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Chet Thomson Memorial At Antioch Speedway
This Saturday Night
Antioch, CA...There are just two point races and a big special event remaining on the calendar at Antioch Speedway. This Saturday night, the Hardtops will be competing in the 17th Annual Chet Thomson Memorial race. The A Modifieds are back along with a $750 to win B Modified race, Limited Late Models and Hobby Stocks. It all adds up to another exciting night of racing on the 3/8th mile clay oval.
In the early 1960s, there was a fast competitor by the name of "Charging" Chet Thomson. Driving for Bob Thomas, he won the 1962 Hardtop championship at the old Vallejo Speedway. He also came to Antioch Speedway on occasion and won there as well. Sadly, Thomson was taken away from us too soon, and the racing community mourned the loss. In 1967, the Chet Thomson Memorial was started, and it became a signature event at Vallejo Speedway until the track closed in 1979. Chet's son Tommy Thomson, Dave Mackey and Ken Retzloff spoke with Antioch Promoter John M Soares about reviving the race, and it returned in 2016 to become one of the biggest Hardtop races on the West Coast.
California Hardtop star Jason Armstrong won the first two races of the revival, in both cases ahead of Retzloff. Last season, it appeared as if Mackey might get the win in his Dudley Brothers Tribute Car, but he was eliminated in a Turn 4 crash. Longtime Antioch racer and former Vallejo Hardtop competitor Terry DeCarlo picked up the win in the Harold Hardesty Throwback Car. This car has the original body, rusted paint job and all, that Southern Oregon Hall Of Famer Hardesty ran at the old Ashland and Medford tracks.
The modern Hardtop revival in the Bay Area, which began over a decade ago, has a bit of a Vallejo flavor as there are cars with either a connection or that pay tribute to Vallejo Speedway and its stars. Tommy Thomson's car still has the body from when he was a race winner at Vallejo Speedway in the 1970's. Tommy and crew chief Gary Faw are working hard to make this car more competitive for the coming race. Doug Braudrick's father was a racer and car owner at Vallejo Speedway, and Doug has built the #16 Junk Yard Dog as a tribute to one of those cars. Doug has picked Late Model and Dirt Modified racer Joel Hannagan to drive this week.
Promoter John M Soares, whose father John P Soares was a two-time BCRA Hardtop champion, is piloting the #100 car as he seeks to keep his consecutive decade winning streak, which goes back to the 1960's, alive. Two-time Super Hobby Stock champion Gene Haney and Steve Cloyes, himself piloting a car that's a replica of one his family owned at Contra Costa Speedway, are anticipated for this race. There are also unconfirmed reports that Vallejo Speedway star Skip Brown could be competing in this race as well.
The standard bearer in Northern California Hardtop promoting is the California Hardtop Association. It was established over a decade ago, and they compete at several tracks. One of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Hardtop movement that you will find is "The Rocketman" Ken Clifford. Clifford has said that he will be there for this and will probably be getting film footage of on track action via his Go Pro cameras. Both Clifford and Ron Ruiz have competed in every CHA event so far this year, and Ruiz has multiple wins. Others from the group to watch for include Joe Shenefield, Joe Hopp and Dave Reed.
Hardtops don't compete for points in either group, but the A Modifieds are close to wrapping up their 30th championship season at the speedway. Third-generation racer Buddy Kniss was winning his battle with Dwarf Car champion Danny Wagner when Wagner pulled out of the competition two races ago. Buddy has been fast this season with three wins out of his 12 Top 5 finishes. Barring anything major, Kniss will write his name into the books as an Antioch Speedway champion. Wagner has two wins out of his seven podium finishes, but he was unable to overcome a season altering crash when contact put him into the Turn 1 exit wall four races ago. He will still finish second in the standings.
It's been an unpredictable season in the A Modifieds with 10 different winners in the 16 races held so far. In fact, there has been a different winner in each of the last six races. 2017 champion Bobby Motts Jr won the most recent race and is still in the hunt for third, which is currently held by three-time winner and reigning champion Nick DeCarlo. DeCarlo is 40 points ahead of Sean O'Gara and 48 in front of Motts. O'Gara has a second and two thirds, but he's still looking for his first win. Late Model champion Jeff Decker and Brian Pearce are winners in recent weeks, and other divers to watch for this week include top rookie Frank Furtado, Gary Hetrick and Raymond Lindeman.
After winning his eighth Main Event last week, Tommy Fraser is headed for his first B Modified championship. Tommy has been a force all season long. Even starting 10th this week, he will be a threat to win the money. The battle is for second in points between Kevin Brown and top rookie Cameron Swank. Long time racer and two-time Limited Late Model champion Ron Brown has been active behind the scenes helping his brother Kevin have the best season of his career. Kevin has 12 Top 5 finishes, including his first ever win. Swank also has a win along with 12 Top 5 finishes. Brown holds the edge in podium finishes with seven to four for Swank. It's close enough that this position could still change hands.
We're hearing rumors out of the Clymens camp that there could be even more family members racing in 2020. As it is, Two-time reigning champion Trevor Clymens is leading brother Tommy Clymens Jr by six points in the battle for fourth. Trevor has a pair of victories and has been running well enough lately that he could be a threat to win again this week. Tommy has finished as high as second and is a heat race winner this year, but he's looking for the Main Event glory this week. There could be some fast racers in town to go for the money this week, and others to watch for include Todd Gomez, Mark Garner, Nick Caughman Jr and Tim Rolan.
Kimo Oreta is headed for his second Limited Late Model championship in the last three seasons after rival Jim Freethy abandoned his bid for a second title while still very much in the hunt. Oreta leads the division with five wins, two seconds and four thirds. If two-time winner Freethy chooses not to compete in the final two races, second in the standings could fall to either Chad Hammer or Michael Burch. Hammer has one win and leads Burch by just five points in the battle for third. Burch has finished third twice this year, but a poor showing last time out cost him third to Hammer. He'll be hoping to rebound this week.
Though Oreta has been fast, the division has gotten very interesting lately with four different winners in the last six races. It seems like anybody in the division could get a win, and Hammer, Chris Long, Jimmy Robbins and most recently Mike Walko have added their names to this year's winner's list. Even the steady John Evans is in contention. The fifth ranked driver earned a season best third two races ago. It should be another good show for the division this week.
There are just two point races left in the Hobby Stock championship chase, and it's still close. Point leader Chris Sorensen has been struggling just a bit in recent weeks, but he reminded everybody that he is the two-time reigning champion with an impressive drive to his seventh win last time out. When things have been clicking, Sorensen is very tough to beat, and he has six second places finishes as well. Breanna Troen seemed to struggle in the third turn last week and failed to earn a top 5 finish for only the second time this season. As a result, she fell 32 points behind Sorensen. The battle is between these two, but Troen will need to erase some of that lead going onto the October 5th finale if she is to truly have a shot at it.
Josh Leach may be watching his title hopes fade, but the third ranked driver still has five wins and is a threat to win again this week. The next exciting battle to watch is for fourth place and top rookie honors between Ken Johns and Will Buirch. Johns seems to have come out of nowhere, but his eight-straight Top 5 finishes have moved him 12 points ahead of Buirch. Ken is looking for his first win, but he has two seconds and two thirds in his current streak. It should be another good show for the class this week. Some of the stars to watch for include Dalton Jewell, Jeff Bentancourt, Tyler Henrickson and Main Event winners Lori Brown, Jacob Mallett Jr and James Thomson.
Saturday's five division show should be good from start to finish. It's also the last show of the month as the track goes dark next week and returns on October 5th for the Donna Soares Memorial/Hall Of Fame Night. For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
DeForest, Fraser, Dahlgren Win At Antioch Speedway
Antioch, CA...September 14...Shawn DeForest won the 20 lap DIRTcar Late Model Main Event Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. DeForest was driving the Dennis Souza car, and his previous best finish in Souza's car was a second earlier this season. Rick Coffey led a lap before spinning in Turn 4 This put DeForest in the lead, but he spun in Turn 4 for a lap six yellow flag. Mike Hynes led the restart with Rod Oliver running close behind. Kimo Oreta hit the Turn 3 wall for a lap 10 yellow flag. DeForest was in third at that point, and he took the lead from Hynes on the restart. Oliver gained second a lap later after Hynes hit the wall in Turn 1. DeForest had Oliver running closely behind him the rest of the way, but he held on for the victory. Coffey finished third ahead of Oreta and John Soares.
Tommy Fraser won the 20 lap B Modified Main Event. This was the eighth win of the season for the current point leader. After a complete restart for a spin in Turn 2, the race went non stop. Top rookie Cameron Swank set the early pace ahead of Kevin Brown. Reigning champion Trevor Clymens made a low pass in Turn 2 of the third lap to take second from Brown. Swank had a scary moment a lap later when a slower car swerved into his path in Turn 4 as Fraser gained third. The leaders came upon a spun car in Turn 4, and Clymens clipped the car and spun. Everybody kept going without a yellow as Swank led Fraser. A low pass in Turn 4 of the 12th lap gained Fraser the lead. Fraser would pull away to a straightaway advantage in victory as Swank won a close battle with Brown for second. Trevor Clymens and Tommy Clymens Jr completed the Top 5.
Bob Newberry won the 20 lap Wingless Spec Sprint Main Event. This was the third win of the season for the two-time champion. Shannon Newton did not race, but he had already clinched the championship. Newberry raced underneath Rick Panfili in Turn 4 to grab the lead before the first lap was completed. Panfili and Mackenzie Newton got together on the back stretch as they worked the fourth lap, resulting in Newton flipping. She was not injured, and both drivers were out of the race. Newberry led Keith Calvino through one more yellow flag. On the 15th lap, Calvino flipped in Turn 2. The race was called for time with Newberry winning ahead of Cameron Martin, Kyle Bakkie, Austin Stone and Marcus Smith.
Scott Dahlgren won the 20 lap Dwarf Car Main Event. This was the sixth win of the season for the new champion. Dahlgren and teammate Devan Kammermann shared the front row, and Dahlgren charged into the lead at the start. David Rosa settled into third as the first 15 laps went without a yellow flag. Kammermann spun trying to lap a slower car on the front stretch for a lap 15 yellow flag. Dahlgren continued to lead David Rosa and David Michael Rosa on the restart. Dahlgren led the rest of the way to win by a comfortable margin. David Michael Rosa made a low pass in Turn 4 on lap 18 to take second all the way to the checkered flag. Mike Corsaro made a late pass for third as David Rosa and Kammermann completed the Top 5.
Chris Sorensen won the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event. Sorensen increased his point lead with his seventh win of the season as Breanna Troen spun late in her battle with Megan Ponciano. Sorensen had a front row start and led Ponciano early on. Troen struggled a bit in Turn 3 and spun on the opening lap without a yellow flag. Ponciano and Jason Robles were having a side by side battle for second with Robles gaining the spot on lap six. After the second yellow flag of the race on lap 10, Troen began her charge into the Top 5. Sorensen continued to lead Robles, and Troen started challenging Ponciano for third on lap 15. Troen spun in Turn 3, collecting Josh Leach for a lap 17 yellow flag. Sorensen maintained command on the restart and brought it home to a satisfying win ahead on Robles, Ponciano, Ken Johns and Lori Brown.
Next week is the 17th Annual Chet Thomson Memorial Hardtop race. The B Modifieds will be racing for $750 to win. Also competing will be the A Modifieds, Limited Late Models and Hobby Stocks. For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
All Star Series Antioch Speedway
Unofficial Race Results
Wingless Spec SprintsHeat Winners (6 Laps)-Kyle Bakkie, Bob Newberry. Main Event (20 Laps)-Bob Newberry, Cameron Martin, Kyle Bakkie, Austin Stone, Marcus Smith, Jeff Scotto, Peter Carlotta, Richard Otterstom, Dan Gonderman, Mackenzie Newton.
DIRTcar Late ModelsHeat Winners (6 Laps)-Mike Hynes, Richard Papenhausen. Main Event (20 Laps)-Shawn DeForest, Rod Oliver, Rick Coffey, Kimo Oreta, John Soares, Mike Hynes, Richard Papenhausen.
B ModifiedsHeat Winners (6 Laps)-Tommy Fraser, Trevor Clymens. Main Event (20 Laps)-Tommy Fraser, Cameron Swank, Kevin Brown, Trevor Clymens, Tommy Clymens Jr, Frank Cefaliello, Tim Rolan.
Hobby StocksHeat Winners (6 Laps)-Jason Robles, Breanna Troen, Chris Sorensen. Main Event (20 Laps)-Chris Sorensen, Jason Robles, Megan Ponciano, Ken Johns, Lori Brown, Will Buirch, Kimo Oreta, James Thomson, Jacob Mallett Jr, Breanna Troen.
Dwarf CarsHeat Winners (6 Laps)-Mike Corsaro, David Rosa. Main Event (20 Laps)-Scott Dahlgren, David Michael Rosa, Mike Corsaro, David Rosa, Devan Kammermann, Giovanni Bertoli, Mario Marques, Roberto Monroy, Travis Day, Dennis Gilcrease.
Point Season Finale At Merced Speedway Saturday Night
Merced, CA...Though there is the big John Fore Jr Memorial Dirt Nationals event on October 25-26, this Saturday is the last point race of the season at Merced Speedway. The IMCA Sport Modifieds will be in action along with the Mini Stocks, California Sharp Mini Late Models and the Valley Sportsman division.
As long as he is able to take the green flag in the Main Event, Fred Ryland appears to be safe in his quest to wrap up his second Merced Speedway championship. Ryland has been the most consistent driver in the field with seven Top 5 finishes in his nine starts, including one victory. He has been able to fend off the challenges of likely IMCA State champion Guy Ahlwardt. Ahlwardt recently pocketed $2,000 for the big Labor Day weekend victory, which was his second win of the season out of his five Top 5 efforts. He still has his hands full with two-time feature winner Kelly Wilkinson just two points behind him in third.
Patti Ryland has been a staunch supporter of the show this year, and as long as she's able to start the Main Event, her chances of holding onto fourth in the standings are pretty good. it would certainly help her cause if she could get her fourth Top 10 finish of the season as she leads third-generation racer Nick Tucker by just 10 points. These Top 5 competitors are anticipated this week along with Chuck Weir, KC Keller, reigning champion Jeremy Hoff, top rookie Kodie Dean and one-time winner Chris Falkenberg.
After 10 events, Lee Ragsdale is still leading the way in the Mini Stock championship battle. He earned his 10th Top 5 finish in 10 starts last time out, giving him a 33 point lead over Lucy Falkenberg. Both Ragsdale and Falkenberg have won a Main Event this year as has third ranked Jennifer Rodgers. Rodgers is 14 points behind Falkenberg and still has an outside shot at making a move there.
If not for missing a race, Shawn DePriest would surely be in the championship battle. He has won four Main Events out of his eight Top 5 finishes, putting him 25 points behind Rodgers despite his absence from one event. He's also just one point ahead of rookie Tyler Post in the race for fourth. Last time out, Post picked up his first career feature victory, meaning everybody in the Top 5 has scored at least one win during the season. All five drivers are anticipated this week, along with Jerry Tubbs, Austin Sprague, Shayla Gould end Gene Glover.
Timmy Crews appears to be headed for his second-straight California Sharp Mini Late Model championship. Last time out was a career night for him. Not only did he pick up his sixth Mini Late Model Main Event win, he also won the Hobby Stock feature later in the evening. He leads one-time winner Logan Clay by 34 points in the Mini Late Model standings. Both drivers are the only ones to get Top 5 finishes in all 10 of their starts. Clay leads two-time winner Riley Jeppesen by 24 points and is likely to hold onto second in the standings. Other drivers to watch for this week include Carson Guthrie, Kaylin Lopez and Ian Shearer.
Rick Elliott will wrap up his successful championship run in Sportsman competition this week. Elliott had three feature wins in his nine starts to clinch the championship early. Previous champion Jerry Cecil had two wins this season, and he will end up second in the standings. The closest point battle is for third, where two-time champion Mike Friesen leads teammate Jeff West by 12 points. Both drivers are still looking for their first wins of the season. Fifth ranked Dwayne Short won his third Main Event of the season last week. These five could be there this week, and others to watch for include Gary Hildebrand and Eric Seely.
This will be the final opportunity to watch championship racing at Merced Speedway this year and the last chance to see a race on the quarter-mile oval until late next month. With the lineup of divisions slated to compete, this is going to be a good show. For further information, go to www.mercedspeedway.net.
Foulger Wraps Up Championship With Sixth Feature Win
At Merced Speedway
Merced, CA...September 14...Troy Foulger won the 30 lap IMCA Modified Main Event Saturday night at Merced Speedway. This was the sixth win of the season for Foulger in the Bowers Racing Modified. Foulger came from 10th starting to grab the lead on the last lap. Robby Jeppesen led the opening lap before Billy Wilker took over on a lap one restart. Wilker pulled away from Jeppesen during the lengthy green flag run, and Foulger worked his way into third by lap 17. Foulger was working the outside groove, and he went by Jeppesen on the front stretch as they completed the 22nd lap. A lap 24 yellow flag erased Wilker's lead. Wilker continued to lead as Foulger worked the outside line. Foulger went back to the bottom on lap 28, but he decided to try the high line again as they took the white flag. Foulger had momentum on the outside as they entered the final turn. Wilker spun in Turn 3, and Foulger went on to victory. Jeppesen finished second, followed by Mike Villanueva, Ricky Thatcher, Jim Pettit II, Wilker, Ray Mayer, Justin Hart, Bob Williamson and Ryan Porter. Pettit, Wilker and Jesse Burks won the eight lap heat races.
Buddy Shepherd won the 25 lap Hobby Stock Main Event. The was the first win for Shepherd, and he held off fellow Bakersfield visitor Nicholas Johnson for the win. Timmy Crews set the early pace as he looked for his second-straight win. However, it didn't take long before Shepherd took over. Johnson and Watsonville point leader Rob Gallaher made things interesting up front, but they finished second and third, respectively. Four-time champion Raul Rodriguez Sr finished fourth, followed by Austin Van Hoff, new champion Shannon Nelson, Donnie Shearer, Allen Neal, Race Shelton and Kristie Shearer. Heat race winners were Johnson, Gallaher and Shepherd.
Mark Biscardi won the 20 lap South Bay Dwarf Car Main Event. This was the fifth win of the season for the point leader. Reigning champion Gene "Punky" Pires had the pole for the ace, but he fell out early. Biscardi would win from his second row start, chased by Ryan Amlen and Eric Weisler. Trafton Chandler settled for fourth ahead of Santa Maria Hobby Stock star Scotty Preast, Eddy Claessen, Jimmy Damron, Barry Waddell and Mike Farrell. Eight lap heat races were won by Biscardi and Amlen.
Dwayne Short won the 20 lap Valley Sportsman Main Event. This was the third win of the season for Short. Short and Mike Friesen shared the front row of the feature race, and Short moved into the lead. Point leader Rick Elliott settled into second and would chase Short to the finish. Gary Hildebrand finished third ahead of Friesen, Jerry Cecil and Jeff West. Elliott won the eight lap heat race.
Next Saturday night is the final point race of the season. The IMCA Sport Modifieds will be competing along with the Mini Stocks, California Sharp Mini Late Models and the Valley Sportsman division. For further inforation, go to www.mercedspeedway.net.
Petaluma Speedway Wraps Up
Championship Point Racing Saturday Night
Petaluma, CA...It's been an exciting season at Petaluma Speedway the year. Promoter Rick Faeth has offered up many entertaining shows for the fans to enjoy. Though this Saturday will be the final point race, October will still have three events on the schedule with extra money on the line. This Saturday night, the PitStopUSA.com Wingless Spec Sprints, Lumberjacks Restaurant Super Stocks, Santa Rosa Auto Body 600 Micros and Jake's Performance Hobbies Mini Stocks will all take their turns on the 3/8 mile adobe oval
Angelique Bell appears to be headed for the Wingless Spec Sprint championship. Last time out, she enjoyed another Top 10 finish, giving her eight total in her nine starts. She also has four Top 5 finishes and one feature triumph. This would be her second Spec Sprint championship as she was the Silver Dollar Speedway title winner a few seasons ago. There is still the possibility of a few positions changing hands. With Sparky Howard not having such a good night the last time out, Scott Chapeta closed in on him even more with his fourth place finish.
Cody Fendley has scored two victories this season and was third at the most recent race. On that occasion, past Winged 360 Sprint Car champion Bradley Terrell was making history. Not only did he win the big PitStopUSA.com Shootout race for the Winged 360 Sprint Cars, pocketing $3,000 in the process, he also won his fourth Spec Sprint feature of the season. If Terrell shows up this week, he is certainly somebody to contend with. Some of the stars of the show to watch for this week include Top 5 ranked Boy Moniz, Keith Calvino, Bob Davis, long time Petaluma competitor Tony Bernard and Dennis Furia Jr.
Normally, when a division championship has been wrapped up, there may not be much excitement going into the next two races. However, it's different in the Lumberjacks Restaurant Super Stocks. Reigning champion Mitch Machado is on the verge of history. He has won all 10 Main Events this year in the Baker Motorsports entry, giving him a commanding lead in the championship battle over past champion Steve Studebaker. If Machado wins this week, he will have won every point earning event of the season. If he is able to win the Adobe Cup/Bob McCoy Memorial big money race the following week, he will be the only driver in the history of the speedway to win every Main Event in this division for the entire season. This makes Machado a marked man going into the week.
Studebaker has been very consistent this season with nine top 5 finishes in his 10 starts. Last time out saw him earn his division leading fifth runner-up finish with his closest point rival, two-time champion Matt While, fishing third. While tops the division with four third place finishes to go with his one second place effort. There is still the possibility that While could pass Studebaker should Studebaker slip up.
Should While slip up, Gary Adams could seize the opportunity to move up a spot into third. Adams has matched While with four third place finishes of his own. Some of the other stars to watch for this week include Manny Avila, past champion Shawn McCoy, Tim O'Hara, Austin Ohlinger and Sid Hess.
There is a close battle taking place in the 600 Micro Sprints. Despite being rather dominant at times with four feature victories in his seven starts, Nick Robfogel is not leading the way. The very consistent Justin Adiego has a 15 point advantage. Adiego has all Top 5 finishes in his seven starts, including one win, one second and three third place efforts. It will be a challenge for Robfogel to get past Adiego in the standings even if he wins. Kyle Grissom has also picked up a feature win this season and holds third in the standings by 22 points ahead of Carroll Mendenhall. These four are anticipated this week along with Rob Brown, Sam Borland, Anton Gianini and Trevor Mendenhall.
The Mini Stock championship battle comes to a close with teammates Jeremy Tjensvold and Tom Brown enjoying a good battle. Both drivers have earned Top 5 finishes in each of their eight starts, but Tjensvold has five victories to three for Brown. Brown is the reigning champion and has a shot at becoming the first repeat champion in this class in more than a decade. Everybody else in the pack would just like to make a trip to the winner's circle. However, beating the two leaders seems to be easier said than done.
Sophie Shelly is currently running third, 19 points in front of Darien Balestrini and 21 ahead of Roy Dearing. Dearing earned his second runner-up finish of the season last time out, but Balestrini has six Top 5 finishes to five for Dearing. It's possible there could be some changes in the order after this race. Others to watch for include Antonio Miramontez, Randy Miramontez, Jason Grover and Danny Manzoni.
Saturday's show wraps up the championship racing with another entertaining lineup of divisions. However, racing will continue in October with the Seventh Annual Adobe Cup/Bob McCoy open show on October 5th, featuring PitStopUSA.com Winged 360 Sprint Cars and Lumberjacks Restaurant Super Stocks. The following weekend will offer USAC Western 360 Sprint Cars and General Hydroponics Redwood Dwarf Cars and the season will close out a week after that with a $1,000 to win makeup race for the McLea's Tire Service IMCA Modifieds. The PitStopUSA.com Wingless Spec Sprints, General Hydroponics Redwood Dwarf Cars and the Jake's Performance Hobbies Mini Stocks will also be there. For further information on what's happening at the track, go to www.petaluma-speedway.com.
Racing Returns With Five Division Program
At Ocean Speedway This Friday
Watsonville, CA...After a month off, Ocean Speedway will roar to life with the sound of race cars once again this Friday night. It's a five division program that will feature the IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds. Also competing will be the Western Midgets, Hobby Stocks and the Police N Pursuit cars.
With 12 races in the record books, the IMCA Modifieds are still having a close battle at the top of the standings. Only 13 points separate the Top 3 drivers as Austin Burke leads brother Cody Burke by four points and Jim Pettit II by 13. All three drivers have seven Top 5 finishes each. Reigning champion Cody Burke has picked up two victories, while Pettit has one. Austin Burke managed to gain the lead following the most recent race, where he earned a season best second place finish.
Meanwhile, Jeff Decker has a pretty good hold on fourth in the standings. Recently, Decker picked up his first feature win of the season out at Antioch Speedway, but he is still looking for a win at his home track. It's a competitive field that will likely include such hard chargers as past champions Robert Marsh and Nick DeCarlo, Anthony Copeland, Raymond Keldsen Jr and rookie Anthony Giuliani. Six-time champion Bobby Hogge IV leads the class with five feature victories, and it could be that he's here trying for a sixth win as he tunes up for the Pat & Jim Pettit Memorial Shootout race that is scheduled for next week.
The IMCA Sport Modified championship race is starting to tilt in the direction of second-generation racer Jarrod Mounce. The driver from Atwater now holds a 28 point advantage over Adrianne Frost as he has all Top 5 finishes in his 13 starts, including two victories. Frost is also a two-time winner and holds a 20 point lead over third ranked Justin McPherson. With three victories each, Kevin Johnson and Guy Ahlwardt hold the fourth and fifth positions. Ahlwardt leads Johnson by a wide margin in the IMCA State championship race.
The numbers have been up all season long in this division as several drivers have been coming to town for a night of racing on the fast quarter-mile clay oval. Some of the other stars to watch for this week include rookie Kelly Campanile, Charlie Hunter, Max Baggett, Randy Miller and Steven Allee.
The Western Midget division has done a good job of getting established in their first season at the speedway. They've averaged about a half dozen cars per race, and David Prickett has scored victories in three of the five events held so far. This gives him a 22 point advantage over Randi Pankratz. Like Prickett, Pankratz has scored four Top 5 finishes, and she's in no danger of losing second in the standings.
Greg Edenholm is currently third in points. The most recent winner was Keoni Texeira, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii. Texeira has spent recent seasons running with the Northwest Focus Midget group up in Washington and Northern Oregon. There's been positive buzz for this division at both Watsonville and Ventura, which bodes well for the future.
In the Hobby Stock division, Rob Gallaher continues to lead the way over his father Joe Gallaher. Rob has picked up 11 Top 5 finishes in his 12 starts, which includes a division leading five victories. Joe has done an exceptional job as well with three wins of his own. The championship could still go either way between these two. DJ Keldsen maintains third in the standings by 39 points ahead of recent feature winner Jerry Skelton. These four are anticipated this week, and others to watch for include the father-son team of Bobby Huckaby Sr and Jr, past champion Wally Kennedy, Nick Triolo and Ryan Muller.
Rounding out the program is Championship Night for the Police N Pursuit division. The various representatives of different law enforcement agencies do a little bit of public outreach and also help raise money for the Special Olympics. With two victories to his credit, John Hohmann of the Scott's Valley Police Department has a 47 point lead over Roy Iler after seven races. Iler, who is from the San Benito Sheriff's Office, leads Stephen Fernandes of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office by just 10 points. Other stars of the group include two-time winners Dan Anderson and Jesse Mueller, Adam Rikalo, Justin Rhoades and Tony Weir.
There will be plenty of exciting action happening at the speedway this Friday night. The season is getting closer to ending, but there's still some opportunities for drivers to make their moves up the point ladder. For further information, go to www.racepmg.com.
Butterfield Makes Late Move For Sprint Car Win
At Orland Raceway
Orland, CA...September 14...Doug Butterfield scored a thrilling victory in the 20 lap Wingless Spec Sprint Main Event Saturday night at Orland Raceway. Butterfield is a past Mini Stock champion who has competed in several different divisions at the track through the years. This was Fan Appreciation Night, which meant the fans got to meet the racers and check out the race cars before the show.
In his hopes over overttaking Denny McNary in the championship chase, Tony Richards set the early pace ahead of Butterfield and Tyler Rockwell. Josh Tucker grabbed third just before a lap five yellow flag slowed the pace. Butterfield surprised Richards by racing into the lead on the restart, but Richards made a low pass in Turn 2 a lap later to regain command. Richards began to stretch his advantage to a straightaway over Butterfield and Tucker, who had a close battle going for second. Richards was soon working slower traffic, but a spun car in Turn 3 forced a yellow flag with two laps remaining. Butterfield surprised Richards again by taking the lead on the restart, and a thrilling four-car battle ensued on the final lap. Butterfield led them to the checkered flag, and past champion Josh Jacobo made a last turn pass on the inside for a season best second. Tucker beat Richards back to the line in a close race as Rockwell, Jeremy Langenderfer, McNary, RJ Baker, Jerry Douglas and James Taylor completed the Top 10. Rockwell, Butterfield and Richards won the eight lap heat races.
Wes Smock won the 20 lap Pure Stock Main Event. Despite having a front row start, this wasn't an easy win for Smock as Kevin Pendergrass made him work for it. Smock led four laps before a yellow flag slowed the pace. Pendergrass charged into the lead on the restart, but Smock continued working the high side and beat Pendergrass back to the line a lap later to regain the lead. The two leaders ran several side-by-side laps, but it was Smock leading the all important final lap for the victory. Pendergrass settled for second ahead of Phil Spencer, Thomas Pavlik, Maurice Merrill, John Camper, Zack Thornton, Rocky Wagner, Paul Stephens and Keith Ross.
Eight lap heat races were won by Smock, Stephens, Pendergrass and Pavlik. Camper won the 15 lap B Main. James Taylor led six laps before contact in Turn 2 sent him spinning into the infield. Tony Quinones led one lap before Camper went racing by on the inside in Turn 3. Thornton caught Camper late and made a challenge, but Camper prevailed at the checkered flag. Quinones finished third.
Tom Davis won the 20 lap Mini Stock Main Event. Davis has won all but two of the Main Events as he has clinched his third-straight championship with the win. Davis charged into the lead at the start ahead of Rick Etchison. A fire on the rear end of the Jason Libbee car forced a lap six red flag. Davis continued to lead Etchsion on the restart, but Etchison spun in Turn 2 for a lap 13 yellow flag. Davis led Dusty Hills on the restart as Barbara Crain settled into third. Davis pulled away to the victory, and Hills held off a challenge from Crain for second. John Kirkpatrick finished fourth, followed by Tammy Whicker, Etchison, Eric Hammond and Libbee. Davis and Hills were the eight lap heat race winners.
Tyler Rockwell won the 20 lap 600 Micro Sprint Main Event. Heat race winner Colby Greig led a lap before contact between he and Rockwell sent him spinning. Greig retired and Rockwell led David Worley on the restart. Krya Michelet was lapped, and Worley pitted from second with mechanical issues as a yellow flag waved. Michelet unlapped herself as Rockwell slowed during the final three laps. Rockwell still took the checkered flag to win ahead of Michelet.
The official finish of the Wingless 250 Micro Sprint Main Event was not official at press time. Incoming point leader Mike McCarthy led the race from the start ahead of James Barnes. Previous feature winner Ronnie Heyer moved past Barnes for second on lap seven, but a low pass in Turn 2 of the 12th lap regained Barnes second. Barnes steadily reeled in McCarthy until catching him with two laps to go. Coming out of the final turn, Barnes attempted an inside pass for the win, drifted up and there was contact. McCarthy hit the front wall and flipped as the red flag was displayed seconds after the checkered flag. Heyer and Lester Elsey had been running behind the two leaders in third and fourth, respectively.
September 28th is Championship Night at Orland Raceway. The Pure Stocks are back along with the Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks, 600 Micro Sprints and California Hardtops. For further information, go to the Orland Raceway Facebook page.
Baronian Wins CVMS Mini Stock Race At Lemoore Raceway
Lemoore, CA...September 14...Greg Baronian won the 25 lap House Of JuJu Central Valley Mini Stock Main Event Saturday night at Lemoore Raceway. Baronian took the lead at the start and drove impressively to win a race that had no yellow flags. This was the first win of the season for the defending series champion.
Baronian had the pole for the 14 car Main Event and charged into the lead at the start ahead of point leader Dan Myrick. 2017 champion Danny Myrick slipped past Clinton Massey for third on the third lap. Baronian was setting a rapid pace and soon found himself trailing a trio of cars that were running nose to tail on the bottom groove. Dan Myrick seized the opportunity to close in on the bumper of Baronian before Baronian went low to lap one of the cars. Myrick got caught on the outside by the time Baronian cleared the three cars and pulled away again. Danny Myrick caught his son in traffic and made a backstretch pass for second on lap 18. However, Dan Myrick went low in Turn 3 a lap later and regained third. Dan Myrick closed in just a bit on Baronian in the waning laps, but Baronian would prevail at the checkered flag. Ryan Blank and Brent Myrick both made late passes on Danny Myrick to finish third and fourth. Danny Myrick settled for fifth, followed by Shawn DePriest, Jeff Durant, Ethan Griffieon, Tustin Griffioen and Gene Glover.
Baronian turned the one-fifth mile dirt oval with a lap of 15.154 to set the fast time, beating the 15.610 of Massey. Massey won a photo finish with Baronian for the four lap Trophy Dash win. Brent Myrick outran Baronian to win the first eight lap heat race. Ryan Doglione outran Blank to win the second heat and Dan Myrick prevailed in the final heat in front of Ethan Griffioen.
The House of JuJu CVMS Mini Stocks will return to Lemoore Raceway for CC Biker Night on October 12th. The VRA Dwarf Cars will also be competing. For further information, go to www.centralvalleyministocks.com.
Lemoore Raceway Unofficial Race Results September 14, 2019
House Of JuJu Central Valley Mini Stocks
Merced Speedway Unofficial Race Results September 14, 2019
Jim Pettit II
John Osgood III
Raul Rodriguez Sr
Austin Van Hoff
Meghan Myers DNS
Bakersfield Speedway Unofficial Race Results September 14, 2019
IMCA Sport Modifieds
Ricky Childress Jr
IMCA RaceSaver 305 Sprint Cars
NMRA TQ Midgets
Sr. Mini Dwarf
Jr. Mini Dwarf
Madera Speedway Unofficial Race Results September 14, 2019
Harvest Classic Night #2
Super Modifieds/Sprint Cars
Donnie Large Jr
Art McCarthy DNS
Mike Sargent DNS
Larry Hinz DNS
Ventura Raceway Unofficial Race Results September 14, 2019
USAC Western Midgets
Mike Leach Jr
VRA Dwarf Cars
Tommy Velasquez III
Bill Vint Jr.
Irwindale Speedway Unofficial Race Results September 14, 2019
Pick Your Part Late Models
Main Event #1
Main Event #2
Race Trucks/Spec Late Models
Progressive Paint Super Stocks
Rich DeLong III
DJ Vergini Jr
Tucker Tire Enduro
Kern Raceway Unofficial Race Results September 14, 2019
Super Moto Main #3 Unlimited, Vet 45, (9 Min)
Super Moto Main #1VET 30/Sport(8 Min)
Madera Raceway Unofficial race Results September 13, 2019
Harvest Classic Night #1
Donnie Large Jr
Henk Gaalswyk Jr
John McCullum Jr
Manny Gonzales Jr
The Editor's Viewpoint
It's kind of hard to believe that the racing season has gone by as quickly as it has. I can't help but feel a bit relieved. Honestly, I put a lot of the pressure on myself when it comes to the media effort. I kept adding to it, and it was difficult for me to keep up the pace this year. Add to that a heavy load at Southern Oregon Speedway, and I was pretty much burning out by the time we got halfway through the season. What I've learned is that as much as I'd like to continue to do more, I need to lessen the load if I'm to continue doing any sort of motorsports media in the future.
We only have a little over a month before the last track that I've been featuring on the two blogs will run their final race of the season, and I will have honored the commitment I made to myself to cover them from start to finish. I admit I take a lot of pride in that. I'm not able to lay the magazines on the floor and admire the fact that I did about 35 different magazines during the course of the year. The magazine has long faded away.
I admit that was a source of pride, and maybe just a bit silly. We'd get to the end of a racing season, and I'd grab each of my personal copies and lay them on the floor and just stare at them. Yep, hours of work put into those pages that went out every week. It's not as easy to look at all of that when it's basically a bunch of text on a screen and you need to click a bunch of links to see it all. I've probably written more content this year than I wrote back in those days, and if not, it's pretty damn close. What was I proving? I suppose part of it was that you can do this and media outlets will be interested in articles about racing. I also proved what I knew when I walked away from racing in 2003. Promoters don't see much value in what I do.
I noticed last week that Daren Ricks Campbell announced the discontinuation of his media effort, and I have commented on that. I'm still disappointed. Yeah, this from a guy who when Daren would no longer be needed at Antioch Speedway, I wanted to tell him then to run far and fast from the sport. Then again, people would tell me the same thing years ago, and I didn't listen. Furthermore, I didn't want to discourage him. In the ideal situation, I would bring Daren in where I am and put him to work on social media and some writing with an eye towards taking over full responsibility of that within a couple of years.
It's not that I don't get all of the social media stuff. I understand it. There was a time in my non racing endeavors where I spent quite a bit of time on Twitter, and this is something that you do to get the word out on what you're doing. I don't have the time, nor the desire to spend hours on social media. Daren will engage in that sort of thing more than I do, and I've seen personally how this has helped a race get get more drivers. It really breaks my heart that he hasn't landed a publicity gig someplace. A guy like him has the passion for the sport, and I get that some tracks might have different philosophies. Fine, sit down and talk with the guy and tell him what you want. I'm pretty darn sure Daren can get the job done. As I said, I'd bring him in in a heartbeat if I could get him a gig that compensated him for his time.
This is where I always made my big mistake in the sport. I was always too willing to just give everything away, other than the magazine I created. If somebody wanted me to do something, I would generally do it for free. Management at Antioch back in the day would refer the new writers to me, because they knew I could tell them of the ins and outs and get them up to speed. Whatever the case, I would give, because I felt I had to. The problem is, you put yourself in a mindset where you feel like if you aren't giving it away for free, they won't want it from you anymore. You're only good when you give it to them. I marvel at those people 25 or 30 years ago who wouldn't do anything unless they were being paid, but I get it now. Problem was, from where I was coming from, had I not done it the way I did it, doors would never have opened for me. It's all in my first book, so no need to hash it out here.
I know what the reality is. I know how I feel about things. I know the value that I can bring to what I do, and I also know that chances are very good I'm still going to be involved in the sport next year. It's just that I'm not going to put as big a workload on myself this time. I will continue to write on the blogs, but if you're looking for the big overall picture that I've been presenting these past couple of years, you're probably going to be disappointed. On the other hand, if some of the entities involved wish to throw some support my way, a little compensation, I'll continue to do those things. No need to practically kill myself anymore otherwise. I've already proven my point.
What I'm trying to do is get my second wind so that I can complete one of my book projects for publication on Lulu during the off-season. The first likely candidate is the sequel to Just A Kid From The Grandstands, but there are a couple of other ideas brewing as well. It all depends on a couple of factors. How am I going to feel? What will be my plans for 2020 and beyond? It's all up in the air. I like books, because even four years after the fact, Just A Kid From The Grandstands still sells. I think that the next book, My Apologies, A Written Retraction, will tell the rest of the story I set out to tell in the first book. After that, I think more historical stuff needs to be created and less of my opinions and observations on things.
I'm sitting here writing this article, because it's my desire to get everything done as quickly as possible. On Wednesday, which might be the day I put this post up, I'm jumping on a train and heading to Martinez, California. I will be at Antioch Speedway for at least two of the last three races, and possibly the last one. My plans were based on the last one being held on October 11th and 12th, and that's been moved. Everybody knows that Chad Chadwick is promoting the big event, and some details have already been put out. So, I'm wanting to get as much stuff written and ready to go. After Saturday's race at Southern Oregon Speedway, I can wrap up a few things and head to that train. There is still more to be wrapped up, which I will do from California.
It's been interesting having a conversation with Mike McCann about how the season has gone. There's sort of a mixed bag in the numbers, but overall, the effort we've made to turn things around has been successful. Yep, we've got more fans and more racers coming to the speedway on any given night. Believe me, we've worked very hard to get there, and we know that our hold on that is tenuous. In other words, you need to keep working to make things better and keep the momentum going. I've been saying that all along. I don't care if we have a huge night to close the season, and it could be a good night, that means only what it means for that night. If you want that to continue in 2020, you must continue working on it.
Mike's not one to get bogged down on scheduling thoughts this early. We're not even done with the season until Saturday, and even then, after he does the things he needs to do to close things out, Mike's going to basically shut down for a little bit before getting back into scheduling mode. We've had some interesting conversations, and I hesitate to get too much into what has been said. I don't think you're going to see much change as far as what divisions are there, other than the discontinuation of the Hornets division. You might see a certain division there more often, and there is the possibility of something new being created, but who knows right now?
What was interesting was our discussion about what was working and what wasn't. What divisions were needed on certain nights, and what divisions weren't. How well certain nights will work and how we can make them even better and more smoother flowing. What weekends are more of a challenge for us to make something happen and how we can make those weekends work better for us. Weekends that we weren't racing and possibly could. Just general thoughts. Overall, it was a positive. Rainouts didn't help us, obviously. You can't control the weather, but the weather we had probably helped the numbers on the nights we were running. Who can control the weather?
If a fifth year is in the cards for me at Southern Oregon Speedway, I'll reevaluate how I can do a better job in my capacity as the Publicity Director. I don't think there are certain things I've done as well as I could, but I also think part of the stressful situation I've dealt with this year was because I helped compensate in areas we needed help in. I've always been willing to jump in and do what I can. Perhaps the motivating factor has been I still don't know what is next in my life once I move on from here. I have more of a vested interest in seeing this be as successful as possible, but I know I'm also year to year.
If I am back, I would like to do a better job of reporting, interacting with the racers and getting more of the scoop. I would like to do more to try to get us better media coverage going into a racing weekend, which is something that has been lacking from our first day out here. I'm overall pleased with the web page that I created for the track with the understanding that most people don't even look at the web page unless they're directed to do so via Facebook. That's just part of the times we live in. However, I would like to do a better job in the history section of the page and chronicling the Posse Grounds and do a better job of presenting Hall of Fame Night and who is in the Hall of Fame.
I laid out a basic souvenir program design, and I've been happy with it overall. As far as the content, I think what I do with the souvenir programs compares very well to any of the programs that are out there. You get a dose of history, current news, rosters and lots of pictures. However, I'm looking at the program and considering a major overhaul. This would probably involve the way it's laid out and seeing if it can be more pleasing to the eye and maybe just a little bit better. Everything from the content presented within the pages to the cover itself is being considered.
Even though I was brought up here to do publicity, web page and social media, souvenir programs and all of that stuff, I've obviously expanded my duties far beyond that. Overall, considering I've had to focus on other things, I think I did okay. I think I compare pretty well to what was there before me, which wasn't much for the previous 5 to 10 years. I still think I can do better. So, if there is a 2020 season for me at Southern Oregon Speedway, I have certain goals in mind for how to make it better. Obviously, it's my hope that if I do better in these areas, this will help get us more people coming to the show and more racers wanting to be a part of it. As I said, you just never know. Trends change, attitudes change and you just have to adapt and do the best you can.
As I look back at four hard years of working to do my part with Mike McCann, there is certainly a bit of pride. I can tell you that more people are coming to the speedway. There's been some really good racing. Though we do have our critics, and we always will, the attitude towards this race track has changed 180 degrees from where it was when we got here. People see the effort that is being made as things are getting better, and they want to be a part of it. This is called progress. If I'm back for another year, my goal is to make it even better. If I'm not, at least I know I've done my part to help make it better.
What do you mean, if you're not back? I know people are asking that question. I'm honest when I say I am year to year. If the right circumstances presented themselves, I could see me walking away completely from the sport. No more weekly grind, and only writing the occasional blog article here or there. Maybe working on books. It's a necessity that I be involved in the sport, because even though money isn't necessarily coming my way, it's managed to keep a roof over my head for these past almost four years. I won't get into the reasons why it's not so easy to make a clean break given the life that I've lived, but it isn't. Therefore, since I am fortunate, maybe blessed, that I've been given the ability to help make a difference in this sport, I'm using whatever that ability is to help keep the sport going and me as well. That could change in any given year.
There's also rumors of me changing locations and still being involved in the sport. Is there any truth to that? Currently, there are no other offers for me to even entertain, so take that for what it is. The reason I'm going to Antioch this week is because I grew up in the area. Antioch Speedway will always have a special place in my heart, and I have taken on the task of creating the Hall of Fame there. Even in that endeavor, I want to lay the groundwork so that others can keep it going without my involvement, should I be unavailable. Yes, I look forward to the trip, seeing old friends, taking walks in familiar territory and being involved in helping in any way I can. That's about all I can say about that. Presently, there are no offers and I'm not so sure any offers will be forthcoming. Regardless, when that trip is over, there will be soul-searching as I wonder what's next for the following year and beyond.
I'm hopeful for a good show this weekend. You always want to leave everybody seeing the positive of what has been done and looking forward to next year. When we closed the season last year, it was undeniable. We had a really nice car count for that final race, and two of the divisions we featured had B Mains that night. I'm not so sure we'll hit that this year, but we should still be do pretty well. You never know until you get there. I'll do everything I can, as I always do.
I'm rambling, so I need to just shut my mouth. As unhappy as I am in life these days, I realize how lucky I am and how truly blessed I am to have what opportunities I do. True, it's not ideal to what I'd like, but the alternative I was facing in 2015 was the loss of everything I owned and homelessness. So, I'm better off than I could have been. At least I can make a visit back to Antioch again and have a roof over my head awaiting me when I get back.
This is probably not the smartest thing for me to do, adding anything more to this column. Reason being is I'd like to have the blog post up sometime on Tuesday and I will be on a train headed to California on Wednesday. I just had a few thoughts to add to this column before signing off from it for the week.
We had our season finale at Southern Oregon Speedway, and I thought it went pretty well. We had a good field of cars for a four division show, gave the fans plenty of racing and got done by 11. It's all stuff I like to see happen. The IMCA Modifieds continue to show why they are so important to the program with the great racing they do. When you get a good crowd like we had on Saturday, you try to deliver them the best show you can. That particular division certainly Isn't hindering anything. Actually, all four classes delivered, though the Dwarf Cars got just a bit rough. Give the fans a show, and leave them wanting more. I think we did that.
The Stockton Dirt Track ran a four division Stock Car oriented program. The Tri State Pro Stock division were the head liners as it seems as if the speedway and Promoter Tony Noceti are keenly interested in helping with this particular effort. I know Tony wants to have Stock Car racing, and it appears as if the B Modifieds figure into that as well. It also looks like they want to add the Bombers or Hobby Stocks to that equation as well as the Mini Stock class. This is all fine and good, but I think the track needs to put do a better job of putting information out there on the Stock Car side of things.
One potential point of contention that could arise over the track is them being so close to Antioch Speedway, running on Saturday and using the B Modifieds. I am sure there were racers who might have been at Antioch if Stockton wasn't an option. I'm also sure that racers will take their cars anywhere they damn well please, but I know how it gets sometimes with tracks in close proximity and people feeling certain divisions are theirs. Anyway, I don't think Tony is going away when it comes to doing Stock Car type things on the dirt track, but he helps his cause more by putting the word out there better. Then again, the pavement track is only doing marginally better in that endeavor. I had thought of potentially doing a results article, but since I don't have most of the results, this isn't going to happen at this point.
One division that might be considered for a dirt track show at Stockton next year is the Central Valley Mini Stocks. Dan Myrick brought in the House of JuJu sponsorship out of Clovis and Morro Bay this year, and as a result his group is competing for $5,000 in point fund money. I don't know of any West Coast Mini Stock group on the dirt doing it any better than he is, and the only thing that I see that comes close overall is the Northwest Mini Stock group out of Washington. The CVMS has grown by leaps bounds this year, and it's been very evident at their Hanford visits with counts of 24 on average.
What really caught my eye was when Dan created this thing and started racing them on the 1/5 my dirt oval at Lemoore Raceway. It's a small track, known more for the Micro Sprint racing they do. However, for those of us who remember Delta Speedway in Stockton in the 1990s, Mini Stocks can do quite well on a small track. Back in those days, Delta even ran Dwarf Cars and 1200cc Mini Sprints. If you didn't see the shows back then, you missed out. Watching the Mini Stocks on that track is what led me to believe there was potential when Dan pitched the idea of doing this at Lemoore.
This last Saturday, they brought in 14 cars, and all of them started the Main Event. That's right on the edge of enough cars for a B Main on that track. What was cool to see was their 25 lap feature didn't need a yellow flag. The leaders did come up on slower track traffic, but it was okay. I didn't see anybody getting run over. I saw racers respecting each other and a good show. What Dan really needs is support for this effort. I know that he's taking money out of pocket to promote any races they have at Lemoore, which has also led to more of a desire to branch out to other venues. I would hate to see Lemoore fall off of the schedule in the future.
On the other hand, Dan wants support divisions out there, and at times it's been a struggle. The Mod Lites division from down in Bakersfield has made two visits and done a good job. The South Bay Dwarf Cars came to town this year and they had a Dwarf Car show last year as well. I'm really hoping that the Ventura Racing Association Dwarf Cars will bring a good field on October 12th. There are other divisions I think would work well there, such as the California Sharp Mini Late Models, who have thus far not been able to work out a date, even though they are welcome there.
I know one of the issues Dan considers when trying to book there is that having a second or even third division will help. It helps get fans interested in coming to watch when they know there's more divisions, and it also helps pay for the night of racing as the track doesn't come free. I have no doubt that the Central Valley Mini Stock effort will continue to grow stronger next year, but I would like to see Lemoore have a presence on the schedule. Dan isn't saying otherwise, but I know one thing that helps the cause is having support divisions. Or, if you just want to support through sponsorship, you can check them out and contact them via the Central Valley Mini Stock Facebook page. The other cool thing would be if maybe, just maybe, one of the Micro divisions might even support a show some night or the CVMS be welcome at one of their events.
I made a comment last week on my Facebook page regarding the Valley Sportsman division. Larry Peirini has been trying to sell a car for a couple of years, and it's a nice piece. I count anywhere from 16 to 20 cars in the area, although division founder Luis Miranda tells me he can only come up with 16. My point is, there are cars that were built for the modern effort that aren't racing these days, and I also heard there was an interest in having the Sportsman division visit Antioch Speedway sometime. The thing is, the Sportsman division at Merced is not an association, but runs there as a division at the track. I don't know how much organization you would get as far as drivers coming to Antioch. When they visited in 2000, they were an association and approached me about getting a race at Antioch. I facilitated this through John Soares, but unfortunately it didn't catch on after that visit.
There are still people in Antioch who know and love that division, and there was an interesting thread on the Antioch Speedway Days of Old Facebook page about four years ago with two or three old Sportsman drivers talking about building cars if the division was brought back. This never came to pass. What did happen on my thread this last week was I got contacted by one of the local racers via private message. Who, I won't say just yet. However, he is somebody who is very interested in the class and wanted to know what cars I knew were for sale. I know of Larry's car, but here's my thought. Those cars that are sitting parked might have price tags on them.
I don't propose this idea lightly or as a way to screw over Merced Speedway either. My belief is that if there were three or four running cars, maybe a half a dozen, and Antioch ran that class once a month, you would see an interest in it again. People with the know how would begin building cars, and something could happen. You would also have a unique looking division that has cars that generally don't look alike. The Sportsman division was always a neat class with personality, and I just think it could be a nice addition. So, the idea I proposed was a good way to get it started again. Buy a few cars that are either running or very close to running, put them on the track next year and make a go of it.
Nostalgia is a big thing right now. We've got a thriving Legends of Kearney Bowl Super Modified thing out of Madera. The Hardtop movement in the Northern California area has over 20 active cars and several more that are currently not being run. There's also various Vintage Midgets from the BCRA and other Vintage Sprints. People like the old cars and their character. The big show coming up at Antioch Speedway Saturday is the Chet Thomson Memorial, which was one of the biggest Hardtop races of the year at Vallejo Speedway throughout the 1970s.
My thing is I would like to see the Hardtop division continue to support Antioch, but I'd also like to see cars. I recognize there's a difference in philosophy between the Bay Area group and the existing California Hardtop Association, which would require too much space in this column for me to get into. Suffice it to say, I get it now. What I want is what will get the most cars anytime the Hardtops are booked at Antioch Speedway, nothing more.
I do see leadership in the California Hardtop Association trying to do the right thing for the class. With a group like this, you have to have leadership in constant touch with the racers to see how things are going and in constant touch with the promoters letting them know. I think it's a little bit different than your regular division at the race track, but that's my opinion. You've got to be organized.
I think the Chet Thomson Memorial race can continue to be a race at Antioch Speedway, and if things go the way I think they will this year, they certainly justify their continuation for next year. However, organization is still going to be needed to keep this thing going. You advertise a race as the show to watch, and you want to make sure the fans know cars are going to be there and they will see a show.
That's really why the organization behind the scenes has to be done to a point to keep that going. All it's going to take is one poor showing, and things could change very quickly. I don't want that to happen. This is just a basic comment, and like I said, I'm not looking to delve deeper into any particular organization when I say this. I really want to see Hardtops continue to have a presence at Antioch in some capacity.
Somebody raised the possibility of a vintage type of night at Antioch Speedway, such as what Roseville had before the promoter change. Personally, I like the idea. I think it could be a fun night where people get to look at some cool, vintage race cars. Could this happen at Antioch? I don't know. I can't speak for management or anybody when I say that, but I can say that vintage divisions could have a presence in one way or another as there are cars out there. Other than that, I'll just leave it at this. I'm looking forward to the Chet Thomson Memorial race on Saturday night.
On that note, I'll end this column. Until next time...