Sunday, May 22, 2016

Antioch, Merced, Petaluma, Porterville Race Review Articles

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

Shaw, Ryland, Freethy Win At Antioch Speedway

Antioch, CA...It rained all around Antioch Saturday morning, but Antioch Speedway avoided the weather.  The result was a show with more than 70 race cars in competition and some exciting racing on the three-eighth mile clay oval.  Feature winners for the evening were Koen Shaw (Winged 360 Sprint Cars), Oreste Gonella (A Modifieds), Fred Ryland (B Modifieds), Jim Freethy (Limited Late Models), Thomas Leiby (Dwarf Cars) and Dave Mackey (California Hardtops).

The Winged 360 Sprint Cars had a nice 12 car turnout with Koen Shaw and teammate Logan Seavey making the trip to the speedway.. Koen was coming off a strong Top 3 finish last time out, which was good enough to get Seavey to come out and give the track a try this week.  Though there were a few bumps in the other classes, the Sprint Car Main Event was destined to go 25 laps without a yellow flag.  It was Koen Shaw impressing with the Main Event victory.  Koen made all the right moves in traffic, and he would prevail ahead of his Seavey.  Marysville ace Colby Wiesz grabbed a third place finish ahead of, 2015 champion Shawn Arriaga, Billy Aton and point leader Art McCarthy.  Seavey and Wiesz were the heat race winners.

With a night off from battling for the point lead at Petaluma Speedway, Oreste Gonella returned to Antioch Speedway to make a run for the money.  The past Petaluma champion ran strong and would hold off 2015 "Rookie Of The Year" Nick Viscusi III for the victory.  Heat race winner John MacDougall spun late for a yellow and checkered flag finish as Trent Wentworth finished third ahead of Anthony Slaney and title hopeful Carl Berendsen II.  Raymond Lindeman was the other heat race winner.

Fred Ryland has been racing at different tracks this season as the 2015 champion tests his skill level against the best in the state.  He returned to his home track and promptly won his third B Modified Main Event of the season.  Ryland was chased across the line by point leader Al Johnson, who was collecting his third second place finish of the season.  Rookie Shane DeVolder was running third before he spun and collected two time Marysville Mini Stock champion Jimmy Ford.  This handed Danny Jones his best B Modified finish of the season in third.  Lloyd Cline and K.C. Keller rounded out the Top 5.  Heat winners on the evening were Trevor Clymens and Paul Mulder, who both finished out of the running in the Main Event.

Jim Freethy has had everything happen to him this season, including having his car catch on fire.  On Saturday night, he saw the reward for his perseverance as he won the Limited Late Model Main Event.  There was heavy attrition in the race, which was started off by Paul Hanley and John Keith spinning.  The field dwindled down to four cars after Mark Garner spun, collecting "Rookie Of The Year" hopeful Kimo Oreta.  The slowdowns would not keep Freethy from the winner's circle as he won ahead of point leader Larry Damitz, who was celebrating his 87th birthday.  Garner settled for third ahead of the steady John Evans and Oreta.  Division veterans Damitz and Mike Gustafson were the heat race winners.

The Dwarf Car Main Event was marred by a hard rollover crash that involved Toby Brown and Wade Humphrey.  Humphrey suffered a leg injury in the red flag incident.  When racing finally got going, Thomas Leiby led the way ahead of point leader Kevin Miraglio.  The time limit ended the race at ten laps with Leiby recording the win and Miraglio settling for another second place finish.  Chuck Weir was third ahead of two time champion Danny Wagner and Mike Corsaro.  Corsaro, Miraglio and Jeff Fitch were the heat race winners.

Rob Waldrop was going for a sweep in the Bill McLaughlin owned #36 Hardtop, but he ran into a challenge from the surprising Dave Mackey.  As Waldrop led the way, Mackey was trying hard to find a way by in his Dudley Racing Tribute #1 Hardtop.  Finally, Mackey made his move in Turn 4 and went on to a satisfying victory.  Waldrop settled for second ahead of Ron Ruiz and last week's feature winner at Chico, Ken Clifford.

For further information on scheduling and rules, check out the official website at

Unofficial Race Results, Saturday Night May 21

A Modified
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-John MacDougall, Raymond Lindeman.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Oreste Gonella, Nick Viscusi III, Trent Wentworth, Anthony Slaney, Carl Berendsen II.

Winged 360 Sprints
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Colby Wiesz, Logan Seavey. Main Event (25 Laps)-Koen Shaw, Logan Seavey, Wiesz, Shawn Arriaga, Billy Aton, Art McCarthy

Limited Late Models
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Larry Damitz, Mike Gustafson.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Jim Freethy, Larry Damitz, Mark Garner, John Evans, Kimo Oreta.

B Modifieds
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Paul Mulder, Trevor Clymens.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Fred Ryland, Al Johnson, Danny Jones, Lloyd Cline, K.C. Keller.

Dwarf Cars
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Kevin Miraglio, Mike Corsaro, Jeff Fitch.  Main Event (10 Laps)-Thomas Leiby, Miraglio, Chuck Weir, Danny Wagner, Corsaro.

California Hardtops
Heat Winner (6 Laps)-Rob Waldrop.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Dave Mackey, Rob Waldrop, Ron Ruiz, Ken Clifford, Jason Clifford.

Ramie Stone Back With Big Win In All Star Series,
Rodriguez Wins Funkhouser Memorial Race

Merced, CA...The All Star Modified Series ran their second race of the season with a visit to Merced Speedway on Saturday night.  The track also paid tribute to Hobby Stock champion Mark Funkhouser, who passed away this week, by running a 30 lap Hobby Stock race in his memory.  When the checkered flag flew, the wins were collected by Ramie Stone (All Star IMCA Modified Series), Raul Rodriguez Sr. (Hobby Stocks) and Kenny Birdsong (Valley Sportsman).

As a champion in three different divisions at Merced Speedway during the last 20 years, Ramie Stone has already racked up an impressive resume.  The multi time IMCA Modified champion has struggled a bit to get things dialed in this season.  However, Ramie figured it out in the All Star IMCA Modified Series race by staging one of his patented high groove efforts for the impressive victory.  Past Chico champion Ryan McDaniel made Stone work for it with a close second ahead of Austin Burke.  Riley Simmons finished fourth as Jeff Streeter completed the Top 5.  Track point leader Bill Egleston finished sixth ahead of another past Chico champion, Duane Cleveland, multi time Merced champion Paul Stone, Nick DeCarlo and Josh Combs.

When Mark Funkhouser passed away during the week, good friend Marshall Weaver and the Funkhouser family wanted to do something special to remember him.  Mark was part of the successful wave of new Hobby Stock drivers at Chowchilla Speedway in 2001 that led to the addition of the class at Merced, where he won his championship.  Over $1000 in additional prize money was donated to the Hobby Stock purse, and the race was increased to 30 laps.

A multi time Hobby Stock champion himself, Raul Rodriguez Sr. got a win earlier this season, but he got it when the apparent winner was disqualified.  This time out, the man they call "Showtime" Rodriguez put on a show in holding off point leader Michael Shearer for an impressive victory.  Defending track champion Kevin Joaquin earned his best finish of the season in third ahead of Top 5 point competitor Dexter Long and Robbie Loquaci.  John Hensley brought it home in sixth as Phil Vaughn, Austin Van Hoff, Gary Hildebrand and Kodie Dean completed the Top 10.

On the heels of his first career win in the Rod Poor Tribute #25m Valley Sportsman, Kenny Birdsong backed it up with another victory.  This time, Birdsong held off Jeff Bristow to get that win.  Heat race winner and two time division champion Mike Friesen finished third ahead of Eric Sealy.

Racing is off this week, but the track returns on June i8th during the Merced County Fair with IMCA Modifieds and Hobby Stocks.  For further information, check the website at

Note that these finishes are based on the live scoring displayed on Race Monitor and may not be reflective of the official finishes due to scoring loop errors or post race disqualifications.

Forsberg, While, Biscardi Petaluma Speedway Winners

Petaluma, CA...The threatening skies cleared up and allowed a great night of racing to take pace Saturday night at Petaluma Speedway.  A full field of Winged Sprint Cars saw the win in their 25 lap Main Event go to Andy Forsberg.  Steve Studebaker won the 25 lap Lumberjack's Restaraunt Street Stock feature.  A battle between the General Hydroponics Dwarf Cars and the visiting South Bay Dwarf Cars resulted in South Bay competitor Mark Biscardi getting the 20 lap feature win, while William Fatu won the 20 lap Jake's Performance Hobbies Mini Stock Main Event.

Andy Forsberg scored the win in the 25 lap Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event.  Second generation racer Shane Myhre led a few early laps, but it wasn't long before Forsberg and Bradley Terrell found themselves in first and second.  Gradually, Forsberg began to pull away from Terrell, and he would win by nearly a straightaway.  Terrell settled for second ahead of Mike Benson, Billy Butler, Riley Matson, Buddy Kofoid, Zack Lynsky, Kirt Organ, Roberto Kirby and Jake Haulot.  Myhre won his heat race earlier in the evening ahead of Matson, while Terrell won his heat in front of Geoff Ensign.  David Lindt II was also a heat winner ahead of Kofoid.

The Lumberjack's Restaurant Super Stock championship battle was reflected in their 25 lap Main Event as point leader Matt While battled with two time division champion Steve Studebaker.  While set the pace at the start ahead of Studebaker, and the two cars pulled away to leave Gary Adams to battle with Mitch Machado and past champion Jim "Woody" Woodward for third.  Woodward grabbed third on lap five, but he soon surrendered the spot to Adams.  As While and Studebaker ran out front, Woodward and Garrett Brady passed Adams for third and fourth by lap 12.  A yellow flag flew on lap 15.  Studebaker used the restart as his opportunity to grab the lead from While.  Brady took third from Woodward on lap 20.  Studebaker stayed smooth down the stretch and grabbed a checkered flag just ahead of While.  Brady finished third ahead of Woodward, Ryan Cherezian, former Dirt Modified racer Dean Stocker, division iron man Shawn McCoy, Roger Miller, Many Avilla and Adams.  While grabbed a heat race win ahead of Mitch Machado, and Studebaker won his heat ahead of Adams.

Petaluma's General Hydroponics Dwarf Cars hosted the visiting South Bay Dwarf Cars, and the result was a close finish in their 20 lap race.  Coming off of back to back wins at Antioch Speedway, Mark Biscardi set the pace from the start ahead of Justin Yanez and defending champion Dave Mosier.  Forced to earn his start with a B Main win, 2015 Antioch champion David Teves was up to fourth by lap 10.  Teves made quick work of Mosier on lap 11 and began to reel in Yanez.  Leader Bicardi's pace was slowed just a bit in the latter stages as Teves caught Yanez.  The lead trio ran within a second of each other.  Teves made a last lap pass on Yanez, but he was unable to pass the flying Biscardi.  Biscardi was a happy winner ahead of Teves, Yanez, Mosier, Gene "Punky" Pires, Nick Squatritto, Eric Weisler, Carroll Mendenhall, Chad Matthias and Jack Haverty.  The group ran four heat races with wins going to Pires, Matt Hagerman, Mosier and E. Weisler.  Teves won the 10 lap B Main ahead of Zack Albers and Bill Delfield.

William Fatu enhanced his Jake's Performance Hobbies Mini Stock championship hopes by winning their 20 lap Main Event.   However, much of the night belonged to Darien Balestrini.  Balestrini started the night off with a heat win.  Balestrini was looking to back up his win from last week with another victory, and he led much of the Main Event.  He never quite shook the tenacious Fatu, who ran not too far behind him.  When mechanical issues arose for Balestrini after 17 laps, Fatu seized the moment to get the lead and bring it home to victory.  Austin Ohlinger was second ahead of Snazzy Duckworth, Steve Studebaker, Mike "Squirelly" Curley, Balestrini and Sid Hess.

Noland, Schwartzenberger Win Rocky Hill Features

Porterville, CA...Back in the 1990's, Rocky Hill Speedway ran on Friday nights, and management decided to have a Friday night show this week.  It was a special $12 per car load night at the races, and the fans watched as Raymond Noland Jr. won the Hobby Stock Main Event, Shawn Schwartzenberger won the Mini Stock feature, Roy Atchison won the Super 4's race and Brian Childress was the American Stock winner.

Some competitive racers started another action packed Hobby Stock feature.  It took four races, but defending champion Raymond Noland Jr. added his name to the 2016 feature winner's list.  Colby Quinton settled for his second runner up finish of the season with last week's winner, Bakersfield champion Kevin Collier, finishing third.  Jake Peters grabbed a fourth place finish ahead of Merced visitor Dexter Long.  A competitor at Bakersfield and Porterville going back to the 1990's, Lloyd Wren returned for a sixth place finish as Gene Glover, Merced visitor George Silva, Karl Noland and 2014 Mini Stock champion Joe Robinson made up the remainder of the Top 10.

Two track regulars who were missing in action last week returned this week and grabbed the Top 2 positions in the Mini Stock feature.  Shawn Schwartzenberger is the Bakersfield point leader, and he returned to Rocky Hill for the Main Event victory.  Andy Boydstun won the Main Event at Bakersfield last week and ranks fourth in the standings there.  He returned to Rocky Hill for his third second place finish.  Chris Rutledge followed up last week's second with a third ahead of Lance Gonzalez and Clinton Massey.  Wade Moore was sixth as Jose Rosales, Candy Noland-Soares and Merced racer Curtis Thornhill followed.  Two time winner Jason Cook fell out early in the ten car field and was last.

Roy Atchison continued his perfect season with another Super 4's win ahead of Kit Murphy and double division racer Wade Moore.  Bakersfield racer Brian Childress won the American Stock feature ahead of Bob Ellis and defending champion Jeff Lloyd.

Racing returns to Rocky Hill Speedway this Saturday night to end the month of May with Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Super 4's and American Stocks.

Hobby Stocks

5 Raymond Noland Jr.
4 Colby Quinton
18 Kevin Collier
19 Jake Peters
911 Dexter Long
87w Lloyd Wren
9 Gene Glover
8 George Silva
55 Karl Noland
199 Joe Robinson
1 Jared Plumlee
25 Karl Noland Jr.
91 Michael Scruggs***DNS

Mini Stock
15 Shawn Schwartzenberger
6 Andy Boydston
66 Chris Rutledge
18 Lance Gonzales
88 Clint Massey
13 Wade Moore
13X Jose Rosales
5 Candy Noland Soares
80 Curtis Thornhill
46 Steven Scott
32X Jason Cook
13L Paul Lauretti **DNS

American Stocks
44 Brian Childress
19 Bob Ellis
29 Jeff Lloyd

Super 4s
24 Roy Atchinson
00 Kit Murphy
13 Wade Moore

Friday, May 20, 2016

Golobic, Simonovich, Teves Win Watsonville Features

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

Note that these finishes are based on the live scoring displayed on Race Monitor and may not be reflective of the official finishes due to scoring loop errors or post race disqualifications.

Golobic, Simonovich, Teves Win Watsonville Features

Watsonville, CA...Racing continued at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville Friday night with a four division program.  When the checkered flag flew on the Main Events, it was Shane Golobic (Taco Bravo Sprint Cars), Dennis Simonovich (IMCA Sport Modifieds), David Teves (SBDCA Dwarf Cars) and Tony Olivera (American Stocks) getting the victories.

Past Taco Bravo Winged 360 Sprint Car champion Shane Golobic won the 30 lap Main Event.  The race was marred by several slowdowns, but Golobic was in the hunt throughout the race.  Andy Foresberg led at the start ahead of two time champion Tommy Tarlton and Brad Furr.  Tarlton grabbed the lead from Foresberg on a lap five restart as Furr settled into second ahead of D.J. Netto.  A yellow flag waved on lap 15, and defending champion Justin Sanders took second on the restart.  Golobic followed closely into third.  Golobic took over second on lap 23 and began pressuring Tarlton for the lead.  Golobic finally made his winning move on lap 27 with Furr following into second.  Golobic led through one more restart and would collect the victory.  Furr was second ahead of Tarlton, Michael Kofoid, Netto, Kurt Nelson, Kyler Shaw, Koen Shaw, Robby Price and Foresberg. Foresberg won the Trophy Dash ahead of Tarlton.  Tarlton won his heat race ahead of Tony Gualda.  Netto won a heat race in front of Furr, while Golobic claimed his heat race win ahead of Kofoid.

Dennis Simonovich scored the victory in the 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event.  Simonovich had the lead from the start ahead of rookie Shane DeVolder and Merced visitor Chris Falkenberg.  Defending champion Matt Hagio slipped past Falkenberg for third on lap eight.  A red flag was out for a Vaughn Vondera rollover.  Simonovich continued to lead DeVolder on the restart. Tony Giuliani raced by DeVolder for second on lap 13 and set his sights on Simonovich for the lead.  Giuliani was gaining ground when a lap 19 yellow flag slowed the pace.  As Simonovich continued to set the pace, Giuliani's bid for the lead saw him slip up and fall back several positions.  Simonovich won ahead of Hagio, DeVolder, Jim DiGiovanni, Falkenberg, Adrienne DeSousa, Giuliani, Charlie Hunter, John Ferro and Vaughn Vondera.  Falkenberg won a heat race over Justin McPherson, while Simonovich won his heat ahead of DeSousa.

2015 Antioch Speedway Dwarf Car champion David Teves won the 20 lap Dwarf Car Main Event.  Teves chased Eric Weisler for five laps before taking the lead.  Perennial front runner Shawn Jones followed into second with defending champion Gene "Punky" Pires soon taking over third.  The battle was on up front.  Despite some serious pressure from Jones, Teves was not to be denied the impressive victory.  Pires brought it home third ahead of past champion Nick Squatrito, Terre Rothweiler, Marty Weisler, Justin Yanez, E. Weisler, Joey Dale and recent Antioch winner Mark Biscardi.  Cameron Diatte won a heat race ahead of Sqauatrito, while Rothweiler won the other heat ahead of Pires.

Tony Olivera won an eventful 20 lap American Stock Main Event.  Past champion William Kennedy set the early pace ahead of Olivera.  Ron Bonnema passed George Fernandez for third on lap three and took second from Olivera on lap seven.  Kennedy was leading Bonnnema, Olivera and Robert Gallaher when a lap 12 caution flag flew.  Olivera took the lead from Kennedy on the restart as Bonnema brought out a yellow flag.  Olivera led Gallaher and Nick Triolo on the next restart.  Kennedy moved into third on lap 19, and Olivera collected the victory ahead of Gallaher, Kennedy, Fernandez, Triolo, Katie Briggs and Bonnema.  Gallaher won the heat race ahead of Bonnema.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Orland Raceway Rises From the Ashes Once Again And More

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

The DCRR Racing Radio Show

DCRR Racing Radio Show: Episode 77 by GenWhat

Orland Raceway Rises From the Ashes Once Again

The tales of the demise of Orland Raceway have been greatly exaggerated. When Adam Zachary chose to walk away from the track at the end of last season, it looked as if racing was done in Orland. The Glenn County Fair Board had decided to put a soccer field right next to the race track. Word was that the fair board was receptive to having racing this season, but Zachary had other plans. Enter the new promotional team of Rich Hood and Nathan Skaggs.

There was word of a few racers who were looking to take a shot at running the track.  At the May Fairboard meeting, Hood made his presentation.  Rich has been a competitor in Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks in recent years and is one of the more respected people out there.  Joining him in this endeavor is Nathan Skaggs.  Skaggs has competed in the track's Mini Truck division in recent years.  The news of the two local racers taking charge of the track is be welcome among the competitors.

Adam Zachary never quite could establish a program at the speedway. In fact, car counts plummeted in some of the divisions following the departure of previous Promoter Mike McCann. Zachary was making decisions that were controversial to the racing community prior to deciding to leave in March of this year. He did not have the Wingless Sprint Car division included on the 2016 schedule that he announced. There was also the merger of the Mini Stock and Mini Truck divisions into one class. In the end, he decided to walk away.

There were some bright spots in the 2015 season, including the Hobby Stock division. It seemed as if the car count held steady at ten to a dozen race cars per race. The fact that the Mini Stock division and Mini Truck division usually had about four to six cars each made the decision to merge the two divisions easier. Though there were some grumblings from drivers in the Mini Stock division about running with the heavier Mini Trucks, it appears as if the new management will be continuing with that idea.

It also appears as if there will be no Wingless Sprint Cars on the schedule. The goal in mind right now is to get race cars back on that race track, and the new management is doing everything they can to make that happen. The 10 race schedule has an option for more races, and it begins on June 4th. One of the things that has to be done, in order to accommodate the soccer field, is they have to have racing on Sunday afternoons and Friday nights for most of the season. This is because soccer will be played on Saturday nights when the field is usable.

The story of Orland racing has been a rocky one. Racing has a history in the town going back into the 1970's, but there is a revolving door when it comes to promoters. In the late 1980's and early 1990's, there was Sprint 100's leadfoot Doc Bogart. It wasn't a bad program, but his run came to an end by the mid 1990's.

Then came Paul and Carol Turner. By the end of their tenure, which produced some great results, they were ridiculed by some in the racing community.  However, nobody can deny the success that that program had in the early days. So successful were the Turner's when it came to the staple Mini Stock, Mini Truck in Hobby Stock divisions that they ventured into Modified Mini Stocks and Wingless Sprint Cars. They created a healthy Sprint Car division that had 27 cars for one of the Harvest Classic events. In the end, when the money dried up, the Turner run came to an ugly end.

The problem was, everybody after them seemed to struggle to get anything established. The track even remained dark for a year. Nobody can be faulted for going in there and trying to do something, because at least somebody was putting race cars on the track. When veteran Mike McCann came into the picture in 2013, he attempted to give some stability to the program.

McCann's budget had been exhausted by midway through the 2014 season, though it appeared that the program was about to turn the corner. The lack of cooperation from a group that had rented the fairgrounds for a car show led to having to cancel a big open wheel event that he had planned. It also hastened his decision to walk away. McCann admitted that the board was supportive of his efforts.

It was actually thought that this track was going to be closed permanently when McCann walked away, but Adam Zachary entered the picture. Right from the beginning, Zachary struggled to establish a crew to run the events. The Mini Stock and Mini Truck drivers never really got on board with him, and the Wingless Sprint Car drivers became unhappy when their purses were cut. The 600 Micro Sprint and 250 Outlaw Kart divisions never quite jelled the way he would have hoped. However, the Hobby Stock division showed signs of life. The little car counts and the lack of attendance made it easy for Zachary to walk away rather than give the 2016 season a whirl.

This left the race car drivers in Orland scrambling to figure out where they were going to race. A few racers have headed for Marysville and Chico, but a majority of competitors ended up parking their cars. In fact, many people thought that racing in Orland was actually done this time. Negotiations to save racing in Orland have been ongoing for months, and a break in the negotiations finally occurred just within the last week or two.

With time being a major factor, the new promoting team is wasting no time trying to put a program on the race track. They are going with the basic divisions that Zachary had planned to run this year, and they intend to have the race track ready to go in June. While the dates are booked, the question remains the same as it was when Zachary had the race track. Will anybody support racing at the track this time?

It is known that there are several Mini Stocks and Mini Trucks in the area to go along with the Hobby Stocks. By all rights, all three divisions should have a double digit car count for every race. The lack of stability that the track has had over the last decade led to some racers going to Chico. The management team will have to see if they can win some of those teams back. So, what will be different this time around?

The bottom line is if the management team can't win the hearts and minds of those racers, racing doesn't have much of a chance. You can't continue to put race car programs on the track with a half a dozen cars, knowing that down the road in Chico there are cars. The fact that they know there are parked cars in the area has the management team hoping that they can get them to come back.

That puts the ball back in the court of the racers. And, they have to ask themselves, how badly do they want racing in their home town? If they don't get on board and support with their race cars, the show doesn't have a chance. There may be real valid reasons for some of these racers not to have supported the track in recent years. Perhaps they should be willing to give the next management team a chance. If they don't, it seems less likely that the track will get a chance next time. The new management team could very well be Orland Raceway's last hope.

The first order of business is to make the facilities usable. This includes making a racing surface that won't be rough on the cars. The next order of business is to get the word out to the racers and fans. The racers need to know the schedule and when those race dates are. Then, you have to hope that the racers haven't booked other things in a way that impedes their ability make it to these races. All track management can do is give it their best effort. If they give a serious and sincere effort, hopefully the people will give them a chance.

In these difficult economic times, some people say that Orland racing is dead already. Others believe that it will take the right management team to make it happen. Is this the right management team? The fact is, we're running out of options. Whether they are the best team or not, they may be Orland Raceway's last hope to keep it alive. And, the one thing we always say is as long as the gates open at the race track, there's a chance for good things to happen

Breathing new life into Orland Raceway

We already know there's a soccer field on the Glenn County Fairgrounds facility in Orland. The 1/5th mile dirt oval track is on life support, and it's days could be numbered. However, this doesn't have to be the end for this race track. We now know that we have a new promoter, and we also have a new schedule.

To make racing happen once again, however, new promoter's Rich Hood and Nathan Skaggs were forced to make some compromises in scheduling, meaning they will have some Sunday afternoon and Friday night shows. This had to be done as a way to make racing happen again. If it's between nothing and this, the racing minded are going to do this.

Ultimately, the key to Orland Raceway surviving has to do with getting fans to attend the races. You need to justify the existence of this race track by having fans out there willing to pay to spectate. To get the fans to stay, you need to get the racers to come out there and put on a show for them. What you don't need is four car divisions out there on the track. The fans want to see a show.

Right out of the gate, you want to encourage the race car drivers to come back. Personally, I would like to see loose ends for 2015 tied up. What this really means is the 2015 champions should be crowned and acknowledged. I understand that this was something former Promoter Adam Zachary should have taken care of, but he's not there now, is he? I also understand that this is another expense that the new management may not be interested in covering.

Why would new management even want to do this? As a way to build good faith with the racers. You don't really even have to get a bunch of trophies. One way to do it would be to get the champions trophies, and if you do second and third place awards, give them nice plaques. At least give them something. For the most part, the Top 3 drivers in the point races in the various divisions were supportive of that race track. Sure, that's the previous management's business, but the racers are still the same. Find somebody willing to sponsor it and make it happen. The champions could be crowned right in front of the grandstands during the Trophy Dash presentations.

Putting cars out on the race track is the key to the survival of this race track. Without cars, nobody will bother to show up. The track was on the verge of something special with the Hobby Stock division. They had momentum and double digit car counts for the last four or five races. Can they keep that momentum up?

Hopefully, the new management has the list of drivers who earned points last year, and they have their phone ready. Each driver who competed in the Hobby Stock division last year, and every division for that matter, should be called. Let them know that they are wanted back out at the race track. Can Hobby Stocks continue the momentum they had last year? With racing season starting at other tracks already, it will be a challenge, but you have to try.

Adam Zachary was about to do something that the Mini Stock and Mini Truck drivers did not like. When he put the original 2016 schedule together, he decided that the Trucks and Mini Stocks would be running together. Orland Raceway was the last track standing that had its own individual Mini Truck division that was separate from the Mini Stocks. This was a tradition that went back into the 1990's. It was Orland that actually inspired tracks like Merced, Antioch and Altamont to have their own Mini Truck divisions.

The concern of the race car drivers on the Facebook page when Zachary made that announcement was that the Mini Truck drivers would be too rough, and their trucks would tear right through the bodies on the Mini Stocks. However, I certainly see Zachary's point. You have 4 or 5 vehicles showing up in each class. Put them together and you have 10. A10 car show is certainly better to watch than five cars in each division.

It's kind of sad to see what has happened with the Truck and Mini Stock divisions. The Mini Stock program at Chico and Marysville has been dropped. The only reason Chico ever had a Mini Stock program in the first place was because the drivers in Orland had no place to go at the time. Chico management was welcoming to them. At one time, a few Mini Truck shows were even booked at Chico, because that's how many trucks there were.

There are still enough Mini Trucks and Mini Stocks sitting in the fields in the Orland area to bring out double digit car counts in both classes, but building the car count up will be the challenge. The easy solution is to run them both together for now. Personally, I'd like to see individual divisions, but we need to get the vehicles out there to make that happen. Also, I know there were people who didn't want Marysville cars to come racing, but if those drivers show up at the gates, let them in. They will likely only be there a few times and won't be a factor in the point race, but they will put on a show for the fans.

It really comes down to building up car counts, and that was one of the reasons why past Promoter Mike McCann booked the 600 Multi Sprint division at the track. Adam took it up a notch by booking the 250 Outlaw Karts. At times, these divisions had six to eight cars, but these classes are still a work in progress. Orland seems to be a nice track for both of these divisions as a 1/5th mile oval. We'll have to monitor the situation and see what happens.

At this point, you have four divisions booked for the speedway with the merger of Mini Stocks and Mini Trucks. Wingless Sprint Car fans are wondering where their race dates are, and there have to be a few Sport Mod fans wondering if the division could be added at Orland. That division is starting to explode. Let's not forget the idea that there are Street Stock drivers who would love to come up a time or two as well.

I am of the opinion that Orland Raceway needs cars, and the Sprint Cars have been a part of this show for about 15 years. The new management is simply following what the previous management had done. The previous management did not have any Wingless Sprint Car dates booked on their schedule either. However, I know there are probably 12 cars sitting in the area, so something should happen. These Sprint Cars can bring the fans in.

And bringing the fans in is what this is really all about. Personally, if you've got a half a dozen Street Stock drivers wanting to come up or any other division with a half dozen cars, there's no reason not to book them. Setting a realistic goal, I'd say 30 cars in the pits to start with is doable. If you are running a four division show, you'd like to have 40 cars at least, and considering the merger of the Mini Stocks and Mini Trucks, I'd like to see it go higher than that. But, I'm trying to be realistic here.

Now, I know there are some people who say Orland Raceway might be a dead entity. Let's be honest here. That track has struggled to come back to life ever since the Turner's walked away. Paul and Carol had something special going on there for quite some time, though the love affair with the racers probably ended during the last one or two years that they ran the place. Still, when it was good, it was one hell of a show. And, it can be brought back with the right effort.

I would favor certain promotional efforts as soon as it is possible. Bring the Harvest Classic back at the end of the year, for instance. See what's left of the Enduro group that came up there and brought a dozen or so cars. Maybe that's possible. Match races and whatever else you can think of to attract attention.

You want fans back at the track. You need fans back at the track. I would favor guerrilla marketing tactics. I'm not sure how the area is about things like this, but you can plead ignorance the first time if somebody gets upset. I would create a flyer and staple that flyer to telephone poles in town. Orland Raceway is back! Come out and watch a show. Put flyers on the windows of cars in parking lots. Get to this. Make it happen.

One thing I spoke with Mike McCann about is the idea that there is a large Hispanic population in Orland. Therefore, you need to sell the racers to them. If there is a Hispanic racer in the field, hype them up in any media that goes out to the Hispanic population. Also, start looking for an announcer who speaks Spanish. Maybe it's a second announcer that can say a few words to the fans on race night. Why? You want to try and get fans back in the stands, and this a group of potential racing fans. They may not even know the track is there.

Start putting some promotional tickets out there. You can go through services such as Race Print as Jeremy does some really nice work. Or, you can make up your own special passes. Anybody with a Microsoft Publisher program can do that. Start giving out passes to people in different areas. Now, I'm not suggesting you give the show away for free, but until somebody knows what's going on out there, they're not inclined to show up and watch. Get them out there, and get them hooked. Plus, you can sell them a hot dog and a soda while they're there.

The bottom line is that this race track has fallen on such hard times that it's going to take a lot of work to do this. I'm not even sure what the status of the management contract is. Are we talking year to year or is it a 3 or 5 year deal? There may not be a lot of time to make this work, and you need to start jumping into things now.

When I was at Chowchilla Speedway in the very beginning, Tom Sagmiller relied on volunteer help and a $5 ticket. In the long run, I think you need to be paying people to do certain things, but in the short term, anybody that cares about their race track that wants to help should be encouraged. I think anybody that cares about that race track wants to see it succeed.

There are probably several racers with one grudge or another against Orland Raceway. There have been some difficult times in the last 10 years trying to get that track back going, but this is new management. If you have a car that you can run, get that car out there. Give it a chance. It's not a cheap proposition to run a race track, and the promoter might run out of funds soon. The more money coming through the gates, the better it will be for the promoter to keep this track going this year and beyond.

I know that a couple years ago when Mike McCann had the place, he had a specific budget in mind to run this track. It was a tough situation. He had a three year plan, figuring that the third year would be the year he might start to turn a profit. Midway through the second season, the money started to run out, but Mike felt that they were just about ready to turn the corner. It was so close.

I know there are some people that want to point a finger at Zachary and hate him over things last year, but at least he opened the gates again. There were people that thought that Mike was the last chance to run that race track and it would be done after that. The fact that it had a 2015 season is at least a little bit of an accomplishment for Zachary. And now, we have a 2016 season. Orland Raceway has a second chance. Or would that be 3rd or 4th by now? How many chances do you think the track will have before the soccer field encroaches on the track itself?

The key is getting the race car drivers on board. Anybody with a race car should be encouraged to come out there and race. You have to put on a show worthy of selling tickets. Then, you need fans, and you need as many as you can get. There should be an Orland Raceway awareness campaign going on right now. When talking about a media campaign, I know that things can get very expensive.

Newspapers sometimes want you to run an ad with them before they'll give you even a little bit of space. Radio stations want money for those commercials. However, if you work out a trade, things can get a little bit cheaper. The newspaper? How about putting a billboard in the infield for the newspaper? The radio station? Same type of thing can happen there. Work out some trade deals.

Then, you need to put together an informative website. I still sit on a lot of historical information I would be willing to share. I have several past champions and point lists on file. I have continued to ghost write for Orland and plan to do so to this year as well. However, it wouldn't take much for somebody to step forward and begin to write articles for the track.

As part of the DCRR Racing Media thing that I'm developing. I'd be willing to offer advice to anybody that wanted to become a writer there. It's really not as hard as some people think. I can help them find places to get the articles posted. I can offer advice on how to get these articles written. I can still do my stuff, but basically I use the history of the track and the statistics of the current racing season for my articles. Somebody out there watching what goes on and taking notes can write a much better article. If they don't know how to, I could certainly help them figure that out.
Orland Raceway should have a person right now putting stuff out there. If they can tie that in with the person that's out there announcing, even better. Mike had a guy that was out there helping him, and he announced the last season for him. I certainly think he would be capable of doing it. His name is Elijah Jones. The race tracks that have the announcer/writers in their midst know how lucky they are. It's becoming a lost art.

The media person can hit the ground running by getting stuff out there on social media and any racing news sites or local newspapers that will print stuff. You can use a combination of written word and printed media and various sites on the internet. Create a buzz.  Make Orland Raceway the place people want to be. The hardcore race fan will have two race tracks to go to every weekend now with Chico and Orland.

If there's a photographer in the area, get them involved. You want pictures of those race cars out there. The photographer might need to watermark their pictures to protect their copyright or whatever, but get the pictures out there. Personally, I think a few pictures should be released without watermarks every week, and the rest should be out there watermarked, because your photographer should make money. It ain't cheap but they do it, and they are providing a service that helps the race track.

There is also the use of video. Put some video footage of the racing that's going on out there on the internet. When racers and fans are looking for a place to go, they will get up on the internet at places like YouTube and see what's out there. So, when they see some recent footage of the race track, that might encourage them to go to Orland Raceway.

The management is getting off to a late start, and they are lucky to be able to open the gates at all. It's only about a one month preparation time between the time that they got the track and when it opens. They have a lot of work to do to get this thing right. The racing community needs to rally behind Orland Raceway, or it won't last long.

This is just my opinion, for whatever it is worth. I believe they can do it, but the racers have to get on board with it. They have to get fans to come out there and watch this, and that might require discounts or free passes to help make it happen at first. Look at it this way, if there's a bunch of empty seats and only a hundred paid people attending, how bad does it hurt if you give out another hundred passes? At least you sell the food while they're there, and they come back and pay next week if they like what they see.

In any case, I'm just happy to see this race track open again. As I'm fond of saying, as long as the gates open at the racetrack, there's a chance for good things to happen. I hope they can make this the best year yet for Orland Raceway.

Saving Altamont Speedway
It was last year when the rumors started about Altamont Speedway coming back again.  The word was the pavement would get ripped out of the place and it would become a half mile dirt oval with a quarter mile in the middle.  Big Sprint Car races, Late Models and Modifieds too.  This would be the place in the Bay Area to go to for big races.  I guess I can let the cat out of the bag.  John M. Soares was the one looking at it as another place on which to hang the Oval Motorsports banner.  People still would have found a reason to hate the guy. 

I loved the idea.  Why not?  We lost San Jose.  Baylands is long gone.  Petaluma is there, but threatened.  Centrally located for the Bay Area, Sacramento and Valley guys.  This thing has much potential, and I think it would be supported.  There are issues. You need to find out if the county will let racing happen there, and dirt track racing at that.  I don't know if John got that far.  I have a sneaking suspicion that if he had, I might have heard about it.  He was so busy with the three tracks that he's forgiven if he didn't have the time to completely pursue this. 

Now, John was smart enough to know that work needed to be done and he'd go with union labor to get things up to code.  The bathrooms and other things need work.  The way I see it, do it right.  Hire union labor.  My dad was union, my uncle too.  I'm biased about that.  Anyway, the idea has seemingly faded away as an Oval Motorsports plan, but does that mean it's over?

I'm sure there will be some who say open the pavement track, and I don't disagree with that.  If I had my druthers, that pavement would get ripped out and we'd go dirt track racing.  There's a big problem facing Sprint Car racing now.  We are facing the loss of Calistoga, or the possibility that it becomes a quarter mile dirt track.  If either thing happens, it screws with some important Sprint Car history.  It really sort of depresses me to think about it.  Bonnie Chisholm was working hard to fight for Stoga, and nobody seemed to get behind her.  I think sometimes people take that woman for granted.  Racers need to understand they have an ally there who has done great things for the sport and preserving its heritage.

Anyway, I wonder if Calistoga racing money could be persuaded to head up the road to Altamont?  It's a half mile.  Louie Vermeil didn't have as big an impact there, but his memory could still be honored.  WoO, USAC, KOW and all of that good stuff could happen at this location.  Dry tracks?  I don't hear any Sprint Car drivers ever complaining about a dry track.  They hate hooked up tracks,  So, the surface could be to their liking as long as it was kept smooth. 

The other thing I hear is how hot it is in the day and windy at night.  Actually, it is.  I spent a few seasons there and was the track's reporter in 1997.  It's hot there.  In talking with Mike McCann, he proposed a wind breaker solution.  We sort of cover the top four rows of the grandstands in a way that doesn't impede the vision on the press box.  The place seats 5000 or so from what I've heard, and the cover would shelter 800 or so.  It's something at least.  You can't cover the stands due to the press box.  You would have to tear it out and rebuild it.  That may not be an option due to expenses and the fact that you just don't know how many years you'll have the place.

So, what I'm saying is Altamont Raceway is still sitting there.  It's been waiting for the next chapter of its history to be written.  I've always felt that there was more of a story to be told, like it wasn't over just because it was closed.  Somebody has to buy the place, and maybe there's some Stoga money willing to do that?  If that were the case, would the county let it come back again?  These are the unknown questions.

If it were allowed, you have so many potential races to look at.  The big Sprint Car and Midget shows are a given.  A big Stock Car type show as well.  Perhaps some other regular shows on the smaller track.  You have a press box to wine and dine big sponsors of the venue.  You can cater that.  Wine and dine the media to get some attention.  Is this far fetched?  We had a guy named David Vodden who made some good things happen once upon a time at Baylands and Petauma, so somebody could work with what is here to make it happen.  Am I dreaming?  Perhaps, but I am a dreamer.  I still don't think we've heard the last from this track.  Time will tell. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Antioch Speedway And Merced Speedway Weekend Previews

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DCRR Racing Radio Show: Episode 77 by GenWhat

Sprint Cars, Modifieds Headline Six
Division Show At Antioch Speedway

Two weeks ago, the Winged 360 Sprint Car division was set to headline the show at Antioch Speedway when the rains came and washed away the program. They are set to try again this week along with the A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Dwarf Cars and California Hardtop Association.

At this point, it's veteran Art McCarthy leading the Winged Sprint Car charge after two races. McCarthy certainly has the experience edge over the rest of the competition having won two Sprint Car championships at Petaluma and one at Antioch. His feature win in the season opener served notice to everybody that to get to the championship they will have to go through him.

Billy Aton has been absent from the field for a couple of years, and his return signals that he may be the driver to challenge the old veteran. The past Wingless Spec Sprint champion won the last time. Another driver within striking distance of McCarthy is 2014 champion Chris Magoon. Magoon struggled at times last year, and the team is still trying to get the #77 car up to speed again.

2015 champion Shawn Arriaga was not ready for the season opener. The third generation racer didn't have the motor in his car until a few days before the most recent race. When he returned, he renewed his battle with rival McCarthy, finishing fourth ahead of McCarthy in that Main Event. Despite the one race advantage he gave McCarthy, Arriaga should not be counted out if he does run every race from here on in.

It appears as if there are more drivers looking to come race at Antioch this year, and others we will be looking for this week include Top 5 ranked Dan Gonderman, Rick Brophy and his son Ricky Brophy, veteran Bert Foland Jr., Adam McCarthy and Fred Arriaga.  From week to week, you never know who might show up and run at Antioch.

The A Modified division was affected by the All Star Modified Series race at Tulare last week. Four of the top competitors at Antioch Speedway headed down south. This opened the door for five time division champion Scott Busby to walk on through and grab the point lead. Busby led for most of the way last week before being passed late by hard charger Jeff Decker. If you know Busby, he wasn't happy with second, and he'll be out to try and get a win this week.

The big question is, will any of those competitors who headed south be back this week? At this point, we'll just have to wait to see, but we do expect Carl Berendsen II to be out there racing this week. The 2014 champion won his heat race last week and then raced to a solid fourth behind third place finisher and heat race winner Trent Wentworth. Both of these drivers should be contenders to win this week.

Who might also be in the field seems to change with every week, but Raymond Lindeman, Shawn O'Gara and Mikey Slaney could be there. However, the Slaney car had a lot of damage in a crash last week, so he could be questionable. And, whether we might see Aaron Crowell, Bobby Hogge IV, Nick DeCarlo or Troy Fougler remains to be seen. Clay Twigg is a good possibility following his seventh place finish, and whoever does show up will put on a good show for the fans.

Despite missing a race this year, Trevor Clymens remains a factor in the B Modified point race. Clymens won his second straight Main Event last week. In this race, he made a charge from the fifth row to battle Brian Pearce for the lead in lapped traffic.  Moments after surrendering the lead, Pearce ended up hitting the front wall hard after contact with a slower car. Word was that the Pearce car was severely damaged, but he was okay.

The steady Al Johnson continues to be the point leader, but the two time Main Event runner up is looking for his first Main Event win. Another driver with two second place finishes that is looking for a win is Shane DeVolder.  DeVolder is currently second in the standings in what is his rookie season.

Affecting the car count in this division is the fact that they have been scheduled 25 times at the speedway this season. Some of the drivers weren't interested in that and decided to just walk away from point racing. You never know how many cars might show up, and last week saw about a dozen cars compete. Drivers who could be out there this week include K.C. Keller, Randy Brown, 2015 champion Fred Ryland, Danny Jones and Ron Brown.

In the Limited Late Model division, Larry Damitz continues to be the man to beat. Approaching 87 years of age, the 60 year veteran of racing shows no signs of slowing down. The records will show that the division's top two feature winners in its history, Damitz and Mike Gustafson, are the two winners so far this year. Ranked second in the standings, Kimo Oreta has two top 3 finishes and seems poised to get a win soon.

Third ranked Mark Garner is anxiously awaiting his opportunity to get out there and get another win. Jim Freethy has had nothing but bad luck so far, but he's hoping to turn things around in the #99 car. Other drivers to watch for this week include Lori Brown, John Evans and John Keith. Reports are that recent Hobby Stock feature winner Chris Long is close to making his return to this division.  No word on what is going on with the Calvin Louis car, which was turn key ready when it left the RPM Racing shop last year.

Mike Corsaro and Kevin Miraglio were battling for the lead last week in the Dwarf Car division when they got together. These are the two drivers currently battling for the track championship, and they had to come from the back of the pack after the tangle. While Corsaro got up to 5th, Miraglio managed to get up to second. He is still looking for his first win, but he is certainly fast enough to do it.

These two drivers may be happy that South Bay Dwarf Car Association competitor Mark Biscordi is not running for points. Biscardi returned two races ago and he's won both races since. Will he be back to try for three in a row? Another driver knocking on the door to victory is Tim Reeder. Reeder has been the hard luck racer over the last year and a half, but he has continued to come back and enthusiastically race. His persistence was rewarded last week with his best finish ever in third.

Among the other drivers that we'll be watching for this week are veteran Charlie Correia, Chuck Weir, Josh Miller, Brian Gray, David Michael Rosa and Tim Ryan. Also not to be forgotten is rookie Buddy Kniss, who pulled out early in the Main Event last week with overheating issues.

The California Hardtop Association returns this week.  For clarification, you may see the #100 car of Larry Damitz picking up a victory again, but he is not considered a Hardtop by CHA standards. His car is classified as a Modified Hardtop, and it is not being acknowledged as a car legal according to CHA rules. Damitz, who raced Hardtops for the first 20 years of his career, has been allowed track time with the group out of respect for his time in racing.

Two drivers who have emerged as the unlikely stars of the division are the father and son duo of Ken Clifford and Jason Clifford. Nicknamed affectionately "The Rocket Man" by his fellow competitors last year for his uncanny ability to finish last in the Main Event, Ken Clifford got his first career win at Chico last week. His son Jason has won two Main Events as well.

The odds on favorites to win in their legal Hardtops are Rob Waldrop (in Bill McLaughlin's car) and Tommy Thompson. However, neither of those drivers showed up for the last race at Antioch, won by Jason Clifford. Other competitors to watch for this week are Club President John Philbert, John Turner, Ron Ruiz, Dennis Armstrong, Dan Williams, Dave Mackey, Joe Hopp and Russ Kraft.

So once again, the Winged 360 Sprint Cars headline the six division show at Antioch Speedway this week. Other divisions will be the A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Dwarf Cars and the California Hardtop Association. For further information, go to the website at

All Star Modified Series Comes To Merced Speedway

Absent from last week's program at Merced Speedway were the IMCA Modifieds, but they return this week in a big way. It is an event billed as the All Star Modified Series, and it headlines the quarter mile clay oval track's program this week along with Hobby Stocks, USAC Honda HPD Midgets and Valley Sportsman.

As if to answer the concerns of his critics that he is not a Stock Car guy, promoter John Prentice has established the All Star Modified Series this year. Running IMCA rules, the series has booked dates at eight different race track during the course of the season. The goal is to crown a champion that will be the best of the best in the IMCA Modified division in California.

Last week in Tulare, the pits overflowed with enough cars in the division to get it B Main Event, and the feature win went to four time Antioch Speedway champion Troy Foulger. Foulger made a few appearances at Merced last year and was among the Main Event winners. Another hard charger expected this week will be past Merced Speedway and Hanford champion Paul Stone. Stone gave Foulger all he could handle last week before Foulger prevailed.

Promoter Ed Parker was lucky to land one of these dates on late notice, and a full pit of IMCA Modified drivers as anticipated. It really is a who's who of the best IMCA Modified racers. On the list of competitors to watch for this week will be Bobby Hogge IV, Duane Cleveland, who nearly won last week, Randy McDaniel and his son Ryan McDaniel, Kellen Chadwick and Cody Laney. Local leadfoots like Ramie Stone, track point leader Bill Egleston, Bruce "Bubba" Nelson, Jeff Streeter and Randy Brown should be there to defend the hometown honor. This is an event that IMCA Modified fans will not want to miss.

Emerging as an unlikely star in the Hobby Stock division is Dexter long. Though Long was the fifth ranked driver in the point standings in his rookie year last season, he wasn't exactly burning up the speedway. However, things have changed for the driver of the #911 car. Dexter has two second place finishes now. This would have been three, but he lost the third one last week in tech.

The trend of last year continues to be the trend of this year with multiple feature winners. We already have 5 different feature winners in five races in this division, including point leader Michael Shearer, Bruce Nelson, Phillip Vaughn, four time champion Raul Rodriguez and two time Watsonville champion Terry Campion.

Truthfully, there's at least another ten drivers who could be Main Event winners this week. Two of those drivers had to battle to get out of the B Main Event last week, defending track champion Kevin Joaquin and George Silva. Robbie Loquaci is a racer to be reckoned with this week as well. Two time champion Andrew Krumm, Austin Van Hoff, Garrett Corn, Kodie Dean, Cody Parker and hard charger Kristie Shearer are other drivers to watch for this week in the battle for victory.

The USAC Honda HPD Midgets are scheduled to make an appearance. Last season, the group ran mainly on the pavement, but there was a desire to try more dirt track races this year. USAC is always looking for ways to get new drivers into their Sprint Car and Midget ranks. As for who will be out there this week, we really can't tell you.

However, We do know that Ariel Biggs won the recent race for the group at Lemoore ahead Jesse Love IV, Ashley Hazelton and Antonia Boscacci. Hazelton has been racing at Ventura and is a feature winner there. She recently had a second place finish in a Focus Midgets race there. We think four to eight cars may be in action for this race.

We can say the same thing for the Valley Sportsman division. We don't really know who might show up this week, but we could see a half a dozen competitors. Last week saw the return of two time Sportsman champion Mike Friesen in a beautifully painted race car and Eric Seeley, who won the heat race. We also saw a rare sight. Division booster Kenny Birdsong, driving the Rod Poor tribute #25 car, scored his first Main Event victory. Everybody who knows what a supporter Birdsong is of this division was happy for him.

We know that at this point, at least eight drivers are capable of being out there this week, and possibly 10 -12. What we don't know is who is ready to come out and race, so we would put the guesstimate at six cars. Other drivers we will be watching for this week include Jeff Bristow, Mike Palmberg, Marcus Lung and Tim Prothro. This is a neat division that will hearken back to the days of the 1970's and the skinny cars.

To recap, the All Star Modified Series, using IMCA sanctioning, will headline the show along with Hobby Stocks, USAC Honda HPD Midgets and the Valley Sportsman division. For further information, check out the website at