynes.  Hart chose the outside and continued to lead Freethy as tenth starter Damitz rode the outside into third.  Hart had a good lead when Hanley spun in Turn 4 for a lap 16 caution flag.  The restart saw Freethy and Hart get together on the front stretch with Hart hitting the wall to end his race.  Freethty had the lead on the next restart, but Damitz raced by for the lead ahead of the surprising Cherezian in his best career run.  Freethy pitted late as Damitz was a happy winner ahead of Cherezian, Jay Bryant, Garner, Cecil Henry, Freethy, Hart, Hanley, Hynes and Jeff Kendrick.

New Champion Ryland Wins $500 Prize 
At Antioch Speedway

Fred Ryland won the 25 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event Saturday night at Antioch Speedway in the opening round of the Delta Valley Classic.  The win was Ryland’s eighth of the season as he moves into tenth on the track’s All Time feature winner’s list.  Ryland also wrapped up the Antioch and State championships and is still in the hunt for a Top 3 point position in the National standings.  A post race tech disqualification handed rookie Jordan Swank his first career 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event win and helped the rookie maintain second in the points.  Chico visitor Brian Cooper withstood a late challenge from Danny Jones to cross the finish line first, but both were disqualified in post race tech.

Patti Ryland won the first IMCA Sport Modified heat race ahead of newly crowned Marysville Mini Stock champion Jimmy Ford.  Matt Hagio made a last turn pass on Chuck Golden to win their eight lapper.  Front row starter Anthony Giuliani raced into the early lead in the Main Event ahead of Golden.  Fourth row starter Fred Ryland took third from Ford on lap three, and a lap four caution flag flew for Trevor Clynens.  Giuliani chose the outside on the restart and continued to lead as F. Ryland took second from Golden.  A low move in Turn 4 of the ninth lap gained Patti Ryland third with Hagio following into fourth.  Hagio took third from P. Ryland two laps later as the lead duo of Giuliani and F. Ryland ran close.  A lap 13 caution flag flew for debris on the race track.  Giuliani stayed with the outside and continued to lead F. Ryland on the restart.  A low move in Turn 4 of the 15th lap gained F. Ryland the lead. Giuliani came back strong in Turn 2 a lap later to regain the lead, but F. Ryland had the lead again with an inside pass in Turn 4.  A caution flag flew on lap 17 when Hagio and Giuliani got together with Hagio spinning in Turn 2 and collecting P. Ryland and Brian Cooper.  F. Ryland stayed with the outside and led Jim DiGiovanni and K.C. Keller on the restart.  A low move in Turn 4 of the 19th lap gained Hagio third, and Shane DeVolder spun in Turn 4 for a lap 20 caution flag.  The restart was interrupted by a red flag when Giuliani and DiGiovanni got together on the back stretch and caused a multi car pileup.  Several cars were eliminated in the melee, including DiGiovanni, Giuliani and P. Ryland.  F. Ryland led the restart and the rest of the way to win ahead of Hagio.  Al Johnson won a late race duel with Ford to finish third as Mike Merritt finished fifth.   DeVolder, P. Ryland, Keller, Cooper and DiGiovanni rounded out the Top 10.

In Hobby Stock action, Jay Bryant cruised to a straightaway lead at the checkered flag with Joey Ridgeway second in their heat race.  Afterwards, officials moved Bryant up to the Limited Late Model ranks and gave the win to Ridgeway ahead of Jordan Swank.  Past champion Brad Myers cruised to victory in his heat race ahead of Tony Jennings Sr.  Robert Niven held off Chico star Brian Cooper to win the final eight lapper.  Danny Jones had a front row start and led the opening lap of the Main Event before getting out of shape in Turn 4 and losing the lead to Cooper.  Calvin Louis Jr. made a high pass in Turn 1 of the third lap to take second from Jones, but he spun in Turn 4 for a lap four caution flag.  Myers retired during the caution period.  Cooper chose the outside and continued to lead Jones and Mitch Locicere on the restart.  J. Swank took third from Locicere on lap six with Niven running close behind in fourth.  Louis spun in Turn 4 for a lap nine caution flag.   The restart ended up in a red flag as contact between Cameron Swank and Locicere sent Locicere hard into the front wall.  He was not injured, but he was out of the race.  Cooper continued to lead from his outside spot on the restart ahead of Jones and J. Swank,  Niven and 14th starter Natalie Perry dueled for fourth.  Niven grabbed the spot on lap 13, and that became third a lap later when Swank took an infield excursion off of Turn 4 and lost a couple spots.  A Turn 2 crash involving Jessica Jones, Lindsey Buirch and Frank Furtado forced a lap 13 caution flag.  Cooper stayed with the outside and continued to lead D. Jones and Perry.  Perry began overheating and lost third to Niven on lap 18.  D. Jones gathered momentum for one more run at Cooper, but Cooper took the checkered flag in first.  The post race tech disqualification shuffled the official finishing order.  J. Swank made a low move in Turn 3 of the last lap to take third from Niven.  However, Swank became the new winner with the disqualifications as Niven was second ahead of Tony Jennings Sr., Buirch, Perry, Furtado, J. Jones, Locicere, C. Swank and Russell Shearer.

Hogge Unstoppable In $2000 Merced Victory

Leading the race from the start, Bobby Hogge IV impressed by scoring the victory in the 30 lap IMCA Modified Main Event Sunday night at Merced Speedway.  This was the second leg of the Delta Valley Classic weekend, and Hogge collected $2000 for the win.  Hogge won the $2000 first prize at Antioch a night earlier and collected the $500 bonus for winning both races.  After spending all day repairing extensive damage to his car from a crash at Antioch, two time champion Roy Hart Jr. won the 20 lap Limited Late Model Main Event.

The IMCA Modifieds ran three eight lap heat races with Kellen Chadwick winning the first heat race over Randy Brown.  Kyle Wilson held off his brother and new Merced champion Alex Wilson to win the second heat race.  Ethan Dotson won the final heat race ahead of Hogge.  Ricky Thatcher had the pole for the Main Event with Hogge outside.  Paul Stone started back in 12th.  Hogge raced into the lead at the start ahead of Chadwick and Dotson.  Aaron Barnell spun in Turn 4 for lap two caution flag.  Hogge led another lap before another caution flag for a Turn 2 tangle that involved Stone.  Hogge chose the inside and continued to lead the restart as Dotson took second from Chadwick.  Cody Laney was running fourth, but K. Wilson made a low move in Turn 1 to grab the spot on lap six.  A lap eight caution flag flew for a Stone spin.  Hogge stayed with the inside for the restart and continued to lead Dotson and Chadwick.  Thatcher was having a good run in fifth until his steering broke and he spun on the back stretch for a lap 11 caution flag.  At that point, Hogge led Dotson, Chadwick, K. Wilson and Stone.  A low move in Turn 2 of the 17th lap gained Stone fourth from K. Wilson,, and he made a similar pass on Chadwick to grab third on lap 22.  Danny Luukkonen spun for a lap 24 caution flag, and Chadwick pitted.  A. Wilson took fourth from K. Wilson on the restart.  Hogge was unstoppable in the lead and scored an impressive victory.  Dotson was a $1000 second.  Stone finished third in the unofficial finish ahead A. Wilson, K. Wilson, Bill Egleston, Mitch Enos, Chester Kniss, Ray Mayer and Derek Nance.

Hart started the night off by wining the eight lap Limited Late Model heat race ahead of Buddy Thatcher.  Making his first start in the former Mike Hynes car, John Evans had the pole for the Main Event and set the early pace ahead of Paul Hanley.  Hart was third on lap two and used a low move in Turn 2 of the fourth lap to gain second.  Evans hit the front wall after crossing the line in first on lap five and spun off of Turn 1 for a caution flag.  Hart led Hanley and new champion Mark Garner on the restart, but Evans spun in Turn 2 for a lap six yellow flag.  Hart continued to lead Hanley on the restart, but a low move in Turn 2 of the ninth lap gained Garner second from Hanley.  Hanley ended up spinning on the back stretch for the final yellow flag on lap nine.  Hart went with the outside on the restart and continued to lead Garner and Thatcher.  Donny Richardson made a front stretch pass on Thatcher to take third on lap 12.  Hart ran strong with Garner not too far behind him.  Contact racing between Richardson, Kendrick and Hanley in the battle for third saw Hanley move into third in Turn 2   Garner slowed and pitted in the infield on lap 19, and Hart cruised to victory from there.  Hanley finished second ahead of Kendrick, Richardson, Thatcher, Garner and Evans.

Ryland DQ Hands Falkenberg Merced 
IMCA Sport Mod Win

Chris Falkenberg collected the $500 first prize for his win in the 15 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event Sunday night at Merced Speedway.  Falkenberg ran a race long second behind IMCA State point leader Fred Ryland in the event that was billed as the Delta Valley Classic, but Ryland was later disqualified in post race tech.  Cody Parker won a duel with Watsonville visitor Wally Kennedy to win the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event.

With 23 cars on hand for the IMCA Sport Mod race, they ran four heat races.  Jarred Tickel won the first heat ahead of Tim Cecil.  Ryland held off Falkenberg to win his heat race.  Jimmy Ford outran fellow Marysville regular Mike Merritt to win their heat race with Gary Tucker winning the final heat ahead of Rick Diaz.  Track officials elected not to run a B Main, and Ryland shared the front row with Falkenberg for the Main Event.  Ryland raced into the lead from the start ahead of Falkenberg and Tickel  The first yellow flag flew on lap two.  A lap three caution flag flew for a Turn 3 tangle between Mark Odgers and Andy Welch.  The restart attempt saw a multi car crash force a red flag to untangle the mess of cars.  Ryland picked the outside on the restart, and Falkenberg surprised him by taking the lead.  After another yellow flag, Falkenberg chose the inside and continued to lead Ryland and Tickel on the restart.  Marysville champion Howard Law settled into fourth.  Falkenberg lost his lead on lap nine to an infield excursion off of Turn 2 as Ryland regained the lead.  A lap ten caution flag flew as Tickel spun in Turn 4, and Law was put to the back of the pack by track officials.   Several restart attempts were botched by spins before they did get another lap in with Ryland leading Falkenberg and Diaz.  By then, track officials cut the scheduled distance of the race down from 25 to 15 laps due to time constraints.  A lap 11 caution flag flew for Shawn Bryant on the back stretch.  Ryland led the single file restart ahead of Falkenberg and Diaz.  A low move in Turn 4 of the 13th lap gained Tim Cecil third from Diaz.  Ryland went on to an apparent victory before being disqualified in post race tech along with third place finisher Cecil and fifth place finisher Steve Stone.  The unofficial rundown saw Falkenberg getting his first win in the division ahead of Diaz and Bakersfield champion and Nick Spainhoward.  The unofficial Top 10 was completed by Kelly Wilkinson, Welch, Mark Odgers, Ford, Tucker, Tickel and Shane DeVolder.

The Hobby Stocks ran three heat races with Robbie Loquaci cruising to victory in his heat race ahead of Jessie Ruckman.  Ty Shelton won his heat ahead of Phil Vaughn, while Kennedy won his heat race ahead of Jennifer Corder.  Ruckman and Kennedy shared the front row of the Main Event, and Ruckman surprised by charging into the early lead ahead of Kennedy and Shelton.  Ruckman hit the front wall on lap three as Kennedy led Shelton and Vaughn.  Corder spun for a yellow flag.  Kennedy had the inside for the restart and continued to lead Shelton.  A low move in Turn 4 of the fourth lap gained eighth starter Parker third.  A Turn 4 tangle involving Adam Reed and Dexter Long brought out a lap five caution flag.  Kennedy stayed with the inside and continued to lead Shelton and Parker in a close three car battle.  Parker slipped past Shelton for second on lap eight with Vaughn following into third.  Samantha Williams spun in Turn 2 for a caution flag.  Kennedy continued to lead with Parker giving him all the pressure he could handle.  Loquaci regained third on lap ten in a close three car battle with Shelton and Austin Van Hoff.  On lap 12,  Shelton and Loquaci hooked bumpers and spun in Turn 3 for a caution flag.  That led to a lengthy red flag as officials tried to get the two cars unhooked.  Kennedy led one more lap before an inside move on the back stretch of the 14th lap gained Parker the lead.  Kennedy slowed with a flat as Van Hoff and Vaughn were now second and third.  Parker brought it home to his second win of the season ahead of Van Hoff and a season best third for Vaughn.  Rounding out the unofficial Top 10 were Long, Donnie Shearer, Loquaci, Jerry Tubbs, Kennedy, Kyle Singleton and Corder.

 Ellis, Tamaraz, Scruggs Win Point Series Finales At Rocky Hill Speedway

Bob Ellis won the 20 lap point season finale Mini Stock Main Event Saturday night at Rocky Hill Speedway.  James Tamarez made his first appearance since May and brought home his second 20 lap Super 4 Mini Stock feature win of the season.  Michael Sruggs won an entertaining 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event for his first win of the season.  Bobby Courtney won his first Okie Bowl Hardtop feature of the season, while the Central Valley Tanks Main Event went to Cory McDonald.  Kercie Jung won the Sr. Mini Dwarf Car Main Event, while Nathaniel Edwards was the winner of the Jr. Mini Dwarf Car feature.

For Bob Ellis, the Mini Stock feature win was his first since April and second of the year.  It was a battle of the Massey Racing Team for second, and Clinton Massey scored the runnerup finish ahead of the second place finisher of the previous week's Main Event, Clifton Massey.  Jason Cook collected his fourth season best fourth place finish as Matt Noland rounded out the Top 5 finishers.  Jared Plumlee's sixth place finish wrapped up his championship season as Brandon Trice, Justin Moore, Matt Brumley and Drew Bachtelle made up the remainder of the Top 10.  Plumlee won the championship by 142 points over Andrew Boydstun.  Clinton Massey moved to within 38 points of Boydstun for second as Boydstun missed the point season finale.

Newly crowned champion Roy Atchison has been the driver occupying the Super 4 Mini Stock winner's circle in recent races, but James Tamarez won his second Main Event of the season.  Tamarez hadn't raced since May and was a winner back in April.  Atchison settled for second ahead of 2014 champion Adell Shelton and fourth ranked Larry Ramarez.  Kit Mutphy finished fifth ahead of Gary Meeks Jr. and Steve Golden.  Archison beat Shelton by 70 points for the championship.  William Hughes was a distant third.

In his three previous appearances in the Hobby Stock division this year.  Michael Scruggs finished no worse than fourth.  Scruggs battled new champion  Raymond Noland Jr. early in the race, but Noland had to pit with a flat tire.  Scruggs went from there to victory with Karl Noland Sr. not too far behind in second.  Enduro ace Rich Denman grabbed the final podium position as Karl Noland Jr. and R. Noland rounded out the Top 5.  Jeff Loyd was sixth ahead of Glen Glover.  R. Noland won the championship by 130 points ahead of K. Noland Jr.  Despite missing three races when he abandoned the point lead, K. Noland Sr. made it an all Noland Top 3 in points.

A half dozen Okie Bowl Hardtops appeared for their third visit of the season, and Bobby Courtney collected his first win ahead of Chester Chapman and early season winner James Branburn.  Brad Watkins, Tom Duggan and Josh Yadon completed the finishing order.  Cory McDonald held off IMCA Stock Car State point runnerup Troy Patee for the Central Valley Tanks feature win.  Patee lost a close State point race this season by just one point behind Ron Hurt.  Dave Bauer and multi time Bakersfield Speedway IMCA Stock Car feature winner Rick Childress rounded out the Main Event finishing order.

Kercie Jung impressed with her Sr. Mini Dwarf Car feature win ahead of new track champion Riley Millard.  Austin Martin, Seth Wise and Madison Meyers rounded out the Top 5.  Millard won the championship by 76 points ahead of Meyers as Jung rounded out the Top 3 in the standings.  

In the Jr. Mini Dwarf Car feature, Nathaniel Edwards held off division point runnerup Mallory Meyers for the victory.  Trenton Eurto, Jaiden Butler and Johnathan Butler rounded out the Top 5 finishers.  Allie Jung won the championship by 52 points over Meyers.  Eurto would end up third in the final rankings.

Though point racing is over for this season, several races are still on the schedule.  This Saturday night, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Super 4 Mini Stocks and American Stocks are all on the card along with a Ladies Race.  For further information, check out the official Rocky Hill Speedway Website.

Random Thoughts

Well, I'm running late with this as it is, so I figured I'd add one more column.  The season came and went in a flash, and I can't believe it's over.  Well, the money shows are happening, but I won't be going.  I'm not sure if I will be back in 2016 as I have other more serious matters to deal with.  Writing has been a part of my life, and I enjoy it.  However, it is also very time consuming.  I don't see how I will have time to devote to it next year.  Oh, I will write, but I'm not sure racing will be part of it.  After whatever job I will be doing to pay the bills, I kind of like the idea of having a personal life too.

The way the writing process goes for me is I get an idea to start with.  I will start writing and then another idea pops into my mind and another.  When I get into that flow, the outside world doesn't exist.  I sometimes feel like I am channelling the information from somewhere and it flows onto the keyboard.  I lose all track of time.  Suddenly, I spent several hours writing when I was just doing a simple article that was supposed to take an hour.  I enjoy writing far more than the menial job I will have to get, but that menial job will pay the bills.  The writing will pay in good feelings and positivity.

So, the scenario I see is me writing something after work.  Before I know it, I'm up until two in the morning and only a few hours of sleep.  That's just not for me.  When racing season kicks in, that would be the way it would be for several months.  Work, write, go to the races, no social life, no possible relationship or hanging out with friends during the week and still unhappy.  I don't know how Gary Jacob managed to do what he did with that kind of schedule, but I'm relatively certain that led to his early death.  I also believe he was okay with that.  He always seemed happy to be doing what he did.  

Last week, I was very surprised by the gesture of the Swank Racing Team.  Kenny Swank has already been so supportive of my efforts this year.  It's in part because of him that I made it to the end of the season.  He donated to my efforts twice, and then I show up last Saturday and see what he and his son Jordan did for me.  On the race car, it said Thanks Don Martin II.  It brought a tear to my eyes to see that.  No, I should be thanking you.  I couldn't have made it without you.  With any writing about racing I do in the future, I'll do my best to remember it's Jordan Swank in the #73 car and not Kenny.  This isn't the 1980's any more.  Where does the time go?

That's the problem with having all of these stats and driver's names in my head.  At times, I can get something crossed up.  In the past, I had a printer and would print things out that I needed.  I have no printer and no budget to get one.  So, I just do the best I can.  It's comical to see me in the booth at Merced shuffling unorganized papers to get the sponsors announced on the cars.  That would not be the way I would do it in the future.  I always make do with what I have and try to make it work.

The bottom line is I came into the 2015 season broke and desperate.  I needed help, and I knew I had a skill set that could help.  Of course, there were already people in those positions, and I was delusional.  I should have just left it at that, but I didn't.  I took a bus and went to the races and stood out in the parking lot that first night.  I was going to do it again, but Jason Willis insisted I go into the stands and bought my ticket.  A week after that, it was Jim Thompson.  I didn't even have bus fare at that point, but then Jim Robbins stepped up.

Jim was coming over and getting me every week after that.  He felt certain that I was needed at the track and could make a difference.  Then, it became Chowchilla and Merced.  I have no money to eat on the road, and Jim kept me fed.  He didn't have to do any of that, but that's just who he is.  He's a great friend.  He also cares about that race track and knows I do too.  So, he wouldn't let me go away, even when I felt like I probably needed to.  I never wanted to leave for lack of fun or feeling accepted by the racers.  It was more a concern that I needed to figure out another way to save my home.  I failed in that, by the way.  This little endeavour did not save me.  I crashed in the end.

But, I will say Jim is a positive for Antioch Speedway.  If everybody had his attitude of doing what needed to be done to make these tracks pop, things would be dramatically different.  But, we had people in key positions drawing nice paychecks who were in it more for the money than to make a difference.  It's not gonna succeed based on that.  Things do need to change in the future or it's not going to be good.  It all starts at the top and inspiring people to want to make a difference.

One example is the tow truck situation.  We had cars hooked up on the track at Merced on Sunday.  The same thing happened at Chowchilla earlier this year.  Well, there was a tow truck on hand with one of the racers both nights.  However, that racer wasn't offering it.  I will say that the racer didn't owe the track that either.  Had they been inspired to want to help or offered something to do it, they might have helped that night.  That comes from the top, and if you don't feel that appreciation, you won't go the extra mile.  That racer owed nothing more than to race, follow the rules and have fun.

The really successful race tracks are the ones that make people feel like a part of things.  They make people feel invested in the success of the place.  If you have racers and fans who feel that way, then you will have people volunteer, chip in and help where they can.  You'll have people bring in sponsorships and do things that help the track.  In most of those cases, the people genuinely like the promoter and want him to be successful,  They also don't feel like they aren't appreciated for supporting the track.

One thing that troubles me at some tracks is racers who get messed with by promoters who don't like them.  I've seen this through the years at tracks, and it makes me not want to be there.  If a driver gets into trouble, they pay their fine and serve their suspension.  That should settle the matter as long as that racer stays in line.  If the promoter doesn't like them, then refuse admittance and leave it at that.  I am against letting that person back just to mess with them on technicalities.  And, then to act like the matter isn't settled after that too?  How much payback is enough?  Personally, I wouldn't race there anymore if I knew I would be messed with.

There are things that I've seen that I am not pleased with.  I hesitate to comment on them as I feel like people will think I'm being negative and trying to hurt things.  Maybe I shouldn't care.  There are real things happening in the world that we should be concerned with, and here I am talking about racing.  After Sunday, people were talking about the disqualifications and just the "who, what and where" about how it went down.  Rules are rules, and they should be followed.  However, I have concerns about how things were handled.  I'll reserve judgement at this time.

Now, I've been watching Fred and Patti Ryland with interest.  They generally field competitive races cars, and I ghost wrote one of Patti's Mini Stock championship seasons.  When I came back, I certainly heard things good and bad about them.  Here's what I see.  I see a racing team that loves the sport.  They do what they can to make a difference, and they have helped several racers get back to the track.  You need people like that to keep the sport going.  That's my overall impression of Ryland Racing.  An old friend of mine mentioned off the cuff that they hope Fred and Patti get a race track some day.  I ask, would that be a bad thing?

It is my belief that there is a fairgrounds track that will be available for the 2016 season, and it's Chowchilla Speedway.  I don't believe Oval Motorsports will be back there.  It's too much of a challenge to run that track.  You need to be hands on with it, so it needs to be a promoter's primary track.  The problem with Oval Motorsports and Kenny Shepherd was it wasn't their primary track when they had it.  The problem with CCMR was the same, plus getting that track was a way to get back at Tom Sagmiller.  In fact, only Tom Sagmiller and Jack Stanford had it as a primary track, and Sagmiller was the most successful of them all.

I've said recently that the only way a promoter can make that place work is to stand outside the gates and kiss each driver's ass as they enter the place.  Well, maybe that's not fair.  I think it can work, but you need a five year plan and a budget to account for the fact that years one and two may be losers.  You need to get out on the streets of Chowchilla and build up a relationship with the community.  If local residents aren't willing to come to a race, it's not going to happen.  There's more to it than that, but you have to be hands on and have your heart in it.

Is there such a promoter waiting in the wings to save the place?  I thought they would have had a fighting chance with jack Stanford, but he couldn't keep it going.  I have a feeling there may be one other out there if the track goes out to bid soon enough, but who that is remains to be seen.  They will need a fair manager who isn't a jerk.  I've heard nothing good about the guy there now, and that effects things.  The Chowchilla Fairgrounds has to realize the racing thing is still relatively new there and struggling.  You have a potential field of dreams there, but you need to give the next promoter a fighting chance to build it up or it will never work.

Well, I guess Alan Handy will be going out on a high note at Placerville Speedway.  The 50th Anniversary season there was by all accounts a huge success, and Handy wants to retire now.  At the last race, he and his wife and John Padjen were there to receive an award from the city for all they have done for the community.  Word was that Prentice Motorsports Group might buy Handy out, but our latest report was Sprint Car owner Scott Russell will be the one promoting starting in 2016.  I think he will do well as long as he continues to remember that it is Sprint Cars and Stock Cars together that have made that track work through the years.

I keep hearing conflicting reports on Prentice, but if he really was looking at Placerville, don't be surprised to see him go after another track.  That probably won't be Sacramento Raceway, but the oval track may roar back to life in 2016.  We've been hearing about an unnamed promoter working on negotiating a deal for a while now, and it could happen.  This track had a weekly Friday night program back in the 1990's that was somewhat successful, and a decade later, the track launched the California Hardtop movement and a new Spec Sprint group.

Hardtops and Spec Sprints may figure into those plans as well as 600 Mini Sprints and Mini Stocks.  It's just possible that any group that can produce 8-10 cars could get a race date opportunity to race on a newly opened Sacramento Raceway stadium oval.  Racing would take place mainly on Friday nights, but there could be a Saturday or two in the mix as well.  Fridays could give the track the opportunity to draw from several Saturday night tracks, as was the case in the past.

Other than that, it's just speculation. I'm hearing everything from the retirement of a promoter to a scenario in which Petaluma Speedway could have a new promoter.  But, these are things we'll just have to wait and see.  We are in a time where everything is in flux. We have a lot of tracks, but we can start saying goodbye to some of them in the near future.  That's why being at the races is something a race fan shouldn't take for granted.  You just never know when your home track might be one of the tracks that closes.

I've heard a lot from people wanting to know when the banquets are coming up for Antioch and Merced/Chowcihlla.  There are no banquets planned at this moment.  I'm not happy to tell you that, but that was the decision after things didn't go so well with the last banquets.  I heard it suggested that trophies and jackets may be presented at the season openers next year, but I know nothing of that for sure.

The reality of point racing in 2015 is that there aren't that many racers who are committed to going for it.  Go back 20 years ago at some tracks and you had to race every week and at least have a few good finishes to make it into the Top 20.  If you run a full season these days, you might just win the championship or at least be Top 3.  It's kind of sad when you think about it, but that's how it is.  Some tracks do better than others, but chances are the ones doing well are the ones who make point racing worth it to the drivers.  That means point funds and special races during the season.

That being said, there were drivers who were racing for points that tried not to miss too many races.  I've heard from a few who were hoping for that little reward at the end of the season.  A banquet is a celebration of the good things that happened during the season.  It's also a community building opportunity for that race track.  I feel it is an important part of the schedule, but I'm not saying I don't understand why they haven't been scheduled this year.  I just wish that wasn't the case, and it's a shame that something can't be done to make it happen.

I talk about tracks doing things to make point racing attractive, and I believe Petaluma Speedway is one of them.  Rick Faeth has made a solid effort to promote that race track.  No he is not perfect, and none of them are.  But, when I think of great efforts made by promoters in 2015, Rick is on my list along with guys like Alan Handy at Placerville and Scott Schweitzer at Bakersfield.  Rick took over for Jim Soares a few years ago and inherited all of the threats that exist that want to close that beloved race track.

Rick's answer to the threats is the same as Jim's.  He's basically saying that the track is here now, and until any money comes up to take over the race track property, he's going to make the best of it.  It is a team effort as I'm sure Rick will admit.  And, great sponsors like, Lumberjack's Restaurant, Larsen Racing Products and Jake's Performance Hobbies are helping him promote these divisions.  He has also tried to make special races for most of his classes during the season.

He's even worked with others to make big races for his Dwarf Cars and Sprint Car classes. has been huge in their support for Sprint Car racing.  there will be more money on the line on October 10 when The Adobe Cup race happens for the Winged 360 and Wingless Spec Sprints.  But, that night is about the Lumberjack's Restaurant Super Stocks.  They are racing for more money than usual and this is a race the drivers want to win.  What's also nice is to see so many last names in the field that have been a part of racing there since the 1980's.

If I had the resources to go to another race this year, that's right up there on my list along with the Pat Pettit Memorial Shoot Out Race at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville this Friday and Saturday.  I haven't been to that track in at least 13 years.  The Pettit family has been a part of what's good about our sport for many years.  While Jim Pettit II was winning races and championships, his father and mother, Jim and Pat Pettit, were sponsoring races and racers and just doing what they could to help make things better.

What I most remember about Pat is what a nice person she was.  She knew the sport, and she would let me know if she agreed or disagreed with what I might say or write.  But, she wasn't mean about it.  She knew what she was talking about.  I think having the biggest Modified race in the state every year is a great way to pay respects to her.  She certainly enjoyed being out there cheering her son on.  The Pettit family did a lot to make these last four races huge and were constantly working to make them bigger.

Now, Jim Pettit Sr. also encouraged me in my early years to keep writing, bought magazines from me in the beginning and introduced me to Gary Jacob.  He's had a bit of a difficult year (understatement) and I'm disgusted by what the county did to him and his business.  The family was hoping the promoter at Watsonville might take the ball this year and keep the purse numbers up there.  I'm happy the race continues.  It's still a big purse, though not what it was, and I hope car count stays up there.  If it happens, it will be because of the love and respect people have for Pat.  This would be the other event I would like to attend if I had the resources.

I had a mind to put together two books, the first of which I would start very soon.  That would be the 2015 Oval Motorsports Yearbook for Antioch, Merced and Chowchilla.  It would include week by week racing articles, some driver profiles and stats, photos and more.  The second would be something released early next year called the California Race Track Almanac.  Given my personal situation right now, I probably won't be doing either book.  Were I in a better position, something could change on that front.  It may be that only the occasional post on this blog will happen in the future.  I'll just have to see how things go.

But, again, this is where I thank everybody at the track for their support.  There are several names that come to mind, but I don't want to miss any other names in the process.  I also had people ask that I don't mention their names.  But, the ones who contributed to me should know that I would not have made a full season without them.  I would have lost my internet connection and had no way to post my articles and audios.  You made a difference in my life.

And, just the people at the tracks who were welcoming to me and allowed me back out there.  I had a fear that I wouldn't be accepted back at the track again, and you showed me how wrong I was to think that way.  I've changed in a lot of ways, but the love I have for the racers and these race tracks has always been with me, even while I've been away.  When I returned to the tracks, it was in many ways like coming home again.  I was able to do the things I used to do as if I had never left in the first place.  I believe I've helped make some sort of positive difference this year.  That was one of my hopes.

I've mentioned Jim Robbins, but I also need to mention Don O'Keefe Jr. and Joe Martinez.  Don doesn't even live in the state any more, but those conversations on the phone have been important to me.  He and Linda have come through on multiple occasions to help me personally.  I can honestly say I've never had a better friend in my life than Don.  He has a way of seeing stuff coming before I do, and his advice is usually spot on.  And, of course, Joe has been the other person I confided in as I've tried to figure out where I'm going in life.  I love these guys like brothers.  Without Jim, Joe and Don, my 2015 involvement in racing wouldn't have happened.

John and Donna Soares.  First of all, they are both in my prayers.  This has not been an easy year for them on a personal level, and yet they continue to promote the sport.  Way back in 1998, they gave my my first break and kept giving me things to do.  I know I made a difference in what I did, but they gave me that chance.  I can't say I always agree with John.  I get frustrated with him at times, and I'm sure I annoy him as well.  I consider his father a hero of mine, but I also love John and Donna like family.  That's why there have been times this year when I was ready to go away, but I kept coming back.  I care not just about those race tracks and drivers, but John and Donna too.

People are gonna see the bad in John, because he doesn't always show the good side that some of us see.  I think there are things John could do to change that, but he is set in his ways.  He's not that Tom Sagmiller or Rick Faeth type of person who is out there embracing the public.  So, people don't know the financial risks he's taken to open these tracks.  People don't hear the passion when he talks about the sport and what's he's seen and what he'd like to do.  So, my concern for him is that when he leaves, whenever that may be, people won't remember the guy who loves the sport and did good things to help make it better.  But, I will.  Wherever I go from here, I will remember the good and think of John and Donna as friends.

I don't know if this is goodbye or what this is, but I wanted to write it anyway.  We'll see what comes next.  Thank you for reading It's been fun.