Saturday, April 30, 2016

Daly, Combs, Smith Antioch Feature Winners

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

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

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Daly, Combs, Smith Antioch Feature Winners

A few of the heavy hitters of Late Models descended on Antioch Speedway and put on a show Saturday night.  Leading the way and making a rare appearance was past Late Model touring champion Clay Daly.  Troy Foulger was also making his first 2015 appearance and he gave Daly all he could handle in the Main Event.  When Bob Kempf threw the checkered flag in the 20 lap event, it was Daly grabbing the well earned victory ahead of Foulger and season opener winner Bobby Hogge IV.  Andy Obertello made his return after winning the 2015 finale and finished fourth ahead of defending champion Jeff Decker and Richard Papnenhausen.  Hogge and Papehausen were the heat race winners.

The beginning of the Wingless Spec Sprint season has been a bit of a nightmare scenario for Marcus Smith.  After flipping his new ride in the Richard Basden car back in March, the 2015 "Rookie Of The Year" has struggled a bit so far.  However, Smith got things turned around this week by winning his heat race and then holding off Alan Miranda for the much needed Main Event victory.  Miranda settled for another career best second place finish with Jim Perry Jr. grabbing his second consecutive third place finish.  Rick Panfili was a respectable fourth place finisher ahead of Roy Fisher and 2015 champion Kyle Bakkie.

In the A Modified Main Event, the field of champions had a surprise winner at the checkered flag in Josh Combs.  A pavement Stock Car racer prior to getting his Dirt Modified last year, Combs held the lead with four time champion Troy Foulger chasing him down in the Bill Bowers owned car.  However, Combs kept his cool and scored a well earned victory ahead of Foulger.  Perhaps the best driver in the state right now, Bobby Hogge IV finished third ahead of Kellen Chadwick and Aaron Crowell.  The four drivers chasing Combs have all won championships at Antioch Speedway, and Hogge and Crowell were heat race winners on the night.

After winning his third consecutive Hobby Stock championship and becoming the division's all time Main Event win leader last year, Kimo Oreta has moved up to a Limited Late Model this season.  However, he still has his fast #03 Pure Stock, and he had an off night to drive it.  This was bad news for the competition.  Oreta grabbed the lead and held off impressive rookie Guy Ahlwardt for the Main Event victory.  It also made him the fourth different winner this season.  Ahwardt was rebounding from last week's non finish with a second place finish and heat race win.  Cameron Swank grabbed the final podium finish in third as 2010 champion Chris Sorensen and and Natalie Perry rounded out the Top 5.

Trevor Clymens rebounded from bad luck in his previous start by finally notching his first B Modified Main Event win of the season.  Clymens becomes the third different winner of the season.  Al Johnson collected his second runner up finish of the year to maintain his point lead.  Veteran Ron Brown grabbed a podium finish in third as heat winner Shane DeVolder and Danny Jones rounded out the Top 5.

In the Hardtop division, Jason Clifford was basking in the glow of his first career win a few weeks ago in Placerville.  He was hoping for two in a row, but there was a problem in the form of 86 year old Larry Damitz.  The track's Limited Late Model point leader and winner of last year's Hardtop race grabbed the lead and set sail for another Main Event victory.  Damitz also won his heat race to make it a clean sweep of the 12 car Hardtop event.  Back of the pack starter J. Clifford still impressed with a strong second place finish ahead of Dennis Armstrong.  Dan Williams drove his V6 powered Hardtop to a solid fourth place finish ahead of John Philbert and Ron Ruiz.

Racing resumes next Saturday night at Antioch Speedway with a five division program that features Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints, Limited Late Models, B Modifieds and Hobby Stocks.  For further information, check out the official website at

Race Results, Saturday Night April 30

Late Models
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Bobby Hogge IV, Richard Papenhausen. Main Event (20 Laps)-Clay Daly, Troy Foulger, Hogge, Andy Obertello, Jeff Decker.

A Modifieds
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Bobby Hogge IV, Kellen Chadwick. Main Event (20 Laps)-Josh Combs, Troy Foulger, Hogge, Chadwick, Aaron Crowell.

Wingless Spec Sprints
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Marcus Smith, Shannon Newton.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Smith, Alan Miranda, Jim Perry Jr., Rick Panfili, Roy Fisher.

Hobby Stocks
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Danny Jones, Guy Ahwardt.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Kimo Oreta, Ahlwardt, Cameron Swank, Chris Sorensen, Natalie Perry.

B Modified
Heat Winner (8 Laps)-Shane DeVolder.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Trevor Clymens, Al Johnson, Ron Brown, DeVolder, Danny Jones.

Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Larry Damitz, Ron Ruiz.  Main Events (20 Laps)-Damitz, Jason Clifford, Dennis Armstrong, Dan Williams, John Phibert, Ruiz.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hardtops, A Modifiieds At Antioch, Ted Sofle Classic At Merced

First of all...

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

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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


If You Like Reading Our Articles, Visit The Tip Jar at Go Fund Me to support our efforts

DCRR Racing Media And PR Consulting  HERE

The DCRR Racing Radio Show 

Modifieds, Late Models headline Six Division Show 
At Antioch Speedway

The fourth event of the season at Antioch Speedway is set to happen this Saturday night. On the card for this exciting six division show will be the always exciting Late Models, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Wingless Spec Sprints, Hobby Stocks and California Hardtops.

The Late Models have gotten off to a bit of a slow start, but the two big stars of last year, 2015 champion Jeff Decker and 2014 champion Richard Papenhausen, are both in action. Papenhausen started off the year as strong as he did last year with a second place finish at the opener and a win in the most recent race. Meanwhile, Decker is doing what he did last year, picking up back to back top three finishes.

Having won a heat race at the season opener, Chester Kniss is hoping to take it up a notch and get his first main event win in the division. Kniss has won features in the Limited Late Model and A Modified ranks at the speedway, and he was making laps in his Late Model to get it ready last week.

Meanwhile, David Newquist, Dennis Souza, Danny Malfatti and Mike Hynes are other drivers anticipated for this week. There are still a few cars yet to debut, so we could be seeing some different cars this week as well.

We were anticipating a showdown in the points between defending champion Scott Busby and 2004 titlist Aaron Crowell in the A Modifieds. At this stage in the game, these are the two drivers who have thrown their hats into the ring to go for the championship, and Crowell currently leads the way. Busby was trying to work his way from the back of the pack last week but got mired back in the pack at that the checkered flag. Crowell did get a top five finish last time out on the heels of a season opening victory.

Nick DeCarlo, a two time Petaluma champion, has been a part of both shows, but we're not really sure whether he will be there this week. 2014 champion and title contender Carl Berendsen II is coming off of another good finish last week, and the recent new father should be joined this week by Shawn O'Gara, Mikey Slaney and Anthony Slaney, among others.

The marathon B Modified season has taken a toll on the drivers already. We're only three races into the 25 race schedule, and it appears as if Al Johnson and Danny Jones are emerging as this year's contenders. Johnson grabbed his second top three finish in third last week behind the career best second place performance of Shane DeVolder. Jones, meanwhile, keeps himself busy racing in the B Modifieds and Hobby Stocks.

Anthony Giuliani returned last week for his second main event win of the season. Ron Brown was also a welcome return in his season debut, and he took the checkered flag in fourth place. This time around, however, Ron was joined by his brother Randy Brown, who was making his division debut.

You never really know who's going to show up from week to week, but some of the drivers that we're looking for this week include Trevor Clymens, Brian Pearce, Chuck Golden, K.C. Keller and Tim Hammett. Word is that Hobby Stock ace Jason Jennings has a car now in the works.

With all the talk of the Perry's coming out and racing this year, perhaps nobody saw Dan Gonderman coming in the Marcus Smith owned Spec Sprinter. Gonderman returned to the division, and the two time champion left with the main event winner's purse at the season opener. Meanwhile, Jim Perry Jr. settled for third.

You might have forgotten about Rick Panfili, who like Gonderman and Perry was an original driver in this division back in 1999. The low budget racer reminded everybody that he is still a factor and coming off of back to back top three seasons. In the opener, Panfili led for 12 laps before settling for a career best second place finish.

Some competitive racers make up the field in the Wingless Spec Sprint division, and others we are watching for this week include, Alan Miranda, Marcus Smith, James East, and rookie Adam Teves.

It was not a great night to be a point runner at Antioch Speedway last Saturday night in the Hobby Stock division. It was a good weekend personally for Michael and Tayler Cooper, who just had a baby girl. However, Cooper and cousin Jordan Swank did not have a very good night in the main event and didn't get into the top five.

Cooper was coming off of back to back second place finishes, while rookie Guy Ahlwardt picked up his first main event win last time out. However, Cooper and Danny Jones were battling it out for the point lead coming into the night. As the previous main event at winner, Ahlwardt got stuck in tenth starting and crashed on his way to the front of the pack. However, his night was not nearly as bad as the night that Jones had.

Jones was involved in a crash that ended his night in the heat race.  While the point runners were having their problems, Chris Long picked up his first feature win in several seasons ahead of 2010 champion Chris Sorensen.  Sorensen barely made it to the track after his crash at the season opener.

At this point, the Hobby Stock division has three different winners in three races, and the Winner's List is expected to grow as the season goes on. One driver to keep an eye on in a bid for her first feature win is Natalie Perry, who finished fourth in last week's feature. Lindsey Buirch, Russell Shearer, Jason Jennings and Calvin Louis Jr., who finished third last week, are other drivers to keep an eye on this week.

The California Hardtop Association is in town for their first of five appearances this week, and a field of from 8 to 12 cars is anticipated for this race. Recent Placerville winner Jason Clifford is anticipated this week along with his father, Ken Clifford. Local Leadfoot Rob Waldrop, Tommy Thomson, Larry Damitz, John Philbert, Dave Mackey, Jason Armstrong and others are anticipated in this nostalgic division.

It all adds up to a great night of racing at Antioch Speedway with six divisions, including, Late Models, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Wingless Spec Sprints and Hardtops. For further information, go to the official website at

89 Laps Of Main Event Racing On Tap 
At Merced Speedway In Ted Stofle Classic

It's time once again for the annual Ted Stofle Classic at Merced Speedway. The event honors five time Stock Car champion, Ted Stofle, who died tragically in a hunting accident back in 1980. Stofle is considered by many to be the greatest Stock Car driver of the seventies in California.

Saturday night's program will feature 89 laps of Main Event racing, with the IMCA Sport Modifieds and Hobby Stocks each running 30 laps and the IMCA Modifieds getting a 29 lap main event. Hobby Stocks will also be running for double points, and 10 drivers have already qualified for this race on the basis of their top ten finishes last week.

Michael Shearer is the defending champion of this race for the Hobby Stocks, winning the 89 lap race last year. Along with Terry Campion and four time champion Raul Rodriguez, Michael is a main event winner this year. Meanwhile, his wife Kristie Shearer is a two time top five finisher this year and had a second place finish in the season opener. Both of these drivers have to be considered favorites to win.

Campion is a two time champion at Watsonville, and there might be some concerns from the racers that he may bring other racers with him in a visit this week. A Watsonville Invasion would be reminiscent of how this race used to be when the Late Models ran it throughout the 1980's.

Perhaps the dark horse in this field, Dexter Long surprised everybody by grabbing his best feature finish in second last week. Might he get his first win on the biggest stage of them all? Another driver to keep an eye on is two time champion Andrew Krumm, who was back in action last weekend in his second third place finish of the year.

Merced Speedway has a competitive field of Hobby Stocks, and there could be any one of a dozen drivers who might win this week. Drivers to keep an eye on this week include Austin Van Hoff, Kodie Dean, Garrett Corn, Cody Parker, Jennifer Corder and Robbie Loquaci.

Rick Diaz reasserted himself in the IMCA Sport Modified division last week by picking up his second feature victory of the year. This time around, Diaz held off surprise visitor and 2015 state champion Fred Ryland, who settled for second. Steve Stone once again grabbed a top five finish as he makes a bid for the track championship. The point standings would seem to indicate that we have a battle between Stone and Diaz, but it is still early yet.

The IMCA Sport Modified division has several talented racers in the field. Any one of them could end up scoring at main event win, and Chris Falkenberg and Gary Tucker are two drivers who seem poised to strike a notch in the win column.  Falkenberg grabbed another top five finish last week. Likewise, Mike Drake has been running well and could be in line for a win. Other competitors, such as Dwayne Short, Alex Odishoo, Paul Espino, Nick Tucker and Josh Hensley, will be drivers to watch.

As with the hobby stock division, the Sport Modified division has needed a B Main these past two weeks. There are several young drivers who have gotten into this class, including Gavin Espino and brothers Tanner Thomas and Chase Thomas. They are getting a crash course in how difficult it was to make main events at Merced Speedway in the 1980's as they try to earn their feature starts through the b main now. One thing is for sure, it's great to see the competition level so high at Merced Speedway.

In the IMCA Modified division, Paul Stone seems to be the man to beat as the only driver with all top three finishes in the first three races. However, after his dominant performance in winning the first race, he's been shut out of the Winner's Circle by Jeff Streeter and Bill Egleston in the last two races. Egleston looked really good in the opener as well with a second place finish, and he may be trying to stake a claim on the track championship this year. His victory last week was his first win at the track in two years.

Past Chowchilla champion Randy Brown is coming off of back to back top five finishes. Brown may still be a factor in this battle, but Bruce "Bubba" Nelson is one race behind following his disqualification from a top five finish in the previous race. Nelson rebounded nicely with the top five finish last week. One driver struggling so far this year is multi time track champion Ramie Stone, who has just one top five finish in three starts.

Though the car count in this division isn't as strong as the other two, it has done okay in the past two weeks. Past Antioch Speedway Sport Mod champion Jeremy Hoff made his debut in the class last week. Other drivers we'll be watching for this week include Ricky Thatcher, Tim Balding, Harley Turner and Jarod Fast.

Tradition matters at Merced Speedway under the leadership of Ed Parker and Doug Williams, and the Ted Stofle Classic is a prime example of that. There should be a good field of cars as IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds and Hobby Stocks all compete this week. For further information on the coming race and other activities at the speedway, check the official website at

Hardtops Return To Antioch For First Of Five Visits

Saturday night marks the return of the California Hardtop Association to Antioch Speedway. The popular division is a throwback to the days of Vallejo Speedway in the 1960's and 70's with their Coups and Sedans and older cars. Thanks in part to the negotiations between Mike McCann and John Soares last year, the division is back this year. CHA President John Philbert and Soares finalized the deal, and the first race is this Saturday night.

It is anticipated that a field of 8 to 12 cars will be on hand to take their turn on the fast three-eighths mile clay oval, prepared expertly by Soares. When last we saw the Hardtops last season, it was "The Sun Drop Kid" Larry Damitz picking up the victory. Damitz took the lead from Rob Waldrop, who seemed to win most of the dirt track races last year.  A brush with the back wall as he drove the Bill McLaughlin car resulted in sparks shooting from underneath Waldrop's car. Despite that, he refused to pit and would end up second at the finish line. Both Waldrop and Damitz are anticipated this Saturday night.

Another driver anticipated for this event is the man who finished third at Antioch last year, Tommy Thomson. Thomson proudly wheels the car that he drove out at Vallejo Speedway in the late 1970's, and he picked up the two victories at Calistoga Speedway last year. Tommy is the son of Vallejo Speedway legend and past champion Chet Thomson.

New names are emerging in the field for the Hardtops, and one of them picked up the feature victory at Placerville a few weeks ago. Jason Clifford drives the car that he purchased from Steve Lemley. Nostalgia buffs will recognize Lemley as the driver who won the first two Hardtop features in the modern era in 2002 at Sacramento and Orland. For Clifford, it was his first career feature victory, and he's hoping for another one at Antioch this Saturday night.

The Clifford win came ahead of Dennis Armstrong, who is also anticipated for this race. Armstrong's son, Jason Armstrong, should also be in attendance. Jason is a feature winner in the Hardtops at Placerville and he's fast wherever he goes. Jason Clifford's father, "The Rocket Man" Ken Clifford should be out there as well. Dan Williams is a past feature winner in the Hardtops at Antioch and is also anticipated for this race.

A relative newcomer when it comes to driving Hardtops, Dave Mackey was out making some hot laps with his car last week and will be there this week. The steady John Turner, fresh off of his third place feature finish at Placerville, is also anticipated. John Philbert should have his car back together and ready to go this week, and this should be a good showing for the California Hardtops at Antioch Speedway.

You can look for the latest information on the Hardtop division by checking out their Facebook page. Search for the California Hardtop Association. Or, find out the latest happenings at Antioch Speedway by visiting their webpage,

Roster of Known Nor Cal Hardtops

00-Mike Friesen
1-Dave Mackey
2-Chuck Sanford
3-Dan Whitney
3-Zack Frazer
4-Russ Kraft
4-Jason Clifford
5-Mike McClure
6-Dan Williams
7-Jason Armstrong
12-Ron Ruiz
15-John Shefeild
17-Ken Retzloff
25-Steve Cloyes
27-Ken Clifford
27-Dave Shank
36-Rob Waldrop
37-Bill McLaughlin
39-Tom Thomson
44-Carmen Cavallero
57-John Philbert
61-John Turner
66-Pete Paulsen
70-Joe Happ
77-Dennis Armstrong
77m-Charles Mart
88-Doug Bradrick
100-Larry Damitz

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Merced And Antioch Race Review Articles

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


If You Like Reading Our Articles, Visit The Tip Jar at Go Fund Me to support our efforts

DCRR Racing Media And PR Consulting  HERE

Aton, Hogge Steal The Show At Antioch Speedway

The Winged Sprint Cars headlined the five division racing program Saturday night at Antioch Speedway.  When the checkered flag flew on their Main Event, it was Billy Aton collecting the victory.  Three time Antioch Modified champion Bobby Hogge IV returned to claim the victory in their 20 lapper, while Anthony Giuliani notched another victory in the B Modified ranks.  Chris Long won the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event, and Mark Biscardi was the 20 lap Dwarf Car feature winner.

The second Winged 360 Sprint Car race of the season marked the season debut of 2015 champion Shawn Arriaga, who finally got the motor together for his car.  When Arriaga and point leader Art McCarthy both captured heat race victories, it appeared to set the stage for a showdown in the Main Event.  The two would do battle, but it was another star, past Wingless Spec Sprint champion Billy Aton, stealing the show.  Aton grabbed the lead and kept one of the rising young stars of open wheel racing, Giovanni Scelzi, behind him for the impressive victory. Scelzi has already racked up some impressive championship accomplishments in Outlaw Karts, and he's not even 16 years old yet.  On this occasion, Giovanni drove a great race to finish second ahead of Koen Shaw.  Arriaga managed to hold off McCarthy for the fourth place finish.

The last time we saw Bobby Hogge IV, he was driving his Late Model to an impressive victory in the season opener.  This time around, the 2015 Watsonville Modified champion came to Antioch with his Modified to do battle with some of the best drivers in the state.  Bobby's challenger in this case was the Bowers Racing #49 car of four time champion Troy Foulger.  Foulger gave it a great effort, but he could not beat the flying Hogge.  At the checkered flag, it was Hogge claiming another victory to maintain his status as #3 on the track's All Time winner's list.  Foulger was a strong second with two time Petaluma champion Nick DeCarlo bringing it home in third.  Point leader Aaron Crowell and Raymond Lindeman rounded out the Top 5.  Hogge also won his heat race ahead of five time champion Scott Busby, while Folger bested DeCarlo in claiming the second heat race.

With wins in his most recent Antioch and Watsonville starts, Anthony Giuliani was back for more in the B Modified Main Event.  Guiliani drove another flawless race to earn his second Antioch victory of the season.  Rookie Shane DeVolder had his best finish yet in second ahead of new point leader Al Johnson.  Two time Limited Late Model champion Ron Brown made his first start of the season and was the final driver to take a checkered flag in fourth.  Newcomer Lonnie Leonard rounded out the Top 5.  Lloyd Cline won the heat race ahead of Danny Jones.

The Hobby Stock race turned into a battle between pole sitter and 2010 champion Chris Sorensen and second row starter Chris Long.  Driving the last car built by the late Bob Ackerman, Chris always comments about how he is riding with Uncle Bob when he races.  This time around, Long and Uncle Bob won a battle with Sorensen for a hard fought Main Event victory.   Sorensen would settle for a close second.  After scraping up the parts he needed to race following his rough outing a few weeks ago, Sorensen was just happy to be out there.  Calvin Louis Jr. drove to a career best third place finish, while Natalie Perry and Russell Shearer rounded out the Top 5.  Jason Jennings won his heat race ahead of Shearer, while rookie Guy Ahlwardt won his heat ahead of Long.  Ahlwardt was going for his second straight win, but he ended up on the sidelines before the Main Event received Bob Kempf's checkered flag.

A few competitors from the South Bay Dwarf Car Association invaded Antioch and one of them left with the win in the Dwarf Car feature. Taking advantage of his second row starting spot after earlier winning his heat race, Mark Biscardi would grab the lead and go on to win the Main Event.  Travis Hensley made his first Antioch start and held off point leader Kevin Miraglio to finish second.  Brian Gray had his best finish of the season in fourth.  Buddy Kniss had been runnng third before spinning, but he came back to finish sixth.  Biscardi's heat race win came ahead of Tim Reeder, while Miraglio won his heat race ahead of open wheel veteran Charlie Correia.

Next Saturday night, racing returns to the fast three-eights mile clay oval with a six division show that will feature the Late Models, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Wingless Spec Sprints, Hobby Stocks and California Hardtops.  For further information on this and other happenings at the speedway, go to

April 23 Race Results

Winged 360 Sprint Cars
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Art McCarthy, Shawn Arriaga.  Main Event (25 Laps)-Billy Aton, Giovanni Scelzi, Koen Shaw, Arriaga, McCarthy.

A  Modifieds
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Bobby Hogge IV, Troy Foulger.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Hogge, Foulger, Nick DeCarlo, Aaron Crowell, Raymond Lindeman.

B Modifieds
Heat Winner (8 Laps)-Lloyd Cline.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Anthony Giulani, Shane DeVolder, Al Johnson, Ron Brown, Lonnie Leonard.

Hobby Stocks
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Jason Jennings, Guy Ahlwardt.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Chris Long, Chris Sorensen, Calvin Louis Jr., Natlie Perry, Russell Shearer.

Dwarf Cars
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Mark Biscardi, Kevin Miraglio.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Biscardi, Travis Hensley, Kevin Miraglio, Brain Gray.

Egleston, Diaz, Campion, Corder Merced Feature Winners

The car count at Merced Speedway once again hit the 70 mark on Saturday night.  The night saw Bill Egleston grab a victory in the IMCA Modified 20 lapper, while Rick Diaz was back in command in the IMCA Sport Modified Main Event.  The 20 lap Hobby Stock feature went to Watsonville vistor Terry Campion, and Chris Corder grabbed his third straight 20 lap triumph in the Mini Stock division.

It's been a little over two years since Bill Egleston has won an IMCA Modified Main Event at Merced Speedway.  Recently, the 2012 champion went to Bakersfield and collected a strong second place finish.  This time out, he held off a past Chowchilla Speedway champion, Randy Brown, in scoring a well earned feature victory.  Brown has been running strong lately as well, and his second place finish would seem to indicate that a win may just be around the corner for him.  Point leader Paul Stone grabbed his third straight podium finish in third ahead of last week's winner, Jeff Streeter.  Bruce Nelson rebounded from last week's disqualification with a fifth place finish.  Ricky Thatcher was sixth as Tim Etchison III, Jarod Fast, Ramie Stone and Jeremy Hoff rounded out the Top 10.

The IMCA Sport Modified class featured a showdown of two of the best drivers in the state in 2014 champion Rick Diaz and 2015 State champion Fred Ryland.  Ryland's appearance may have surprised a few people, but Diaz was ready for him as he held him off for his second victory of hhe season.  Ryland settled for second, and rookie Igor Gradzuk, up from the Dwarf Car division, brought it home in third.  Last week's winner, Steve Stone, and Chris Falkenberg rounded out the Top 5.  Jarred Tickel was sixth, followed by last week's runner up finisher, Mike Drake, Mark Squadrito, Tim Prothro and Josh Hensley.

With rain claiming its prize at Watsonville a night earlier, Terry Campion came to Merced with his Hobby Stock.  He left town with the winner's prize and trophy.  Campion was on a mission, and it was accomplished with his Main Event triumph.  Dexter Long enjoyed a career best second place finish, but not until after he out dueled two time champion Andrew Krumm for the impressive finish.  Krumm held on for third ahead of Garett Corn and Kristie Shearer.  George Silva was sixth, followed by Kodie Dean, Cody Parker, Jennifer Corder and Austin Van Hoff.  The entire Top 10 has automatically qualified for stating spots in next week's Ted Stofle Classic.

Chris Corder doesn't seem to mind what car he's driving.  Either way, he's getting it to the front.  The 2014 champion and current point leader strapped into the car in which he won the season opener and cruised to his third straight victory.  Watsonville racer Jason Lewis would finish second as Joy Alger drove one of the Corder Racing Team cars to a third place finish, earning herself a nice trophy in the process.  Tony Peffer made an appearance in his Mini Truck and finished fourth ahead of Curtis Thonhill and Lucy Falkenberg, the final lead lap finisher.  Rookie Destiny Carter grabbed a checkered flag in sixth ahead of James Stockton, Paul Lauretti, Mike Germait and Dennis Copus.

The Valley Sportsman division limped out of the gate with a disappointing three car turnout, and Jeff Bristow grabbed the win ahead of Kenny Birdsong.  Tim Prothro blew a clutch in the heat race to end his night early.

The Ted Stofle Classic is set for this coming Saturday night.  The 89 laps will be run with 30 lap features for both the Hobby Stocks and IMCA Sport Modifieds.  The IMCA Modifieds will run a 29 lap Main Event.  Hobby Stocks also compete for double points.  For further information, check the track's official website at

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Antioch And Merced Weekend Previews

First of all...

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

Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover

On Sale At Reduced Price

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

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


If You Like Reading Our Articles, Visit The Tip Jar at Go Fund Me to support our efforts

DCRR Racing Media And PR Consulting  HERE

DCRR Racing Radio Show

Winged Sprint Cars, A Modifieds Highlight Five Division Show At Antioch Speedway

Racing resumes at Antioch Speedway this Saturday night with another five division show that is sure to entertain the fans.  Taking their turns on the fast three-eighth mile clay oval this week will be the high horse powered Winged 360 Sprint Cars, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.

When last we saw the Winged Sprint Cars, division mainstay Art McCarthy was collecting the Main Event victory. A multi time champion in Sprint Car racing, Art had his hand full with Jarrett Soares, who was gunning for his first Antioch win after collecting a heat race victory earlier in the evening.  McCarthy was not to be denied as he served notice that he's the man to beat in this year's championship chase.  Art is coming off of back to back Top 3 point seasons.

Back in third was another of this division's past Wingless Spec Sprint champions, Billy Aton.  Aton hasn't been seen at the speedway over the past few seasons, but he won Winged Sprint Car races back in 2011.  An Aton commitment to the 15 race schedule could signal that he is the main challenger to McCarthy's bid for a championship.  Another driver to keep an eye on could be 2014 champion Chris Magoon, who collected a fourth place finish last time out.

Others to keep an eye on will be past Spec Sprint champion Dan Gonderman, who is coming off his best season yet in Winged Sprint Car competition, Ricky Brophy, Brandon Powell and Scott Jaquith.  Word is that 2015 champion Shawn Arriaga is putting the motor in his car.  Could that mean he'll be racing this week?  Stay tuned.

All the talk about Aaron Crowell's chances of being a serious title contender in the A Modifieds was backed up with an impressive feature win in the division's season opener last week. Crowell's win didn't come easily as he had fellow past Antioch champion Kellen Chadwick making a rare appearance with a strong second place showing.  Since holding off track legend J.D. Willis for his 2004 championship, Crowell has his sights set on another legend, five time champion Scott Busby.

Busby's drive trough the pack last week ended in a disappointing eighth place finish.  Meanwhile, 2014 track titlist Carl Berendsen II had a nice start to his season as he finished third.  A past Street Stock feature winner, Carl is aiming for his first A Modified win.  Likewise, Josh Combs has high hopes of winning after his Top 5 run in the full field last week.

As it was last season, you never know who will be seen from week to week, but others we anticipate this week include Mikey Slaney and son Anthony Slaney, Sean O'Gara, Jeff Thomas, Trent Wentworth and others.  It should be another good show for the division.

The B Modified division's championship battle is still taking shape.  The marathon 25 race schedule has some drivers wondering if they can make it that long and others just racing when they can.  Coming off of his amazing 2015 championship run, Fred Ryland has skipped a race, but he won the other two races.  Ryland could still be a player in the point game if he chooses, and he will certainly be a threat to win any time he's there.

The three names at the top of the list are Trevor Clymens, Brain Pearce and Al Johnson.  Pearce has been the most consistent and seems poised to win at any time after three straight Top 5 runs, including two thirds.  Johnson and Clymens both have seconds, but Clymens suffered a disappointing outing last time as he pitted a couple laps into the race.  Johnson is last season's runner up and is gunning for his first career win.

K.C. Keller is another driver hot on the trail of his first win.  He looked good last week in collecting the third place finish behind 2015 "Rookie Of The Year" Patti Ryland.  Other drivers we are watching for this week include Chuck Golden, Tim Hammett, Paul Mulder, newcomer Lonnie Leonard and others.

The Hobby Stock race figures to be a wide open battle all year long.  Long time speedway observers are predicting a multitude of feature winners this season.   There are already two winners so far in long time Stock Car racer Danny Jones and "Rookie Of The Year" Hopeful, Guy Ahlwardt.  Neither win was easy as both had to deal with pressure from Michael Cooper, who is in hot pursuit of his first win after back to back seconds.  In fact, Jones was right behind Cooper in a three car battle, won impressively by Ahlwardt.

Cameron Swank and cousin Jordan Swank are trying to get their cars dialed in for the Main Event.  After his "Rookie Of The Year" and second place point effort last year, Jordan is trying to fight off the sophomore jinx.  Cameron won his heat race last time out, but the Main Event was less than he'd hoped for.  Either of these two could win on any given night.  Other hard chargers to watch out for include Jason Jennings, 2010 champion Chris Sorensen, Chris Long, Natalie Perry, Steven Rogers and others.

The Dwarf Car division might end up being a battle between 2015 champion David Teves and hard charger Mike Corsaro.  The teammate of open wheel veteran Charlie Correia, Corsaro shot out of the gate like a cannon ball at the opener with an impressive victory.  He followed that up by starting tenth and finishing right on the back bumper of Teves for a second place finish last time out. 

There are some racers knocking on the door to victory, and on the top of that list is point leader Kevin Miraglio, who has back to back Top 3 finishes.  Another double Top 5 finisher, Josh Miller, could be set to win at any time.  Also on the list of hard chargers we anticipate this week are Brian Gray, Jack Haverty, Robert Coe, Miranda Chappa and Tim Reeder.  It should be another good race.

It's sure to be another great night at Antioch Speedway with Winged 360 Sprint Cars, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars on the card.  For further information, check out

Hobby Stock Ted Stofle Classic Qualifier Added To 
Saturday's Show At Merced Speedway

The buzz throughout Central California is the resurgence of Merced Speedway.  With Ed Parker stepping in to become the Promoter and the return of Doug Williams as General Manager, good things have been happening at the fast, quarter-mile dirt oval.  A huge turnout for last week's four division show saw 70 cars in the pits and fields of 24 IMCA Sport Modifieds and 22 Hobby Stocks.  These two divisions, along with IMCA Modifieds, Mini Stocks and the Valley Sportsman division, will be in action this week. 

The Hobby Stocks were added as of last Saturday night to make up for the rainout a week earlier.  Because the car count has been so big and a B Main was needed last week, Williams has taken a page out of the old school hand book by automatically qualifying this week's Top 10 finishers for the April 30th Ted Stofle Classic.  This is a race that everybody wants to make, so it's going to be a battle.

Michael Shearer and his wife Kristie are two of the fastest competitors in the class this year.  Michael won the opener ahead of Kristie and finished second last week.  Michael currently leads the pack going into this week and may be feeling the pressure as the defending Stofle Classic champion.  Speaking of champions, four time Hobby Stock titlist Raul Rodriguez was back and as fast as ever last week.  After a heat win, he charged from deep in the pack to collect a second place finish.  That became a win with the disqualification of Ben Lewis II in tech.

The fact is, the Hobby Stock races at Merced are some of the most competitive you will find anywhere in the state, and some of the drivers who could pop off with a win on any given week are two time champion Andrew Krumm, Robbie Loquaci, Cody Parker, Austin Van Hoff, Garrett Corn, George Silva and Kodie Dean.  Van Hoff won twice in his third place season last year, but he's found the going a little bit bumpy so far.  Might this be the week he turns it around?

The IMCA Sport Modifieds at Merced are another show that will rank high on the list for this class anywhere in the state.  Rick Diaz set the tempo at the opener when the 2014 champion drove the John Fore Jr tribute car to a win ahead of the persistent Steve Stone.  Feeling pretty good about his chances after the big article about his family in the Merced Sun-Star, 2000 Chowchilla Street Stock titlist Stone impressed by winning last week's Main Event.

A story that shouldn't be lost in all of this is the drive put on by 2015 Dwarf Car champion Mike Drake.  The second generation racer had a bad heat race and was mired in the B Main.  He proceeded to win that race and come from the back to an impressive career best second place finish.  No position was a gimme in last week's feature, and long time Merced racer Gary Tucker had his hands full holding off Chris Falkenberg for a third place finish.  Falkenberg was one of three drivers last season to win features in two classes, doing it in Hobby Stocks as well.

Paul Espino collected the fifth place finish last week and will be hoping to step it up this week along with Dwayne Short, 2015 champion Josh Hensley, Alex Odishoo and Danny Roe.  The young up and comers in the class had to make laps in the B Main last week, but Tanner Thomas and Gavin Espino are getting better with every start.  Tanner's older brother Chase also ran the B Main, but he just managed to eek out a transfer into the feature.

Speaking of Main Event front runners, Paul Stone may very well be the driver to beat in IMCA Modifieds, but he found out last week that there are racers ready to run wheel to wheel with him.  Stone had a dominating performance in the opener, but he lost a good battle with second generation racer Jeff Streeter last week.  Car count grew just a bit last week, to the delight of the crowd.  While Stone leads the standings early on, "Rookie Of The Year" hopeful Bruce "Bubba" Nelson, still basking in the glow of the birth of his son, lost a third place finish for coming in just under the weight rule last week.

It was a pair of drivers with Chowchilla IMCA Modified championships who checked in at third and fourth last week when Tim Balding and Randy Brown were third and fourth, respectively.  Ramie Stone is still dialing things in on his car, but he managed to get a fifth place finish last week.  It's only a matter of time before his #06 car will be battling for a win.  Others to watch for this week include Ricky Thatcher, past champions Bill Egleston, Chris Shannon, Harley Turner and Jarod Fast.

Chris Corder is already a two time winner in Mini Stocks.  After winning the opener in the car he ended last season with, he won in the former Jeff Amos car last week.  Amos had finished second in the opener before trading Corder his car.  The question remains, who will be the first driver to beat the 2014 champion for a win this year?  One driver to watch will be Mike Germait.  Mike enjoyed his best career finish in second last week and was one of the drivers long time observers have tabbed as a front runner this year.

Speaking of front runners, Dennis Copus was pleased with his heat win and third place finish last week, but he came here to win.  His recent effort shows that he is getting closer.  Paul Lauretti was a heat winner last week and finished fourth to cap a good night for him.  Kevin Lockerby was considering going back to the drawing board after a fifth place finish.  Being a past Mini Truck champion, Kevin has higher expectations for himself.

Robert Jackson and James Stockton are two others who could be factors in the battle for wins.  You also shouldn't count out Joy Alger, who is getting her car dialed in.  Young Destiny Carter got another honor from Corder Racing when Chris Corder put her behind the wheel of the beautiful #24 car, which was the last car built by his father, who passed away last year.  Destiny is doing what she needs to do as she learns how to handle one of these cars and makes her laps.

The Valley Sportsman division is finally getting their season opener after a rainout two weeks ago.  Expectations are that 6-8 cars will show up.  We've already seen the cars of 2014 point runner up Tim Prothro and Jeff Bristow at playday, and division booster Kenny Birdsong, who ranked second in points last year, has shown off pictures of his car recently on social media.  Who else will be there is still subject to speculation, but at the top of the list of possibilities are 2015 champion Marcus Lung, Eric Seely and Mike Palmberg.  Might this be the night we see a pair of past champions, Mark Odgers and Mike Hausmann, back in action?  Stay tuned.

From the management comes word that a special board is being put together for underneath the grandstands that will feature many pictures of cars through the years and a championship list.  This reporter has assisted the process.  When asked of the status of a potential Hall Of Fame at Mered Speedway, Promoter Ed Parker responded to our list of proposed inductees, which includes Dennis Moomjean, Vern Willhoite, George Steitz, Ted Stofle, Jack Oldenhage, Rod Poor and Johnny Sass.  He replied, "You can refer to them as future Hall Of Fame members."

In short, a Merced Speedway Hall Of Fame is coming in the future.  It's not surprising.  When it comes to Parker and General Manager Doug Williams, community and history matter at Merced Speedway.

The five division show planned this week could make for an even fuller pit area than last weekend, and it's one you won't want to miss.  On the card will be the IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Valley Sportsman division.  For further information, check the official web site at

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Stone, Streeter Share Merced Speedway Winner's Circle

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

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Wanted to share some really cool photos, but I don't have permission and don't want to get a ration of you know what for doing it anyway.  It's all about hyping Merced Speedway racing.  I will say they are neat photos, so check out Sonora Sports Photography and buy a picture.  Check them out on FACEBOOK

Stone, Streeter Share Merced Speedway Winner's Circle

The week after rain claimed the action at Merced Speedway, an even bigger field of cars turned out for the track's second race of the season Saturday night. This included increased car counts that caused B Main Events to be needed in IMCA Sport Modifieds and Hobby Stocks. When the checkered flag flew on an increased field in the IMCA Modified Main Event, it was Jeff Streeter collecting the win in the 20 lap race. Steve Stone took it up a notch with his victory in the 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified feature. After apparent winner Ben Lewis II was disqualified in tech, Raul Rodriguez Sr. scored the win in the Hobby Stock Main Event, while Chris Corder picked up another Main Event victory in the Mini Stock division.

After his dominating performance in the season opener, Paul Stone probably thought he was headed for yet another IMCA Modified win on Saturday night. However, it was Jeff Streeter making his season debut a winning one with his impressive victory in the Main Event. Stone settled for second, with new father Bruce "Bubba" Nelson crossing the line with an apparent third place finish.  Unfortunately, he was disqualified in tech.  Past Chowchilla Speedway champions Tim Balding and Randy Brown were elevated to third and fourth, respectively.  Multi time Merced Speedway champion Ramie Stone, Harley Turner, Bill Egleston, Tim Etchison III, Jarod Fast and Petaluma visitor Freddie Plourde III rounded out the Top 10.  Heat race wins went to Stone and Streeter.

After a nice article appeared in the the Merced Sun Star, highlighting the Stone family, who have been big supporters of the area racing for over two decades, Steve Stone used this as an opportunity to claim his IMCA Sport Modified victory. The 2000 Chowchilla Speedway Street Stock Champion was impressive in winning the IMCA Sport Mod Main Event as he held off a fast closing Mike Drake, who is driving for George Medeiros this year.  Drake battled his way to the front after winning the B Main Event to earn his feature starting spot. Veteran Gary Tucker out dueled Chris Falkenberg for the third place finish as Paul Espino rounded out the top five. Defending champion Josh Hensley finished sixth ahead of Justin McPherson, Rick Diaz, Dwayne Short and Tim Prothro.  Short, Danny Roe and Mark Squardito won the heat races, while Drake held off McPherson and Igor Gradzuk for his B Main win.  The Sport Mods produced an impressive 24 car field.

Ben Lewis II took full advantage of his front row starting position to lead the Hobby Stock Main Event through four restarts for the apparent victory.   Unfortunately, he was disqualified in tech for being slightly under weight. Raul Rodriguez Sr. had started from back in 10th after winning his heat race and charged to an apparent second place finish, which became first with Lewis's disqualification. Michael Shearer backed up his win in the season opener with a second ahead of Robbie Loquaci, Kevin Joaquin, Garrett Corn, Kristie Shearer, George Silva, John Hensley, Cody Parker and Austin Van Hoff. As with the Sport Mods, the Hobby Stocks had a strong car count of 22 cars with heat wins going to Silva, Rodriguez and K. Shearer.  Second year racer Dexter Long grabbed the B Main win ahead of Van Hoff and Miguel.

After impressing with his season opening Main Event victory two weeks ago, 2014 Mini Stock champion Chris Corder purchased the car of second place finisher Jeff Amos in a trade. Saturday night, Corder got behind the wheel of the former Amos car and picked up yet another victory ahead of a career best second place finish for Mike Germait. Dennis Copus settled for third ahead of Friday night Watsonville winner Paul Lauretti, Kevin Lockerby, Destiny Carter, Joy Alger, Curtis Thornhill, James Stockton and Robert Jackson.  Lauretti and Copus scored the heat race wins.

The amazing momentum under Promoter Ed Parker and General Manager Doug Williams saw 70 cars compete in the well run four division program.  Racing continues at Merced Speedway next Saturday night with a four division show that will be headlined by the IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds. Mini Stocks will also be on the card along with the season premiere for The Valley Sportsman division. For further information, check out the official Merced Speedway webpage at

Settlemire, Cook Win Porterville Memorial Cup, Yawnick, Lorenzini Yreka Winners

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

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

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Settlemire, Cook, Atchison Win The Memorial Cup Features At Rocky Hill Speedway

Racing returned to Rocky Hill Speedway Saturday night with the first running of the Memorial Cup. When the checkered flag flew on the Hobby Stock 20 lap Main Event, it was Chris Settlemire picking up his first win of the season at the speedway in Porterville. Roy Atchison continued his domination in Mini 4's by winning their 20 lap Main Event, while Jason Cook also won his second straight Mini Stock Main Event. Dakota Brown came in from Bakersfield Speedway to win the American Stock 20 lap feature, while a good field of Mod Lites saw the win go to Roy Maynard Jr.

The Memorial Cup event was created to bring together the various Memorial races that have been held at the speedway in previous seasons under one race. New promoter Jerm Smith, who has been making many improvements to the racing facility this year, provided five beautiful cup trophies to the various feature winners. The race was also part of the Highway 65 Series between Porterville and Bakersfield involving the Hobby Stock, Mini Stock and American Stock divisions, and an increased turnout saw roughly 50 cars filling the pits.

The Hobby Stock division had a 10 car turn out, and the Noland family reign was temporarily interrupted by Chris Settlemire. Settlemire is a regular out at Bakersfield Speedway. The Noland family was shut out of the podium at this event as Colby Quinton picked up his best career finish in second, followed by Jake Peters. Karl Noland settled for a 4th Place finish ahead of Raymond Noland Jr. as second ranked Bakersfield competitor Michael Scruggs and Jared Plumlee followed. Plumlee was last season's Mini Stock division champion and has moved up to the Hobby Stock ranks. Kevin Collier made a somewhat rare appearance at his home track and finished eighth as Karl Noland Jr. and James Cornelius rounded out the top 10. It's been awhile since we seen Cornelius at the speedway, and he was a welcome return.

In the Mini Stock ranks, Cook continues to make a case that he is the man to beat in this year's championship battle, but it looks like we could have a good race up front. Cook happily collected the big trophy with his impressive victory, but once again, he was followed by Andy Boydstun, who grabbed his second consecutive second place finish. Clinton Massey returned to action to grab the final podium position as Zack Westlake and Shawn Schwartzenberger rounded out the top five. Steven Scott improved slightly over his season opening effort with a sixth place finish as Wade Moore, Shannon Treide, Candy Noland and Matt Herod rounded out the top 10. Lance Gonzalez suffered mechanical problems in preliminaries and scratched from the Main Event.

The American Stocks have been struggling to get a car count this year, but the influx of Bakersfield competitors allowed them to have their own 7 car Main Event. Dakota Brown, who is the point leader at Bakersfield Speedway, picked up the Main Event win and the big trophy.  As it is at Bakersfield Speedway, the Johnson family is usually up at the front of the pack in this division. In this case, it was Tyler Johnson finishing second and second ranked Bakersfield racer Nicholas Johnson finishing third. The other family that stars in this division out at Bakersfield, the Childress family, was represented by Brian Childress in 4th. Trevor Baker, Bob Ellis and Monty Ince rounded out the field.

The super 4's division continues to belong to long time Speedway competitor Roy Atchison.  Atchison led the way, with division hard charger Darren Estermann settling for second ahead of Russell Silva. Steve Golden ended up in 4th, while William Hughes, who was second in the season opener, dropped to a fifth place finish in this race. D.J. Hughes, Jake Daniels and Kit Murphy rounded out the finishing order.

The Mod Lites division is one of the up and coming divisions out at Bakersfield Speedway, and Rocky Hill Speedway has booked them for several dates. After an entertaining season opener, the Mod Lites were added for this event and produced a 10 car field. Roy Maynard Jr., who finished second in the season opener, bumped it up a notch with his Main Event win over Bakersfield point leader Zach Forrester. Season opening winner Brian Puckett grabbed the final podium position in third as Anthony Balcazar and James Brown made up the remainder of the top five. Kaden Cochrun was sixth in this one has Kyleigh Forster, Cheyenne Flippo, young up and comer J.D. Brown and Jerry Flippo made up the remainder of the field.

The facility continues to get an upgrade as bigger events are being contemplated for the future. Next weekend, there is a Monster Truck event on Friday and Saturday, April 22-23. The next racing event is set for May 14th as the Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Super 4's and American Stocks will be a part of this show.

Yawnick Returns To Winner's Circle In Yreka, 
Lorenzini And Morton Share Winner's Podium

Siskiyou Motor Speedway was back in action Saturday night with another four division program. When the checkered flag flew on the McDonald's Mini Stock division, it was long time racer and speedway supporter Marilyn Yawnick picking up a rare Main Event win. Kurt Lorenzini claimed the checkered flag in the 20 lap O'Reilly Auto Parts IMCA Sport Modified Main Event, while Kalvin Morton was the winner in the SODCA Dwarf Car feature. A light turnout of IMCA Modifieds saw Jreremy Ohlde win their Main Event.

The Lorenzini family has been supportive of racing in the area for many years, and Kurt Lorenzini continues to keep the family at the front of the pack. Driving an O'Reilly Auto Parts IMCA Sport Modified these days, Lorenzini would collect the Main Event victory on Saturday night ahead of David Marble. Marble, the 2015 Southern Oregon Speedway Mini Stock champion, is a rookie in this division, and he's already looking like a threat to win Main Events. Gary Foster settled for third ahead of Jimmy Lipke. Garrett Hamilton struggled a bit and ended up 5th and watching the finish from the sidelines as Doug Franklin, Chad Wormington and Chris Jorgensen completed the finishing order.  Franklin picked up at the hardware in the Trophy Dash with his win ahead of Doug Henshaw, who also finished second in the heat race that he ran behind winner Jimmy Lipke. Unfortunately for Henshaw, he suffered mechanical issues in his dash finish and scratched for the night. Lorenzini won the other heat race ahead of Franklin. Mini Stock graduate Ryder Boswell was last in his heat race and scratched for the Main Event..

In the McDonald's Mini Stock division, the force on the scene is 2015 champion David Steele. However, you can usually find Marilyn Yawnick somewhere in the top five, and she's a regular in the Top 5 in points every year. It's been a while since since Yawnick has won a Main Event, and she did it in impressive fashion on Saturday night, barely holding off the persistent Steele for her first win in three years. Aaron Jorgensen ran strong and right behind the lead duo with a third place finish. Terry Kendrick and Jim Fettinger made up the remainder of the top five. Heat race winner Melissa Henson would settle for a lead lap sixth place finish, and Ethan Killingsworth would end up 7th as the final lead lap finisher. Mike Coleson, Amber Walden, Mike Whitaker and Tyler Frost made up the remainder of the field. The night had four different winners as Henson held off Steele to win her heat race and Kendrick battled Killingsworth to win his heat race. Steele came back to win the Trophy Dash ahead of Kendrick.

Last season, Calvin Morton had an impressive showing in the SODCA Dwarf Car standings as he ranked fourth, and he intends to take it up a notch this season.  Morton showed just how much he has improved as he claimed the checkered flag in the Dwarf Car Main Event. Morton thwarted Chad Cardoza's attempt to score a clean sweep as Cardoza settle for second in the feature after winning both his heat race and the Trophy Dash. Rob Gergel ran third at the checkered ahead of 2014 point runner up Ryan Smith and Paul Haselow in the 10 car event. Smith won his heat race ahead of hard charger Brock Peters, while Cardoza won his heat ahead of Morton. The Cardoza Trophy Dash win came ahead of Smith, and young Cody Peters won the B Dash ahead of Gergel.

The IMCA Modifieds had a disappointing turnout of 3 cars, and Jeremy Ohlde ended up winning their 15 lap Main Event ahead of 2015 point runner up Duane Osburn and longtime racer Stan Gunderson. Gunderson won the heat race ahead of Osburn, while Osburn won the Trophy Dash ahead of Ohlde.

Racing continues on Friday night next week with the McDonald's Mini Stocks, O'Reilly Auto Parts IMCA Sport Modifieds and IMCA Modfieds all part of the program. SODCA Dwarf Cars return next week, the Mini Stock drivers will be doing a Ball Toss and there will also be a kids ride along, making this a fun night for the family at the Yreka race track.  For further information, check out the website at

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Crowell, Ryland And Gonderman Share Antioch Speedway Winner's Circle

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

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

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Crowell, Ryland And Gonderman Share 
Antioch Speedway Winner's Circle

Serving notice to the competition that he will be a force in the A Modified division this season, Aaron Crowell won the 20 lap Main Event Saturday night at Antioch Speedway.  Fred Ryland returned and won the 20 lap B Modified finale, while Dan Gonderman grabbed the checkered flag in the non stop 20 lap Wingless Spec Sprint feature.  Richard Papenhausen rebounded from his season opening disappointment with a Late Model Main Event triumph, and Mike Gustafson won the Limited Late Model feature.

Aaron Crowell figures to be a major player in the A Modified point battle this year.  The 2004 division champion grabbed the lead in the Main Event and led a trio of past champions in posting the impressive victory in the season opener for the division.  It was Kellen Chadwick driving a good race to finish second ahead of 2014 champion Carl Berendsen II.  Josh Combs brought it home in fourth as double division racer Chester Kniss finished fifth in the 22 car field. Kniss blew a motor at the checkered flag.  Defending champion Scott Busby won the first heat race ahead of Norman Boeck, while Combs held off Jeff Thomas to win the second heat.  The third heat race win went to Mikey Slaney ahead of Crowell.

With his protege, Marcus Smith, landing a ride in the Richard Basden Spec Sprint this year, two time division champion  Dan Gonderman got the ride in Smith's #28 car.  The second generation racer took full advantage of it by scoring an impressive victory in the Main Event.  Coming off of back to back Top 3 point efforts, Rick Panfili started his season off right by collecting another career best second place finish.  Panfili set the pace for 12 laps before being passed by the flying Gonderman.  His second place finish didn't come easy with the division's all time win leader, Jim Perry Jr., in hot pursuit for a third place finish.  Past Chowchilla Speedway Spec Sprint Champion Brandon Burd brought it home with a fourth place finish.

After missing a race two weeks ago, 2015 B Modified champion Fred Ryland returned to remind the rest of the pack that he is still a force in the division.  Fred drove to his second feature win of the season, while wife Patti Ryland made it a Ryland Racing 1-2 finish at Bob Kempf's checkered flag.  K.C. Keller collected a career best third place finish ahead of title hopeful Brian Pearce and Paul Mulder, who was making his season debut.  Pearce won his heat race ahead of Al Johnson, while F. Ryland beat P. Ryland in the other heat race.

The Late Models opened the night with a heat race duel between 2014 champion Richard Papenhausen and defending champion Jeff Decker.  Papenhausen made a last lap pass to grab the lead and win from Decker.  Coming off of his heat race win at the opener, Chester Kniss had high hopes of winning the feature from his front row start.  He led for several laps before steering issues dropped him back in the pack.  Papenhausen made his move from last starting to get the win ahead of Decker and David Newquist.  Kniss settle for fourth as Dennis Souza rounded out the Top 5.

Two time Limited Late Model champion Mike Gustafson was back behind the wheel of his familiar blue and yellow #2 Limited Late Model, and the division's all time feature win leader looked as fast as ever in collecting the win in their 20 lap feature.  Previous winner Larry Damitz had to start in the back as per track rules, and his charge to the front was cut short as he pitted around the halfway mark of the race.  At that point, the red flag flew when Jim Freethy's car caught fire.  As Gustafson led Mark Garner and rookie Kimo Oreta, Lori Brown's fourth place run was cut short with mechanical issues.  The mechanical gremlins struck again as Garner's run ended with a few laps remaining.  Gustasfson collected the win ahead of Oreta.  Garner and Brown were scored third and fourth, respectively.  Donny Richardson won the heat race ahead of Brown.

Racing continues at Antioch Speedway next week with Winged 360 Sprint Cars headlining along with A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  For further information, check the official Antioch Speedway website at

Antioch Speedway, Saturday, April 16

A Modifieds
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Scott Busby, Josh Combs, Mikey Slaney.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Aaron Crowell, Kellen Chadwick, Carl Berendsen II, Combs, Chester Kniss.

B Modifieds
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Brian Pearce, Fred Ryland.  Main Event (20 Laps)-F. Ryland, Patti Ryland, K.C. Keller, Pearce, Paul Mulder.

Wingless Spec Sprints
Main Event (20 Laps)-Dan Gonderman, Rick Panfili, Jim Perry Jr., Brandon Burd.

Late Models
Heat Winner (8 Laps)-Richard Papenhausen.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Papenhausen, Jeff Decker, David Newquist, Chester Kniss, Dennis Souza.

Limited Late Models
Heat Winner-Donny Richardson.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Mike Gustafson, Kimo Oreta, Mark Garner, Lori Brown.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Pit Stops From Antioch And Merced

 First of all...

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

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

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DCRR Racing Media And PR Consulting  HERE

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Pit Stops

 Late Models, A Modifieds Back At Antioch Speedway

Rain set in last weekend and took a heavy toll on California racing. Only Siskiyou Motor Speedway in the extreme Northern California area managed to get a race in. Antioch Speedway was rained out.  That meant the season debuts of the A Modifieds and Wingless Spec Sprint divisions had to be delayed one week. Both divisions are on a five division card this week along with the B Modifieds, Late Models and the Limited Late Model division.

The Late Model season opened two weeks ago had a thrilling battle between 2014 champion Richard Papenhausen and Bobby Hogge IV. Papenhausen seemed to have things in hand in that race until messing up just a little bit in Turn 2 on lap 18, allowing Hogge to race by on the outside for the lead and victory. Hogge was a surprise entrant in the field, and it remains to be seen if he will be out there for this week's event. He would certainly be a welcome addition. Rumors of 2015 season finale winner Andy Obertello's return to Antioch Speedway this week have been unconfirmed.

2015 champion Jeff Decker was quietly hanging in there and grabbed a third place finish last time out. Decker isn't likely to be talking about points, and he wasn't last year,. However, he quietly crept up and grabbed the point lead late last season. Grabbing a top three finish early in the season won't hurt him this year. David Newquist also grabbed a top five finish as he hopes to improve on last season's fourth place ranking.

Chester Kniss had to be excited after picking up his first Late Model heat race win last time out. Unfortunately, his Main Event ended early. Kniss is anticipated this week along with Danny Malfatti, Dennis Souza and Willie McMillan. Paul Gulielmani has been seen at Placerville, but it remains to be seen whether he'll be at Antioch. There were nine cars at the opener, and it's hoped that they can get past the 10 car mark this week.

There's an excitement in the air when it comes to the A Modified division. Scott Busby and Bobby Motts Jr. we're pretty much the two drivers going for the championship last season. Busby has been confirmed as somebody to expect for the season opener and we anticipate seeing Motts as well. However, these two will have company this year.

Aaron Crowell will be ready from the start of the season, and that could be bad news for the competition. The 2004 Modified champion was a two time winner last year. He won his championship ahead of the legendary JD Willis, so we know he's cool under pressure. Mikey Slaney will be ready for the season opener as well. In fact, we should see Mikey and his son Anthony Slaney both in action in the opener.

It should be a good turnout for the A Modifieds, and other drivers we'll be looking for include Trent Wentworth, Joshua Combs, 2014 Champion Carl Berenson II, Shawn O'Gara, Mike Salazar and John MacDougall.

The B Modifieds are at the beginning of a marathon 25 race season. Any driver who can make every race is truly going to be an Iron Man. At the moment, that would be between Anthony Giuliani, Trevor Clymens, Brian Pearce, Al Johnson and Danny Jones.

Fred Ryland appears to be more interested in racing when he wants to race and not pursuing points. It's a guarantee that Ryland will be a force on the track whenever he's there. The same can be said for his wife Patti, who finished third at the opener to her husband's win. With back to back third place finishes, Pearce is definitely a player in the game. However, four time 2015 feature winner Giuliani may have something to say about that after his win in the most recent race.

Not to be forgotten in the mix is Clymens, who opened the season with a second  place finish and has two heat race wins already. Johnson finished second in points last year and is hungry for his first feature victory. His second place finish last time out would seem to indicate that he's ready. There are several cars out there, so we should see some season debuts this week.

Wingless Spec Sprints begin there 18th season at Antioch Speedway, and there has been a buzz in the air concerning how many racers will be there. The fact that we have already had a sighting of Jim Perry Jr's race car on Facebook would seem to be bad news for the competition. Like his son Jimmy, who is a past champion that will be racing this year, Jim will be one of the major players in the point race. The father son duo ranks first and third, respectively, on the track's All Time win list in this division.

On the heels of their Top 5 seasons, Rick Panfili and Alan Miranda are both ready to go this season. Division original Panflli was contemplating retirement, but fortunately, he got some sponsorship to keep him going this year. Both of these drivers are hungry for their first feature wins, and it wouldn't be wise to count them out.

Still unknown is whether two time champion Billy Macedo will be in the field for the opener. Macedo had two Main Event wins in his three starts last year, and he would be a threat to the Perry reign if he were to race full time. Marcus Smith should have the Richard Basden car back together after his Marysville flip, and teammate Dan Gonderman should be there as well. Also, 2015 Dwarf Car point runner up Adam Teves should be ready to go in the Lloyd Beard Special #42 car.

It seems like the only thing you can count on in racing at Antioch Speedway is that 86 year old veteran Larry Damitz will be a part of the Limited Late Model division. In saying that, this writer does not want to take it for granted that he will be there. We certainly appreciate seeing Larry's fast #15 Limited Late Model at the race track, though the competition probably didn't have as much reason to appreciate him as he won the season opener impressively. The man they still call "The Sundrop Kid" seems poised to win his fifth championship in the last 6 years, but will somebody be able to step up and stop him?

Absent from the season opener was two time division champion and All Time win leader Mike Gustafson. Mark Garner was hoping that he could make a good start, but unfortunately, his fast #76 car was on the sidelines early. At the season opener. 2013 champion Jim Freethy did get to the finish line, but it was a disappointing fourth place finish for him. He knows he must do better if he really hopes to compete with Damitz.

When we talk about contenders, we frequently forget that Lori Brown is a feature winner in this division through the years and a past champion. Lori showed everybody what she could do with her second place finish at the opener ahead of rookie Kimo Oretta. Looking as good as these two did, seeing either of them get a feature win this year will not be a surprise.

Some of the competitors weren't quite ready for the season opener, which left car count a little bit light, but it should pick up this week. Among the racers that we anticipate for this show include John Evans in the former Mike Hynes car, John Keith, who struggled at the season opener with mechanical issues, Calvin Louis,  and hopefully Eric Berendsen. Hobby Stock racer Chris Long has been working on his car to get it ready, and we also know that Jim Robbins is trying to get his race car out there. We hope to see both during the course of the season.

One thing is for sure, the weather is supposed to be in the 80s, and the racing should be good this Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. Once again, watch for the Late Models, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models and Wingless Spec Sprints this week. For further information on the happenings at Antioch Speedway, check out the official website at

Modifeds, Hobby Stocks Highlight Saturday Night's 
Merced Speedway Program

The Merced racing community is abuzz about what went down two weeks ago. It wasn't just the opening of a racing season, it was a happening. The lines were long waiting to get into the show, the #9d car of Rick Diaz was on display underneath the grandstands and a live band was playing as well. The reality is, everybody in Merced is excited about the season.

This Saturday night, racing continues with IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks all in action. The high car count seen in the Sport Mod and Hobby Stock divisions last time would seem to indicate that we are not far from having B Main events

After his 2014 IMCA Sport Modified championship season, Rick Diaz was an occasional competitor in Sport mods last year. However, he got his share of wins. Running the #9d in honor of his fallen friend John Fore Jr., Rick won the season opener with an impressive effort. It was no gimme as he had veteran Steve Stone on his heels the entire way. Stone still finished a solid second ahead of defending champion Josh Hensley. Veteran Gary Tucker came out of it with a Top 5 finish as well.

The reality is, the Sport Modified division at Merced Speedway is stacked with talent. There are also some young up and comers in the field, including Tanner Thomas and Gavin Espino. Among the drivers to watch for this week are Mike Drake, Tim Elias, Dwayne Short, Nick Tucker, Tim Prothro, Danny Roe and more.

We pretty much knew when we heard that Paul Stone was coming back that he might be the driver to beat in IMCA Modifieds. Paul left little doubt with his impressive flag to flag romp in the Modified opener two weeks ago. The last time Paul ran full time two years ago, he left the season with the championship. It was an entertaining battle behind him for the second through fifth positions, and Bill Egleston, another past champion, came out of it was a strong second place showing.

It was a night to celebrate for popular racer Bruce "Bubba" Nelson. Not only did the two time Hobby Stock champion come out of it with a fourth place finish, later in the evening, his wife Shannon gave birth to their baby boy. Looking as fast as he did on Saturday, it will not be a surprise to see Bubba win a Main Event. The battle between he and third place finisher Randy Brown and fifth place finisher Ricky Thatcher was very entertaining. These two drivers will also be threats for feature wins this year.

Kristie Shearer and her husband Michael Shearer could be a force in the Hobby Stock division this season. Michael, the 2015 Ted Stofle Classic winner, led from the start, while his wife Kristie worked her way up from the back of the pack to a second place finish at the checkered flag. The reality is, Kristie is every bit as good as her husband Michael. Keep an eye on both of them.

Kevin Joaquin returned and was in the hunt for the win when he ended up in the front wall. This came after a tangle with Kodie Dean.  Dean was hoping to put his bad luck from last season behind him. Seeing both of these drivers win at least one Main Event this year will not be a surprise, but their misfortune opened the door for Andrew Krumm to get up there and grab the third place finish. A two time division champion, Krumm is still searching for sponsorship to help him get through the season.

In the early goings of the race, 2015 "Rookie Of The Year: Jennifer Corder had a good Top 3 run going before driving off the track in Turn 2. Jennifer is hoping for her first career feature win. 2015 third ranked driver and two time feature winner Austin Van Hoff was buried at the back of the pack last time out, but that shouldn't be the case this week. Meanwhile, the always exciting George Silva picked up a fifth Place finish last time behind Ben Lewis II.

Two time 2015 feature winner Cody Parker has his car back together for a return this week. A strong turnout is anticipated for this race, including hard chargers like Top 5 2015 point competitor Dexter Long, rookie Darren Miguel, Phil Vaughn and Garrett Corn.

The star of the Mini Stock division continues to be Chris Corder. Corder picked up where he ended his 2015 runner up season by winning the Main Event. It just may be that if Chris wants to win this championship there's nobody out there who can stop him. But, that's why they run the races. You never know what's going to happen on any given race night.

After winning his heat race and then finishing second in the Main Event, an interesting thing happened with Jeff Amos. He ended up trading his car to Corder. It may be Robert Jackson who ends up picking up the chase in the championship battle. Jackson, who sort of raced all over last year on a limited schedule, finished third in the Main Event ahead of newcomer call Paul Lauretti.

Dennis Copus didn't have a bad season debut as he would finish fifth in the Main Event. Dennis was third in points last season, but he's hoping for a feature win this season. All of the racers, such as James Stockton, Joy Alger, Brian Widdowson and Mike Germait, are hoping to win. There's also past Mini Truck champion Kevin Lockerby. Lockerby will be ready to go this week, as well as division newcomer Destiny Carter.

It's sure to be an exciting program of racing at Merced Speedway this Saturday night. IMCA Modifieds headline along with IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks. For further information, check out the official Merced Speedway website at