Thursday, June 16, 2016

Antioch Speedway And Merced Speedway Weekend Previews

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Winged Sprint Cars, Late Models Headline 
Six Division Show At Antioch Speedway

Antioch, CA...The solid start to the 2016 season at Antioch Speedway continues. The track is coming off of back to back 70 plus car fields, and promoter John M. Soares has another good program lined up for this Saturday night. Headlining the event will be the exciting DIRTcar Late Models and Winged 360 Sprint Cars along with Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modifieds, B Modifieds and Dwarf Cars. It is sure to be another show the fans won't want to miss.

The Late Models are coming off of a strong turnout last time that saw Clay Daly make a rare appearance and come home with another victory. Daly is currently in the Pacific Northwest assuming the Crew Chief duties for the two car Jenner Racing Team in the Wild West Modified Series. It is anticipated that defending champion Jeff Decker and 2014 champion Richard Papenhausen will be among the competitors this week. Papenhausen holds a slight advantage over Decker in the latest point standings.

Another team likely to be there will be the two car team of Paul Guglielmoni and Terry Kuntz. Paul actually owns a few different race cars and is known for bringing at least two of them to the shows that he supports. Also expected this week will be Top 5 competitor Chester Kniss, who is very much in the hunt for his first Late Model feature win. Recently married David Newquist currently sits third in the standings and is anticipated this week along with Dennis Sousa, Danny Malfatti, Mike Hynes and others.

The Winged Sprint Car division has been wide open, and you never know who might show up for a race on any given week. There are four different winners in four races, and while point championship contenders Billy Aton and Art McCarthy are two of those winners, other wins have been one earned by Koen Show and Shawn Conde. The lure of a good purse and a fast racetrack is bringing Sprint Car drivers from several different tracks to the John Soares prepared three-eighths mile clay oval.

There were 14 competitors in action last time out, and hard chargers like Dan Gonderman and Rick Brophy have been strong supporters for the season so far. Other drivers to watch for this week include reigning champion Shawn Arriaga, Sprint Car and open wheel veteran Burt Foland Jr., Ricky Brophy, Adam McCarthy and newcomer Tim Burcher.

Not surprisingly, Jim Perry Jr continues to pace the field in the Wingless Spec Sprint division. It may be difficult keeping this open wheel veteran from winning his second division championship. He has already won over 40 Main Events in this division in his career to put him at the top of the all time win list. Perry is coming off of a Top 3 finish last time out in a race won by Jason McIntosh. Joining these two drivers on the winner's list are two time champion Dan Gonderman and title hopeful Marcus Smith.

Smith had to get back behind the wheel of his #28 car for the most recent race and was a heat race winner. There is a good battle in the standings as longtime division competitor Rick Panfili, Shannon Newton, defending champion Kyle Bakkie and James East are others in the championship hunt. Though not in the hunt for the points right now, third generation racer Jimmy Perry III should not be counted out in the quest for victory.

The A Modified division has been a very intriguing contest. We know that we have three drivers who are trying to win the championship at this moment. There is the five time champion Scott Busby, who many might think is the guy to beat, but 2014 champion Carl Berendsen II is the point leader and Raymond Lindeman is also very much in the hunt. Berendsen has more reason to come out fast this week in his new car as he is still looking for his first career victory in this division. Carl has been a hard charger through the years and was a feature winner and two time point runner up in Street Stocks before getting into the Modified.

Because drivers will drift in and out as they are also competing for All Star Modified Tour points, you never know who might show up next, but rookie Bobby Montalvo, Sean O'Gara, John McDougall and Norman Boeck are among the drivers you might see this week. Trent Wentworth is coming off of another strong Top 5 finish last time out and is another driver to keep an eye on in the race for victory.

Victory is something that B Modified point leader Al Johnson would very much like. He had a Top 5 finish last week and has three second place finishes so far this year, but he can feel the presence of three time feature winner Trevor Clymens climbing up the point ladder. Trevor is coming off of another feature win on a night in which his suspension was hurt from a crash in the heat race that he won earlier that evening. Clymens may be the driver to beat this week, but after his second runner up finish last week, rookie Shane DeVolder will be hoping to get his first win.

Double division racer Danny Jones enjoyed a solid fourth place effort and is also not far behind DeVolder in a good race for third in the standings. K.C. Keller gave it a good run and battled Clymens for several laps early in last week's feature. He was also a heat race winner. Lonnie Leonard, Lloyd Cline, Randy Brown and Ron Brown are other drivers you might see this week, and you never know when reigning champion Fred Ryland may show up for another chance at a win. Ryland recently picked up wins at Southern Oregon Speedway and Siskiyou Motor Speedway.

Not to be forgotten in the mix is the always exciting Dwarf Car division. Kevin Miraglio has yet to win, and yet he has stretched his point advantage over one time feature winner Mike Corsaro to 40 points. It's still very early in the game, and Kevin hasn't had his dose of bad luck yet. He is hoping he can get his first Antioch feature win before that ever happens. Another driver looking for a feature win who may just get it is third place point runner Tim Reeder. Reader had a year last year in which a lot of things went wrong, but he always came back enthusiastically and gave it his best. He seems poised for that big moment to happen this year.  Third generation racer Buddy Kniss is balancing a  baseball career with Dwarf Car racing, and he currently has 78 year old Charlie Correia just two points behind him in the battle for fourth. Consider that Buddy is a teenager in high school and Correia has been racing for many years. Charlie is one of the longest running Dwarf Car drivers in the state of California and raced a Super Modified for years before that.

Though there are drivers who have come and gone in this division, the support of past Hobby Stock champion Robert Coe, Josh Miller, open wheel veteran Brian Gray and David Michael Rosa has helped keep the car count in double digits this year. Wade Humphrey is recovering from a broken leg suffered in a flip in the last Main Event, which was won by Thomas Leiby. As for Humphrey, it appears as if he will get back behind the wheel of his car once he is able to.

The racing is sure to be exciting at Antioch Speedway this Saturday night, and the divisions will include the Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Late Models, Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modifieds, B Modifieds and Dwarf Cars. For further information on this and other happenings at the speedway, go to

Antioch Speedway
Northern All Stars
Point Standings

Winged 360 Sprint Cars

Art McCarthy 194
Billy Aton 190
Dan Gonderman 140
Rick Brophy 134
Shawn Arriaga 132
Chris Magoon 126
Burt Foland Jr. 114
Koen Shaw  100
Jarrett Soares 88
Ricky Brophy 64

DIRTcar Late Model
Richard Papenhausen  156
Jeff Decker 144
David Newquist 134
Chester Kniss 126
Bobby Hogge IV 106
Dennis Souza 78
Mike Hynes 69
Danny Malfatti 66
Troy Foulger 52
Clay Daly 50

Wingless Spec Sprints
Jim Perry Jr. 190
Roy Fisher 174
James East 168
Rick Panfili 164
Shannon Newton 160
Kyle Bakkie 158
Marcus Smith 156
Brandon Burd 148
Alan Miranda 124
Adam Teves 122

A Modified
Carl Berendsen II 242
Raymond Lindeman 226
Scott Busby 211
Trent Wentworth 186
Troy Foulger 182
Bobby Montalvo 172
Sean O'Gara  168
John MacDougall 150
Aaron Crowell 146
Josh Combs 106

B Modifieds
Al Johnson 364
Trevor Clymens 328
Shane DeVolder 318
Danny Jones  296
K.C. Keller 226
Brian Pearce 176
Fred Ryland 164
Randy Brown 150
Lonnie Leonard 148
Lloyd Cline 144

Dwarf Cars
Kevin Miraglio 266
Mike Corsaro 226
Tom Reeder 192
Buddy Kniss 174
Charlie Correia 172
Robert Coe 162
Timmy Ryan 148
Josh Miller 134
Brian Gray 131
Wade Humphrey 122

Saturday Night Racing Returns To Merced Speedway

Merced, CA...The fair time break is over, and Saturday night racing returns to Merced Speedway with an exciting four division program that will be headlined by the IMCA Sport Modified division along with the Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and the Valley Sportsman division. Considering the car counts being offered up by Sport Modifieds and Hobby Stocks this season, it should be another great show.

A check of the point standings in the IMCA Sport Modified ranks shows that just 19 points separate point leader Rick Diaz from Steve Stone, Mike Drake, defending champion Josh Hensley and Tim Elias. Diaz is the only one of the group with more than one feature victory. In fact, only Stone has a feature victory of the remaining Top 5 drivers in the standings. Stone is just one point behind Diaz while two time Top 3 finisher Drake is just seven points out of the lead in the George Medeiros car.

The racing has been fast in this division all year long, and there are some tough competitors such as sixth ranked Gary Tucker and Chris Falkenberg who could score a victory at any point this season. Alex Odishoo has been quietly creeping up the point ladder and should not be counted out. After his Top 3 season last year, Dwayne Short holds on to a Top 10 ranking and is another driver hoping to get his first feature win this year.

Of the young guns in the division, second generation racer Tanner Thomas is doing the best. Tanner is just six points out of the Top 10 right now in 11th and currently tops the rookies in this division. More importantly, under the guidance of his Street Stock championship winning father Darren Thomas, Tanner is learning the ropes and doing a good job. A full field of Sport Modifieds is expected for this race, and you never know who may show up next. Diaz may be the man to beat, but there are several drivers out there nipping at his heels.

The Hobby Stock division has been an interesting affair. At this point, we've had five different winners in six races.  The only repeat winner is multi time division champion Raul Rodriguez Sr., who is not really chasing points this year. Dexter Long has finished as high as second in his sophomore season, and he finds himself 13 points behind one time feature winner Michael Shearer, who has been running strong most of the season. Last week was a speed bump for Shearer as he had his worst night of the season.

Kristie Shearer took a night off during the fair, and IMCA Modified veteran Tommy Bostic handled the driving duties well in his top five finish. Robbie Loquaci did equally well as the past Chowchilla Mini Stock champion finished third in the Main Event and holds down on fourth in the points by just three tallies over Cody Dean.

Being on the winner's list is something the drivers are shooting for, and that list grew to over a dozen drivers last season. On the list so far in addition to M. Shearer and Rodriguez is Ben Louis II, Ted Stofle Classic winner Phil Vaughn and two time Watsonville champion Terry Campion. Long seems poised to finally get his first win, but hard chargers such as K. Shearer, Loquaci, Dean, Garrett Corn, reigning champion Kevin Joaquin and Austin Van Hoff are others you'll have to keep an eye on.

The Mini Stock division has a dominant force in its midst with 2014 champion Chris Corder. Corder has taken the off time as an opportunity to go down to Watsonville Speedway and pick up a pair of feature wins. He opened the season with three feature victories this year, but it was Jason Lewis snapping his win streak last time out. Remarkably, Corder only holds a three point lead over Joy Alger in the battle for the championship, and one of the drivers we tabbed as a driver who could be a threat to Corder this year, James Stockton, is only 10 points out of the lead. Stockton had a runner up finish last time out, and he leads his teammate Mike Germait by just two points in the battle for third.

Rookie Destiny Carter has done a good job of ranking fifth in the standings, but the teenager is taking a vacation that will take her out of the action for a few weeks. This is the opportunity for Paul Laoretti to try and climb back into the Top 5. Laoretti has a pair of Top 5 feature finishes this year. The Mini Stock division continues to do okay this season, and several drivers have taken this division as an opportunity to get into racing at Merced Speedway. Having sold her Hobby Stock, Jennifer Corder managed to make a trade and get back into the division in which she ranked second in the standings back in 2014. She should not be counted out along with teammate Alger in the quest to join her brother Chris Corder on the winner's list.

In the Valley Sportsman division, Kenny Birdsong has won a pair of Main Events. Birdsong is driving the Rod Poor tribute car. A recent tabulation of cars in the area finds over a dozen cars are ready or close to ready, and that means that seeing an increase in car count is a possibility. At the moment, Birdsong leads season opener winner Jeff  Bristow by just four points. Mike Friesen, Eric Seeley, Tim Prothro and Mike Palmberg are other racers that we've seen so far this year, and we've heard that Jeannie Canepa-Reveal may be next to debut her car. The more cars the merrier as this division is a fun division to watch.

To recap, racing comes back this Saturday night at Merced Speedway with a four division show that will be headlined by the IMCA Sport Modifieds and Hobby Stocks. These two divisions alone could have enough of a car count to require B Mains in both classes. Add the Mini Stock and Sportsman divisions to the mix, and you have a show that you won't want to miss. For further information on this and other happenings at Merced Speedway, go to

Merced Speedway Points

IMCA Sport Modifieds

Rick Diaz 185
Steve Stone 184
Mike Drake 178
Josh Hensley 168
Tim Elias 166
Gary Tucker 149
Alex Odishoo 139
Chris Falkenberg 133
Dwayne Short 129
Andy Welch 117

Hobby Stock
Michael Shearer 121
Dexter Long 108
Kristie Shearer 101
Robbie Loquaci 98
Kodie Dean 95
Garrett Corn 92
Phillip Vaughn 88
Kevin Joaquin 84
Austin Van Hoff 83
Andrew Krumm 70

Mini Stock
Chris Corder 69
Joy Alger 66
James Stockton 59
Mike Germait 57
Destiny Carter 56
Paul Lauretti 46
Dennis Copus 44
Curtis Thornhill 39
Jason Lewis 39
Lucy Falkenberg 32

Valley Sportsman
Kenny Birdsong 59
Jeff Bristow 55
Eric Seely 36
Mike Friesen 36
Tim Prothro 18
Mike Palmberg 17