Thursday, August 18, 2016

Antioch Speedway And Merced Speedway Weekend Previews

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Open Wheel Race Cars, Old Time Race Cars Highlight 
Six Division Show At Antioch Speedway

Antioch, CA...This Saturday night, the racing program at Antioch Speedway will again be loaded with great racing throughout the night. The headliners will once again be the exciting All Star Series Winged 360 Sprint Cars. Art McCarthy has hit his stride and Billy Aton will have to step up his game to keep the old veteran behind him in the standings. Also competing will be the Bay Cities Racing Association Midget Lites, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stock and Hardtops.

The battle is heating up in the Winged 360 Sprint Car division between veteran Art McCarthy and Billy Aton. A past champion of this division at both Antioch and Petaluma, McCarthy seems to be making a run at point leader Aton. Art has won two of the last three Main Events and has now moved to within 21 points of the past Wingless Spec Sprint champion Aton in a good championship battle. Despite the fact that McCarthy has been winning, Aton is usually not very far behind him. Last week, it was Aton giving McCarthy all he could handle before the race ended abruptly.

What ended the race was a spectacular flip by Dan Gonderman. Gonderman was in the Top 3 battle when contact sent him flipping with three laps to go. It was the second flip of the season for the Top 5 ranked racer. Though he was not injured, we haven't heard whether he'll be ready to go for this race. Gonderman has been a regular competitor at the speedway for years and has also competed in the Wingless Spec Sprint division this season, earning two victories there.

Management has been growing this division over the past few seasons, and given the nice purse offered to the popular division, drivers seem to come in from various other places to compete every week. The local contingent continues to grow with other somewhat regular competitors including Burt Foland Jr., Rick Brophy, reigning champion Shawn Arriaga, Adam McCarthy, Tim Burcher and 2014 champion Chris Magoon.

The Bay Cities Racing Association Midget Lites pay their second and final appearance to the speedway this week. Last time, Craig Dillard scored the victory ahead of Australian Scott Males and Dakota Albright. Not surprisingly, the reigning champion Dillard has a comfortable lead in the championship battle, while the steady Kyle Offill and Males battle closely for second. Longtime competitor Scott Kinney, two time San Jose Speedway Sprint Car champion Charlie Caraccilo, Tim Kinser and Chris Hansen are other fast competitors in the group.

The Bay Cities Racing Association is a proud organization that has existed for over 70 years. The organization in its heyday sanctioned Midgets and Hardtop racing at several race tracks. When the Hardtop division was dropped, BCRA continued to sanction Midget racing.

It wasn't until the 1990s when the Midget Lites came to the bigger tracks. BCRA actually renamed the division, which was once called Mini Sprints and raced on the small one-eight mile tracks, including the one in Stockton. At that time, a group called The Northern Stars had a very competitive circuit and called Antioch Speedway a home track. By the late 1990s, that organization faded away and BCRA took over the group. The Midget Lites compete at several venues during the course of the season and usually put on a good show. Saturday night should be no exception.

Speaking of competitive shows, the B Modified division is more exciting than ever. Six time Main Event winner Trevor Clymens seems to be on his way to his first track championship. Though he was shut out of the Main Event winner's circle last week, he did win his ninth heat race of the year, keeping his lead over the steady Al Johnson, who finished fifth last week behind Clymens. However, these two drivers have company in the championship race, and it's far from over.

A young up and comer named Shane DeVolder has been making his presence known not just at Antioch but elsewhere on the circuit. DeVolder had five second place finishes going into last week, but he finally broke through to get his first career Main Event win. Shane's father is Petaluma Street Stock champion Dean DeVolder, and this young man got his start late last season at 16 years old. This is his first full season, and he is the top rookie in the group.

Saturday night was also a night to shine for Stock Car veteran Danny Jones. Danny had company in the battle for second place as the flying Brian Pearce was right there with him, but he still scored his division best second place finish. Jones is currently leading the race for the Hobby Stock championship, and Pearce is making a comeback from a hard crash suffered in his battle for a victory earlier this year. Both competitors should be out there this week. Other drivers to watch for include Chuck Golden, Randy Brown, Kevin Brown, Lloyd Cline and Paul Mulder.

The Limited Late Model championship battle may be in hand for 87 year old Larry Damitz. Damitz has four victories so far, and last week saw him come from the back of the pack to finish second behind another longtime racer, Mike Gustafson. In the point battle, Damitz put a little bit more distance between himself and second place, where the battle seems to be engaged at the moment.

After collecting a third place finish, rookie Kimo Oreta ended up passing three time feature winner Mark Garner for second in the standings. Garner had won his heat race earlier in the evening, but his luck in the Main Event went downhill from there. Oreta leads Garner by just six points at the moment, and both drivers will be hungry for victory this week. Other drivers to watch for include John Evans, John Keith, Jim Freethy and Lori Brown.

In the Hobby Stock division, it looked liked things might be over in the battle between rookie Guy Ahlwardt and Danny Jones back in early July. Ahlwardt was building what looked like it could be an insurmountable lead when things started to go bad for him. It just goes to show that you can't take anything for granted in points racing. Danny Jones has been on a bit of a roll lately with four Main Event wins to his credit, and he now leads Ahlwardt in a still very close championship battle. This race looks like it could go down to the wire, and either one of these drivers is capable of winning it. Though Ahlwardt comes out there with a fast race car, Jones carries years of experience with him.

Either one of these drivers knows that to win from week to week you have to beat some competitive racers. One of them is third ranked Michael Cooper, who recently scored that first career feature win after five seasons. Cooper has been having a lot of fun this year racing with his brother in law and last year's "Rookie Of The Year" Jordan Swank. Jordan's cousin Cameron has also been fast, and either one of these guys could win on any given week.

The last month has been a difficult one for Natalie Perry, but she continues to come back with much enthusiasm. She is hoping to get the bad luck behind her as she makes another run for a feature win this week. Veteran Rob Waldrop and 2010 champion Chris Sorensen are other hard chargers who seem to make their presence known at the front from week to week. Other drivers to watch for this week include Top 5 ranked competitor Lindsay Buirch, hard charger Jason Jennings, Chris Long, Mitchell Loccicere and the steady Frank Furtato.

The Hardtop division is coming up on some big races. Next month, they bring back the Chet Thomson Memorial race at Antioch Speedway on September 10th. They also have a big upcoming exhibition at Calistoga on Labor Day weekend. They are coming off of a big race that honored past Petaluma and Antioch Speedway promoter, John P. Soares. In that race at Petaluma, Placerville competitor Jason Armstrong collected a win in only his second start in that car.

It's uncertain who may show up to race in the group, but two Bay Area competitors anticipated finished second and third last week. Tommy Thomson made his first start of the season a good one as he drove his green #39 car to a second place finish in front of his friend, Dan Williams. Both of these drivers were pretty much on the ground floor of the Bay Area Hardtop movement nearly a decade ago. Williams comes with some experience as a past Mini Stock champion at Petaluma Speedway. Thomson is actually wheeling the car that he drove at Vallejo Speedway and won Main Events with in the 1970's.
To get a win at Antioch Speedway, however, you might have to go through Dave Mackey to get it. He has two wins in Antioch and three wins on the circuit. Another hard charger to watch for is the guy who won the most dirt track races with the group last year, Rob Waldrop. Rumor was that Waldrop might be piloting a different car for owner Bill McLaughlin when the division hits the track this week. Other competitors to watch for include Ken Clifford, Dennis Armstrong, Larry Damitz and Steve Cloyes.

Editor's Note:  The reports from last week of Rob Waldrop driving the other Bill McLaughlin car have changed.  The #36 car will be in action this week, but it will be a different driver.  The name of the driver was not available as of very early Friday morning...

Saturday night will be a great night for a race at Antioch Speedway. With Winged 360 Sprint Cars, BCRA Midget Lites, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hardtops and Hobby Stocks on the card, it is a packed program you won't want to miss. For further information, check out

All Star Series
Antioch Speedway Points

Winged 360 Sprint Car
Billy Aton 474
Artt McCarthy 453
Dan Gonderman 326
Burt Foland Jr. 242
Shawn Arriaga 189
Rick Brophy 174
Matt Barber 136
Bobby McMahan 136
Zack Lynsky 126
Matt DeMartini 120

Limited Late Model
Larry Damitz 516
Kimo Oreta 488
Mark Garner 482
John Evans 382
Mike Gustafson 336
Lori Brown 279
Jim Freethy 272
Paul Hanley 82
Billy Garner 80
Steve Studebaker 54

B Modified
Trevor Clymens 748
Al Johnson 728
Shane DeVolder 712
Danny Jones 582
K.C. Keller 494
Randy Brown 326
Brian Pearce 280
Lloyd Cline 271
Anthony Giuliani 269
Chuck Golden 248

Hobby Stock
Danny Jones 537
Guy Ahlwardt 528
Michael Cooper 450
Lindsey Buirch 432
Cameron Swank 408
Jordan Swank 404
Chris Sorensen 403
Rob Waldrop 334
Anthony Vigna 322
Natalie Perry 321

BCRA Midget Lites
Craig Dillard    813
Kyle Offill    774
Scott Males    713
Chris Hansen    600
Tim Kinser    556
Scott Kinney    541
Nate Buffa    519
Emilee Lindgren    510
Hunter Kinney    460
Charlie Caraccilo 408

IMCA Modifieds Back In Action 
At Merced Speedway Saturday Night

Merced, CA...On the heels of the highly successful Legends Of Merced Speedway night, the regular program returns to the track this Saturday night. Having been out of action for the last three weeks, the highly competitive IMCA Modified division headlines the show along with the IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks.

Randy Brown has hit his stride in a quest to win his first Merced Speedway championship. The past Chowchilla champion has rattled off two second place and two first place finishes in his last four starts and now carries a 13 point advantage over 2012 Merced Speedway champion Bill Egleston. Also in the hunt right now it is multi time Merced Speedway champion Ramie Stone, only 18 points out of the lead.

What has assisted Brown in his championship quest has been the hard luck encountered by both Egleston and Stone in recent races. Both drivers have finished outside of the Top 10 multiple times in the last four events. Stone finally broke out of his slump with a fifth place finish in the last July race.

While the Top 3 point competitors are all feature winners this year and drivers to watch, the same holds true for Mike Villanueva. Last time out, Mike won the Main Event in a good battle with Brown. He has only run the last four races, but he has finished no lower than sixth. He may be going for two in a row, but another driver hungry for victory is top rookie Bruce "Bubba" Nelson, who currently ranks fourth in the standings, just two points ahead of Ricky Thatcher. Nelson has now won three Main Events in the Hobby Stock division this year, but his high water mark so far in the Modified division is a third place finish earlier this year.

There are some tough competitors in the Modified division, and other drivers to watch for this week include fourth generation racer Ryan Porter. rookie Ryan Larimer, Jarod Fast, Jeff Streeter and Harley Turner.

Rick Diaz is on a roll in the IMCA Sport Modified division, and that's bad news for the competition. When Diaz won his first championship at the speedway back in 2014, he only beat Ramie Stone by a few points. After his fifth win of the season last week, he now leads Mike Drake by 38 points. While that is not an insurmountable lead, the odds of beating Diaz for this championship are not very good at the moment.
The battle is for second in the standings right now, and at this point it is a three car race between Mike Drake, Tim Elias and veteran Gary Tucker. All three of these drivers are still searching for their first feature win of the season and are fully capable of getting it. Drake now has a second and a third as his season high efforts and finished fifth last week. Elias had his best finish of the year last week in third, and Tucker now has three third place finishes and one second. Tucker was a multi time winner last year and could win on any given week.

Of course, when you have competitors like Diaz and three time winner Fred Ryland in the field, it's not always so easy. Ryland ended up fourth last week, but the other notable driver of the night was second generation racer Chase Thomas. The son of three time Street Stock champion Darren Thomas, Chase has been on a roll lately. Two races ago, he finished third, and last week saw him impress in his career best second place finish ahead of Elias. Could this be Chase's night to get the win?

The IMCA Sport Modified division is loaded with talent and there are several drivers capable of winning on any given week. Other drivers to watch for this week include Steve Stone, reigning champion Josh Hensley, Dwayne Short, Alex Odishoo, Chris Falkenberg, Danny Roe and Tanner Thomas. 

The good news for the Hobby Stock competitors last week was that Michael Shearer didn't have a very good night. The bad news is that nobody was able to make much of a gain on him in the championship race. Michael continues to lead his wife Kristie by 35 points in the battle at this stage of the season. He has one win and four second place finishes. The Shearer team has hit the winner's circle three more times with Bubba Nelson getting his third win last week.

Still looking for his first win this season is reigning champion Kevin Joaquin. Kevin only has one third place finish and three fourth place finishes so far this year, but he trails Kristie Shearer by just seven points in the standings. Despite an abysmal evening that saw him wrecked out of the Main Event last week, Robbie Loquaci is only seven points behind Joaquin and 14 behind Shearer in the battle for second. Two points behind Loquaci is Ted Stofle Classic winner Phil Vaughn, who is now coming off of back to back third place finishes.

Having won the Main Event the race before, Garrett Corn was hoping to carry his momentum into last week, but unfortunately the fourth generation racer blew a motor. While Corn figures out what his next move is, Dexter Long is hoping to come out and get himself a win. The second your competitor now has three second place finishes, including last week. He has finished second in two of the biggest Hobby Stock races in the state, the Ted Stofle Classic and the Mike Cecil Memorial that was held at Watsonville a week earlier.
Other competitors to watch for this week include 2016 feature winners Darren Miguel and Ben Lewis II, Austin Van Hoff, Kodie Dean, Cody Parker and John Hensley. You also never know when multi time champion and three time feature winner Raul Rodriguez Sr. will show up and race.

It doesn't seem to matter what car you put Chris Corder in, the result is usually going to be him running at the front of the pack. Corder fielded a new car last week with the same results as he won his sixth Main Event out of eight races. The Corder team fielded four different cars last week, although his teammates didn't do so well. A look at the standings finds one of his teammates, rookie Destiny Carter, only 10 points out of second behind the steady Paul Lauretti. Destiny had mechanical issues and didn't finish the Main Event, but she is still 14 points ahead of recent Main Event winner Curtis Thornhill.

One of the drivers on the move in the class is the truck driven by Tony Peffer. Tony finished third last week and was coming off of a second place finish the week before. Another driver who made a visit and looked impressive was three time Ocean Speedway feature winner D.J. Keldsen, who chased Chris Corder across the line in second last week.

The roster of Mini Stock drivers is approaching thirty different cars who have competed at least once this year, and other drivers to watch for include hard charger Jennifer Corder, Lucy Falkenburg, Mike Germait and James Stockton.

Once again, racing continuous at Merced Speedway this Saturday night with a four diversion program headlined by the IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks. For the information, go to

Merced Speedway Points

IMCA Modified
Randy Brown 320
Bill Egleston 307
Ramie Stone 302
Bruce Nelson 284
Ricky Thatcher 282
Jarod Fast 259
Paul Stone 188
Jeff Streeter 183
Mike Villanueva 148
Mitch Enos 136

IMCA Sport Modified
Rick Diaz 412
Mike Drake 374
Tim Elias 366
Gary Tucker 357
Steve Stone 334
Josh Hensley 327
Fred Ryland 305
Dwayne Short 293
Chase Thomas 272
Tanner Thomas 270

Hobby Stock
Michael Shearer 200
Kristie Shearer 155
Kevin Joaquin 148
Robbie Loquaci 141
Phillip Vaughn 139
Garrett Corn 135
Kodie Dean 132
Austin Van Hoff 128
Dexter Long 127
Cody Parker 115
Darren Miguel 115

Mini Stock
Chris Corder 146
Paul Lauretti 110
Destiny Carter 100
Curtis Thornhill 86
Tony Peffer 82
Jennifer Corder 69
Joy Alger 66
Lucy Falkenberg 61
James Stockton 59
Mike Germait 57

Valley Sportsman
Kenny Birdsong 127
Mike Friesen 115
Jeff Bristow 86
Tim Prothro 73
Jerry Cecil 60
Jeff Amos 59
Mark Odgers 58
Shannon Fry 58
Eric Seely 49
Jesse James Burks 34

Eleventh Event Of The Season For Winged 360 Sprint Cars 
At Antioch Speedway Saturday Night

Antioch, CA...August 18...The All Star Series Winged Sprint Car division comes back to Antioch Speedway this Saturday night with another $1200 prize on the line for the winner. It is the 11th event of the season. After ten races, there's been only one repeat winner, and that is Art McCarthy. McCarthy won his third event of the season after a battle with point leader Billy Aton last week.

McCarthy has been on a roll lately, and he also won his heat race earlier in the evening. McCarthy has won two of the last three Main Events . However, it's been very difficult for him to gain much ground on Aton, who has been a consistent Top 3 finisher lately. Four of Billy's six Top 3 finishes have occurred in the last four races, including three second place finishes. The race last week was a good battle between these two with McCarthy coming out just ahead after the red flag flew on lap 22. The race was called at that point.

Another battle for a Top 3 finish last week resulted in Top 3 point competitor Dan Gonderman flipping. Gonderman was not injured in the melee, but it was his second flip of the season. To that point in the race, he was having a good run after finishing second in his heat race. Ultimately, he was credited with a fifth place feature finish.

The third place finish went to Petaluma Speedway regular Jake Haulot. Jake was a somewhat regular competitor last season and won two Main Events. This was his first start at the track this year, and he finished third ahead of fellow Petaluma Speedway racer Marissa Polizzi.

Steven Ingraham was back again, and although he didn't get the best results, it was still better than his previous visit the week before where he had mechanical issues and was ubale start to the Main Event. In this case, Ingraham finished sixth ahead of heat race winner Zack Lynsky and Burt Foland Jr. Foland is quietly enjoying a Top 5 point season in fourth.

Higher up in the points, Billy Aton leads Art McCarthy by just 21 points in the championship battle. McCarthy is a past champion in the Sprint Cars at Antioch Speedway and finished second in the standings last year. He's doing all he can to put the pressure on Aton, who is also a Main Event winner this year on a list of 8 different winners.

If you are keeping track of the winners to date, the list includes McCarthy (three times) and Aton, Shawn Conde, Bobby McMahan, Brayden McMahan, Koen Shaw, Kaleb Montgomery and Seth Nunes.

Some of the local contingent at the speedway who could be there this week includes reigning champion Shawn Arriaga, 2014 champion Chris Magoon, Rick Brophy, rookie Tim Burcher, Adam McCarthy and Matt Barber. For further information on this event and other happenings at the speedway, go to

2016 Antioch Winged 360 All Star Series Points

Billy Aton 474
Artt McCarthy 453
Dan Gonderman 326
Burt Foland Jr. 242
Shawn Arriaga 189
Rick Brophy 174
Matt Barber 136
Bobby McMahan 136
Zack Lynsky 126
Matt DeMartini 120


2016 All Star Series Winged 360 Sprint Car Schedule
August 13
August 20
August 27
September 10
September 17
September 24

Past Champions 

1998-Gary Geving
2007-Art McCarthy
2010-Craig Smith
2013-Chris Magoon
2014-Chris Magoon
2015-Shawn Arriaga

Recent Feature Winners

August 13, 2016:  Art McCarthy
August 6, 2016:  Seth Nunes
July 30, 2016:  Art McCarthy
July 16, 2016:  Brayden McMahan
June 25, 2016:  Kaleb Montgomery
June 18, 2016:  Bobby McMahan
June 4, 2016: Shawn Conde
May 21, 2016: Koen Shaw
April 23, 2016: Billy Aton
April 2, 2016: Art McCarthy
August 29, 2015: Art McCarthy
August 8, 2015: Shawn Arriaga
July 11, 2015: Jake Haulot
June 20, 2915: Austin Liggett
June 6, 2015: Shawn Arriaga
May 16, 2015: Jake Haulot
April 25, 2015: Alissa Geving
March 7, 2015: Art McCarthy
August 2, 2014: Zack Lynskey
June 21 2014: Bradley Terrell
June 10, 2014: Chris Magoon
April 5, 2014: Kurt Nelson
May 4, 2013: Shawn Arriaga
April 13, 2014: Chris Martin
September 17, 2011: Billy Aton
July 30, 2011: Craig Smith
September 15, 2010: Jeremy Burt
August 25, 2010: Craig Smith
April 24, 2010: Craig Smith
March 27, 2010: Craig Smith
March 20, 2010: Ryan Risconi
September 26, 2009: Jeremy Burt
August 29, 2009: Jeremy Burt