Friday, August 26, 2016

Weekend Previews For Antioch Speedway and Merced Speedway

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

The DCRR Racing Radio Show

DCRR Racing Radio Show: Episode 92 by GenWhat

Sprint Cars, Modifieds Lead Seven Divisions Of Racing 
At Antioch Speedway

Antioch, CA...In what has become somewhat of a tradition at Antioch Speedway, there is a late season race in which management throws everything they can onto the schedule. This Saturday night, seven divisions of racing will compete on the three-eighths mile clay oval. Once again, the All Star Series Winged 360 Sprint Cars will headline along with the A Modifieds. The fans will also be treated to B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Wingless Spec Sprints, Dwarf Cars and Hobby Stocks. If there is a night in which you want to see what racing is all about at Antioch Speedway, Saturday night is it.

In the Winged 360 Sprint Car division, Billy Aton can certainly feels the pressure of veteran Art McCarthy, who is creeping up on him. Aton carried a 21 point lead over McCarthy going into last Saturday night and was doing just what he needed to do. While leading the race seven laps in, Aton lost a tire in Turn 2. As luck would have it, he collected McCarthy in the incident. While Aton was done, McCarthy scored a third place finish to tighten the championship race to three points behind Aton.

While Aton and McCarthy enjoy a close championship battle, the trend of different drivers coming to town and winning Main Events continued last week as Petaluma Speedway title contender Riley Matson made a late pass on Brent Dothage to claim the victory. If the Dothage name sounds familiar to long time speedway fans, it could be because his father Gene Dothage is a three time Sportsman division point runner up in the early 1970's. Brent Dothage, who is a three time Sprint Car champion at Marysville, finished second.

They are attracting drivers from all over the map to come out and compete at Antioch Speedway, and Southern Oregon Speedway point leader Jake Wheeler even made a surprise visit. Jake was running in the Top 5 before front wing damage sent him to the pits. Dan Gonderman made his return, and though he struggled a bit at the back in the back, he did what he needed to do to maintain his third place point status over open wheel veteran Burt Foland Jr.

Promoter John M. Soares would have to consider this season a positive step for the class as a field of over a dozen competitors competed last week from a roster that has reached into the 40's. There is a local contingent, and other drivers to keep an eye out for this week includes rookie Tim Burcher, 2014 champion Chris Magoon, reigning champion Shawn Arriaga, Ricky Brophy and Adam McCarthy.

Carl Berendsen II continues to lead the A Modified championship. Berendsen has been doing it through consistency and has several Top 5 feature finishes to show for it, but there's still one thing the 2014 champion does not have. He is still without a win in his A Modified career at Antioch Speedway. During the season, he even made the switch to another car with the hopes of earning that win, but his most recent start resulted in a flip. Everything will be back together this week, and he'll be coming back strong for a shot at a win.

In his illustrious career, Scott Busby has won 64 A Modified Main Events at Antioch Speedway and 70 total, putting him second on the track's all time win list. When you start adding up the championships and big races that he has won at Antioch and elsewhere, it is very impressive. The future Hall Of Famer has had some problems this year that dropped him further back in second, but he won his second Main Event of the year last time out.

Antioch Speedway still has some competitive racers, including rookie Bobby Montalvo, who currently ranks third in the standings. Second generation racer Sean O'Gara is also in the Top 5 point battle, and Trent Wentworth seems to be on the verge of getting his first feature win of the season. The division has had nine different Main Event winners in 11 races, and the competitive nature of this class makes it hard to predict who might win next.

If not for a flip suffered at the season opener in Marysville and a blown motor at Antioch, second year racer Marcus Smith could very well be leading the Wingless Spec Sprint points at Antioch. Marcus had to spend the first few races get the handling and everything situated in the Richard Basden owned car, but now that he has, he is on a roll. With three feature wins, Smith has now closed to within 12 points of two time winner Jim Perry Jr., who settled for a third place finish last time. Though Perry has not been winning lately, he has still been finishing up near the front and keeping the damage down to a minimum.

It could just be that the winner of over 40 Wingless Spec Sprint Main Events in his career is due for a feature win this week, but after his second place performance last time, Jim's son Jimmy Perry III could also be in line for a win. The younger Perry has had even worse luck than his father with motor problems taking him out of the action for a few weeks. If these three drivers are a threat to win, there are some other talented drivers to watch for this week as well.

Third ranked competitor Rick Panfili is still battling for his first career feature win, and he maintained his hold on to third in the standings after rival Brandon Burd took a tumble out the Turn 1 exit gate during the heat race last time out. A past Chowchilla Speedway champion, Burd is another driver capable of picking up a win.  However, he fell to fifth in the standings behind veteran Roy Fisher after his recent misfortune.

Rookie Adam Teves should have his motor situated for a return this week, and other drivers to watch for include James East, Alan Miranda, reigning champion Kyle Bakkie, Shannon Newton and one time feature winner Jeremy Newberry.  Late word is that past Marysville Spec Sprint champion and 2014 Antioch Winged 360 Sprint Car champion Chris Magoon will be doing double duties in both classes this week.

It's a long battle in the Limited Late Model division, and third generation racer Mark Garner isn't ready to give up just yet. Making it difficult on Garner is the fact that point leader Larry Damitz is tenacious and is usually up near the front if he's not winning the race. Last week, Garner drove a flawless race and led from start to finish for his fourth feature win of the year, but right behind him was Damitz. Garner was able to use his finish to reclaim second in the standings from rookie Kimo Oreta, who finished back in forth.  Garner trails Damitz by 34 points and leads Oreta by four.

There were some fast cars competing last week, not the least of which was the 65 Roses car of past champion Lori Brown, who brought it home to a third place . Brown is a driver who also seems to be on the cusp of another feature win. Paul Hanley was back running strong, and the steady John Evans and Jeff Kendrick we're also among the field last week.  Evans currently ranks fourth in the standings and is still looking for that breakout night as he drives the car of former two time point runner up Mike Hynes.

Kevin Miraglo continues to hold on to the point lead in the Dwarf Car division ahead of Mike Corsaro. After missing a race and watching his lead get cut in half, Miraglio returned last time with a Top 5 feature finish. The two time feature winner will be hoping to keep Corsaro at bay this week, and the one thing he has had going for him all year is that his luck has been pretty good in the mechanical department. More often than not, Miraglio finishes in the Top 3.

Young Buddy Kniss is currently holding down the third point position in his rookie year, and another new star of the division isn't really a new star at Antioch Speedway at all. Two time Street Stock champion David Rosa has picked up a string of Top 5 feature finishes and seems to be on the verge of getting his first Dwarf Car win. Rosa has scored over 50 feature victories in Street Stocks, Limited Late Models and Figure 8 Racing, so a win in this division would not be a big surprise.

It has been a year of transition for the Dwarf Cars as new stars have emerged this season.  Other drivers to keep an eye out for this week include Tim Reeder, Brian Gray, Robert Coe, David Michael Rosa, recent feature winner Jenna Frazer, David Corsaro and ageless veteran Charlie Correia.

In the B Modified division, Trevor Clymens is on the verge of a track championship. In a somewhat rough Main Event last week, Trevor survived the carnage to collect his seventh victory of the season. With his closest rival Al Johnson finishing back in third, Trevor again added to his advantage. The main thing the son of speedway legend Debbie Clymens is trying to do right now is maintain things and avoid any big disasters. Clymens witnessed such an occasion earlier this year.

In one of his earlier season wins, Clymens had to battle Brian Pearce late in the race. Moments after he got the lead from Pearce, Pearce had contact with a slower car send him into the front wall.  The Pearce car was badly damaged and was out of the action for several weeks. In short, Trevor knows that there are things that can come up and take it away from you, and he's just trying to keep it all together and get it to the finish line as the season is nearing its conclusion.

Another driver who is doing a great job lately of getting it to the finish line is Stock Car veteran Danny Jones. Jones chased Clymens across the line in second last week in his B Modified to maintain his Top 5 point effort. Other drivers you need to keep an eye on this week include hard charger K.C. Keller, recent winner Shane DeVolder, Chuck Golden, Randy Brown, Kevin Brown and Lloyd Cline.

During the course of the Hobby Stock point season, the two title contenders have both met with misfortune in post race tech. Earlier this season, after winning a Main Event, Guy Ahlwardt was disqualified, giving the win that night to 2010 Hobby Stock champion Chris Sorensen. With bad luck striking not long after that, Guy surrendered the point to Danny Jones. Last week, after coming from the back to second, Jones was disqualified in tech.The disqualification handed the point lead back to Ahlwardt.

Ahlwardt was having a good night as it was. He led the Main Event from start to finish, and when Jones lost his points for the night, that put Guy back into the point lead. However, the team isn't celebrating anything just yet as they know there is still another month left in the season. Anything can happen. Word was that Jones's car owner Ryan Thomason was parking his car for the remainder of the season despite the fact that they are still in the hunt.

The Hobby Stock division has been enjoying a strong turnout this year, and last week saw a field of 20 cars take the green flag. With his second place feature finish last week, combined with the disqualification of Cameron Swank, Michael Cooper took a stronger hold on third in the standings. However, the points are so close from third to seventh that everything is still in doubt. Not too far behind Cooper in fourth after her solid Top 10 effort last week is rookie Lindsey Buirch.

There are some fast competitors in the field, not the least of which is 2015 "Rookie Of The Year" Jordan Swank, Chris Long, Natalie Perry, rookie Anthony Vigna, Rob Waldrop and Sorensen. You never know who could win on any given week.

The seven division show should be one that will entertain the fans from start to finish. Once again, the divisions that will be competing include the Winged 360 Sprint Cars, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Wingless Spec Sprints, Hobby Stocks, Limited Late Models and Dwarf Cars. For further information, go to

Antioch Speedway Points
Winged 360 Sprint Car
Billy Aton 504
Art McCarthy 501
Dan Gonderman 350
Burt Foland Jr. 282
Shawn Arriaga 189
Rick Brophy 174
Matt Barber 166
Marissa Polizzi 146
Bobby McMahan 136
Zack Lynskey 126

Wingless Spec Sprint
Jim Perry Jr. 476
Marcus Smith 464
Rick Panfili 412
Roy Fisher 394
Brandon Burd 365
Dan Gonderman 290
Adam Teves 245
James East 244
Kyle Bakkie 224
Jeremy Newberry 213

A Modified
Carl Berendsen II 420
Scott Busby 369
Bobby Montalvo 350
Sean O'Gara 350
Trent Wentworth 340
Troy Foulger 278
Ray Lindeman 274
Norm Boeck 226
Brian Cass 200
John MacDougall 194

B Modified
Trevor Clymens 804
Al Johnson 776
Shane DeVolder 750
Danny Jones 636
K.C. Keller 542
Randy Brown 326
Chuck Golden 292
Brian Pearce 280
Lloyd Cline 271
Anthony Giuliani 269

Limited Late Model
Larry Damitz 570
Mark Garner 536
Kimo Oreta 532
John Evans 418
Mike Gustafson 382
Lori Brown 329
Jim Freethy 272
Jeff Kendrick 86
Paul Hanley 82
Billy Garner 80

Hobby Stock
Guy Ahlwardt 582
Danny Jones 537
Michael Cooper 500
Lindsey Buirch 472
Jordan Swank 450
Chris Sorensen 437
Cameron Swank 408
Rob Waldrop 368
Anthony Vigna 342
Natalie Perry 341

Dwarf Car
Kevin Miraglio 474
Mike Corsaro 454
Buddy Kniss 350
Tim Reeder 332
David Michael Rosa 310
David Rosa 282
Charlie Correia 280
Robert Coe 256
Jenna Frazier 254
Brian Gray 233

Merced Speedway Ends August With Five Division Program

Merced, CA...Merced Speedway is heading down the stretch of an exciting 2016 season. The racing has been just as hot as the temperature in the area, and last week illustrated the excitement and unpredictability of the racing program as the IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds and Hobby Stocks all delivered some great racing action. All three divisions are on the card this week along with the Valley Sportsman division and the Box Stock division, which will run on the infield track.

Last week, Randy Brown continued his march towards the IMCA Modified championship with his third win in his last five starts. Brown, who is a past Chowchilla Speedway IMCA Modified champion, has three wins and three seconds this season. However, he knows he can't relax just yet as many time track champion Ramie Stone and 2012 champion Bill Egleston are still not far behind him, battling closely for a second.

Last week, Karl Rose returned to action and finished second in the Main Event in what was his best run of the season. Rose was a Main Event winner last season, and two drivers hoping to get their first wins this year, rookie Bruce "Bubba" Nelson and Ricky Thatcher, also had Top 5 runs last week. Nelson is the current rookie point leader, while Thatcher is coming off of a tie for second in the point standings last year.

Merced Speedway had one of its strongest IMCA Modified shows of the year last week with 18 competitors in action, including rookies Jeremy Hoff and Tim Cecil. With the competition level as tough as it is at Merced Speedway, there are several drivers capable of scoring the victory. Other drivers to watch for this week include Mike Villanueva, D.J. Shannon, Ryan Porter, Mitch Enos and Harley Turner.
In the IMCA Sport Modified division, five time feature winner Rick Diaz seems to be headed for the track championship. Last week, though did not win, he continued to add more points to his advantage over Mike Drake, who has his hands full holding down second in the standings. The star of last week was second generation racer Chase Thomas, who scored his first career victory. Diaz and speedway veteran Mark Odgers were in close pursuit. Chase and his younger brother Tanner Thomas are both Top 10 ranked in the standings.

Drake continues to search for his first feature victory, and he may need it to hold onto second in points. Two drivers running closely behind him in the standings are veteran Gary Tucker and Tim Elias. Tucker won multiple Main Events last season and is following Drake and Elias closely in a good battle. All three of these drivers are capable of winning on any given week.

Diaz continues to be the man to beat in the Sport Modified division, but if there's a driver capable of beating him for wins it is Fred Ryland. The reigning IMCA State champion has three wins at Merced Speedway this year and is coming off of a fifth place finish last week. It's been a few weeks since Fred has won at Merced, and he's definitely due. You also can't count out 2015 point runner up Odgers. Anytime he's out there, he's a threat to win. There are some talented racers competing for feature victories, and other drivers to keep an eye on include Andy Welch, Danny Roe, reigning champion Josh Hensley, Dwayne Short, Chris Falkenberg and Steve Stone.

Even with Michael Shearer seemingly on his way to the Hobby Stock championship, there are some interesting things happening in the division. Recent races have seen first time winners in fourth generation racer Garrett Corn and Dexter Long, who impressed with his win last week ahead of Kevin Joaquin. Joaquin had to make a last lap pass on Corn to get that second place finish.
In picking up second, Kevin moved past Kristie Shearer for second in the standings. The reigning Hobby Stock champion is still on a quest to get his first feature win of the season. Last season, Kevin was one of the best drivers on the circuit with three wins apiece at Merced, Chowchilla and Antioch. With K. Shearer, Robbie Loquaci and Corn still not far behind him in the standings, he may need a win to hold on to second.

Another driver who is hot on the trail of a feature win is Top 10 ranked Kodie Dean. The second generation racer had a strong night last week with a heat race win and a fourth place feature finish. It could just be that Dean is the next driver to write his name onto the 2016 feature winner's list. Another driver out for redemption is Shannon Nelson, who was running in fourth last week when she spun. Shannon was making just her first start of the season, and she was a Main Event winner last year.

There are some competitors in the Hobby Stock division who are capable of winning, and other drivers to keep an eye on this week include Austin Van Hoff, Cody Parker, John Hensley, Donnie Shearer, Darren Miguel and 2016 Ted Stofle Classic winner Phillip Vaughn. You also never know when multi time champion Raul Rodriguez Sr. will show up to run for a win. He already has three victories this year.

There are just a couple of races left for the Valley Sportsman division this year, and it may come as a bit of a surprise that two time Sportsman champion Mike Friesen has moved to within striking distance of Kenny Birdsong for the point lead. Birdsong still holds a 12 point advantage over Friesen, who grabbed a nice trophy for his second win of the year at Legends Night two weeks ago.

Sportsman enthusiasts will note that there have now been 11 different cars that have competed this year, and car count is at its highest point in three years. With more of these cars are on the racetrack, the action gets that much more entertaining. After having his tow vehicle break down on him on the way to the track two weeks ago, Jeff Bristow is anticipated this week.

The Sportsman division has been honored to have past champion and Watsonville legend Jerry Cecil among the field for most of the races this year. It is hoped that Jerry will be there to compete with other such racers as Shannon Fry, Eric Seely, Jesse James Burks, Tim Prothro, Jeff West and Jeff Amos.

The youngsters in the Box Stock division will get a chance to run on the infield track one more time on Saturday night. Last time out, there were a half a dozen competitors, many of whom race at both Atwater and Chowchilla during the course of the year. One of the winners this year is third generation racer and Aiden Larimer. This is a great opportunity for these youngsters to compete on the big stage.

To recap, Merced Speedway comes into this week with IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Valley Sportsman cars and Box Stock Karts. For further information, check out

Merced Speedway Points
IMCA Modified
Randy Brown 360
Bill Egleston 337
Ramie Stone 335
Bruce Nelson 321
Ricky Thatcher 318
Jarod Fast 259
Paul Stone 188
Jeff Streeter 183
Mike Villanueva 183
Harley Turner 169

IMCA Sport Modified
Rick Diaz 451
Mike Drake 408
Tim Elias 397
Gary Tucker 394
Josh Hensley 356
Fred Ryland 341
Steve Stone 334
 Chase Thomas 312
Tanner Thomas 297
Dwayne Short 293

Hobby Stock
Michael Shearer 214
Kevin Joaquin 167
Kristie Shearer 165
Robbie Loquaci 157
Phillip Vaughn 154
Garrett Corn 153
Kodie Dean 149
Dexter Long 147
Austin Van Hoff 140
Darren Miguel 123

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

Mini Stock
Chris Corder 165
Paul Lauretti 123
Destiny Carter 114
Curtis Thornhill 102
Tony Peffer 99
Lucy Falkenberg 79
Jennifer Corder 69
Joy Alger 66
James Stockton 59
Mike Germait 57

Sprint Car Championship Battle Heats Up 
At Antioch Speedway

Antioch, CA...August 26...The All Star Series Winged 360 Sprint Car division is coming off of one of its better nights at Antioch Speedway last Saturday night. There was lots of action during the course of the 20 lap race, and it would shake up the point battle even more heading into this Saturday night's pivotal event.

Antioch Speedway has built up a reputation for being a place for the up and coming Sprint Car drivers to come out and get good track time while competing for $1,200 to win each Main Event. With neighboring Petaluma Speedway dark for the week, a few of their competitors came to town. Among them was second ranked Petaluma Speedway competitor Riley Manson. Matson became the ninth different feature winner in 11 races at Antioch.

Point leader Billy Aton actually set the pace for the first seven laps as he was hoping to improve on his three second place finishes in his previous four starts. After completing lap number seven, Aton lost a wheel in Turn 2. Brent Dothage made contact with the wheel, and Art McCarthy spun to avoid Aton. At that point, Dothage was the new leader.

The son of Antioch Speedway Sportsman legend Gene Dothage, Brent carries an impressive resume with him, which includes three track championships at Marysville Raceway. Brent was doing a great job of leading the way with Matson running a strong second. Matson began to apply the pressure until making a high pass in Turn 4 of the 18th lap to get the lead and eventual victory. Dothage settled for second.

It turned out to be a great night for McCarthy as battled to a third place finish. McCarthy has closed to within three points of Aton in a great battle for the championship. Top 5 Petaluma competitor Jake Haulot was back and gave it a good run in fourth. Meanwhile, Marissa Polizzi has been making waves at Antioch lately and had a great night with a heat race victory and fifth in the Main Event.

Burt Foland Jr. has not given up on third in the standings, and his sixth place finish last week helped gain him a little bit of ground on Dan Gonderman, who ended up tenth. Gonderman was back following his second flip of the season in the previous race. John Clark took the checkered flag in seventh ahead of recent Dwarf Car Main Event winner Jenna Frazier. Aton was scored ninth.

The speedway also saw visits from a pair of Oregon based racers as Southern Oregon Speedway point leader Jake Wheeler finished 11th. Wheeler had a Top 5 run going until contact with another car left him with a bent front wing. Matt Barber finished 12th as Oregon visitor Aaron Miller completed the finishing order.

The Sprint Cars have been putting on a show all season long, and this week should be no different. The Aton-McCarthy battle should continue, while Gonderman and Foland have their own battle going for third. Other drivers to watch for this week include 2014 champion Chris Magoon, reigning champion Shawn Arriaga, rookie Tim Burcher, Adam McCarthy and Ricky Brophy. Plus, you never know who may show up for a visit from week to week. For further information on this and other happenings at the speedway, go

2016 Antioch Winged 360 All Star Series Points
Billy Aton 504
Art McCarthy 501
Dan Gonderman 350
Burt Foland Jr. 282
Shawn Arriaga 189
Rick Brophy 174
Matt Barber 166
Marissa Polizzi 146
Bobby McMahan 136
Zack Lynskey 126


2016 All Star Series Winged 360 Sprint Car Schedule 
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 20, 2016:  Riley Matson
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, 2013: 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