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Late Models, Sprint Cars Headline Antioch Speedway Opener
Antioch, CA...The bad news is last week's scheduled season opener was canceled due to the rain storms that left parts of the pits and the race track under puddles of water. The good news is that Antioch Speedway kicks off their 58th season of racing this Saturday night with an exciting five division program on John Soares' 3/8 mile clay oval.
The Speedway is bringing out the big guns this weekend with the DIRTcar Late Models and Winged 360 Sprint Cars. Also on the program will be the A Modifieds, B Modifieds and Hobby Stocks. It will also be the second round of the nine round B Modified Sharpshooter Tournament. The Sharpshooter Tournament takes the top finishers of the heat races and runs them in a special dash in which they accumulate points to crown a tournament champion.
If you want to watch full Late Models anywhere in Northern California, Antioch Speedway is the place to be. The two names who have been at the head of the pack for the past four seasons are two time reigning champion Jeff Decker and two time champion Richard Papenhausen. These two superstars seem to carve up most of the Main Event victories amongst themselves. They both have won numerous championships throughout their careers. They come for the love of Late Model racing and put on a great show for the fans.
David Newquist is coming off of his best season yet in second after a very close battle with Late Model veteran Shawn DeForest last season. Other drivers hoping to write their names on to the winner's list include Dennis Souza, Mike Hynes, last season's top rookie Kimo Oreta, Chester Kiss and Rob Norris.
Likewise, the popular Winged 360 Sprint Car division is in their fifth consecutive season of championship racing at the speedway, and Art McCarthy is the reigning two time champion. McCarthy has competed at many different venues throughout his career, including the old San Jose Speedway and Petaluma Speedway, where he won two Sprint Car championships. Hoping to make things difficult on him this year will be second generation racer Burt Foland Jr., Marissa Polizzi and last year's top rookie Jacob Tuttle.
All eyes will be on Scott Busby when the 29th consecutive season of A Modified racing begins this Saturday. Currently, Busby is tied atop the track's all time win list with the legendary J.D. Willis. Both drivers have racked up 72 career feature wins at Antioch Speedway alone. Busby is poised to take sole possession of the record, and he is only two wins ahead of Bobby Hogge IV. Also on the talent filled roster anticipated for this Saturday night is reigning champion Bobby Motts Jr., Mike Salazar, Sean O'Gara, Eric Berendsen and the father and son team of Chester Kniss and young gun Buddy Kniss.
Last season, the biggest car counts at the speedway were provided on most race nights by the Hobby Stocks. That trend is expected to continue this year as Cameron Swank is set to defend his championship. With last year's top rookie Brent Curran moving up to the B Modified class and Chris Long turning the wheel over to his daughter and Angela Brown, tough competition is anticipated from such hard chargers as 2010 champion Chris Sorensen, Chris Bennett, Billy Garner, Frank Furtado, Michael Cooper, Jordan Swank and past champion Melissa Myers.
When Curran gets to the track, he can expect to be greeted by the speedway's two biggest B Modified stars of the past two seasons, reigning champion K.C. Keller and 2016 champion Trevor Clymens. Both drivers are at the top of the list of likely champions. However, an impressive field of B Modifieds includes such stars as Nick Caughman Jr. , Kenny Neu, Chuck Golden, Todd Gomez, Guy Ahlwardt and the Brown brothers, Ron, Kevin and Randy.
The forecast is calling for good weather for the coming five division program, and it's a chance for spectators to enjoy some of the best outdoor entertainment you'll find anywhere in Contra Costa County. For further information, check out www.antiochspeedway.com.
Easter Egg Hunt And Sprint Car Racing Come To
Merced Speedway This Saturday
Merced, CA...No promoter ever wants to cancel a race. However, a major storm hit California last week, forcing the postponement of the season opening Bill Egleston Memorial race. This was an event scheduled to pay $3,000 to the IMCA Modified winner, while the IMCA Sport Modifieds will win $1,800 and the Hobby Stocks will earn $1,200.
Promoter Ed Parker had every intention of doing what he could to make the show happen despite the heavy rain forecast. This included plans to park the race cars in the parking lot while the pits got flooded. As long as the race track could be saved, the races could still go on. However, it became evident as the week wore on that this could not happen.
"As much as we wanted to honor a great man, we had to take into account everyone's safety and weather conditions for those who would have been traveling, " Parker explained. "We have reviewed other track's schedules and have picked a date (April 14th) that we think will work for everyone from different tracks."
Parker pointed out that the Hobby Stock division wasn't originally scheduled for April 14th, but he wanted to keep them as part of the Bill Egleston race. The three divisions will be joined by the Mini Stocks and the South Bay Dwarf Cars, who are the host group for the big Western States Dwarf Car National event at Merced on June 15th and 16th. Last season, that event pulled in over 60 competitors from throughout California, Oregon and Nevada.
As for this Saturday night, the forecast looks much more cooperative, meaning the IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Cars will make an appearance, joined by the IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Mini Late Models and the Sportsman division.
Since it is Easter weekend, Merced Speedway will have an Easter Egg Hunt in the infield during intermission. It will be split between children 5 and under and children 6-12 years old to ensure that all the kids get a treat. Also, there will be a bike giveaway for some lucky winners. These are the types of touches that Parker and his crew add to the program to make a night at Merced Speedway a fun night for the family.
Last season, the RaceSaver Sprints, which are a more economical form of injected Sprint Car racing, held two events in Merced. They were won by Blake Robertson and Tanner Boul. The record also shows that George Tristao and Grant Duinkerken tied for the championship last year, while Chris Ennis finished third. A field of 16-20 cars is anticipated for what will be their first race of the season.
It is also interesting to note that a date is being planned for wingless injected and carbureted Sprint Cars on April 21st. Ricky Brophy has been working to drum up support for this event, and several competitors have declared intent to come race, including 2015 Antioch Sprint Car champion Shawn Arriaga, longtime Merced supporter Roy Greer, Cody Fendley and Adam Teves. Brophy is hoping for a good showing and the possibility of more dates for Wingless Sprint Cars at Merced in the future.
The IMCA Sport Modifieds return to Merced this Saturday night with a youth movement helping grow the car count. Brothers Chase and Tanner Thomas learned from the best. Their father, Darren Thomas, is a three time Street Stock champion and one of the best ever at Merced Speedway. The brothers are both coming off of a Top 5 season last year. Another young gun to keep an eye on is Cody Parker, who enjoyed a Top 10 season last year.
While the Hobby Stocks are expecting a solid turnout, there is interest in seeing what the Mini Late Model class can bring in their second season. Car dealer Michael Scherer has sold more cars during the offseason, and hopes are that there could be as many as eight or ten cars this week. Young competitors have been a part of this class, including Ian Shearer, Riley Jeppesen, Tim Vaught and Timmy Crews. Vaught won several races last season.
The Vintage Sportsman division is in its 20th season. The popular winged stock car class headlined the show at Merced Speedway back in the 1960s and 1970s before being dropped from the program. It was promoter Chuck Griffin who brought them back in 1999. It appears as if we could see a few cars that we didn't see last season when the Sportsmans return.
With the IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Cars, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Mini Late Models, the Sportsman division and an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids, this is going to be an exciting night of racing at Merced Speedway. For further information, go to www.racemerced.com.
Race Cars On Display At Sportsman's Expo In Yreka
Yreka, California...March 24-25...There's an excitement in the air in Yreka. Racing season is just about to begin at Siskiyou Motor Speedway. On April 14th, the IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, McDonald's Mini, Outlaw Pro Stock Association and Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars open a brand new season of racing. This past weekend, several competitors had their cars on display at the Sportsman's Expo.
It was an opportunity for the Siskiyou County Motorsports Association to hand out schedules for both the big track and the Outlaw Kart track and answer any questions people might have had about the coming season. There's plenty of excitement in the air. In addition to getting a chance to meet some of the competitors, people also got to enjoy a spaghetti meal and cast their votes for the Best Appearing big car and Outlaw Kart.
The Mini Stock division was represented by two time reigning champion Marylin Yawnick, who also had several of her trophies on display as she continues to look for sponsorship for the coming season. 2014 champion Mike Whitaker was also there along with Mike Frost and the former Devin Weiser car.
Two intriguing cars on display were those belonging to the Jefferson State Jalopy Association. This new group has actually been working on these unique race cars for the past five years. They are a cross between the old Hardtop division and the IMCA Modifieds, or a bigger version of a Dwarf Car. Karl Bernstein and J.J. Smith have been working on these cars and had two of the three that they have so far completed on display. They began production on a fourth car recently. As of yet, no dates have been set for this class.
Eight of The Outlaw Karts were on display, which included Cale Cunial, Drew Berry and Shailene Horn. All three are following in the footsteps of their fathers, who once raced at the big track. Missing the Best Appearing Car contest but not wanting to miss out on the opportunity to show off his race car, Top 5 ranked Outlaw Pro Stock competitor James Flowers brought his car on Sunday. The Pro Stock division will be competing eight times in Yreka this season, including the annual Billy Geyer Memorial race on May 5th. The association is very much looking forward to supporting Yreka.
The rainy and snowy weather is about ready to give way to sunshine and racing, and the competitors and racing fans can hardly wait. The first contest was already held on Saturday. Who would win the Best Appearing Car awards? In the big car division, Marilyn Yawnick brought home the award for her Mini Stock, while Shailene Horn was the winner of the Kart division. Weather permitting, there will be a practice on April 7th, followed by the season opener on April 14th. For further information, go to www.siskiyoumotorspeedway.com.
Sanders Out-duels Thorson To Win Civil War
Sprint Car Opener At Marysville
Marysville, CA...March 24...Justin Sanders kicked off the 2018 Sprint Car Civil War season with a thrilling victory over Tanner Thorson in the 30 lap Main Event Saturday night at Marysville Raceway. The event was slowed by 3 yellow flags and a red flag in the first 12 laps. Sanders beat Thorson back to the checkered flag in a near photo finish. Reigning 10 time Civil War Series champion Andy Forsberg won a close battle with Cole Macedo to finish third, while Kalib Henry rounded out the Top 5. Michael Ing was a solid sixth, followed by Billy Wallace, Mason Moore, John Clark and Kyle Standley. In qualifying, Thorson bested the 21 car field with a quick lap of 12.770, edging the 12.808 lap of Wallace. Jake Haulot won the first heat ahead of Thorson, while Justin Freitas outran Michael "Buddy" Kofoid to win the second heat race. Macedo captured the third heat victory ahead of Justyn Cox. Thorson outran Henry to win the six lap Trophy Dash.
Howard Law won the 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event. The 2015 champion lost a close battle with 2016 State champion Brian Cooper in their eight lap heat race, but he got the last laugh in the Main Event. Law held off Cooper to score the first win of the season. Andrew Peckham started his night off right with an impressive victory over Placerville Limited Late model champion Matt Micheli in their heat race. Peckham then drove to a strong third place finish in the Main Event, followed by Damian Merritt, Jake Van Tol, Jason Ferguson, Mike Merritt, Alan Furuta, Jim Waller and 2016 Yreka champion Jimmy Lipke. The race had two yellow flags in the first seven laps, but the final 13 laps went all green.
The crew deserves an A+ for their tireless efforts over the previous three days to get the race track and pits in shape for this race, while every other track in Northern California rained out. Racing continues this week with the Winged 360 Sprint Cars competing along with the Crate Sprints, Winged Super Stocks and NorCal Dwarf Cars. For further information, go to www.marysvilleraceway.com.
Elam Wins Chili Cook Off 200 At Douglas County Speedway
Roseburg, Oregon...March 24...Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg was the first outdoor oval track to hold a racing event in the state in 2018. The occasion was the Chili Cook-off 200 lap Enduro race. After a chili cook-off prior to the races, 13 competitors took to the paved oval for 200 laps of racing. When the checkered flag flew, it was Tom Elam scoring the victory.
Elam led most of the way and held a three lap advantage over Andy Nelson at the halfway point. The battle was between Nelsen and the #31 car, driven by Nick (last name unavailable). The two exchanged the position multiple times during the final 100 laps with Nelson reclaiming the spot for good on lap 178. Elam won by six laps ahead of Nelson. Nick in the #31 car finished third ahead of 2017 Hornet champion Bob Vancil, 14 laps down, and Harlan Cox, 20 laps back. 2013 Late Model champion Riley Watson was 21 laps back in sixth.
After scheduled playdays on April 21st and April 28th, the track will have its season opener on May 5th, featuring PRA Modifieds, Hardtops, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, Hornets and Bangers. For further information, go to www.douglascountyspeedway.com.
Marysville Raceway Race Results March 24, 2018
Civil War 360 Sprints
Burt Foland Jr.
Tim Sherman Jr.
Pat Harvey Jr.
IMCA Sport Mods
Jake Van Tol