Friday, August 25, 2017

Antioch Speedway Preview And Merced Speedway Preview

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Sprint Car And Modified Classes Highlight 
Antioch Speedway Program Saturday Night

Antioch, CA...Antioch Speedway wraps up the month of August with an exciting seven division program this Saturday night.  Both the All Star Series Winged 360 Sprint Cars and Wingless Spec Sprints are on the card along with both the A and B Modifieds.  Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Bay Area Hardtops will make this an exciting seven division program.  The point races are getting interesting as we head into a month of September that will have the John Soares Sr. Memorial on September 16th and the Fall Brawl on September 30th. 

The Winged 360 Sprint Car championship battle looks like it's about to get interesting.  The pressure is on the surprising Marissa Polizzi to maintain the point lead.  Last week, she had a respectable sixth place finish in a 16 car field.  However, second generation racer Burt Foland Jr. picked up his third second place finish, and that enabled him to cut Polizzi's point advantage to 18.  Making things even more interesting was the return of Art McCarthy to the winner's circle.  The 2007 champion McCarthy had only finished as high as fifth twice in the first five races, but he showed everybody what he is capable of with his heat race and feature wins.  McCarthy cut Polizzi's lead over him from 53 to 37 points and moved into third in the standings.

Aaron Miller's championship hopes took a severe blow when he failed to start the feature last week and fell to fifth in the standings by two points behind last year's top rookie, Jenna Frazier.  The field was boosted by some visitors from Petaluma Speedway, and two of that track's regulars, Jake Haulot and David Lindt Jr., finished fourth and fifth last week.  As Petaluma's race this week does not include 360 Sprints, it's possible that you will see some of that track's stars return this week.  Teen rookie Jacob Tuttle had a third place finish last week.  You may recall Tuttle's debut earlier this season resulted in a second place finish.  Might he strike for a win this week?  Dan Gonderman was back last week, and other stars to  watch for this week include Jason Paniagua and Adam Brenton.

An even more intense battle at the top of the Wingless Spec Sprint standings finds just 23 points separating the Top 4 drivers.  2014 Watsonville champion Bryan Grier may have missed a race this year, but he has matched Bob Newberry with three feature wins.  Bryan has two wins in the last three races to hold a twelve point lead over Rick Panfili.  Just 18 points back is rookie Robert Floyd, who is coming off of a second place finish.  The one time winner actually passed Grier for the lead last time out in what appeared to be a completed lap, but a yellow flag put him back to second.  After a non start a couple races ago, Alan Miranda has dropped from first to 23 points out of the lead in fourth,  Like Panfili, he's sill searching for his first win, but he has two second place finishes this season.

Shannon Newton has a pair for third place finishes to hold fifth in he standings, but it's a little too close for comfort.  Bob Newberry is only two points behind him.  People can all breathe a sigh of relief that the past Antioch and Chico Spec Sprint champion Newberry got a late start this year, because he'd be further up if he'd been at all of the races.  The Spec Sprints are having some great races in their 19th season at the track, and other stars to look for include past Chowchilla champion Brandon Burd, James East, Roy Fisher and rookie Abigail Gonderman.

Bobby Motts Jr. had a goal of winning the 2015 A Modified championship.  Though he settled for second, the past Antioch Speedway Street Stock champion made Scott Busby work for it.  At the moment, Motts leads this year's championship chase by 38 points over Sean O'Gara.  Bobby won the most recent race and has a pair of seconds and a pair of third among his other finishes.  With Mike Salazar regrouping and missing the most recent race, O'Gara now has a better hold on what would be a career best second place ranking.  With one second and one third, the second generation racer is still looking for his first win.

Salazar's lead over rookie Eric Berendsen in the race for third is now 12 points.  Both drivers have had blown motors, but Berendsen may have one upped Salazar in the bad luck department as a member of the 2017 Rollover Club.  Eric has four fourth place finishes in his brother Carl's old car.  Two time winner Scott Busby is still in the hunt for third at 55 points back.  Busby is also in the hunt for sole possession of the all time win record.  At the moment, he and the legendary J.D. Willis each have 72 wins at Antioch.  It's hard to say who might be there this week, but others to watch for include Gary Hetrick, Gregg McElhaney, Anthony Slaney and possible appearances from past Petaluma champions Nick DeCarlo and Michael Paul Jr.

With his third feature triumph last week, K.C. Keller appears to be on his way to the B Modified championship, but the job isn't finished yet.  He's one non start away from having a close battle on his hands again.  As it is, he leads two time winner Mark Garner by 56 points as Garner is in the hunt for two championships this season.  Chuck Golden lurks only eight points behind Garner in the race for second, but he's hoping to get his first win of the season.  It's possible that the next new winner will be Nick Caughman Jr.  Caughman had a heat win last week and led some Main Event laps.  He finished second in his division debut a week earlier.  Caughman is a past Petaluma IMCA Modified champion.  Other drivers to watch for this week include Kevin Brown, Doff Cooksey, Tim Hammett and the possible return of reigning champion Trevor Clymens.

Kimo Oreta is not taking his eyes off the prize.  After winning three straight Hobby Stock championships and last year's top rookie honors in Limited Late Models, he's looking to win the championship in his second year in that division.  Last week, Oreta collected his third win of the season to go with four seconds.  Somewhere up there, Larry Damitz is smiling as he looks down at his old car still running up front.  Mark Garner has been tenacious in second.  This was the championship that he set out to win this season, and he only trails Oreta by 14 points.  Mark has three seconds and two thirds to go with one win, but he knows he'll need to get his #76 car back to the winner's circle again if he hopes to have any chance of overtaking Oreta.

Jim Freethy seemed like he was poised to make that challenge after winning his first feature two races ago, but a DNF last time out dropped him from a tie with Garner to 12 points behind him and just eight ahead of two time winner Mike Gustafson.  With Oreta being so consistent up front, each bad night the others have is only bringing him closer to the championship.  The steady John Evans continues to hold fifth in the standings, but his lead is a still catchable 32 points over Chad Hammer.  Both drivers had Top 5 finishes last week, and it was the second in a row for Hammer.  Rookie Buddy Kniss is anticipated for this race, and we could also see Jeff Kendrick, Jon Haney and the possible return of Lori Brown.

The battle in the Hobby Stocks has changed during the course of the season.  Chris Long and Brent Curran have each taken their turn in the lead, yet both have missed races due to motor issues.  Title contender Chris Sorensen had to deal with transmission issues, and yet the four time feature winner has crept into contention for his second championship.  Sorensen just earned his second runnerup finish, while Long finished fourth.  This gives Long a 20 point lead over Sorensen.  At one point, it didn't seem like a championship was within reach for Sorensen, but he's there now.  Both Long and Sorensen have been doing it on a limited budget, and both are looking for any sponsorship help they can get to make it through the final month.  Both of these drivers would make any sponsor proud to be associated with them.

Brent Curran's luck has taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks.  Despite that, the two time winner is 19 points behind Sorensen for second and not giving up on his championship hopes just yet.  The 2014 Mini Stock champion knows these battles can go down to the final race.  Curran is five points ahead of Cameron Swank for third.  Swank shouldn't be counted out just yet either.  Really, the four time Main Event runnerup is hoping to finally get his first feature win.  Two time Super Hobby Stock champion Gene Haney won his second feature last week.  He's slowly gaining on fifth place Chris Bennett.  Haney trails the rookie by just 20 points.  These hard chargers should be joined by such tough competitors as Billy Garner, two time winner Michael Cooper, Jordan Swank, Ricky Foster and Ken Rhoades for another great night of racing.

The Bay Area Hardtops are back this week for their final race before September 9th's Chet Thomson Memorial.  Last week, Kimo Oreta won his second race of the season ahead of heat winner Rob Waldrop.  The Bill McLaughlin car that Waldrop has been driving has been sold to Roger MacShane out of Sacramento.  Dave Mackey's #1 car broke another transmission, but it should be ready this week with Tommy Thomson behind the wheel.  Ken Retzloff is anticipated for his second start, and we're close to the debut of Doug Braudrick.  Other drivers we could see this week include Steve Cloyes, Dan Williams and possibly Ron Ruiz.

With seven divisions on the card this week, it should be an exciting night of racing.  For further information, go to

IMCA Modified Divisions Headline Merced Speedway Show

Merced, CA...Merced Speedway is about to end the month of August with plenty of Modified Excitement for the crowd.  On the heels of a great night of racing for both the IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds last week, both divisions return this week.  The Mini Stocks return this week with one of the closest championship battles at the track, while the Valley Sportsman division makes their final appearance of the season.

Randy Brown has his eyes on the prize, a second straight IMCA Modified championship.  While Alex Stanford was making his first appearance of the season a winning effort last week, Brown was chasing Ryan Porter for a third place finish.  Brown is a one time winner with mostly Top 3 finishes in his seven starts.  Past Hanford champion Mike Villanueva had a fourth place finish last week and has all Top 5's this season, and he trails Brown by 23 points.  Unless Brown stumbles in these last races, Villanueva has his work cut out for him.  However, he also has a 23 point lead over Bruce "Bubba" Nelson in the race for second.

Nelson is not too comfortable in third.  He leads the only other driver in the Top 10 with a feature win, Ryan Porter, by just four points.  2012 champion Bill Egleston is tied with Porter, and Darrell Hughes II is six points out of third.  This is where the point battle is at the moment.  Other than that, there are still some Main Events to be won and some good racers hoping to earn those wins.  They don't get much better than four time champion Ramie Stone.  Ramie was coming off of a Top 5 finish in the previous race, and he was in contention last week before falling back to 11th.  Brother Troy Stone is another driver to watch this week along with Jarod Fast, Justin Villanueva and Ricky Thatcher.

The next generation of super stars are trying to take over the IMCA Sport Modified division.  In recent weeks, Cody Parker and Tanner Thomas have been making some noise at the front of the pack.  Thomas had a second place finish two weeks ago and finished fourth last week.  Last week saw Parker lead several laps before settling for his best division effort in second.  This talented teen has won Hobby Stock Main Events, but he's now in the hunt for his first Sport Modified victory.  A win could happen for Parker or Thomas this seek.

To get that win, you have to beat two time champion Rick Diaz.  Even a 10th place starting position was not enough to keep Diaz from winning his sixth Main Event of the season last week.  Diaz missed a race and gave the consistent Fred Ryland a nice advantage.  Even though he won again, Diaz only gained two points on Ryland, who finished third last week.  Ryland leads Diaz by 32 points.  Jeremy Hoff is still looking for his first win of the season.  With five Top 5 finishes, Hoff has a 17 point advantage over Chase Thomas.  C. Thomas leads his younger brother Tanner by 13 points in the battle for fifth.  Other drivers to watch for in this competitive field include one time winner Chuck Weir, 2015 champion Josh Hensley, Paul Espino and Patti Ryland.

The Corder siblings continue their battle in the Mini Stock division.  Reigning champion Chris Corder continues to lead after his fourth feature win of the season last week.  His lead over sister Jennifer is still just five points.  Jennifer was going for the lead late but ended up pushing high in Turn 4.  This opened the door for Friday night Watsonville winner Jason Womack to take over second as Jennifer settled for third.  However, the Corder battle is far from over.

Continuing to show his sportsmanship, Chris Corder is preparing a car for third ranked Lucy Falkenberg.  Lucy finished fifth last time behind rookie Shawn DePriest.  Falkenberg is running a solid third in the points, 34 ahead of DePriest and 42 behind C. Corder.  She's finished as high as second this season and is one of those drivers to watch in the quest for their first victory.  DePriest would have to be considered another strong contender.  Just 11 points behind DePriest is Womack and 18 back is Destiny Carter.  All of these competitors and more are anticipated.  The Mini Stocks always put on a good show.

Rounding out the field will be the final appearance of the Valley Sportsman division.  On Legends Night, Chris Birdsong scored an emotional feature win in the Rod Poor Tribute car that his father Kenny wheeled to the 2016 championship.  The division has struggled at times this year, but they are hoping to end on a positive note.  Jeff Bristow is a feature winner this year, and other drivers to watch for include Mike Friesen, Jeff West and Eric Sealy.

Saturday night should be another action packed night of racing with these four divisions sharing the billing.  For further information, go to

McCarthy Looks For Two In A Row At Antioch Speedway

Antioch, CA...The All Star Series Winged 360 Sprint Cars head back to Antioch Speedway for the seventh race of their ten race season this Saturday night.  Last week, ageless veteran Art McCarthy won his first 25 lap Main Event of the season for the $1,200 payday.  McCarthy, who is the 2007 champion and has finished second in the last two championship seasons, hadn't finished better than fifth in the previous five races, but he had a breakthrough night last week with the feature win and his eight lap heat race victory.  This moved him to third in the standings, 37 points out of the lead, and it served as a reminder to the competition that he is still in the hunt.

For the third time this season, Burt Foland Jr. collected a second place feature finish.  Foland also has two thirds this season.  His latest second place finish moved Foland to within 18 points of point leader Marissa Polizzi.  Polizzi took a checkered flag in sixth last week.  The news wasn't so good for Aaron Miller.  Miller enterd the night in second in the standings, but he blew a motor early in the evening to miss the Main Event.  This dropped him back to fifth in the standings, two point behind Jenna Frazier and 24 behind third ranked McCarthy.

Teen leadfoot Jacob Tuttle had another strong performance in third, trailed by Petaluma star Jake Haulot and five time Petaluma champion David Lindt Jr.  Lindt also won his eight lap heat race.  Tuttle impressed earlier in the season as he led all but the final lap before finishing second in his Sprint Car debut.  The Cage Kart graduate is showing great promise in his Sprint Car rookie season.  It wouldn't be a surprise to see him win this week or in any of the three September races remaining on the schedule.

Polizzi finished sixth with 2016 "Rookie Of The Year" Frazier chasing her in seventh.  Dan Gonderman made his first start since his Top 5 season last year and finished eighth, followed by David Dias and Adam Brenton.  Petaluma racers Jason McIntosh and Roberto Kirby, Peter Pauslon and Jason Paniagua completed the finishing order.  Both Miller and Top 10 ranked Steve Jaquith were Main Event scratches due to motor issues.

Another strong turnout is anticipated this week.  Thus far, there have been five different winners.  Kyle Offill, Tyler Seavey, Dustin Golobic and Colby Wiesz are the feature winners so far, and Offill is the only two time winner.  It's anybody's guess who might win this week, but it's sure to be a great show.  For further information, go to

Point Standings
All Star Series Winged 360 Sprint Cars
Marissa Polizzi 264
Burt Foland Jr. 246
Art McCarthy 227
Jenna Frazier 205
Aaron Miller 203
Jason Paniagua 166
Kyle Offill 150
Jacob Tuttle 130
Steve Jaquith 101
Jake Haulot 92

Antioch Speedway
All Star Series Winged 360 Sprint Car Schedule
August 26
September 9
September 16
September  23

Past Champions
1998-Gary Geving
2007-Art McCarthy
2010-Craig Smith
2013-Chris Magoon
2014-Chris Magoon
2015-Shawn Arriaga
2016-Billy Aton

Recent Feature Winners
August 19, 2017:  Art McCarthy
June 24, 2017:  Colby Wiesz
June 17, 2017:  Jonathan Allard
June 10, 2017:  Dustin Golobic
May 13, 2017:  Kyle Offill
May 6, 2017:  Tyler Seavey
April 22, 2017:  Kyle Offill
April 1, 2017:  Cory Eliason
September 31, 2016:  Billy Aton
September 17, 2016:  Colby Johnson
September 10, 2016:  Matt Barber
August 27, 2016;  Billy Aton
August 20, 2016:  Riley Matson
August 13, 2016: Art McCarthy
August 6, 2016:  Seth Nunes
July 30, 2016:  Art McCarthy
July 16, 2016:  Brayden McMahan
June 25, 2016:  Kaleb Montgomery
June 18, 2016:  Bobby McMahan
June 4, 2016: Shawn Conde
May 21, 2016: Koen Shaw
April 23, 2016: Billy Aton
April 2, 2016: Art McCarthy
August 29, 2015: Art McCarthy
August 8, 2015: Shawn Arriaga
July 11, 2015: Jake Haulot
June 20, 2915: Austin Liggett
June 6, 2015: Shawn Arriaga
May 16, 2015: Jake Haulot
April 25, 2015: Alissa Geving