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Sprint Cars Back At Antioch Speedway This Saturday Night
Antioch, CA...All Star Racing Series action continues this Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. The Winged 360 Sprint Cars are back as the championship battle begins to take shape. Also competing will be the A Modifieds, B Modifieds and the Dwarf Cars.
Last week saw the third point event of the season take place for the Winged 360 Sprint Cars, and the championship contenders are coming forward. It was the second win of the season for Billy Aton. Aton, who is a past Winged and Wingless champion at the speedway, won the big Civil War Series show, but he has missed a race, giving the other point runners a 40 point lead going into last week. Aton had a good mid race battle with Justin Bradway, who comes from the famous family of Sprint Car racing. Bradway would settle for second.
Past BCRA Midget Lites champion Bradley Dillard had a third place finish. He has now made all three point events and came into the night trailing Jacob Tuttle by 20 points. Tuttle won the heat race and finished fifth in the Main Event behind another of the championship contenders, Danny Wagner. Wagner, who is piloting the Dave Johnson owned car, seemed to be doing even better this time around. Two-time champion Art McCarthy didn't finish the Main Event last week. He came into the night just two points behind Tuttle. The standings are still reasonably close between Tuttle, McCarthy, Dillard and Wagner. Tim Burcher should be back this week, and it's possible there could be a few visitors from Petaluma as well.
Last time out, two-time A Modified champion Carl Berendsen II made a surprise appearance and won his first feature of the season. Berendsen became the seventh different winner in 11 races. Danny Wagner had one of his better outings with a heat race win and his sixth Top 3 finish in second. However, he gained little ground on point leader Buddy Kniss, who finished second in the heat and fourth in the Main Event. Roughly 30 points separate Kniss from Wagner as we head into August.
Sean O'Gara, who is a past Top 3 driver in championship points, had his season best finish in third last week after a battle with Kniss and Raymond Lindemann. Some of the other racers who could show up this week include Frank Furtado, Sean Wilson and Gary Hetrick. We have heard that Limited Late Model title contender Kimo Oreta will be there. With Petaluma Speedway not running this week, it's possible there could be a few visitors from there as well.
Last week, the B Modified championship race was broken wide open. Incoming point leader Tommy Fraser picked up a fourth place finish. With Brent Curran not showing up, Fraser has a commanding lead going into the night. In fact, Curran now has Kevin Brown and rookie Cameron Swank right with him in the battle for second. Brown led all but the final lap of the feature last week in finishing a career best second.
Brown was overtaken on the final lap by two-time reigning champion Trevor Clymens, who was getting his second win of the season. Trevor is the all time Main Event win leader in the class. Meanwhile, Mark Garner matched his season best effort with a third place finish and was not far behind in the battle for the win. Fifth ranked Tommy Clymens Jr had a respectable showing in fifth. Other drivers to watch for this week include Dennis Gilcrease, Tim Rolan and Joe Salvi.
Four-time winner and current point leader Scott Dahlgren had a non finish last week, but he was fortunately in a position where a bad night was not going to cost him the lead. Second ranked Devan Kammermann nonetheless took advantage of the opportunity with his second third place finish of the season. Kammermann has two seconds and a third in his last three starts, which is also keeping him ahead of Troy Stevenson Jr in a close battle for second in the standings. Stevenson has picked up four consecutive Top 5 finishes and was fourth last week.
Meanwhile, Travis Dutra returned to action and held off Toby Brown for his second win of the season. Brown set a rapid pace and was working slower traffic during the second half of the event. A heat race win earned earlier in the evening gave indication that Mike Corsaro is getting the bugs worked out of the Meat Wagon. Corsaro is the two-time reigning champion, and he could strike for a victory at anytime. David Rosa also did well by holding off son David Michael Rosa to finish fifth last week. These drivers should be there, and others to watch for include Mario Marques, Chris Becker and Timmy Ryan.
Saturday's linep offers four of the fastest divisions on the All Star Racing Series roster. It should be a good show. For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
Hammer Scores Thrilling First Career Win
At Antioch Speedway
Antioch, CA...July 27...Chad Hammer won his first career 20 lap All Star Racing Series Limited Late Model Main Event Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. Hammer charged into the lead at the start, followed by Jeff Kendrick. The lead two cars began to pull away from the pack, and Miike Gustafson had his hands full trying to hold off Jim Freethy and Kimo Oreta for third. A yellow flag on lap 11 bunched the field, and Freethy wasted little time getting around Kendrick for second. Freethy began to search for a way around Hammer, and Oreta moved into third on lap 17. On the 18th lap, Freethy got a run on the inside of Hammer as they went into Turns 1 and 2. However, Hammer made it work on the outside groove through Turns 3 and 4 and moved back ahead by the time the lap was completed. Hammer held off the pressure of Freethy on the final lap to score the crowd pleasing win. Freethy settled for second, followed by Oreta, Kendrick and Gustafson.
Billy Aton won the 20 lap Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event. This was the second win of the season for the 2016 champion. Justin Bradway set the early pace ahead of past BCRA Midget Lites champion Brad Dillard. Aton was battling Dillard for second as Bradway pulled away a little bit. A Turn 2 pass on the fifth lap gained Aton second, and a Jacob Tuttle spin in Turn 2 brought out a lap ten caution flag. Bradway continued to lead Aton on the restart, but an outside pass on the back stretch of the 13th lap put Aton into the lead. Aton began to pull away to the victory. Bradway settled for second, followed by Dillard, Danny Wagner and Tuttle.
Dan Gonderman won the 20 lap Wingless Spec Sprint Main Event. This was the first win of the season for the two-time division champion. 2015 champion Kyle Bakkie set the early pace, and Gonderman raced past Mackenzie Newton for second on lap 2. A low pass in Turn 2 of the sixth lap gained Gonderman the lead from Bakkie. Newton had her hands full with Rick Panfili trying to get around for the third position. Gonderman pulled away a little bit during the second half of the race for the impressive victory. Bakkie settled for second. Mackenzie Newton had a career best third place finish ahead of point leader Shannon Newton and Cameron Martin.
Two-time champion Carl Berendsen II won his first 20 lap A Modified Main Event of the season. Berendsen had the lead from the drop of the green flag ahead of Danny Wagner. Through three yellow flags, Berendsen continued to pull ahead and would win the race ahead of Wagner, Sean O'Gara, point leader Buddy Kniss and Raymond Lindemann.
Trevor Clymens won a thrilling 20 lap B Modified Main Event with a last lap pass. This was the second win of the season for the two-time reigning champion. Kevin Brown was the early leader ahead of Tommy Clymens Jr. Trevor Clymens passed his brother for second in Turn 2 of the sixth lap. The race had no yellow flags, and Trevor Clymens rapidly erased Brown's lead. After they took the white flag, Clymens got a run on the outside of Brown in Turns 1 and 2. They pulled even down the back straightaway, and Trevor Clymens carried his momentum out of the final turn to score the victory. Brown settled for second, followed by Mark Garner, point leader Tommy Fraser and Tommy Clymens Jr.
Travis Dutra won his second 20 lap Dwarf Car Main Event of the season. Dutra charged into the lead early on, and Devan Kammermann had a good battle going with Toby Brown for second during the first half of the race. Brown gained the position and set about reeling in Dutra. Dutra caught slower traffic during the second half of the race, and Brown closed in on him. However, Dutra made all the right moves in traffic and brought it home to a well earned victory. Brown settled for second, followed by Kammermann, Troy Stevenson Jr and David Rosa.
Racing resumes next Saturday night with the Winged 360 Sprint Cars back in action along with the A Modifieds, B Modifieds and Dwarf Cars. For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
Unofficial Race Results
All Star Series Antioch Speedway
Limited Late ModelsHeat Winner (8 laps)-Kimo Oreta. Main Event (20 laps)-Chad Hammer, Jim Freethy, Kimo Oreta, Jeff Kendrick, Mike Gustafson.
Winged 360 Sprint CarsHeat Winner (8 laps)-Jacob Tuttle. Main Event (20 laps)-Billy Aton, Justin Bradway, Brad Dillard, Danny Wagner, Jacob Tuttle.
Wingless Spec SprintsHeat Winner (8 laps)-Kyle Bakkie. Main Event (20 laps)-Dan Gonderman, Kyle Bakkie, Mackenzie Newton, Shannon Newton, Cameron Martin.
A ModifiedsHeat winner (8 laps)-Danny Wagner. Main Event (20 laps)-Carl Berendsen II, Danny Wagner, Sean O'Gara, Buddy Kniss, Raymond Lindemann.
B ModifiedsHeat Winners (8 laps)-Cameron Swank, Chris Sieweke. Main Event (20 laps)-Trevor Clymens, Kevin Brown, Mark Garner, Tommy Fraser, Tommy Clymens Jr.
Dwarf CarsHeat Winners (8 laps)-David Rosa, Mike Corsaro. Main Event (20 laps)-Travis Dutra, Toby Brown, Devan Kammermann, Troy Stevenson Jr, David Rosa.
22nd Annual Mike Cecil Memorial At Ocean Speedway
Watsonville, CA...This weekend, Ocean Speedway fans will get two nights of great racing on the quarter-mile clay oval. It's also a very special weekend as we remember the late Mike Cecil with the 22nd running of the Mike Cecil Memorial. The IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modified and Hobby Stocks will be competing for increased purses on Friday and Saturday night.
The Cecil family is legendary at Ocean Speedway. Jerry Cecil has written his name into the record book as the all time winner in the Sportsman division with four championships along the way. His son Mike Cecil raced Street Stocks throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. Mike won several races along the way and was a champion. He also picked up a win in the prestigious 100 lap Street Stock Main Event, which was a race he enjoyed. When he passed away, this race was named after him. As one of the nicest, most easygoing guys in the pits, Mike was well respected by his peers. This event has become a race that everybody wants to be a part of. There should be an increased field in all three divisions once again.
Because the field has grown in recent years, the Cecil family and Promoter John Prentice have gotten together and decided to make this a Friday and Saturday event this year. Extra money will be on the line in all three divisions with an emphasis on Saturday night's show. The IMCA Modifieds will pay $1,000 to win that night, while the IMCA Sport Modifieds pay $700 and the Hobby Stocks pay $600. This will be an event that will attract some of the top drivers from throughout the state. This weekend will be a huge opportunity for the drivers to shake things up in the championship battles.
The IMCA Modifieds will also have an All Star Series point race on Saturday. In the local battle, it's the Burke brothers leading the way. Reigning champion Cody Burke is a two-time winner, but he finds himself in a tie with brother Austin after eight events. We haven't seen Jim Pettit II mixing it up in a point race in a few seasons, but he's reminding everybody that he is still a factor as he trails by just four points. Pettit is also a one-time winner and should not be counted out in the quest for victory this weekend.
Local standouts such as many-time champion Bobby Hogge IV, Jeff Decker, Robert Marsh, Brian Cass and Anthony Copeland will be hoping to make a big statement this weekend. When it comes to the money races, it can be very difficult to beat Hogge, who has three victories to his credit so far at Watsonville. Two top drivers expected to come to town this week are past Watsonville champion Nick DeCarlo and Merced point leader Troy Foulger. Foulger leads the battle at Merced in the Bowers Racing Modified, and both drivers have a win at Watsonville this year. IMCA Modified fans will want to be in Watsonville this weekend.
The IMCA Sport Modifieds have been fielding some of the biggest counts at Watsonville this year. At the head of the pack, the surprising Jarrod Mounce leads Adriane Frost in the battle. These two as well as third ranked Guy Ahlwardt are double winners so far this year, but Ahlwardt was recently forced to make a choice between Watsonville and Merced and chose Merced, dropping him 36 points back in the battle. Ahlwardt is also the State point leader. Mounce has an eight point advantage over Frost coming into the night.
Last time out, Bakersfield star Kevin Johnson scored the victory as he ranks among the Top 10 drivers at Watsonville and second in the State. There will be a few surprises in the field this week as everybody wants to come to town to claim the glory. Dennis Simunovich, Todd Gomez and Merced point leader Fred Ryland are also feature winners in Watsonville this year who have their eyes on the glory this week. There will be some top drivers from all over to do battle with local stars such as Justin McPherson, Max Baggett, Charlie Hunter and Steven Allee.
The purse money may be bigger in the other classes, but in some ways the Hobby Stock division really is the headliner. They are the spiritual successors to the Street Stock division that had been featured for years at this event, and the division has recently been having an 80 lap Main Event on this occasion. We haven't seen what the lap count plans are for Saturday's show, but we do expect top drivers to come to town from Merced and elsewhere to make a run at the victory.
When they get there, two-time champion and current point later Rob Gallaher will present a formidable challenge. Gallaher has been fast this season as he has scored four wins and leads his father, Joe Gallaher, by 22 points. DJ Keldsen is also in the hunt, 47 points out and one ahead a past champion Wally Kennedy. JC Elrod is not chasing points and has actually started racing an IMCA Modified a little this year, but he still has three Hobby Stock wins to his credit, while Jerry Skelton and reigning champion Matt Kile have also scored wins. Some of the local stars to watch for this week include Nick Triolo, Bobby Huckaby Jr, Bobby Huckaby Sr, Tony Oliveira and Ryan Muller.
This Friday and Saturday will be a special occasion as we remember one of the all-time greats of Street Stock racing at Watsonville. Car count will be bigger than usual and the racing will be top notch. For further information, go to www.racepmg.com.
Kaeding Grabs Fourth Sprint Car Victory At Ocean Speedway
Watsonville, CA...July 26...Bud Kaeding won the 30 lap Taco Bravo Sprint Car Main Event Friday night at Ocean Speedway. This was the fourth win of the season for the current point leader aboard the Brent Kaeding owned Sprint Car.
Kaeding finished second to Koen Shaw in the six lap Trophy Dash, giving him the outside front row starting position for the Main Event. It was Kaeding racing into the lead at the start, followed by Shaw and Justin Sanders. Kaeding led through an early yellow flag, but Shaw made a move past Kaeding for the lead on lap six. Shaw continued to lead the way as the leaders came up on slower traffic. Kaeding made a move to regain the lead on lap 18 with Justin Sanders following closely into second. Reigning champion Brad Furr took over third on lap 20, and Sanders saw his second place run come to an end for a lap 29 yellow flag. Kaeding continued to lead Furr for on the restart, and they finished that way. Shaw settled for third, follow by Joel Myers, Jason Chisum, Cole Macedo, Steven Kent, Jerry Bonnema, Kurt Nelson and Jayson Bright.
There were 22 Sprint Cars, and Furr set the quickest time of 11.689 on the quarter-mile clay oval, beating the 11.981 effort of Landon Hurst. Eight lap heat race wins we're earned by Furr, Jeremy Chisum and Sanders.
Kevin Johnson won his first 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event of the season. Adriane Frost raced into the early lead ahead of Justin McPherson, and a yellow flag flew on lap three. Johnson was running in fourth at the time and jumped into second behind Frost on the restart. Johnson begin to pressure Frost for the lead and finally made his winning move on lap seven. Jarrod Mounce gained second on lap nine. Johnson would lead the rest of the way ahead of Mounce for the 1-2 finish. State point leader Guy Ahlwardt took third on lap 15 and finished there. Frost settled for fourth, followed by Randy Miller, previous winner Dennis Simunovich, McPherson, Kelly Campanile, Steven Allee and Scott Savell. Mounce and Frost won the eight lap heat races.
JC Elrod won his third 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event of the season. DJ Keldsen set the early pace ahead of two-time champion Terry Campion. A lap three restart saw Elrod move into the second position, and he began pressuring Keldsen for the lead. Keldsen ran strong at the front of the pack until Elrod finally made his move on lap 15. Point leader Rob Gallaher briefly took the lead from Elrod on lap 16, but Elrod charged back ahead a lap later. Nick Triolo slipped into second on lap 18, but Elrod would go on to score the victory. Rob Gallaher settled for third, follow by Jerry Skelton, Campion, Keldsen, Joe Gallaher and six-time champion Sam Kennedy. The eight lap heat race win went to Triolo.
John Grilli won the15 lap Mini Stock Main Event. This was the third win of the season for Grilli, who is the top rookie in the field this year. Incoming point leader and reigning champion Kate Beardsley finished second, followed by Jeff Finsand, Nicole Beardsley, heat race winner Dakota Keldsen, Ray Bunn, Bill Beardsley and Ryan McClelland.
Jesse Mueller won the 15 lap Police N Pursuit Main Event. Mueller is representing the California Highway Patrol. In the early laps, point leader John Hohmann of the Scott's Valley Police Department set the pace with Mueller running in second. Mueller made his winning pass on lap nine and led the rest of the way for the win. Hohmann settled for second, followed by California Highway Patrolman Justin Rhodes, Kyle Dorris, Roy Iler, Dan Anderson, AJ Waltrip, Adam Rikalo, Steven Fernandes and Tony Weir. Eight lap heat race wins went to Hohmann and Rhodes.
Next weekend will be another big two-day event at the speedway. It's the 22nd Annual Mike Cecil Memorial Race, taking place on Friday and Saturday night. The Hobby Stocks will be there along with the IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds. All divisions will be racing for an increase purse. For further information, go to www.racepmg.com.
Sprint Car Challenge Comes To Merced Speedway
Merced, CA...Racing fans are in for a treat this Saturday night at Merced Speedway. The premier Winged 360 Sprint Car Series is coming to town. This will be the only appearance of the Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Tour, presented by Abreu Vineyards. Some of the top drivers on the circuit will be testing their luck on the fast, quarter-mile clay oval. Joining them will be the Mini Stocks and the California Sharp Mini Late Models.
This marks the tenth event for the tour at their sixth different track of the season. It's been a wide open battle with only two repeat winners so far. Shane Golobic won the most recent event at the Stockton Dirt Track, making him a two-time winner. Giovanni Scelzi was a big winner at the Asparagus Cup in Stockton, and his two victories there earned him a $25,000 payday. Other winners this year include many-time Sprint Car champion Andy Forsberg, Rico Abreu, DJ Netto, Justin Sanders and Chase Johnson.
With the big money being offered by the sponsorship of the series, racers are competing not just for big purse money but a tidy sum from the championship point fund. The consistent Tim Kaeding and Kyle Hirst have a good battle going at the top of the list. Kaeding holds a slim three point advantage so far. Hirst has won the past two championships on the tour, but both drivers are still looking for their first win of the season. Both drivers have earned two season best third place finishes. It serves to show how tough it is to get a win on this tour that these two drivers will be looking to get their first wins on Saturday night.
Tony Gualda has shown his toughness this year after a couple of crashes at Placerville and Tulare. He has been resilient and returned the following week after each misfortune, and he currently ranks third in the standings, 32 points behind Kaeding. Only five points behind him is multi-time Chico champion Sean Becker. Kyle Offill is 10 points ahead of Shane Golobic in another close battle for fifth. A field of somewhere in the area of 30 cars is anticipated, and some of the stars to watch for this week include Colby Copeland, Cole Macedo, Justyn Cox and Kalib Henry.
Last weekend, Lee Ragsdale continued his quest to win the Mini Stock championship as he picked up his first feature win of the season. This was no gimme as he had to hold off two-time winner Shawn DePriest to earn the honors. Ragsdale holds a slim nine point advantage over one-time winner Lucy Falkenberg. Both drivers have been fast and consistent this year. Ragsdale has all Top 5 finishes in his six starts, while Falkenberg has only missed the Top 5 once.
Only 35 points out of the lead is another one-time winner, Jennifer Rodgers. She finds herself in a close battle to hold onto third with rookie Shayla Gould only nine points behind her in fourth. 18 points back is Tyler Post. All five of these hard chargers are anticipated this week along with Jerry Tubbs, Austin Sprague and three-time champion Chris Corder.
Timmy Crews continues to lead the way in the California Sharp Mini Late Model class. There have been eight different cars in the field this year as others have been joining the action, but the wins have been going to reigning champion Crews. He now has four wins in his six starts, giving him a 28 point lead over the consistent Logan Clay. Though Clay matches Crews with all Top 5 finishes, he is still looking for his first win of the season. Carson Guthrie was the most recent winner, but he is a distant fourth. Riley Jeppesen is only 17 points behind Clay in third and counts himself as a one-time winner. Other racers to watch for this week include Jeremiah Enriquez, Kennzzie Brown, Kaylin Lopez and Ian Shearer.
Merced Speedway hasn't had a long history of offering up big Sprint Car shows, but that's something General Manager Doug Lockwood would like to change. Fans are in for a treat this Saturday night with the first ever visit of the Sprint Car Challenge Tour. It is sure to be an exciting show. For further information, go to www.mercedspeedway.net.
Dalby Rebounds From Penalty For USAC Midget Win
At Merced Speedway
Merced, CA...July 27...Robert Dalby won the 30 lap USAC Western States Midgets Main Event Saturday night at Merced Speedway. Dalby becomes the fifth different winner in six races. After being found with an illegal muffler, Dalby was forced to start last in the 16 car Main Event. As Dalby worked his way to the front of the pack, Jake Swanson was the early leader. Maria Cofer settled into second, but she briefly took the lead from Swanson on lap six. Swanson reclaimed the lead from Cofer on lap eight. By lap 20, Dalby had found his way into second, and he slipped past Swanson for the lead on lap 23. Dalby would lead the rest of the way for the win with Swanson settling for second. Cory Elliott finished third, followed by David Prickett, Cofer, Alex Schutte, Ben Worth, Troy Morris III, Terry Nichols and Marvin Mitchell.
In qualifying, Schutte blistered the quarter-mile clay oval with a new track record lap of 12.421. Swanson won the first 10 lap heat race ahead of Kyle Beilman. Dalby outran Worth to win the other heat.
Troy Foulger won the 25 lap IMCA Modified Main Event. It was his fourth win of the season as he continued to increase his point lead aboard the Bowers Racing owned Modified. Foulger worked his way up from the fifth row and would thrill the crowd with a close battle with IMCA State point leader Trevor Fitzgibbon for the victory. Reigning champion Darrell Hughes II came from 12th starting to finish third, follow by Ryan Porter, Austin Burke, Alex Stanford, Tim Balding, Ramie Stone, Watsonville point leader Cody Burke and Jesse James Burks. Eight lap heat race wins went to Foulger, Stone and Ryan Larimer. Brian Pearce won the 12 lap B Main ahead of Derek Nance and Justin Villanueva.
Dwayne Short won his second-straight 20 lap Valley Sportsman Main Event. After winning the eight lap heat race, point leader Rick Elliott had the pole for the Main Event and briefly had the lead before being overtaken by Short. Short went on to victory with Elliott settling for second, followed by Jeff West, Gary Hildebrand, Mike Friesen and reigning champion Jerry Cecil.
Lee Ragsdale scored his first 15 lap Mini Stock Main Event win of the season. Ragsdale is the current point leader, and he charged into the lead from the pole. Two-time winner Shawn DePriest provided the pressure later in the race, but Ragsdale would prevail at the checkered flag. Lucy Falkenberg finished third, follow by Tyler Post, Austin Sprague, Jerry Tubbs, Shayla Gould and Jennifer Rodgers. DePriest won the eight lap heat race.
Next Saturday night, Merced Speedway will feature the Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Tour, presented by Abreu Vineyards. Joining the exciting Winged 360 Sprint Car program will be the Mini Stocks and the California Sharp Mini Late Models. For further information, go to www.mercedspeedway.net.
Johnson, Bell, Machado Win At Petaluma Speedway
Petaluma, CA...July 27...Colby Johnson won the 25 lap PitStopUSA.com Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Petaluma Speedway. It was Johnson's second-straight win as he climbs his way back into championship contention. Johnson led the race at the start, trailed by point leader John Clark. Only a lap eight yellow flag slowed the race, but Johnson continued to set a rapid pace on the restart. Johnson built a commanding lead by the time the checkered flag waved. Clark enjoyed his best finish of the season in second, followed by Shawn Arriaga, Brent Bjork, Nathan Schank, Joel Myers Jr, Nick Robfogel and Brett Rollag, Johnson recorded the clean sweep with a fast time of 13.312 and an eight lap heat race win. Myers was the other heat winner.
Angelique Bell picked up the win in the 25 lap PitStopUSA.com Wingless Spec Sprint Main Event. This was the first win of the season for the current point leader, and she benefited from the bad luck of the two previous leaders of the race. Looking for his fourth win of the season, Bradley Terrell charged into the lead at the start. Reigning champion Shayna Sylvia slipped past Sparky Howard for the second position on lap four. Terrell and Sylvia pulled away from the pack, but Terrell's run up front ended for a lap 15 yellow flag. Sylvia held the lead ahead of Bell on the restart. On lap 18, Sylvia saw her run come to an end for a yellow flag. Bell held the lead on the restart ahead of Dennis Furia Jr. Howard moved into second a lap later and took up pursuit of Bell. However, Bell would not be denied is she scored the victory, followed by Howard, Seth Wilson, Tony Bernard, Scott Chapeta, Bob Davis, Jessica Walker, Keith Calvio, Furia and Sylvia. Terrell set the quickest time of 11.958, and the eight lap heat race wins went to Terrell and Howard.
Point leader Mitch Machado recorded his seventh 25 lap Lumberjacks Restaurant Super Stock Main Event win of the season. The race was destined to go non-stop, and two-time champion Matt While led early. Machado moved past Shawn McCoy for second on lap two, and the lead two cars began to pull away from a good four car battle for the third position. Gary Adams moved into fourth lap 13 as Machado begin to put the pressure on While for the lead. As they worked lap 19, Machado finally made his winning pass. At the same time, Adams slipped past McCoy for the third position. Machado pulled away just a little bit and scored the win. While settled for second, followed by Adams, McCoy, Steve Studebaker, Danny Naron, Manny Avila, Sid Hess, Austin Ohlinger and Tim O'Hara. Eight lap heat race wins were earned by Studebaker and Machado.
Kevin Miraglio won the 20 lap General Hydroponics Redwood Dwarf Car Main Event. He becomes the fifth different winner in as many point races. The race had eight yellow flags. Mark Hanson led at the start, but he surrendered the lead to Miraglio on a lap four restart. Point leader Chad Matthias followed into second, but Hanson regained second on lap seven. Miraglio kept his cool through three yellow flags during the final 10 laps and brought it home to a satisfying win. Hanson held second until being passed by reigning champion Scooter Gomes on the final lap. Hansen settled for third, followed by Matt Hagermann, John Peters, Matthias, Danny Marsh, Adam Johnson, Mike Affonso and Jamie Faulkner. There were 25 competitors, and the eight lap heat race wins were earned by Hanson, Robert Kocinski, Marcus Hardina and Matthias.
After a one week break, action resumes on August 10th with the Annual IMCA Modified Top Dog Nationals event. Also competing will be the PitStopUSA.com Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Lumberjack's Restaurant Super Stocks and Santa Rosa Auto Body 600 Micros. For further information, go to www.petaluma-speedway.com.
Third Annual Wingless Sprint Car Challenge
At Southern Oregon Speedway
White City, Oregon...After the one week break, Southern Oregon Speedway comes back with a big event this Saturday night. This is the Third Annual Cascade Wingless Sprint Car Challenge race, presented by Herz Precision Parts. This begins a string of big races at the speedway throughout the month as the winner will collect a $3,500 paycheck. Joining the Sprint Cars on the program will be the Late Models, Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars, Valley Store All Late Model Lites and OTRO Hardtops.
Wingless Sprint Car racing is popular in California and throughout the country. However, there haven't been too many big events for the class in Oregon. Promoter Mike McCann decided to change that with the introduction of this race in 2017. The lure of the money brought the team of car owner Ted Finkenbinder and his driver Geoff Ensign. The duo have left the speedway these past two seasons with the $3,500 prize, and they enter this weekend as the team to beat.
Last season, past Antioch and Petaluma Speedway Winged Sprint Car champion Shawn Arriaga had a good showing for several laps before contacting the front wall and flipping out of second. Arriaga hopes to challenge Ensign this time. Also returning is Cody Fendley, who finished second in the show two years ago to earn $1,500. Some of top drivers from Oregon, including Lindsay Barney, Lance Hallmark, Guy Weedman, Tim Alberding, Jonathan Joregenson and Mark Herz, will be battling with Californian's such as Petaluma Speedway champion Shayna Sylvia, Steve Hix, Ryan Stolz, Jeremy Wilson and Ricky Brophy.
The question of whether any of the local stars has what it takes to take their wings off and make a run for the money has been answered. Late word is that 2018 Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car "Rookie Of The Year" Blaine Corey has a ride and will competing in this big show.
Trent Elliott looked impressive in scoring a clean sweep victory two weeks ago. Elliott continues to hold a decent lead over Darren Coffell in the Late Model championship battle. Coffell is one of four different winners so far. He managed a second place finish last time out. Though the two drivers from Northern Oregon may be the ones to beat, local standout Dave Everson is making waves lately. Following his second-straight third place finish, Everson has taken hold of third in the standings. Some people are saying the 2013 Pro Stock champion may be the one to beat the two Late Model heavyweights.
Seven-time IMCA Modified champion Mark Wauge was another racer being touted as a contender, but he suffered his second straight mechanical failure last time, in this case a blown motor. Wauge has gone back to the drawing board to try and get his effort situated. Some of the stars to watch for this week include Miles Deubert, Dave Foote, 2017 champion Nathan Augustine, 2016 champion Bob Dees, and Eric Massey.
After claiming his third Southern Oregon Dwarf Car championship last season, Josh King is showing no signs of slowing down. King picked up a clean sweep victory last time out as he is in the thick of the championship battle. Last weekend, he had a strong showing with a victory on Friday night at Grays Harbor, making it five different tracks that he's won at so far this year.
Camden Robustelli and Brock Peters are two other winners on the circuit with their sites set on the win this weekend. The competition level is high with over 20 competitors showing up on average to the Dwarf Car races, and some of the stars to look for this week include Chad Cardoza, Jesse Lorentz, Kalvin Morton, Ryan Smith, Mason Lewman and ageless veteran Fred Hay.
Greg Arnold served notice to the rest of the competition in the Valley Store All Late Model Lites class that he is making a serious bid for the championship. Arnold turned in a rather impressive performance in winning his second Main Event of the season last time out. He took the point lead from reigning champion Charlie Eaton, but this figures to be a battle that will go down to the wire. All time division feature win leader Terry Hadley is back in competition and could be a factor this week. Others to watch for include Ross Payant, Krista Hadley, Jim Cunningham and Eric Aos.
The OTRO Hardtops have been having a good year with more competitors showing up than the previous two seasons. Last time out, it was Dan Fouts driving the Dusty Trotter Sedan to victory. He snapped the two-race win streak of Dean Cast in the process. These two drivers could be the ones to beat, but some of the standouts to watch for this week include Mark Minter, Bill Trotter, Jay Smith, Brian Weberg II and Chris Mehrer.
Southern Oregon racing fans don't get to see much Wingless 360 Sprint Car racing, and the prize money will bring some top notch talent this Saturday night for what should be a packed five division program. Gates will open it 5 p.m. with the first race starting at 7 p.m. General Admission Adults are $15. Senior 62+, Veterans and Juniors (7-12) are $10. Children 6 and under our free. For further information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.
Outlaw Pro Stocks Invade Coos Bay Speedway Saturday Night
Coos Bay, Oregon...Coos Bay Speedway has several special events sprinkled throughout the season, and this Saturday night is another one of those. The Calculated Comfort Outlaw Pro Stock Association will come to town to do battle with the local NASCAR Sportsman Late Model class. It is K&N Engineering Fan Appreciation Night at the speedway, and the loaded program will also include the Americas Mattress Super Late Models, Winged Sprint Cars, Street Stocks, Hornets, Mini Outlaws and Junior Stingers.
The last time the Outlaw Pro Stock Association came to town, it was two-time series champion Dr Scott Lenz scoring the win. Winning is nothing new to Lenz. He has picked up seven wins in his eight starts. Lenz holds a decent point lead over perennial championship contender Scott Flowers, and both drivers are anticipated this week. 2016 Pro Stock champion Steve Borror snapped the Lenz winning streak with his recent victory in Yreka. The Pro Stocks have some top notch competitors, including Bryan Hammond, Matt Harlow, James Flowers, John David Duffie and Kenneth LaPlant.
The driver to beat in Sportsman Late Model competition is Braden Fugate. Fugate has won eight of the nine events held so far and leads Mike Taylor by 20 points. Taylor is the other feature winner. With the visitors coming in from the Pro Stock ranks, Taylor has a golden opportunity to gain valuable ground on Fugate should his rival have any problems this Saturday. Other drivers to watch for include Garrett Smith, Tom Williams and Jared Simmons.
The battle continues in the Super Late Model class. Preston Luckman is the only driver with all Top 5 finishes in his nine starts, and he also has three wins. Reigning champion Brody Montgomery is also a three-time winner with eight Top 5 five efforts. Luckman holds a 26 point advantage going into Saturday night. Wayne Butler is holding onto third in the standings, which is still worth a respectable some of point fund money at season's end. Thor Kristensen is 46 points back in fourth, just two points ahead of 2015 champion Toby McIntyre. These five are anticipated this week along with Chris Kristensen, Deven Brown and double division racer Mike Taylor.
Consistency has been serving Donovan Prather well in the Winged Sprint Car class. Prather and reigning champion Brett Hulsey are the only drivers with three Top 5 finishes, and Prather holds a six point lead. Austin Sause is just eight points back in third. Brett Hulsey and 2017 champion Lawrence Van Hoof are the winners so far, and Van Hoof has two victories. Others to watch for this weekend include Ricky Hulsey and Kyle Oaks, and you never know who might stop by.
Steve Dubisar has picked up seven wins as he commands the Street Stock championship battle. At this point, Dubisar is getting tuned up for the Third Annual Iron Giant Street Stock Battle At The Beach event on August 24th. Sam Talon holds second, but he is still looking for his first win in this division. Others to watch for this week include reigning champion Ken Fox, Peyton Reigard, David Smith and Leroy Rockwell.
Hannah Robison has returned to her spot at the top of the Hornet point list. She managed this after scoring her division leading fifth feature win last time out. Robison now leads Ray Marshall by just two points, reigning champion Tyler Tullos by 16 and Steven Parker by 18. Tullos is a two-time winner this season. These four figure to be the drivers to beat this week, but others to watch for include the rapidly improving Gabrielle Boles, Kris Parker, Alyssa Johnson and Dusty Shingleton.
In the Mini Outlaw ranks, two-time reigning champion Sam Talon holds a commanding lead as the only winner of all eight events. Jason Kellam holds second by just 14 points over Dan Daniels. These three drivers are anticipated this week, and others to watch for include Bob Oliver, Hunter Berrier and Rob Lauver.
The Junior Stinger division is designed to bring new, young drivers into the fold at the speedway. The 11-14 year old competitors drive Hornets, and reigning champion Griff Smith has been head and shoulders above the rest with six wins and a 12 point advantage over Alex Butler coming into the night. Smith got an opportunity to compete against the regular Hornet drivers last week and impressed with a third place finish. He's just about ready to graduate to the next level. Some of the drivers to watch for this week include James Shingleton, Drake Vincent and Tegan Montgomery.
It's K&N Engineering Fan Appreciation Night as the speedway thanks the fans for their support. The fans will get to see a bigger show than usual with the local Sportsman Late Model stars going head to head with the Outlaw Pro Stock drivers. With virtually every division on the Coos Bay Speedway roster in action, this will be a show you won't want to miss. For further information, go to www.coosbayspeedway.us.
Van Hoof, Montgomery Win At Coos Bay Speedway
Coos Bay, Oregon...July 27...Lawrence Van Hoof won the 20 lap Winged Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Coos Bay Speedway. This was the second win of the season for the 2017 champion. Van Hoof ran second behind Austin Sause for 11 laps before making the move into the lead. Van Hoof led the final 10 laps for the win. Sause settled for second, followed by Donovan Prather, reigning champion Brett Hulsey, David Marble and Ricky Hulsey. Van Hoof also won the five lap Trophy Dash, and Sause won the eight lap heat race.
Reigning champion Brody Montgomery rebounded from a disappointing showing on Tidal Wave Weekend by winning the 25 lap America's Mattress NASCAR Super Late Model Main Event. This was the third win of the season for Montgomery, who entered the night second in the championship race. 2015 champion Toby McIntyre led two laps before Montgomery moved into the lead. Point leader Preston Luckman settled into second a lap later. Montgomery was never able to pull too far ahead of Luckman, but he nonetheless collected a much needed victory. McIntyre settled for third, followed by Wayne Butler, Mike Taylor, Trina Post and Thor Kristensen. Montgomery also outran Luckman to win the five lap Trophy Dash, but Luckman and McIntyre were the eight lap heat race winners.
Braden Fugate won the 20 lap Sportsman Late Model Main Event. This was the eighth win in nine starts for the current point leader. Fugate had the pole for the Main Event and led 10 laps before Jared Simmons surprised him by taking the lead. Simmons' run at the front of the pack was short lived as Fugate regained the lead on lap 13. Fugate went on to victory with Simmons finishing second ahead of Garrett Smith and Mike Taylor. Taylor won the five lap Trophy Dash and the eight lap heat race.
Hannah Robison took a step towards regaining the Hornet point lead with a 25 lap Main Event victory. This was the fifth win of the season for Robison. She started on the pole and led the race from flag to flag. Alyssa Johnson held second for the first seven laps before Gabrielle Boles raced by for the position. Boles held second until being passed on lap 17 by reigning champion Tyler Tullos. Tullos pressured Robison hard down the stretch, but Robison kept her cool for the popular victory. Junior Stinger point leader Griff Smith made his Hornets debut with a third place finish, followed by Boles, Johnson, Tracy Fugate, Austin Andor, Peyton Reigard, Steven Parker and incoming point leader Ray Marshall. Robison won the five lap Trophy Dash, and the eight lap heat race wins went to Tullos and Reigard.
Point leader Steve Dubisar won his seventh 15 lap Street Stock Main Event of the season. Dubisar also won the five lap Trophy Dash and eight lap heat race with reigning champion Ken Fox finishing second in all three races.
Sam Talon won the 20 lap Mini Outlaw Main Event. Talon has won all eight races so far as he has a huge point lead. Dan Daniels placed second ahead of Hunter Berrier. Talon also won the five lap Trophy Dash and eight lap heat race.
Griff Smith won the 15 lap Junior Stinger Main Event. He was followed by Alex Butler and Teagan Montgomery. Smith also won the five lap Trophy Dash and eight lap heat race.
Racing returns next Saturday with another full slate of NASCAR Whelen All American Series action as part of K&N Fan Appreciation Night. This will be the Second Annual Outlaw Pro Stock Challenge, pitting the local Sportsman Late Models against the Calculated Comfort Outlaw Pro Stocks. The America's Mattress Super Late Models will be there along with the Street Stocks, Mini Outlaws, Hornets, Junior Stingers and the Winged Sprint Cars. For further information, go to www.coosbayspeedway.us.
Pure Stocks, Wingless Spec Sprints Highlight
Orland Raceway Show This Saturday
Orland, CA...Coming off of the big Ladies Night event last time, Orland Raceway enters August with another exciting five division show. The popular Pure Stocks are back and have been giving the fans plenty of reason to get excited. Joining them this week will be the Wingless Spec Sprints, Mini Stocks, 600 Micros and 250 Wingless Micros.
Phil Spencer seemed to be cruising right along in the Pure Stock point lead, but his luck has taken a bad turn with two-straight non feature finishes. Last time out, Spencer won his heat race and was running along in the Top 3 in the Main Event when problems sent him to the pits. Championship rival Keith Ross seized the opportunity to gain some valuable ground. Ross started deep in the 18 car field and took a checkered flag in fourth. The championship battle is very close between Spencer and Ross going into this race.
Wes Smock continues to be the driver to beat in recent weeks. Last time out, the past Orland champion scored his fourth feature win in just six starts. Smock has missed some races and comes into the night ranked sixth behind third ranked Steve Martin, reigning champion Paul Stephens and John Camper. The six frontrunners in the standings are anticipated this week. Coming off of his second place finish last time out, 2017 champion Jeremy Langenderfer should make things interesting. Other drivers to watch for include Thomas Pavlik, James Taylor and Maurice Merrill.
The Wingless Spec Sprint division continuous to be led by the consistent Denny McNary. Past champion Tony Richards may have figured to be the driver to beat as he has won many races at the speedway through the years. Mechanical issues kept him from starting the season opener, and he been trying to make up the difference ever since.
Following his third place finish last time out, McNary still has a decent lead on Richards, who won yet again. McNary was lucky he was not eliminated in the same crash that sent past champion Josh Jacobo and RJ Baker to the pits. He managed his third place finish behind a season best second for Cort Marchuk. There has been some close racing in the pack in this division all season long.
Tom Davis may be the driver to beat in the Mini Stock division, though he was beat last time out by Paul Stephens. Davis has found the going pretty good on the road with recent wins at both Susanville and Hayfork. He holds command in the Mini Stock championship race and will again be the driver to beat. Some of the drivers looking to take him down a peg this week could include past champion John Kirkpatrick, Jason Libbee, Barbara Crain and Jeremy Langenderfer.
Mike McCarthy and Lester Elsey continue to run at the head of the pack in the 250 Wingless Micro class and could be the drivers to beat this week. Past champion Jeromie Crismon, Tony Alosi and Colby Grieg are three drivers to watch for this week in the 600 Micro class.
With Spec Sprints and Pure Stocks in action this week, there should be a good show once again in Orland. The track has one of the best Pure Stock classes your going to find anywhere in the state. For further information, go to the Orland Raceway Facebook page.
McDonald Wins Street Stock Smackdown
At Douglas County Speedway
Roseburg, Oregon...July 27...Greg McDonald won the 50 lap Third Annual Iron Giant Street Stock Smackdown race at Douglas County Speedway. The race was led much of the way by local point leader John Dumire before McDonald made his winning move. McDonald, Chris West and Erik Jarnport ran closely down the stretch before finishing in that order. Dumire was the final lead lap finisher in fourth, followed by Chris Sims, James John, Larree McDonald, Jeff Marson, April Hillyard and Jesse Yankee. Eight lap heat race wins were earned by West, Rob McCombs and Dale Roth. McCombs also picked up the four lap Trophy Dash win.
Tom Ford earned his second 30 lap PRA Sport Modified Main Event win of the season. Ford is the point leader, and he picked up the win ahead of Kaleb Watson, Brad Watson and reigning Street Stock champion Jeff Solberg. Jamie Britton finished a lap down in fifth, followed by Ben Nunnes, John Harvey, Tom Durant, Pete Tyree and Blake Harvey. Ford also set the fast time of 15.914, but Solberg was the four lap Trophy Dash winner. Eight lap heat race wins were earned by Ford and Durant.
Michael Kennerly won the 25 lap PRA Hornets Main Event. This was the third-straight win for Kennerly, but he gained little ground on point leader Richard Dickenson, who finished not too far behind him in second. Chris Lemon, Zachary Asumendi and Paul Corbett were the final lead lap finishers in order. Ron Johnson placed sixth, followed by Matt Schoenporn, Tyler Organ, Bart Pulse and Dylan Grichar. The Hornets also got the opportunity to qualify on the clock with Kennerly setting the fast time of 19.160. Burnie Bryant picked up four lap Trophy Dash honors with the eight lap heat race wins going to Bryant, Paul Corbett and Sarah Hickman.
The track will stay dark for a month before the big August 24th North State Modified Shootout And School Supply Giveaway event. Joining the Modifieds will be the PRA Hardtops, Hornets and Tough Trucks. The event will be presented by A&M Trucking. For further information, go to www.douglascountyspeedway.com.
Moles A Double Winner At Dixon Speedway
Dixon, CA...July 26...Mitchell Moles won both the 25 lap Wingless 600 Micro and Super 600 Micro Main Events Friday night at Dixon Speedway. Moles is currently the Wingless 600 Micro point leader at both Plaza Park and Lemoore.
Moles had a front row start for the Wingless Micro Main Event and led the race from the outset. There were three yellow flags, but Moles maintained his lead over Austin Stone on each restart to score the victory. Austin Torgerson was a race long third. Kyle Mentch finished fourth, followed by Derek Patterson, Norman Harley Rose, Taylor DeCarlo, Bret Irvine, Ryan Holden and Brandon Shaw.
Moles also led every lap to win the Super 600 Main Event. Previous winner Blake Bower finished a straightaway behind in second, followed by Ethan Lesser, Jessica McManus, point leader Kyle Mentch and Brandon Sampson.
Moles set the quickest time in the Super 600 class with a lap of 10.926 on the 1/5 mile dirt oval. He also had the quickest lap in Wingless competition with a 10.926 effort. Moles won virtually every event he started, including the four lap Super 600 Trophy Dash, the six lap Wingless 600 Trophy Dash and 10 lap heat races in both classes. The second Wingless 600 heat race win was earned by Rose.
Gauge Garcia won the 20 lap Restricted Micro Sprint Main Event. Garcia is the Restricted point leader at Plaza Park. Matthew Tatoole set the pace for the first 11 laps. Garcia was running third when a lap ten yellow flag waved. On the restart, Garcia took second from Austin Wood. Garcia took the lead from Tatoole on lap 12, but Tatoole's run came to an end moments later for the final yellow flag of the race. Garcia led the restart ahead of Izaac Sharp. Garcia continued to pull away from the pack and won by nearly a straightaway. Sharp held second until his race ended with mechanical problems on the 19th lap. Hailey Wood finished second, followed by Ashton Torgerson, Dalton Parreira, Brandon Streuter, Sage Bordenave, Austin Taborski, Josh Pierson, Rylee Whitehouse and Sharp. Tatoole set the fast time of 11.045 and also won the the six lap Trophy Dash. Eight lap heat race wins were earned by Sharp and Streuter.
Jet Barnes won the 20 lap Junior Sprint Main Event. Barnes is the current point leader at Lemoore Raceway. Kyle Fernandez had the pole and raced into the early lead ahead of Barnes. Barnes kept it close until making the winning pass on lap 12. Barnes led the rest of the way with Fernandez not too far behind in second. Colton Key held off point leader Makayla Tatoole to finish third as Hayden Stepps, Peyton Whitehouse and Brody Rubio completed the fishing order. Fernandez set the fast time of 13.102 with Barnes picking up the four lap Trophy Dash win and the eight lap heat race triumph.
Racing continues on August 10th with a full compliment of Micro Sprint divisions. For further information, go to www.dixonspeedway.net.
Donna Soares Memorial Hall Of Fame Night
At Antioch Speedway October 5th
Antioch, CA...In October, Antioch Speedway has a special event to close the 2019 championship point season. It comes a week before the big $12,000 to win A Modified show. On October 5th, Antioch Speedway will remember Donna Soares with the first Memorial race in her honor. Competing divisions will include a $1,500 to win A Modified race, DIRTcar Late Models, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Bay Area Hardtops. Furthermore, this will be Hall of Fame night at the speedway where a group of 15 individuals will be inducted into the track's Hall of Fame.
Donna Soares was the wife of Promoter John M Soares. The two had been married for 50 years, and when Oval Motorsports was formed to promote Antioch Speedway prior to the 1998 season, Donna was the one who ran the front office. She was very much John's partner throughout his storied racing career. She passed away last October.
Donna was a popular person among the racers at the speedway, and many people made it a point to go into the office just to say hi to her and enjoy a good conversation. She was the one who kept things running in the office while John was busy with track preparation and other duties. She is truly missed by the racers at Antioch Speedway, and this night will be a special night for all who knew and loved her.
During the intermission, there will be a Hall of Fame ceremony, inducting ten racers and five other individuals who played important roles behind the scenes in helping make Antioch Speedway the special place it has been for these past 59 seasons.
Leading the induction list this year is Dennis Furia, or as he was known throughout his racing career, Dennis "Foot In It" Furia. Dennis won an amazing 25 Sportsman Main Events throughout the 1970s and was the 1979 champion. You could start him last on the grid, and he would still find his way to the front. He ranked second behind only Gary Pacheco on the division's all time win list. After an absence of about 15 years, Furia came out of retirement and competed in the Dirt Modified class. He won ten Main Events and was also Top 5 ranked in points.
Richard Johnson will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Back in the 1970s, they called him "Rapid Richard" Johnson, and he was a two-time Stock Car champion at the speedway. Johnson traveled to other tracks and and won the State championship in Stock Cars in 1973 and was also the 1980 and 1981 State Sportsman champion. He won 26 Main Events during those years at the speedway. After going away and racing Sprint Cars, Johnson was one of the first drivers in the newly formed Dirt Modified division in 1990. He won the championship that year before retiring again.
The 1980s era has been opened for consideration this year, and Jim Pettit II becomes the first driver from that era to be inducted into the Antioch Speedway Hall of Fame. As a 16 year old Stock Car racer, Pettit won his first Main Event in Antioch in 1981. He went on to win 46 Late Model features, making him first on the all time win list. Pettit was the 1984 NASCAR Winston Regional champion and won track championships at Antioch in 1987, 1988 and 1991. He went on to a successful Southwest Tour career and currently still competes in Dirt Modifieds at Watsonville.
Pettit was always quick to credit "The Sun Drop Kid" Larry Damitz for his role in helping him win the 1991 championship. Larry had a storied career that started back in 1954 at the old Costra Costa Speedway in Pacheco. Damitz raced Hardtops for 20 years, and he was racing Late Models when he first started racing at Antioch in 1984. He'd already won several championships by then. In 1986, he won ten Main Events in finishing second in Late Model points. Larry raced until he was 87 years old and won five of the last seven Limited Late Model championships he completed for, winning over 50 Main Events at Antioch Speedway alone.
Bruce "The Phantom" Curl will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Curl raced Stock Cars at Antioch throughout the 1970s and was frequently Top 5 ranked, winning a total of 11 Main Events in that division. Teaming up with car owner Pete Paulsen, Curl won the 1981 Stock Car championship. He continued to be one of the top drivers and was even a car owner for JD Willis for two of his wins in the 1980s. Curl ran the successful Curl Racing shop, which repaired and built race cars throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. He built some of the first Dirt Modifieds that competed in that division in 1990 and finished second in points that year.
Also being inducted this year is Jerry "The Maverick" Garner. Jerry started racing Stock Cars in the 1960s and won the prestigious 1969 California State Stock Car championship. Jerry continued to compete in Stock Cars and Sportsman cars in the 1970s and was Top 5 ranked during that time and a feature winner. He went back to Stock Cars in the 1980s and was still one of the top drivers, winning a 50 lap Late Model race in 1982. When Jerry retired, he mentored his son Mark Garner, who currently competes at the speedway. Jerry's grandson, Billy Garner, also competes as the family has been a fixture at the speedway for many years.
The Gonderman family has also been at the speedway for many years and is three generations strong. The patriarch, Ken Gonderman, started racing in the 1960s. He was one of those drivers who built his race car from the ground up, and he bears the distinction of snapping what could have been a four year championship streak for Gary Pacheco when he won the 1970 Sportsman title. Ken continued to race throughout the 1970s while getting his son Dave Gonderman involved in the sport. Dave was a two-time feature winner. In the 1980s, he got his son Dan Gonderman involved as well. Ken still took turns behind the wheel and had some good efforts throughout the 1980s. However, he was also somebody who built a good race car and was knowledgeable about engine building. Ken is still involved in his son Dan's racing program today, and Dan is a two-time Antioch Speedway Wingless Spec Sprint champion.
Dennis "Fireball" Close was one of the top drivers in the 1970s. Though not a champion, he was always in the hunt for the title and won ten Main Events. He was Top 5 ranked for four seasons, ranking second in 1975 and 1976.
From 1960s era, Dave Logan is being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Logan only had a brief career, but he won 17 Main Events at Antioch Speedway. During a two year span, he was the champion at both Vallejo Speedway in 1966 and Antioch Speedway in 1965. Sadly, Dave died in a race car crash at Calistoga Speedway. He was somebody many people believe could have been in an IndyCar at some point in his career and is still remembered as a great racer and gentlemen of the sport.
Lyle Lister will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Lister was the 1966 Sportsman champion at Antioch Speedway and won 14 Main Events. During that time, he was one of the big stars on the circuit, and he won two championships at Antioch's sister track, Petaluma Speedway.
Vic Noon will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Noon raced in the 1960s. He went on to pick up the flags and become one of the top flagmen in the state. He handled the starter duties at the speedway throughout the 1970s and was known as somebody who could control the race track and was a no nonsense flagman.
Bill Bowers will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Bill was a car owner, builder and engine man throughout his career at the speedway. He teamed up with Hall of Fame racer JD Willis, and they won several races and championships together. Bowers was somebody who helped many racers through the years, and they too were winners thanks to him. He was one of the most respected figures within the racing community. The Bowers family tradition continues on as his son Billy Bowers fields a successful championship winning Modified team.
Gerry Delanoy will also be going into the Hall of Fame. Gerry was known as the Dow Chemicals Goodwill Ambassador throughout the 1970s. He would give away different products to the racers and the fans every week. If the track needed him to help, he was quick to jump in. He did many things, including writing articles for the speedway. When he passed away, they started running the Salute to Gerry Delanoy 50 lap Stock Car race in 1982.
Charlie Zeno will be going into the Hall of Fame. One of the things that helps the sport is having somebody out there spreading the word about what is happening. Zeno wrote for the Contra Costa County Times and other newspapers from the 1970s until he retired at the end of the 1993 season. He would send his stories wherever he could get them printed and wrote many review, preview and driver profile articles throughout his decorated career. When he retired in 1993, management presented him with a grandfather clock in recognition of his service to racing.
Also being inducted is motorsports journalist Gary Jacob. Gary started writing about racing in the late 1960s when he saw that the Stock Car side of things wasn't getting the coverage that the open wheel side received. He started at one or two tracks, but Gary would soon be covering many tracks for Racing Wheels, DCRR Racing News and several racing publications. He continued to write until 2006. He wrote about Antioch at least a time or two every year during his career, and sometimes he was a regular at the speedway. The last race he covered was in June of 2006. It was a Late Model show, and it happened at Antioch Speedway.
One of the things that keeps the sport going is family and the people who show the commitment week in and week out. October 5th will be a special night because we will remember Donna Soares and the dedication she had to helping promote the sport. We furthermore honor 15 individuals who helped make racing memorable, fun and something people wanted to be a part of.
With the divisions that are running, this will be a special night that you won't want to miss. For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
Madera Speedway Unofficial Race Results July 27, 2019
MavTV Nut Up Pro Late Models
5150 Jr Late Models
Santa Maria Raceway Unofficial Race Results July 27, 2019
NARC/Kings Of The West Fujitsu Sprint Cars
Burt Foland Jr
IMCA 305 Western RaceSaver Sprint Car
Tony Pombo Jr
Sean Martin Sr
Bakersfield Speedway Unofficial Race Results July 27, 2019
IMCA Sport Modifieds
Ricky Childress Jr
Troy Thomas Jr
David Wolford Jr
Joe Rogers Jr
Matt Herod DQ
Sr. Mini Dwarf
Michael Lookadoo DNS
Jr. Mini Dwarf
Tom Stephens IIII
Placerville Speedway Unofficial Race Results July 27, 2019
Mark Forni Classic
Thompson's Auto Group 360 Sprint Cars
Greg DeCaires V
Limited Late Models
Dan Brown Jr
Jay's Mobile Welding Pure Stocks
BCRA Midget Lites
Danika Jo Parker
Dixon Speedway Unofficial Race Results July 7, 2019
Wingless 600 Micro Sprints
Norman Harley Rose
Todd Job DNS
Blaine Baxter DNS
Blaine Baxter DNS
Todd Job DNS
Ocean Speedway Unofficial Race Results July 27, 2019
Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo
Keith Day Jr
Joey Ancona DNS
IMCA Sport Modifieds
Police N Pursuit
Merced Speedway Unofficial Race Results July 27, 2019
Darrell Hughes II
John Osgood III
John Osgood III
Justin Hart DNS
Ricky Thatcher DNS
USAC Western Midgets
1. Robert Dalby
2. Jake Swanson
3. Cory Elliott
4. David Prickett
5. Maria Cofer
6. Alex Schutte
7. Ben Worth
8. Troy Morris III
9. Terry Nichols
10. Marvin Mitchell
11. Cameron Beard
12. Robert Carson
13. Austin Liggett
14. Ron Hazelton
15. Gage Rucker
16. Kyle Beilman
Petaluma Speedway Unofficial Race Results July 27, 2019
PitStopUSA.com Winged 360 Sprint cars
Results are not official
1 #38 Colby Johnson
2 #12j John Clark
3 #9n Shawn Arriaga
4 #7b Brent Bjork
5 #1s Nathan Schank
6 #46jr Joel Myers Jr
7 #5v Nick Robfogel
8 #27 Brett Rollag
9 #73c Cody Fendley
10 #7h Jake Haulot
PitStopUSA.com Wingless Spec Sprints
Results are not official
1 #551 Angelique Bell
2 #6 Sparky Howard
3 #5150 Chet Wilson
4 #50 Tony Bernard
5 #92z Scott Chapeta
6 #3r Bob Davis
7 #21 Jessica Walker
8 #73 Keith Calvino
9 #57n Dennis Furia Jr
10 #9 Shayna Sylvia
11 #11 Bradley Terrell
12 #00 Rick Holbrook
13 #66s Zack Albers
Lumberjacks Restaurant Super Stocks
Results are not official
1 #9z Mitch Machado
2 #3 Matt While
3 #00 Gary Adams
4 #60 Shawn McCoy
5 #46 Steve Studebaker
6 #42 Danny Naron
7 #07 Manny Avila
8 #51d Sid Hess
9 #85 Austin Ohlinger
10 #27 Tim O'Hara
General Hydroponics Redwood Dwarf Cars
Results are not official
1 #40r Kevin Miraglio
2 #66r Scooter Gomes
3 #79r Mark Hanson
4 #59r Matt Hagemann
5 #71r John Peters
6 #9r Chad Matthias
7 #27r Danny Marsh
8 #15r Adam Johnson
10 #03r Mike Affonso
11 #20r Jamie Faulkner
12 #88r Adam Freitas
13 #08r Mike Dahle
14 #2r Kylee Johnson
15 #43r Robert Kocinzki
16 #57r Dave Rossini
17 #34r Savannah Brown
18 #48r Jordan Souza
19 #83n Sam Wren
20 #111n Tom VanTuyl
21 #32r Garrett Brady
22 #12r Sam Borland
23 #29r Vern Hubbard
24 #21r Marcus Hardina
25 #31r Brandon Gentry
Orange Show Speedway Unofficial Race Results July 27, 2019
NASCAR Whelen All American Series
Results are not official
1 #38 Jeff Peterson
2 #48 Robb Kiemele
3 #48c Linny White
4 #56 Kyle Meyer
5 #26 Jim Vermillion
6 #24 Mike Wiemann
7 #8 Matt Goodwin
8 #86 Ryan Bragdon
9 #27 Frankie Gould
10 #31 Ryan Pannone
11 #19 David Gibson
Results are not official
1 #86 Johnny Soares
2 #22 John Sereika
3 #11 Michael Douthit
4 #62 Ethan Cheek
5 #32 Anthony Caputo
6 #21 Jered King
Results are not official
1 #7 Scott Groom
2 #83 Kevin James
3 #16 Roger Brown
4 #8 Tyler Gallup
5 #18 Darrin Secord
6 #11 Jay Verduzco
7 #07 Evan McCray
8 #85 Rodger Young
9 #45 Don Geary
Results are not official
1 #88 Danny French
2 #49 Jim Snow
3 #16 Eric King
4 #21 Tyler Underwood
5 #82 shane sinibaldi
6 #05 Patrick Gilbert
7 #76 Renee Graham
8 #81 David Rice
9 #50 Brandon Snow
10 #18x Victor Garcia
11 #42 Michael Hindman
12 #11 Robert Harryman
13 #15P Cody Parenteau
Results are not official
1 #11 Daniel O'Donnell
2 #5 Sabastian Lafia
3 #7 Alexis Bjork
4 #93 Ralph Hodges
5 #12 Skyler Meisenbach
Results are not official
1 #44 Mike Miller
2 #71T Tony Provenzano
3 #98 Robert Snyder
4 #11 Tony Price
5 #79 Amy Evans
Douglas County Speedway Unofficial Race Results July 27, 2019
Street Stock Smackdown/Iron Giant Race
Results are not official
1 #74 GREG MCDONALD
2 #7W CHRIS WEST
3 #53 ERIK JARNPORT
4 #99 John Dumire
5 #96 CHRIS SIMS
6 #44J JAMES JOHN
7 #66 LAREE MCDONALD
8 #31B JEFF MARSON
9 #38R APRIL HILLYARD
10 #13 JESSIN YANKLEY
12 #16 Dale Roth
13 #57 Monique Scevers
14 #04 ROB MCCOMBS
15 #5 GARY PERRY
16 #89 DAKOTA GODARD
Results are not official
1 #23 Tom Ford
2 #29 KALEB Watson
3 #213 Brad Watson
4 #51R Jeff Solberg
5 #45 JAMIE BRITTEN
6 #XX BEN NUNNES
7 #17 john Harvey
8 #33 Pete Tyree
8 #28 Tom Durant
9 #07 BLAKE HARVEY
Results are not official
1 #25 Michael Kennerly
2 #75 Richard Dickenson
3 #03 Chris Lemon
4 #44x Zachary Asumendy
5 #81X PAUL CORBETT
6 #44 Ron Johnson
7 #14 MATT SCHOENPORN
8 #9 TYLER Organ
9 #63 Bart Pulse
10 #23 DYLAN GRICHARD
11 #17 SARAH HICKMAN
12 #52 JALANA PYNCH
13 #0 SETH CHRISTIANSON
14 #37 bURNIE Bryant
15 #28 Valerie West
16 #45 RYAN DICKENSON
Coos Bay Speedway Unofficial Race Results July 27, 2019
NASCAR Whelen All American Series
America's Mattress Super Late Models
Winged Sprint Cars
Lawrence Van Hoof
Sportsman Late Models
The Editor's Viewpoint
After the weekend I had last week, I was just hoping to be able to attack things this week and maybe get ahead of schedule. This is the calm before the storm for me as Southern Oregon Speedway will be open for seven consecutive weekends, five of which are special nights at the speedway. There's also three two-race weekends in August. I know it's going to take a lot out of me to get this done, but I want to do my part to make sure things go as smoothly as possible. The fourth season here has certainly been challenging to me personally, but in the midst of that, the track is actually having a pretty good year by the numbers.
So,.while I was unable to have an actual week or even a day off to take a nice long walk, as I used to do daily, it was at least a relaxed schedule for the past couple of days. Hey, after the stress I've been going through, I'll take that. It is interesting that the media effort is now getting to the point where newspapers are contacting me for stories. They're getting used to it. A lesson I learned when I worked at Chowchilla Speedway is to keep sending them stuff consistently and they will use it. However, hold your hand out, and, well, you know.
In any event, by the time the final checkered flag waves on Southern Oregon Speedway on September 14th, it is my hope that I will have train tickets already paid for and will be on my way a few days later to Antioch. The goal is to enjoy about a month back in the area, and I also want to see the Chet Thomson Memorial Hardtop race in person on September 21st. It helps that this comes right around the time of my birthday. I never do much to celebrate, even the supposed milestone birthdays, so I'd like this if it's at all possible.
The Tip Jar is still open for those who want to support me in my effort. As I've said, the proceeds I'm currently accepting go towards the Antioch Speedway Hall of Fame night. This means securing the awards, whatever materials are needed for display boards and other Hall of Fame promotions and the possibility of getting me down there so I can cover things first hand. I sincerely thank Dennis Furia Jr, Billy Bowers and Judy Allison-Arth for stepping up and making sure that the awards are covered.
I don't want to get into a long pitch over the Hall of Fame. People know my feelings on heritage of race track and those matters. They also know that it is my intent to start a committee so that the Hall of Fame becomes more community-oriented in its third year. I will begin taking steps towards that goal. This needs to continue for years to come and grow and become something even more special than it already is. I can't do that all on my own. As far as a press release, one has been drafted. If it hasn't been included in this post, I will put it out soon.
I was reading a comment that Doug Lockwood made on social media. Doug is the General Manager at Merced Speedway, and they've been doing some good things this year. They've got the Sprint Car Challenge Tour happening this Saturday, which should be huge for the track. I guess Doug is hearing from racers wondering why they don't have more races. Kind of interesting when you hear those comments. Doug's response was classic. The racers aren't supporting the dates they already have, so why add more?
Back in the glory days of racing, which in my opinion ended by the mid 1990s, you could get most racers in whatever division to support a 20-24 race schedule. They were making every race unless something came up, and these are drivers who were just struggling to make it into the Main Event. Drivers who didn't even make the Main Event most times would still be back there every week. Times have changed due to the economy and other factors. Racing is still important to the racers, but they juggle other matters in a way that they didn't have to 25 or 30 years ago.
Because of that, I'm convinced that much more than 12-14 races for any particular division and your car count suffers. Even if you have a 12 race schedule, which is about where we are at Southern Oregon Speedway for most of our divisions, car count still drops. Drivers are not making all 12 races, and we'll hear the same thing. Why don't we have more races? Well, why don't you support all of the races you have booked and create a demand for more races to be scheduled? See how that works?
The problem a promoter has is they need to put enough product on the track to get the fans to put their hard-earned money down at the ticket booth. If they're not giving the fans enough of a product, the fans aren't coming and the promoter can't do business. Therefore, you can't overbook your divisions. If you overbook your divisions and the car count goes down, fans will know that even if that division is booked, they're not getting much of a show.
This has led to divisionitis, which is something I don't like. That means having too many divisions at a race track. It's a necessary evil to get the gates open. In that way, you can shuffle divisions, give divisions weeks off and still have four or five divisions and somewhere in the area of 50-70 cars. Sometimes, those numbers dip.
You see, back in the day, we could get 50 cars between two divisions. Going back even further, we got 50 or more cars in one division. It's been a progression to where more divisions have been added. I remember the 1980s at Antioch Speedway, for instance, sometimes having somewhere in the ballpark of 45-55 cars. It wasn't necessarily a huge show. Our Late Model class struggled to get a B Main. However, we had time trials, a Trophy Dash and basically a full program. We didn't think we were getting screwed on the product, even if we might have liked to see more Late Models sometimes.
It's not so easy to run a race track these days, although the armchair promoters think they have the quick solution. It still comes down to being a promoter and having so much money to play with. It's going to cost you however many thousands of dollars to run a race on any given week. This means paying the staff, paying the racers, paying the necessary bills and all of that. A promoter who believes in paying everybody at the race track will have to have all of that money when they show up at the track. If they don't make that much money for that particular event, the difference is paid out of the promoter's pocket. If they happen to make more money, God bless America. The promoter actually made money that week. They certainly risked it. A lot of times, people will look at a big night and say, "Boy that promoter is making money,. Why aren't we getting paid more?"
The reality is the good promoters have a guarantee. You're going to get this much money at the pay window, whether you give me 20 cars or 8 cars. There are a lot of nights when you get 8 or 10 cars, and yet the purse doesn't fluctuate. So yeah, when there are more cars, you damn right a promoter should make some money. I guarantee you that every week that happens at a race track is not a money maker for the promoter. There are several losers during the season, and you just hope that the winners pencil in and you've made money for the year. That's just a basic look at promoting.
So by the time you get to car count in these divisions, yes it does matter what you're booking. Car count does matter. If a promoter starts to see a division is lacking, he might have to decide whether he keeps the division or if he books another division on nights when that particular division is booked. Not always an easy decision. But, if a promoter is booking 10 or 12 race dates and car count doesn't warrant an increase in race dates, you're not going to get an increase. If your are a racer who says, "Why don't we have more races for my class," than you'd better be a racer who shows up at 100% of the races that are scheduled. That's my opinion, anyway.
I look at the growing trend to get kids into racing. I know we've lost a demographic of potential race fans. The 18-32 year old fan base isn't as big as it should be. We're an older audience. You're looking at people in their 40s, 50s, 60s and even older who come out to a night at the races. So, the idea of trying to get them young has merit. Get those kids out of the crib and to the race track. We've created a whole culture in racing where the next big thing replaces the old veteran. You see it in NASCAR.
I don't want to get into a whole thing about NASCAR, because quite honestly, I don't watch it anymore. It bores me. Everything about it bores me, and I'll leave it at that. But one thing it lacks is the characters. Back in the day, you had characters. These were also people who paid their dues on the tight bull rings for years before getting the opportunity to go big time. That's really not the system we have anymore. Little Johnny, 10 years old, has a developmental deal signed with one of the big teams already. He won't even be there on the big track for however many more years, but they're investing in him on the lower levels. Actually, to be honest, Johnny's parents are spending the money with these teams.
To me, that's one of the things lacking. I can freely admit that I am not somebody who understands the mechanics of race cars or any of that, but I have a world of respect for the racers who could build a car from the ground up in their own garage. It's becoming a lost art. They go to the company and have a car built for them these days. True, things have changed in people's neighborhoods and what they can do in their own garages. Technology has changed and all of that. The point is, being a good mechanic and having those skills is becoming a lost art, which will only negatively impact the sport even more.
One of our young racers at the Kart track is named Keaton Augustine. He comes from a family of racers that's at least three generations strong. Keaton will probably win the Box Stock championship again, and his father Nathan, another champion, tells me that he may have the boy in a Junior Street Stock at Madras Speedway next year. Madras has this class of Street Stocks that's just for the kids, and I'm not sure what the age group might be. 10-14? I know that Coos Bay has a Hornets division called Junior Stingers that is for kids 11 to 14. Interesting to note that young Griff Smith ran with the regular Hornets this last week and got a third. The idea is to get these kids to start racing regularly.
To me, there's another thing you have to understand. You have to instill the love of automobiles and the sport into these kids. It's not enough to have your mother and your father financing your ride. You've got to understand what makes these cars tick. You have to have a love for doing this. When you go through those streaks when you can't catch a break, you have to have the desire to keep coming back. And I think we've seen a case with many of these kids where if they're not having big success, you don't see them racing in a few years time. Why should the old veterans of racing who know how to work on cars and other such things get out of the way for these wet behind the ear kids who haven't proven anything yet?
Please don't misunderstand me. I am not saying we shouldn't have kids out there racing. What I am saying is we need to have them paying their dues. I have a friend that I have a tremendous amount of respect for who made an analogy that left the proponent of pushing kids into racing speechless. He said, "You don't pay to watch little league baseball, so why should you pay to watch little league racing?" We're talking kids at the big tracks when I say this.
We have the little levels. Outlaw Kart racing is where the kids learn. Quarter Midgets, Micros Sprints. These kinds of classes. I'm watching the Outlaw Kart thing firsthand as I announce at the little track up here. The biggest thing that has hurt this division, and it was already pretty well damaged before I got here, is cost of these Karts. Family shouldn't have to go into debt to put their kids into an Outlaw Kart. If it cost too much money, they're not going to go racing for long. If he's not winning, he may suddenly have less desire to do it.
It's my opinion that Outlaw Kart racing at least up here in the Oregon area, doesn't have a long future if they can't get the costs in order. Seems to me, the lower classes are getting the kids. The problem is, when they start looking at 250s and 500s, the price tag is a big deterrent. If you have to spend way too much money on what is supposed to be an affordable hobby, you're not going to last. If that's what it takes to win, then you just don't bother. So, Kart racing is failing due to the cost of these vehicles. I know there's people that want to point a finger at certain tracks and say it's management, but it's cost. If they don't figure out how to make 250 and 500 Karts more affordable and introduce these kids to faster vehicles at a reasonable cost with an eye on safety, it's not going to get better.
That's a whole other subject that I really didn't want to get into here. I want to talk about getting kids into the big level of racing and instilling a love of automobiles. A lot of people, kids and adults, might enjoy getting behind the wheel and driving a car. The reality is, you're only on the track for so many minutes of your time at the speedway. The rest of the time is spent getting things ready, waiting and all of that. Plus, there's the time during the week that it takes to go over the maintenance of your car, repair damages and figure out what you can afford and what you can make do with.
What I think needs to be considered at some of these tracks is a program introducing automobiles to kids. This isn't just about driving, this is about teaching the kids how to work on cars. To learn things. The ideal class might be the Hornet/Four Banger class or maybe the Hobby Stocks. Some sort of program that will get a small group of kids to learn what it takes. If you're still willing to be involved in the sport after working on a race car, you've got somebody that might last for a few years. That's what is needed. This is only one aspect that I look at when it comes to dealing with the declining car counts and the numbers that we deal with at these tracks, and it is certainly only a part of the bigger problem.
You look at something that Kenny Shepherd is doing out at Madera Speedway, and I give him credit. He's got the Junior Late Model program developing the future stars. Hopefully, the love of automobiles will stick with some of these kids, and 20 years from now, some of those names are still going to be relevant. Other tracks are looking at the same model now. Kenny had the foresight to realize that he needs new drivers coming in. We always do.
Car count sort of goes in cycles. After about five or six years most, you have drivers who step away. Some will come back in a few years, but others are gone. You constantly have to have new people coming in. New people buying the old cars, people building new cars and whatever it takes. I recall watching racing back in the day where 90% of the racers might come back the next year. There was 10% that needed to be replaced. In the glory years, you got that and sometimes more. That's not the times we're living in now. So, we constantly need to look at ways to get people to come in and replace the other drivers that leave.
I am not against instilling a love of automobiles and auto racing in the young generation. In fact, we absolutely need that. Otherwise, the audience that supports motorsports is going to grow old and die. That's a harsh assessment, but I don't think it's far off from the mark. Racing hasn't gone away, obviously. We look at California and see a huge variety of options for where to go on a Friday or Saturday night. Everybody thought tracks were going to be closed by now, including myself, but that hasn't happened. Make no mistake, it could. It just hasn't happened yet.
Tracks will open knowing that they don't have a big car count. Therefore, you might see a track that offers 6 or even 7 divisions, and you're lucky if one or two of those classes has 10 or more cars. Fans who have been around long enough know it's a shadow of its former self, but new fans don't know that. They come in and they're either enamored with what they're seeing or they'll leave and not come back. The tracks are open because the promoters care enough about the sport to try.
We know the times aren't what they once were. Some tracks do better than others, but many tracks struggle to go from week to week. Car counts might go up at some places, and down at others. We might be lucky to pull in 400-600 fans per week, a fraction of the attendance numbers from the glory days. Therefore, when we have those big blowout races, such as the Mike Cecil Memorial race at Watsonville this week, we celebrate the fact that we get that many cars and fans to come check out the show.
Ultimately, we do what we do to keep things going because we love being a part of the sport. We love the comradery. We love the community. We love the good times and memories that we share. We want other people to feel the same way we do and make those numbers bigger. Therefore, when it comes to these young kids getting into cars, it's not enough to put them behind the wheel. We must instill a love of these cars and this racing to make them want to be a part of it for years to come.
Getting the car count up can be a struggle at times, and we're certainly in the dog days of summer. Most promoters know there's going to be nights during the summer where the car count or the attendance dips way down. It just so happened that Antioch Speedway had one of the lowest our counts that I can remember for a six division show. Car count didn't even reach 50, and there were three divisions with a half dozen cars in the field. This is certainly less than desired.
I know people are going to point a finger of blame. I'm aware of the discontent regarding the Chief Steward, who wasn't there last week. I have heard unconfirmed rumors that he has been removed of duties, but I'll call those rumors for now. Another thing that doesn't help is when you have 104° weather. These days, tracks even consider canceling due to heat, which was something unheard of 20 years or so ago. Yes, we had over 100° days then, but the races still want on and the people still showed up.
I'll be honest with you, as I sat down to write about that and talk about what had been going on, it was very difficult. I don't like seeing numbers go that low. The Dirt Modified numbers haven't been that low since the division was founded in 1990. I think I might have seen a Spec Sprint number that was similar in 2015, but John had changed the rules around and was basically rebooting the class. No getting around it, the numbers were disappointing. However, the Main Events in a couple of the classes may have salvaged something out of the show for the fans at least.
The number bug will hit to you anywhere. Petaluma Speedway, from what I could see, had a nice turnout last week for their four division program. All four classes were reasonably supported with the Winged 360 Sprint Car class being the lowest number at 10. The attendance was good as well. Go back a week earlier for the four division show, and you were lucky to hit 40 cars in all four classes. Certainly, that wasn't the number they were thinking they'd get. It happens to all tracks. Even the numbers at Bakersfield, one of the strongest supported tracks in the state, dip at this time of year.
All a promoter can do at a time like this is look at the numbers and see what lessons can be learned. Was there a show the track was booking over that took the cars away? In this case, no. In the case of this weekend, Antioch may be in a world of hurt with their Modified classes due to the fact that Watsonville has a big show for both classes. I guess we'll see. Was there something drawing the fans away? That I couldn't tell you. I'm not aware of what was scheduled in Contra Costa County. Was the weather a factor? It could have been.
A promoter will already take a financial hit from a night like this, but when one of your crew makes a blender that costs you thousands of dollars, that's another matter. Evidently, John wanted the water truck moved from the infield and had somebody do it. What he wasn't counting on was the person hit the switch and turned on the water, drenching the ambulance and some valuable camera equipment owned by photographer Paul Gould and drone operator Brett Phillips. What I heard was John is going to reimburse some people, but it's due to a costly mistake that shouldn't have been made. On top of the numbers probably not adding up the way he hoped, this was not something John was counting on. These are the kinds of things that crop up during the season at every track that a promoter doesn't count on.
Maybe I made some sense here, but I need to end this column here. Until next time...