Friday, June 30, 2017

Antioch Speedway, Merced Speedway Timmy Post Memorial, Orland Raceway, Previews

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Late Models, A Modifieds Offer High Speed Excitement 
At Antioch Speedway
Antioch, CA...The summer is upon us, and the racing action is heating up at Antioch Speedway.  The Contra Costa County Fairgrounds racing facility is in the middle of its 57th season of racing, and there is an exciting program lined up for this Saturday night.  Headlining the show are the DIRTcar Late Models and a $1,000 to win A Modified race.  The B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars make this a well rounded program that offers a little something for everybody to enjoy.

The DIRTcar Late Models are in their fourth season at Antioch Speedway, but the Bay Area Late Model presence goes back years.  Promoter John M. Soares and his family has had a long standing commitment to promote this division, and it goes back to his father, John P. Soares.  The elder Soares kept a Late Model series going at Petaluma all the way through his retirement in 2002, and Jim Soares continued that.  When Petaluma Promoter Rick Faeth decided to move on from the division in 2013, it was Soares who made a phone call to his fellow promoter to get his blessing to add the class to Antioch.

Late Models had a history at Antioch Speedway.  The division evolved from Early Model Stock Cars in 1967 to Stock Cars in the 1970's and then Late Models in the 1980's.  The last regular championship season for the class was in 1993.  During that span, the track crowned champions every year but 1980.  Periodically, there were Late Model tour visits and some Petaluma Late Model dates from then until the division was brought back for championship seasons in 2007 and 2008.  Jeff Decker and Andy Obertello were the champions.  Management put the plans of establishing the class on the back burner until 2014.

Late Model racing is one of the most popular forms of dirt track racing across the county.  With their big tires and big motors, these cars are the fastest Stock Cars class out there.  They are also among the more expensive cars to maintain, which contributed to the class fading away at many tracks.  In many cases, there are drivers who own A Modifieds and Late Models, primarily because there are more racing opportunities in Modifieds.  However, Antioch competitors Richard Papenhausen, Jeff Decker, Chester Kniss and Troy Foulger are four such drivers with two cars.

When the division was brought back to Antioch, Decker and Papenhausen were on the roster.  Papenhausen has won two of the last three championships.  Decker now has two championships at Antioch.  These two have racked up many wins and championships through the years, and you'll never see them just cruising in the back.  Papenhausen won the most recent event ahead of Decker.  Decker is also a Main Event winner in one the the three races held so far this season.  Heading into this week's race, Decker now leads Papenhausen by just two points in the hotly contested battle.  There's also a close battle for third with only eight points separating David Newquist, Shawn DeForest and Chester Kniss.  All three had Top 5 finishes last week.

Antioch offers one of the best Late Model programs in the state, and the most recent race saw ten competitors in action.  That could be the case again this week as "Rookie Of The Year" hopeful Kimo Oreta, 2016 "Rookie Of The Year" Mike Hynes, Joey Olschowka, Dennis Souza, Rob Norris, Terry Kuntz and Paul Guglielmoni are other drivers to watch for.

The longest continually active division at the track is A Modifieds, which are now in their 28th season.  Scott Busby was part of the original roster in 1990 and won his first Main Event in the division that year.  He's since won a total of 66 in the division, which leads all other drivers.  His 66th win last week was special for another reason.  It was his 72nd career win at the track.  Busby is now tied with the legendary J.D. Willis as the all time Antioch Main Event winner.  Willis won his Main Events in three different divisions and beat some of the best drivers to do it.  For those eagerly awaiting the start of an Antioch Speedway Hall Of Fame, they know that Willis is a lock to get in the first year along with such legends as Gary Pacheco, Bill Brown and Dennis Furia.

Busby started out looking like a contender for his sixth A Modified championship, but a crash in hot laps and some motor problems put an end to those hopes.  He's still a threat to win on any given night.  A win is something Bobby Motts Jr. would very much like.  Motts has been a consistent Top 5 finisher this year and was third last week.  With Mike Salazar having mechanical problems and failing to start the Main Event last week, Motts enters this week's $1,000 to win race with a big lead over Sean O'Gara and Salazar.  O'Gara sparked his own championship effort by finishing fourth last week.  The battle at the top of the point list is between these three, who are also looking for their first wins of the season.

The money may attract a few "bounty hunters" into the field.  With Petaluma not running on Saturday, past champions Michael Paul Jr. and Nick DeCarlo as well as that track's reigning champion Oreste Gonella may come to town.  Eric Berendsen will be looking to turn around his recent bad luck as he seeks 2017 "Rookie Of The Year" honors.  We saw the return of Trent Wentworth, Anthony Slaney and Jake Dewsburuy last week, and it's possible we could see them again this week.  The return of Danny Wagner, who finished second last week after winning the Dwarf Car Main Event, is also possible.

A couple of B Modified drivers were getting a bit antsy with all of the down time, so second ranked Trevor Clymens and third ranked Chuck Golden ran their B Mods against the A Mods last week.  Clymens came from the back to a seventh place finish after his late decision to even go racing.  With only four points separating Clymens from point leader K.C. Keller, the move might have been risky.  The chances of him winning in that field were slim, but the possibility of a crash in the 18 car field damaging his race car was decent.  Trevor showed his ability by finishing as well as he did.

The points will be on the line when Clymens goes for another win this week.  Keller would like nothing better than to add a second win to his 2017 totals.  He knows that wins will be needed to hold off the reigning champion.  On the other hand, Golden has been having a good season so far, and he could beat both of these hard chargers for his first win in a couple of seasons.  Golden may need that win to hold off Mark Garner and Randy Brown as both are within 20 points in the battle for third in the standings  Megan Ponciano, Kevin Brown and Mike Mates are other drivers to watch or this week.

The Hobby Stock division has been on the rise this year with car counts of around 14-16 per race.  With a mixture of newer drivers and competitors with a bit more experience, it's been an exciting show to watch.  You never know who will win on any given week.  At the top of the list, Chris Long leads rookie second generation racer Brent Curran by 36 points.  Curran is a past Mini Stock champion with two Hobby Stock feature wins, but his last couple of starts have been a bit rough.  He's still holding on to second despite the fact that Long has been a bit more consistent in his Top 5 finishes.  As a veteran of some 20 years of racing at the track, Long also has two wins.  Curran needs another win or a big night to gain some ground.

Cameron Swank has also been pretty consistent this year, but a flat tire last time out ended a Top 3 run.  More importantly, Cameron is still searching for his first feature win.  As fast as he's been this year, you have to believe that win is coming soon.  He might need it with Chris Sorensen hanging around just 18 points out of third.  The 2010 champion won his second Main Event of the season last time out.  When Michael Cooper had a flat tire derail his Top 3 run last time, rookie Chris Bennett was there to swoop in for a Top 5 finish and the fifth place point position.  Bennett is a quick study who isn't content to just hang around for a Top 5 finish.  It's led to a couple of spin outs, but as the season moves along, don't be surprised to see him get his first feature win in the Bob Hansen Tribute Car.   Bennett is only 16 points behind Sorensen.

There are a few names on the roster that we haven't been saying much about this year, but they are out there racing hard and their moment of glory will come.  Racers like Ricky Foster, Anthony Vigna and Billy Garner are either rookies or relatively new to the division, yet they find themselves in the top 10.  Two time Super Hobby Stock champion Gene Haney is currently ninth in the standings.  Jordon Swank has had his ups and downs this year, but as a recent Top 5 feature finisher, the two time Top 5 point competitor is closing in on the Top 10 in pointts.  Add in drivers like Robert Niven, Lori Brown, Joey Ridgeway, Steve Perry, Frank Furtado and Russell Shearer, and you have one exciting division at Antioch Speedway.

The Dwarf Car division's championship battle was shaken up a bit last week.  "Captain Chaos" Danny Wagner returned for a visit and reminded everybody who the two time champion is.  Behind him, Mike Corsaro grabbed a second place finish to step into the point lead.  Corsaro was the runnerup last season, but he's hoping to make his move into the division championship.  Teammate Charlie "The Hammer" Correia didn't have the best of nights last week, but he still managed to take over second in the standings.  The old man of the division finds young Devan Kammermann only 16 points behind him in the battle for second.  Devan may have just been seeking "Rookie Of The Year" honors this year, but the past Quarter-Midget competitor has done well this season.  He finished a respectable seventh in the 15 car field last week.

One time winner and reigning champion Kevin Miraglio is tied with Chris Becker and only two points behind Kammermann.  Miraglio was absent from the most recent race.  The Rosa family was well represented last week by Street Stock legend David Rosa and son David Michael Rosa.  Both had Top 6 finishes.  Both are lurking just outside the Top 5 in points.  David Michael is 14 points back and David is 26 points out.  Either one of these drivers could step forward and win the Main Event.  Adam Teves has done it twice now, and the teen leadfoot came back from a spin to finish third last week.  Adam was joined by father and 2015 champion David Teves.  David is in a new car, but when he gets the bugs worked out of it, watch out.  Rookie Roberto Monroy will be looking to rebound from last week's rollover, and others to watch for when the Dwarf Cars return include include Chuck Connover, Brandon Anderson and Jenna Frazier.

Late Models and A Modifieds will bring the horsepower this week, and the B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars will add to what will surely be an exciting program.  For further information, go to

Free Fan Admission, Fireworks Part Of 
Timmy Post Memorial At Merced Speedway

Merced, CA...July at Merced Speedway kicks off with a very special race this Saturday night.  It's the annual Timmy Post Memorial Race.  Timmy was a beloved member of the racing community who died in an automobile accident on graduation night 1999.  His grandparents, Chuck & Marylee Griffin, were promoters of the track then, while his mother, Kim Barcellos was the head scorer.  This Saturday night's program will include IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds and Hobby Stocks.  The track does a big fireworks show every year, and this one will take place on Saturday night.  As an added bonus, it will be free admission for the fans.

Timmy Post grew up at the speedway.  He worked in concessions, as an official, helping with things during the week or wherever he could help out.  He even towed cars off the track on the blue tractor that was nicknamed Timmy's Tractor.  That tractor is still being used today.  The first Timmy Post races featured 99 lap Main Events, and all of the classes ran for more money.  The races were geared towards the track regulars.  If you supported at least two races leading up to the big race, you were eligible to run.  Timmy would have wanted the Merced Speedway supporters to benefit.  In a way, this is why the night now has a free admission.  You can bet that Timmy would have wanted the track's loyal fans to have a free night of family fun.

For this year, the track is offering double the regular payout in all three classes for each 30 lap Main Event.  In addition, several contingency prizes and awards have been lined up for all of the divisions, which will be distributed to various positions throughout the field.  The drivers will be getting a bit more than usual, which is exactly the way Timmy would have wanted it.  At the end of the night, the winners will be joined by Timmy's family for the trophy presentations.  Bob Smith has once again sponsors some beautiful trophies for the winners.

It's been a while since we've seen the IMCA Modifieds at Merced Speedway.  They've been off for the month of June.  The consistent reigning champion Randy Brown has all Top 3 finishes so far, but he's still looking for his first win of the season.  At the moment, Brown is 21 points ahead of past Hanford champion Mike Villanueva and 31 points in front of 2012 champion Bill Egleston.  Brown has made the trip up to the Pacific Northwest to participate in the IMCA Wild West Speedweek.  As for whether or not he's coming back for Saturday night, we haven't heard if that's the plan.  That series has a race at Willamette Speedway on Saturday.

A Brown absence would almost guarantee that either Villanueva or Egleston would take over the point lead and allow Darrell Hughes II, Bruce "Bubba" Nelson and Ryan Porter to get back into the championship battle.  Multi time champion Paul Stone is a two time winner this season and could also get back into the hunt, but he's not expected to be there for all of the races.  Nelson, meanwhile, is hoping to put his IMCA Modified into the winner's circle for the first time at Merced.  He won a race earlier this year in Chowchilla.  Other drivers to watch for this week include Ricky Thatcher, Jarod Fast, Troy Stone, Harley Turner, John MacDougall and recent Medford feature winner Derek Nance.  We've also heard that multi time Southwest Tour champion Jim Pettit II will be there.

Fred Ryland leads the battle after seven IMCA Sport Modified races.  The 2015 State champion has one win and mostly all Top 3 finishes in his seven starts.  Ryland is now 45 points ahead of Rick Diaz.  He could miss a race and still be leading, even if reigning champion Diaz won for the fourth time.  Diaz did miss a race, but he's already made his way back to second in the standings.  The battle for second is just a bit closer as Tim Elias and Chase Thomas are seven points behind Diaz, and Jeremy Hoff is ten points back.  Diaz may be tough to pass as he remains one of the fastest drivers in the field, but these three drivers shouldn't be counted out.

There have been five different winners this year, including surprise wins for T.J. Etchison and rookie Chuck Weir and a win for State point leader Shane DeVolder.  The Merced Sport Mod division is one of the most competitive in the state, and there are others in the group who can win on any given week.  Other drivers to watch for include Chris Falkenberg, 2015 champion Josh Hensley, young hard charger Tanner Thomas, Paul Espino and Patti Ryland.  It just may be that we get a new winner again on Saturday night, and what better night to do it on than Timmy Post Memorial night?

Young guns Kodie Dean and Garrett Corn are taking the Hobby Stock division by storm.  These two account for six of the seven feature wins.  Point leader Dean has three, and third ranked Corn also has three.  Corn is trying to make up for a bad early season night, but it's tough when Dean keeps getting Top 5 finishes.  Corn is trailing by 39 points, and the division uses the one point per position format used by IMCA.  Ahead of Corn and 35 points behind Dean is Robbie Loquaci.  The past Chowchilla Mini Stock champion was a feature winner last year, but he's searching for that first 2017 win.  Through consistent Top 5 finishes, Robbie remains in the championship battle.

Past division point runnerup Kristie Shearer is still within just 11 points of Corn in the battle for third, while another young gun, Austin Van Hoff, trails Corn by 13 points.  These two drivers are due to return to the winner's circle again.  The only other driver with a win this year is 2015 champion Kevin Joaquin.  Joaquin has been running strong lately, but his absence from one race has taken him out of the championship battle.  He is still a threat to win, and other's to watch for are hard chargers James Stockton and Mike Stockton, Donnie Shearer, Shannon Nelson, Darren Miguel, Dexter Long and recent Stockton winner Tony Peffer.

The Timmy Post Memorial will be a special night and the perfect time to check out some great racing at Merced Speedway.  We'll be remembering a beloved member of our racing community, offering three great divisions of racing and having a spectacular fireworks display.  It's also free admission for the fans.  For further information, go to

Double Points Night At Orland Raceway Saturday Night

Orland, CA... There's nothing like a double points night to shake up a championship battle.  This Saturday night, Orland Raceway will be holding the first of two such events for the season.  Competing on the one-fifth mile dirt oval track at the Glenn County Fairgrounds this week will be Pure Stocks, Mini Stocks, Mini Trucks, Micro Sprints and Wingless Gas Sprints.

Last time out, it was business as usual for Pure Stock point leader Jeremy Langenderfer.  He won his third straight Main Event as Keith Ross, Brad Ray and Shannon Collins grabbed Top 4 finishes in the ten car field.  After four events, Langenderfer's point lead over Ross is still just ten points.  Reigning champion Steve Martin is 33 points out of the lead in third, and the double point night is just what he needs to move up higher in the standings.  The Pure Stocks have had strong support this season.  Fifth ranked Amanda Koop, Earl Adams and John Camper are other drivers to watch for this week.

Tom Davis won his third straight Mini Stock Main Event last time as Sean Perry and reigning champion John Kirkpatrick chased him in the Top 3.  Despite his winning, Davis still leads Perry by just three points in the closest battle at the track.  Kirkpatrick is still only 20 points out of the lead.  Top 5 ranked Barbara Crain sat out the most recent race as her new car wasn't quite ready.  She should have it ready this week as other stars to watch for include Dustin Hills, Jason Libbee and Donnie Fortney.

In Mini Trucks, double division racer Ross continues to lead after his latest feature win.  Ross was chased by Olin Crain, reigning champion Dan Webster and William Fogle in the Top 4 last time out.  The standings are still close as Ross leads Webster by 15 points and Fogle by 23.  The most recent race was the first appearance of the season for Crain, who should be back this week along with 2013 champion Ross Vige, Nate Scaggs and Zachary Baker.

In Micro 250's, Jackie Whitson won his fourth straight race last time out.  He led a Top 5 that included Russell Hensley, Troy Weiss, James Barnes and Michael McCarthy.  It's a two car battle at the top of the point list with Whitson leading Barnes by 27 points.  Barnes is slowly falling back and is in need of a good night.  Other drivers to watch for this week include past champion Jess Garland, Ronnie Heyer and Jared Carter.

The 600 Micros and Wingless Gas Sprints round out the program this week.  Last time out, multi time champion Josh Jacobo won the Wingless Gas Sprint Main Event as John Irwin, Gregory Gabhardt and Audry Webb enjoyed Top 4 finishes.

Saturday's double point program should offer plenty of excitement for the fans.  Gates open at 5 PM with the first race to start at 7 PM.  General Admission is $8 with Juniors and Seniors $5 and Children 6 and under free.  For further information, go to

Hardtop Double Header On Tap For Chico And Marysville

Chico, CA...The California Hardtops are preparing for their second double header weekend of the year, and it's once again taking place at Chico and Marysville.  The last time these vintage race cars were at the Northern California tracks, it was Rob Waldrop piloting the Bill McLaughlin owned #36 Sedan to victory on both nights.  Unfortunately, Waldrop had motor problems in the most recent race at Petaluma, leaving his appearance this week in doubt.

Two of the biggest supporters this season have been "The Rocket Man" Ken Clifford and Joe "Hood Pins" Hopp.  Hopp had an impressive performance on the pavement of Roseville as he grabbed his first win.  In fact, he swept the heat, dash and main that night.  Clifford was a feature winner last season, but he's still looking for his first win of this season.  He finished third at Chico last time.  We haven't seen much of Ken's son Jason this season, but there's a good reason.  The younger Clifford has been building his dad a new shop to maintain the team race cars.

Another Jason could be in action this weekend, and that's Jason Armstrong.  Jason has scored two wins so far this season, including the recent visit to Petaluma and the season opener in Placerville.  Jason has also become the man his fellow competitors come to when they need work done on their cars and a key person in helping set up the schedule.  Jason and his father Dennis Armstrong are both great competitors and welcome additions to the roster any time they are there.

The group hopes to see the return of Rhett Lange.  The former OTRO Hardtop competitor was at the last double header weekend and finished second at Marysville.  Other stars to watch for this week include Dan Whitney, Ron Ruiz, Russ Kraft and Steve Cloyes.