Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Merced Speedway And Antioch Speedway Previews, Plus Hartops At Chico

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DCRR Racing Radio Show: Episode 73 by GenWhat

Antioch Speedway Returns From Rainout

It's been an interesting year. For the second time this season, rain just wouldn't let races happen at Antioch Speedway. Though it's doing wonders for the drought, it's not making the races wanting to put their cars on the race track feel better . This week, there is a five division show set to take place at Antioch Speedway, headlined by the Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Dwarf Cars and Hobby Stocks.

After a tumultuous season in which the rules were adjusted and car count dropped to as low as 5 race cars one night, the Spec Sprints seem to be doing better this year. A field of 16 cars competed last time, and it was Marcus Smith grabbing the victory. 
Coming off of his "Rookie Of The Year" performance last season, Marcus was set to take it up a notch this year. While preparing a new car for the season, Marcus was offered the ride in the Richard Baden #20 car. Marcus was excited about the opportunity, but his first outing at Marysville resulted in a flip. It didn't get much better when he blew a motor the next time out.

However, the team knew what they had, and they came back strong last time out to show that the teaming of Smith and Basden is a winning combination. Marcus grabbed the victory, and he is not that far out of the point lead.  Plus, it's still early in the game. What is interesting is that the car that Marcus was preparing for this year has won too with Dan Gonderman behind the wheel.

Gonderman finds himself third in the point standings, behind two other division originals. With a pair of third place finishes, the division's all time Main Event win leader and past champion Jim Perry Jr. is the point leader by two points ahead of Rick Panfili. Panfili has already enjoyed a career best night with a second place finish at the opener, and he's hungry for his first career feature win.

The Wingless Spec Sprint roster is stacked with talent, including past champion Jimmy Perry III, NFL alumni Jeremy Newberry, James East, defending champion Kyle Bakkie, rookie Adam Teves and Alan Miranda, who is coming off of a second place finish last time out.

Some of the best A Modified drivers in the state have competed in Antioch's A Modified division this year and are running high in the standings. The man who won the season opener, Aaron Crowell, is your point later, but he has some fast company behind him. Running second as he comes off of runner up performances in both A Modifieds and Late Models last time out is Troy Foulger. Teaming with car owner Billy Bowers, Foulger is a four time division champion with over two dozen career wins at Antioch Speedway alone.

Bobby Hogge IV has made multiple appearances, and not surprisingly he is a Main Event winner this year as well. In fact, Hogge has won Main Events in the A Modifieds and Late Models this year. However, the division has a new feature winner this season as Josh Combs won the Main Event last time out. The former pavement Late Model racer won that race with four past champions running right behind him.

Defending champion and 5 time IMCA Modified titlest Scott Busby has had nothing but bad luck so far this year, but he's anticipated this week along with 2014 Champion Carl Berendsen II, Shawn O'Gara, Chester Kniss and two time Petaluma champion Nick DeCarlo.

At the moment, it is Al Johnson who has stepped up to make a run at the B Modified championship. Johnson is one of the more dedicated racers at the speedway, and he's coming off of a runner up ranking last season. His goal this year is to finally grab a Main Event victory, and he has two second place finishes so far. If Johnson remains dedicated, he'll likely be the driver to win the championship this year.

Trevor Clymens finally got himself a Main Event win this season. The son of Antioch Speedway legend Debbie Clemens, Trevor won the last time out. Word out of Brentwood is that "Fast" Freddy Ryland, the 2015 champion, will be out there this week along with his 2015 "Rookie Of The Year" winning wife Patti Ryland. Fred is a two time Main Event winner as is recent Santa Maria winner Anthony Giuliani. Second ranked Shane DeVolder, a rookie this season, is anticipated along with Danny Jones, Ron Brown and Randy Brown.

In the Dwarf Car division, it appears as if Mike Corsaro and Kevin Miraglio are staking a claim on the championship this year. Corsaro shot out of the gate like a cannonball with the season opening feature victory, followed by a charge from tenth starting to second in the next Main Event. Miraglio has all top 5 finishes so far this year, and he's hot on the trail of his first feature win.

2015 Champion David Teves isn't seriously chasing the championship this year, but he could show up this week and try for a second feature win. Young Buddy Kniss is one of our top five contenders this year and will be there this week along with another top 5 driver, Brian Gray, Miranda Chappa, Tim Reeder and Josh Miller.

In the Hobby Stock division, there have been four different winners in four races. Rookie Guy Ahlwardt has three top three finishes in four starts, including one Main Event win. He leads the point standings ahead of another rookie, Lindsey Buirch. Lindsey is a bit of a surprise, but she's been doing a good job out there of making her laps. Not far behind Lindsey in third is another feature winner, Danny Jones. As it was last year, when Jones isn't running up at the front, he's usually on the sidelines.

2010 Champion Chris Sorensen is off to a good start this year with a Main Event win. He is anticipated this week along with fellow top five point runner Natalie Perry, newcomer Kevin Taylor, Calvin Lewis Jr., Russell Shearer and Jeremy Jennings. Word is that past champion Dan McCown will be there as well.

This week, it's five divisions of racing excitement at Antioch Speedway, headlined by Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Dwarf Cars and Hobby Stocks. It is sure to be a race you won't want to miss. For further information, check out the official website at

Hot IMCA Sport Mod Battle To Dry Off Merced Speedway

Rain has been a major nuisance for Merced Speedway this year, claiming three races so far. Ed Parker and the crew will have the track ready to go this week with a four division show, headlined by IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Valley Sportsman.

In the IMCA Sport Modified division, there are three drivers battling at the top of the point ladder. Not surprisingly, 2014 Champion Rick Diaz, driving the John Fore Jr. tribute car, is a two time feature winner. Also not a bit of a surprise is the point leader, 2000 Chowchilla Speedway Street Stock champion Steve Stone. Stone is also a feature winner.

You might be surprised by the third driver in the mix, 2015 Dwarf Car champion Mike Drake. On the heels of his impressive performance in Dwarf Cars last season, Drake landed the ride in the George Medeiros owned #07 car. Earlier this season, Drake came from the B Main to a second place feature finish, and he finished third last time out. It seems a good bet that he'll be a Main Event winner this year as well.

Car count has been so good in this division that B Main Events have been needed. The division welcomes newcomers such as Gavin Espino and Tanner Thomas. And, some hard charging veterans such as past Chowchilla Speedway Hobby Stock champion Chris Falkenburg, long time Merced racer Gary Tucker, Dwayne Short, 2015 champion Josh Hensley, Alex Odishoo and Tim Elias are anticipated this week.

When people were talking about who might win the Hobby Stock portion of the Ted Stofle Classic two weeks ago, it's not likely that Phil Vaughn or Dexter Long had their names appear on the top of the list. Long was coming off a career best second place finish in the race a week prior, but Vaughn's best Merced effort was a third place feature finish in 2015. However, these two drivers were a match for the race's 2015 champion and current point leader Michael Shearer.

Vaughn drove a patient race and made the move around Long to get the victory. Long once again settled for a second place finish, but it seems just a matter of time before the #911 car grabs a victory. Last season, there were a multitude of feature winners in this class, and we have four different winners in four races so far. Michael Shearer and two time Watsonville champion Terry Campion are also feature winners this year. Four time champion Raul Rodriguez Sr. is a feature winner as well.

Austin Van Hoff has had a rough start this year, but the 2015 Chowchilla Speedway point runner up is getting things dialed in quickly. Van Hoff should be there this week along with fellow Chowchilla resident Kodie Dean, hard charger Kristie Shearer, Cody Parker, Robbie Loquaci and George Silva.

Chris Corder has won all of the Mini Stock division races this season, and he's done it in two different cars. Corder seems to have a good hold on the Winner's Circle, and that makes him the driver everybody is gunning for this week. The 2014 Merced Speedway champion and 2015 Chowchilla Speedway champion is up to the challenge.

When her own ride wasn't ready, Joy Alger jumped behind the wheel of one of the Corder cars and finished a strong third last time out. Joy could be a driver to watch in the battle for victory this week. Two of the drivers who we thought could be contenders this year, Kevin Lockerby and Dennis Copus, are both out. Copus totaled his car in a crash the last time, and Lockerby has sold his car.

We're looking at two of the drivers that we tabbed to be contenders this year, teammates Mike Germait and James Stockton, to be threats to win in the weeks ahead. Paul Lauretti has a top three finish this year and could be another one to watch. Corder's sister and past runner up in this class, Jennifer Corder, has a car for a return to this division. "Rookie Of The Year" contender Destiny Carter should be there as well.

When we talk about the Sportsman division, the real question right now is who is going to come out and race? It was anticipated that a half a dozen cars would be there for the opener, but only three drivers bothered to show up. One of them, the #23 car driven by Tim Prothero, broke a clutch in the heat race. Division booster Kenny Birdsong and Jeff Bristow, who won the Main Event that night, should be there this week. But, who will be there to race with them?

It seems likely that the drivers on that list could include 2015 champion Marcus Lung, 2015 feature winner Eric Seeley and Mike Palmberg. Late word is that the gorgeous race car of two time Sportsman champion Mike Friesen may be there. We can only hope that the drivers will get behind this class and keep it going. It will be interesting to see who arrives this week.

In the meantime, the IMCA Sport Modifieds will headline the show along with Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and the Sportsman division. For further information, check out the track's official website at

Hardtops Set For Chico Silver Dollar Speedway Race

The California Hardtop Association is set for their third dirt track appearance of the season, and it will happen Friday night at Chico Silver Dollar Speedway.  What is interesting is that the star of the moment is second year racer Jason Clifford.  Clifford is piloting the black #4 car that Steve Lemley competed in at Sunset Speedway previously, and he's doing a great job so far.

In a somewhat brutal visit to Placerville, Jason kept out of trouble and held off Placerville veteran Dennis Armstrong to grab the victory.  He was put to the test at Antioch at the end of April.  Despite starting back in the fifth row, Jason worked his way to the front, took the lead from Armstrong and set sail for his second victory.

It's not unrealistic to say that Clifford is the driver to beat this week, and he has a group of drivers hoping that they will be the ones to do it.  Leading the charge will be D. Armstrong, who now has back to back runner up finishes.  There is also the winner of last year's Chico appearance, Rob Waldrop.  Waldrop had a rather forgettable showng at Placerville.

There's also the steady John Philbert, who is coming off of a Top 5 run at Antioch.  Ron Ruiz also had a good effort at Antioch, winning his heat race in addition to a Top 5 finish.  Any one of these drivers could be the one to get the win this week.  There's also Jason's proud father, Ken "The Ice Man" Clifford.

The roster of Hardtops at this point actually reaches into the 20's, and among the drivers who could show on Friday night is Dave Mackey, Joe Hopp, Russ Kraft, John Turner and the always fast Tommy Thomson and Jason Armstrong.  The Hardtops will run this race and end the month with another dirt track race at Antioch Speedway on May 28.  Watching these race cars gives the fans a glimpse at what the cars were like at now closed race tracks such as Vallejo Speedway and Contra Costa Speedway.