Thursday, May 18, 2017

Antioch Speedway, Merced Speedway, Orland Raceway, Hayfork Speedway Previews

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Two Nights Of Antioch Speedway Racing 
During Contra Costa County Fair

Antioch, CA...Racing will continue during the Contra Costa County Fair at Antioch Speedway.  Oval Motorsports has decided to have two All Star Series events, starting with Friday night's show of Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  On Saturday night, Wingless Spec Sprints and B Modifieds will be racing.  This will give racing fans an opportunity for a taste of auto racing and county fair activity prior to the Memorial Day Weekend break.

Perhaps the strongest division at Antioch Speedway so far this year has been the Hobby Stocks.  Over 20 different drivers have competed in the first three point races, including several new competitors.  Counting the non point New Year's Bash, we now have three different winners in four races, and rookie Brent Curran is the only two time winner in the group.  Curran was unstoppable in charging from 14th starting to victory last time out.  That was his second straight win.  Despite that, the 2014 Mini Stock champion trails Chris Long by two points in a close battle.  Long won the New Year's race and has been very consistent so far.

Consistency has also kept Cameron Swank in the battle.  The son of past Street Stock racer Glenn Swank, Cameron nearly won the second race of the season before getting sideways on the last lap and falling back a few positions.  Swank is in his third season at the speedway and still in search of his first win.  He's been fast since he started, and it's only a matter of time before that win will come.  At 16 points out, Swank is very much in title contention.  Sometimes you have to pay your dues before you finally get a victory.  Michael Cooper went four seasons before winning his first feature.  He also won the season opener this year to stay within 16 points of the lead.

Chris Sorensen is lurking, and that's bad news for the competition.  The 2010 champion is holding fifth in the standings, just 36 points out and six ahead of 2016 point runnerup Lindsey Buirch.  It's not a matter of if, but when Sorensen gets another feature win.  Chris is also preparing a B Modified, and we're looking forward to seeing him drive it when it's ready.  Don't count Buirch out.  This talented young lady has improved since her first few starts in 2015, and she's going to have a big moment out there soon.

Chris Bennett had a few people cracking jokes because this determined rookie is racing hard to finish further up in the pack and has spun a few times.  He probably would have had a Top 5 finish last time if not for a spin late in his battle with Sorensen.  Just as Bob Hansen won in that familiar #6 car that Chris pays tribute to, don't be surprised when he gets a win.  The field is filled with talented competitors like Joey Ridgeway, Jordan Swank, Billy Garner, Anthony Vigna, Ricky Foster, Frank Furtado and Lori Brown, and it should be a good race this Friday night.

Last Saturday night, young Adam Teves had the Dwarf Car competitors breathing a sigh of relief.  They don't have to contend with him or his two time championship winning father David Teves on a regular basis.  Adam jumped behind the wheel of the blue #08 car, nicknamed The Unicorn, and raced past reigning champion Kevin Miraglio for the victory.  It was Adam's first Antioch Dwarf Car start since 2015.  Miraglio lost second when he suffered a mechanical failure late and fell out.  Chuck Connover scored his second straight runnerup finish and has emerged as a championship contender.

Mike Corsaro and teammate Charlie Correia had a nice battle going at the front of the pack early on before Corsaro nudged ahead.  Unfortunately, Mike's motor gave up on him and earned him a disappointing DNF for the night.  Rookie Devan Kammermann, Brian Gray and Toby Brown were all making good laps last week, and they should be there to compete with other hard chargers such as David Rosa, Chris Becker, Roberto Monroy and Robert Coe this Friday night.

The Wingless Spec Sprints have an interesting battle in the works.  It looks like no past Antioch champions are in contention this season, and only two past Spec Sprint champions are making a run for it.  Not surprisingly, one of those drivers is Bryan Grier.  Grier is the 2014 Watsonville champion and leads the point race on the strength of his season opening victory.  There are five drivers within 16 points of Grier, led by NFL Pro Bowl Lineman Jeremy Newberry, past Chowchilla champion Brandon Burd, Rick Panfili, Alan Miranda and Roy Fisher.  Any of these drivers could write their name into the books as the 19th Spec Sprint champion of Antioch Speedway.  Only one of them, Panfili, has been a part of this division since it started.

Last time out, 2004 chanpion Bob Newberry made a surprise appearance and won both his heat race and the Main Event.  With Bob's impressive credentials going back to his days in a Street Stock, he's a threat to win any time he decides to come race.  Shannon Newton, Tyler Henriques and James East are others to watch.  The division also has a pair or rookies who haven't looked too bad in their first starts, Robert Floyd and Abigail Gonderman.  The Saturday Spec Sprint show should be another good one.

Trevor Clymens didn't have much luck in his West Coast Sport Mod Tour weekend effort, but the reigning Antioch B Mod champion alreday has a pair of victories.  This gives Trevor a slim two point lead over the consistent K.C. Keller going into Saturday.  Keller won twice last year, but he's looking to write his name onto the winner's list this season.  Randy Brown has a heat win this year, but he wants to put the Brown family name in the books as a B Mod feature winner.  Randy seems a bit faster this year, and the past Street Stock and Late Model racer could get a win at any time.  As it is, he's just 16 points out of the lead.

Only 18 points back are the tied Chuck Golden and Mark Garner.  Both of these drivers are more than capable of winning a Main Event.  Garner just grabbed a big victory in the Limited Late Model Larry Damitz Memorial last week.  His luck hasn't been so good in this class so far, but this is a new week.  Anything can happen.  Joining these Top 5 competitors this week should be hard chargers like Doff Cooksey, Kevin Brown and Mike Mates.    It's possible that we could see 2016 Hobby Stock champion Guy Ahlwardt and past Street Stock champion Todd Gomez as well.  Gomez won a Main Event earlier this season.

Fans have two opportunities to see some racing at Antioch Speedway during the Contra Costa County Fair.  Friday will be Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  Saturday night will be Wingless Spec Sprints and B Modifieds.  For further information, go to

IMCA Modifieds Back At Merced Speedway Saturday Night

Merced, CA...Saturday night is Steitz Towing Night at Merced Speedway, and it's also a night of IMCA Modified and Sport Modified racing.  Also on the program will be the Mini Stocks and the Valley Sportsman division.  Promoter Ed Parker has been shaking things up with lots of variety this year, and this will be another exciting night of racing on the quarter-mile clay oval.

It's not a big surprise to look at the top of the point list and see Randy Brown leading the IMCA Modified standings after three races.  When you don't finish outside the Top 3 in the Main Event in all of your starts, you will be hard to beat in a point race.  Brown made a couple of late passes in the Ted Stofle Classic to get second, but winner Paul Stone was off in another time zone.  A race earlier, Randy had a win in his sights until being passed late by Ethan Dotson.  You know the reigning track champion will get a win this season, but will it be this week?

The one point per position nature of the IMCA point structure puts Brown 16 points ahead of past Hanford champion Mike Villanueva.  Mike has always been around as a threat to win, but he's avoided point racing in recent seasons.  He certainly has the skill set to make a run at it if he has that goal in mind.  The two drivers behind Mike are past Merced champions Bill Egleston and Chris Shannon.  They are locked in a tie for third, 12 points out of second.  Chris has been enjoying racing more these days as his teen son D.J. is out there racing with him.  Chris was also a Late Model competitor when Merced had a divsion and then later with the CarQuest group.  Egleston has a Late Model, and he enjoys going down to Bakersfield when he gets a chance.  Either Shannon or Egleston could be a threat to win this week.

Bruce "Bubba" Nelson might have been thinking his first Merced win was just around the corner after winning a thrilling three-car battle for victory earlier this year at Chowchilla.  It may not have happened at his home track yet, but as a two time Hobby Stock champion and a feature winner in both Hobby Stocks and Sport Modifieds, Bubba has what it takes to win in this division too.  Hard chargers like Ryan Porter, Ryan Larimer, Derek Nance, Ramie Stone and Ricky Thatcher will make Saturday's show an exciting event.

Five races into the IMCA Sport Modified season, Fred Ryland holds a slim seven point advantage over Jeremy Hoff in the championship battle.  Neither driver has a win yet, but both are consistent Top 5 finishers.  Another thing these two leadfoots have in common is both are past Antioch champions in this division and both are feature winners in the past at Merced.  You won't keep these two out of the winner's circle for long.  Young Chase Thomas has quietly worked his way into third in the standings, 35 points out of the lead.  Merced championships are something the Thomas family knows all about.  Chase's father Darren Thomas is a three time Street Stock champ, and he's the proud father of two sons currently in the Top 10 in points.  Keep an eye on both Chase and younger brother Tanner Thomas this week.

Even when Rick Diaz misses a race, he's still not out of the title hunt.  The reigning two time champion has three wins to rank just 37 points behind Ryland.  The road to victory still goes through him.  However, rookie Chuck Weir and third generation racer T.J Etchison III both count themselves among this season's feature winners.  Some talented racers make Sport Mod racing at Merced exciting to watch, and other drivers to keep an eye on this week include Chris Falkenberg, Paul Espino, Tim Elias, Dwayne Short, Josh Hensley and Mark Odgers.

The anticipated showdown between reigning Mini Stock champion Chris Corder and reigning Watsonville Mini Stock champion D.J. Keldsen last week never happened.  Keldsen skipped the race and surrendered the point lead to Chris Corder.  Was it merely a case of avoiding the inevitable?  It's hard to say, but Corder sped to his third win of the season.  A Keldsen won at Watsonville last week, but it was Cody Keldsen doing the honors this time.  This just means that the next time the Keldsen's come to town, it will be twice as tough to beat them.  Jennifer Corder had her brother in her sights last week, but it all slipped away with mechanical problems in the Main Event.  Both Corder's had won heat races earlier in the evening.

It's a young and enthusiastic group of drivers in the Mini Stocks at Merced Speedway these days, led by second year racer Destiny Carter.  After her fourth place finish last week, Destiny is within a few points of third in the standings.  Lucy Falkenberg is still in front of her on the strength of a career best second place finish in her most recent start.  Speaking of career bests, Shawn DePriest did a great job in finishing second last time out.  Other drivers to watch for this week include Tyler Jackson, Helena Guzman and Jeremy Perry.

The Valley Sportsman division is back this week for their third appearance.  So far, feature wins have gone to Chris Birdsong and Jeff Bristow, who has his car up for sale.  We also got to see the beautiful #62 car of Eric Sealy last time out.  Kenny Birdsong announced that son Chris will be driving his Rod Poor Tribute Car this week.  Other drivers to watch for include Shannon Fry, Jeff West and two time champion Mike Friesen.

Merced Speedway will have an exciting show this Saturday night with IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Mini Stocks and the Sportsman division all in action.  For further information, go to

Friday Night Fair Race At Orland Raceway

Orland, CA...It's time once again for the Glenn County Fair, and that also means racing at Orland Raceway.  Friday night will be a night of action on the one-fifth mile dirt oval.  The program will include Pure Stocks, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks, Micro Sprints and a Powder Puff RV Destruction Derby.

The Pure Stocks at Orland have been doing pretty well at the track over the past few years.  Car count has been able to reach into the double digits, and there are some good racers in the field.  Leading the charge is two time reigning champion Steve Martin.  Steve figured to be the driver to beat this season, and he started the season off a couple weeks ago wth a Main Event victory.  Clearly, he's going to continue to be hard to beat.

However, Martin has some tough competitors in the field to contend with.  Drivers like Jeremy Langenderfer, Shannon Collins, Brad Ray and Keith Ross are on the roster this year.  Last season, Langenderfer, Collins and Ray were feature winners, and Collins won a few weeks ago in Chico.  Ray and Ross are both past Mini Truck champions.  Ray provided Martin with his toughest competition in the opener before finishing second ahead of Ross.  At this point, Ross is doing double duty in both Pure Stocks and Mini Trucks.

With the word getting out about how competitive the class is in Orland, there could be some drivers coming in from  elsewhere to test their skills.  They will also have to battle regulars like Amanda Koop, Cody Bundy, Chris Barnett, John Camper and Ethan Benzel.

Ross is part of a small but competitive Mini Truck class.  He won the season opener, but he had to battle reigning champion  Dan Webster and past champion Ross Vige to get it.  These three should be at the head of the pack this week, but William Fogle, Jeremy Callen, Nathan Skaggs and Olin Crane are others to watch for.

The big name in Mini Stocks is Tom Davis.  Tom was stopped in the opener, but it was mechanical issues that slowed the past champion in that case.  John Kirkpatrick is a two time defending champion, but what he's really looking for is a feature win.  He won the title last season despite not winning a Main Event.  He knocked on the door last time in second behind the flying Sean Perry.  One of the last Marysville drivers with a car, Donnie Fortney, was at the opener along with Barbara Crane.  Other drivers to watch for this week include past champion Robert Hunt, Eric Hammond, Seth Libbee and Donovan Chilton.

The Micro Sprints have two classes, and the 250's are doing it without wings for the first six races.  Jackie Whitson Jr. is one of the top stars in recent seasons and won the opener ahead of James Barnes, Jackie Whitson Sr. and Jess Garland.  The first 600's race of the year had just the two Michelet cars as Mavel beat Kyra Michelet.  We're hoping to see three of the top drivers in recent years on Friday, reigning champion Jeromie Chrismon, Skyler Richter and Tony Alosi.

When the racing is over on Friday night, the Powder Puff RV Destruction Derby will close the show.  The County Fair Derbies in recent years have been very entertaining.  Friday's program at Orland Raceway should be a good one.  For further information, go to

New Season Begins Saturday Night At Hayfork Speedway

Hayfork, CA...Hayfork Speedway got national attention in a racing publication last month, but maybe a key point wasn't made clear enough.   They race at Hayfork Speedway.  It's a field of dreams for the people of Hayfork.  When Clyde Cordell began lobbying for this track some seven years ago, it was because he knew this would be good for the community.  It gives people a place to go on Saturday nights during the summer, and it offers people the opportunity to live out their dreams of driving a race car.  They race at Hayfork Speedway.

On Saturday night, the season begins at the Trinity County Fairgrounds racing facility with a program that will include the popular Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Enduro Cars, Pro Stocks and Quads.  The Speedway will have nine events this season, including the popular County Fair race (August 12th) and the Clyde Cordell Memorial.  Clyde would be pleased to know that racing is happening in his home town.  It was a dream come true for him.

Saturday night, the Hobby Stocks will do battle for another championship season.  Kevin Kasper enters the season as the reigning track champion.  Kevin won several times last season, but he had some good competition.  This included Russ "The Newmanator" Newman, who was also a feature winner last year.  Past Clyde Cordell Memorial winner Burl Richardson provided some good competition, as did hard chargers like D.J. Case, William Kasper, Carl Roberts and Brian Young.  During the offseason, 2015 champion Bill Kasper, the patriarch of the family, sold his car to Josh Smith.  Smith was one of the top drivers in the class before moving up to Pro Stocks last season.

The Mini Stocks provided plenty of excitement last season and should continue to do the same this year.  Jack Turner was the 2015 champion, but a driver from Orland named Ross Vige enjoyed racing in Hayfork so much that he came up and won the 2016 championship.  The battles between Young, Vige, Turner and Andy Blackburn last season were very entertaining.

The Enduros are a stock class that offers plenty of slam bang action.  Tim Kasper succeeded William Young as 2016 track champion.  Other competitors include Tommy Evans, Eric Brown, Joey Young, Donny Case and J.D. Hudman.  This is perhaps the easiest class for a new competitor to experience the excitement of racing at Hayfork Speedway.

The Pro Stocks had their first season last year, and Tressan Smith was the champion.  Josh Smith and Josh Michaels were also in on the ground floor of the new division.  Quads were added for the last few races last year, and they will become a regular part of the show this year.  Tommy Tremayne, Jordon Weibe and Jeff Tremayne are some of the competitors in the class.

Saturday night is the first race of what is sure to be an exciting season.  Gates open at 6:00 PM with the first race starting at 7:00 PM.  General Admission is $10, Seniors (60+) $8, Students (6-12) $5 and children five and under are free.