Thursday, March 30, 2017

Antioch Speedway, Merced Speedway, NCMA, Hunt Series And Chowchilla Speedway

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RaceSaver Sprint Cars, IMCA Sport Modifieds 
Open 2017 Merced Speedway Season

Merced, CA...The RaceSaver Sprint Cars are coming to Merced Speedway this Saturday night for their first of two scheduled appearances.  It's actually the fourth different IMCA sanctioned division currently active in California.  Fans are well familiar with the IMCA Sport Modifieds, which are also on this Saturday night's card, the IMCA Modifieds and the growing IMCA Stock Car effort in the state.  In addition to RaceSaver Sprint Cars and IMCA Sport Modifieds, this week's show will also include the Mini Stocks and the Valley Sportsman division.

The RaceSaver Sprints sprang from an attempt in the Hanford area to create a Winged Sprint Car class that could be a little bit cheaper than the Winged 360 Sprint Car class.  This division was already gaining lots of steam in several states back east when it was added to the Hanford program in 2015.  Last year was definitely a break out year as car count reached into the 20's on multiple occasions.  The 2015 season saw Jesse Mack win the Hanford championship.  The class ran at Hanford, Tulare and Bakersfield last season, and it was Blake Robertson winning that championship ahead of Zane Blanchard.

What has happened with this class has the Sprint Car community talking up and down the West Coast as promoters contemplate the future.  The California effort has penciled in six different race tracks this season.  While Hanford is still the home track and several dates are booked at Tulare and Bakersfield, the class is making visits to Merced, Santa Maria and Marysville as well.  The season opened last Saturday in Hanford, where Chris Ennis won the race ahead of Cole Dannell and Blanchard.

A field at least in the high teens is anticipated, and one of the drivers expected to be there is fourth generation super star Albert Pombo.  His great grandfather is perhaps the greatest Super Modified driver ever, Al Pombo.  In the more recent past, both Anthony Pombo and Davey Pombo Jr. have raced Limited Sprints at Merced, and Albert is coming off of a fifth place finish last week.  He's also a Top 5 driver in points from last season.  Other drivers to watch for include Doug Gandy, Jared Faria, Mike Stallings, Scott Meisner, Tanner Boul, Grant Duinkerken, George Tristao and hard charger Blaine Fagundes.  Sprint Car fans will want to be at Merced Speedway for this race.  It is sure to be a good show.

IMCA Sport Modified drivers were heart broken that the rain claimed last Saturday's show.  Promoter Ed Parker and his crew were working all Friday night and into Saturday morning to make that show happen, but the early morning rains ended that.  Though the West Coast Sport Modified Tour race was canceled, this week's regular point race is expected to have a car count reaching into the 20's as most of the stars of 2016 are expected to be in the field for this race.

Two time reigning champion Rick Diaz already has a win this year with his victory two weeks ago in Chowchilla.  Diaz is expected to be the driver to beat, but there is a plethora of fast competitors that hope to make it tough for him.  Not the least of which is 2015 IMCA State champion Fred Ryland.  2016 runnerup Mike Drake and 2015 track champion Josh Hensley are also anticipated for Saturday along with leadfoots such as Chris Falkenberg, Tim Elias, Gary Tucker, Dwayne Short, Danny Roe and Paul Espino.  The Sport Modified division also has several talented younger drivers, including Gavin Espino and the Thomas boys, Tanner and Chase.  Word is that we may finally see Mini Stock ace Chris Corder in a Sport Mod.

Corder has a Mini Stock win this season at Chowchilla two weeks ago.  The reigning track champion has four cars from his racing stable that are ready to do battle at Merced, and his sister Jennifer Corder and second year racer Destiny Carter are both expected this week.  Jennifer was second in Mini Stock points in 2014, and Carter finished third last year behind hard charger Paul Lauretti.  Lauretti is gunning for his first victory this week.  Newcomer Devin Belton is anticipated for his first race in the former Danny Wagner Mini Truck, and young Cody Keldsen may also make an appearance as racing season has yet to begin in Watsonville.

The Falkenberg family has been strong supporters of racing in the area for over 20 years, and Lucy Falkenberg is anticipated for this race.  Lucy came on strong late last season and won her first heat race while also earning multiple Top 3 feature finishes.  When you talk about drivers poised to get their first Mini Stock wins, you have to include Lucy's name.  Jennifer Rogers, Skip Speed and Tony Peffer are others to watch for.

The Valley Sportsman division is having their season opener, but we haven't heard much as far as who is racing.  Kenny Birdsong's car is anticipated, though the reigning champion has indicated that others will get to drive it too this year.  Mike Friesen was recently helping Jeff West get ready for this show, but no word if we'll get to see the beautiful Sportsman of the two time champion Friesen.  The roster of names with cars in this division includes the legendary Jerry Cecil, Shannon Fry, Tim Prothro, Marcus Lung, Eric Sealy, Jeff Bristow and past champions Mark Odgers, Mike Hausmann and Mike Henault.  Henault is rumored to be coming back after being away for two seasons, but we're unsure who will be there.

For RaceSaver Sprint Cars and IMCA Sport Modifieds alone, it is going to be a big show this week.  Add the Mini Stock and Sportsman divisions to the mix and it's gonna be a show you won't want to miss.  For further information on this and other happenings at the track, go to

Sprint Car Challenge Series Kicks Off Season 
At Antioch Speedway

Antioch, CA...When Antioch Speedway Promoter John M. Soares had the track expanded in 2009, it was with the thoughts of bringing some big Sprint Car races in mind.  This season, the three-eighth mile clay oval will host four big events as well as the track's own All Star Series Winged 360 Sprint Car and Wingless Spec Sprint Series.  Saturday night will see the new Sprint Car Challenge Series headline the show along with the first of two BCRA Midget Lites races.  It is sure to be a great night of racing.

The new Sprint Car Challenge Series is for the high powered Winged 360 Sprint Car division.  During the offseason, Placerville Speedway promoter Scott Russell got the support of two major sponsors, Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vinyards.  This helped create the championship point fund that will pay $10,000 to the winner and a minimum of $1,000 to the tenth place driver.   Drivers will compete for a $2,500 first prize and a minimum of $400 to start each Main Event, and the series features several other contingency prizes to entice the racers.

This led to a nice 13 race schedule at seven different race tracks, including Stockton, Petaluma, Placerville, Reno-Fernley, Tulare and Calistoga.  Soares liked the way things laid out for this new tour and asked to host the opener this Saturday night as well as another race on June 17th.  Through the years, Antioch Speedway has tried to start the season off with some big Sprint Car races, and this race fits right into that pattern.  Though the Sprint Car Challenge is new, it won't lack for star power.

Car count should reach well into the 20's, and one of the drivers leading the charge will be Shane Golobic.  In the ten years in which he's been racing Sprint Cars and Midgets, Golobic has racked up some impressive credentials.  This includes a win in a World Of Outlaws race at Antioch in 2013.  He also won the prestigious Johnny Soares Classic 101 lap Midget race at Petaluma and is a Sprint Car champion at Watsonville, among other accomplishments.

Two of last season's biggest champions are planning to be in Antioch on Saturday night.  Reigning Civil War champion Andy Forsburg is coming to town.  He is a nine time champion in the CW Series and a threat to win any time he's in town.  Kyle Hirst won a hard fought battle with Bud Kaeding to win his third King Of The West Series championship last year.  He won't be the only 410 Sprint Car racer in action.

Sean Becker will be running tour races, and this second generation leadfoot is the Winged 410 Sprint Car champion at Chico.  Willie Croft is another driver with Sprint Car wins in the past, and this includes his triumph in last season's Chris & Brian Faria Memorial Race at Tulare.  Another talented Sprint Car veteran, Steven Tiner is running the tour.  Two drivers with notable victories last season who are signed up to run are Stockton's Salute To Leroy Van Conett winner Cory Eliason and Yreka NST Speedweek winner Mitchell Faccinto.

Sprint Car veteran Herman Klein is a two time Petaluma Speedway champion who plans to compete.  Reigning Petaluma champion Bradley Terrell, Zack Lynsky, Cody Lamar, Billy Butler, John Clark, Robbie Price and BCRA Midget Lites graduate Kyle Offill are other drivers on the roster.  The Sprint Car Challenge Series won't lack for talented racers when they come to Antioch Speedway this Saturday night, and this is sure to be a good show.

The BCRA Midget Lites tend to be scheduled with Sprint Car programs and fit in well there.  They always put on a good show at Antioch.  The BCRA Midget Lites is where World of Outlaws star Brad Sweet started.  He won several races at Antioch.  Craig Dillard is the reigning BCRA Midget Lites champion and will be tough to beat.  The talented Scott Males and Offill have both made things competitive up front in recent seasons.

There's also multi time San Jose Sprint Car champion Charlie Caraccilo, who is a multi time feature winner in BCRA Midget Lites competition.  The BCRA Midget Lites should also produce a good field, and other drivers to watch for include Chris Hansen, Tim Kinser, Scott Kinney, Nate Buffa and Emilee Lindren.  The Sprint Car Challenge Series and BCRA Midget Lites race this Saturday night at Antioch Speedway will offer a night of great open wheel racing excitement tor the fans.  For further information, go to  You can also check out the new Sprint Car Series website at

NCMA To Kick Off 30th Season At Madera Speedway

Madera, CA...On the official website, they talk about this being the 30th Anniversary season for the Northern California Modified Association.  Technically, it's the 30th Anniversary of Mike Johnson attempting to start the club in the Bay Area.  Johnson was in Santa Maria in late 1986 to watch Gary Knight demo his new California Dirt Car.  Johnson had raced in recent years at various tracks.  He and a group would go to tracks that the World Of Outlaws didn't race that were offering big money.  When that group dwindled down and Johnson exhausted his budget, he returned to California, where he won a Limited 360 Sprint Car feature at Baylands in 1986.

Johnson wanted to start something for the budget racer, and he liked what he saw in the California Dirt Cars.  Drivers could use the old Super Modified Chassis that were for sale as San Jose switched from Supers to Sprint Cars.  He put an ad in Racing Wheels in early 1987 that advertised the NCDC, and columnist Ron Albright took him to task over his concerns that Johnson might divide car count.  But really, who from the Bay Area could afford regular trips to Santa Maria?  Johnson went a half dozen or so times and finished as high as second, but he never gave up on the NCMA dream.  With the promoter change at Antioch Speedway, the stars aligned and he got dates at Antioch in 1988.

It was a struggle and Johnson at times was ridiculed by people who even then wanted the IMCA Modified class and blamed him for that division not being added. If at any time in the first few months Johnson gave up, the class would have died then and there.  The NCMA has since inducted him into their Hall Of Fame.  1988 saw two other NCMA legends, Darryl Shirk and Scott Holloway, join the ranks.  Both are five time champions and both are also Hall Of Fame members.  In more recent years, David Goodwill joined the "five timers' club", and Hall Of Famer Ed Amador Sr. is a four time champion.

The NCMA would face threats through the years that could have ended it.  It was one of the club's greatest Presidents, Jim Booth, who put the ship on the right course in the early 1990's, and car counts reached into the 20's for the first time.  With the advent of the Wingless Spec Sprints at Antioch Speedway in 1999, the NCMA could have folded right then, but two leaders, Amador and Del Quinn, wouldn't let that happen.  The group had some great moments in the immediate years that followed.  The club created the fore runner of the Hunt Spec Sprint Series, the NCMA Select Series, which pitted some of the best drivers in Spec Sprint racing against each other and saw huge car counts when the CSRA supported it.

The club at one time viewed pavement as a four letter word when Darryl Shirk booked ten dates at Roseville in 1990.  A decade later, they embraced it when they started racing at Altamont.  Johnson wrote his name into the record books a second time.  He's the winner of the club's first ever race and their first pavement race.  By 2010, the club ditched the dirt entirely as they forged a nice little pavement circuit between Roseville, Madera and Stockton.  This is when Goodwill was in the middle of his championship run.  Eric Humphries won the 2013 championship, and a talented lady named Audra Sasselli won back to back titles the next two seasons.  It's worth noting that Sasselli has won 19 of the last 40 races.

Last season, Jerry Kobza won a nail biting battle with Denny Burrell, who once again settled for second.  David Burchett, Cody Jessop and Pat Ariaz rounded out the top 5.  They had six winners in ten races last season as Kobza won three times, Burrell and Jessop each won twice and Goodwill, Sasselli and Burchett each won once.  Admittedly, car count isn't huge these days.  They average 6-8 cars and had 13 different point earners last season.  However, they manage to fit in nicely wherever they race.  Their schedule includes four races each at Madera and Roseville and one date each at Lakeport, Ukiah and Stockton.  They've managed to weather all of these storms and are California's longest active Spec Sprint group.  They are also the state's third oldest traveling group behind only BCRA and the King Of The West Series.

The NCMA has always been about the camaraderie among its racers, and that continues even now.  There is no other Spec Sprint group willing to go pavement racing, and these guys put on a great show.  Some of them do have dirt/pavement combo cars, and they are willing to help anybody get their dirt cars set up to run on the pavement.  This Saturday night will be the opener for the group at Madera Speedway, followed by a race on May 15th at Roseville's All American Speedway.  If there is a home track for the club over the last 50 events, it is Madera, where they've competed 24 times during that span.  It's usually as part of the track's open wheel programs, which is again the case this Saturday.  For further information on NCMA racing action, go to

2017 NCMA Schedule

April 1        Madera Speedway     
April 15    All American Speedway, Roseville
May 6        Madera Speedway
June 17        All American Speedway, Roseville
July 1        Lakeport Speedway
July 2         Ukiah Speedway
July 8        Madera Speedway
August 12    All American Speedway, Roseville
September 2    All American Speedway, Roseville
September 16     Madera Speedway                  
October 14    Stockton 99 Speedway

Northern California Modified Association Champions
1988- Mike Johnson     1989- Darryl Shirk     1990- Scott Holloway
1991- Darryl Shirk     1992- Darryl Shirk     1993- Darryl Shirk
1994- Scott Holloway     1995- Duane Watson     1996- Darryl Shirk
1997- Del Quinn     1998- Scott Holloway     1999- Del Quinn
2000- Scott Holloway     2001- Ed Amador      2002- Scott Holloway
2003- Scott Holloway     2004- Ed Amador     2005- Ed Amador
2006- Gary Koster     2007- Ed Amador     2008- David Goodwill
2009- David Goodwill     2010- David Goodwill     2011- David Goodwill
2012- David Goodwill    2013- Eric Humphries    2014- Audra Sasselli
2015- Audra Sasselli    2016- Jerry Kobza

2016 NCMA Point Standings
93k-Jerry Kobza
88-Denny Burrell
77d-David Burchett
5-Cody Jessop
XX-Pat Ariaz
X-Jeff Burrows
48-John Mamula
77-Audra Sasselli
XXd-Dan Ariaz
50-Don Emery
3g-David Goodwill
14-Michael Higgins
96-Bill Hendricks

Previous NCMA Feature Winners

October 8, 2016:  David Goodwill - Stockton
September 17, 2016:  Jerry Kobza - Madera
September 10, 2016:  Jerty Kobza - Roseville
August 20, 2016:  Jerry Kobza - Roseville
July 9, 2016:  Cody Jessop - Madera
July 3, 2016:  David Burchett - Ukiah
July 2, 2016:  Audra Sasselli - Lakeport
June 18, 2016:  Cody Jessop - Roseville
May 7, 2016:  Denny Burrell - Madera
April 2, 2016:  Denny Burrell - Madera
November 20, 2015:  Jeff Burrows - Madera
November 14, 2015:  Denny Burrell - Stocktoon
September 19, 2015:  Audra Sasselli - Madera
September 5, 2015:  Jerry Kobza - Roseville
August 22, 2015:  Audra Sasselli - Roseville
July 11, 2015:  Eric Humphries - Madera
June 13, 2015:  Audra Sasselli - Roseville
June 6, 2015:  Audra Sasselli - Madera
May 16, 2015:  Jerry Kobza - Roseville
May 2, 2015:  Audra Sasselli - Madera
March 28, 2015:  Audra Sasselli - Madera
November 21, 2014:  Audra Sasselli - Madera
September 13, 2014:  Audra Sasselli - Madera
August 23, 2014:  David Goodwill - Roseville
August 16, 2014:  Audra Sasselli - Madera
August 8, 2015::  Audra Sasselli - Roseville
July 26, 2014:  David Burchett - Stockton
July 19, 2014:  Audra Sasselli - Roseville
July 12, 2014:  Audra Sasselli - Madera
June 14, 2014:  Audra Sasselli - Roseville
June 7, 2014:  Eric Humphries - Madera
May 3, 2014:  Audra Sasselli - Madera
March 30, 2014: Audra Sasselli  - Madera
September 14 2013:  Denny Burrell - Madera
August 24, 2013: David Goodwill  - Roseville
August 10, 2013:  Audra Sasselli - Madera
August 3, 2013:  Eric Humphries - Roseville
July 20, 2013:  Gordon Rodgers - Stockton
July 13, 2013:  Audra Sasselli - Madera
June 22, 2013:  Audra Sasselli - Roseville
June 8, 2013:  Gordon Rodgers -- Madera
June 1, 2013:  David Goodwill - Stockton
May 18, 2013:  Eric Humphries - Stockton
May 4, 2013:  Eric Humphries - Madera
April 20, 2013:  Eric Humphries - Stockton
April 13, 2013:  Eric Humphries - Roseville
March 23, 2013:  David Goodwill - Madera
October 20, 2012:  David Goodwill - Stockton
October 6, 2012:  David Goodwill - Stockton
September 15, 2012:  Denny Burrell - Madera

 C&H Wingless Spec Sprints Headline Five Division Show 
At Petaluma Speedway

Petaluma, CA...It seems as if the C&H Veteran Enterprises Wingless Spec Sprint Tour has somehow flown in under the radar this year, which is a surprise.  Rick Faeth of Glad Enterprises made headlines this offseason when he took over the premiere Spec Sprint Tour of California.  Scott Hall came on board to help promote the series, and everything went up.  The point fund and weekly purses are higher than ever, and the question was would the car count go up?  The answer to that was a resounding yes.

In Marysville on February 27th, 28 drivers checked into the pits as the Hunt Series was part of the annual Sherm & Loree Toller Memorial Race.  It's not too much of a surprise that you would find defending champion Klint Simpson and past Spec Sprint champion D.J. Johnson battling for the lead, but it was a shock to see the two drivers crash.   This opened the door for Cody Spencer, who had been running a solid third at that point.  Spencer didn't let the opportunity pass him by as he sped home to a $1200 victory.  Spencer is emerging as star in Spec Sprints as he won the regular point race at Marysville three weeks later.

Spencer still had his hands full holding off past series champion Terry Schank Jr. to get the win.   Troy DeGaton finished a respectable third ahead of Austin Liggett, Geoff Ensign, Chris Kerr, reigning track champion Josh Vieira, Simpson, Johnson and Ryan Souza.  Car count demanded a B Main, and rookie Thomas Leiby won that race ahead of DeGaton, reigning Chico champion Angelique Bell, Tim Sherman Jr. and Kerr.  Simpson won the Trophy Dash, while heat wins were collected by Spencer, Liggett and Schank.

The opener was one thing, but how would the class perform for Round # 2 at Chico on March 11th?  The answer was, very well.  There were 26 cars in the field for this race, and current point leader Liggett left little doubt as he won by over four seconds for the $1200 payday.  Liggett also won the track's regular season opener a night earlier and won at Chowchilla a night later for good measure.  Simpson rebounded with a solid second ahead of Kaleb Henry, Michael "Buddy" Kofoid, Bell, past Petaluma champion Sparky Howard, Adam Christian, R.C., Smith, Zachary Kavert and Sherman.

The competition level is high in the Hunt Series so far, and Spencer had to win the B Main just to earn a feature starting spot.  Smith finished second ahead of Sherman, DeGaton and Jeremy Wilson.  Liggett swept the action with heat race and Trophy Dash wins.  Brent Steck and Kavert were the other heat winners. 

The Hunt Series is in it's eighth season now as it took over where the NCMA Select Series ended at the end of the 2009 season.  Schank is actually the most decorated champion in the series with three championships in the first four years.  Tommy LaLiberte, Gary Nelson, Taylor Simas and Klint Simpson each have one championship.  After Saturday night's visit to Petaluma, the Hunt Series comes to Placerville on April 15th and then Stockton 99 Dirt on May 27th. 

As if the Hunt Series weren't a good enough reason to go to Petaluma this Saturday, the program will also include the exciting McClea's Tires IMCA Modifieds.  The Modifieds are celebrating their 30th Anniversary at Petaluma Speedway as the longest continuously running Modified effort in California.  It was actually "Hall Of Fame" Promoter John P. Soares who brought the class to California in 1987.  Car builder Joe Carr was the first division champion back in 1988.  Last season, it was Oresete Gonella winning a nail biter with multi time champion Michael Paul Jr. for his second championship.  Speedway veteran "Stormin" Norman Boeck, Michelle Paul and Terry Kaiser rounded out the Top 5 in the standings.  With other area tracks dark to IMCA Modifieds, car count should increase for the class this week.

The Lumberjack's Restaurant Super Stock class has the longest running heritage at Petaluma, dating back to the late 1970's.  Last season, Matt While edged out defending champion and long time racer Steve Studebaker by a mere five points.  Another past champion, Jim "Woody" Woodward, finished third as While took a step into the elite category by holding these two off.  Garrett Brady enjoyed another Top 5 season in fourth ahead of Ryan Cherezian.  Speedway Ironman and multi time champion Shawn McCoy was sixth in points last season.  The division has basically evolved into a Limited Late Model and is putting on great shows every time they are in town. 

The Jake's Performance Hobbies Mini Stocks were a regular attraction in Fremont, going back to before it became Baylands Raceway.  Petaluma added the class in 1989 after Baylands closed, and it's been a part of the program ever since.  There could be a shakeup at the top.  Reigning champion Darien Balestrini has a Dwarf Car and young William Fatu, who finished second last season, has a Wingless Spec Sprinter.  Hard charger Snazzy Duckworth has spent the last three seasons in the Top 3, and this could be her year to step up and claim the prize.  Second generation racer Austin Ohlinger and Sid Hess made up the rest of the Top 5 in the standings last season.

Not to be left out of the excitement is the General Hydroponics Dwarf Cars, and they round out the exciting five division program.  Chad Mathias wrote his name into the record book last season as champion, while young Miranda Chappa had her best season yet in second.  Chappa also won a Main Event late in the season.  Carroll Mendenhall, Scooter Gomes and Zack Albers rounded out the Top 5.  The Dwarf Cars are just over ten seasons into being a regular part of the card, but Petaluma was actually the first big track in California to run the division about 25 years ago. 

With the C&H Hunt Wingless Spec Sprint Series headlining this exciting five division season opener at Petlauma Speedway, it should be a great show.  For further information, go to


Hunt Series Points At A Glance
2010 Joe Hunt Magnetos Wingless Sprints
1 Terry Schank Jr.     512
2 Taylor Simas     500  
3  Billy Wallace     439 
4 Johnny Reeves     433  
5 Jerry Cisco     410
6 Cody Myers     407
7 Scott Hall     377
8  Arvo Backholm     375
9 Josh Vieira     372
10  Timmy Sherman Jr.     370
11  Janna Spear     312
12  Rowdy McClenon     302  
13 Brett Youngman     266
14 Jay Youngman     264
15  Justin Funkhouser     240
16  Jimmy Pettit     208  
17  Ryan Bernal     193
18 Joe Stornetta     191  
19 Zack Lynskey     178
20  Nick Davis     178  


2011 Joe Hunt Wingless Sprint Series Shootout Points
1)      359     7T - Taylor Simas
2)      356       1 - Terry Schank Jr.
3)      350  7/71 - Jimmy Sills
4)      334     56 - Scott Hall
5)      323    9M - Mason Myers
6)      295      9 - Cody Myers
7)      216     00 - Braedon Enos
8)      210     21 - Janna Spears
9)      198     13 - Rowdy McClenon
10)    168   25X - Johnny Reeves
11)    164    7EJ - Jeremy Hawes
12)    160    32S - Alex Schutte
13)    137     XX - Brett Youngman
14)    129     3V - Josh Viarra
15)    127    23K - Rick Sharp
16)    121    33J - DJ Johnson
17)    121     12 - David Sprigg
18)    103     17 - Nathan Johnson
19)     97      8S - Klint Simpson
20)     97      24 - Nick Larson

2012 Final Points Standings
1     #1 Terry Schank Jr     396
2     #2vs Cody Smith     340
3     #56v Scott Hall     328
4     #5B Angelique Bell     289
5     #13 Rowdy McClenon     283
6     #6 Joe Stornetta     246
7     #12 David Sprigg     208
8     #11t Travis Moore      200
9     #6sp Sparky Howard     200
10     #5V Geoff Ensign     196
11     #7 Jeremy Hawes     184
12     #XX Brett Youngman     156
13     #2 Trevor Schmid     143
14     #7JA Billy Aton     132
15     #6w Billy Wallace     129
16     #24N Nick Larson     126
17     #14jr Matt Streeter     109
18      #07n Zah Lynskey     93
19     #1jr Tim Sherman Jr     91
20      #4X Tony Richards     87

2013 Hunt Spec Sprints Final Points Standings
1     414     1 / 3X     Terry Schank Jr
2     401     13     Rowdy McClenon
3     398     56 / 7J / 77J     Scott Hall
4     342     17     Colton Sack
5     292     5B     Angelique Bell
6     288     6     Joe Stornetta
7     275     32E     Geoff Ensign
8     269     4B     Jerry Cisco
9     218     24     Shawn Jones
10     210     07N     Zack Lynskey
11     203     83     Austin Leggett
12     201     24B     Bradley Clark
13     199     5D     Sparky Howard
14     173     4X     Tony Richards
15     159     81     Brett Barney
16     159     3X     Scorry Dupont
17     140     74     Taylor Nelson
18     129     98 / 77     Bob Newberry
19     121     24N     Nick Larson
20     95     33M     jason MacIntosh

Joe Hunt Magnetos Wingless Sprint Series 2014 Points
1         395   10C/56   Tommy Laliberte
2         373   1/3X       Terry Schank Jr.
3         336   O1         Shane Myhre
4         314   2           Trevor Schmid
5         284   32         Rowdy McClenon
6         265   6           Joe Stornetta Jr.
7         249   77J/56K Scott Hall
8         224   5B         Angelique Bell
9         212   12J        John Clark
10       205   6N         Gary Nelson Jr.
11       191   17          Colton Slack
12       171   33M       Jason McIntosh
13       154   24B        Bradley Clark
14       144   3X/3F    Geoff Ensign
15       142   9           Shayna Sylvia
16       133   11D       Klint Simpson
17       108   6SP       Sparky Howard
18       103   73C       Cody Fendley
19       90     56/3X    Chase Johnson
20       87     77N       Bob Newberry

Joe Hunt Magnetos Wingless Sprint Series 2015 Points

1        Gary Nelson, Jr.         San Jose, Ca     1866
2        Klint Simpson         Santa Rosa, CA     1850
3        Anelique Bell         Rio Linda, CA     1726
4        Nick Larson         Benicia, Ca     1630
5        Zachary Kavert         Sacramento, CA     1573
6        Shane Myhre         Tuolumne, CA     1517
7        Terry Schank         Santa Rosa, Ca     1304
8        John Clark             Windsor, CA     1172
9        Cody Fendley         El Dorado, CA     1132
10        Austin Liggett         Tracy, Ca     1092
10        Colton Slack         Brentwood, CA     1092
12        Shawn Jones         San Jose, Ca     1068
13        Joe Stornetta         Napa, CA     985
14        Bradley Clark         Windsor, CA     813
15        Shayna Sylvia         San Carlos, CA     808
16       Ryan Silverling         Concord, CA     771
17        Jimmy Christian         Morgan Hill, Ca 645
18        Sparky Howard         Santa Rosa, Ca     637
19        Bryan Grier         Hollister, CA     627
20        Nick DeCarlo         Martinez, CA     624
21        Matt Streeter         Galt, CA     508
22        Brian Sperry         West Sacramento, CA 496
23        Brian Grosenheider                 443
24        Tim DeCarlo, Jr.         Morgan Hill, CA 365
25        Jeremy Newberry         Brentwood, CA     337
26        Tim Sherman                 335
27        Scott Hall             Roseville, CA     326
28        Casey McClain                  321
29        Shanua Hogg                  320
30        Christian Hickman         Chowchilla, CA     311
30        Brian Azevedo                  311
32        Johnathon Henry                   309
33        Tim Sherman, Jr                   306
33        Gary Poulsen                   306
35        Jason McIntosh         Santa Rosa, CA     302
36        Larry Peterson                  291
37        Kyle Standley                 284
38        Marcus Smith         Manteca, CA     280
39        Bill Macedo                  195
40        Evan Bonnema         Watsonville, CA 188
41        Rowdy McClenon         Anderson, CA     186
42        Chase Johnson         Penngrove, CA     175
43        Brent Barney                   173
44        Tony Richards                  170
45        Jim Vieira, Sr         Georgetown, CA     157
45        Bill Hooper         Rancho Cordova, CA 157
47        Jack Clark                   153
47        Joshua Tucker                  153
49        Roy Fisher             Antioch, CA     149
50        Don Emery             Chico, CA     146
51        Alex Coronado         Modesto, CA     145
52        Adam Christian         Santa Clara, Ca 144
53        Terre Rothweiler         Santa Cruz, Ca     143
53        Jeff Banbury                  143
53        Chad Thompson                 143
53       Jeremy Wilson         Chico, CA     143
57        Adam Alderman         Placerville, CA 141
57        Al Ghiroso, Jr         Newark, CA     141
59        Tommy Laliberte         Gilroy, CA     140
60        Tyler Schmidt                  137
60        John Steck             Roseville, CA     137
62        Bill Cornwell                 135
62        James East             San Jose, CA     135
62        Keith Shiphard         Concord, CA     135
65        Alan Souza                     25
65        Adam Ermolenko                  25
65        Keith Calvino                 25
65        Geoff Ensign         Sebastobol, CA     25
65        Adam Kaeding         Campbell, Ca     25
65        Shannon Newton                 25

Joe Hunt Magnetos Wingless Sprint Series 2016 Points
1     32        Klint Simpson        Santa Rosa CA     1454.00
2     1,27        Terry Schank        Santa Rosa Ca     1054.00
3     30        Brian Grosenheider        El Cerrito CA     818.00
4     9        Shayna Sylvia        Redwood City CA     696.00
5     14        Barry Pries              Discovery Bay CA     546.00
6     5B        Anelique Bell        Rio Linda CA     536.00
7     24N        Nick Larson               Vallejo Ca         520.00
8     17X        Bruno Bianchi        Cotati CA         498.00
9     77X,77        Ryan Siverling        Concord CA         495.00
10     3V        Josh Vieira               Marysville CA     488.00
11     32B        Eden McCormick        Petaluma CA         482.00
12     28        Marcus Smith        Manteca CA         474.00
13     3R        Bob Davis               Petaluma Ca         458.00
14     10C        Tommy Laliberte        Gilroy CA         359.00    
15     69        Bryan Grier               Salinas CA         337.00
16     14JR        Matt Streeter        Galt CA         342.00    
17     73C        Cody Fendley        El Dorado CA     342.00
18     2        Zachary Kavert        Sacramento CA     331.00    
19     27        Chris Kerr                         315.00
20     28        Dan Gonderman                     295.00
21     1C        Jimmy Christian        Morgan Hill Ca     175.00
22     12        Adam Christian        Santa Clara Ca     167.00
23     12J        John Clark               Windsor CA         166.00
24     55        Korey Combs               Dayton NV         166.00
25     73        Keith Calvino        Gilroy CA         160.00
26     2        Kevin Box                         159.00
27     11        Matthew Haulot                     157.00    
28    154        Jared Morrison        Santa Rosa CA     157.00
29     6K        Ken Mahoney                         155.00
30    69        Steven Grier        Salinas CA         155.00    
31     51        Brian Sperry        West Sacramento CA     154.00
32     2S        Tillman Schmid        Petaluma Ca         153.00
33    59        Evan Bonnema        Watsonville CA     153.00
34    26R        Ryan Owens               Anderson CA         153.00
35     XX        Brett Youngman        Grass Valley CA     150.00
36    4s       Michael Kofoid                147.00
37     74S        Chris Sieweke        Santa Rosa Ca     145.00
38    55       Shannon Newton                135.00
39    56       Brandon Burd                    124.00
40    6k       Ken Mahoney                    122.00
41    38       Casey McClain                119.00
42    39t       Troy DeGaton                 118.00
43    16       Nathan Johnson                 111.00
44     222        Joe Stornetta        Napa CA         27.00

 Things Racers Can Do To Help Chowchilla Speedway

If you are a  racer wondering what you can do to help Chowchilla Speedway get going, here are a few suggestions.

Chowchilla, CA...Chowchilla Speedway has a race scheduled for April 9th, and they are throwing everything at it in the hopes of making something big happen.  On the schedule will be Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and 600 Micros.  Word leaked out that Joe Diaz Jr. and Kris Koontz need help to make this program last in the long run.  In hindsight, they might have benefited from more planning and a bit more thought on what would be scheduled.  However, they have what they have, and the focus needs to be on making this work.

What happens next is up to the drivers.  One might ask what the racers can do to help this thing survive.  First and foremost the answer is very simple.  Come out and race if you can.  If you have the money and your car is ready to go, come out and race.  Car count is one of the keys to any track's survival.  Without it, you have no show for the fans.  It may just be that trying to run a Sunday show is a case of too much racing for the drivers, or there may be enough support to salvage something here.  Driver support will dictate where it goes from here.

Another thing the teams can do to help is bring more people.  If somebody wants to come along and you have room, bring them.  The track needs all the help they can get at the gate.  Or, encourage friends to come out and watch.  They may be getting about 100 or so fans in the stands now, so every person counts.  More people on the crew helps for the same reason.  Also, talk up the possibility of racing at Chowchilla with other racers.  Maybe there's somebody on the fence about racing, but they might come out and race with you.

You may know that racer that just needs more seat time.  Right now, Chowchilla is struggling to build up a car count in any class.  One selling point to that potential racer is there aren't a lot of racers and that gives them a chance to get more seat time with less risk of crashing.  Plus, it's a race, and you never know what can happen.  They may just leave with the winner's prize and a plaque.  Drivers have been known to come to Chowchilla and like the track better than other places they race.

Another thing a racer can do to help the cause is be seen in Chowchilla on the way to the track.  This is especially true for anybody coming in an open trailer.  Stop off and get gas in Chowchilla or hit the store for some soda.  Grab a bite before the races.  Plan to have a few minutes so that maybe somebody sees you and asks where you are going.  You can tell them about the races at the track.  Maybe that gets another fan into the stands.

Another thing you can do is bring some candy or a few hot wheels to give away.  If you have hero cards, you can sign some and give them to the kids.  If you have hats or shirts, you can donate one to the announcer to give away.  This is the kind of thing that will get the fans talking about the fun time they had at the track.  A kid gets an autographed hero card or some candy, and it was a fun time for them.  Word of mouth gets around and more fans want to come to the next race.  Getting a bag of candy or handing out hero cards if you already have them anyway takes minimum effort, but it means a lot to the fans.

Sponsorship is a big thing.  Actually, a lot of racers struggle to get any, but perhaps you're doing okay.  If you happen to be somebody who has a lead on a potential sponsor, let Joe or Kris know who it is and who to contact.  Sponsorship can be a very important factor in helping a promoter pay the bills and pay for little things that we may not realize they need to run the track.  So, if you do know somebody who can help, let management know.

Positivity is the key.  If you are going to Chowchilla Speedway, chances are that you care about the place and want to be a part of things.  You can help create the positive buzz by posting on social media and message boards about the races.  Get people talking about it.  This can be a key to creating the momentum that turns things around in the future.  It doesn't matter what the struggle has been, because we have an opportunity now to build something special.  

On April 9th, Chowchilla Speedway gets another opportunity to shine.  Let's make it the best race so far for the track's new management.  For further information, check out the official Facebook page at or the official website at

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Antioch And Merced Playdays, Marysville, Chowchilla, Hardtops And More

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

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Barona Speedway made it onto TV in a segment that can be viewed HERE

The DCRR Racing Radio Show
We actually recorded a third edition that didn't save, so we're going with the second.  Chowchilla Speedway is rained out this week. Go to the various track pages for updates on weather in the area.

Eventful Practice Day At Antioch Speedway

Antioch, CA...March 18...The 57th consecutive season at Antioch Speedway and 20th under the promotion of John & Donna Soares will kick off this Saturday night.  After last week's practice was canceled due to wet grounds, several drivers took the opportunity to make some practice laps on the fast three-eighth mile clay oval on Saturday afternoon.

The Wingless Spec Sprint division will have some new drivers this year, and we got a chance to watch a few of them practice.  While past feature winner James East was looking fast as usual, Mini Stock graduate Abigail Gonderman was making her first laps.  Grandfather and 1970 Sportsman champion Ken Gonderman was there along with her two time Spec Sprint championship winning father Dan Gonderman.  Dan will be racing a Winged 360 Sprint Car this season, and he was proud of his daughter's effort.

One of the more popular racers in Hobby Stocks and Spec Sprints through the years was "Gentleman" Jimmy Lavell.  When he wasn't working, he was at the races.  Sadly, Jimmy passed away last year.  Josh Floyd and his father Ron Floyd were both officials at Antioch Speedway, and Josh has Lavell's old Spec Sprinter.  Josh was excited about getting a chance to race, and he looked good for his first time behind the wheel.

In the excitement department, Top 3 BCRA Midget Lites racer  Kyle Offill has a Winged 360 Sprint Car for his move into the Sprint Car Challenge Series.  His first time on the track resulted in a rollover, but he got it back together to make some better laps later.  Also joining the rollover club was Rick Foster in the blue #74 Hobby Stock.  The crew thrashed on it and got him back on the track later.

Devan Kammerman is making his move up from Quarter-Midgets to Dwarf Cars, and he joined teammates Mike Corsaro and Charlie Correia for some practice laps.  2016 runnerup Corsaro is anticipated to be one of this year's title contenders in his new car.  You also can't count out Correia, who is the longest active Dwarf Car driver on the West Coast.  Correia has an extensive Open Wheel back ground and could just step up and grab a feature win this season.  Teammates Tim Reeder and Josh Miller were there.  Miller was a feature winner last season, and Reeder is hoping to improve on his fourth place 2016 ranking.

Carl Berendsen II was back to make some laps following his All Star Sport Modified debut last week.  Berendsen may not be a regular, but he's hoping to get some wins when he's there.  Past Street Stock champion Todd Gomez is back in a B Modified, and he was joined by rookie Guy Ahlwardt.  Ahlwardt was last season's Hobby Stock champion.  Reigning B Modified champion Trevor Clymens was also on hand for the practice.  Trevor says his car is ready for this week's opener.

There were also Late Models and Limited Late Models making laps.  Kimo Oreta had his pretty #03 car at the track for more seat time.  He also piloted the Sun Drop Racing #15 car.  The three time Hobby Stock champion was last year's "Rookie Of The Year" and should not be counted out in the Limited Late Model title chase.  Ryan Cherezian and the steady John Evans were also there with Limited Late Models.  Cherezian has finished as high as second at Antioch in the past, but he's hoping this will be the season he gets into the win column.  Two time division champion Mike Gustafson also gave his car a shakedown run.  The Late Models of David Newquist and Mike Hynes were also there.

All of the drivers who made laps are looking forward to the season opener this week.  On the card will be the Wingless Spec Sprints, DIRTcar Late Models, Limited Late Models, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.

Coming Saturday:  The two biggest stars of the DIRTcar Late Model effort these past three seasons have been Richard Papenhausen and Jeff Decker.  Papenhausen is the reigning and 2014 champion, while Decker won the title in 2015.  In addition to that, the two drivers have won the previous two DIRTcar West Region championships.  While Kimo Oreta will be in his rookie season in this class, we also anticipate Mike Hynes, David Newquist, Dennis Souza and Rob Norris will be among this week's competitors.

Oreta is prepared to improve on his runnerup ranking from last year in Limited Late Models, but he can expect stiff competition from Mark Garner.  Garner won five times last season, but bad luck in the finale ended his bid for second.  Neither of these two can ignore crafty veteran Mike Gustafson.  Mike is a two time champion and has won more Main Events in this division than anybody else in track history.  Past champions Lori Brown and Jim Freethy, John Evans, Ryan Cherezian and John Keith will be others to watch.  All of the racers will be driving with a heavy heart after the passing of reigning champion Larry Damitz at 87 years old.

With Guy Ahlwardt moving up in divisions, it appears as if we will get another new champion in Hobby Stocks.  That is, of course, unless we see the husband and wife team of Brad and Melissa Myers.  New Years Bash winner Chris Long will be one driver to watch, along with Stock Car veteran Danny Jones.  Several of last season's stars, including Michael Cooper, Top 3 competitor Jordan Swank, Cameron Swank, Frank Furtado and Natalie Perry, are anticipated this week.  There are some new racers in the field.  We only saw Mini Stock champion Brent Curran a few times in 2015, but he's set to race this year along with fourth generation racer Billy Garner, Sid Smith, Rick Foster and Chris Bennett.

On the open wheel side of things, engine rule clarifications have left the status of reigning Wingless Spec Sprint champion Jim Perry Jr. and Jimmy Perry III in question for the opener, though we wouldn't rule out an appearance.  Long time Spec Sprint racer Rick Panfili's appearance may be in doubt as he is recovering from knee surgery.  2016 Top 5 point runner Brandon Burd has a new car, and last year's "Rookie Of The Year" Adam Teves has a new motor.  Alan Miranda also has a new motor this season from the shops of DeLucca Racing Engines.  The division will welcome a few newcomers as well.

The B Modified champion, Trever Clymens, is ready to go, and young Alfred Johnson will be taking the wheel of one of his father's cars.  K.C. Keller is ready to see if he can move up the point ladder a bit more after his fourth place season.  There seems too be a stream of new drivers joining this class, and that will keep things very competitive. 

There's plenty to watch for in Dwarf Cars as they begin their 20th season.  If Kevin Miraglio is back for a run at a second straight championship, we know Mike Corsaro will give him a run, but we also know David Rosa appeared to have his Dwarf Car dialed in down the stretch last year.  The same can be said for Jenna Frazier, who will also run a Winged Sprint car this season.  The Dwarf Cars will round out an exciting six division show on Saturday.

For further information, go to

Merced Drivers Get One More Shakedown Run 
Before The Opener

Merced, CA...March 18...The weather cooperated once again, allowing Promoter Ed Parker to open the gates of Merced Speedway for one more playday.  Past Street Stock champion Tim Ragsale is handling track prep these days, and the quarter-mile clay oval was in good shape for practice.

With the IMCA Modified season opener around the corner, brothers Ramie Stone and Troy Stone made some good laps together. Troy has been away for a few seasons, but he looked like he hadn't missed a week.  Ramie is coming off of second in points last season and is a multi time champion in the class.  In fact, he's won championships in three different divisions.  He'll be gunning for defending champion Randy Brown this season.  Speaking of Brown, he was putting his car through its shakedown run as he prepares to defend his championship.  Also getting in some good laps was Bruce "Bubba" Nelson, who had a great rookie season last year.  Nelson will be looking to make this the third different division he's won a Main Event in at Merced.

Meanwhile, John McDougall towed in from the Antioch area as he intends to race here as often as possible.  John was trying different things to get his setup where he needs it to be.  He was a feature winner and title contender in 2015 before a crash in a race at Petaluma sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

Several IMCA Sport Modified racers also did more testing before next week's scheduled West Coast Sport Mod Tour comes to town.  Among the drivers on hand were Dwayne Short, Garrett Jernagan, Josh Hensley and George Medeiros.  Hensley is the 2015 champion.  Also making good practice laps were Sport Modified veteran Anthony Giuliani, Joe Salvi and 16 year old Gavin Espino.  A good field of Sport Modifieds is anticipated for this week's West Coast Sport Mod Tour opener.

The same can be said for the Hobby Stocks.  2015 champion Kevin Joaquin was making some good laps with Sport Modified racer Chris Falkenberg riding shotgun and doing a live feed.  2015 Mini Stock champion Darren Miguel was also taking advantage of practice as he hopes to make it back to the winner's circle once again.  Jeff Lacy was back and making good laps in his Miami Dolphins tribute #13 car.  Steven Rogers was also there in his yellow Ford Mustang, along with James Stockton, Mike Germait and newcomer Dustin Donathan.

There are new drivers in the Mini Stock class as well.  Cody Keldsen is the latest generation of the famous Keldsen family to get behind the wheel as he made laps in the D.J. Keldsen Watsonville championship car.  Devin Belton also made his first laps in the former Danny Wagner Mini Truck.  Corder Racing brought three cars, including the new car for reigning champion Chris Corder.  Destiny Carter is back for her second year with the team.  Last year's third place driver learned a lot with each practice session.  Jennifer Corder, who is a past division championship runnerup, was back making more laps in her new car.  Newcomers Jennifer Rogers and Skip Speed and the truck of Tony Peffer were also there for practice.

Noteworthy in their presence were the new Mini Late Models, who will make several appearances this season.  Past Street Stock champion Robby Jeppesen is dealing these cars on the West Coast, and his son Riley Jeppesen was making his first laps along with young gun Ian Shearer.  Timmy Crews and Kart veteran Timmy Vaught were just a bit faster in their laps, but the youngsters will get faster as they get more seat time.

There is lots of anticipation in the air as Merced Speedway gets ready its 68th continuous season of racing this Saturday night.  An increased car count is anticipated for the the inaugural West Coast IMCA Sport Modified Tour race.  Joining them for an exiting lineup of racing will be the IMCA Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks.  For Further information, go to

California Hardtop association Racers Practice 
At Placerville Speedway

Placerville, CA...March 18...The California Hardtop Association will return for their tenth season of racing, mostly on the dirt this season.  These vintage Coupe and Sedan racers have been entertaining fans at pavement and dirt tracks for ten seasons now, and thanks to another solid schedule from President John Philbert, this tradition will continue.

One of their main tracks will be Placerville, where they race on April 15th, July 22nd and August 25th.  They also make visits to Chico (May 12th and June 30th), Marysville (May 13th and July 1st), Petaluma (June 3rd), Orland (August 12th), Calistoga (September 2nd and 3rd) and Roseville (June 17th, October 7th and October 27th and 28th).

Placerville provided the racers with an opportunity to practice last Saturday, and five CHA competitors took advantage of that opportunity.  This is the time to dial the bugs out of the race cars, and unfortunately those bugs turned into gremlins for both Joseph Shenefield and Ron Ruiz.  Ruiz had motor problems.  Both drivers will hopefully have those issues sorted out before the Placerville opener on April 15th.

Jason Clifford was back again, and he had a passenger.  His girlfriend Kelsey was riding along with him as he ran the quarter-mile clay oval at a rapid pace.  Jason's father, Ken Clifford, was there.  The two enjoyed a few side by side laps together.  Also making laps was Placerville Stock Car veteran Dennis Armstrong, who is a past winner with the group.  Both Jason and Ken were winners last season.  Placerville was an opportunity for these three to make some good laps and dial their cars in.

Most of last year's stars will be back this year, including hard charger Jason Armstrong, who was a winner on multiple occasions.  Joe Hopp, John Turner, Dave Reed and Spenser Nice are among the other CHA stars to watch for.  Reed is in the old Philbert car, and we've heard rumors that Philbert might be back in another car.  Plus, stars from the Bay Area and The Valley are sure to stop in from time to time.

The CHA opens at Placerville on April 15th and has a big double header weekend at Chico May 12th and Marysville on the 13th.  For updates on other happenings with the group, go to

Kofoid, Spencer, Bartlett, Compton Marysville Winners

Marysville, CA...March 18...Michael "Buddy" Kofoid had an impressive drive as he opened the 2017 Marysville Raceway Winged 360 Sprint Car season with a 25 lap Main Event victory Saturday night.  Kofoid led from the drop of the green flag, and the young gun was chased by Tony Gualda and veteran Mason Moore.  There was only one early yellow flag.  During the last half dozen laps, Gualda closed in on Kofoid, but Kofoid prevailed at the checkered flag.  Moore finished third ahead of Billy Wallace, Heath Hall, Tyler Seavy, Jeremy Hawes, Mike Monohan, Korey Lovell and Dustin Freitas.  Lovell won the first heat ahead of Kofoid, Hawes held off Monohan to win the second heat and Hall prevailed in the third heat ahead of Jake Haulot.

February Hunt Wingless Spec Sprint Series winner Cody Spencer impressed with his 20 lap win in the track's regular Spec Sprint program.  Dwarf Car graduate Thomas Leiby set the early pace ahead of Gary Paulson and Brett Youngman.  A lap 3 restart allowed Paulson to make a pass for the lead as Youngman settled into second.  Spencer was the driver making the moves as he settled into fifth on lap seven, and he took fourth on lap eight.  Spencer grabbed third on lap ten and put the moves on Youngman for second on lap 12.  Spencer gained quickly on Paulson and made his winning pass on lap 18.  Spencer brought it home to victory ahead of Paulson. Youngman, Leiby, Tim Sherman Jr., Bruce Morrow, Josh Vieira, Boy Moniz, Leon Olschowka and Paul Vandenberg.  Paulson won his heat race ahead of Vieira, while Leiby got his his win in front of Youngman.

Jerry Bartlett scored a thrilling victory in the 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event.  This was a race that appeared to be in he bag for Phillip Shelby.  Shelby led from the start with Mike Merritt second and 2015 champion Howard Law third.  Bartlett made his first appearance in the Top 5 on lap four, and a red flag flew when Willie Horn Jr. and Jim Waller tangled exiting Turn 2, sending Waller through the fence off the back stretch and onto the road.  Nobody was injured, but both drivers were eliminated.  Shelby continued to lead Merritt and Law on the restart, but Hall law took over second on lap 13.  Bartlett made an inside pass a lap later to take third from Merritt.  On a lap 17 restart, Shelby pulled up to the outside and stalled in Turn 3.  Law had the lead and lead until Bartlett pulled inside down the back stretch and made the pass on the last lap.  Bartlett completed his move through Turns 3 and 4 and scored the win.  Law settled for second ahead of Merritt, Larry Ferguson, Shane DeVolder, Jeff Bye Jr., Tom Reynolds, Shelby, Mike Smith and Anthony Doubledee.  Shelby won a heat race ahead of Law, while Horn won the other heat in front of Alan Faruta.

Three time Chico champion Brian Compton made a visit, and several more visitors helped build a respectable field for the Hobby Stock class.  Compton won the Main Event, and despite a few yellow flags, he was never seriously threatened.  Reigning champion and double division racer Anthony Doubleee was an early second ahead of Hayfork Speedway star Russ Newman.  Newman took second from Doubledee on a lap ten restart as fellow Hayfork racer Burl Richardson settled into third.  After a lap 12 yellow flag, Newman had problems, allowing Richardson and young Hayfork star D.J. Case to settle into second and third.  Compton went on to a satisfying victory ahead of Richardson, Case, Davey Stone, Tim Williams, Newman, Doubledee, Matt Magenheimer, George Abella and Cy Cooper.  Newman won his heat race ahead of Doubledee, while Compton prevailed in the other heat ahead of Cooper.

James Castleberry won the Street Stock heat race and led flag to flag to win the 12 lap Main Event ahead of Mike Walko and Rod Oliver.  Ryan McDaniel, Phil Marino and Brent Lawrence were Main Event scratches.

Marysville Raceway Results March 18, 2017

Winged 360 Sprint Cars
Main Event

Michael Kofoid
Tony Gualda
Mason Moore
Billy Wallace
Heath Hall
Tyler Seavey
Jeremy Hawes
Mike Monahan
Korey Lovell
Dustin Freitas
Brad Bumgarner
Jimmy Steward
Daniel Becker
Peter Paulson
Raquel Hall
Jake Haulot
Wyatt Brown

Wingless Spec Sprint
Main Event

Cody Spencer
Gary Paulson
Brett Youngman
Thomas Leiby
Tim Sherman Jr.
Bruce Morrow
Josh Vieira
Boy Moniz
Leon Olschowka
Paul Vandenberg

IMCA Sport Modified
Main Event

Jerry Bartlett
Howard Law
Mike Merritt
Jason Ferguson
Shane Devolder
Jeff Bye Jr.
Thomas Reynolds
Phillip Shelby
Mike Smith
Anthony Doubledee
Willlie Horn Jr.
Jim Waller
Alan Furuta

Hobby Stock
Main Event

Brian Compton
Burl Richardson
D.J. Case
Davey Stone
Tim Williiams
Russ Newman
Anthony Doubledee
Matt Magenheimer
George Abella
Cy Cooper
Mel Byers
Jeremy Langenderfer
Trever Abella

Super Stocks
Main Event
James Castleberry
Mike Walko
Rod Oliver

McDaniel, Diaz and Corder Share 
Chowchilla Speedway Winner's Circle

Chowchilla, CA...March 19...Chowchilla Speedway hosted a Stock Car racing program on the 3/8th mile dirt oval on Sunday Afternoon.  Coming all the way from Marysville, Ryan McDaniel won a duel with Torrence long tow Cody Laney to win the 20 lap A Modified Main Event.  Los Banos leadfoot Rick Diaz was the class of the field in winning the 20 lap B Modified feature, while reigning Mini Stock champion Chris Corder won their 20 lap Main Event.

Ryan McDaniel got started early in winning the eight lap A Modified heat ahead of eighth starter Cody Laney.  This put these two drivers on the front row for the non stop Main Event, and they immediately pulled away in their battle.  Every time McDaniel came up to lap a slower car, he made the right move, and that got him to the winner's circle.  Laney was a close second as Robert Marsh was a lead lap third.

Rick Diaz and Chowchilla's Tim Elias ran 1-2 in the B Modified eight lap heat race.  The drivers got out of their cars for a standing intro for the fans before the Main Event.  There were a couple of local teens competing in this race, and after helping them buckle up, Diaz got into his own car.  As the 2016 Merced champion, Diaz carried the experience advantage and he led flag to flag in victory ahead of Elias.  After hitting the back wall on the first lap, 16 year old Gavin Espino came back to finish third.

Chris Corder raced to victory in the eight lap Mini Stock heat race after taking the lead from Paul Lauretti.  Chris' sister Jennifer Corder hit the back wall in that race and pitted.  For the Main Event, C. Corder drove it hard and got up on two wheels at one point.  The defending Chowchilla Speedway champion went on to victory ahead of Lauretti and Jennifer Corder.

Reigning Hobby Stock champion Kevin Joaquin won both the eight lap heat race and 20 lap Main Event ahead of local ace Kodie Dean.

The Winged Sprints, Wingless Spec Sprints, 600 Micros and Vintage Sprints and Modifieds are all back on this Sunday. Grandstands open at 10:00 AM with the first race starting at 1:00 PM.  General Admission is $10.00 Seniors and Military Veterans are $7.00.  Children 6-12 are $5.00.  For further information, go to

Race Results
A Modified

Main Event
Ryan McDaniel
Cody Laney
Robert Marsh
John DiGiovanni
Danny Roe
Chester Kniss
Michael Aldrich
Jeff Streeter DNS

Ryan McDaniel
Cody Laney
Robert Marsh
Chester Kniss
Danny Roe
John DiGiovanni
Michael Aldrich
Jeff Streeter

B Modifieds
Main Event

Rick Diaz
Tim Elias
Gavin Espino
Kaylin Lopez
Jeremy Hoff
Jack Agiar

Rick Diaz
Tim Elias
Kaylin Lopez
Gavin Espino
Jack Aguiar
Jeremy Hoff

Mini Stocks
Main Event

Chris Corder
Paul Lauretti
Jennifer Corder
Johnathan Watson
Jason Lawton DNS
Kyle Fortney DNS

Chris Corder
Paul Lauretti
Johnathan Watson
Jason Lawton
Kyle Fortney
Jennifer Corder

Hobby Stocks
Main Event

Kevin Joaquin
Kodie Dean

Heat Winner
Kevin Joaquin
Kodie Dean

 Chowchilla Speedway's Uncertain Future

In November of 2015, I was set to announce at Chowchilla Speedway.  That would have been the tenth and final race of the season there, and it coincided with my worst personal moment.  The rebirth of that track this year made me wonder what might have been for me and my future if that November race would have happened.  Or, what if it had been reopened last year when it might have been possible for me to be there and Merced.

In 2015,  I was traveling with Jim Robbins to John Soares' place just about every week to make a trip to The Valley, and I recall our last conversation after departing Chowchilla.  We had done a Hobby Stock, Mini Stock and Dwarf Car program that week that went better than we expected.  It was no smash hit, but John had an interesting comment to make.  I agree with him.

John said that this type of show was the only way to get this track going again.  I might add Sport Mods to that, but I find no fault in what John said.  John even mentioned E Modifieds, but that would make Chowchilla the only one running that class.  You see, you have a real problem launching this track again with anything big.  Where are you gonna get the money with a poor fan base?  Madera is a happening place now.  Merced is doing well.  It's not that you won't get those fans, but they already have a nice home track.  Plus, it's tough for a fan to spectate twice a week on a family budget.

Because of that, you can't have big purse divisions.  The money at the gate isn't there, AND often times you can't get the deal for this race track without giving up concessions.  All of the top promoters will tell you that you need that or it won't work.  You need every dollar you can get to pay the bills.

I walked the main street a little bit.  We stopped at Pedro's for a burger, and I noticed signs in the windows of several businesses advertising the carnival at the fairgrounds.  I immediately thought how a racing sign was needed in these windows in the future.  You have to work every angle locally to make this happen, because even if that town doesn't have a big population, you ought to be able to get 300-500 of them to come out before getting fans from neighboring Merced, Madera and Los Banos.

Tom Sagmiller was freaking crazy.  Charlie Ruth was crazy.  All of the investors and crew.  Crazy!  How did this place ever work?  Well, let's see...

1-Madera wasn't doing all that well back then.

2-Merced had many racers parked because they weren't happy with management.

3-San Jose Speedway closed.

4-The timing was right.

5-Did I mention Tom was crazy!  Yep, my kind of crazy!

Oh, they laughed at him.  Buddy and the crew worked on the track in December while Tom and Cindy were in Reno.  Chowchilla Speedway?  Get out of here!

NARC was desperate because they burned some bridges and Chowchilla was their last hope.  So, they got behind it.  Tom had a crazy idea.  There's that word again.  $5.00 tickets.  Why? 

Okay, follow me on this one you "traditional" promoters.  If it's $10.00 for most tracks, but nobody knows about Chowchilla, you will probably get 50-100 fans if you charge that if you are lucky.  Make it $5.00 and you'll get curious observers just for the price.  Just like movie goers who only go for the cheaper matinee ticket.  Now, you might get 200-300 fans.  It may start out making the same money either way, but more fans means more word of mouth.  It worked.  Attendance grew.

Drivers wanted an option.  Tom by now realized that Saturday was not a good night, but Friday was.  So he started on Fridays.  Modifieds, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks were the core three classes.  Tom saw Mini Trucks weren't working, so he made it Mini Stocks.  The Limited Sprints actually were growing until a fateful night in 2001.  Oh, and he bucked Merced by allowing Camaro's and Firebird's in the Hobby Stock class.

I called it a smoke and mirror show.  You might get 12 Mods every week, but it was 5-6 regulars and 5-6 different drivers.  Same type of thing with Street Stocks.  But, so damn what!  Two heats, a Trophy Dash and an A Main.

And Hobby Stocks?  Watsonville guys towed over the hill.  An unlikely group from Stockton.  Antioch guys started coming.  Chowchilla residents actually started building cars.  By 2001, we had B Mains in the Hobby Stocks.

Tom also made it so you didn't have to join an association to race.  Just come race.  Between that and $5.00 entry for fans, promoters were complaining, but what was he supposed to do?  You wanna open a track in a non racing town, you'd better think outside the box.  That's what he did.

Point fund money?  Tom had his head shaved to give his members a point fund that first year.

Rain out during race night, cancellation, rain stops, booing crowd?  No problem.  Tom asked his racers, and they came back out, packed the track back in and the show continued.  Who does stuff like that?

Mechanics and Ladies race to end the season, and then George Steitz brought back The Race.  2000 was magic.

I wasn't officially on staff that year, but I hitch hiked to get there every week,  I had to be a part of this.  I volunteered to do the programs.  I wrote for the newspapers.  Why?  It was fun!  The mood was exactly why I ever wanted to do this in the first place, and I wasn't feeling it anywhere else at the time.

In 2001, I announced there.  It was fun.  We built something, and it was amazing.  It grew. 

Maybe it was the perfect storm?  Maybe Tom just got lucky?  Maybe he was a genius?  Maybe all three combined. Tom and those involved with him put that track on the map.  I didn't agree with everything.  Heck, I walked away.  But he made it from 2000 to August of 2007.  If not for politics, he might still be there.

What have we had since?

Chuck Griffin 2008 - Half a season
Kenny Shepherd 2009-2011 - Best post Sagmiller effort
John Prentce 2012 - Half a season
Jack Stanford 2013 - Late in 2013 and into 2014. A few good moments, but struggled to the end and walked away
John Soares 2015 - Nine of ten races
Sanders Motorsport 2016 - Some Kart races in front of the grandstands

Now, Joe Diaz Jr. and Kris Koontz take their turn.

Amazing the revolving door.  Tom called me occasionally after I left.  Looking back, maybe I should have gone when it was him running the place.  Soares getting the track brought me back.  I thought he was trying to build something. Looking back...

But, John's words are true.  Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  I'd add B Modifieds.  Build a show with that first, then look at other things.

Hobby Stocks only had two cars on Sunday.  Really?  So, nobody was curious?  Or did they not know?

Hayfork, Orland, Porterville.  Three tracks trying to establish something.  Three tracks with a core of Mini Stocks and Hobby Stocks.  Three tracks that don't have much money to work with.

Now, if you have money to burn, go ahead.  Burn  away.  You'll find takers, but when you run out?  Don't ask them for help. 

I also don't think you can run weekly using the current "Sprint Cars one week, A Mods the other week" formula.  Even with the smaller purse classes.  Nope.  You can't do it.  The three tracks I just mentioned don't run weekly.

Orland has the right idea.  They have a Fan Appreciation night with a meet and greet with the fans, a fund raiser with a local group to help fight Cancer.  Start locally.

I mean, you have Chowchilla guys with cars, maybe something can be done in town to create race track awareness.  I'd also see about building up a local roster of racers.

You should be able to get 10 Hobby Stocks.  It just should be able to happen for a 10-12 race season.

Mini Stocks should give you 6-10 cars and grow.

Dwarf Cars 4-8 cars is doable on a night when they aren't running a National or Regional event.

Do 600's want to race?  Joe and Kris are looking at that.  Orland is trying.  Maybe something is there?

I think there's enough B Mod interest to get 8-12 drivers who want to race.

I'm not talking a big car count here, but I'm being realistic.  A Mods would be nice to have, but pay them less than $500, and they aren't coming.  Heck, some of them expect $1000 to win, given the investment they have.  I understand that, but the money isn't there.

I think the current management was only thinking about one thing.  They wanted to open the track again.  They probably thought that they would pack the pits, but it takes more than that.  That track has always taken a little bit of thinking outside the box to make it work.

Talk to people now, and they'd say Tom Sagmiller is the only one who can make it work.  They remember how it was.  I doubt Tom wants it.  I even told him before I left to move here that he should call me when he gets the place back and we'll build it up again.  I still wonder why he didn't unfriend me for wishing that on him.

I think it can work.  You have to have a game plan, and you need people to invest in the place.  Or, you need sponsors who want that track to work.  Joe Diaz and Kris Koontz are good guys, and Joe has had success in establishing the Barn Burner Series.

Look, when you talk Sprint Cars, you are talking money.  NARC people waved money around in 2000.  Heck, Sprint Car people waved money around to John Prentice, and look at Watsonville now.  Joe is a Sprint Car guy.  So, um, nobody was willing to get on board with him?

To me, it's simple.  B Mods, Hobbys and Minis.  We'll see what other things we can sprinkle in.  Spec Sprints IF the drivers are willing to work with us to build a program and leave the expensive stuff in the garage.  I like what Soares is doing with his class at Antioch in regards to cost.  Gimme Sprint Cars for the working man again!

You want Sprint Cars, A Modifieds, Late Models at Chowchilla?  Bring us a good sponsor, and we'll make it happen.  Have drivers willing to put cars on display in town and help promote that we have a track that features their class.

I don't know the workings of Chowchilla that well, but I know at one time that town caught racing fever with Hobby Stocks.  There are still racers based out of there.  I want to get local fans interested.  We need that.  What else are you gonna do in Chowchilla on a Sunday afternoon?

I'm not sure where Joe and Kris are going from here.  They've already called a rainout for this week, and they are looking for help with sponsorship. You wanna help?  Now's the time to give them a call.  I've been saying that Joe might be the only guy to make it work given his Barn Burner success. 

In the absence of that, maybe Tom Sagmiller really is the only one who can do it.  Heck, I didn't know the man, and I risked and ultimately lost a good situation at Antioch because I wanted to support him when my home track wasn't doing anything.   Ultimately, I'd like to see this track live again.

Note:  We released an article a couple months ago for the Merced Schedule.  This is just a slight touch up of that article heading into the opener.

 Merced Speedway Schedule Released

Merced, CA...Merced Speedway is about ready to kick off a new season of exciting auto racing.  In his second year as promoter of the 67 year old racing facility at the Merced County Fairgrounds, Ed Parker has put together an excellent schedule that runs from March through the first week of October.

After back to back playdays to get the cars tuned up on March 11 and 18, the green flag flies over the season on March 25 with the core four divisions on the schedule, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks.  The Valley Sportsman division will again make several appearances as it begins the 19th season of it's "Modern Era" run.  The track has also added the 600cc engine Mini Late Models.  But Sportsmans and Mini Late Models aren't the only classes giving the fans more variety.

For starters, Merced Speedway has landed a pair of dates for the IMCA 305 RaceSaver Sprint Cars on April 1 and July 8.  The class is quickly growing into a power house in Hanford and Tulare with 18-20 cars showing up when they are competing there.  Open wheel fans can also take delight in the fact that the over 70 year old BCRA will be in town on multiple occasions.  The BCRA Midgets will race on April 22, while the BCRA Midget Lites make appearances on May 13 and August 12.  The young guns of the USAC Midet2 division visit on May 13 and August 26.  There is also an AMA Flat Track Motorcycle event on June 24.

The week before the Motorcycles come to town, on June 16-17, there will be a WCDCA Dwarf Car Nationals Event.  Mini Late Models join them on Friday, while Hobby Stocks, Sportsmans and the lone Super 4 appearance will be a part of the Saturday night show.  You want big dates that are part of Merced Speedway tradition?  Parker has it covered once again.  This starts on April 15 with the core four classes, headlined by a big All Star IMCA Modified Series race.

The Ted Stofle Classic is back in May 6 to honor future Hall Of Famer Ted Stofle.  This race will feature IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds and a double point Hobby Stock race.  The Timmy Post Memorial Race opens July in a big way on the 1st with IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds and Hobby Stocks.  Legend's Night is back on August 12 with the Sportsman division running for double points.  Legends Of Kearney Bowl Super Modifieds, BCRA Midget Lites and Hobby Stocks are also part of the big event.  This follows a dark night on August 5 to allow Merced racers to support the Mike Cecil Memorial Race at Watsonville that night.

Merced Speedway icon Matt Von Hoecke is remembered again with the Matt & Glass Cancer Fund Raiser season finale on September 23rd, featuring IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds and a double point race for Hobby Stocks.  The track goes dark September 30th to support Watsonville's Pat Pettit Memorial Shoot Out, but it comes back one more time on October 7th with the John Fore Jr. Memorial Race for Sport Modifieds and Hobby Stocks.  It is an exciting season that offers something for everybody.

Pre Season Pit Stops

The two playdays would have to be considered a success.  Drivers from all divisions took advantage of the chance to practice on the Tim Ragdsdale prepared quarter-mile clay oval.  With the IMCA Modified season opener set for this Saturday, brothers Ramie Stone and Troy Stone made some good laps together last week. Troy has been away for a few seasons, but he looked like he hadn't missed a week.  Ramie is coming off of second in points last season and is a multi time champion in the class.  In fact, he's won championships in three different divisions.  He'll be gunning for defending champion Randy Brown this season.

The Hobby Stock's two biggest stars of the past few seasons, Michael Shearer and Kevin Joaquin, are back this year.  Joaquin was looking fast last week and had a co pilot, Chris Falkenberg, with him shooting a live video feed at practice.  Joaquin barely lost the championship battle last season to Shearer, but he won both the Merced and Chowchilla titles the year before.  There were several Hobby Stocks making laps, including some new drivers.

Chris Corder continues to make headlines not just for winning three Mini Stock tiles in the last three seasons, but because of his sportsmanship.  Chris is maintaining four cars this year.  In addition to his new car, he's helping get his sister Jennifer back up to speed.  There's also teen racers Destiny Carter and Zoe Sandoval.  Carter finished third in her rookie season, and Sandoval is just getting started.  The Keldsen family is three generations strong at Watsonville Speedway, and young Cody Keldsen made his first laps in the D.J. Keldsen Watsonville championship car.  Second generation racer Devin Belton made his first laps in a Mini Truck.  His father Jason Belton is a past Sportsman driver at the track.

The California Sharp Mini Late Models don't get to race until April 8th, but several of the drivers made some good laps as they attempt to establish this new 600cc motorcycle engine class.  It's a scaled down version of a Late Model, and young drivers Riley Jeppesen and Ian Shearer are making their debuts on the big track.  Chuck Crews and Timmy Vaught have a bit more experience and were looking fast.  Past Merced Street Stock champion Robby Jeppesen has climbed aboard as the car dealer in California, and the hope is that this class will grow at Merced as well as some of the Micro Sprint tracks in the state.

Racing kicks off this Saturday with a West Coast IMCA Sport Modified race along with IMCA Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks.  Reigning champions this year include Randy Brown (IMCA Modifieds), Rick Diaz (IMCA Sport Modifieds), Michael Shearer (Hobby Stocks), Chris Corder (Mini Stocks) and Kenny Birdsong (Valley Sportsman).  For more information, go to

2017 Merced Speedway Schedule
March 25 - IMCA Mod, IMCA SportMods, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks

April 1 - RaceSaver Winged Sprints, IMCA Sport Mods, Valley Sportsman, Mini Stocks

April 8  IMCA Mods, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars, Mini Late Models

April 15 - IMCA All Star Mods, IMCA SportMods, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks

April 22 - BCRA Midgets, IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks, Valley Sportsman

April 29 - IMCA Mods, IMCA Sport Mods, Mini Stocks, Mini Late Models

May 6 - "Ted Stofle Classic" IMCA Mods, IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks (Double Points Hobby Stocks)

May 13 - BCRA Midget Lites, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Mini Late Models

May 20 - IMCA Mods, IMCA Sport Mods, Mini Stocks, Valley Sportsman

May 27 - No Races In Observance Of Memorial Day

June 3 - No Races Due To Fair Prep

June 7 - Wednesday - "Merced County Fair" IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks

June 10 - No Races Due To Fair

June 16 - Friday - "Dwarf Car Nationals" Dwarf Cars, Mini Late Models

June 17 - "Dwarf Car Nationals" Dwarf Cars, Hobby Stocks, Super 4 Bangers, Valley Sportsman

June 24 - AMA Flat Track Motorcycles

July 1 "Timmy Post Memorial" IMCA Mods, IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks

July 8 - RaceSaver Winged Sprints, IMCA Mods, Mini Stocks, JR Box Stock Go Karts

July 15 - IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks, Valley Sportsman, Mini Late Models

July 22 - IMCA Mods, IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks (Double Points Mini Stocks)

July 29 - No Races Summer Break

August 5 - No Races Summer Break

August 12 - "Legends Of Merced Speedway" Valley Sportsman, Legends Of Kearney Bowl, BCRA Midget Lites, Hobby Stocks (Double Points Sportsman)

August 19 - IMCA Mods, IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks

August 26 - IMCA Mods, IMCA Sport Mods, Mini Stocks, Valley Sportsman

September 2 - Dark In Observance Of Labor Day

September 9 - Dark For Boone Super Nationals

September 16 - IMCA Mods, IMCA Sport Mods, Mini Stocks, Mini Late Model (Double Points Mini Stocks)

September 23 - "Matt & Glass Cancer Fund Raiser" IMCA Mods, IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks (Double Points Hobby Stocks)

October 7 - "John Fore Jr. Sport Mod Nationals" Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks (50 Lap Feature For Sport Mods)

October 21 - 2nd Annual Golden Valley FFA Tractor Pulls