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Late Models, Wingless Spec Sprints Roar Into
Antioch Speedway Saturday Night
Antioch, CA...Coming off of a wild and exciting race last week, there's a full slate of All Star Series racing scheduled for this Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. The DIRTcar Late Models kick off their track and West Region point seasons this week, and the Wingless Spec Sprints begin their 19th season of racing at the track. Also on the card this week will be the A Modifieds, B Modifieds and Hobby Stocks.
The two names who have battled for supremacy at the top of the DIRTcar Late Model point ladder at Antioch Speedway in recent seasons are Richard Papenhausen and Jeff Decker. You won't find a Late Model driver with more wins in the last 30 races at Antioch Speedway than Papenhausen, who enters the season as the reigning Antioch and West Region champion. Those two championship honors belonged to Decker in 2015, and Decker has two Antioch championships along with multiple championships at both Petaluma and Watsonville.
Antioch is the only full Late Model program in Northern California, and beating Papenhausen and Decker means you truly earned the victory. After back to back Top 10 seasons, past Dirt Modified champion Rob Norris is looking to take a step into the Top 5, and this battle could be very competitive. He'll have to contend with past Top 5 driver David Newquist, last season's "Rookie Of The Year" Mike Hynes, and the man who finished third last year, Dennis Souza. Top 10 competitor Chester Kniss is confirmed for this race as well. Kimo Oreta will be running for top rookie honors this year in the Sun Drop Racing Team #03 car. These are just some of the stars of Late Model racing that will be in Antioch this week.
When Don O'Keefe Jr. led the effort for John M. Soares to start the Wingless Spec Sprint class in August of 1998, there were people who thought the idea of a wingless, self starting, 360 cast iron motor Sprint Car class wouldn't fly. The class never had less than 12 cars that first year, and now it enters it's 19th season in Antioch. Jim Perry Jr., Rick Panfili and Dan Gonderman were three racers on that roster back then. Perry has since won more races than anybody in division history at the track and is coming off of his second track championship. Panfili was Top 5 in points once again last season, and after several second place finishes, the popular local competitor has his first win in his sights.
Gonderman has won two championships, but he's stepping out of the car to get the third generation of his family into the division. She's Abigail Gonderman, and she competed for a few seasons in the old Four Banger division. While Abigail joins past track official Josh Floyd on the list of rookies, Marcus Smith enters his third season in Spec Sprints. He hasn't finished below second in points and lost a heart breaker last season thanks to a blown motor at the second to last race. Alan Miranda is hoping to get his first win this season and has come close on several occasions. With James East, Shannon Newton, Brandon Burd, ageless veteran Roy Fisher and Boy Moniz on the list, this should be a great night of racing. They will see Moniz coming this time after the Hawaii native won the season finale in his first start at the track last year.
Two drivers shot out of the gate like a cannon ball last week in the A Modified division. Five time champion Scott Busby was looking for his Antioch leading 65th career feature win in the division and 71st overall, but he had to battle long time competitor Mike Salazar. A Top 3 ranked driver in the past, Salazar has been through his share of adversity, but he's always bounced back with a great attitude. Salazar seemed to be on his way to a victory last week, but he and Busby tangled in Turns 3 and 4 late in the race as a yellow flag flew for another car. Initially, Salazar was awarded the win, but it was later determined that his car would not be able to continue with the blown motor he suffered. Busby made it back to the line for the yellow and was eventually declared the winner. If he gets one more win, which seems likely, Busby will tie J..D. Willis as the all time feature win leader at Antioch Speedway.
You also can not forget Bobby Motts Jr. Motts quietly creeped to a second place finish last week, and the 2015 championship runnerup is not to be counted out. In his Street Stock career, Motts racked up over 20 wins and a track championship at Antioch. Eric Berendsen had a good run going last week, but his rear end broke to end a possible Top 3 finish for the rookie and brother of two time champion Carl Berendsen II. Two time Top 3 competitor Sean O'Gara, John MacDougall and Trent Wentworth are other drivers to watch for this week.
There are a few eager racers hungry to dethrone reigning B Modified champion Trevor Clymens. Clymens had an eventful Main Event last week that saw him spin early before coming all the way back to the front for an impressive victory. Mark Garner was riding along in the lead when his night ended on the tow truck hook, but rookie Guy Ahlwardt and K.C. Keller were there to make it a good battle for the lead. Keller is hoping to make a move on the championship this season, and his second place finish last week still earned him good points in that quest. Ahlwardt might not be a regular, but he will be fast when he's there. Hard chargers like Randy Brown and brother Kevin Brown, Chuck Golden and Doff Cooksey will make this an exciting show for the B Modifieds this week.
Michael Cooper has the experience and the capability to be the Hobby Stock champion. Last week, Cooper held off 2010 champion Chris Sorensen and Chris Long to win his second career Main Event. Sorensen has a B Modified that isn't ready, and he enjoys racing his Hobby Stock. Long has been racing Hobby Stocks for years in a black #99 car that pays tribute to his Figure 8 hero, Brian Holden. Long won the New Years Bash on January 1st, and all three of these drivers have what it takes to be champion at Antioch Speedway.
The Hobby Stocks are blessed with a nice group of rookies, and that helped make a 17 car field last week. Brent Curran showed that he can wheel his Hobby Stock just as well as he could his Mini Stock. The 2014 Four Banger champion finished fourth last week, while Chris Bennett piloted his Bob Hansen Tribute Hobby Stock from the back to a fifth place finish. Frank Furtado retired his old #81 car, but he had the former Mitchell Locicero car last week with a new number and paint job. He should be back this week along with Cameron Swank, Anthony Vigna, Joey Ridgeway, two time Top 3 racer Jordan Swank and Lori Brown in her Kimberly Myers Tribute Car.
The All Star Series lineup this week is stacked from top to bottom. DIRTcar Late Models, Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modifieds, B Modifieds and Hobby Stocks make this a show you won't want to miss. For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
IMCA Modifieds, Ted Stofle Classic Qualifier Part Of
Merced Speedway Lineup Saturday Night
Merced, CA...On the heels of last week's exciting BCRA Midget race, Merced Speedway returns to action this Saturday night with an exciting five division show. The Hobby Stocks have been added to the program, and the Top 4 finishers will earn starting spots in the May 6th Ted Stofle Classic. IMCA Modifieds are back after a week off, and the IMCA Sport Modifieds, Mini Stocks and Mini Late Models are also part of the show.
Reigning champion Randy Brown leads the IMCA Modified field back to Merced this week. During the week off, Brown headed back to Ocean Speedway, where he won back in September. He was in contention again before problems derailed his effort. Brown was third in the All Star Series race two weeks ago at Merced, and he still seems to be the driver to beat in the championship battle. However, the season is just getting started, and there are some drivers who might disagree with that assessment.
Tim Cecil, Ryan Porter, Chris Shannon and past Hanford champion Mike Villaneuva were the only other locals that made the star studded Main Event. After his win in this big race last year, multi time champion Ramie Stone was hoping to repeat his success, but he had problems in the B Main and didn't finish. Porter and R. Stone are two drivers who could give Brown a run for the money this week. While it won't be the 48 car field we saw two weeks ago, a field of 14-18 competitors seems likely this week. Bruce "Bubba'" Nelson is hoping to back up his recent Chowchilla win with a Merced victory after the two time Hobby Stock champion also missed the big All Star Series Main Event. Other stars to watch for include Ryan Larimer, Ricky Thatcher, past champion Bill Egleston, Derek Nance, D.J. Shannon and Jeff Streeter.
Four Hobby Stock competitors are already locked into the Ted Stofle Classic on May 6th. This includes Garrett Corn, who won the most recent Main Event ahead of Micheal Shearer, Shannon Nelson and past champion Marc Key. Corn was rebounding from a DNF at the opener. Shannon Nelson was a Main Event winner in 2015. When she returned late last season and spun out while running fourth, she was just a bit upset with herself. Her heat win and third place finish last week shows that she's back in winning form again. This follows her Top 5 finish at the opener.
Chances are good that there could be enough cars to have a B Main at the Ted Stofle Classic, and nobody wants to be stuck in that race at the risk of missing the big feature. Two drivers to watch this week are Chowchilla residents Kodie Dean and Austin Van Hoff. Dean won the season opener and had a second place finish recently in Chowchilla. Van Hoff has won multiple Main Events at Merced, and he finished sixth behind Dean last week. 2015 champion Kevin Joaquin hasn't had a good start so far, and he'll be looking to rebound this week. Robbie Loquaci, Darren Miguel, Tony Peffer, Jerry Tubbs and Mike Stockton are other drivers to watch this week.
Shifting gears to the IMCA Sport Modified division. With a pair of Top 3 finishes going into last week, 2015 IMCA State champion Fred Ryland held a slim one point lead over Jeremy Hoff, who also had two Top 5 finishes. Like Ryland, Hoff is a past Antioch Speedway Sport Mod champion. The race is still close with Ryland leading after Ryland was third and Hoff finished fifth last week. Rick Diaz appears to have stepped out of the championship picture after missing the latest race. Of course, whether he's in the point battle or not, Diaz is a threat to win any time he's there.
The stars last week were third generation racer T.J. Etchison and second generation racer Chris Falkenberg. Falkenberg led several laps, but the past Chowchilla Hobby Stock champion was passed by Etchison and would settle for second. What's interesting is the fact that we have three different winners in three races as Diaz and Chuck Weir are the other two winners. Weir settled for tenth last week, which keeps him atop the rookie leader board. It should be a competitive field this week, and other drivers to watch for include brothers Chase and Tanner Thomas, Paul Espino, Tim Elias, Dwayne Short and Jarred Tickel, who finished fourth last week.
Everybody knows the Keldsen family at Ocean Speedway. They've been racing and winning there for almost five decades now. The latest member of the family to go racing is D.J. Keldsen, and he's the 2016 Mini Stock champion at Watsonville. It appears as if Watsonville isn't enough for D.J., who has won both Main Events in Merced. Another strange occurrence is the fact that the top Corder in Mini Stocks right now is Jennifer Corder, who recently won the Main Event at Chowchilla. Brother Chris Corder, who has won a championship in each of his last three seasons, took a nasty tumble in his #48 Mini Stock at Chowchilla that day. Both Corders have two Top 5 finishes, and they are within six points of Keldsen.
If the Corder Racing Team is looking to get a win, you also can't count out second generation racer Lucy Falkenberg, who sits fourth in the standings after two races. If D.J. is racing, we might be seeing his brother Cody Keldsen, who made his debut in second at the recent Chowchilla race. Third ranked 2016 competitor Destiny Carter is expected this week as part of Corder Racing. Jason Womak and Paul Laoretti are among the others to watch for this week.
With the rain claiming their first race, the Mini Late Models headed to Dixon recently. Timmy Vaught went on record as the first Mini Late Model winner in California by sweeping the heat, Main Event and Trophy Dash ahead off Timmy Crews. These two are anticipated this week along with Riley Jeppesen and Ian Shearer. Michael Shearer is the California Sharp Mini Late Model dealer, and he's hoping to build up a presence in Merced. At Dixon, Kart star Brody "The Bully" Armtrout drove the Jeppesen car to a third in the Main Event. It will be interesting to see how this division progresses and who the next new driver will be.
Saturday night will be a great night of racing at Merced Speedway with IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Mini Late Models. For further information, go to www.racemerced.com.
Wingless Spec Sprints Kick Off 2017 Season
At Antioch Speedway
Antioch, CA...The All Star Series Wingless Spec Sprint division begins their 2017 season at Antioch Speedway this Saturday night. This will be their 19th season at the track that started the division. It began when Promoter John M. Soares consulted with Don O'Keefe Jr. to get the ball rolling. O'Keefe drafted the rules in late August of 1998 and even gave the division its SPEC name. SPEC, by the way, stands for Spec Parts Economy Class, which was the concept behind this division. It's Sprint Cars for the working class. O'Keefe was pretty much the guiding hand behind the scenes who kept this class on the right path in the beginning.
You take the plethora of Sprint Car chassis that are out there as the top 360 Sprint Car teams get new cars. Put a cast iron 360 motor in it with a two barrel carburetor to keep the costs down, and the cars are competitive. They were made self starting as a means to get the show going quickly. The first season saw no less than 12 cars compete. The next season saw the first B Mains. The first 30 plus car field was achieved in 2001. As time went on, several other tracks started classes of their own, and people who might never have gone Sprint Car racing otherwise got their starts.
Three teams who were a part of the first roster in 1999 still compete at Antioch Speedway. Nobody has more Main Event wins in the history of the class at Antioch than reigning champion Jim Perry Jr. Budget racer Rick Panfili is coming off of another Top 5 point season. After several second place finishes in the past two seasons, he's looking to get his first win. The Gonderman Racing Team is back again this year. Two time champion Dan Gonderman has stepped out of the driver's seat to allow his daughter Abigail to make her division debut. Abigail is the third generation of her family to race. She has prior Four Banger experience, and her grandfather Ken Gonderman is the 1970 Sportsman champion at Antioch. He continues to pit for his son and grand daughter.
Perry is the driver to beat, and his own son, Jimmy Perry III, provides him some tough competition. Only Jim Jr. and two time champion Darrell Hanestad have more Antioch wins, and Perry III is also a past champion. On the cusp of a championship is Marcus Smith. Smith nearly won a championship in BCRA Midget Lites before back to back runnerup seasons in Spec Sprints. If not for a blown motor in the September race last season, Smith might have been able to beat Perry Jr. for the championship.
Ageless veteran Roy Fisher is another driver to contend with. Fisher comes from a motorcycle racing background. When he got into Spec Sprint racing in the third season of the class, he was already making a name for himself for his charges from the back of the pack to frequent Top 5 finishes. Even a horrific crash on the front straightaway about a decade ago couldn't keep him down. After recovering from his injuries, Fisher was back on the track and winning races again.
The roster is filled with talented racers, including Chowchilla champion Brandon Burd, Shannon Newton, Jack Clark, James East, Alan Miranda, Adam Teves, rookie Josh Floyd, Boy Moniz and NFL Alumnus Jeremy Newberry. Burd is coming off a fifth place season, while Newton had two second place finishes as he's knocks on the door to victory. Alan Miranda also had a second place finish and has a new motor ready to go this year. Newberry isn't just a great offensive lineman and NFL analyst, but a feature winner last season. Floyd is competing in the old Jimmy Lavell car. An NCMA pavement champion, Lavell passed away not long ago, and Floyd is keeping the paint job in his memory. Speaking of paint jobs, 2016 "Rookie Of The Year" Adam Teves competes in the Lloyd Beard Special, owned by Cameron Beard and Dana Craig.
The list of champions has four drivers with two titles each, Perry Jr., D. Gonderman, Hanestad and Billy Macedo, and Perry could just rise above the others as a three time champion this year if he makes that his goal. He's been racing since his Super Modified days at Vallejo Speedway in the 1970's and carries the experience advantage and lots of knowledge as an engine builder. However, winning this championship won't be easy for whomever grabs the glory.
The ten race All Star Series Wingless Spec Sprint season kicks off this Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. Who will grab the glory this week? For further Spec Sprint news and other information on the happenings at the track, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
2016 Antioch Speedway All Star Series
Wingless Spec Sprint Top 10 Points
Jim Perry Jr. 624
Marcus Smith 554
Roy Fisher 548
Rick Panfili 534
Brandon Burd 468
Shannon Newton 354
Dan Gonderman 290
Jack Clark 286
Adam Teves 251
James East 244
2017 Antioch Speedway
Wingless Spec Sprint Schedule
Past Antioch Speedway
Wingless Spec Sprint Champions
1988-Mike Johnson *
1989-Scott Holloway *
1997-Stan Cargo *
1998-Scott Holloway *
2006-Jimmy Perry III
2007-Jim Perry Jr.
2013-Gary Nelson Jr.
2016-Jim Perry Jr.
* NCMA Antioch
Previous 30 Feature Winners
September 24, 2016: Boy Moniz
September 3, 2016: Jim Perry Jr.
August 27, 2016: Jim Perry Jr.
August 13, 2016: Marcus Smith
July 23, 2016: Dan Gonderman
July, 16, 2016: Marcus Smith
July 9, 2016: Roy Fisher
June 25, 2016: Jeremy Newberry
June 18, 2016:: Jim Perry Jr.
June 11, 2016: Jason McIntosh
May 15, 2016: Jim Perry Jr.
May 2, 2016: Marcus Smith
April 16, 2016: Dan Gonderman
September 19, 2015: Billy Macedo
August 29, 2015: Kyle Bakkie
August 15, 2015: Billy Macedo
August 1, 2015: Jimmy Perry III
July 5, 2015: Jeff Lee
June 20, 2015: James East
June 6, 2915: Jimmy Perry III
May 17, 2015: Kyle Bakkie
April 26, 2015: Jimmy Perry III
April 19, 2015: Kyle Bakkie
April 12, 2015: Roy Fisher
March 21, 2015: Kyke Bakkie
March 14, 2015: Roy Fisher
March 7, 2015: Jeff Lee
September 13, 2014: Billy Macedo
August 2, 2014: Bob Newberry
July 26 2014: Jeff Banbury
DIRTcar Late Models Are Back At Antioch Speedway
Antioch, CA...The DIRTcar Late Models have just one place in California offering a championship season, and that's Antioch Speedway. For the past two seasons, the driver who won the track championship also claimed the West Region championship prize money. This will be the fourth consecutive point season for this division at the three-eighth mile clay oval. The Late Model lineage in Antioch traces back to Early Model Stock Cars in 1967. Promoter John M. Soares has worked to reestablish this class, and it's doing better than any of the other full Late Model offerings in the state.
The two drivers you have to beat to get a win these days are Richard Papenhausen and Jeff Decker. If it's Late Models, you usually find these two drivers in the pits. Both are two time Antioch champions, and Papenhausen is the reigning track and Region champion. Decker has notched several more championships between Watsonville and Petaluma in the last 15 or so years. Both drivers have such a love for racing that you will occasionally see them bring both Late Models and A Modifieds to the track.
You will occasionally see three other champions at the speedway, and not surprisingly, they all have Modifieds as well. Last season, Bobby Hogge IV, Andy Obertello and Troy Foulger all won Late Model Main Events, and Hogge won two. In fact, the talented third generation racer Hogge is approaching the top on the All Time Win list at Antioch Speedway. Hogge and his Late Model championship winning father have won over 100 Main Events just at Antioch, making them the most successful father-son duo in track history. Obertello boasts an Antioch Late Model championship among his racing accomplishments, With four consecutive A Modified championships at Antioch in the Bowers Racing Modified, Foulger has also done pretty well for himself.
You aren't going to find many drivers who are more committed to supporting Late Models at Antioch then Dennis Souza. Through consistency, Souza managed to beat "Rookie Of The Year" Mike Hynes for third in the standings last season. These two are both anticipated for the opener along with Hynes' teammate, David Newquist. Newquist let Hynes drive his second car a few times in 2015 while Hynes was preparing his own ride for last season. Newquist is a two time Top 5 competitor at Antioch. David took some time off last season after getting married, but he's ready to get back behind the wheel again.
Another racer who has been competing at Antioch for over 15 years is Rob Norris. Norris won a Modified championship prior to purchasing the Shawn DeForest car for his move into Late Models. Norris has two Top 10 seasons, but he's primed and ready to battle for a Top 5 position and some wins this season. As for DeForest, who is a long time Late Model competitor with wins in Late Models and A Modifieds, you're likely to see him behind the wheel of a car this season, possibly on opening day.
When we talk potential winners, we should include Chester Kniss. Kniss has won Modified and Limited Late Model features in his career and is another driver with multiple Top 10 seasons in Late Models. Chet is knocking on the door to his first career Late Model win, and it could just happen this season. Another fast competitor to watch for is Danny Malfatti, who ranked third in points in 2015. Two time Petaluma Late Model champion Paul Guglielmoni and teammate Terry Kuntz may show up from time to time. Guglielmoni won one of the most exciting races that the division had during the 2015 season.
Kimo Oreta is a three time Hobby Stock champion with more Antioch wins in that division than anybody. He was "Rookie Of The Year" with a win in the Limited Late Model finale last year. Now, he pilots the Sun Drop Racing Team #03 car with his sights set on another "Rookie Of The Year" award. Oreta was taken under the wing of the late Larry Damitz in recent years as the many time champion saw something special in him. Oreta will do Damitz proud in this car.
When the green flag flies on the Late Model race this Saturday night at Antioch Speedway, it's sure to be an exciting show. For more information on this and other speedway happenings, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
2016 Antioch Speedway
DIRTcar Late Model Top 10
Richard Papenhausen 512
Jeff Decker 440
Dennis Souza 368
Mike Hynes 305
Troy Foulger 262
Andy Obertello 244
Rob Norris 242
Chester Kniss 182
Shawn DeForest 174
Terry Kuntz 170
DIRTcar Late Model Schedule
Past Late Model Stock Car Champions
1981-Bruce Curl Sr.
1985-Bobby Hogge III
1986-Ed Sans Jr.
1987-Jim Pettit II
1988-Jim Pettit II
1989-Bobby Hogge III
1991-Jim Pettit II
1998-Ed Sans Jr.
Previous 25 Late Model Feature Winners
October 24, 2016: Bobby Hogge IV
October 10, 2016: Richard Papenhausen
September 17, 2016: Jeff Decker
August 13, 2016: Richard Papenhausen
July 23, 2016 Andy Obertello
July 9, 2016: Bobby Hogge IV
June 18, 2016: Jeff Decker
April 30, 2016: Clay Daly
April 16, 2016: Richard Papenhausen
March 26, 2016: Bobby Hogge IV
September 19, 2015: Andy Obertello
August 22, 2015: Jeff Decker
August 8, 2015: Richard Papenhausen
July 25, 2015: Richard Papenhausen
July 11 2015: Troy Foulger
June 27, 2015: Bobby Hogge IV
June 20, 2015: Richard Papenhausen
June 13, 2015: Richard Papenhausen
May 11, 2015: Richard Papenhausen
April 25, 2015: Troy Foulger
April 11, 2015: Paul Guglielmoni
March 21, 2015: Richard Papenhausen
March 14, 2015: Jeff Decker
January 2, 2015: Richard Papenhausen
August 16, 2014: Troy Foulger
July 26, 2014: Bobby Hogge IV
July 19, 2014: Bobby Hogge IV
June 14, 2014: A.J. Kirkpatrick
May 10, 2014: Richard Papenhausen
April 26, 2014: Jeff Decker
April 12, 2014: Jeff Decker
Orland Raceway Opens For 2017 Season On Saturday
Orland, CA...Orland Raceway is returning for a new season of racing under the promotion of Rich Hood. A long time Pure Stock competitor at the track, Hood stepped forward in 2016 to save the track after the previous management walked away. Rich went local with his schedule, meaning the staple classes, Pure Stocks, Mini Stocks, Mini Trucks, Micro Sprints and the returning Wingless Gas Sprints were all scheduled for a 14 race season this year. The one-fifth mile dirt oval is primed and ready for the season opener this Saturday night. The five core divisions are all scheduled for this race.
There's lots of excitement in the air surrounding the Pure Stock division. Over the past few seasons, this division has done the best with car count and has been very competitive. Steve Martin is the reigning champion and a champion previous to that. He can expect some tough competition from Jeremy Langenderfer and Shannon Collins, who finished second and third in the standings last season. These Top 3 competitors will have a new threat to deal with in past Mini Truck champion Keith Ross. Ross has a Pure Stock this season and has already been racing at other tracks. Cody Bundy, Earl Adams and Amanda Koop are just a few of the other Pure Stock competitors to keep an eye on this season.
The longest continually active Mini Truck division in California is at Orland. The heritage of this division stretches back to the 1990's. Dan Webster has been a perennial title contender for the past several seasons, but he took it up a notch in winning last season's championship ahead of the consistent William Fogle. Fogle has a feature win in his sites this season. Another driver to watch is past champion Ross Vige, who won the championship at Hayfork Speedway last season. Long time Orland competitor "Rollin" Olin Crane, Nate Skaggs and Brett Allinger are just some of the stars of the Mini Truck class.
In the Mini Stocks, it seems as if Tom Davis is the big star of the show, and he scored most of the feature wins last season. He may be the driver to beat this year, but it was the consistent John Kirkpatrick who won his second championship last season. Kirkpatrick has been racing at Orland longer than just about everybody else on the roster. Another past champion, Robert Hunt, finished second in points last year, and he also managed to win a feature. Another driver with wins last year was Donovan Chilton. He may mix it up with Davis for wins this season. Steve Speers, Barbara Crain and Seth Libbee are other drivers making this an exciting division to watch.
For a little over 15 years, the Wingless Sprint class has been a part of an exciting program of racing at Orland. This goes back to the early days of Josh Jacobo winning multiple championships. Tony Richards is another champion of the class. The most recent champion was Bill Hopper, who managed to hold off Richards in 2015. Some of the drivers to watch for include Ryan Owens, Josh Tucker, Greg Higgenbotham, Gerald Webber, Kenny Webber, Jeremy Wilson, Jacobo and Richards
Not to be forgotten in the mix are the 600cc and 250cc engine Micro Sprint classes, which were first introduced to the regular roster by promoter Mike McCann in 2013. When you're talking 600 Micros at Orland, you have to mention the two biggest stars, Jeromie Chrismon and Skyler Richter. Both drivers, along with third ranked Tony Alosi, were feature winners last year, and Chrismon's championship margin over Richter was big due to Richter missing races. Fourth ranked Kyra Michelet was also a feature winner last year, and other drivers to watch for in 600's this season include Rick Gutzke, Dean Slinkard and Rick Alonso.
The 250 racers tried something different one night as they had a wingless race, won by Robert Baker. One of the big names on the roster is Jackie Whitson Jr., who won multiple Main Events but missed several races to finish fifth in the standings. Andrew Love was also a feature winner during the 2016 season and won his championship comfortably ahead of Dave McKinnon. McKinnon just barely held off Ronnie Heyer by 3 points for second, while Jess Garland was 12 points back in fourth.
The season kicks off this Saturday night with Pure Socks, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks, 250 Micros, 600 Micros and the return of the Wingless Gas Sprints. It all adds up to lots of excitement for Orland racing fans. Gates open at 5PM with the first race starting at 7PM. General Admission is #$8, Children 7-12 are $5 and Children 6 and under are free. For further information, go to http://www.orlandraceway.org/.
2017 Schedule Notes
Orland runs pretty much every other week, but they do follow up the opener with a May 6th West Coast Enduro event.
One of the things the track is trying is running the 250 Micro Sprint division wingless for the first six races before running winged from July 29th on.
The return of the popular Kids Bike Race is set for June 3rd.
There are double points races set for July 1st and September 16th to shake things up.
September 16th is also billed as O'Reilly Auto Parts Fan Appreciation Night, which included a meet and greet with the racers before the races last season.
The Glenn County Fair Race on May 19th will be an action packed event with all of the for classes except Wingless Gas Sprints included and a Powder Puff RV Derby. Management is considering a Figure 8 during the season but hasn't set the date yet.
The Schmitke Memorial Race For A Cure is back this year on August 12th. It's an event to raise money to fight Cancer and honor a beloved member of the Orland community. All of the track's regular classes, plus the California Hardtop Association, will be in action that night.