Friday, July 22, 2016

Antioch Speedway And Merced Speedway Previews

First of all...

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

Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover

On Sale At Reduced Price

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

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


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

DCRR Racing Media And PR Consulting  HERE

RCRR Racing Radio Show

DIRTCar Late Models Lead Six Division Show 
At Antioch Speedway Saturday Night

Antioch, CA...The DIRTcar Late Models make their sixth appearance at Antioch Speedway this Saturday night as part of a six division show on John Soares's fast 3/8 mile clay oval.  Joining them on the card will be the Wingless Spec Sprints, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.

So far there have been four different winners in the five Late Model races held so far.  A very competitive Late Model race was held two weeks ago, won by Bobby Hogge IV ahead of point leader Richard Papenhousen.  Papanhausen has been consistent so far this year, though he has just one win.  Twice he has finished second to Hogge, the first time losing the lead to Hogge with two laps remaining in the Main Event.  He is doing what he needs to do to reclaim his spot as track champion, but if you know Richard, you know he wants to win races.

Jeff Decker has been in enough point battles in his time in Late Models to know it's about getting consistent finishes.  Last time out, he failed to make the Top 5 and lost a little bit of ground to Papenhsusen.  Decker is a Main Event winner this season, and he's hoping to rebound with another victory this week.  At the moment, Decker is in no danger of losing third in the standings, and he trails Papenhausen by just 20 points.  Like last year, this could be a battle that goes down to the final race of the season.

Despite a few difficult moments, including rolling his race car,  Chester Kniss finds himself holding down third in the standings.  Kniss leads Late Model diehard Dennis Souza's by just seven points, with Hogge only nine points back.  You never know when Hogge is actually going to show up, though it seems unlikely this week.  Kniss picked up his first heat race win earlier this year, but he's hungry to get his first Main Event victory.  He is definitely up to speed with the leaders, and that win can happen at any time.

It's hard to say who will show up and race this week as the track has seen some surprise visitors, including Andy Obetello, who finished third last time out, and one time feature winner Clay Daly, who rarely shows up at the track.  Drivers to watch for this week include Mike Hynes, David Newquist, Denny Malfatti, Paul Guglielmoni and Rob Norris.

If anybody thought the Wingless Spec Sprint battle was over, Marcus Smith served a very big reminder last week that he is still in the hunt with past division champion Jim Perry Jr.  Perry has had a rough go of it in the past few races, though he did manage a fourth place finish last time out.  Driving for Richard Basden, Smith had three straight third place finishes leading up to last week's Main Event win.  It was the second feature victory of the season and makes things just a bit closer between he and Perry.  The Perry lead over Smith is 16 points at the moment.

Though Rick Panfili continues to hold down third in the standings, the last race was not a very good one for him.  After another strong showing in third, Roy Fisher has moved back to within 10 points of Brandon Burd for fourth in the standings.  Burd is only 26 points behind Panfili at the moment.  With Smith now engaging Perry in the championship battle, it will be interesting to see how Perry responds this week.  However, there are some other drivers, in addition to the Top 5 competitors, very capable of winning Main Events, and other drivers to watch for this week include James East, Alan Miranda, Shannon Newton and Dan Gonderman.

The Wingless Spec Sprint class has a pair of rookies in its midst, led by 16 year old Adam Teves in the Lloyd Beard Special.  Adam was coming off of a Top 5 finish the last time out, but unfortunately he blew a motor in his heat race last week to end his night.  Word was he could be out of action for a race or two getting another motor back together.  Meanwhile, rookie Kevin Box was making some good laps in only his third start at the speedway last week.  The Wingless Spec Sprint division has been a good launching pad for some competitive Sprint Car racers, including past champions Ryan Bernal, D.J. Johnson and Billy Aton.

The B Modified point battle continues to get closer with each race.  Despite missing a race, Trevor Clymens is closing in slowly on leader Al Johnson.  Though Johnson has three second place feature finishes, Clymens has three feature wins, and he's coming off of a second place finish last week.  Johnson did win a heat race earlier in the night and grabbed a Top 5 feature finish, which kept the point damage down to a minimum, but he still only leads Clymens by 14 points at the moment.  Johnson is still looking for his first feature win, and he may need it to keep Clymens at bay.

Shane DeVolder is hanging in there in the battle and coming off of his latest Top 3 finish.  DeVolder is another driver looking for his first win, and he has a pair of second place finishes at Antioch Speedway so far this year.  The driver of the moment last week was K.C. Keller, who drove a great race from the back of the pack to pass Clymens late and score his second feature win of the year.  Will Keller be able to grab his third win this week?

Last week, Anthony Giuliani was headed for his third feature win when mechanical issues slowed him down.  Giuliani has been spending some of his Saturday nights down at Santa Maria Raceway, where he's been in contention for the track championship.  Drivers to watch for this week include Lloyd Cline, Danny Jones, Randy Brown and Lonnie Leonard, who picked up a heat race win last week.

Last week, it was a proud moment for the Garner family.  Limited Late Model title contender Mark Garner was joined in the division by his son Billy Garner, making it three generations of the Garner family to compete at Antioch Speedway and four generations of the family to race.  Though it was not the best of nights as far as results, Mark was still happy to be out there racing against his son.  However, he cannot afford to have many bad nights like he did last week, or it's going to wipe out any hope he has of winning the championship.

When you have a driver with the skill set of Larry Damitz, you have to be on your game.  Despite the fact that he is 87 years old, Larry leads the point standings as he searches for his fifth championship in six seasons.   "The Sundrop Kid" drove to his second feature win in a row and third of the year last week, coming from the back of the pack to do it.  Chasing Larry across the finish line was the division's all time feature win leader and two time champion Mike Gustafson.

Still keeping his name in contention is three time Hobby Stock champion Kimo Oreta.  Though he is in his rookie season, Kimo is in contention for the track championship.  He didn't hurt his cause by finishing third in the Main Event last week.  Oreta knows a thing or two about what it takes to win championships, and being a consistent Top 3 finisher is one of those things.  He has yet to win his first Main Event in this division, but his heat race win two weeks ago shows that that a feature win may be just around the corner.  Other drivers to watch for this week include Lori Brown, Jim Freethy, John Keith and the steady John Evans, who currently sits fifth in the point standings.

It has been a while since we've seen the Dwarf Car division at Antioch Speedway, but they are still very much a part of the show.  With the time off, point leader Kevin Miraglio was keeping his skills sharp by grabbing Top 5 finishes in recent starts at Petaluma Speedway and with the NorCal Dwarf Car group.  Miragio actually won the Main Event last time out and holds the biggest point lead at the track with a 40 point advantage over one time feature winner Mike Corsaro.  The championship battle is very much between these two drivers, and Kevin knows he must stay on the top of his game or Corsaro could real him in.

Having a "Most Improved Driver" kind of season in third is Tim Reeder.  Reeder had nothing but bad luck last season, but he has stayed consistent this year and holds a 24 point advantage over Corsaro's teammate and open wheel veteran Charlie "The Hammer" Correia.  Also hanging in there back in fifth in the standings, 34 points behind Reeder, is Buddy Kniss.  Buddy suffered a wrist injury in his last start at the speedway, but he has since had the cast removed and has been engaging in his other passion, baseball.

The Dwarf Cars always put on an exciting program at the speedway, and you never really know who could win on any given week.  Drivers to keep an eye on this week included Josh Miller, past Hobby Stock champion Robert Coe, David Rosa, Brian Gray and rookie Timmy Ryan.
Speaking of the Hobby Stock division, Danny Jones has engaged the battle with rookie Guy Ahlwardt for the track championship.  Four time feature winner Ahlwardt was on his way to the front of the pack once again last week, but he did not get the repeat performance of the previous feature when Jones surrendered the lead on the last lap.  This time, the Stock Car veteran Jones held on and recorded his second feature win of the year.  The race is getting just a little bit tighter following the latest event.

While the battle for first is close, there's also a good battle going on for third in the standings between Cameron Swank, Michael Cooper and Lindsay Buirch.  Cooper certainly helped his cause with his Top 5 finish and heat race win last week.  If not for his work schedule keeping him from making some of the races, Cooper would likely be in the title battle right now.  Young Buirch is doing a great job of contending for a top five ranking in what is her first season at the track.

Meanwhile, 2010 champion Chris Sorensen had another solid performance in fourth last week, coming off back to back third place finishes.  He finished behind third place finisher Rob Waldrop last week.  Both drivers will become players in the race to make it into the Top 5 in the standings if they keep up this pace, but more importantly, either one of these two drivers could win a Main Event on any given week.  Other drivers to keep an eye on this week include Jordan Swank, Frank Furtado, Natalie Perry and rookie Anthony Vigna.

When racing resumes at Antioch Speedway this week, the fans will get to watch DIRTcar Late Models along with the All Star Series Wingless Spec Sprints, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Dwarf Cars and Hobby Stocks.  It should be another great night of racing at the speedway.  For further information, go to

Antioch Speedway Points
All Star Series

Wingless Spec Sprint
Jim Perry Jr. 374
Marcus Smith 332
Rick Panfili 332
Brandon Burd 316
Roy Fisher 310

DIRTcar Late Model
Richard Papenhausen 362
Jeff Decker 342
Cbester Kniss 171
Dennis Souza 164
Bobby Hogge IV 162

Limited Late Model
Larry Damitz 356
Kimo Oreta 338
Mark Garner 332
Jim Freethy 272
John Evans 252

B Modified
Al Johnson 546
Trevor Clymens 532
Shane DeVolder 502
Danny Jones 416
K.C. Keller 374

Hobby Stocks
Guy Ahlwardt 408
Danny Jones 379
Cameron Swank 334
Lindsey Buirch 318
Michael Cooper 310

Dwarf Cars
Kevin Miraglio 320
Mike Corsaro 280
Tim Reeder 234
Charlie Correia 210
Buddy Kniss 200

Modified Championship battles Heat Up At Merced Speedway

Merced, CA...  Merced Speedway is preparing for a two week summer break, but before they do, there's one more point race opportunity for three of the track's regular divisions this Saturday night.  As we've reached the halfway point of the season, the championship battle for the IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds have gotten intense.  Last week saw a tie get broken and a driver jumped from third to first in the two IMCA sanctioned divisions.  Joining these two classes on the card this Saturday night will be the Mini Stock division, while the Box Stock Karts will run on the smaller infield track.  The Hobby Stock division is taking a well deserved break, but they will be back for Legend's Night on August 13th.

With Bill Egleston leading the IMCA Modified point battle going into last week and multi time champion Ramie Stone a close second, people may have forgotten the driver in third place.  However, they know very well who he is now.  Last week, Randy Brown drove a masterful race and scored his third feature win of the season.  A past champion at his home track in Chowchilla, Randy is gunning for the Merced title this year, and his win catapulted him above Egleston and Stone into first place.  Neither of the other two drivers could even score a Top 10 feature finish last week, and Brown now holds a 4 point lead over Egleston. The last two weeks have not been very good for Egleston and Stone, and they will need to step up their game this week and establish a little momentum going into the break.

A Top 3.ranking is not out of the question for either rookie Bruce "Bubba" Nelson or last year's point runner up Ricky Thatcher.  Thatcher enjoyed one of his best finishes of the year in sixth last week, which moved him into a tie with Nelson for fourth in the standings, 17 points behind Stone.  The way Nelson has looked this year, a feature win for him would not be a big surprise.  Another driver that it would not be a big surprise to see claim the glory would be fourth generation racer Ryan Porter.  Porter has only made the last three races, but he has earned Top 5 finishes in all three.  Last week was his best effort yet in second.

There are some very competitive racers in the track's IMCA Modified division, including Mike Villanueva, who also has only run the last three races.  A past Modified champion himself, Villanueva kicked it off with a pair of sixth place finishes, and took it up a notch last week with his third place finish.  Past Top 3 ranked driver Troy Stone is another veteran competitor who has just run the last three races.  Through the years, Troy has won his share of Main Events, and he could be a threat to win a feature on any given week.  Other drivers to watch for this week include D.J. Shannon, Harley Turner, Karl Rose, Jarod Fast and Robert Marsh.

In the IMCA Sport Modified division, it appears as if 2014 champion Rick Diaz is beginning to hit his stride, while Steve Stone has struggled with back to back non finishes.  This has shaken up the points as Diaz has built up a 25 point lead over Stone.  A new battle has developed between three drivers for second.  Though Stone still holds that position, Mike Drake used his fifth place finish last week in the Georgia Medeiros car to move to within four points of second, while reigning champion Josh Hensley is only 10 points out of second.  Stone is the only one of the three drivers who has won a Main Event this year, though Drake has finished second.  Not to be left out of this battle is Tim Elias, who is 13 points behind Stone, and Merced Speedway veteran Gary Tucker, who was only 15 points out.  In this very competitive division, it's anybody's guess who might end up second in the points, and the championship battle is far from over.

For that matter, there are some good drivers still battling to get their first feature wins this season.  With three time winners like Diaz and reigning IMCA Sport Modified State champion Fred Ryland in the field, it's difficult for anybody else to break through and get that win.  Ryland picked up his second straight Main Event win last week, and he did it after starting back 11th.  Merced Speedway has maybe the most competitive IMCA Sport Modified division in the state of California, and you have to be on your game to get a victory here.  Danny Roe recently had his season best second place finish, and last week saw an impressive performance turned in by last year's third place point competitor, Dwayne Short.  Short won his heat race, and then led several laps in the Main Event before falling back to a still respectable third place finish ahead of 2015 point runner up Mark Odgers. 

The division is still getting B Mains, and Top 10 competitor Alex Odishoo recently had to win a B Main to get into the Main Event.  Odishoo is a past of Mini Stock champion at the speedway and is another driver to keep an eye on, as well as young up and comer Tanner Thomas.  The competition level is fierce at Merced Speedway, and drivers like Nick Tucker, Chase Thomas, Mark Squadrito, Andy Welch and Chris Falkenberg are others to keep an eye on.

With four feature wins in six starts, 2014 Mini Stock champion Chris Corder continues to lead the way.  Corder is simply one of the best Mini Stock drivers in the state of California, and he's a big supporter of the division as his team usually brings two or three cars to the track.  Last time out, Corder did win his heat race, but he struggled and finished out of the Top 3 in the Main Event.  This opened the door for other drivers to take the spotlight, and Curtis Thornhill shined brightly with his first Main Event win ahead of hard charger Brian Widdowson.  Making Widdowson's second place effort even more impressive was the fact that he rolled his car earlier in the race.

Corder is slowly pulling away from the field and has a big enough point lead that he could skip this week and still be leading.  The battle right now is for second, where Paul Laoretti has an advantage of five points ahead of rookie Destiny Carter and a six point lead over Thornhill.  Carter is driving one of the Corder cars as she lives out her dream of racing at the track at which she grew up.  Car count was a bit light last time, but more cars are anticipated this week.  Drivers to keep an eye on include Jennifer Corder, Lucy Falkenberg, Mike Germait, James Stockton, the truck of Tony Peffer and Jason Lewis.  Lewis is the other Main Event winner this year and also has a second place finish. 

We haven't heard much as far as who will be racing in the Box Stock division, but we do know that third generation racer Aiden Larimer won the Main Event last time out.  Aiden has been racing at other tracks in the area including Chowchilla and Atwater.  Drivers from the neighboring tracks could be a part of the show, and if we happen to get any information on who is running and who wins, we will pass that along here.

To recap, before the track hits the two week break, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Mini Stocks and a Box Stock race on the infield track will race at Merced Speedway this week.  When the track comes back from the two week break on August 13th, it will be Legend's Night, featuring IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Valley Sportsman cars.  For further information, go to

Merced Speedway Points

IMCA Modifieds

Randy Brown 281
Bill Egleston 277
Ramie Stone 266
Bruce Nelson 249
Ricky Thatcher 249
Jarod Fast 228
Paul Stone 188
Jeff Streeter 183
Harley Turner 135
T.J. Etchinson III 125

IMCA Sport Modifieds
Rick Diaz 332
Steve Stone 307
Mike Drake 303
Josh Hensley 297
Tim Elias 294
Gary Tucker 292
Dwayne Short 246
Alex Odishoo 234
Fred Ryland 229
Tanner Thomas 208

Mini Stocks
Chris Corder 106
Paul Lauretti 77
Destiny Carter 72
Curtis Thornhill 71
Joy Alger 66
James Stockton 59
Mike Germait 57
Tony Peffer 45
Dennis Copus 44
Brian Widdowson 43

Hobby Stocks
Michael Shearer 189
Kristie Shearer 149
Robbie Loquaci 137
Kevin Joaquin 133
Garrett Corn 127
Kodie Dean 125
Phil Vaughn 121
Darren Miguel 115
Austin VanHoff 112
Dexter Long 108

Valley Sportsman
Kenny Birdsong 95
Jeff Bristow 86
Mike Friesen 75
Eric Seely 49
Tim Prothro 37 

New winners At Orland Raceway
Orland, CA...July 15...Racing resumed at Orland Raceway with a Friday night event.  It was Round #5 of the scheduled ten race season, but there is word of Promoter Rich Hood potentially adding a race or two and possibly adding divisions to some of the dates.  On Friday night, Keith Ross won his first Mini Truck Main Event of the season, while Shannon Collins was the fifth different winner in five Hobby Stock races.  Donovan Chilton won his second Mini Stock Main Event while Skyler Richter won the 600 Mini Sprint race ahead of reining champion Jeromie Crismon.  The Local Girl Scout Troop, Daisy Troop #70359, was on hand to sell cookies and raise funds for their group.  The girls also served as trophy kids for the night.

Since winning the Mini Truck championship last year, Keith Ross has struggled this season to get a win.  A week earlier, he broke through to score a $500 victory in a race at Hayfork Speedway.  On Friday night, he battled two time winner Dan Webster to get the victory.  Webster beat Ross to win the heat race, but Ross was not to be denied the Main Event win.  Webster was a strong second ahead of past champion Ross Vige, two time winner Olin Crane, William Fogle, Leroy Beck and Nathan Skaggs.

It seems like Steve Martin may not be winning all the Hobby Stock races this year, but the winners have to go through him to get the victory.  One time winner Jeremy Langenderfer held off Martin to win the heat race.  Shannon Collins was third in points last year, and he's competing for the Marysville championship this season.  Friday night gave him an opportunity to come back to Orland, and he would battle Martin to become the fifth different winner of the season.  Martin settled for another second ahead of Langenderfer, Cody Bundy and Mike Gomez.

Donovan Chilton had a great night in Mini Stocks, which started when he held off the Hornet of Dustin Hills to win his heat race.  Jeff Bennett won the other heat ahead of Eric Hammond.  Hills was feeling pretty racey in his Hornet, but Chilton came to win.  Two races ago, he won for the first time this season, and Chilton returned to the winner's circle once more.  Hills settled for a season best second ahead of past champion John Kirkpatrick.  Bennett placed fourth ahead of previous winner Robert Hunt, Hammond and Seth Libbee.

Results are still forthcoming from the July 2nd event, but winners according to pictures were Skyler Richter (600 Mini Sprints), Andrew Love, (250 Karts), Brad Ray (Hobby Stocks), Dan Webster (Mini Trucks) and Robert Hunt (Mini Stocks).  We're still working on getting more details.  Racing resumes on Saturday, July 30th, with the regular divisions back in action.  For further information, go to