Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Matson, Garner Antioch Winners, Thomas, Brown Win At Merced

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Matson, Garner, Clymens, Ahlwardt Share 
Antioch Speedway Spotlight

Antioch, CA...August 20...Riley Matson became the ninth different All Star Series Winged 360 Sprint Car feature winner with his 20 lap Main Event win Saturday night at Antioch Speedway.  A championship contender at Petaluma, Matson was riding along in fifth during the first ten laps when the complexion of the race changed.  The race was led early by point leader Billy Aton ahead of heat winner Brent Dothage.  After completing the seventh lap, Aton lost a wheel in Turn 2.  Dothage made contact with the wheel as he raced by, but Art McCarthy was collected in the incident.

With Aton out of the event, Dothage held the lead.  The son of Antioch Speedway Sportsman legend Gene Dothage, Brent continued so set the pace with Matson in close pursuit.  Matson began pressuring Dothage for the lead late.  On lap 18, Matson made a high pass in Turn 4 to grab the lead.  Matson led the rest of the way for the impressive victory.  Dothage settled for second, and McCarthy gained more ground in the standings with his third place finish. Jake Haulot and heat winner Marissa Polizzi rounded out the Top 5 finishers.

Mark Garner impressed with his fourth 20 lap Limited Late Model feature win.  Garner had a front row start with past champion Lori Brown and he raced into the lead at the start.  Heat race winner and point leader Larry Damitz raced by Brown for second on lap four and took up the chase of Garner.  However, Garner set a blistering pace in the non stop event and posted a much needed victory.  Damitz settled for second ahead of Brown, Kimo Oreta and Paul Hanley.  Previous feature winner Mike Gustafson won his heat race.

Point leader Trevor Clymens returned to the winner's circle in an eventful B Modified Main Event.  It was the seventh win of the season for the current point leader, and he also won his tenth heat race earlier in the evening.  The race had several yellow flags, and a yellow and checkered flag combo ended the race early with Clymens collecting the victory.  Heat race winner Danny Jones repeated his season best effort of a week ago in second ahead of Al Johnson, K.C. Keller and Chuck Golden.

Guy Ahlwardt returned to the winner's circle in the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event.  The top rookie has been in a bit of a victory drought in recent races, but this win will move him back into the point lead following the tech disqualification of Danny Jones.  Ahlwardt started up front and raced into the early lead ahead of Cameron Swank.  As the previous winner Danny Jones started back in tenth and worked his way into third, Ahlwardt led the way. Jones made a mid race pass on Swank for second.  A yellow flag on lap 15 bunched the field, but Ahlwardt withstood the Jones challenge for the victory.  Jones and Swank crossed the line in second and third, but both cars failed post race tech inspection.  This moved fourth place finisher Michael Cooper into second as Frank Furtado, newcomer Syd Smith and Jordan Swank rounded out the Top 5.  Rob Waldrop, Dan McCown and Robert Niven were heat race winners.

BCRA Midget Lites point leader Craig Dillard won the battle of attrition to claim the Main Event victory.  The current runaway point leader, Dillard won both Antioch events this season.  Hunter Kinney led the first three laps before mechanical problems struck in Turn 2.  At that point, Dillard had the lead, and he would lead the rest of the way.  The battle in points continues to be for second between recent Placerville winner Kyle Offill and Australian Scott Males, and they battled for second in the Main Event.  Offill claimed the runnerup finish as Males settled for third ahead of Roy Moody and Dave Dufa.

Racing continues this Saturday night with a loaded seven division program that will include Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  For further information, go to

Unofficial Race Results, August 20

Winged 360 Sprint Cars
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Brent Dothage, Marissa Polizzi.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Riley Matson, Dothage, Art McCarthy, Jake Haulot, Polizzi, Burt Foland Jr., John Clark, Jenna Frazier, Dan Gonderman, Jake Wheeler, Matt Barber, Aaron Miller, Billy Aton.

B Modifieds
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Danny Jones, Trevor Clymens.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Clymens, Jones, Al Johnson, K.C. Keller, Chuck Golden, Kevin Brown, Tim Hammett, Burt Lyons, Shane DeVolder, Mike Mates.

Hobby Stocks
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Rob Waldrop, Dan McCown, Robert Niven.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Guy Ahlwardt, Michael Cooper, Frank Furtado, Syd Smith, Jordan Swank, Lindsey Buirch, Russell Shearer, Mitchell LoCicero, Chris Sorensen, Chris Long, Niven, Waldrop, Melissa Myers, Calvin Louis Jr., Chase Templeton, McCown, Anthony Vigna, Natalie Perry, Danny Jones (DQ), Cameron Swank (DQ).

Limited Late Models
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Mike Gustafson, Larry Damitz.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Mark Garner, Damitz, Lori Brown, Kimo Oreta, Paul Hanley, Ryan Cherezian, Mike Gustafson, Jeff Kendrick, John Evans.

BCRA Midget Lites
Main Event (20 Laps)-Craig Dillard, Kyle Offill, Scott Males, Roy Moody, Dave Dufa.

Point Leader Brown Wins Fourth, Thomas, Long 
New Winners At Merced Speedway

Merced, CA...August 20...There was a little something for everybody to enjoy last Saturday night at Merced Speedway as four divisions competed on the fast quarter-mile clay oval.  Point leader Randy Brown increased his lead with his third IMCA Modified Main Event victory.  With two of the best drivers running right behind him, Chase Thomas drove a flawless race to win his first carer IMCA Sport Modified Main Event.  Second year racer Dexter Long won his first 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event, while Watsonville visitor D.J. Keldsen collected his first 20 lap Mini Stock Main Event victory.

The IMCA Modifieds had a strong showing of 18 cars.  D.J. Shannon won his nine lap heat race ahead of Karl Rose.  Ricky Thatcher held off title contender Bill Egleston to win his heat race, while Bruce "Bubba" Nelson out ran point leader Randy Brown to get his heat win.  Brown has hit his stride in the point race with a pair of seconds and a pair of victories in his last four starts.  A feature winner last season, Rose was in the hunt for his first win of the season, but Brown continued his momentum with an impressive Main Event victory.  Rose was a strong second, while two time reigning Petaluma champion Nick DeCarlo made a surprise appearance and brought it home third.  Nelson continued his march toward "Rookie Of The Year" honors with a fourth place finish, while Thatcher maintained his Top 5 point status with a solid fifth place effort.  Previous winner Mike Villaneuva finished sixth ahead of Harley Turner, title hopeful Ramie Stone, rookies Tim Cecil and Jeremy Hoff.

In IMCA Sport Modifieds, the nine lap heat races were a time for some of the established stars to shine.  The 18 competitors ran three heats with veteran Gary Tucker holding of Chase Thomas for a win.  Tanner Thomas had a good showing in the second heat race before settling for second behind point leader Rick Diaz.  Reigning State champion Fred Ryland won the final heat ahead of 2015 point runnerup Mark Odgers.  With five feature wins coming into the night, Diaz figured he would continue his domination in this race.  However, second generation racer C. Thomas has been on a roll of his own lately.  He progressed from third to second in the previous two races, and the numbers suggested what was next for this talented young man.  With two of the best drivers running behind him, Chase drove a brilliant race and collected his first career Main Event win.  Even younger brother Tanner Thomas had a Top 3 run going before being collected in a crash.  Diaz was up front providing the pressure, but C. Thomas would get a well earned victory.  Diaz settled for second with Odgers not far behind in third.  Tucker had a good night in fourth ahead of F. Ryland and his wife Patti Ryland.  Second place point runner Mike Drake finished seventh ahead of Dwarf Car graduates Chuck Weir and Igor Grandzuk.  Tim Elias finished tenth.

The Hobby Stocks were about to have an entertaining Main Event of their own.  The night started off with Kodie Dean winning the first heat race ahead of Garrett Corn.  Donnie Shearer won the second heat ahead of Shannon Nelson.  The Main Event started out as a good battle between Dexter Long, reigning champion Kevin Joaquin and Corn.  Making her first start of the season, Nelson was running fourth until spinning in Turn 2 and not drawing a yellow.  A Top 5 driver in his rookie season, second year racer Dexter Long has run strong all season with three second place finishes to show for it.  Saturday night was his night to shine as he pulled a away and won his fist career Main Event.  Joaquin made a last lap pass on Corn to grab the second place finish.  That finish should put Joaquin into second in the standings when the point list is released.  Corn settled for third, and Dean and Robbie Loquaci wrapped up solid nights in fourth and fifth, respectively.  Ted Stofle Classic winner Phil Vaughn finished sixth ahead of point leader Michael Shearer, D. Shearer, Austin Van Hoff and second generation racer Chad Radgsdale.

Saturday night was a night of firsts for the Mini Stock division.  In the heat race, Lucy Falkenberg held off point leader Chris Corder to win her first heat race.  Falkenberg has been making occasional starts at Watsonville this year and is rapidly improving as a result.  Speaking of Watsonville, that track's point leader, D.J. Keldsen, returned to see if he could improve on his second place finish of the previous race.  Winning would be a tall order with Corder running strong, but when the checkered flag waved, it was Keldsen prevailing.  The Keldsen family has been one of the top racing families going back to the late 1960's.  Corder settled for second, and Falkenberg wrapped up a great night with her third place finish.  Tony Peffer had another solid night as he drove his truck to a fourth place finish ahead of Curtis Thornhill, Jason Womack, Destiny Carter and Paul Lauretti.

Racing returns next Saturday night before another two week break for the holiday and the Boone, Iowa IMCA Nationals.  On the card will be the IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Valley Sportsman division and the Box Stock Karts, which run on the smaller track on the infield.  For further information, go to,