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Oval Motorsports Releases 59th Season Schedule
For Antioch Speedway
Antioch, CA...A little over a week after it was announced that John M Soares and Oval Motorsports would have the contract to promote Antioch Speedway for the next five years, a new schedule has been released. This will be the 59th season of consecutive championship racing on the 3/8 mile clay oval located at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds in Antioch.
Once again, the All Star Series lineup of divisions will feature the Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, DIRTcar Late Models, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars. The Bay Area Hardtops will also make four appearances throughout the season.
It's a busy schedule with 27 races dates booked and the possibility of a 28th event during the Contra Costa County Fair in May. The longest continuously active division at the track are the A Modifieds. They enter their 30th season with a 17 race schedule, including a few extra money affairs. The Hobby Stocks will kick off their 25th season at the speedway with 19 races booked, with the Dwarf Cars entering their 22nd All Star Series season with a 17 race schedule.
The Limited Late Models will get 14 races for their 20th season, while the Wingless Spec Sprints kick off their 21st season with 12 race dates. The B Modifieds are the most active class at the speedway with 22 race dates. We will see the DIRTcar Late Models nine times and the Winged 360 Sprint Cars eight times. The Bay Area Hardtops are in action four times, and they are a part of three of the biggest events of the season.
Eight All Star Series champions will again be crowned. Last season, it was Matt DeMartini winning the Winged 360 Sprint Car title. Nick DeCarlo won the A Modified crown, while Jeff Decker (DIRTcar Late Models), Mark Garner (Limited Late Models), Trevor Clymens (B Modifieds), Chris Sorensen (Hobby Stocks), Mike Corsaro (Dwarf Cars) and Bob Newberry (Wingless Spec Sprints) were the other champions. For Decker and Corsaro, it was their second straight titles.
There are some big races on the schedule this season, and this includes the Third Annual Larry Damitz Memorial race on April 27th. The DIRTcar Late Models will headline the show along with B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Bay Area Hardtops. Another highlight comes on June 1st with the return of the California Civil War Winged 360 Sprint Car Series. Joining them will be the B Modifieds and Dwarf Cars.
On June 8th, the Third Annual Jerry Hetrick Memorial race will feature DIRTcar Late Models, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Wingless Spec Sprints and Hobby Stocks. On June 29th, it's the Firecracker 50. The 50 lap A Modified Main Event will pay $1,000 to the winner. The Wingless Sprints, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models and Hobby Stocks will also be on the card. A week later, the July 6th program will pay $500 to the B Modified Main Event winner. Wingless Specs Sprints, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars will also compete that night.
Every Saturday night through July and August will offer racing. In September, the third straight Saturday night race will be the 17th Annual Chet Thomson Memorial Hardtop race. Joining them on the September 21st program will be the A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars for what will be a loaded program. The track stays dark a week later in support of the Jim and Pat Pettit Memorial Dirt Track Shootout at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville.
Antioch Speedway will remember Donna Soares with a special memorial race on October 5th. The wife of John M Soares passed away last October. The A Modified Main Event that night will pay $1,500 to win with DIRTcar Late Models, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Hardtops also on the schedule. An open show is tentatively planned for October 12th that will include A Modifieds and B Modifieds. Further details on purse will be forthcoming. The track will also have a Hall of Fame Night, likely to be scheduled in August. However, that information will be forthcoming as well.
On March 16th and 23rd, the speedway will open for back to back play days. On the 30th, the All Star Series season kicks off with a show featuring A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars. The crew is hard at work making preparations on the race track, and this promises to be an exciting season from start to finish. For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
2019 All Star Series Antioch Speedway Schedule
March 16 - Playday
March 23 - Playday
March 30 - A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars
April 6 - Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Dwarf Cars
April 13 - Winged 360 Sprint Cars, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars
April 20 - Wingless Spec Sprints, DIRTcar Late Models, A Modifieds B Modifieds
April 27 - 3rd Annual Larry Damitz Memorial - DIRTcar Late Models, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Bay Area Hardtops
May 4 - Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks
May 11 - DIRTcar Late Models, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Dwarf Cars
May 18 - Contra Costa County Fair - TBA
May 25 - Winged 360 Sprint Cars, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars
June 1 - Civil War Series Sprint Cars - Winged 360 Sprint Cars, B Modifieds, Dwarf Cars
June 8 - 3rd Annual Jerry Hetrick Memorial, DIRTcar Late Models, Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modifieds B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks
June 15 - Winged 360 Sprint Cars, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars
June 22 - Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modifieds, Limited Late Models, $300 To Win Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars
June 29 - Firecracher 50 - $1,000 To Win A Modifeds, Wingless Spec Sprints, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks
July 6 - Wingless Spec Sprints, $500 To Win B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars
July 13 - Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars
July 20 - DIRTcar Late Models, Limited Late Models, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Bay Area Hardtops
July 27 - Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modfieds, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Dwarf Cars
August 3 - Winged 360 Sprints, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Dwarf Cars
August 10 - Wingless Spec Sprints, DIRTcar Late Models, A Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks
August 17 - Winged 360 Sprint Cars, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars
August 24 - Wingless Spec Sprints, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks
August 31 - Wingless Spec Sprints, DIRTcar Late Models, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Dwarf Cars
September 7 - Wingled 360 Sprint Cars, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars
September 14 - Wingless Spec Sprints, DIRTcar Late Models, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars
September 21 - 17th Annual Chet Thomson Memorial Hardtop Race - A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars, Bay Area Hardtops
September 28 - No Races
October 5 - Donna Soares Memorial Race - DIRTcar Late Models, $1500 To Win A Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks, Bay Area Hardtops
October 12 - Open Show - A Modifieds, B Modifieds - Purse TBS
Subject To Change
Eagerly Anticipated Orland Raceway Schedule
Orland, CA...The 2019 Orland Raceway schedule has just been released, and it offers even more excitement for the fans than the previous season. Promoter Rich Hood has taken things up a notch in his fourth season at the helm of the 1/5 mile dirt oval, located at the Glenn County Fairgrounds in Orland. There are some great things in store for the fans this season.
For years, the Pure Stocks, Mini Trucks and Mini Stock divisions have all been featured, and that will continue to be the case this season. The lineup also includes several dates for the Wingless Sprints, 600 Micro Sprints and 250 Micro Sprints. For good measure, Hood has booked special visits for the popular California Hardtops, the Winged Crate Sprint Cars and the Sport Modifieds. There will even be an appearance by the popular Dwarf Car division.
After playdays on March 2nd and March 16th, the track is slated to open for the first race of the 17 event season. The March 30th show will include the classic lineup of Pure Stocks, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks and Wingless Sprints. Also on the bill will be the 600 Micros.
Last season, the wild and exciting Pure Stock championship was won by Paul Stephens ahead of previous champion Jeremy Langenderfer. It was Tom Davis out-running Barbara Crain in a hotly-contested Mini Stock battle, while Keith Ross won the Mini Truck title ahead of past champion Dan Webster. The closest battle at the speedway last year happened in the Wingless Sprint division. Tanner Thomson outdueled RJ Baker by just one point for the championship. Jake Fernandez won the 600 Micro Sprint title, while Pax Gonzalez was the 250 Micro Sprint champ.
The first special happens on April 6th with the first of three scheduled appearances by the California Hardtops. The night will also include Pure Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Mini Stocks and 250 Micros. The Hardtops return on June 1st along with Pure Stocks, Mini Trucks, 600 Micro Sprints, 250 Micro Sprints and the lone visit by the Dwarf Cars. The final appearance of the California Hardtops will be on the September 28th Championship Night. Pure Stocks, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks and 600 Micro Sprints round out what should be an exciting program.
The Sport Modifieds will again make two appearances, the first of which will happen at the Glenn County Fair on Friday, May 17th. Pure Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Mini Trucks and Mini Stocks will also be competing. The Annual County Fair Destruction Derby will happen a night later, joined by a Boat Race and Tuff Trucks. The Sport Modifieds return on Ladies Night. The July 20th event will also include Pure Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Mini Trucks and Wingless 250 Micros.
The fans will get another taste of Sprint Cars. The Crate Sprints, which have been featured at Marysville and Chico in recent years, will make their first appearance on April 20th, joined by Pure Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Mini Trucks and 250 Micros. On August 31st, the Crate Sprints return along with Wingless Sprints, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks, and Wingless 250 Micro Sprints.
Three of the more popular events in previous years will continue to be on the schedule this year. On June 8th, the speedway will host the Thomas Schmitke Race For The Cure event. In addition to raising money for a good cause, racing will feature Pure Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks and 250 Micro Sprints.
Kids Bike Night has also been a hit as the track has done bike giveaways for the kids and had the kids racing bikes for trophies on the track. This show returns on August 17th. The divisions competing that night will include the Pure Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks and 250 Micro Sprints.
On Fan Appreciation Night on September 14th, Orland Raceway offers a unique experience. The drivers park their cars behind the main grandstands, allowing the fans to meet them, get autographs and get their pictures taken. Pure Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Mini Stocks, 600 Micro Sprints and 250 Micro Sprints will be competing.
The Third Annual Battle Of The Axles will draw the season to a close on October 12th. The divisions are to be announced.
We are about a month away from opening the season. Weather permitting, racing will begin on March 30th. It's going to be an exciting racing season at Orland from start to finish. For further information, go to the Orland Raceway Facebook page.
2019 Orland Raceway Schedule
March 2 - Playday
March 16 - Playday
March 30 - Pure Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks, 600 Micro Sprints
April 6 - California Hardtops, Pure Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Mini Stocks, 250 Micro Sprints
April 20 - Crate Sprints, Pure Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Mini Trucks, 250 Micro Sprints
May 4 - Pure Stocks, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks, 600 Micro Sprints, 250 Micro Sprints
May 17 - Glenn County Fair - Sport Modifieds, Pure Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks
May 18 - County Fair Destruction Derby - Stock Derby Cars, Boat Race, Tough Trucks
June 1 - California Hardtops, Pure Stocks, Mini Trucks, Dwarf Cars, 600 Micro Sprints, 250 Micro Sprints
June 8 - Thomas Schmitke Race For The Cure - Pure Stocks, Winless Sprints, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks, 250 Micro Sprints
June 22 - Wingless Sprints, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks, 600 Micro Sprints, 250 Micro Sprnts
July 6 - Pure Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks, 600 Micro Sprints
July 20 - Ladies Night - Sport Modifieds, Pure Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Mini Trucks, 250 Micro Sprints
August 3 - Pure Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Mini Stocks, 600 Micro Sprints, 250 Micro Sprints
August 17 - Kids Bike Night - Pure Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks, 250 Micro Sprints
August 31 - Crate Sprints, Wingless Sprints, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks, 250 Micro Sprints
September 14 - Fan Appreciation Night - Pure Stocks, Wingless Sprints, Mini Stocks, 600 Micro Sprints, 250 Micro Sprints
September 28 - Championship Night - California Hardtops, Pure Stocks, Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks, 600 Micro Sprints
October 12 - 3rd Annual Battle Of The Axles - Classes TBA
Schedule Subject To Change
House Of JuJu Becomes Title Sponsor For
CVMS Mini Stock Series
Lemoore, CA...Big things are in store for the 10 race Central Valley Mini Stock Series this season. CVMS Promoter Dan Myrick is constantly working on new ideas to improve things for the group, now entering its third season. Myrick made a big announcement for the coming season.
House of JuJu in Clovis and Morro Bay has been a big supporter of this series since it was established in 2017. They've sponsored several races and cars during this time and even hosted an awards banquet. This year, they've come on board as the title sponsor.
Late last year, Myrick declared his intent to pay a $5,000 point fund for the series this year, and this will now happen. It will amount to the biggest championship point fund for a Mini Stock group anywhere on the West Coast as the Top 10 drivers will be picking up point fund checks along with their season awards at the next banquet.
This year, the group has an expanded schedule of 10 dates with five taking place at Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford, four occurring at Lemoore Raceway and one on the pavement of Madera Raceway. It's a more ambitious schedule for the racers, who have mainly been competing at Lemoore these past two seasons. Since the tracks are still located within reasonable distance, most of the drivers won't be facing too difficult a tow to the various events.
Last season, Greg Baronian proved to be a little bit too much for the competition in winning the championship. He dethroned 2017 champion Danny Myrick. In both instances, the champions had to beat Dan Myrick, who settled for second both seasons. It was particularly heartbreaking for Myrick in 2017 as he may have won the championship if not for some difficult luck at the season finale. As it was, he held off a determined challenge from Ryan Doglione to finish second in the standings last year. He made sure that was the case when he won the season finale.
The Mini Stocks have been producing fields of anywhere from 14 to 20 cars on any given race night, and Myrick sees those numbers improving this season. The affordability and the ease of access to these cars are key factors in why Myrick believes the Mini Stock division will continue to grow.
It should be noted that Dan is constantly thinking of new and better ways to improve the program with the CVMS. This has led to an intriguing idea that Myrick is working on to potentially unveil in 2020. He is also looking at the possibility of a big Mini Stock event after point season racing is done this year.
In the meantime, the racers will need to get ready as the season opener is just around the corner. They go to Lemoore Raceway on March 9th. Joining them on the Saturday night card will be the South Bay Dwarf Car Association invitational race. Also part of the night's entertainment will be the Cab Street Band, who will perform a set after the final checkered flag waves. For further information, go to www.centralvalleyministocks.com or check the Facebook Page.
CVMS is exited to welcome House of JuJu as the title sponsor for the 2019 race season! Go try the best burgers, salad and flat breads in Clovis at, 565 Pollasky Ave #101, Clovis, CA 93612 or in Morro Bay at, 945 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA 93442. Your taste buds will thank you!
House Of JuJu CVMS Mini Stock Point Fund
Gualda, McDaniel, Ryland Win At Stockton Dirt Track
Stockton, CA...February 23... Tony Gualda won the 30 lap Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at the Stockton Dirt Track. Gualda pursued Placerville champion Andy Forsberg for three laps before moving by on a lap four restart. The final 27 circuits went without incident with Gualda leading the rest of the way in victory. In the waning laps, Ryan Bernal moved in to challenge Forsberg for the second spot. As Forsberg had problems on the final lap, Bernal ended up second. Rico Abreu moved from fifth to third on the final lap, followed by Kyle Offill, Colby Copeland, Cody Hodgson, Forsberg, Jayson Bright, Nathan Rolfe and Jacob Tuttle.
The 16 Sprint Car competitors ran two sets of eight lap qualifying heat races. Gualda won his first heat race ahead of Tuttle and Bernal, while Forsberg won his first heat race in front of Croft and Copeland. It was Offill winning his second eight lap heat race opportunity ahead of Bernal and Gualda. Copeland won his second heat ahead of Croft and Hodgson.
Ryan McDaniel held off a late race challenge from previous Main Event winner Troy Foulger to win the 30 lap A Modified Main Event. McDaniel was the winner of the New Year's race. Antioch champion Nick DeCarlo led a lap before Foulger raced into the lead. Following a lap six caution, McDaniel made a move around both Foulger and DeCarlo to get the lead. DeCarlo still held second until surrendering the position to Foulger on lap 12. McDaniel was setting at a rapid pace and held about a half straightaway lead before catching slower traffic. Foulger made a good run on the inside as McDaniel dealt with the slower cars ahead of him. It was close down the stretch, but McDaniel prevailed just ahead of Foulger. DeCarlo settled for third, followed by Anthony Slaney, Mitch Machado, Tim Baulding, Chris Nieman, Jessie James Burks, Mark Abouzid and Derek Nance.
The 19 Modified competitors ran three eight lap heat races. Slaney picked up the first win, followed by Machado and Buddy Kniss. DeCarlo outran Foulger and Oregon visitor Jesse Bailey to win the second heat, and Kellen Chadwick won the final heat ahead of McDaniel and Balding.
2015 IMCA Sport Modified State champion Fred Ryland turned in a dominant performance in winning the 25 lap B Modified Main Event. Merced Speedway star Danny Roe led the opening lap before being passed by Ryland. The final yellow flag of the race flew on lap three with Ryland leading Tom Fraser and Roe on the restart. Ryland began to pull away from the rest of the pack, leaving Fraser and Roe to battle for second. Roe gained that position on lap 15, but by that time, Ryland was leading by a full straightaway. Ryland scored the impressive victory ahead of Roe, Fraser, rookie Cameron Swank, Mark Garner, Richard Vander Ploeg, Jason Womack, Joe Salvi, Brent Curran and Jeff Tuttle. Garner won his eight lap heat race ahead of Ryland and Vander Ploeg, while Curran scored the win in his heat, followed by Fraser and Roe.
Racing resumes with a big event next Saturday night. The NARC/King Of The West Fujitsu Winged 410 Sprint Car Series has their opener. The B Modifieds will be a part of the program. for further information, go to www.stocktondirttrack.com.
Netto, Rasmussen, Johnson Open Keller Auto Speedway Season With Wins
Hanford, CA...February 23...DJ Netto opened the 2019 Keller Auto Speedway season with a victory in the 30 lap King Of Thunder Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night. This was the opening race of a series that takes place between Hanford and neighboring Tulare Thunderbowl. Netto kicked things off with the fastest time of the 23 qualifiers and followed that up by winning his 10 lap heat race ahead of Craig Stidham. Only a second to Tucker Worth in the 8 lap Dash blemished his evening.
However, second didn't turn out to be a bad thing for Netto as he started on the outside front row for the feature. Netto charged into the lead and would hold off Mitchell Faccinto down the stretch for the victory. Coming from tenth starting, Dominic Scelzi roared to a third place finish. Worth settled for fourth, followed by Scott Parker, Zane Blanchard, Matthew Moles, Bud Kaeding, Danny Faria Jr and Jace Vanderweerd. Worth won his heat race ahead of Jared Faria, while Faccinto outran Scelzi for his heat race victory.
Kyle Rasmussen won the 25 lap opener for the IMCA RaceSaver 305 Sprint Cars. Rasmussen was the fast qualifier at 14.574, beating the 14.674 effort of Mike Schott. Rasmussen and Schott had third row starting spots for the Main Event, and Rasmussen led the 1-2 finish for the duo. Brooklyn Holland finished third, followed by Grant Champlin, Brendan Warmerdam, Connor Danell, Ryan DeLisle, Phil Heymen, Lance Jackson and Michael Pombo. Warmerdam won his heat race ahead of Grant Champlin, and Holland scored a popular victory over Pombo in her eight lapper.
Michael Johnson bested a stellar field of 22 IMCA Sport Modifieds to win their 25 lap Main Event. Johnson led a Bakersfield sweep of the podium as reigning State champion Austin Manzella and Kevin Johnson finished second and third, respectively. Merced regular Jarrod Mounce finished fourth, followed by Keith Brown Jr, Jason Nation, Michael Dean, Guy Ahlwardt, Chris Falkenberg and Gavyn Manning. The drivers ran three eight lap heat races with Michael Johnson outrunning Garrett Jernigan to win the first one. Brown outgunned Manzella for the second heat race victory, while Nation prevailed ahead of Falkenberg in the third heat.
The World of Outlaw Winged 410 Sprint Car Series comes to town on March 29th along with another IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Car show. The next regular event for the speedway is on April 20th with the King Of Thunder Winged 360 Sprint Cars headlining along with the RaceSaver Sprints, IMCA Stock Cars and California Lightning Sprints. For further information, go to www.racekingsspeedway.com.
This week's column includes a combination of tracks featured in our Jefferson and DCRR Racing blogs. We lead off with Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg where the track made additional announcements after our initial article previewing the 2019 season schedule. One of the interesting things they have done is added a Sport Modified division under their PRA sanctioning. The PRA is the association that runs the paved oval.
It's interesting to note that at this time they are not going with an IMCA sanctioning, and any of the existing Sport Modified drivers in Oregon would have to change over to give the payment a try. However, track officials are hoping that the money will be an incentive. With eight or less cars, they are talking $300 to win. A field of 9 to 11 cars would be $400 to win, and if they get 12 or more cars to start the Main Event, it's $500 to win. At 12 cars, second goes from $250 to $350, and third goes from $175 to $250. In all three scenarios, drivers get a minimum of $50 to start. These numbers would make Roseburg the biggest paying track for Sport Modifieds in Oregon.
Marysville Raceway has been throwing around bigger numbers for not just the IMCA Sport Modified class, but Winged 360 Sprint Cars and Hobby Stocks as well. We're still trying to get an understanding of what they're talking about, but the increase seems to be based on drivers who support back-to-back point racing nights from Chico Silver Dollar Speedway and Marysville Raceway. Marysville management appears to be stepping up their game to try and keep their locals supporting the Sport Modifieds, which are clearly the second best car count for their regular classes. One of the things that they are doing is offering up a big event, the Pepsi Peach Tree Nationals. This event takes place on September 14th and will pay the IMCA Sport Modifieds $1,249 to win in addition to being the final point race for both them and the Crate Sprints.
Interested racers can find out more on the Marysville Raceway Facebook page or their website, but another thing that they are doing is working with Chico on five selected Winged 360 Sprint Car dates that will offer a special bonus to anybody who can win all five of them. This is being billed as "The Drive For Five" with a $5,000 bonus to the driver that can win both nights of the Silver Cup at Chico on March 1st and 2nd, the Toller Memorial/Civil War Series Race at Marysville on March 9th, the Marysville season opener on March 16th and the Chico Silver Dollar opener on Friday, March 22nd. As an added bonus, any driver who competes in all five of those races plus the May 26th Mel Hall Memorial at Marysville will get a $250 bonus. If somebody wins four of the five aforementioned races, they get an extra $2,000 to win. If they win three of those races, they get a $1,000 bonus.
An interesting thing has happened. With the addition of All American Speedway to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series of tracks, there are now four NASCAR sanctioned Speedways in California. The Roseville track joins Kern County Raceway, Orange Show Speedway and Irwindale Speedway in a lineup of all pavement tracks, and this is the biggest number of NASCAR sanctioned tracks in California in over a decade.
The money is nice. NASCAR boasts over $15,000 in point fund money being given to each track, which is distributed among the Top 5 drivers in each of the Top 4 designated divisions. The premier classes, or Division 1, will receive $3,000 just for the championship. The division 2 champion will get $1,000. In addition to that, there will be $7,000 worth of State point fund money available to the top Division 1 stars.
Bill McAnally is in his second year of promoting All American Speedway, and he has expanded their schedule and added other divisions to help fill out the program. McAnally is also noteworthy in being a car owner and promoter of several events for the NASCAR K&N West Series, including races at all American Speedway and Douglas County Speedway. Is this a resurgence of NASCAR in California? If so, who might join next? At some point, are we going to see a dirt track get back into the NASCAR Family?
In Northwest California in Trinity County, Mountain Valley Speedway in Hayfork was hoping to get a playday in the books in February. Unfortunately, the ground was covered with snow. Optimism is high under the new organization that will be promoting the track for their second year. At the end of the 2017 season, the future looked bleak, but the new group organized and enabled the track to rise up from the ashes.
There will be one more opportunity to get a playday in on March 23rd before the season kicks off with the scheduled opener on April 13th. One of the problems we have is getting accurate information on what's happening in Hayfork. At its best, we've usually only managed to track down Top 3 finishers in the Main Events, but last season even that was difficult to achieve. This led to us getting some criticism when we attempted to put together finishes to get some word out, and we opted to leave things alone. We do support the track and would love to spread the word if we have adequate information.
One of the reasons that racing continues in Hayfork is because of some of the teams that have remained very dedicated in recent years. The Kasper family continues to field multiple cars with third-generation racer Will Kasper one of the frontrunners in the Hobby Stock division. You also have Kevin Kasper and Tim Kasper running the wild and crazy Enduro class along with several other fierce competitors, including Bryan Gummerus and William Young.
The Hobby Stocks continue to be a crowd-pleaser, and front-runners such as Burl Richardson, Russ Newman and Tresan Smith are among those giving the fans somebody to cheer for. You've also had Mini Stock stars such as Larry Richardson, past champion John Turner, Andy Blackburn and Orland based competitor Ross Vige among the Mini Stock competitors. We'd certainly like to give everybody their due, but as the Hayfork track is not exactly forthcoming with rosters, finishes and point lists, this is about the best that we can do for now.
The other thing we can tell you is that Hayfork will have a 10 race season. In addition to the aforementioned opener on April 19th, race dates include May 4th, May 18th, June 8th, June 22nd, the special July 4th Celebration race on July 13th, July 27th, the Trinity County Fair Race on August 10th, August 24th and Championship Fan Appreciation Night on September 14th. We haven't seen the specific designated date for the Clyde Cordell Memorial, but we suspect that may be on August 10th.
However, when it comes to getting the most accurate information available for Mountain Valley Speedway, we recommend you go to their Facebook page. If we get timely and accurate information, we may attempt to put out more news for the track this year.
Cedarville Speedway only has one race. It's the Gordon Russell Sr Memorial event on June 29th. This race came about because of Pro Stock competitor Gordon Russell Jr. Gordon watched his father race at the track in Cedarville and even began to race there himself. When his father passed away, he had the hope of putting on a big race for him in Cedarville. When he finally made the first one happen in 2017, Gordon Jr dedicated it not just to his father but to all of the fallen racers who helped to make racing special in Cedarville
The last time the track had any kind of a regular racing program, it was more than a decade ago and featured Street Stocks. it was an association driven program at the time, and there would also be the occasional Late Model and Modified races. Gordon didn't just want to put on a big Pro Stock race in Cedarville, he was hoping to inspire something more for the race fans in the area.
The big Pro Stock race this year will also be the second round of the five race Tri State Pro Stock Challenge Series, and the Hobby Stock division will be on the card as support. Russell was recently in Cedarville for a meeting with officials regarding the organization of the third annual event. Gordon has been busy coordinating the Pro Stock Challenge Series with Roy Bain and Jerry Bartlett, and there will also be events at Yreka (May 4), Reno Fernley (August 17) and two races at the Stockton Dirt Track (July 13 and September 14).
Russell recently reported that there is news in Cedarville of some racers organizing a new Hobby Stock Association. The hope is that the new group will be able to get more races scheduled in Cedarville in the future with the big Pro Stock race coming to town once a year as well. Perhaps, in addition to Hobby Stocks, the locals could organize a new Mini Stock class as a way to attract other new drivers with an inexpensive form of racing to get them started. We'll be monitoring the scene and updating as more news becomes available.
We know that new Siskiyou Golden Speedway Promoter Kevin Barba has an interest in the Pro 4 Modified division. He competed on the tour with the group that races on pavement tracks such as Lakeport, Ukiah, Roseville and Eureka. At one time, in the early days of the group, Lakeport had worked out a series with the dirt track in Orland. Orland had a budding division during the early part of the 2000s. Unfortunately, when the Turner era ended at Orland at the end of 2007, so did the division.
Barba admitted that he currently has a couple of these cars, and one of the first promoters he talked to at WARPA last year was Orland Promoter Rich Hood. Hood revealed that there were still cars in Orland that don't quite meet the rules of the classes that he has. Barba has an interest in doing something with this division, though he has yet to make an announcement. Most people will concede that Yreka needs something new to get more cars in the pits. Could a Pro 4 Modified division fit the bill? We'll be watching to see what may develop in the days ahead.
Down in Merced, it's a milestone year for the Valley Sportsman division. This is the 20th Anniversary season for the revival. After Mark Amador took the Limited Sprint division from the dirt of Merced to the pavement, then Promoter Chuck Griffin needed something to replace the division. As one of the last drivers to compete in the Sportsman division at Merced in 1979, he always had a soft spot in his heart for this unique and popular style of racing. Working with Luis Miranda, Griffin came up with a set of rules and relaunched the Sportsman class in 1999.
The division at one time was putting as many as a dozen cars on the track, but these days it seems to be a good night if seven or eight cars show up. It's known that there are well over a dozen cars in different states of repair that have competed at Merced during this run. The lineup of drivers from the past includes such stars as future Merced Hall Of Famer Rod Poor, Kevin Freitas, Keith Van Houten, Billy Mattos, Neill Barcellos, Dennis Barcellos, Robb Schropp, Gary Hildebrand. Mike Hausmann and Shane Hausmann.
Last season, the Sportsman division saw ten different cars at the speedway at various times. Watsonville Hall Of Famer Jerry Cecil wrote his name into the record books as the latest champion after beating Rick Elliot for the title. Others on the list of competitors included two-time champion Mike Friesen, Jeff Bristow, Chris Birdsong, Watsonville Hall Of Famer Ray Johnson, Jeff West, Chris Corder and Eric Seeley. And still, other drivers such as past champion Mark Odgers, Marcus Lung, Larry Pierini and Tim Prothro have cars.
What sets the Sportsman division apart from everything else out there is the uniqueness of these vehicles. Whereas Modifieds and Sport Modifieds pretty much look alike, the Sportsman cars have different looks to them that appeal to longtime racing fans. Fortunately, the new management at Merced Speedway has kept the division on the roster for this season for a championship series, and this is currently the only track at which you can see these cars.
One of Ed Parker's contributions to Merced Speedway two years ago was the addition of the California Sharp Mini Late Models to the lineup. These small scale Late Models with 600cc engines in them were brought to the speedway as a way to get young drivers up from the Kart ranks and onto the bigger track. Car dealer Michael Shearer has gotten six vehicles onto the track so far. What we haven't heard during this offseason is any news on any other possible drivers joining the ranks this season. It appears as if Jesse James Burks, who won most of the Main Events last year, will be running a Modified, though we don't know the status of the car he drove in this class last season.
The very consistent Tim Crews finished no worse than second in any of his starts last year in winning his championship, while his chief rival Carson Guthrie won the season finale. These young drivers have done a good job, and others in the field include Ian Shearer, Riley Jeppesen and Logan Clay. We'd certainly like to see this class grow at Merced, and it would also make a nice addition to any of the Micro Sprint tracks in the state. You can look up the California Sharp Mini Late model page on Facebook for more information.
Stockton Dirt Track promoter Tony Nocetti has to be smiling from ear-to-ear after his third event of the season. Tony took the gamble of running some early races this year, and it might have been seen as a challenge. The Sprint Cars generally don't get their season going until March and have had very few races before that in recent years. However, Tony has managed to get car counts in the mid-teens in his two races for that class. But, there's more going on than that.
We've speculated that if the Stockton Dirt Track wanted to begin to take things to the next level, they would need to begin to establish some of their own classes. The track is now seen as a special events place for such groups as the World of Outlaws, King of the West, Sprint Car Challenge Series. What Tony has learned in three races is that there is potential to do more with A Modifieds and B Modifieds. Car count in both divisions after three races have definitely been encouraging, and there will still be more appearances for the B Modifieds this year.
Where things might need just a little bit more work would be with the Bomber and Basically 4 Cylinder divisions, which are both featured on Stockton's pavement track. Tony attempted to have a race for both of these divisions on New Years, but count wasn't as big there. You can still see the potential to do something with the two classes, but it may take a bit more work to make it happen. The advantage to doing that is that you're not talking as big a purse as you would be with the other divisions. There are still more Stock Car type things happening at Stockton throughout the season, and judging from what's been going on so far, we can expect that this will be a trend heading into next year as well.
Dates for Stock Car enthusiasts to check out at Stockton this year include the B Modified, Bomber and Basically 4 Cylinders event on June 14th during the San Joaquin County Fair, the July 13th Tri State Pro Stock Challenge race, which will also include B Modifieds, Bombers and Basically 4 Cylinders and the Al Miller Memorial Tri State Pro Stock Challenge Race on September 14th. In addition to that $5,000 to win event, Sport Modifieds, Bombers and Basically 4 Cylinders will also be competing.
Speaking of Bomber racing, an interesting thing is happening on the pavement. Furia Motorsports of Lakeport and Ukiah Speedways, Dave Twyman of Shasta Speedway and the new management team at Redwood Acres Raceway in Eureka have put together a nice little seven race shootout series for the popular Bomber class. One thing that sets these races apart is that the winner will receive $1,000 among The increased purse. Scheduled dates include Eureka on May 11th, a doubleheader weekend at Lakeport May 25th and Ukiah May 26th, Shasta June 22nd, Eureka on July 20th, Ukiah on August 24th and the finale at Shasta on October 5th.
We've been awaiting the announcement of race dates for the California Hardtop Association. Apparently, group President John Philbert is still finishing up the details, but we can tell you that four dirt tracks are listing dates for the group on their schedules. It's worth noting that the group, which has been around for over a decade, now has over 20 cars that have actively competed in the last couple of years, and interest continues to grow for these classic Ford and Chevy Coupe and Sedan racers.
It's not just about racing, but the camaraderie behind the scenes. The drivers do their best to respect each other's equipment on the track, but they also race hard on any given night. The glory has been shared among several competitors, including 2018 winners such as Jason Armstrong, Ron Ruiz, Joe Shenefield, Tom Grady, Dave Reed and Ken Retzloff. But the group is made up of many great competitors, such as Ken Clifford, Jason Clifford, Dennis Armstrong, Roger MacShain, Larry Wells, Joe Hopp and Rhett Lange.
When the schedule is released, there will be pavement and dirt races. While we await the official announcement from the group, we've seen the race track schedules on the dirt. Placerville is offering three dates with events booked for April 20th, July 20th and May 11th. They will make three appearances at Orland Raceway on April 6th, June 1st and September 28th. They are booked at Silver Dollar Speedway on June 7th, and here's a point of confusion that will need to be cleared up. They have visits planned for Marysville Raceway on May 18th and August 31st.
Ken Clifford made the biggest news during the offseason when he purchased one of the Marc McCaslin team cars from Bakersfield. This gives the Clifford shop three race cars and gives Ken choices for what to run on race day. Much like the car Ken purchased for his son four years ago, the McCaslin car is also one that has won several races.
We haven't heard if the Hardtop group is actively trying to find buyers for cars, but the McCaslin team still had another one for sale. Also, Spenser Nice now has his car for sale as well. Nice bought the car driven by CHA original Jack Low when the group was founded. Also, the Sam Huff Tribute Car built by Mike Friesen is for sale. While we know that the Bakersfield Hardtop group still has dates booked at Bakersfield Speedway and Kern Raceway, the Bay Area contingent was still awaiting their schedule.
As the CHA didn't deal with Petaluma Speedway, a resourceful Bay Area Hardtop leader might be inclined to speak with Petaluma management about possibly getting that date. However, it's what dates are offered at Antioch that concerns them. Dave Mackey revealed that he was hoping to get the motor he ran last year put into the Pete Paulsen car to get that one back on the track again. Meanwhile, he'll have another motor for his car, but as Dave is working in Texas, he'll have a long commute to go racing. Dave reveals that the company has offered to fly him out for race days.
The Bay Area Hardtop group includes feature winners Terry DeCarlo and Ken Retzloff. DeCarlo won last year's Chet Thomson Memorial ahead of fellow Bay Area racer Kimo Oreta. Others on the roster include Gene Haney, Doug Braudrick, Steve Cloyes and division original Tommy Thomson. While we are aware that division original Dan Williams has a car, he has not committed to the group at this time. Car builder Nick DeCarlo recently sold a couple of cars that he was building. We haven't heard who bought them or if Nick might be building another car to join his father for some Hardtop racing once again.
Getting back to Marysville, the track opened for a playday last Saturday night. Roughly 40 competitors were on hand for the opportunity to give their cars a shakedown run. Drivers representing Hobby Stocks, Winged 360 Sprints, Wingless Spec Sprints, Crate Sprints, Limited Late Models, Super Stocks, IMCA Sport Modifieds and Dwarf Cars were all on hand. It's interesting to note that the biggest turnout of more than a dozen cars was offered by the Hobby Stocks.
Reigning track champion Shannon Collins took his first laps behind the wheel of a car that is new to him. Kyle Cheney, Jacob Johnson. Mel Byers, Anthony Doubledee and Willie Horn were among the drivers making laps. It's looking like this Hobby Stock season at Marysville may be their best one yet. Jimmy Ford had his IMCA Sport Modified on the track to make his shakedown run for the season. Antioch Speedway Late Model point runnerup Rod.Oliver and Placerville star Tyler Lightfoot were there to make laps as was Top 5 Antioch Limited Late Model competitor Ryan Cherezian.
The Crate Sprint division is pretty optimistic this year with Marysville once again their home track but other appearances penciled in at Chico and Orland. Past Chico champion Mike Sayre was there as was Jeff Macedo. The Wingless Spec Sprints are on the outside looking in at both Marysville and Chico, and we haven't heard if the rules have been relaxed in Orland to allow them to come support that show. There were about a half-dozen drivers making laps on Saturday, including reigning champion Cody Spencer, Josh Young, Jesse Walker and one of the Ted Finkenbinder cars. We're not sure who was driving it.
Winged 360 Sprint Cars continue to be the featured class at Marysville, which has been the case since past Promoter Mike McCann introduced the division to the lineup back in 1990. Jeremy Wilson was there making laps along with Justin Henry, Anissa Curtis, Adam Brenton and Brad Bumgarner. All in all, it was a positive day for Marysville Raceway as drivers are excited about the coming season.
The Editor's Viewpoint
After a contentious off-season process, we can now tell you that John M Soares and Oval Motorsports has been awarded the contract to run Antioch Speedway for the next five years. I've debated what to say about this. There is a lot to say. If you want to get a real good idea of just how contentious everything was, I would recommend contacting the Contra Costa County Fair Board and looking into the possibility of getting a written transcript. I don't know what the rules are on such things and if they make these available for a price, but if they do, the debate will be eye-opening. It will say it all. In fact, that meeting alone would make an exciting and dramatic made for tv movie or a really nicely done web series that could be put on YouTube.
Here's what I can tell you after talking with John in October. He was already in the middle of making plans in early September to do a big money race. You really have to hear what he was talking about to believe it, but knowing John, it would have happened. He was looking at the end of October. Otherwise, he would have fit it in somewhere next year, or I suppose that's this year now. Plus, he was thinking about the New Year's race and what he wanted to do there. He had some plans swirling around in his mind, but it all got derailed.
The problem is he wanted to evoke his five-year clause to come back, and the Fair Board had other ideas. I don't even know what the legalities are in that case. I am not a lawyer. However, the Fair Board went ahead and did it. There was somebody hanging around and talking about what they were ready to do for the track, and it was music to at least a couple of board member's ears. The next thing you know, the process begin. The interested party was none other than Jeremy Prince. Mike Slaney was also involved in Prince's effort.
During my visit to Antioch, I heard the words that I had been wanting to hear for quite some time. After what was a really nice visit, my hope was that I would be back soon. Let's put it that way. When I heard that Prince was going to be competing against John, I admit I really wasn't too worried about it. These things usually come down to experience, and they don't have nearly the experience John has, right?
The only worry I had in the back of my mind was if an established player in the game, somebody running one of the other established tracks, decided to jump in. That didn't happen. The deadline approached, and Prince was the only name I heard competing with John. Well, that takes care of that. John won. Time to start planning the next season, right? Wrong!
I haven't seen the proposals and what went into them, so it's very difficult for me to comment in-depth on anything. However, I can tell you that Jeremy Prince was scored as the winner. Before he could be officially declared the winner at the next Fair Board meeting, however, John exercised his legal right and issued a protest in Sacramento. It wasn't just one point that he had contention with. There were four of them. He was looking at five, but I think he backed off on the fifth one. Understand that he didn't need to have all of them ruled in his favor. If he was right on just one of them in Sacramento's eyes, the bid by Prince would be disqualified. What Sacramento found, after a much lengthier process than was needed, was that the Prince bid was incomplete.
Here's what I can tell you when it comes to submitting proposals for anything to the state. You had better dot all of your i's and cross all of your t's. If they ask you for anything, you had better give them an answer. If they ask for five copies of something, don't give them four. Give them five. Be very thorough. I cannot emphasize this enough.
As an example, back during the offseason before 2004, the track came up for bid. One of the interested parties was George Steitz. Because he didn't include something in his proposal, it was disqualified. Only this time, it didn't have to go to Sacramento. The board members involved in grading the proposals discovered it.
The criticism I have of the process was that it didn't seem on the up-and-up with regards to the fair board. From what I've heard and even some things I've seen online, certain members have been very unprofessional. I'll leave it at that. But because there was an interest in the track expressed by somebody other than John and these board members were interested in seeing if they could get somebody else in, things happened. Again, I will leave it at that. I felt that there were some things going on that were cause for concern, and evidently so did Sacramento.
Of course, people are going to say that I am against Jeremy Prince, and to that I can only say no I am not. I feel that John is the better person for the job at this time. Unless a hand-picked successor to take over the corporation can step forward, the next best alternative would be to bring in a proven established promoter. Given the money that they expect to make out of the track at the fairgrounds, that's really the best way. I do not fault Jeremy and Mike for stepping in and trying. Quite the contrary. I respect them for thinking they could come in there and make a difference.
It didn't go the way they wanted. The state ruled to overturn the bid by Prince and gave the Fair Board two options to consider. They could either restart the lengthy process and put the track up for bid again, or they could go with the only other person who went after the track, John. If they were to choose the former, they risked either getting an abbreviated season in 2019 or none at all. If they went with John, they had a chance of getting in a season. By this point, people who were not in favor of putting the place out to bid in the first place basically said, "Hey, look, we're back where we started again. We had better go back to the one who brought us here and get the show on the road." That's what happened.
I'm going to say one thing pretty clearly. Some people hate John, and some people love John. That's just the way it is. It seems like most of the positive things that John has ever done in the sport have been washed away by people who have selective memory. It's all been bad, he's ruining racing, he's running off the drivers and all of that. These are feelings that were even expressed at the most recent meeting. As I said, contact the Fair Board about getting a written transcript, if those are available. You'll be fascinated as you read and picture this whole thing playing out in the moment.
Through the 21 years of Oval Motorsports at Antioch Speedway, just like the six years they had Merced Speedway, the bills have been paid. 99.9% of the races that could go on unless bad weather hit them went on. Only by fluke were any events scheduled and not completed. Being an expensive a place to operate, that money might come out of John's pocket if the money wasn't there from the gates. This also means that somebody in a lesser financial state than John might throw in the towel if they couldn't pay the bills. It also means that this is not as easy as some people think it is. There is a risk involved. At the end of the day, more promoters than not are going to walk out of the gate hated and demonized. It's the nature of the beast.
The last thing I'm going to to tell you here is that everything has been perfect at the speedway in recent years. That is simply not true. Some of it is self-inflicted by management and officials and certain other personnel who went into business for themselves, and some of it is just the sign of the times. What certain people involved with the fairgrounds tried to insinuate and later found out to be false was that Antioch was the only track suffering down times. Again, not the case. Other tracks that once rode on high times every week, such as Watsonville, Petaluma and Merced, sometimes found themselves struggling to get people to come watch. That's just the reality of the times we live in.
We are also in a time in the sport that, quite frankly, I'm not fond of. It's a time in which tracks will often resort to running five or six divisions just to get the numbers they need in the pits. This is done because the days where you can get 20 plus cars in most of your divisions seems to be long gone. There are those nights that become the exception at some places, and of course there are your big shows, but that's not the norm. Though there might be a couple of tracks on the West Coast that buck that trend, I can assure you that the majority of them are in the same boat. The easiest thing to do is to point a finger at the promoter and say, "Hey, this is the prick who's causing all the problems. Get rid of him."
Everything started out with so much hope when John took over Antioch Speedway. I was there, and I remember not only lobbying for him to step in, but I remember being a part of the team for the first three years. I remember watching as we would have three, sometimes four divisions with B Mains. I remember how we got to the point where there were over 100 cars in the pits on most occasions, and twice as many fans as you'll see in the stands these days.
Then, the bottom fell out in 2001. 9/11? Partly to blame, but I could see what was coming ahead. There were a couple of divisions that were performing pretty well at Antioch through most of the decade until John's brother got a hold of Petaluma Speedway and started both of those divisions. There went the car count. At one time, it's important to remember that John and his dad had agreements as to which divisions would run at which tracks. Jim was the one who broke the deal.
John could see what was happening, and he wasn't okay with it. He could also see where help was needed that he wasn't getting. John has always been a man willing to do things up big. Generally speaking, he's been one who will try to be consistent with the rules and bear the local racer's budgets in mind when putting those rules together. He's also been one willing to put up a purse and pay what he says.
But, the numbers were going where they were going. The missed opportunity for me, as I was not ready to take said opportunity, was when I was invited back to take on the role I had in the first three years. This offer was made prior to the 2010 season. I wrote about that in my book, Just A Kid From The Grandstands, and I don't need to rehash it here.
Even when the tough times were hitting, John would still dust off those big-money races. I'm talking $5,000 to win for the Modifieds. This is before the Sport Modified class came in and divided the car count. He would pull off Late Model shows and the occasional Sprint Car show as well. He was the first promoter at Antioch or Merced to bring in the World of Outlaws. He was the promoter who came in and saved Merced Speedway from closing in 2010. But, he is still "that prick" by a lot of people. Doesn't matter what he does.
I know the numbers, and they haven't been so good in recent years. John has been working on ideas to improve things, but one thing he's lacked in recent years is having the right personnel in the right positions. In the past few years, we've watched him add big money memorial events, such as the races for Larry Damitz, Jerry Hetrick and his dad. He gave the Chet Thomson Memorial Hardtop race a place, and put in a few other specials.
The biggest problem? Not a lack of willingness to pay, but a lack of putting the word out. A lack of anybody in the key position of helping present the program as a Publicity Director or announcer. What I have done over the last three years from afar has been done because of my desire to see any kind of good word go out for the racers and that race track, but he's needed somebody there who can do the job adequately in person. What he's had is somebody holding their hand out and doing the bare minimum for a paycheck.
Sorry if I am a bit evasive on personal matters at the moment, but it needs to be that way for now. You should hear more from me on things soon. However, that's about all I will say on the matter for now. I know there are some bitter feelings. I know there are some people asking themselves if they can ever go back to the track again. I am only going to say that you've got to do what you feel is right.
It's supposed to be fun for you, and if it's not, you have a problem. I don't believe anybody will go to a race track and get it 100% the way they want it every time. Oftentimes, 80% is the number to shoot for, and even if that 20% really irks you, you forget about it and realize that for the most part it's still pretty fun. But it's up to the individual to decide if this is what they want to do. I would hope that what is done out there will create an environment in which people will want to come back.
Jeremy Prince goes back to the drawing board, and I know it has been a difficult offseason for him, just as it's been for John. With John, he's been grieving over the loss of his wife of 50 years. With Jeremy, he protected his wife from getting burnt badly in an accident in the pits at Dixon, so he has spent the offseason recovering from those terrible burns. He's still got a long road to recovery. So basically, you had John and Jeremy battling for Antioch Speedway at a time when they've had what they've had going on in their lives. I know with Jeremy, Mike Slaney has helped to take up some of the slack in that area.
Jeremy will go back to Dixon. What he does there, I'll be interested to see. They've got a nice little Micro Sprint program. I'm not sure what's going on with the Outlaw Kart end of things as they didn't do much of that last year or the year before for that matter. They have also established that you can run Mini Stocks and Dwarf Cars on that track. In fact, bigger cars have practiced there before. Does Jeremy have a mind it to do any of that? I don't know. Terry DeCarlo Jr seemed to be a driving force in making that happen before, but the last time we saw those divisions there was in early 2014.
I don't know what they will do other than the Micro Sprint stuff, and I can't speak for them. I'm only speaking for what the potential is, but when you start doing bigger things, there are things that need to be done at the facility too. I only bring this up as I've clearly seen that Jeremy has a desire to try to do something on a bigger scale. Antioch Speedway was the stage he wanted to play with.
While that is not a possibility for him for the next five years, he still has the ability to do something bigger at Dixon Speedway. What he will do there will be interesting to see. I just hope other certain rumors I've heard about the situation there don't turn out to be true. But I won't speculate any further than that.
If you think the drama that played out in Antioch is crazy, you should take a look at what's going on in Chandler, Indiana. Elvis impersonator Reno Fontana has been running his mouth for well over a year about turning Chandler Motor Speedway into Movieland Speedpark. He has grand plans for the place, but when you look at the scheme of things it is nowhere near the upper echelon of tracks in Indiana.
The reality is that nobody in Chandler Is looking for some big statement to be made for the sport of racing. They simply want their oval dirt track and their drag strip up and running again. While Fontana has been making wild statements and claiming ownership of the property, it has been seized and put up for auction on March 20th to satisfy a lien from a bill that was owed to a company that was making repairs to the drag strip.
Even with a sign posted at the front of the property stating that the auction will take place and the auction house verifying that this will indeed happen, Fontana has claimed that the auction will never happen, the dirt track is his and will open in April. According to reports in the area, no work has been done to the facilities in some time, and currently the weather conditions aren't conducive to getting much done now either.
Fontana has succeeded in dividing the community into people who are true believers and those who see him as a con artist. There are still legal issues to be resolved regarding the former property owner, who owed back taxes for the past two years before making a questionable deal with Fontana last December to purchase the track. There are questions regarding what it is that Fontana really owns and whether it's legal at all.
At this point, it looks like the auction will happen, but Fontana's apparent confidence makes whatever his next move will be a "can't miss moment" for people who have been following this drama. Some people are speculating that the auction will bring a higher price for the property than whatever Fontana actually has in his budget to spend. The biggest concern for the people in the community is that they have a race track to come back to. It's anybody's guess what will happen next.
I'd also like to note the efforts of two people right now who have stepped up to try to help make this sport a little bit better. Dan Myrick launched the Central Valley Mini Stock Association at Lemoore Raceway back in 2017. I liked the novelty of the Mini Stocks running on the 1/5 mile dirt oval known more for its Micro Sprint racing. However, this was no novelty. Dan has dreams of making this into something special.
When we've communicated during these past couple of years, I have to admit I like his thought process. There are some things even now that he is considering doing that would be good for the 4 Cylinder racing fans in the area, but it's what was just announced that should have everybody's attention. Dan has landed House Of JuJu as the title sponsor for the group. About a month or two ago, he made his plans known for a $5,000 championship point fund. House Of JuJu has come on board to make it happen.
This 10 race series will take place at three different tracks. There is a one-race throwaway rule where a driver can get rid of their worst finish or not suffer if they happen to miss one race. If you're able to even get 10th place in the standings, you'll leave the banquet with your award and a $200 check. The championship is worth an impressive $1,000. I don't think you'll find a Mini Stock group anywhere on the West Coast with a bigger championship point fund than the Central Valley Mini Stocks. I look forward to a good season for the group and what's in store for the future.
Gordon Russell Jr did a good thing for Cedarville when he brought the memorial race for his father to that Speedway two years ago. In the planning of the third annual event recently, Gordon found out that there are some Hobby Stock racers in the area who are discussing the formation of their own association. The Hobby Stocks are already the support class for the June 29th Gordon Russell Sr Memorial, but this move has significant meaning.
The Hobby Stock association could lead to more racing in Cedarville than just the big Pro Stock race in June. In the past, when the track featured a Street Stock show, it was a driver run association that kept it going. Gordon always hoped that the locals would pick up the mantle and re-establish a more regular racing event for the fans, and it could be that this will be happening in the not-too-distant future. It just goes to show what people can do for the sport when they step up and make an effort.
On that note, I'm going to end this column for the week. Until next time...
Can Bigger Things Happen At Dixon Speedway?
Dixon, CA...With the news regarding Antioch Speedway, Jeremy Prince will return to his post at Dixon Speedway. He was going to be at the helm of the track regardless of the news at Antioch Speedway, but obviously the opportunity to promote Antioch Speedway would have presented to him a bigger platform to do bigger things. But there is a question. Is Dixon Speedway a place in which he could attempt to promote bigger racing events?
Running big shows in Dixon is not something that hasn't happened in the past. If you go to the fairgrounds, there was a time when there were big Sprint Car and Open Comp shows at that track. Unfortunately, the fairgrounds went another way. Now, they choose to promote concerts during the fair and an annual Destruction Derby.
One of the first things you're going to hear from people is that Dixon is a 1/5 mile clay oval and therefore not big enough to do much of anything. Set aside the question of the possibility of expanding the track, which may not be an option, there are two tracks in California that check in at 1/5 mile that promote big car racing.
Orland Raceway has had a successful Mini Stock program for years, and they eventually added Wingless Sprint Cars to the lineup. They've also had Modified and Sport Modified races there.
Down south in Ventura, California, Promoter Jim Naylor has taken it up a notch. He has a competitive Wingless Sprint Car show there. These are not Spec Sprints, but 360 injected Sprints. They also host one of the big USAC races, Turkey Night, in November. Plus, they have big Midget races and IMCA Modified shows among other classes. Lest you think the racing isn't good, all you need to do is watch a video to see otherwise.
Prior to making the announcement that a Kart season will happen at Hills Ferry, there was an interested promoter looking at the possibility of running some shows with bigger cars. This would have included Mini Stocks, Dwarf Cars and other potential classes. The space is there to do something, though one of the knocks against the location is that you don't have a big enough grandstand. Given the numbers we get these days, 500 to 600 fans at some venues on race night, this venue probably could have accomplished that. The pit area probably could have accommodated 50 to 60 cars as well. Maybe the potential for huge shows wasn't there, but a nice little bi-weekly program could have been cultivated. As it is, they still host some big Kart races and other shows.
There's also the case of Sacramento Raceway. Right next to the drag strip is the stadium oval. They didn't have a long run of things, but in the mid 1990s, they managed to have a somewhat successful Stock Car program with Modifieds, Midgets and other classes. From the walls, the track was a quarter-mile, making it a small quarter-mile at that. Yet they managed to hold many races there. Even into the next decade, the track hosted several Spec Sprint and Hardtop shows. If not for the owner's lack of interest in doing much with the dirt track, they could still be hosting races there.
Before Dixon Speedway came to be, Argyle Park had the 1/5 mile dirt oval sitting out there. There were no bleachers or lights or anything, just an oval track. Drivers would still come out there to test their Street Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and even Sprint Cars. This went on for a few years. When Vallejo Speedway 2 was threatened, some of the racers came to Dixon and formed CORA. CORA Speedway came into being around 2005. It started out as a Kart race track, but it evolved from there.
Eventually, Micro Sprints became the thing with a few different classes. Dixon is also included in the King of California Series with three other venues, giving them some big events for the Micro Sprints. As this has grown, unfortunately, the Kart program has sort of waned. but an interesting thing started to happen around 2012.
Terry DeCarlo Jr began pushing for some Mini Stock and Dwarf Car races, and the drivers responded. You can even find some footage on YouTube, and if you look through the MyLaps history of Dixon Speedway, you'll also see the results. There were races that had 12 cars in either class. What helps the Dwarf Car division is the fact that there are a few different associations and an abundance of cars in the area.
At the time the Mini Stocks were being given dates, however, Marysville Raceway, Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico and Antioch Speedway all had 4 Cylinder classes. That is not the case at the moment. Petaluma, Merced and Orland still have 4 Cylinder classes. There are likely some cars still sitting around that could be cultivated, but the one thing a 4 Cylinder class has going for it is that you can build cars relatively quickly at an affordable price.
In 2014, the 4 Cylinders had their peak date with the New Year's Hangover 100. 12 Mini Stocks competed in that show, most of which were Four Banger type cars. There was a good crowd to watch this show, and video footage from other races before that seemed to show crowd interest as well. The Enduro featured action from turn to turn for the entire distance. The track did run some Dwarf Car and Mini Stock shows after that, but things seemed to die down.
What happened? Was it a case of lack of interest or was it a case of lack of promotion? Judging from the video footage, you can get competitive Dwarf Car and Mini Stock races on that track. This has been proven. It would add an element to the racing program that isn't there now. If enough interest were generated, you could host a limited number of races that featured Mini Stock and Dwarf Car type of racing.
Before going on, we should point out that in no way would we suggest taking the emphasis off of the division that is featured there now. Micro Sprints keep the track going and should continue to do so. However, you also don't book Micro Sprints every week. Drivers in the area sometimes choose to go to other places on nights off or just recuperate, repair and come back for the next race. The door would seem to be open for maybe four to six other special shows at various times during the year.
The other question to ask is, what divisions beyond Mini Stocks could you get away with running at Dixon? Could you book a Midget race and get support? Bear in mind that the BCRA Midgets have raced at venues only 1/8 mile around in the past. Could you get away with Midget Lites? Could you book Hobby Stocks? What divisions could you book there?
An idea that was proposed by The DCRR back in 2002 was a sort of practice session. At the time, all that was there was the oval, no bleachers or anything else. What you could do is gather drivers from as many divisions as are willing to come. You could put the cars out there one or two a time and run practice and qualifying laps. If you get any sort of division support, even five or six cars from the Modified division, for example, you could have a qualifying contest. Who sets the fast time? Prize monies or just best time trophies or plaques could be awarded to the winners. Maybe it is about plaques and just coming out there and having a good time at first.
If you could get drivers to come out there as it is now on some specially scheduled night, you can not only make this a gathering of sorts, the drivers could offer input on the track itself. Doing cars one or two at a time would seem safe, and there's precedent for that. Dixon Speedway likes to host practice nights as it is. At various times, drivers have put Hardtops, Modifieds, Midgets and Spec Sprints on that track. So doing cars one or two at a time is something that can be accomplished now with the goal of something bigger in the future.
What you could then do is book something of a racing program that also includes qualifying sessions. In other words, book Mini Stocks, Dwarf Cars and Mini Late Models to race. Whatever divisions you come up with. You could also offer qualifying opportunities for the bigger classes with the incentive that if you get so many cars, it becomes a fast time qualifying session with the winner getting a plaque, trophy or whenever. The idea also being that you could build a consensus for what can be done at the venue in the future.
Could something such as this open the door for Dixon Speedway to expand? Of course, this is all just speculation. Management at Dixon Speedway understands their situation better than we do. There may be things in the way preventing this, or it may just be that they haven't considered this very much lately. Or, it could be that they're thinking along these lines as we write this.
The other question would be, why do more than what you're doing now? One obvious answer is for business. If you're doing okay now, could you do better? Could you continue to nurture the Micro program while also expanding and bringing in bigger things? Also, if Jeremy Prince and his crew had a mind to go promoting at another track, even though that fell through, Dixon Speedway is still there waiting for new ideas.
Another question that would be asked is, why do anything with all the other tracks that are out there? Dixon is located in a place that could probably encourage visitation from the Sacramento area and the Petaluma area with the bonus being that drivers wouldn't have to pay a bridge toll to come. They are also not far from Antioch, allowing drivers to come from there as well. Merced racers might even come take a look.
This is all just speculation. Though we have long since looked at this venue and thought about what more could be done there, it could just be that the management team has it the way they want it. There may be reasons why it won't go beyond this. But then again, who knows? You could just hear about the track booking something for big cars sometime in the not-too-distant future. Whatever the case, this venue is not without potential. Where there's a will, there's a way. In the meantime, you can find out all about their plans for this year by going to www.dixonspeedway.net.