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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 www.antiochspeedway.com.
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.
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Bobby Hogge IV, Troy Foulger. Main Event (20 Laps)-Hogge, Foulger, Nick DeCarlo, Aaron Crowell, Raymond Lindeman.
Heat Winner (8 Laps)-Lloyd Cline. Main Event (20 Laps)-Anthony Giulani, Shane DeVolder, Al Johnson, Ron Brown, Lonnie Leonard.
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Jason Jennings, Guy Ahlwardt. Main Event (20 Laps)-Chris Long, Chris Sorensen, Calvin Louis Jr., Natlie Perry, Russell Shearer.
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 www.racemerced.com.