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Sprint Car Challenge Tour Returns To Antioch Speedway
Antioch, CA...The Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Tour, presented by Abreu Vineyards, has taken Northern California by storm. Everybody knew there would be big car counts, but it's not likely that people knew how big it would really be. They had their first ever race at Antioch Speedway back in April and produced a track record field of 60 Sprint Cars. They return to John M. Soares's fast three-eighth mile clay oval this week, and another strong field of cars is anticipated.
What's interesting is that the tour has come through Antioch, Placerville, Tulare, Petaluma and Stockton, and there are no repeat winners in the first five races. Cory Eliason wrote his name into the record books at Antioch as the first winner. He beat recent Indiana Midget Week champion Shane Golobic and Sean Becker that night. NASCAR star Kyle Larson won at Placerville. Open Wheel and NASCAR Truck racer Rico Abreu won at Tulare, Willie Croft won at Petaluma and Mitchell Faccinto won at Stockton. Will there be a new winner or a repeat winner at Antioch this Saturday night?
The SCCT is the pinnacle of Winged 360 Sprint Car racing anywhere on the West Coast. These drivers are the best of the best. You don't show up and just run the Main Event. With at least 40 cars anticipated on Saturday, you have to earn your Main Event starting spot. A Top 5 finish in this series is almost like a win. There are no repeat second place finishers yet this season as Golobic, Gio Scelzi, Becker, Colby Copeland and Croft each have one.
With three third place finishes, reigning King Of The West Series champion Kyle Hirst holds a slim two point advantage over reigning Chico 410 Sprint champion Becker. Becker has four Top 5 finishes in five starts, including his second, two thirds and a fourth. Hirst, however, has a choice to make. He is also a Top 5 driver in the King Of The West Series, which races elsewhere on Saturday. Where will he race?
The point spread between first and fifth is 40 points, and that can be made up quickly. Willie Croft is just 11 points out of the lead with a win, a second and a fourth. He's poised to make his move this week. S. Golobic and Faccinto are in the Top 5, and you also have hard chargers like Eliason, Michael "Buddy" Kofoid, Mason Moore, Ryan Bernal and D.J. Netto in the Top 10. Golobic's brother Dustin just got a tuneup win for this race last week as he won Antioch's regular 360 Sprint feature with a last lap pass on reigning Petaluma champion Herman Klein. Both drivers are anticipated this week.
It will be a full slate of racing with the Sprint Cars, starting with time trials. They will line up their ten lap heat races based on those lap times. The top heat race finishers will then run a Trophy Dash to determine the first four rows of the Main Event, which is slated to pay $2,500 to win. There will be C Mains as needed and B Mains, which will transfer the top finishers into the Main Event. It will be a night of racing that you won't want to miss.
For further information, check out www.antiochspeedway.com. Or, check out the official SCCT page at www.sprintcarchallengetour.com.
Sprint Car Challenge Points
Kyle Hirst 721
Sean Becker 719
Willie Croft 710
Shane Golobic 688
Mitchell Faccinto 681
Cory Eliason 659
Michael Kofoid 634
Mason Moore 630
Ryan Bernal 629
D.J. Netto 593
Dwarf Car Nationals Coming To
Merced Speedway Friday And Saturday
Merced, CA...One of the biggest gatherings of Dwarf Car racers will be taking place this Friday and Saturday night at Merced Speedway. It's time for the Western States Dwarf Car Association's Dwarf Car Nationals. Various Dwarf Car groups meet at these big events for what has become not just a weekend of great racing, but a little bit of partying and friends just getting together and having fun. Merced is the second Nationals event this year, but it's also the first time one of these shows has been held at the nearly 70 year old racing facility.
The NCDCA group had some of their first races at Merced about 25 years ago when racers who competed at Stockton's one-eighth mile Delta Speedway formed the association. Respected racer and car builder Frank Munroe was one of the early stars of the group and won several races and championships in those early seasons. He was also a man with a vision. Dwarf Car racing was growing on the West Coast, and he saw the potential for some big blowout events for the group. The first such races were held every September at Marysville and had car counts of over 100 race cars in those early years.
The WSDCA has several member associations, including NCDCA, SBDCA, SODCA, CDCA and NNODCA. In fact, there are drivers who compete in non WSDCA groups that join one of member associations so that they can compete in these big events. The Dwarf Car Nationals events are something racers plan their whole season around. There's already one race in the books, held in Quincy, California. The format has three classifications, with the strongest support coming from the Pro division. There's also a Veterans class for the older drivers and a Sportsman group for the new competitors.
Joe Frock won the first race for the Pros at Quincy when he took the lead from second place finisher Matt Sargent. Ryan "Ice Chip" Winter, John Isabella and Camden Robustelli made up the remainder of the Top 5. Kevin Bender won the Veterans race and Mark Hansen got the win in the Sportsman class.
Since this is the first Merced Nationals race and the Dwarf Cars have always raced well there, a huge field exceeding 60 cars is anticipated, and those numbers could rise. Nor Cal will surely be represented heavily with such stars as Ryan Winter, Danny Wagner, Buddy Olschowka, Scott Dahlgren and long time competitor, Michael "Spanky" Grenert. That's just a few of the drivers, but Nor Cal generally fields 20 or more cars at their shows and most of those racers will probably be in Merced.
The Bay Area has had a strong contingent of racers during the past 25 years, and SBDCA will surely be represented by such top notch talent as Gene "Punky" Pires, Cameron Diatte, Terre Rothweiler, Mark Biscardi and Shawn Jones. Jones supports both Northern California groups whenever he can. SBDCA will be there in full force, which puts the estimated car count into the 40's with just them. A few competitors from Antioch Speedway will be on hand, including past Antioch and reigning SBDCA champion David Teves, reigning Antioch champion Kevin Miraglio, Mike Corsaro and Charlie "The Hammer" Correia. Nobody has raced a Dwarf Car in California longer than Correia, who started as an NCDCA member in those early years and raced Super Modifieds for years before that.
Throw in some Petaluma support from the likes of Matt Hagerman, Ryan Klein and Chad Mathias, and we're probably in the 50's with car count. Then, you'll have such top notch Southern California talent as John Isabella coming in from the CDCA. There's Quincy winner Joe Frock and Matt Sargent from Nevada, and you also should watch for Southern Oregon stars like reigning SODCA champion Brock Peters, Cody Peters, Camden Robustelli, two time SODCA champion Josh King and Chad Cardoza. There will be lots of cars in Merced.
If you enjoy the fast and close racing that the Dwarf Cars provide, this is a show you will want to see. The best of the best on the West Coast will be there to compete for the prize and the bragging rights, and they all enjoy the festive, party atmosphere in the pits afterwards. As a fan, it's a chance to meet these drivers and the kids can get autographs from their favorite racers. It's two nights of exciting Dwarf Car racing, and that's not all.
On Saturday night, the Merced Speedway Hobby Stock division will be there. The Hobby Stocks always put on a great show for the fans, and their recent County Fair race was no exception. Over 20 cars were there, forcing the division to run a B Main Event. Garrett Corn had nothing to do with the B Main. The third generation racer was busy winning his third Main Event of the season, followed closely by Robbie Loquaci, two time winner Kodie Dean and 2015 champion Kevin Joaquin.
Corn is making up for lost ground after one bad night hurt him in points. With point leader Dean finishing third, he gained very little. Dean's lead over Loquaci is 31 points with Corn 37 points back. As the track's Hobby Stocks are on an IMCA point system (without the sanctioning), gaining ground becomes more difficult as long as the leader continues to finish well. However, there's still lots of racing to come, and anything can happen. Joaquin returned to the Top 10 in the standings with his finish.
After recording another Top 5 finish, Mike Stockton is still in the hunt as a Top 10 point runner. Further up in fourth you'll find Kristie Shearer. The wife of reigning champion Michael Shearer, Kristie is 44 points out of the lead, but she's only 13 points behind Loquci for second. Other stars to watch for include Austin Van Hoff, Shannon Nelson, James Stockton, Darren Miguel and Tony Peffer.
Saturday will also see the lone appearance of the Super 4 Mini Stock division. This is a group of racers who competed at Rocky Hill Speedway in Porterville. With that track dark until September, some of the racers have been looking for more opportunities to race. Roy Atchison Jr. is the reigning Porterville champion and will be hard to beat. Sons Roy III and Justin Athison were in action at the recent Bakersfield race, won by Roy Jr. ahead of Roy III. Darren Esterman, William Hughes, Kit Murphy and Larry Ramirez are other drivers to watch for.
The Valley Sportsman division is also scheduled, and there's a call out to the competitors to get back to the track again. Car count has been down and the track is currently not keeping a point total for the group this year. The Rod Poor Tribute Car is anticipated, possibly with Chris Birdsong behind the wheel. Jeff Bristow may be there as well as he attempts to sell his car. Both drivers are winners this season. Word is that Watsonville Sportsman legend and Hall Of Famer Jerry Cecil will be there, and others we're hoping to see include Jeff West, Eric Sealy and two time champion Mike Friesen.
On Friday night, the California Sharp Mini Late Models will compete again. Thus far, the group has four cars, and all of them have been at every show. The roster includes feature winners Tim Vaught and Riley Jeppesen as well as Ian Shearer and Tim Crews.
The Dwarf Car Nationals event this Friday and Saturday at Merced will be a great night of racing, and the other classes are icing on the cake. For further information, go to www.racemerced.com.
West Coast Sport Mods Headline
Stockton Speedway Dirt Track Show
Stockton, CA...The IMCA West Coast Sport Modified Tour heads to the dirt of Stockton Speedway this Saturday night. Promoter Tony Noceti is trying something a bit different this week as he tests the waters at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds racing facility during the County Fair. Normally a show at this track would feature one or more of the Sprint Car Tours. This week is a special Stock Car program that features the IMCA Sport Modifieds, the Bombers and the Basically 4 Clylinder divisions. The latter two divisions are featured on the pavement of Stockton 99 Speedway.
Having won the 2016 IMCA State championship, Brian Cooper wanted to try something different this season. Brian, his 2016 Silver Dollar Speedway championship winning brother Todd Cooper and Stock Car champion Jerry Bartlett got together and formed the West Coast Sport Mod Tour. With some great sponsorship from several businesses, they have been able to boost the regular purses at all of the tracks on which they compete. Over 40 competitors have joined the group for a shot at the increased purses and point monies, and fields well into the 30's have competed. In fact, WCSM support in a non point capacity boosted one race at Merced (won by Chuck Weir) into the 30's.
When the tour finally opened their season after multiple rain outs, over 40 cars filled the pits as part of Merced's Ted Stofle Classic. Track champion Rick Diaz won that race over Bakersfield's Michael Johnson and 2014 IMCA State champion Nick Spainhoward. Chico was the beginning of a two race weekend, and a Bakersfield sweep saw Matthew Mayo Jr. winning his first career race ahead of Johnson and Lee Jensen. Three time Stock Car champion and current Chico and Marysville point leader Phillip Shelby won the next night ahead of Spainhoward and 2015 IMCA State champion Fred Ryland. With his fourth place finish, Johnson is the only driver with all Top 5's at this point.
The concept of this Sport Mod Tour is simple. You bring the best of the best in the division together in one place. Most of the Northern California tracks cooperated with scheduling. Even with Bakersfield Speedway not included, they've had a strong presence. In fact, Johnson is the point leader, but it's very close at the top. Only 14 points separate the Top 10 of Johnson, Spainhoward, Ryland, IMCA State point leader DeVolder, Jensen, Shelby, Jeremy Hoff, Kyle Wood, Tyler Rodgers and 2015 Marysville champion Howard Law.
Given the close proximity between Stockton and Antioch, racers like reigning Antioch champion Trevor Clymens, Stock Car champion Todd Gomez, 2016 Hobby Stock champion Guy Ahlwardt and Mark Garner are anticipated. Not far down the road is Merced, and a few competitors will likely be in town to represent. This is an opportunity for the Sport Modified racers to show what they can do.
Marysville racers like the Cooper brothers and Bartlett are looking to add their first win to the record books, and there will be several others from the area as well. The other thing to consider is the fact that there seems to be an interest from management at Stockton in doing more Stock Car type things on the dirt track. A good showing for this division will open the door for more races in the future.
Noceti offered further incentive for his Bomber (Hobby Stock) drivers to compete on the dirt. This is a point race for the group that is used to racing on the pavement track. Ben Lewis II is the point leader and has won most of the Main Events this year. Ben's father and Kyle Singleton have all done some racing on the dirt at Merced Speedway in recent years, and the Lewis's have done well. All three will probably be at the dirt race. Mikala Stearns is 74 points behind Lewis II in second. She's had multiple second place finishes, which helps give her a six point lead over John Medina, who has also finished as high as second. Only 21 points out of second is Darin Adler. They have a solid car count in Bombers on the pavement track, but it will be interesting to see who decides to run the dirt. Antioch Speedway has had some rumblings of drivers interested in racing, and it's rumored that Top 5 point competitor and rookie Chris Bennett will be coming to town in the Bob Hansen Tribute Car.
The Basically 4 Cylinder class is also on the card. Andrew Rumsey is a Main Event winner this year, and he carries a 19 point lead over Justin McGegee into the race. Ethan Rumsey, Justin Terry and Jaya Nelson are other Top 5 competitors this year. Once uppon a time, Stockton's only place for Mini Stock racing was right across the fairgrounds parking lot at Delta Speedway. It was a huge show in those early days. The lure of running the bigger Stockton dirt track may call other Mini Stock competitors from several places, but who is the question. It will be interesting to see who will come out for this race.
Stock Car racing will headline the Fair Time show at the Stockton dirt track this Saturday night, and it should be an exciting program. For further information, go to www.stockton99.com.