First of all...
The DCRR Racing Media Books
Stories of my time in auto racing from the beginning to 2003
Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover
Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover
Don's California Racing Recollections: Best Of The Blog And Beyond
Racing History, Stories, Statistics And Pictures
Available via print on demand at Lulu in Hard Cover or Paperback
Available via print on demand at Lulu in Hard Cover or Paperback
If You Like Reading Our Articles
Support Us Via The Go Fund Me The Tip Jar HERE
DCRR Racing Media And PR Consulting HERE
Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion Can Be Heard HERE
The DCRR Racing Radio Show
Backup Link HERE
Cornet, Chadwick, Fraser Win Antioch Speedway Races
Antioch, CA...May 25...Angelo Cornet scored the victory in the 20 lap All Star Series Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event. Cornet is a young up-and-coming driver from the Outlaw Kart ranks, and he's been racing at Petaluma Speedway this year. This was his first career feature victory and it came with two of the speedway's best in close pursuit.
McCarthy led the first two laps ahead of Cornet, but he hit a rut in Turns 1 and 2 and fell back a few positions as Cornet took over. Ryon Nelson was second at that point and held the position until spinning in Turn 4 on lap 10. This gave second to Aton. A yellow flag with four laps to go gave Aton one more shot at Cornet, but Cornet drove a flawless race for the well-earned victory. McCarthy settled for third. Emily Williams came from 10th starting to finish fourth as Roberto Kirby completed the Top 5.
Kellen Chadwick turned in an impressive performance in winning the 20 lap A Modified Main Event. In doing so, he becomes the fifth different winner in six races. Chadwick had a good battle early on with Petaluma star Michael Paul Jr. Paul led the first two laps, Chadwick passed him on lap three, Paul regained the first position a lap later and Chadwick appeared to gain the lead as they worked lap six. Unfortunately, a yellow flag negated the pass. Paul led the restart and would pull away just a little bit in the next few laps. When Paul caught slower traffic, Chadwick pulled right behind him on lap 12. An inside move in Turn 2 of the 13th lap put Chadwick into the lead. Chadwick led the remaining seven laps with Jeff Decker gaining second on a lap 15 restart to finish there. Danny Wagner made a last lap pass on Oreste Gonella to finish third as Paul settled for fifth.
Tommy Fraser picked up his third 20 lap B Modified feature win of the season. The drivers did an outstanding job in this race, which ran without a yellow flag. From his front row starting position, Fraser jumped into the lead at the waving of the green flag and would lead every lap. The early battle was for second between Watsonville point leader Austin Williams and Todd Gomez. Williams made a late challenge on Fraser, but Fraser would hold on for the win. Williams settled for second, followed by Gomez, Cameron Swank and Brent Curran.
Point leader Chris Sorensen won his third 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event of the season. Most of the race was a great battle between leader Breanna Troen and Sorensen with only one yellow flag on lap 10 slowing the pace. On the restart, Josh Leach joined the battle for the lead. As they went through Turns 1 and 2 on lap 18, Leach got a run on the outside of Sorensen, while Sorensen moved underneath Troen. Sorensen and Troen ran closely down the straightaway and through Turns 3 and 4 with Sorensen pulling ahead. Sorensen led the rest of the way for the victory with Leach making a lap 19 pass to finish second. Troen settled for third ahead of John Wacht and Will Buirch.
Kevin Miraglo won the 20 lap Dwarf Car Main Event. Miraglio is the 2016 track champion, and he started back in eighth as Devan Kammermann led the first five laps from the pole. Point leader Scott Dahlgren passed Kammermann on lap six, but he was passed by Miraglio two laps later. Miraglio led Dahlgren the rest of the way for the 1-2 finish. Kammermann settled for third, followed by Travis Dutra and Chuck Conover.
Next Saturday night will be the only appearance of the Civil War Winged 360 Sprint Car Series. Also competing will be the All Star Series B Modifieds and Dwarf Cars. For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
Unofficial Race Results
All Star Series Antioch Speedway
Winged 360 Sprint CarHeat Winners (6 laps)-Art McCarthy, Angelo Cornet. Main Event (20 laps)-Angelo Cornet, Billy Aton, Art McCarthy, Emily Williams, Roberto Kirby, Jacob Tuttle, Joel Myers Jr, John Clark, Ryon Nelson, Tim Burcher.
A ModifiedsHeat Winners (6 laps)-Oreste Gonella, Danny Wagner. Main Event (20 laps)-Kellen Chadwick, Jeff Decker, Danny Wagner, Oreste Gonella, Michael Paul Jr, Buddy Kniss, Frank Furtado, Carl Berendsen II, Sean Wilson, Bobby Montalvo.
B ModifiedsHeat Winners (6 laps)-Todd Gomez, Tommy Clymens Jr. Main Event (20 laps)-Tommy Fraser, Austin Williams, Todd Gomez, Cameron Swank, Brent Curran, Kevin Brown, Haley Gomez, Tommy Clymens Jr, Frank Cefalio, Joe Salvi.
Hobby StocksHeat Winners (6 laps)-Josh Leach, Chris Sorensen. Main Event (20 laps)-Chris Sorensen, Josh Leach, Breanna Troen, John Wacht, Will Buirch, Ken Johns, Lori Brown, Luke Brignoli, Aiden Ponciano, Dalton Jewel.
Dwarf CarsHeat Winners (6 laps)-Zach Albers, Kevin Miraglo, David Rosa. Main Event (20 laps)-Kevin Miraglo, Scott Dahlgren, Devin Kammermann, Travis Dutra, Chuck Conover, David Michael Rosa, David Rosa, Troy Stevenson Jr, Mario Marques, Shawn McCoy.
Civil War Series Comes To Antioch With Future In Doubt
Antioch, CA...On Saturday night, the Civil War Sprint Car Series comes to Antioch Speedway. It's future appears to be in doubt as this is the third race of a reduced five-race series. Also on the card will be the All Star Series B Modifieds and the Dwarf Cars.
In 1991, John Padjen got together with various promoters and launched the series. It was thought that the Winged 360 Sprint Cars were the future for Sprint Car racing, and the numbers provided when a Civil War race was scheduled did nothing to dissuade that attitude. Everybody wanted to host one of these events as the series grew very quickly.
At one time, Padjen was the man in charge of not only the Civil War Series but the King Of The West Sprint Car Series and the successful North State Modified Series. The Modified series was short-lived in the 1990s, and Padjen sold his interest in the Civil War Series to Prentice Motorsports Group in 2013.
At that point, the series was still doing pretty well, but in recent years, controversy emerged. This led to the creation of the rival Sprint Car Challenge Tour, which had big sponsorship money coming in from Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards. Most of the top stars were lured away from the Civil War Series prior to last season, which raised speculation that it might be the end of the line.
Last season, Cole Macedo staked his claim on the series championship ahead of Dustin Freitas, and they were the only two drivers to compete in all nine scheduled events. Burt Foland Jr, Koen Shaw and Jarrett Soares made up the remainder of the Top 5.
When the series opened at Marysville for the annual Sherm and Loree Toller Memorial race, a disappointing five car field was all that appeared. Some speculated that the threatening skies over Marysville led to the low turnout. Whatever the case, the show went on as scheduled. Ten-time series champion Andy Forsberg had perhaps the easiest payday of his career as he won that race ahead of Shaw.
It's not known if any of the five competitors who were at that first race will be in Antioch, though there is a possibility that Shaw might be the exception. As Placerville Speedway is running a point race that night, it's likely that Blake Carrick and Forsberg will be there instead.
Last Sunday's scheduled Mel Hall Memorial Civil War race at Marysville was rained out after some heavy rains in the area late Saturday night and into Sunday morning. A big field was anticipated for that race. This makes the Antioch race the second event of the series now, while the Marysville show is being considered for a possible rescheduling later in the year.
Meanwhile, Antioch opened with a solid turnout of 14 racers last week, and Petaluma rookie Angelo Cornet led most of the way and held off 2016 Antioch champion Billy Aton for an impressive victory. 2017 title winner Art McCarthy won his heat race and placed third in the feature.
Emily Williams looked good coming from 10th to fourth. These four could be there this week, and others to watch for include hard charger Jacob Tuttle, John Clark, Jake Haulot, Tim Burcher and Watsonville championship container Kurt Nelson.
If the series lasts that long, next year would be their milestone 30th season. Forsberg leads the championship list with an impressive 10 titles. There are some top-notch drivers who have won the championship through the years. Sean Becker is a three-time champ, while Glen Boune, Kevin Urton and Mike Henry each have two titles to their credit. Brian Crockett and Roger Crockett are the only father and son duo to win series titles. By far, Forsberg is the all-time winner with 31 feature victories to his credit going into the season, 11 ahead of Becker. Roger Crockett has 15 wins to rank third on that list.
The future may be uncertain, but Promoter John M Soares decided to take a chance and book a Civil War race for this Saturday night. Antioch has been paying pretty well for their Winged 360 Sprint Car effort, but a Civil War victory is even more special as these races pay $2,500 to win. Some of the tracks, such as Petaluma and Marysville, are not running these Sprint Cars on Saturday, meeting there is a possibility that drivers will come to town and take a run at the increased prize money. This also means the locals have an opportunity earn a nice payday.
In the B modified division, the championship battle was shaken up when two-time reigning champion Trevor Clymens went in for surgery a couple of days prior to last Saturday's race and announced that he would be missing a couple of races while recovering. This opened the door for Tommy Fraser, Brent Curran and Cameron Swank to leave Clymens behind in the battle for this year's title.
Last week, Fraser offered further proof that he is a new force to be reckoned with in this class as he posted his third feature win. Fraser led all of the way, and the win put him two points ahead of Curran. Curran is a two-time winner, but if you think the battle might break off between these two drivers, the consistent Swank is there to remind everybody that he knows how to race for points. The 2017 Hobby Stock champion outran Curran to finish fourth last week and is only 10 points out of the lead.
Kevin Brown also remains in the hunt, 16 points behind. Like Swank, Brown is looking for his first win. Last week's race was a nonstop green flag affair, showing just how much better these drivers are getting. Tommy Clymens Jr picked up his first heat race win last time out, and he'll be looking for his first feature win this week. After his second-straight third place finish, Todd Gomez is another driver looking for the Winner's Circle. Other drivers to watch for this week include Haley Gomez, Frank Cafaliello and Joe Salvi.
After four races, the Dwarf Car division has four different winners. Last week, it was 2016 champion Kevin Miraglio returning and out running point leader Scott Dahlgren to get the win. Dahlgren continued to add to his advantage over David Rosa. Both drivers have one win to their credit so far, and Dahlgren is 34 points ahead. Rosa ended up seventh last week after picking up a heat race win earlier in the evening.
With an impressive third place finish, Devan Kammermann is only six points behind Rosa in a closer battle for second in the standings. Kammermann appears to be on the verge of his first win, and he also leads Troy Stevenson Jr by just six points in the standings. These four drivers are anticipated this week, and others to watch for include Travis Dutra, Chuck Conover, David Michael Rosa, Mario Marques and Chris Becker.
The lure of the Civil War purse money should give the Winged 360 Sprint Cars a boost in numbers on Saturday night. Add in the competitive B Modifieds and Dwarf Cars, and this should be a good show. For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
King Of The West Sprint Cars Come To Petaluma Speedway
Petaluma, CA...After a rain out and a week off for Memorial Day Weekend, racing returns to the 3/8 mile Adobe oval at Petaluma Speedway this Saturday night. This marks the first of two scheduled appearances for the popular NARC/King Of The West Fujitsu Winged 410 Sprint Car Series. The McLea's Tire Service IMCA Modifieds, Jake's Performance Hobbies Mini Stocks and General Hydroponics Redwood Dwarf Cars will run in support.
This marks the 60th year for the Northern Auto Racing Club and the 35th consecutive season for the King Of The West Winged 410 Sprint Car Series. This is the only effort remaining in Northern California in which drivers can compete in a Winged 410 Sprint Car. it gives the fans a dose of the fastest vehicles that you're going to find on a dirt track anywhere on the West Coast.
The series is in the midst of a run that will take them to seven different venues before they finally make a return visit to one of the first seven. This is also the third race of the season. The highly competitive series has two different winners so far as Dominic Scelzi outran Shane Golobic and Chase Johnson to win the season opener at Kern County Raceway and Justin Sanders picked up the win in Chico ahead of Golobic and two-time champion Tim Kaeding. Last season, the series made a pair of visits to Petaluma with four-time champion Kyle Hirst and Shane Golobic getting the wins.
It's still very early in the season, and it's a close scramble at the top of the point list with several drivers in contention. DJ Netto might be a bit of a surprise at the top of the list. He leads Golobic by just one point and Ryan Bernal by eight. Third-generation star Bud Kaeding is nine points back, while 2017 Petaluma champion Geoff Ensign and Johnson are tied, 12 points out of the lead. A field of 18 to 25 of these fast race cars is anticipated for Saturday's show.
It's very difficult for the competition to break into the championship column when you have two heavy hitters like Michael Paul Jr and Oreste Gonella in the field. Last season, Gonella didn't even win a Main Event, but he used consistency to overtake Jeffrey Faulkner in the championship battle. Gonella is out to break his winless streak this year, and he looked good in the season-opener until misfortune struck.
The season opener gave the fans a thrilling conclusion when Super Stock champion Mitch Machado made a late move around Anthony Slaney to score what would be his first career win in this class. Machado will be out to make it two-in-a-row, but the competition won't be easy to beat. In addition to Gonella and Paul, Slaney will likely be back and hungry for victory. Other drivers to watch for in the battle include Tim Yeager, Justin Yeager, David Spriggs and Terry Kaiser.
With such a strong start in his midseason debut last year, there was speculation that Jeremy Tjensvold would be a championship contender in this year's Mini Stock point battle. He has shown the speculation to be right on the money with back-to-back feature victories to start his season. No driver has managed to repeat as champion in over a decade in this class. Reigning champion Tom Brown is hoping to change that and currently finds himself trailing Tjensvold by just six points. The consistent Roy Dearing is also in the hunt as he trails by eight points. All three drivers are the only ones with a pair of Top 5 finishes so far this year.
The Mini Stock division has graduated some good drivers up into the other divisions, and there are some newer drivers making things interesting this year. Among the drivers going for a shot of glory this week are Sophie Shelley, Connor Manzoni, Jason Grover and Roberta Broze. Darian Balestrini made a surprise visit at the last race, and last season's third-ranked competitor, Danny Manzoni, is hoping to jump start his season after a sluggish start.
The Redwood Dwarf Car competitors had to be a little bit disappointed when their show was claimed by rain two weeks ago. This wasn't an ordinary event as it was to pit the local contingent against the South Bay Dwarf Car competitors in a shootout race. It's a regular show this week, and a check of the records finds past champion Chad Matthias and Shawn Jones winning the first two races. The competition level is high in this group, and you know that at least half of the field has a legitimate shot at winning on any given week. Some of the racers to watch for this week include reigning champion Scooter Gomes, Marcus Hardina, Kevin Miraglio, Mark Hanson, Carroll Mendenhall, Brandon Gentry and Adam Freitas.
The King Of The West Sprint Cars alone are enough to get racing fans excited about being at Petaluma. Add the IMCA Modifieds, Mini Stocks and Dwarf Cars to the equation, and this will be a show you won't want to miss. For further information, go to www.petaluma-speedway.com.
Taco Bravo Sprint Cars Return To Ocean Speedway
Watsonville, CA...Racing returns to the Ocean Speedway quarter-mile clay oval this Friday night. After the one-week break for Memorial Day Weekend, the Ocean Sprints, presented by Taco Bravo, will headline a show that will also include the IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Four Bangers and South Bay Dwarf Cars.
Five races into the season, the Taco Bravo Sprint Car championship race is starting to take shape. Jeremy Chisum is the only driver with all five Top 10 finishes so far along with two Top 5 efforts. He is still looking for his first win, while his closest challenger, Kurt Nelson has a win to his credit. At the moment, Chisum lead Nelson by 25 points. James Ringo, the only other driver with two Top 5 finishes, is just three points behind Nelson in a closer battle for second. Last season's runner-up, Koen Shaw, and Jason Chisum are both within 44 points of the lead.
The two drivers doing quite a bit of winning in recent seasons are three-time reigning champion Brad Furr and 2015 title winner Justin Sanders. Sanders has one win to his credit and is ninth in the standings as neither of these drivers are competing for points. Bud Kaeding has made three visits and won a pair of races behind the wheel of his father's famed #69 car. Fourth-generation racer Chase Johnson is the other winner.
Given the way things are looking in this class this year, now is a golden opportunity for some drivers to step up and claim their first-ever wins. Among the drivers to watch for this week include Jake Andreotti, Jayson Bright, Richard Fajardo, Kyler Shaw and reigning Civil War champion Cole Macedo.
The IMCA Sport Modifieds has a close battle at the top between Austin Williams and one-time winner Adriane Frost. Williams used his second Top 5 finish of the season last time out to gain a three point advantage over the two-time Four Banger champion Frost. Newcomer Max Baggett is now third in the standings, four ahead of Charlie Hunter and five in front of Jarrod Mounce, who got his first win in the Bill Egleston Memorial race. Some of the drivers to watch for this week include rookie Kelly Campanile, Randy Miller, Justin McPherson, Steven Allee and John Ferro. Plus, you never know when State championship contenders Guy Ahlwardt or Keith Brown Jr might make an appearance.
Though Rob Gallaher is off to an impressive start and leads the Hobby Stock point battle, the two-time champion knows it's too early to start picking the spot on the mantle for the championship trophy. Gallaher has picked up a pair of wins with all Top 5 finishes in the four races held so far. He lead his father Joe Gallaher by 18 points. Joe is still looking for his first win of the year as two-time winner JC Elrod is the only other driver with a feature victory so far.
Joe Gallaher has past division champion Wally Kennedy just six points behind him in a closer race for second. Wally is looking for his first win, and other drivers hot on the trail of victory include DJ Keldsen, Bobby Huckaby Sr, Tony Oliveira, Quentin Harris and Nick Triolo. Johnson and Huckaby are also running closely in the battle for third. Johnson trails Kennedy by 14 points as Huckaby is 18 points back.
Last season, the Four Banger division had the closest championship battle at the speedway. It's no surprise to see that trend continuing again this year as the Beardsley family continues to battle for supremacy. Reigning champion Kate Beardsley and Nicole Beardsley are tied for the lead with 2017 champion Bill Beardsley 24 points back. Kate and Nicole are the only drivers with all Top 5 efforts in their five starts, though both are looking for their first wins of the season.
Bill Beardsley is only 18 points ahead of one-time winner Ryan McClelland and 28 in front of two-time winner Dakota Keldsen, who continues to pilot the Lloyd Keldsen Special. McClelland had an apparent victory last time out taken away from him in post-race tech. John Grilli is only a point behind Keldsen and accounts for the other victory so far. Other drivers to watch for this week include DJ Harrington, Chuck Kessinger, Tony Gullo and Luke Babcock.
Although Gene "Punky" Pires is the reigning South Bay Dwarf Car champion, the star of the early portion of the season is past champion Mark Biscardi. Biscardi opened the season with a win ahead of multi-time champion Terre Rottweiler and Pires. He also won the other race ahead of Ryan Amlen and Eric Weisler. Chances are, we'll see these five drivers and other hard chargers, such as Barry Waddell, Eddy Claessen, Keith Costas and Dan Zuger.
The Sprint Car championship race is an intriguing one as new drivers emerge in the battle, and the chances of getting another first-time winner have never been better. With IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Four Bangers and Dwarf Cars also in the mix, Friday night at Watsonville will be the place to be. For further information, go to www.racepmg.com.
Dwarf Cars, Hardtops Come To Orland Raceway
Orland, CA...Orland Raceway fans will be seeing a couple of special appearances this Saturday night. The NorCal Dwarf Car Association will be making their only visit of the season to the 1/5 mile dirt oval. The California Hardtops make their second of three scheduled visits. Also in action will be the regular Pure Stock, Mini Truck and Micro divisions.
It's been a few years since the Dwarf Cars have been at Orland Raceway. The NorCal Dwarf Car Association is the longest-running Dwarf Car group in the state. They tend to race mainly in Marysville, Placerville and Chico, but there's always been inquiries about the possibility of them coming to Orland. A date was finally secured for this Saturday night.
The group has fielded some of the biggest car counts of any Dwarf Car organization on the West Coast. The cars can be described as a scaled-down version of a Hardtop, but with 1200cc engines. The group has a reputation of having some of the best Dwarf Car racers around, and frequently it's a NorCal driver winning the bigger national events held at various venues throughout the year.
In three races, there have been three different winners. Most recently, Jeremy Blackshere was the winner in Marysville, and other wins have been earned by long time Dwarf Car competitor Spanky Grenert and Danny Wagner. Grenert is the only driver with three Top 3 finishes so far, while Ryan Winter has a pair of seconds. There are some good drivers in the group, including Ben Wiesz, Josh Wiesz, Mike Reeder, Kevin Bender and Buddy Olschowka.
The California Hardtop Association has proven to be very popular with the Orland fans. Last time out, it was Ron Ruiz driving his old Coup to a win ahead of local standout Mario Romano and Joe Hopp. These three are anticipated along with Ken Clifford, Joe Shenefield and Larry Wells. The most recent winners in Placerville were Bay Area competitors Dave Mackey and Ken Retzloff, and it's possible both will be here this week as well. The mixture of old Chevy and Ford Coups and Sedans from the 1930s and 1940s are a nice glimpse into the glory days when Hardtops ruled the speedways in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Pure Stock championship battle continues between Keith Ross and Phil Spencer. Both drivers are feature winners this year, but Wes Smock returned last time and picked up an impressive victory. Smock was a regular at Orland Raceway in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and he's just as fast now as he was then. Steve Martin continues to be in the championship hunt, and other drivers to watch for this week include John Camper, Jason Matlock and reigning champion Paul Stephens.
The Mini Truck division has been very competitive this year as Zack Webster, Kalvin Kvalvik and 2016 champ Dan Webster have picked up wins this season. Unfortunately, Zack Webster gave the people a little bit too much excitement a few weeks ago when he flipped his truck off of the second turn and into the pits. Fortunately he was not hurt, but he missed the most recent race. The drivers have been stepping things up a little bit, and drivers like William Fogle, Dan Libbee, James Woodell, Beau Chandler and Justin Vance are all in the hunt for wins this season.
It's not often that the 600 and 250 Micro classes run on the same night, but that's the case this week. The 250s seem to be getting just a little bit better support this year as reigning champion Pax Gonzalez, Alex Fowler and Mike McCarthy run at the front of the pack in the championship chase. Past champion Jess Garland and Lester Elsey are other noteworthy competitors. The 600 Micro class is led by young gun Cody Gray, Jessica McManus and past champion Jeromie Chrismon.
Orland Raceway has been offering the fans a nice variety of different divisions this year, and Saturday night will be a chance to see some classes of cars that you don't get to see very often. For further information, go to the Orland Raceway Facebook Page.
Foulger, Champlin Win Second Merced Speedway Main Events
Merced, CA...May 25...Troy Foulger notched his second 25 lap IMCA Modified Main Event victory Saturday night at Merced Speedway. Foulger is the point leader, and he became the first two-time winner of the season. The IMCA invert put Foulger back in 10th starting in the Bill Bowers owned Modified. He had Antioch Speedway champion Nick DeCarlo starting right behind him in the lineup, and the two drivers steadily worked their way to the front of the pack to challenge leader DJ Shannon, who was going for his second win. Foulger would make the winning pass and go on to the impressive victory. Shannon held on for second, followed by DeCarlo, Ryan Porter, Randy Brown, Ramie Stone, Anthony Giuliani, Josh Combs, Derek Nance and Jeff Streeter. There were three 10 lap heat races, and wins were recorded by Brown, Foulger and Shannon. Combs started last in the B Main and won ahead of Bob Williamson, Dylan Shriner and Monty Tomlinson.
Grant Champlin won the 20 lap IMCA RaceSaver 305 Sprint Car Main Event. Champlin also won the group's first visit of the season back in April. Champlin started back in eighth and moved quickly through the field to challenge Michael Pombo and Rob Solomon. Once he got around the duo, Champlin went on to win ahead of Kyle Rasmussen. Solomon settled for third, followed by Pombo, Brendan Warmerdam, Jacob Pacheco, Brooklyn Holland, Rick Bray, Brandon Burd and Mauro Simone. Simone's race ended in a late crash into the fence. Holland had to make repairs following her flip in the first heat race, which was won by Rasmussen. Solomon won the other 10 lap heat.
Tim Crews remained perfect with his third 20 lap California Sharp Mini Late Model Main Event win. Crews started in the third row and battled his way to the front of the pack with Logan Clay, who was looking for his first win of the season. However, Clay settled for second behind the flying Crews. Kaylin Lopez looked good with a third place finish, followed by Ian Shearer, Jeremiah Enriquez, Kennzzie Brown, Riley Jeppesen and Carson Guthrie. Jeppesen won the eight lap heat race.
Reigning Valley Sportsman champion Jerry Cecil won his second 15 lap Main Event. Cecil started on the front row and battled Eric Seely for the 1-2 finish. Point leader Rick Elliott finished third ahead of heat race winner Chris Corder.
After learning that Lemoore Raceway had to cancel early in the week due to the rain, Merced Speedway General Manager Doug Lockwood took a poll on Wednesday to determine whether there was enough driver interest to add the Micro Sprint division to Saturday's show. He asked for a minimum of ten commitments for the Winged and Wingless Micro divisions to get races, and the response was so overwhelmingly positive that both groups were added to the show. Lockwood is interested in having more visits from both groups in the future, and the support shown on this occasion proves that racers want to run on the quarter-mile clay oval.
TJ Smith won the Wingless 600 Micro Main Event from his third starting position. Delta Speedway championship contender Brandon Carey held off Tyler Hester for the second place finish. Brody Fuson, who is a championship contender at Lemoore Raceway, finished fourth, followed by Cameron Paul, Harlee Aguilera, Kyle Grissom, Justin Adiego, Ronnie Evans and Chris Silva. Gray and Watsonville Sprint Car racer Koen Shaw were the two eight lap heat race winners.
Jake Andreotti picked up the win in the 20 lap Super 600 Micro Sprint Main Event. Andreotti is a Sprint Car competitor at Ocean Speedway and currently is sixth in the point standings. Andreotti started on the pole and held off Cody Key for the win. Cody Christensen finished third, followed by Jake Hagopian, Koen Shaw, Dayna Hill, Keith Day Jr, Tyler Hester, Garrett Williams and Ronnie Evans. Hagopian and Brody Fuson were the eight lap heat race winners.
The speedway will be dark this Saturday night, but they return for their annual Merced County Fair race on June 5th. IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds will be competing that night. For further information, go to www.mercedspeedway.net.
IMCA Modifieds And Sport Modifieds To Run
During Merced County Fair
Merced, CA...The IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds will get to race in front of the Merced County Fair crowd on Wednesday, June 5th. This continues a long tradition in which the speedway gets to be part of entertaining the fairgoers every year. With the quarter-mile clay oval in great shape these days, it's going to be an entertaining show.
The IMCA Modifieds are in the midst of a very exciting season. We are five races in, and the last program saw the first two-time winner in Troy Foulger. Foulger and car owner Billy Bowers decided to team up this season to make a run at the Merced honors, knowing that the competition level would be very high. The team has won some big events In recent years and is all about testing themselves against the best competition out there. Foulger outran DJ Shannon to win the most recent race.
The standings are still very close with Foulger leading two-time Merced champion Randy Brown by just nine points. Foulger is the only driver with all Top 5 finishes so far, while second-ranked Brown and third-ranked Ryan Porter have four each. Brown has a win, but Porter, who trails Foulger by 13 points, is still looking for his first victory of the season. Shannon is trying to make up for a couple of bad races. Despite a win and his recent second, he is 29 points out of the lead in fourth and three ahead of four-time Merced champion Ramie Stone.
After cousin Paul Stone skipped the most recent event, Ramie Stone moved into fifth in the standings. He's still not running as strong as hoped for and in search of his first win of the season. Perhaps it could happen at the fair race? Other drivers to watch for this week include Jesse James Burks, Ricky Thatcher, Anthony Giuliani and longtime Merced racer Bob Williamson.
The IMCA Sport Modified competitors have had just about enough of the rain outs. We are now in the month of June, and they have only managed to hold two of their scheduled six events this year. Both races came on the weekend of the Malicious Monster Truck Tour event with wins being recorded by Kelly Wilkinson and recent Marysville winner Andrew Peckham.
Nick Tucker has used his two Top 5 finishes to maintain a one point lead over the tied Wilkinson and Fred Ryland. It's unknown whether Ryland is chasing points this year, but the 2016 champion is a threat to win it again if he does. His wife, Patti Ryland, is just four points out of the lead, while perennial title contender Bruce "Bubba" Nelson is seven points back. These five drivers always put on a show, and other racers to watch for Include Tanner Thomas, Tim Elias, Danny Roe and Paul Espino. State championship contenders Guy Ahlwardt and Keith Brown Jr are also anticipated for this event.
The Wednesday fair race is also a tune-up for the big event coming on June 15th. This will be the second annual Ed Parker Memorial race for IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks. Extra money will be on the line for that show. For further information, go to www.mercedspeedway.net.
Daly Doubles At Santa Maria Raceway
Santa Maria, CA...May 25... Clay Daly scored the victory in the 25 lap Western Pro Stock Main Event at Santa Maria Raceway. This was the first night of the annual two-day Spring Nationals, but the Sunday portion was rained out. Earlier in the evening, Daly also picked up the win in the 25 lap IMCA Modified feature. In the Pro Stock race, Daly made a last-lap pass on Dave King Jr to win the race. The two wins were his 99th and 100th career victories.
Billy Simkins set the early pace in the Pro Stock feature ahead of King and Wayne Coffman. Justin Crockett took the third position from Coffman on a lap 11 restart. Daly settled into fifth on lap six and grabbed the fourth position from Coffman on lap 13. On lap 17, Daly made a big move around both Crockett and Simkins for second. King looked to be headed for the win when a yellow flag waved with one lap to go. Daly made his big move on the restart and brought it home to a well-earned victory. King settled for second, followed by Crockett, Ryan Smith, Billy Simkins, Frank Nyback, Coffman, Brady Bell, Chris Clinton and Tim Randolph.
Crockett was the fastest qualifier of 15 competitors with a lap of 16.698, beating the 16.837 of Daly. There were two eight lap heat races, and Simkins outran Crockett to win the first one. The second heat victory went to Ryan Smith in front of Daly.
Clay Daly won the 25 lap IMCA Modified Main Event. Ventura star Trevor Fitzgibbon set the early pace ahead of Daly, but Fitzgibbon saw his race come to an end for a lap nine yellow flag. Daly led Bakersfield champion Brad Pounds and Austin Burke on the restart. However, Burke surrendered third to Ethan Dotson on a lap 13 restart. Daly began to pull away to about a half straightaway advantage, leaving the battle for second. Dotson slipped past Pounds for the second spot on lap 23 to finish there. Pounds settled for third, followed by Austin Burke, Ryan Daves, Chris Crompe, Clint Reichenbach, Jerry Flippo, Cody Burke and Troy Morris III. Eight lap heat race wins went to Drake, Daily and Dotson.
Multi-time Santa Maria champion Tom Grzincic went flag-to-flag to win the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event. Grzincic had a front row start and raced into the early lead ahead of Pat Fausel and Matt McEwan. The Top 3 ran in that order until past Watsonville champion Billy Nelson gained third on lap 13. The standings were shaken up on lap 18 as Grzincic led Nicholas Johnson and Nelson back to the yellow flag. Grzincic led the restart and the final two laps for the satisfying win. Johnson finished second, followed by Nelson, Scotty Preast, Fausel, McEwen, Sean Martin Sr, Tyler Bannister, Justin Gonzalez and Jerry Flippo. There were four eight lap heat races with wins going to Flippo, Preast, Taelor Janes and Fausel
Jonathan Henry won the 20 lap Dwarf Car Main Event. Richie Abbott led for two laps before Henry made his move into the lead. Henry had built nearly a straightaway advantage over Abbott when a yellow flag waved on lap 15. On the restart, Jonathan Conley took second from Abbott and took up pursuit of Henry for the final laps. However, Henry again pulled away for the victory, followed by Jonathan Conley. Brandon Wiley was fifth when the yellow flag waved for the final time on lap 15. He took over fourth on the restart and made a last lap pass on Tommy Velazquez to gain a third place finish. Velasquez settled for fourth, followed by Nick Velasquez, Cody Cowan, Trent Morley, Tom Morley, Brian Barnhill and Tommy Velasquez III. The three eight lap heat race wins were earned by Jonathan Conley, Jonathan Henry and Trent Morley
Rich Denman won a thrilling 20 lap American Stock Main Event. Denman led two laps before being passed by Wayne Dotson. As Dotson led the way, Denman stayed close behind him. James Coots was an early third, but he surrendered the position to Justin Jackson on lap five. The only yellow flag of the race flew on lap nine, and Dotson continued to lead Denman and Jackson on the restart. Denman continued to keep the pressure on Dotson until making his winning move on the final lap to steal the victory. Dotson settled for second, followed by Jackson, Gary Rayburn Jr, Brock Crawford, Coots, Jimmy Salawa, Troy Thomas Jr, Cody Sly and Steven Amick. Rayburn and Denman won their respective eight lap heat races.
Racing returns on June 15th with the annual Ron Otto Memorial race. The USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Cars will headline the show along with the IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, American Stocks, Mini Stocks and NMRA TQ Midgets. For further information, go to www.santamariaraceway.com.
DJ Netto Wins Jimmy Sills Classic At The Stockton Dirt Track
Stockton, CA...May 25...DJ Netto won the Jimmy Sills Classic Saturday night at the Stockton Dirt Track. Netto took the lead from Shane Golobic on a lap 35 restart and brought it home to a $3,000 victory aboard the Netto Ag #88n Sprinter.
Netto outran Golobic to win the Trophy Dash, putting the two on the front row for the feature. With the outside front row start, Golobic charged into the lead at the waving of the green flag ahead of Netto and Kalib Henry. Tony Gualda took third from Henry on a lap seven restart, and there was a red flag on lap 10, ending the race for Gualda and Jake Haulot. Golobic continued to lead Netto on the restart as Henry regained third. Golobic led Netto through another restart on lap 16, but a final yellow flag on lap 34 changed everything. Netto would charge by Golobic for the lead on the lap 35 restart with Henry following into second. Netto was the happy winner ahead of Henry, Golobic, Willie Croft, Kyle Offill, Mitchell Moles, Cole Macedo, Blake Carrick, Tanner Carrick and Jesse Love.
The 18 competitors each ran two eight lap qualifying heat races. It was Croft outrunning Lucas Ashe to win the first heat, while Golobic picked up the second heat victory ahead of Offill. The third heat win went to Croft ahead of Gualda, and Netto picked up the final heat win over Henry. The six lap Trophy Dash win went to Netto ahead of Golobic.
Shane Golobic won the 20 lap BCRA/POWRi Midget Main Event. Golobic had the lead from the start ahead of reigning USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car champion Austin Liggett. Only one yellow flag slowed the race, and Golobic won by about half a straightaway ahead of Liggett, Michael Faccinto, Chase Johnson, Bo Lemire, Robert Carson and Mark Maliepaard. Marvin Mitchell was a feature scratch. The drivers got to run two heat races, and Golobic outran Liggett to win the first heat. Golobic then beat Faccinto to win the other eight lap race, making this a clean sweep effort.
The next race on the dirt track will happen during the San Joaquin County Fair on Friday, June 14th. B Modifieds will be back In action along with the Bombers and Basically 4 Cylinder cars. Open wheel racing returns on June 22nd with the NARC/King Of The West Fujitsu 410 Sprint Car Series and Hunt Wingless Spec Sprints. For further information, go to www.stocktondirttrack.com.
RaveSaver Sprints, Mini Stocks Highlight Saturday Night
Fair Racing At Keller Speedway
Hanford, CA...Drivers are gearing up for some racing at the Kings Fair in Hanford this Saturday night. Keller Auto Speedway will be featuring the IMCA RaceSaver 305 Sprint Cars, IMCA Stock Cars and the Central Valley Mini Stocks as part of an exciting three division lineup.
The Sprint Car and Stock Car classes have helped IMCA expand their brand into California, and the Hanford track was the first place to feature them both. On any given week, the IMCA RaceSaver Sprints will bring anywhere from a dozen to 20 race cars, and they have been putting on some exciting shows. The division has made visits to several different venues in the area, and most recently Grant Champlin picked up his second win in their visit to Merced.
Pretty Brooklyn Holland took a tumble in her heat race at Merced last week, but the crew got her back out on the track, where she picked up a Top 10 finish. In Hanford, Holland has been the woman to beat. She has two wins in four starts, and the Fresno leadfoot holds a two point lead over Champlin in the track championship battle. Champlin is the only driver with four Top 5 finishes so far, but he's hoping to repeat his Merced luck at his home track.
The Pombo's are one of the more respected racing families, and it's Michael Pombo carrying on the tradition. Michael has done well so far with two Top 5 finishes to rank third in the standings, seven behind Holland. One-time winner Kyle Rasmussen is just a point behind Pombo as the battle is close at the front. Other drivers to watch for this weekend include Brandon Emmett, Lance Jackson, Mauro Simone and Mike Schott. Simone may have a harder time getting ready for the show after a crash into the fence at Merced ended his race early.
The House Of JuJu Central Valley Mini Stock championship race has managed to get two races in the books so far. Jason Cook won their Hanford visit ahead of series regulars Dan Myrick, Randy Brown and Brian Blank. All four of these drivers are anticipated this Saturday. Darren Wilson won the opener at Lemoore ahead of Shawn DePriest and Blank. Unfortunately, the race they had scheduled there two weeks ago was rained out.
The drivers are competing for $5,000 in point fund money and a $1,000 championship. This means there should be a big field of cars in Hanford for the show. Last time they were in town, they had 24 competitors in an action packed race. Other drivers to watch for this week include reigning series champion Greg Baromian, 2017 title winner Danny Myrick, Randy Brown, Brent Myrick and Jeff Durant.
The IMCA Stock Cars may race at other venues, but the drivers enjoy coming to Hanford. Ron Hurt and Troy Patee have been two of the bigger stars and champions in recent years, and Brock Hamilton is the reigning track champion. Last time out, it was Chad Johnson out running Cody Johnson for a Bakersfield racer 1-2 finish. All five of these drivers are anticipated this week, and others to watch for include Larry Thompson, Preston Martin and Renn Bane.
The Keller Auto Speedway lineup should entertain the fair goers with some top notch racing. For further information, go to www.racekingsspeedway.com.
Merced Speedway Unofficial Race Results May 25, 2019
John Osgood III
IMCA 305 RaceSaver Sprint Cars
California Sharp Mini Late Models
Wingless Micro Sprints
Micro Sprints Winged
Keith Day Jr
Bakersfield Speedway Unofficial Race Results May 25, 2019
IMCA Sport Modifieds
Matthew Mayo Jr
Keith Brown Jr
Brian Baker DNS
IMCA Stock Cars
Larry Thompson Jr
Preston Martin DNS
Roy Maynard Jr
Daniel West DNS
David Wolford Jr
Eric Loya Sr
Gene Glover DQ
David Wolford Sr DQ
Sherry Duncan DNS
Perris Auto Speedway Unofficial Race Results May 25, 2019
CRA/USAC Sprint Cars
Results are not official
1 #19 Hunter Scherenberg
2 #34AZ Jake Swanson
3 #10 Richard VanderWeerd
4 #37 Matt Mitchell
5 #51 RJ Johnson
6 #91R Brody Roa
7 #42 Danny Faria
8 #4G Chris Gansen
9 #28M Matt McCarthy
10 #92 Austin Williams
11 #4 Damon Gardner
12 #88 Jace VanderWeerd
13 #12 Stevie Sussex
14 #16 Mike Martin
15 #98 Verne Sweeney
16 #44 Cody Williams
17 #21 AJ Bender
18 #90S Matt Stewart
19 #39 Jeff Dyer
20 #12B Joel Rayborne
21 #51T Eddy Tayfoya
22 #52V Trent Williams
Results are not official
1 #21 AJ Bender
2 #90S Matt Stewart
3 #5X Tom Malcolm
4 #88 Jace VanderWeerd
5 #12 Stevie Sussex
6 #28M Matt McCarthy
7 #4G Chris Gansen
8 #51T Eddy Tayfora
9 #16 Mike Martin
10 #12B Joel Rayborne
11 #39 Jeff Dyer
12 #5 Blade Hildebrand
13 #90 Randy Waitman
Santa Maria Raceway Unofficial Race Results May 25, 2019
Results are not official
1 #96A Clay Daly
2 #C9 Ethan Dotson
3 #15B Brad Pounds
4 #25 Austin Burke
5 #22D Ryan Daves
6 #7 Chris Crompe
7 #7c Clint Reichenbach
8 #13 Jerry Flippo
9 #20 Cody Burke
10 #07DEX Troy Morris III
11 #28 Trevor Fitz
12 #22M Mitch Macaedo
13 #25J Danny Cavanagh
14 #84X Jeff Elrod
15 #38T Dylan Thornton
16 #111 Logan Drake
17 #07X Troy Morris Jr
Western Pro Stocks
Results are not official
1 #11M Clay Daly
2 #43K Dave King Jr
3 #21JT Justin Crockett
4 #250 Ryan Smith
5 #68S Billy Simkins
6 #5N Frank Nyback
7 #C5 Wayne Coffman
8 #54 Brady Bell
9 #87 Chris Clinton
10 #11x Tim Randolph
11 #22 Paul Miller
12 #4 Jerry Stewart
13 #31T Tom Smith
14 #13 Jerry Flippo
15 #3D Chris Smith
Results are not official
1 #8 Tom Grzincic
2 #1n Nicholas Johnson
3 #11 Billy Nelson
4 #91 Scotty Preast
5 #19 Pat Fausel
6 #87 Matt McEwan
7 #5 Sean Martin Sr
8 #52 Tyler Bannister
9 #0 Justin Gonzalez
10 #52x Jerry Flippo
11 #31 Alyssa Smith
12 #3 Taelor Janes
13 #18A Aaron Bruce
14 #77 Chris Anderson
15 #5M Zack Martin
16 #74 Wayne Dotson
17 #84 Hailey Wyand
18 #45 Greg Baker
19 #51 Mike Keebler
20 #7 Sheldon Bailey
21 #44 Austin Van Hoff
22 #48x Austin Manzella
23 #91x Michael Scruggs
24 #5X Joe Baker
25 #37 Dale Frye
26 #2 Kevin Irwin
Results are not official
1 #63x Jonathan Henry
2 #69 Jonathan Conley
3 #63xx Brandon Wylie
4 #14 Tommy Velasquez
5 #41 Nick Velasquez
6 #91 Kody Cowan
7 #88 Jeff Brink
8 #48 Trent Morley
9 #18 Tom Morley
10 #6B Brian Barnhill
11 #4x Thomas Velasquez
12 #4 Mitch Caldwell
13 #1xxx Richie Abbott
14 #93 Jason Horton
15 #92N Jessica Swanson
16 #19K Kobe Kerns
17 #2 Tony Margott
18 #28 Tony Pellegrino
19 #00B Joe Barkett
20 #45 Kory Cowan
21 #8 Danny Valdez
Results are not official
1 #114 Rich Denman
2 #174 Wayne Dotson
3 #4J Justin Jackson
4 #11 Gary Rayburn Jr
5 #47 Brock Crawford
6 #38cc James Coots
7 #37 Jimmy Satlawa
8 #58T Troy Thomas Jr
9 #25 Cody Sly
10 #99 Steven Amick
11 #42 Kevin Pritchard
12 #49c Colby Ward
13 #73 Robert Guess
14 #51 Nicholas Verbryke
15 #74 Miranda Scott
16 #16 Ed Wyand
Stockton Dirt Track Unofficial Race Results May 25
Jimmy Sills Classic
Winged 360 Sprint Cars
Marvin Mitchell DNS
Madera Speedway Unofficial Race Results May 25, 2019
Race #4 MAVTV
Nut Up Pro Late Models
Jr Late Models
John McCullum Jr
J.J Brandsen DNS
Irwindale Speedway Unofficial Race Results May 25, 2019
Night Of Destruction
Late Models/Spec Trucks
Robert Rice Jr
John La Brosciano
John La Brosciano
Robert "Fang" Organ
Robert John Rice
Robert John Rice PYP
Robbie Salcido PYP
Robert Rice PYP
James Bolinas PYP
Jason Jonasson Jan's
Robert "Fang" Organ Jan's
Michael Avrick Jan's
Ray Reyes Jan's
Enduro Figure 8
Robert John Rice
John La Brosciano
Movieland Speedpark Chandler, Indiana Unofficial Race Results June 24, 2019
1. 15- Chase Estes
2. 65 - John Kercher
3. 12b - Erik Brantly
4. 8- James Dockery
5. 23H - Darrell Hutchison
1. 24R - Robert Smith
2. 672- Jay Weiner
3. 12x- Brian Spinks
4. 8– James Dockery
5. 66- Jeff Christensen
6. 22- Roy Dennis
7. 21- David Sartore
8. 55- Scott Vandiver
1. 50- Don Fulkerson
2. 21- Dalton Elliott
3. 5K- Jimmy Husk
4. 2- Ryan Ritchison
5. 5J- Jeremy Smith
UMP- Open Wheel Modifieds
1. 07- Dane Heilman
2. 14A- Dustin Golden
3. 33- Michael Hendrickson
4. 15- Brandon Justus
5. 188- Andy Elliott
6. 14J- BJ McCammon
7. 672- Chad Weiner
8. 78- Scott Maasberg
9. 91K- Jason Kibby
10. 22J- John Baker
The Editor's Viewpoint
I keep telling myself that I'm going to be more direct and to the point with this column. The long articles that I've been doing here take that much longer to edit. I don't want to do that this week, so I better get busy. I'm actually attempting to get an early start with a few observations that I noticed from last weekend. The rain is coming this weekend, but I'm hopeful that it won't wash out as much racing as it looks like it's going to.
The Civil War Series has a Sprint Car race at Antioch Speedway on June 1st. There was a time when this would be a big deal. This was the premiere Winged 360 Sprint Car show in California back when John Padjen organized the deal with a few promoters in 1991. It didn't take long for it to grow. When we finally had our first race at Antioch in 2000, I was the one who had the honor of getting to announce it. I remember being nervous about blowing it, and it was Ron Albright who sent me all of his notes to help get me up to speed.
I'm at a loss as to why John Soares would book this series knowing that it was in decline. The further proof came when they had the Sherm Toller Memorial at Marysville and only five drivers showed up earlier this year. Marysville has had some very bad luck with weather. Twice they got rained out when everybody was there and ready to go. On this occasion, there were gloomy skies, there had been rain and yet they were able to race. Did that keep people away? Probably.
In any event, it's obvious that nobody is really pursuing points. Furthermore, there aren't too many promoters that want to work with John Prentice and book a date. He only had a five race season scheduled for this year, and one of those dates happened to be at Antioch. It's interesting that John took the Civil War date and dropped the potentially bigger All Star Series Modified races.
I know John was irked about the fact that Prentice took the All Star Series name for that particular deal as Soares had been using it. I recall back in 2015 when Prentice made the announcement on Facebook. I was in the office with John, and he wasn't pleased about it. But what's interesting is when he had a discussion with Prentice about that name prior to 2017, Prentice agreed to change it if John would work with him. It looked like they had a deal, but John pulled out. There's a trend here. I'm not bashing as these two have had issues in the past, but Prentice did change the name for John. When John pulled out, Prentice returned it to the All Star Series brand. So, being unhappy about the name as it is now is kind of pointless.
One can only work with somebody else when they want to work with you. If it's a one-way street, all that's going to happen is you're going to get run over. Given the frosty relationship between the two, I wasn't surprised that Soares was going to drop the All Star Series races that were originally booked by Mikey Slaney and Jeremy Prince. I was, however, surprised that he would take a Civil War race when even last year you could see that nobody was really running for it.
I'm saddened that the Civil War Series appears to be fading. The creation of the Sprint Car Challenge Tour and more lucrative prize money in 2017 was the shot that may have killed it. Next year would be the 30th season for Civil War Series, and yet I don't think it will happen unless something changes. Unless a couple of promoters get involved and somehow Prentice can convince the racers to come back, it's probably over. As a person who loves tradition, I mourn the loss of this series. It only serves to remind you that just because things are going well doesn't mean they'll remain that way. Make a few missteps, and the racers will turn on you.
I have noticed AgriRacing happening at the Salinas Rodeo Grounds again. I am enamored with this concept. I will admit it. I've often thought that you don't need a big race track to put on good racing. I think Orland Raceway and Ventura Raceway are 1/5 mile ovals. I'll let Ventura speak for itself as to how awesome the show can be if you know how to configure a smaller track. I've often considered the possibility that were I ever to come into money and able to build a race track, I might go with that size for the track. It's just a thought as it's not likely to ever happen.
They've done the AgriRace in Salinas for the last four years as far as I know. This year, they had 23 entries. This track isn't even 1/8. Maybe 1/16? Not really sure, but it's small and tight. You can only start probably a dozen cars on that track, and then there's going to be rough and tumble racing. Fortunately, the racers and the fans expect that. First is liable to get dumped by second on occasion.
The other thing that makes that a possibility is the way they pay for this deal. They take the total purse, split it 50/50 with the Salinas Fair Heritage Foundation. The winner takes the other half. No money for second. So, if you're running in second place with a shot at first, and the only way for you to get the win is to take out the leader, what would you do? It's a nice little program, and I love the concept.
The Alameda County Fair has had a Rodeo Arena Figure 8 Race for the past few years. They pay the drivers pretty good money just to show up. You might win a trophy for winning the race, but I don't think there's a purse paid. Just show up money and access to the fair. This is enough to have several drivers from the Porterville area coming up to make the show for the past few years. This has gotten me thinking for a while now.
What if you were to start a Rodeo Arena Tour? Most of these arenas end up having Destruction Derbies during the fair, and as has been proven in Salinas, you can use that space to do Mini Stock racing. Actually, these are more like Hornet cars really, meaning they are more stock than a Mini Stock. You could go up and down highway 99, stopping at the fairs. Perhaps you run a six to eight race fair schedule?
Given the tight confines of the arena, if you even have eight dedicated racers willing to show up, you've got a show. Put the rules out enough, and every town you go to will have a few people willing to come in there and give it a shot. It's a nice little appetizer before the Derby, or even a show of its own. Picture cutting an X in the infield and having an oval and a Figure 8 event on the same night.
It's not that impossible to make something like this happen. Basically, you need somebody with some promotional skills to make the end roads at the various fairgrounds. Maybe you go to Los Banos, Turlock, Mariposa, Sonora, Dixon, Woodland, Angels Camp? There are lots of little fairgrounds spread throughout the state that don't have a regular racing program, and people would probably be interested in having a special show like this.
Who knows if something like this will ever happen, but I notice little shows like this popping up here and there. There is one fair down in Southern California that has a small size Figure 8. There are a couple of different places in Washington that run more of a rodeo arena style race. It could be that this trend grows in the future as a way to keep some style of motorsports happening at certain places.
When you think about it, it makes sense. Racing is an expensive habit, as any car owner will tell you. While Hornet racing may not be completely cheap, there isn't the investment in these cars that there is in the bigger cars. Just about anybody can become a race car driver for a reasonable budget, and just about anybody can make a plan to go racing a half-dozen times out of the year, even if they take their show on the road most of the time.
I suppose this is just something that comes up every year with me when I notice they've done the AgriRace or Rodeo Arena Figure 8 racing. I'd love to find a place to create a small venue somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. If there was one last thing that I could accomplish on my way out the door, it would be to help make racing happen someplace else in the Bay Area, between Contra Costa County, Alameda County or Santa Clara County. There has to be some place you could get away with sneaking something through before the naysayers get a chance to shoot you down. It's a nice dream anyways. The little track in my mind will exist there at least.
I'm sitting here on a Friday night adding a little bit extra to this column. Unfortunately, the rain is going to win again in Medford. We were watching long range forecasts calling for the rain on Saturday, and then it backed off and said we might be good. As of three days before the scheduled race, it was saying rain was coming and would hit right about the time our show was scheduled to start. It hasn't budged as of 7:30 on Friday night, and unless something changes dramatically, we will be canceling by 9 in the morning tomorrow.
Generally speaking, Mike likes to err on the side of caution and cancel early if the weather doesn't look good. In this case, he.decided that we should at least wait and see if anything breaks in the weather overnight. We do have people traveling to compete in the Street Stock show, but it's felt that as long as we're able to let them know by 9 in the morning, it should be allright. Nobody likes to cancel a race, but when bad weather strikes, you have no choice. We're just taking a wait-and-see attitude, but it's not looking like it will work out.
For me, this is very frustrating. For most of my life, when I've been at a race track, Street Stocks have been a part of the show. When my old home track Antioch Speedway sacrificed the Street Stock division in order to save the Limited Late Models, the Hobby Stock class was at least there as the heir apparent. Medford never really got behind a Street Stock division from the time the place opened, which is baffling to me. It's interesting to note that every other track in Oregon has the class except for this one.
I've voiced my frustrations and have done everything I could to light a fire under potential racers. Show us five or six cars, something to get going, and you'll get some dates. Unfortunately, it's just not there. Given the fact that we're already rotating nine divisions in the lineup now, I can see where Mike is coming from. It doesn't make a lot of sense to try to start a Street Stock class now when the track has committed to other things, such as growing the IMCA Sport Modifieds and cultivating Winged Sprint Cars and Late Models, which are two other divisions the previous management never bothered with in any serious effort.
The rotation of so many divisions makes a very key point. You need car count to keep a track going. Yes, promoters get some money out of the good numbers you might see in the pits, but fans won't come in any regular capacity if they don't see enough cars on the track. The way to keep car count up in all of your divisions is to not run them every week and rotate the classes. We might run five divisions per week, but they're usually not the same five. It's what has helped revive the program in Medford, even if we've still got more work to do. It's a heck of a lot better in 2019 than it was in 2015, right before we got here.
As I put yet a few more thoughts together on a late Monday night, Medford did cancel. In fact, none of the Oregon tracks scheduled to run on Saturday were able to do so. Three races did happen on Sunday, but those tracks also dropped plans to run on Monday as people had other plans for the holiday. Sometimes the Oregon promoters get creative, which really seemed to be the case in Cottage Grove. They had no business trying to run the Marvin Smith race in the conditions they had on Sunday, and yet they did. They actually pulled it off and had a decent show.
Being the hero is a double edge sword. They will love you when it works out. They will curse you when it fails. Dennis Gage failed twice to pull off races on gloomy Saturday nights at Marysville this year, and he didn't hesitate to cancel Sunday's Civil War race. The place was flooded, so there was just no way. When Medford cancelled, the closest neighbor to the south in Yreka opened their gates. In fact, they invited divisions that Medford was running to show up on Saturday.
Anybody could look at the forecast in Yreka and see there was no chance. They were hoping they would have a similar window to what they had the week before when they just managed to get it in before the rain. Problem was, the rain was coming earlier this time. They had over 40 cars, and I don't blame them for trying to take advantage of the situation that was made possible when Medford cancelled. Sometimes you win in these gambles, and sometimes you lose.
I hate to belabor the point, and I won't ramble on about it, but Yreka really does need to work on cultivating their own local classes. Simply calling the drivers down from Medford or making last minute invites when Medford cancels might seem like good moves, but it's like putting your finger over a hole in a bucket. You still need to build up your classes. Kevin inherited the two regular division program, so this is a situation that will take a little time to fix.
I do want to end this brief addition to the column with an observation that I didn't realize was even happening. Lakeport Speedway opened last Saturday night and had a head to head showdown with Ukiah Speedway. I knew about the board situation and everybody resigning. This meant that David Furia parted ways with Lakeport. He had been promoting the shows for the NCRA in recent years, and he took the big Upstate Bomber event with him on his way out the gate.
Ukiah did pretty good numbers for both the Bomber and Limited Modified classes. All and all, at least from a car count prospective, I'd have to say the show was a success. It was only going to be a one-day show, but Furia made it two-day event and ended up having both Upstate Bomber shows in Ukiah. However, his closest neighbor wasn't staying dark.
Considering all the turmoil in Lakeport, one may have thought it would take a little bit of time to get this thing back up and running. However, Bob and Nadine Strauss got involved. People will recall that this husband and wife duo had a successful reign as promoters of Lakeport Speedway for many years. I had speculated that maybe it would take them coming in there to right the ship, and that appears to be the case.
One might have thought that maybe they would wait to open the gates on a weekend when Ukiah wasn't running, but that didn't happen. Then again, when is the right time to open up your track when it's been negotiating rough waters? Sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns. As Bob and Nadine have always been about community involvement, Lakeport Speedway and its racers were involved in the local parade that took place before the races were to happen.
I've seen the reports, and it appears as if they had a successful show. With the show going on in Ukiah, they still managed double digit car counts in both the Limited Modified and Bomber classes. It just goes to show you that the people in Lakeport want their race track and are rallying behind it. It'll still be hard work and one race at a time. However, they have a limited schedule booked, and I think they will be okay.
I like the idea that there was a working relationship between Lakeport and Ukiah, which I've always felt should be the case. You had Furia making this happen. There might be a fractured relationship between the two entities for now, but maybe that can change given some time? However, I have also come to understand something in my time in the sport, and it goes against the grand vision that so many of us have about track unity and working together.
In order for a race track to stay in business, you still have to think about your own best interests first. It sounds selfish, but if you're running a track and worrying about the other guys all the time, you're not taking care of your own business. That doesn't mean you make moves to screw over other places, but sometimes you're going to do something that might affect the other place in order to keep your own place going. If you don't run a strong program, there won't be anything there for other tracks to work with. I applaud the people at Lakeport Speedway for keeping the dream alive.
That's all for now. I almost accomplished my goal this week. I'm getting closer. Until next time...