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Plenty Of Excitement As Racing Continues
At Antioch Speedway Saturday Night
Antioch, CA...In a mirror image of last week, Antioch Speedway will feature the same five divisions this Saturday night. All Star Series Wingless Spec Sprints and DIRTcar Late Models will be featured along with the B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars. We saw changes at the top of two point lists after motor problems led to early nights for two championship contenders. The point races are heating up with the July weather.
Reigning Late Model champion Richard Papenhausen was having his typical night last week. He picked up a heat race win to start things off. Unfortunately, the two time champion blew his motor in the process. This was not an opportunity that would go to waste for two time champion Jeff Decker. Decker carried a slim advantage over Papenhausen in points going into the night, and he ended the show with his third win of the season. Decker's lead is now 44 points over second place, and there is now a new driver occupying the runnerup spot.
Shawn DeForest won his heat race last week and survived an ugly Main Event to finish third. When the points were added, DeForest found himself taking second from Papenhausen. DeForest was the runnerup in points back in 2007, but he can't get too comfortable just yet. He leads Papenhausen by five points and David Newquist by six points. Suddenly, Joey Olschowka has become a contender. Jeff picked up a season best second place finish last week, which moved him to within 16 points of DeForest. The next time the fans see Papenhausen's #4p car, it's a good bet he'll be in the hunt for his second win of the season. Kimo Oreta, Mike Hynes, Dennis Souza and Chester Kniss are others to watch for.
The point lead changed hands in the very competitive Hobby Stock division as last week had lots of drama. Incoming point leader Chris Long blew his motor in his heat race, and suddenly he was on the outside looking in. Billy Garner stepped up to offer Long the ride in the #76jr car. Billy wanted to help Long keep his point lead, but All Star Series rules are clear. You must start the Main Event in the car you started your heat race with to earn points. Long watched from the sidelines as his point lead disappeared, and Garner had a career best fourth. The next part of the Garner family tradition started by Billy's grandfather Jerry may come soon. The Jr at the end of his number was put there until he proved himself, and Billy certainly made his father, Mark Garner, proud of him last week. It may not be on the car for much longer.
Meanwhile, Cameron Swank has to be wondering what he needs to do to get a win. He took the lead during the first half of last week's non stop Main Event and built a half lap lead by the time the white flag waved. The problem was the flat right rear tire he had as he crossed the start/finish line. Chris Sorensen, who has been dealing with his own mechanical issues in recent weeks, sped by for the lead and his third victory. Swank settled for second, and rookie Brent Curran took the point lead with his third place finish. Curran now leads Long by 23 points. Mechanical issues are a part of racing, and it's who can overcome them the best who will prevail in the end.
Ricky Foster has been quietly enjoying a Top 10 season. His season got off to a rocky start before the first week when he rolled his car at playday. Last week, he took the lead from Garner and led one lap before being passed by Swank. Foster ran in the Top 3 for several laps before heading for the pits with mechanical issues. Meanwhile, Garner and rookie Chris Bennett finished fourth and fifth, respectively, Bennett is currently third in points, but he can't get too comfortable. Swank is just 15 points behind him, while Sorensen is 25 points back. These hard chargers should all be there this week to race for the win, and Jordon Swank, Michael Cooper, Frank Furtado, Lindsey Buirch and Robert Niven are others to watch for.
Perhaps the most impressive drive last week was turned in by Mark Garner. Much has been said about Mark's bid for the Limited Late Model championship, but he's also enjoying a Top 5 effort in the B Modifieds. Mark was looking to make a statement, and last Saturday was his night to be heard. It's one thing to make good laps while leading the pack, but it's another thing when you have the next four cars running right behind you, waiting for you to make a mistake. In this pressure situation, Garner drove a flawless race and picked up his first ever B Modified win. That finish puts him into fourth in points, just 10 behind Chuck Golden for third.
Reigning champion Trevor Clymens was the man chasing Garner most of the way, and nobody has more wins than him in this division in the last two seasons. Clymens only gained a little ground on point leader K.C. Keller, who finished fourth. Keller's lead is just 12 points. Coming off of his recent Top 3 finish, Doff Cooksey finished third last week. Doff has raced on the pavement of Altamont and Stockton in the past, but his first dirt win may be just around the corner. Clymens has been working social media in an effort to recruit racers this week. Past Marysville and Orland Stock Car champion Jerry Bartlett indicated that he'll be back if he can get his car fixed following his Turn 2 crash last week. Garner's cousin Jimmy Ford is planning to come from Marysville, and Todd Gomez, Mike Mates and Megan Ponciano are others to watch for.
The Wingless Spec Sprint championship battle continues to be between Alan Miranda, Rick Panfili and rookie Robert Floyd. Miranda was the only one of the three to get a Top 5 finish last week. Panfili is dealing with a bent frame suffered in the previous race, and Floyd is still learning despite the fact that he impressed with his win at the previous race. Miranda leads Panfili by 16 points and Floyd by 26. Two drivers who have missed a race are climbing back into contention. 2014 Watsonville champion Bryan Grier is ten points behind Floyd, while Shannon Newton is 28 points back. Both drivers earned Top 5 finishes last week.
Bob Newberry probably isn't talking about points at the moment. He has had a history of doing well in points in multiple divisions at Antioch through the years. In fact, he is a past Spec Sprint champion at both Antioch and Chico. Last week, Bob made a late move around James East to grab the Main Event victory and become the first two time winner of the season. Bob carries an experience advantage over most of the drivers in front of him, and he could get on a roll if he does start racing regularly. Abigail Gonderman continues to gain more experience as she makes her laps. It's quite a jump from Four Bangers to Spec Sprints, and she's doing okay out there. Brandon Burd, Roy Fisher and Jeremy Newberry are other drivers to watch for.
What a difference a week makes. Last week, Mike Corsaro was driving to his second Main Event win of the season. His previous effort ended with a heat race rollover. Somehow, Corsaro his managed to hold onto his Dwarf Car point lead by just 17 points over teammate Charlie Correia. Correia has been supporting Dwarf Car racing since the mid 1990's and actually owns multiple cars. For the past two weeks, Charlie has piloted the #10 car that David Corsaro has been driving. This has enabled him to hold a slim 14 point advantage over teen racer Devan Kammermann in the battle for second. Devan had a Top 5 finish last week and lurks just 31 points out of the lead. The Quarter-Midget graduate was just looking to make a run at "Rookie Of The Year" honors, but a championship is within his reach.
The Rosa family knows a thing or two about championships. Second generation racer David Michael Rosa recently had back to back second place feature finishes, and he's actually third right now, four points behind Correia and 21 behind Corsaro. On his radar right now is his first career Main Event win. Last year, his father David Rosa won his first Main Event in this class. Main Event wins are nothing new to the elder Rosa, who has won over 50 of them in his storied career at Antioch Speedway. At the moment, the two time Street Stock champion is fifth. These five hard chargers should be there this week, along with Brandon Anderson, Chris Becker, Chuck Conover and Jenna Frazier.
This week's All Star Series show will be filled with lots of excitement from start to finish. For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
Langenderfer, Chilton, Whitson, Ross Win At Orland Raceway
Orland, CA...July 15...Point leader Jeremy Langenderfer won another 20 lap Pure Stock Main Event Saturday night at Orland Raceway. This was the fifth feature win of the season for Langenderfer. Eight lap heat race wins went to Langenderfer and John Camper. Camper charged out to the early Main Event lead ahead of Amanda Koop, and Langenderfer made a back stretch pass on Koop for second on lap three. A low pass in Turn 4 of the fifth lap gained Langenderfer the lead from Camper as reigning champion Steve Martin had settled into third. A lap nine caution flag slowed the pace. Martin took second from Camper on the restart as Langenderfer continued to set the pace. Contact sent Cody Bundy spinning from his Top 5 spot in Turn 2 on lap 13, and Shannon Collins raced past Martin for third. A low move in Turn 2 of the 15th lap gained Collins second. Collins provided Langenderfer with lots of pressure during the final laps, but Langenderfer would prevail at the checkered flag. Martin settled for third ahead of Koop, Bundy and Camper.
Donovan Chilton won the 20 lap Mini Stock Main Event. It was his second straight feature win. Chilton raced into the lead from the start ahead of John Kirkpatrick. Heat race winner Sean Perry settled into third on lap three. A low move in Turn 4 of the fifth lap gained Perry second from Kirkpatrick. Point leader and heat race winner Tom Davis made an inside pass on the back stretch of the eighth lap to take third from Kirkpatrick. Chilton drove a flawless race up front and went on to victory ahead of Perry, Davis, Kirkpatrick and Seth Libbee.
Jackie Whitson Jr. won the 250 Micro Sprint Main Event. This was the sixth win of the season for the current point leader. Whitson led most of the way for the win, and Scott Holloway found himself playing catch up after spinning on the front stretch on lap two. Dave McKinnon ran second ahead of James Barnes for much of the race as Holloway worked his way back into fourth. Barnes retired at on lap eight, and Holloway took second from McKinnon on a lap 11 restart. Holloway gave it a good effort at the end, but Whitson would not be denied the victory. McKinnon settled for third ahead of Ronnie Heyer and Barnes.
Keith Ross won the 20 lap Mini Truck Main Event. The current point leader lost a good battle with reigning champion Dan Webster in the eight lap heat race. Webster was going for a sweep and led two Main Event laps before a low move in Turn 2 of the third lap gained Ross the lead. Ross led the rest of the way to win ahead of Webster, Olin Crane and William Fogle.
Racing resumes on July 29th with Pure Stocks, Mini Stocks, Mini Trucks, Micro Sprints and Wingless Gas Sprints all on the card. Or further information, go to www.orlandraceway.org.
California Hardtops Return to Placerville Speedway
Placerville, CA...The California Hardtops return to their home dirt track, Placerville Speedway, this Saturday night. Jason Armstrong has two of the most impressive wins of the season, one at Placerville and one ahead of the biggest field of the season so far at Petaluma. The Armstrong family has raced at Placerville for several years. Jason and father Dennis, who has also won Hardtop Main Events at Placerville in the past, should be there Saturday night. Dennis finished second to Jason at the last Placerville race.
The Clifford Racing Team will be there with two race cars. Father Ken Clifford and son Jason Clifford have enjoyed racing together during the past couple of seasons. Jason has missed a couple of races this year due to the fact that he was building his father's new shop to work on the cars. Both cars needed some work after the Chico race as Ken had steering problems and Jason had over heating issues. Both cars are ready to go this week.
Ron Ruiz has been running pretty fast lately and was a recent heat race winner. He's on the verge of his first feature win, and that could happen on Saturday. Joe Hopp was a Main Event winner at Roseville this year, and he would have to be considered a contender this week. Motor issues could keep Rob Waldrop out of action this week in the Bill McLaughlin car, but as a multi time winner this season, he would have to be considered a contender if he is there. Other potential competitors this week include Dave Reed, Rhett Lang, Dan Whitney and Russ Kraft.