Sunday, November 24, 2019

Placerville Speedway, Bakersfield Speedway, Keller Auto Speedway, Marysville Raceway, Stockton Dirt Track, More



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In case you missed the latest Jefferson Racing News Blog Post

Larson Wins $32,000 Prize In Hangtown 100 
At Placerville Speedway

Placerville, CA...November 19-20...NASCAR star Kyle Larson scored the victory in the USAC Nos Energy Drink Hangtown 100 Wednesday night at Placerville Speedway. Larson led most of the 100 lap race, which was worth $20,000. He also came from 23rd starting to finish fourth in the Preliminary Feature a night earlier. After calculating total points, he also pocketed an additional $12,000 for being the event champion.

The 100 lap race had 28 starters, and Brady Bacon led a pair of laps before Aaron Reutzel took over. Tanner Carrick and Logan Seavey had a good battle going for the third position, and Carrick took second from Bacon on lap 12. On the 15th lap, Seavey slipped past Carrick for second, and he put the moves on Reutzel a lap later to take the lead. Larson settled into third on lap 26 and charged by Carrick for second on lap 29. Larson began pressuring Seavey until making what would prove to be the winning pass on lap 35. Ricky Stenhouse Jr had a brief run in third, but his race was over on lap 43. At that point, Larson held a straightaway advantage over Carrick with Shane Golobic in third. Seavey got past Golobic for third on lap 47 before a yellow flag waved. They ran three laps under caution before taking the mid-race break. At that point, Larson, Carrick, Seavey, Golobic and Christopher Bell ran in the Top 5.

The first attempt at a restart saw a red flag as Golobic's race came to an end. Seavey was able to restart at the back of the pack as Larson led Carrick and Bell. By the 65th lap, Larson held a straightaway advantage over Carrick, but a yellow flag on lap 70 wiped that out. However, Larson resumed command on the next restart and again held a straightaway advantage by the time Bell slipped past Carrick for second on lap 82. Carrick regained the second position three laps later, but Larson continued to pull away. Bell kept the pressure on Carrick and regained second on lap 93. However, Larson won by a half-lap ahead of Bell, Carrick, Ryan Bernal, Jerry Coons Jr, Dylan Welch, Gio Scelzi and final lead lap finisher Tyler Courtney. Spencer Bayston and Michael Pickens rounded out the Top 10.

The racers earned points in all of the events towards the overall championship, and Wednesday started with six 10 lap heat races. Chase Johnson, Tucker Klaasmeyer, Chris Windom, Larson, Colton Heath and Andrew Layser picked up the wins in those races. Buddy Kofoid outran Ben Worth to win the 15 lap B Main as Ethan Mitchell, USAC legend Dave Darland and Colby Johnson completed the Top 5. New World of Outlaw Sprint Car champion Brad Sweet won the 20 lap B Main ahead of Jake Swanson, Windom, Tyler Courtney and Zeb Wise.

On Tuesday night, the impressive 56 car field held qualifying in addition to a full slate of heat races, B Mains and Main Event. The drivers qualified in their heat race groups, which determined the starting order for their respective heat races. The times got progressively quicker with each group, and Larson set the overall fast time in the fifth group with a lap of 12.028, beating the 12.064 of Seavey, who was in the sixth group. Ten lap heat race wins were earned by Bacon, Kevin Thomas Jr, Swanson, Thomas Meseraull, Robert Dalby and Colby Copeland.

They ran three 12 lap B Mains to determine the remainder of the starters for the Preliminary Feature. Scelzi outran Larson in a close race to win the first one as Courtney finished third. Bell won the second race ahead of Sweet and Wise. It was Jerry Coons Jr winning the third B Main by a comfortable margin ahead of Bernal and Cory Elliott.

When points were all calculated, Scelzi found himself with a front-row start for the Preliminary Feature. He charged into the lead at the start ahead of Jessie Colwell and Pickens. A yellow flag waved on lap nine, and Seavey settled into third on the restart. Scelzi ran strong at the front of the pack, and he continued to hold off Colwell until Seavey gained the second position on lap 20. Though Seavey kept it close, he was no match for the impressive Scelzi, who grabbed the checkered flag in first. Colwell settled for third, followed by 23rd starter Larson, Golobic, Stenhouse, Bayston, Carrick, Jason McDougal and Reutzel.


Larson, Michnovicz Win November Classic 
At Bakersfield Speedway

Bakersfield, CA...November 23...NASCAR star Kyle Larson won the Nos Energy Drink USAC National Midgets 30 lap Main Event Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway. This was the special November Classic and wrapped up the season for the track. Larson won the Hangtown 100 at Placerville Speedway the previous week.

With a front row starting position, Michael Pickens charged into the lead at the start, but Chris Windom flipped for a red flag after one lap. Windom was still able to restart the race. Pickens continued to set the pace, but a lap five red flag waved for a Zeb Wise flip. The race was over for Wise. Third row starter Larson managed to get around both Jesse Colwell and Jason McDougal by the lap six restart to take over the second position. Larson continued to hound Pickens until making the pass for the lead on lap 11. Larson led the rest of the way to win with Pickens holding off 12th starter Rico Abreu to finish second. National point leader Tyler Courtney finished fourth, followed by Colwell, McDougal, Giovanni Scelzi,  20th starter Thomas Meseraull, Jerry Coons Jr and Tanner Carrick.

There were 55 competitors for this event, and they were broken up into two different qualifying groups. Larson set the fastest time as part of the second group with a lap of 12.571, and Coons was second quick at 12.590 from the first group. They ran four 10 lap heat races, and Meseraull, Ethan Mitchell, Windom and Wise won their respective races. Mitchell had the closest battle with Tucker Klaasmeyer finishing right behind him in second.

Aaron Reutzel won a good battle with Logan Seavey to win the 12 lap B Main as Scelzi, Courtney and Kevin Thomas Jr completed the Top 5. Michael Faccinto won the 10 lap C Main. Kaidon Brown held off Ronnie Gardner in a close battle for second as Dustin Golobic and Kyle Beilman rounded out the Top 5.

Bobby Michnovicz won the 30 lap POWRi Lucas Oil California Lightning Sprint Main Event. Michnovicz is a longtime CRA Sprint Car competitor and a multi-time Lightning Sprint champion. From his front row starting position, Michnovicz would led all the way in a race that had just one slow down after the completion of the first lap. Brent Sexton was an early second, and he held the position until being passed by AJ Bender on the 13th lap. Michnovicz held a straightaway advantage over Bender by lap 18. Though Bender would cut the Michnovicz lead in half during the closing laps, Michnovicz still scored an impressive victory. Brent Sexton settled for third, followed by Aidan Lange, Grant Sexton, Jeff Dyer, Chris Crowder, James Turnbull, Rod Henning and Cody Nigh. There were 22 competitors, and eight lap heat race wins went to Brent Sexton, Henning and Eric Greco. Brent Sexton won the four lap Trophy Dash.


Margeson, Thomas Win Northwest Focus Midget Races 
At Placerville Speedway

Placerville, CA...November 19-20...Evan Margeson won the 40 lap Wicked Energy Gum Northwest Focus Midget Main Event Wednesday night at Placerville Speedway. The race was led for several laps by front-row starter Garrett Thomas before he encountered problems. This opened the door for Margeson to gain the lead with Tuesday night winner Tristan Thomas in close pursuit in second. Despite the pressure of Tristan Thomas, Margeson still kept his poise and picked up the impressive win. Seth Hespe finished third ahead of Shane Smith, Chance Crum, Sawyer Lind, Michael Volbrecht, Matt Loving, Guy Tow and Colton Heath.

The 35 car field ran five eight lap qualifying heat races with Tristan Thomas, Garrett Thomas, Nik Larson, Shane Smith and Mike Stryker picking up the wins. Taking advantage of his front row starting position, Heath won the 20 lap B Main ahead of Chris Greene, Adam Elbert, Brian Aune and Michael Hodel.

Tristan Thomas won the 25 lap Main Event on Tuesday night. He led most of the way with Garrett Thomas finishing a close second. Crum settled for third, followed by Heath, Summer Series champion Nick Evans, Hespe, Margeson, Smith, Volbrecht and Hodel. Crum, Smith, Hespe and Garrett Thomas won their eight lap heat races. Volbrecht won the 15 lap B Main by a comfortable margin ahead of Hodel, Elbert, Tow and Greene.


Faccinto, Rasmussen, Myrick, Hamilton 
Win Turkey Night Main Events At Keller Speedway

Hanford, CA...Mitchell Faccinto won the 30 lap King of Thunder Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Keller Auto Speedway. This was the season-ending Turkey Night event, and Faccinto bested a field of 24 competitors.

After outrunning Tucker Worth to win the six lap Trophy Dash, Mitchell Faccinto had the pole position for the feature race. Faccinto and Worth battled it out with second-row starter Michael Faccinto. Michael Faccinto would take the second position from Worth, but it would be brother Mitchell Faccinto prevailing at the checkered flag. Worth settled for a third place finish, followed by Jace Vanderweerd, Grant Duinkerken, Landon Hurst, Kaleb Montgomery, Mitchell Moles, Keith Day Jr and Craig Stidham.

King of Thunder and NARC/King of the West Sprint Car champion DJ Netto set the fast time of 13.686, beating the 13.780 of Mitchell Faccinto. Vanderweerd, Worth and Day picked up the eight lap heat race wins.

Kyle Rasmussen won the 25 lap IMCA RaceSaver 305 Sprint Car Main Event. New champion Grant Champlin and Andy Gregg battled early while Rasmussen charged from the third row. Rasmussen would grab the lead from Champlin, and seventh row starter Brooklyn Holland became a player in the battle at the front of the pack. Holland would take the second position from Champlin, but Rasmussen would go on to victory. Champlin settled for third, followed by Gregg, Doug Gandy, Gordon Rodgers, Tony Pombo, Chris Stevens, Phil Heynen and Jerome Warmerdam. Champlin set the fast time of 14.695, while Warmerdam, Rasmussen and Steven Tiner were the eight lap heat race winners.

Dan Myrick won the 20 lap House of JuJu Central Valley Mini Stock Main Event. This was his second win at Hanford this season, which helped him wrap up both the track and Central Valley Mini Stock championships. Myrick shared the front row of the Main Event with 2018 CVMS champion Greg Baronian, and the two ran closely at the front of the pack throughout the entire distance. Myrick would score the victory ahead of Baronian. Ryan Doglione enjoyed a season-best third place finish, followed by Randy Brown, Gene Glover, Matthew Herod, Clinton Massey, Jeff Durant, Darren Wilson and Scott Glenn. Baronian bested the 29 car field in qualifying with a lap of 20.559. Eight lap heat race wins were earned by Jason Cook, Baronian and Myrick.

Eric Hamilton won the 15 lap IMCA Stock Car Main Event. This was the first win of the season for Hamilton, and he had to battle past champion Lauren DeArmond and current champion Chad Johnson to do it. Hamilton started back in the third row, while Johnson started in the fifth row. DeArmond had the pole for the race and set the early pace. Hamilton and Johnson both made a mad dash to the front of the pack, and a close battle occurred down the stretch. Hamilton managed to get the lead and barely held off DeArmond for the victory with Johnson a very close third. Rod Bane finished fourth, followed by Steven Johnson, Troy Patee, Brock Hamilton, Nicholas Johnson, Larry Thompson and Renn Bane. Cody Johnson and Eric Hamilton won their respective eight lap heat races.

With the season now over, information on future events at the track can be found at www.racekingsspeedway.com.  For the CVMS Mini Stock news, go to www.centralvalleyministocks.com.


Golobic, Spencer, Velasquez Win Features On Night #1 
Of Gary Patterson Tribute At Stockton

Stockton, CA...November 1...Shane Golobic won the 30 lap Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event Friday night at the Stockton Dirt Track. This was the opening night of the annual Gary Patterson Tribute. The win paid Golobic $2,000.

The Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event had 24 starters, and Mitchell Faccinto set the early pace from the pole. Golobic ran second until making what proved to be his winning pass on the ninth lap. Faccinto had second until his race came to an end on lap 12. Justyn Cox took over second at that point ahead of Michael Faccinto. However, Cox was the only driver who could get close to the impressive Golobic before settling for a $1,400 second. Michael Faccinto was a solid $1,000 third, followed by Willie Croft, Jason Solwold, Kyle Offill, Ryan Robinson, Justin Sanders, Jesse Love IV and Blake Carrick.

Golobic was the quickest of 26 qualifiers with a lap of 13.438, beating the 13.528 of Mitchell Faccinto. The eight lap heat race wins were earned by Michael Faccinto, Solwold and Nathan Rolfe. Golobic outran Mitchell Faccinto to win the six lap Trophy Dash.

Cody Spencer won the 25 lap Hunt Wingless Spec Sprint Series Main Event. From the outside front row starting position, Petaluma Speedway Micro 600 star Nick Robfogel raced into the lead. Spencer quickly settled into second ahead of DJ Johnson, and the three leaders ran closely during the first 12 laps. Johnson surrendered third to series point leader Jake Morgan on the 13th lap. Morgan had started back in the sixth row. Following a lap 15 yellow flag, Spencer raced into the lead. Robfogel held second until problems struck and he fell back several positions on lap 20. Johnson took up pursuit of Spencer from there, but Spencer would prevail. Three-time series champion Terry Schank Jr finished third, followed by Jarrett Soares, Boy Moniz, Robfogel, Morgan, Petaluma champion Angelique Bell, two-time Antioch champion Dan Gonderman and Scott Chapeta.

There were 19 Spec Sprints in action, and Johnson set the fast time of 17.195. Matt Stewart was second quick at 17.499. Eight lap heat race wins were earned by Spencer, Bell and Robfogel.

Tommy Velasquez won the 20 lap NorCal Dwarf Car Main Event. Velazquez is one of the top competitors at Ventura and Santa Maria. He had a front-row start and proceeded to lead all 20 laps in victory. Past Antioch and NorCal champion Danny Wagner ran second until being passed by Mike Reeder on the sixth lap. Reeder held the position until Wagner got by on lap 14, but Wagner again got passed by Reeder moments later. Reeder had another challenge from South Bay champion Mark Biscardi, but he would regain second for good on the 19th lap. Following Tommy Velasquez and Reeder at the checkered flag were Wagner, Biscardi, Shawn Whitney, Antioch champion Scott Dahlgren, Ben Wiesz, Nick Velazquez, Buddy Olschowka and Coby Wiesz. Eight lap heat race wins were earned by Reeder, Wagner and Tommy Velasquez.

Further news on the happenings at the Speedway can be found at www.stocktondirttrack.com.


Golobic, Abreu Win Gary Patterson Tribute Races 
At The Stockton Dirt Track

Stockton, CA...November 2...Shane Golobic won the 30 lap NARC/King Of The West Fujitsu Winged 410 Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at the Stockton Dirt Track. This was the annual Gary Patterson Tribute race, and Golobic was the 10th different winner of the season. DJ Netto and Bud Kaeding entered the event in a tie for the lead. By virtue of his third place feature finish, Netto wrapped up his first series championship.

Golobic had the pole for the feature race and proceeded to lead every lap in victory. Netto ran second for nine laps before being overtaken by Willie Croft. Croft took up pursuit of Golobic. However, Golobic drove a great race and forced Croft to settle for second. Netto held on to finish a solid third, followed by Mitchell Faccinto, Dominic Scelzi, Carson Macedo, Chase Johnson, Rico Abreu, Bud Kaeding and this year's top rookie, Geoff Ensign.

There were 18 competitors, and Golobic set the fast time of 12.885, beating the 12.990 of Mitchell Faccinto. The three eight lap heat race wins were earned by Johnson, Macedo and Craig Stidham. Golobic grabbed the pole for the Main Event with his six lap Trophy Dash triumph ahead of Mitchell Faccinto.

Rico Abreu won the 30 lap Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Tour, presented by Abreu Vineyards, Main Event. This was the second win of the season for Abreu, who won at Tulare Thunderbowl earlier this season, and he won this race in flag-to-flag fashion. By virtue of an eighth-place finish, Kyle Hirst wrapped up the $7,000 series championship.

From his pole position start, Abreu charged into the early lead ahead of Ryan Robinson. For a good portion of the race, Robinson looked like he might be headed for a second place finish. Fourth row starter Shane Golobic briefly took the second position from Robinson on the 10th lap, but Robinson regained the spot a lap later. Golobic fell back to fourth, but he regained third on lap 17. On the 21st lap, Golobic slipped past Robinson to take over second. Robinson held the third position until being passed by Carson Macedo on lap 28. Abreu ran a flawless race and held off Golobic for the victory. Macedo was third, followed by Robinson, Willie Croft, Tim Kaeding, Colby Copeland, Hirst, Kalib Henry and Jessie Love IV.

Croft was the quickest of 29 qualifiers with a lap of 13.287, beating a 13.292 of Justin Sanders. They ran four eight lap heat races, and Robinson, Michael Faccinto, Copeland and Abreu picked up the wins. Abreu would grab the pole for the feature race with his six lap Trophy Dash victory. The final starting spots in the Main Event were determined by the 15 lap B Main. Tim Kaeding found himself in that race, but he led all the way in victory, followed by Luca Romanazzi and Sanders.

For further information on what's happening at the speedway, go to www.stocktondirttrack.com. If you are looking for information on the King Of The West Series, go to www.narc410.com. Information on the Sprint Car Challenge Tour can be found at www.sprintcarchallengetour.com.


Montgomery, Love, Duinkerken Win George Snider Classic 
At Kern Raceway

Bakersfield, CA...November 9...Kaleb Montgomery won the 30 lap Wingless 360 Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at the Kern Raceway Dirt Track. This was the annual Dignity Health George Snider Classic, and Montgomery won in dominant fashion. With a front row start, Montgomery charged into the lead ahead of Ricky Kirkbride at the waving of the green flag. Montgomery rapidly pulled away from Kirkbride, who began to get pressure from TJ Smith. Smith made a move past Kirkbride for second on lap 14. Montgomery put a lap on sixth place Gage Rucker or lap 18. Top 5 runner Ryan Timmons brought out a yellow flag a lap later. Montgomery continued to lead Smith and Kirkbride on the restart. One last yellow flag waved on the 27th lap. However, that would not stop Montgomery as he brought it home to an impressive victory ahead of Smith and Kirkbride. Brandon Wylie was the final lead lap finisher, followed by the 305 Sprint Car of Michael Pombo, Tanner Boul, Grant Duinkerken, Austin Ervine, Rucker and Matt Day. Kirkbride and Montgomery were the eight lap heat race winners, and Kirkbride set the fastest time of 14.194.

Jesse Love IV won the 25 lap BCRA Midget Main Event. With a front-row start, USAC Midget point leader Robert Dalby led early ahead of Shannon McQueen and Love. Love slipped into second on a lap three restart and kept the pressure on Dalby with a yellow flag waving on lap six. Dalby continued to lead the restart, but Love moved in for a challenge. Love briefly gained the lead on lap nine, only to surrender it back to Dalby on the 10th lap. On a lap 12 restart, Love began to pressure Dalby once again. The two drivers ran side by side on lap 18. They came up on slower traffic, and Love used this to his advantage as he gained the lead on the 19th lap. McQueen also got around Dalby before he recovered in third. Love began to stretch his advantage in the closing laps to win by a straightaway ahead of McQueen. Terry Nichols finished third, and Rucker made a last-lap pass on Dalby to finish fourth. Ron Hazelton finished sixth, followed by BCRA Overall champion Robert Carson, Bryan Drollinger, CJ Sarna and Marvin Mitchell. Dalby and McQueen won their respective eight lap heat races, and Love set the quickest time of 13 qualifiers with a lap of 14.420

Grant Duinkerken won the 20 lap 305 Winged Sprint Car Main Event. Duinkerken has been one of the top drivers in the group in recent years, but he moved up to the Winged 360 Sprint Cars at Hanford this season. He started on the front row and charged into lead at the green flag ahead of Grant Champlin and Mauro Samone. The race ran 16 laps before a yellow flag waved, but that flag wiped out a big Duinkerken lead. Undaunted, Duinkerken maintained command on the restart and led the rest of the way in victory, followed by Champlin. Monty Ferreira made a late movie into third as Simone settled for fourth, followed by Ryan Delisle, Michael Pombo, Jimmy Christian, Connor Danell, Kyle Rasmussen and Ben Catron. Simone and Delisle won their respective eight lap heat races, and Ferreira set the fastest time of 13.328.

For further information on the happenings at the pavement track or the dirt track, go to www.kernraceway.com.


Forsberg, Terrell Win Mel Hall Memorial Race 
At Marysville Raceway

Marysville, CA...November 9...Andy Forsberg picked up the victory in the Civil War Series Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Marysville Raceway. This was the 20th Annual Mel Hall Memorial race, which pays tribute to the past Marysville and Grass Valley racing promoter. Forsberg is a 10-time Civil War Series champion who won the season-opening Sherm and Loree Toller Memorial race back in March.

Justyn Cox raced into the early lead ahead of Marysville champion Michael Ing. Chico champion Sean Becker slipped past Ing for the second position on lap nine, and Forsberg gained third a lap later. Forsberg put the moves on Becker for second on lap 12 and gained the lead from Cox a lap later. Despite three yellow flag slowdowns during the final 15 laps, Forsberg continued to hold off the efforts of Cox for the big victory. Ing settled for third, followed by Tanner Carrick, Blake Carrick, new Civil War Series champion Koen Shaw, Rowdy McLenon, Michael Faccinto, Zane Blanchard and Becker.

There were 28 Winged 360 Sprint Cars for this show, and Forsberg set the fast time of 11.938, beating the 12.120 of Cox. They ran four eight lap heat races with wins going to Billy Butler, Ing, Tanner Carrick and Caden Sarale. Ing earned the pole position for the feature by holding off Cox to win the six lap Trophy Dash. McLenon won the 12 lap B Main ahead of Blake Carrick and Travis Labat.

Bradley Terrell won the 25 lap Hunt Wingless Spec Sprint Main Event. Terrell is a past Winged 360 Sprint Car champion out at Petaluma Speedway who has won several Wingless Spec Sprint features at his home track in the past couple of seasons. He was driving the Troy Matteri owned entry and becomes the sixth different winner in the series this season.

Shane Hopkins set the early pace ahead of Terrell, but Terrell made a move past Hopkins for first on the eighth lap. Boy Moniz stalled from his Top 5 position for a lap nine yellow flag. Terrell continued to lead Hopkins and new champion Jake Morgan on the restart. Morgan gained second two laps later and kept it close in the race for the lead. Though Terrell set a rapid pace, Morgan attempted one last move on the final lap to take over. However, Terrell stayed cool and scored the impressive win. Morgan settled for second, followed by two-time Antioch Speedway champion Dan Gonderman, DJ Johnson, Hopkins, Josh Young, Petaluma 600 Micro star Nick Robfogel, Braidon Moniz, Scott Chapeta and Bob Davis.

There were 25 Wingless Spec Sprints for the final race of their 10th championship season. Eight lap heat race wins were earned by three-time champion Terry Schank Jr, Morgan, Braidon Moniz and Boy Moniz. DJ Johnson won the 10 lap B Main ahead of Chapeta and Kevin Box. Terrell was the quickest qualifier at 13.535, beating the 13.672 of Hopkins.

Find out more about the happenings at the speedway by going to www.marysvilleraceway.com. Future updates on the Civil War Series can be found at www.racepmg.com. You can also find updates on the Hunt Series by going to www.huntwingless.com.


January 1st Race At The Stockton Dirt Track Announced

Stockton, CA...Not even a week after another successful Gary Patterson Tribute event, Stockton Dirt Track Promoter Tony Noceti made a big announcement regarding a New Year's race. Once again, the Dirt Modifieds will be competing along with the Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and the addition of the Pro Stocks.  All the details regarding this race, including purse money, are being worked out and will be released soon.

Noceti was able to grab the January 1st date last season after neighboring Antioch Speedway was unable to commit to that date. As things went very well for that race, he didn't hesitate to again put a New Year's race on the schedule. It also furthers his commitment to establish some big Stock Car type of events on the track that has been known in recent years for having big Sprint Car shows.

Purse money hasn't been announced as of press time, but last year saw the Dirt Modified drivers competing for $1,500 to win and a minimum of $200 to start. With such a big paying event and the fact that it was also the only show in town, 22 Modifieds took the green flag for that show. Ryan McDaniel scored a flag-to-flag victory ahead of division heavyweights, Bobby Hogge IV and Troy Foulger. The Modifieds were at three races held during the first two months, and Foulger won the late January race ahead of Hogge and Nick DeCarlo. McDaniel rebounded with a win in the third show in February ahead a Foulger and DeCarlo. Foulger was the only driver with Top 3 finishes in all three events.  Already, some of the top drivers in the state are making plans to be at the New Year's show.

The Sport Modified division had several races in Stockton this year, and the New Year's bash generated a huge 28 car field. They competed for $500 to win with $150 guaranteed to take the green flag. Bakersfield Speedway star Jason Nation made a thrilling last-lap pass on Brent Curran to steal victory. Doff Cooksey enjoyed one of his best efforts in third. The Sport Modifieds were also at three races during the first two months. Santa Maria champion Kevin Johnson won the second race ahead of Merced champion Fred Ryland and IMCA State champion Guy Ahlwardt. Ryland claimed the glory in the third race ahead of Danny Roe and Antioch champion Tommy Fraser.

The track's decision to run the Hobby Stock and Mini Stock classes is hoped to get the drivers at Stockton 99 Speedway to give dirt a try, but drivers come in from several other tracks for an opportunity to run on the big dirt track. Last season, Jason Palmer of Placerville turned in a rather dominant performance in winning the Hobby Stock race ahead of Ryan Peter and Jim Brookshire. Stockton 99 star Josh Cross won the Mini Stock race ahead of Merced Speedway star has Shawn DePriest and Jennifer Corder. Both divisions produced a dozen cars each for the New Year's Day opportunity and should do well again for the next race.

One of the things Noceti is trying to do is give the fans of Late Model style racing something to enjoy. As that division has nearly priced itself out of existence in California, Tony has aligned with the Tri State Challenge Series. They ran a pair of events last season with Dave King scoring the win in the final race. Mike Learn is the champion. The Tri State Challenge Series is attempting to unite as many of the different Super Stock/Limited Late Model/Pro Stock divisions under one set of rules as possible, and Tony is working with series organizers Roy Bain and Learn to help grow this effort.

As Noceti is a busy man putting together schedules for both the big dirt track and pavement track as well as the Micro Sprint Delta Speedway facility that's also located at the fairgrounds, a full 2020 schedule hasn't been released yet. The January 1st event has been scheduled so that teams can make plans and be ready for the show. You can expect that the dirt track will have some new surprises and all of the big events you would expect in 2020. For further information, go to www.stocktondirttrack.com.


The Editor's Viewpoint

I admit I nearly lost the motivation to do this post. Racing season is over, or at least it should be. However, some tracks knock themselves out trying to get that last race in. As I'm writing this column, Placerville Speedway has won the sweepstakes as the final Northern California track to hold an outdoor race in 2019. It's November 19th as I write this. I believe in the off-season, which is a time for racers to regroup and get ready for the next year, but at the same time take care of things around the house that may have been neglected. Is it time for promoters to fix some things around the track to make it better for the next season.

Here's the reality of the situation. It's not as easy for a promoter to make money in the sport these days as it was a couple of decades ago. What am I saying? Promoters need to make money? Well, if they don't make money, how long do you think the tracks are going to stay open under their guidance? Therefore, if a promoter thinks a race in November is going to make them money, they'll take the risk. It actually works out better than some people might expect. So be it, we'll race all the way up to Thanksgiving in California as Bakersfield and Ventura both have dates remaining on their schedules.

The question about who was going to take the New Year's date has been answered. Tony Noceti at the Stockton Dirt Track will be doing the honors again this year. It's interesting to note that this was a date that John M Soares was running before. When the controversy took place behind the scenes regarding who would be promoting Antioch Speedway this past season, John had to vacate that date. I understand that John and Tony actually talked before Tony took the date and had his successful show this year. There was a rumor that Antioch would be interested in reclaiming the New Year's date as there is no controversy going on behind the scenes. Where John is concerned, however, there was never any plans to book the date. This is what he told me before I left.

Tony has pulled off the miracle of making dirt track racing happen in Stockton. The dirt track hasn't been perfect, but he's been working to make it better in the years that followed since he opened it. The Sprint Car shows, such as the Asparagus Cup and the Gary Patterson Tribute, are successful, and now Tony is trying to establish some Stock Car oriented stuff. That's about what I know on the subject, but the divisions he's been looking at are all scheduled for that New Year's date. This will include Dirt Modifieds, Sport Modifieds, Pro Stocks, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks. There is a rumor that he might seek IMCA sanctioning for his Modified classes, but I haven't been able to confirm that.

Being in the close proximity of Antioch as they are, this means that Stockton could become even more of a nuisance that affects Antioch's car count negatively. As it is, when Stockton books a Sport Modified race on top of Antioch, there are drivers that go there instead. There has been some talk about bringing IMCA sanctioning back to Antioch. What I see as a potential problem is if Stockton gets that sanctioning and decides they're going to run shows more often against Antioch. As Stockton really has no car count of their own in this class, they rely on the drivers who travel. Antioch being their closest neighbor, the drivers that come from there are part of what is making these shows successful as it is.

Personally, I don't blame a promoter for doing what it is he thinks he needs to do for the good of his own track. I was in a similar situation down in the valley when Chowchilla opened up so close to Merced. Both tracks were able to coexist. Stockton really isn't the problem here. I think that what needs to happen at Antioch is an effort to make racers want to be a part of the show once again. I think that it's possible to achieve that, but people are going to want to see signs that make it worth their while. I have a few ideas on the subject, but I'll leave those for another time.

I am still waiting for the answer to the big question. It's so big that I can't even talk about it here. In the midst of that, there's something else going on right now that I can't talk about. Shoot, here I am writing a column and even mentioning things I can't talk about. Is it any wonder I wasn't motivated to do the blog post this week? Both items are kind of important, but we don't have the answers to them. When will we find out? I don't even know the answer to that question. And so, I wait patiently. I can't begin to figure out my plans until I get these answers.

I say that I intend to keep this blog active next season and be involved in the sport, but I have to be honest when I say I'm not 100% sure that it's going to happen. This depends on how certain things go. I am reminded at times like this that I'm not really so much in control of my life. I pretty much go along with what's presented to me and try to make the best of it. It's not a great way to live, and at times I'm not a very happy person. I can fake it at least. I can do whatever I want, but the reality is I don't know the answer to these questions just yet.

Reno is coming up very soon, and it's my guess that at least one of those questions will have to be answered by then. That's a telltale sign that it's either going to happen or it isn't. When the Reno date comes, this is when the promoters wheel and deal. I've heard some promoters say they can't get anything done up at the workshop, but it depends on what your outlook is going in. There are many deals that get made in Reno every year. Promoters work out arrangements where each track gets a special race. Rules get lined up. Sanctioning bodies get signed up at certain race tracks. Traveling associations line up race dates at certain race tracks. If you're a promoter at a race track on the West Coast, you have gone to Reno.

It was my intent to line up press credentials at the workshop this year. I applied for them about a month ago. After all the work that I've done, my hope was that they would give me the okay. I have covered four workshops in the past. I don't simply show up, flash my pass and get in there. I cover things. I've never shown up at a race track and used press credentials and not written something. That's not my style. My hope was that since I had two active blogs during racing season and was printed in over a dozen different newspapers multiple times this year, sometimes regularly, that would count for something. Evidently, it did not.

I'm disappointed in that, but I'm not really surprised either. I don't know that I would have been able to get to Reno to cover things anyway. I do know that I wanted the option of being able to. Actually, a friend in Oregon was planning to attend, and he even offered me a way to go. This was certainly appreciated. I'm not sure I would have gone, but it's all a moot point now. There is no Reno trip for me this year. My hope Is that I'll get the answer to the biggest question on my mind by then and can start making plans.

If not for the fact that Keller Auto Speedway had a race scheduled for last Saturday, I don't think you'd be reading this blog post. My commitment was to certain groups and race tracks from the first race to the last. I didn't start covering Hanford until about mid season or so, but I got them in at least two different papers. I did start covering the Central Valley Mini Stocks from the start, and that meant I needed to cover their final race of the season. Though I started on that a bit late, I have managed to put something together to mention here.

By now it's pretty obvious that Dan Myrick has figured something out with the Mini Stock effort. Not only has he and his group built a nice little show at their original home track in Lemoore whenever they are there, this effort has helped revive a struggling Mini Stock class in Hanford. When I would look at the numbers there, if they got a dozen cars it was a good night. Sometimes they weren't even reaching double digits. This year, I don't think they had less than 24 cars in a Hanford visit. The final night had 29. I would say the relationship between the CVMS and Hanford is on pretty solid ground.

Dan has messaged me about several different ideas he's been brainstorming, and though I'm not going to reveal much of what has been said, I'm impressed with his forward-thinking. Trying to get race tracks on the same set of rules as his group and looking at other places to potentially have a race are two things that I know he's been thinking about. I'm sure that when he releases the next schedule, it's going to look good. I do know that Dan would thank House of JuJu of Clovis and Morro Bay for coming on board as the title sponsor. They are absolutely amazing to do what they did for the point fund, where $5,000 is being divided among the Top 10 drivers in the standings. If you're looking for a good place to eat and you're down in the area, go check this place out. The food is good and you're supporting people who support racing.

Hanford made a nice little statement to end the season. It was what they called Turkey Night. Championship point racing was over in the other three classes. Myrick won both the CVMS and Hanford Mini Stock titles, by the way. We already knew that DJ Netto was the King of Thunder Winged 360 Sprint Car champion. It's been an absolutely amazing year for him as he is also the NARC/King of the West Fujitsu Winged 410 Sprint Car champion. If you don't know who he is, now you do. He's one of the top Sprint Car drivers in the state. It was also a good night for the Faccinto brothers to shine. Mitchell Faccinto picked up the win with brother Michael not far behind in second. There were 24 Sprint Cars, which made it a great showing for them.

It seems like when IMCA wants to expand the classes they sanction in California, Hanford is a natural place to go to. Over a decade ago, they launched IMCA Stock Cars. This group now runs at Hanford, Bakersfield and Tulare, and there's rumors of other tracks in California looking at the metric Stock Car. It was Chad Johnson winning this year's title over Cody Johnson. However, an old champion by the name of Loren DeArmond showed up to try to grab a win and looked like he was going to get it, but it was Eric Hamilton claiming the honors. There were 14 IMCA Stock Cars for a November race, which was a good showing.

The IMCA RaceSaver 305 Sprint Cars were also there. Yes, IMCA thinks they've got the answer to how to help make Sprint Car racing more affordable. When things are really booming, they can pull in 20 race cars. On this occasion, there were 16. It's done well in Hanford, and this group now goes to places like Bakersfield, Santa Maria and Tulare. Kyle Rasmussen got the victory on Saturday, but Brooklyn Holland finished second. She started back in the seventh row. This young lady has done an amazing job this year and could be a future champion in this class if she doesn't make a move up. Grant Champlin, who finished third, is the champion at Hanford this year.

I found it very interesting that Kern Raceway recently did the George Snider Memorial race. The Bakersfield area track ran on the pavement and the dirt that night, which meant fans went back and forth between tracks. The dirt track focused on open wheel racing, and they decided to run an injected Wingless 360 Sprint Car and 305 Winged Sprint Car show. Neither of these divisions were actually sanctioned, and yet they pulled in double digits in both cases. Looks to me like the drivers in these two divisions would be interested in having a sanctioned race in these classes next year. In the case of the Wingless Sprint Cars, however, this race was booked on top of the big USAC Sprint Car show that was at Perris Auto Speedway that night. I'm not sure how USAC would look at this, although I bet they wouldn't be thrilled.

Also on the card was the BCRA Midgets. This was their final point race of the year, and Robert Carson is the champion after his seventh place finish. Carson has been driving an old car, and I'm talking over a decade old. It belonged to his grandfather, the late Howard Segur. His father is past BCRA champion Glenn Carson, meaning we now have a father and son duo who can call themselves BCRA champions. The younger Carson was given a good opportunity when my good friend Don O'Keefe Jr offered him a ride in his second Midget for the Chili Bowl Midget event in Tulsa, Oklahoma next January.

For the BCRA, this was yet another great example of how the Midgets seem to be getting better car counts on the dirt than the pavement. In many cases, they were a few cars short of double digits this year. There were 13 Midgets who came to race for the final race, and a few of them were USAC competitors. I'll stand by my original statement that joining up with POWRi didn't do a thing for BCRA this year, they are running too many races and they need to drop the pavement and focus on rebuilding their car count on the dirt. If they were to do this, my opinion is that this thing could become a viable group that isn't just on the schedule at a race track but a featured attraction. BCRA deserves that, given the great history that they have.

Most of the racing that remains now is bench racing. Banquet season is upon us. Marysville and Chico just had their joint banquet. Sprint Car Challenge Tour drivers celebrated their season along with the Placerville Speedway stars. The Watsonville banquet is upcoming this weekend. A few tracks won't be doing their banquets until early next year. I know there's some grumbling among racers that they'd like to do it in November, but there are positives to be had from an early banquet the next year. For one thing, it helps set the mood for the coming season. I find it interesting that banquets for Antioch and Southern Oregon Speedway appear to be on the final Saturday of January. Therefore, it looks like it's pretty obvious that I will be at a banquet that night.

The week before, Siskiyou Golden Speedway has their banquet. As I predicted in the Pit Stops column you might have read in a recent Jefferson Racing News blog post, Promoter Kevin Barba has had his contract renewed for two more years. He signed a one-year deal coming in with the option for two more. There weren't going to be a lot of options for the Siskiyou County Fair Board. Given the numbers up there in recent years, this is not a track that established promoters are beating down the gates to take over. You did have the association waiting in the wings in case they were needed, but I was pretty sure that Barba was going to get it after the final race in October.

I will be honest with you in saying that he had me questioning his ability during the year. There were some lean times at that race track, but they also managed to pull off a few big moments. The last race of the year was certainly one of them. If there were any board members with doubts in their minds, they looked at what was done that final night in October and said it was worthy of two more years. Kevin didn't have a lot to work with when it came to the actual racing program he inherited. Basically, he's having to rebuild everything back up to get it to the level it was at in the past. I know he knows it's not going to be easy and is taking it one race at a time.

I can sympathize with him as I entered a similar situation at Southern Oregon Speedway with Promoter Mike McCann. We certainly did not inherit a strong racing program. It was on life support, and we've worked very hard during these past four years to make it what it's become. Fans now have Late Models and Sprint Cars to enjoy, which weren't on the schedule when we came in. Barba will actually take a look at both classes, which is going to make things a bit interesting. There is a frosty relationship at best between the two race tracks, and I'm going to leave it at that.

The bottom line is I have spent years running my DCRR Media effort with the belief that tracks should work together. Track unity and all of that stuff. My crusade is part of what burned me out at the end of the 2003 season, though there was more to my departure than just that. What I've learned since then is that while it's nice to see race tracks work together, you've got to work on your program first. That doesn't mean you need to be a jerk to any other race track, but rather it means that you need to build your program up to a level where you have enough cars to give your fans a good weekly show. Generally speaking, the tracks that work together the best are the ones that have something to offer each other.

Yreka has Mini Stocks and IMCA Sport Modifieds. These two divisions get booked the most. The Calculated Comfort Outlaw Pro Stocks bring a good car count whenever they are on the schedule and will likely continue that relationship with several dates in 2020. The Mini Stocks and Sport Mods are the only regular championship divisions at the speedway with a car count of any sort. Technically, the track will crown champions in both the IMCA Modifieds and Jefferson State Jalopies. The Jalopies are only going to be as big as whatever is offered in the area. Karl Bernstein and JJ Smith are building all of the cars, and there are only four of them. The IMCA Modifieds, on the other hand, could have a resurgence at the speedway if Kevin decides to do some outreach with the drivers who are parked and the ones who travel to other places. They ran four events to give them the minimum dates IMCA requires to crown a champion, but I have a feeling there will be more dates next year.

I know everything will be on the table, and Kevin is one of the promoters heading to WARPA for the Promoters Meeting this weekend. I know that Mike will be there from Southern Oregon Speedway as will many of the Oregon and Washington promoters. Kevin will be looking at traveling groups coming, and I know the Iron Giant Street Stocks will be offered a date. The Interstate Sprint Cars will likely be offered a date. You'll likely see the Winged 360 Sprint Cars have a Speedweek date there. There's likely to be most of the big attractions you saw this year, and other additions. What all of that means, I'll let Kevin sort out. Though I've been critical of him at times, I believe the Yreka track has its best chance right now with Kevin at the helm. He's making a good effort given what he came into.

Otherwise, the indoor racing has begun. Red Bluff seems to be getting the big car counts. There are a bunch of Outlaw Karts showing up there on Saturday afternoon, and these programs stretch into the night. The future stars can be seen at what is the biggest indoor Karting series on the West Coast during the winter months in Red Bluff. Salem indoors is a pretty cool deal because these guys do it all there. Not only are they running Karts, but they have Micros, and even some Four Cylinder Mini Stock and Dwarf Car classes. They also do Motorcycles. I've never gotten to check out one of these shows, but I'd certainly love to see the Mini Stocks on that little indoor track.

Roseburg, Oregon has begun their indoor season. Admittedly, they're not getting the sort of count that they got when Mike McCann established the program, but they're keeping the gates open. I find it very interesting that the Vern Wheeler Sr Memorial race has happened there again. I felt honored that we were able to host the first one at Little Southern Oregon Speedway back in 2016. Vern's sons, Vern Jr and Mike, have been a part of the little and big tracks in Medford. Vern's grandson, Jake Wheeler, has been a part of this as well. I'm disappointed that it only happened the one time on the Medford Kart track, and quite honestly, the future of the little track looks bleak.

JFK once said ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. All too often, it's all about me, me, me with racers. Not all of them, but enough of them that they can make things very difficult at the race track. In this case, I'm disappointed at what we ended up with at the little track at Southern Oregon Speedway for these past four years. I've put everything I can think of into helping promote this thing, and there's been resistance. There have been a few good families who have supported, but there have been enough people behind the scenes putting it down, not supporting it and choosing to go somewhere else when a race is happening that they may have threatened its very existence. At a certain level, you put your hands up in the air and say, I give up. And, though I really appreciate the families who made this fun for the last four years and did what they could, it may not have been enough.

When I was hanging around at Antioch Speedway during my month-long stay, I started looking over at the Paintball/Rodeo Arena. It hasn't been a Rodeo Arena for quite some time. They've got a good section of bleachers that line up all the way along the length of the arena, and an idea hit me. This would be the perfect place to bring a Kart program to Antioch. I know that right now the spot is being occupied by the Paintball Park. But, if that were to change, I think this is where a Kart track could shine. I also believe in some of my Rodeo Arena racing ideas that I've spoken of in the past, though some will say that you don't need to do that with the big track where it's at. In any event, I could totally see racing of some sort happening there, and it could be a winner. Ultimately, the greed of the fairgrounds would dictate what could or couldn't happen, because a little track isn't a gold mine. They'd have to understand that.

I have watched in fascination as Cory Penfold built a Kart race track in his yard. Cory is the man running Moxie Media and Promotions and announcing at Southern Oregon Speedway. He's a good guy with a passion for what he does. I do like that he has the internet radio show that he does during the week, but I can see that he's looking towards becoming a promoter one day. I think that's something I can relate to, because there used to be a time when I dreamed of doing the same thing. I think what's killed the dream for me is I have no money to make something like that happen, and it's very unlikely that somebody's going to walk up to me and ask me to do it. The best I can hope for is being an influencer behind the scenes, and I think I've done that through the years.

Cory took a look at Willamette Speedway prior to the year, and negotiations looked like they were going to go his way. I know how much that track means to him. Cory is a disciple of the late, great Clair Arnold. He's the one who put together Hall of Fame Night in Willamette, and I've been told it was a rather emotional occasion for him as he put the first legends into that track's Hall of Fame. As the announcer there, he saw a lot of potential, so when Jerry Schram wanted to sell the place, he was all for it.

I think at this point I need to criticize Jerry Schram a little bit, because the man is being totally unrealistic about the prices he wants to put on the tracks he is selling, Willamette Speedway and Cottage Grove Speedway. Cottage Grove Speedway, though beautiful in its surroundings, is not worth over $1,000,000. Willamette Speedway, though it's got a great heritage, is not worth nearly $2,000,000. Therefore, any legitimate investor with money to spend wouldn't get behind these tracks, and that's because they wouldn't make their money back. The tracks will never sell at Jerry's asking prices.

In the case of Cottage Grove, Jerry has found the right woman in Heather Boyce to run that track. Most of the racers I hear from love this woman for what she does, and Jerry probably loves her because she is a source of revenue. She doesn't balk at the fee he puts on her to run that race track. I think the hope is that she and her family might buy the place, but the money is a little bit steep. The only thing Heather is in danger of is Jerry's whims. Jerry could wake up one day and decide that he wants to kick her out and sell the place to somebody else. It might seem unlikely, but it could happen.

It turned out to be a competitive bid for Willamette Speedway, and Cory came up on the losing end. I have no doubt that he was breathing a sigh of relief within the last couple of months, based on the news that's been coming out of there. At the time, I know he was a little bit frustrated. We had conversations on the topic, and I know how much the track means to him. To see it going the way it was going was not something Cory enjoyed. The track nearly closed before the Iron Giant race could happen this year. Then came the news of IMCA sanctioning.

it was announced on the Willamette Speedway Facebook page a few days ago that the IMCA fee was not paid in time for most of the season. I'm not exactly sure what that all means, but the people who were buying the track from Jerry were delinquent in their payment. Furthermore, IMCA deducted money from Jerry's account, thinking he was the one responsible. An ugly mess, to be sure. It looks like Jerry and his team will be running the banquet for the track this year, and he will be back in charge of the speedway next year. In the back of my mind, however, I feel like he set up the other team to fail. He knew they wouldn't be able to honor what they agreed to, and he'd be coming back in to save the place. Furthermore, he may come after them on some things. I'd comment further on that, but maybe I should leave it where it is. We'll just see what comes next.

For Cory, he's been running Kart races at his place. Nothing official, but rather a gathering of friends. I think there were a dozen Karts this last Saturday which is pretty interesting. Somebody in Oregon actually had a an outdoor race on November 16th. That's a rarity. I'm sure they're going to keep playing around at the Kart track, but I also know that Cory will be keeping his eyes on another goal. He still wants to be a promoter at a race track. Will this be something that happens for him? Let's just say you shouldn't count him out. Cory and his wife Sandra are a team in life, and she is also a very big believer in his racing dream. That makes a difference.

Anyway, I'm going to be keeping an eye on Placerville and will hold off on posting this until that race is done. I might even wait for Bakersfield, though we'll just have to see. I'm still waiting on other news that can break at anytime. I don't know what to expect, but at this point I would just like some answers. As I'm trying to figure out where things are going for me in 2020, the quicker I get answers, the better. Otherwise, I'm just going to lay low.

The content for the follow-up to Just A Kid From The Grandstands is almost 100% written, but it's a mess. I have to edit quite a bit. Sadly, I haven't touched any of it so far. I'm not sure where things are going to go with that book. As for the blog, I definitely want to do season review articles, but I've been waiting until January to start writing these for the past couple of years. I don't see a reason to change that plan. Therefore, unless something major breaks, the blog may go silent for the rest of the year. We'll just have to see what happens next.

There's a lot of work that goes into writing, and honestly it is work. I love to do it, but it's work that stresses me out sometimes. There are times I don't want to write, but I have to. There are times when I'd like to write about other things, but racing has to be it. I'm trying to figure out if there is a way that I could at least make something from my efforts, and I'm looking at funding sites and that sort of thing to help me out. I'm just in the thought process of that. Would a site like Patreon be useful? A site where my backers get the first look at what I write before the general public sees it?

Anybody who knows me knows that I detest talking about money. It might interest you to know that I've never initiated discussions about money with Mike McCann, John Soares, Chuck Griffin or any of the promoters I've worked for. I only talked money once with Tom Sagmiller at Chowchilla. Otherwise, they were telling me what they would pay me, and I'd take it. I didn't even like putting a price tag on my magazine all those years, and I hated walking over to people and asking for money. I hate money, to be honest with you. But, without it, we are nowhere in this society. Without it, I could still end up homeless if I continue on my present path.

What made my writing efforts successful in racing is that it came from the heart. It's a passion that I've had, and I only wrote because I was trying to help the sport. I haven't sat down to write anything thinking about the money that I would be making. The bottom line is that to continue to put the sort of effort into this that I've been putting forth, there's going to come a time when I need to know that I've got money coming in. Not just occasionally, but something steady. Otherwise, writing will only happen when I've got time for it.

In any event, I am mulling over the possibility of a funding site of some sort, perhaps Patreon. This would be a site that I could also put brief audio updates on, listen to people's thoughts on different subjects and anything else that I could deliver to backers first. The only other concern I have over going this route is that there are other things in life that I'd like to write about. Not that I don't want to write about racing, but I have other interests. I've intentionally kept them separate from racing, because when things start to go down the opinion route on social and political topics, you run the risk of offending people who don't agree with you. Anyway, this is all just in the thought process right now, and nothing is changing that I know of. The Tip Jar is still there for anybody who wants to support me as it is.

I can add a few more notes to this column as I sit here on Saturday before the Bakersfield USAC National Midget race. It's always nice when a race track can have their final event of the season also turn out to be their biggest show. Placerville Speedway held the inaugural Hangtown 100 and witnessed some 90 total race cars between the two division show. 56 of them were part of the USAC National Midget race. The success of this event was due to a great promotional effort.

Matt Wood came on board to promote this thing with track Promoter Scott Russell. There were numerous sponsors helping make this thing happen, not the least of which were Elk Grove Ford and Brad Sweet. However, this race didn't get thrown together overnight. When you have a big race, I've always been an advocate of promoting it as soon as possible. Even before the racing season is the perfect time. True, you might be talking about a race for November all the way back in March, but it's never too early to get people committed. It helps make it more successful.

What I find amazing about this was that there were 56 Midgets in Placerville. When you look at the state of Midget racing in California, you can tell it's not as good as it once was or probably even should be. When you put an event like this together and get people to come from across the country, it is a way to showcase the good racing that Midgets can give you. To my knowledge, this was the biggest car count for a single division at Placerville Speedway this year and among the biggest anywhere in the state.

I know one of the criticisms being levied against this race was that there was no need for a second division. The Northwest Focus Midgets traveled from Washington and Northern Oregon and delivered a 35 car field. Carla and Galen Stewart promote the hell out of this series, and they too were hyping this thing up from the moment they knew they were going to be there. I don't think you'll find a more organized traveling association than the Northwest Focus Midgets anywhere on the West Coast, and the Stewart's are two big reasons why that's the case.

Were the Focus Midgets needed on this program? If I take a look at things from an old-school perspective, my answer would be no. Back in the days when NARC was king of the Winged 410 Sprint Cars, before their hiatus, they would bring 35 or so cars to a show, and even then they only needed the Sprint Cars. Why? The fans paid good money to watch the Sprint Cars, and they weren't worried if there was a little bit of down time on the track as long as it didn't drag on and on. It enabled the announcer to sell those drivers more to the fans via interviews, do Frisbee tosses and that sort of thing. Somewhere along the way, track promoters themselves decided that a second division was needed.

When you bring 56 cars to the show, you don't need a support class. That's the bottom line. I'm speaking as somebody who is a fan. When you sit down to watch the show, you're already seeing such a competitive field of cars that drivers have to earn the right just to be in the B Main. That's called good competition. If I'm a fan paying top dollar for a ticket, I'm not sitting there with that many cars and thinking, gee, this show sure needs a second class. Then again, I'm not the promoter and the one dealing with economics. Second divisions bring extra money that helps pay the bills.

In this case, I don't believe that the promoter was simply trying to pad their pockets with the addition of this division. The Northwest Focus Midgets can and have been the headliner of shows in the past. Though these cars don't get around as fast as the Midgets, they are still going pretty damn quick. They put on a show of their own. Therefore, I believe the promoter was just trying to make the show that much bigger to give the fans non-stop action. Part of the frustration from the critics was that there were numerous flips and the show went later than they might have liked.

When you're dealing with racing in November, you're also dealing with colder temperatures. It might be okay when the sun is up, but the moment it goes down, the temperatures drop. Therefore, fans who bought their tickets to watch the USAC Midgets might get just a little bit antsy when the other division is out there. I understand the criticisms, but I also believe the fans got one hell of a show. You already know you're going to the track and it's going to be cold, so you shouldn't be surprised by that. The biggest concern a promoter might have to worry about is if fans think about the cold weather this time next year and decide on not showing up if they feel there's too much on the card.

I also realize this is a ridiculous argument to make. Do you realize the silliness of it all? Fans paid and saw too many race cars? You saw two divisions with competitive fields where the drivers had to earn their way into the show. In the end, this isn't my problem to deal with. Matt and Scott and everybody will look at what went down, but I can't imagine they're not happy. If there are adjustments that need to be made, they are already working on that. The only thing I can add to this is that from my perspective it looks like the Hangtown 100 was a huge success.

Not far from Placerville comes news in Grass Valley that Patrick Weger will again get an opportunity to promote one of his Arena Dwarf Car events. The fairgrounds has agreed to let him and his Vintage Duels promotion have an event sometime in the summer next year. Obviously, Patrick is going to be paying attention to what the NorCal Dwarf Car Association and other groups do before settling on a date, because he needs as much support as possible to make this thing happen.

I recognize the critics are already griping just a little bit about the Grass Valley track. These are people who remember Ernie Purcell Memorial Speedway and want that track back again. What you have to understand is it's quite remarkable that a track that was shut down by the fairgrounds 25 years ago was able to make any sort of comeback this year. Would you rather have nothing or something when it comes to racing? Who really knows where Patrick may take this thing in the long run? Maybe there will ultimately be a bigger track back in there again, and maybe not.

After the successful running of the first event in October, he's already taking notes on ways to improve things. Given that he was putting a track together in the confines of the Rodeo Arena for the first time, he had to demonstrate he could put it up and take it down in the allotted time. He also did what he could at the time, but he didn't have the benefit of running a previous event. It was a learning experience for him. Weger will be looking to make the track a little bit bigger with an eye on having more than just two cars on the track at a time for this next event.

I am reluctant to speculate too much about what any of this means. I have my own Arena Racing idea that I've talked about, and with the good grandstands they have there in Grass Valley, I think they could interest fans by doing some sort of Mini Stock Figure 8 race like they do in Pleasanton during the Alameda County Fair. In fact, if Patrick were to make such an announcement now, I would bet he'd find some of the old Stock Car families getting old Hornet race cars just to run that one race. Will this happen? I have seen no indication of it.

First and foremost, Patrick put together Vintage Duels and this event in Grass Valley as a way to showcase Dwarf Car racing in a different environment. Therefore, the first priority is how to make Dwarf Cars shine even brighter on whatever sort of track he will be able to create for the summer race. Just what date that will be, what the track will look like, what the format will be or any of that remains to be announced from Patrick. However, I am happy he had success this year and is able to give them another race. As I always say, as long as the gates open at a race track, there's a chance for good things to happen.

Will the gates open at Calistoga Speedway for a race to happen in 2020? Evidently, there's still details to be worked out for the county to sell the fairgrounds property to the city, and one of the holdups is a disgruntled investor who claims he has a right to take everything he put in there to improve that track out if the track is going to be sold. The removal of this stuff could ultimately kill the deal. I haven't followed this thing in detail to really know what all is involved, but I know there are some hurt feelings. I know there is the threat that racing at this historic facility will ultimately cease.

The Calistoga Speedway has hosted multiple events each year in the past, though I believe there were only a pair of them this year. Word was that there would be more next year, but I don't know where that stands. One of the promoters this could affect the most is John Prentice of Prentice Motorsports Group. There was some speculation that 2020 would include at least one Civil War Sprint Car Series race in addition to the Prentice promoted All Star Series IMCA Modified race, which did happen this year. As John is trying to get every track he can for his series, the loss of any facility puts what he does in jeopardy.

You don't have a plethora of half-mile dirt tracks to choose from on the West Coast, and Calistoga has lots of meaning to longtime race fans. It's been known for showcasing the biggest Sprint Car and Midget series with big events through the years. In recent years, you've even seen Stock Car type divisions take to the big track, and you've got IMCA Modified drivers who mark this opportunity on their calendars. Who really knows what the future is? I certainly don't. This is why I say enjoy these tracks while you can. You might complain about them, but one day you will regret those complaints when the gates close for good.

On that note, I will end this column. Thank you all for reading and thank you for your support. Until next time...

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Merced Speeday, Siskiyou Golden Speedway, Marysville Raceway, More


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Dotson, Ryland, Johnson, Myrick Win John Fore Jr 
Dirt Track Nationals At Merced Speedway

Merced, CA...October 26...Ethan Dotson won the 30 lap IMCA Modified Main Event Saturday night at Merced Speedway. This was the Fourth Annual John Fore Jr Memorial Dirt Track Nationals, and the win paid $2,000 to Dotson. Dotson was the winner of the IMCA Nationals in Boone, Iowa back in September and swept the IMCA Modified and IMCA Sport Modified Main Events on both nights of the recent Bakersfield Speedway Bud Nationals.

Dotson had the front row for the Main Event and charged into the lead from the start ahead of Tim Balding. Dylan Thornton made an inside pass in Turn 2 of the fourth lap to take second. Only two yellow flags slowed the race, the second of which happened on the fifth lap. Dotson maintained command on the restart and pulled away just a little bit. However, Thornton began to make a run on Dotson and challenged him as they hit traffic on lap 15. Dotson made some good moves and put a little bit of distance between himself and Thornton, but Thornton again caught him with five laps to go. Again, Dotson made a strong move on the outside of two slower cars and used that cushion to pull away from Thornton in victory. Friday night winner DJ Shannon finished third, followed by Bobby Hogge IV, Tim Balding, Jim Pettit II, Paul Stone, Jerry Flippo, Randy Brown and Darrell Hughes II.

The IMCA Modifieds had 25 competitors, and Dotson, Shannon, Balding and Stone won their respective 10 lap heat races. Oregon visitor Doug Lockwood won the 12 lap B Main ahead of Craig Cassell and Billy Wilker.

Fred Ryland won the 30 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event. This was the second win of the season for the track champion, and it paid $1,200. Fred shared the front row of the feature race with his wife, Patti Ryland. In the early goings, Fred lead Patti, and a red flag waved when contact sent Nick Spainhoward rolling on the front straightaway. Spaonhoward was not hurt, and the Ryland's continued to run at the front of the pack on the restart. Chase Thomas made an inside pass in Turn 4 of the seventh lap to take second from Patti Ryland. As Fred Ryland began to work slower traffic by the midpoint of the race, a frontstretch pass on the 15th lap gained Michael Johnson third. Fred Ryland worked heavy traffic in the later stages of the race and made no mistakes as he brought it home to an impressive victory. Chase Thomas settled for second, followed by Johnson, Patti Ryland, Randy Brown, Billy Simkins, Paul Stone, Andrew Peckham, Troy Foulger and Adriane Frost.

There were 26 cars in this class, and the eight lap heat race wins went to Fred Ryland, Tyler Blankenship, Michael Johnson and Chase Thomas. Jesse Burks won the 12 lap B Main ahead of Foulger and Trevor Clymens.

Cody Johnson won the 30 lap Hobby Stock Main Event. The Bakersfield Speedway star had a front row start and led all the way for the $1,000 victory. Johnson led Michael Scruggs and Nick Johnson early, but Nick Johnson pitted during a lap two yellow flag. After two more yellow flags, the final 23 laps went all green. Cody Johnson set a rapid pace and pulled away to a comfortable lead, while Bruce Nelson, Buddy Shepherd and Michael Scruggs had a spirited duel for second. The only thing that could stop Cody Johnson was the heavy traffic he worked in the waning laps, but he made all the right moves to take the checkered flag in first. Nelson would hold on to second despite late pressure from Domissie Scoggins. Shepherd settled for fourth, followed by Joe Gallaher, Tyler Guzman, Colby Quinton, Kristie Shearer, Timmy Crews and Allen Neal.

There were 33 Hobby Stocks on hand for this one, and eight lap heat race wins went to DJ Keldsen, Dylan Wilson, Cody Johnson and Shepherd. The first 12 lap B Main win went to Austin Van Hoff ahead of Mike Germait and Guzman. Quinton won the other B Main ahead of Dexter Long and Devon Belton.

Dan Myrick won the 20 lap Mini Stock Main Event. Myrick is the current Central Valley Mini Stock point leader, and the win paid $400. He started on the front row and raced into the early lead ahead of Gene Glover. Dakota Keldsen settled into third on lap four, but he had his hands full in a four-car battle as Myrick checked out on the field. A slower car spun in front of Myrick on the backstretch to bring out a lap 10 yellow flag. Myrick continued to lead Glover on the restart, and Greg Baronian made a low-pass in Turn 4 the 14th lap to take third from Keldsen. However, Baronian pushed high in Turn 4 of the 16th lap, allowing Keldsen to regain third. Keldsen began pressuring Glover for second and moved by on the back straightaway on the final lap. Jeff Durant got a run on the inside of Keldsen as they raced to the checkered flag and grabbed the second position as Myrick won comfortably. Keldsen settled for third, followed by Glover, Baronian, Jason Cook, Shawn DePriest, Jerry Tubbs, Clinton Massey and Chris Corder. Eight lap heat races were won by Keldsen, Corder and Myrick.

Riley Jeppesen won the 15 lap California Sharp Mini Late Model Main Event. This was his third win of the season. Jeppesen led from the start ahead of track champion Timmy Crews and Logan Clay. A low pass in Turn 2 of the third lap gained Kaylin Lopez third. Lopez closed in on Crews as that was the closest battle for position the rest of the race. Jeppesen would score the victory, and Crews would held off Lopez for second. Clay settled for fourth, followed by Carson Guthrie and Kennzzie Brown. Jeppesen also won the eight lap heat race.

This race concludes 2019 season. For further information on the happenings at the track, go to www.mercedspeedway.net or check out the Merced Speedway Facebook page.


Shannon, Foulger, Irwin, Corder Win First Round Of 
John Fore Jr Memorial At Merced Speedway

Merced, CA...October 25...DJ Shannon won the opening round of the John Fore Jr Memorial Dirt Track Nationals Friday night at Merced Speedway. The win was the third of the season for Shannon and paid $1,000. He withstood a late-race challenge from IMCA Nationals winner Ethan Dotson for the victory.

Tim Balding had a front row start and set the early pace ahead of Jim Pettit II. Shannon got by Pettit for the second position on lap four and set his sights on Balding. Following a yellow flag on lap 13, Shannon took the lead from Balding on the restart. Dotson made an inside pass in Turn 4 of the 15th lap to take third from Trevor Fitzgibbon and made a similar move two laps later to grab second from Balding. Dotson steadily gained on Shannon until he caught him with two laps remaining. After taking the white flag, Dotson made an inside move through Turns 1 and 2 and pulled even with Shannon. Shannon got a nose advantage going through Turns 3 and 4, but they bumped wheels coming out of the fourth turn. They crossed the checkered flag with Shannon claiming the victory by inches over Dotson. Balding settled for third, followed by Paul Stone, last season's champion Darrell Hughes II, this year's champion Troy Foulger, Dylan Thornton, Fitzgibbon, Pettit and Jerry Flippo.

The 23 car field ran four eight lap heat races with wins going to Foulger, Dotson, Stone and Balding. Randy Brown won the first 12 lap B Main ahead of Flippo and Jeff Streeter. Craig Cassell won the other B Main ahead of Bailey Jones and John Osgood III.

Troy Foulger won the 25 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event. Foulger was driving the All Spec Racing Modified owned by Todd Gomez. Paul Stone jumped into the car that Jarrod Mounce drove to the Watsonville championship this year and led the first two laps before Foulger got a good run exiting Turn 4 of the third lap to jump from third to the lead. As Foulger led the way, Stone held on to second until surrendering the position to a Turn 2 pass by Bakersfield Speedway star Steven Johnson on lap 15. During the final laps, Foulger caught slower traffic, which allowed Johnson to close in on him. However, Foulger made the right moves and brought it home to victory. Johnson settled for second, followed by Stone, Nick Spainhoward, Andrew Peckham, Billy Simkins, Fred Ryland, Chase Thomas, Tyler Blankenship and Bruce Nelson.

The 24 competitors ran four eight lap heat races, and Thomas, Spainhoward, Johnson and Foulger picked up the wins. They also had a pair of 12 lap B Mains, which transferred the Top 3 finishers into the Main Event. Jesse Burks won the first race with a late pass on Patti Ryland as Paul Espino finished third. Cody Parker won the other race in front of Chuck Weir and Richard Ragsdale.

Kevin Irwin won the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event. Irwin led a Bakersfield Speedway sweep of the Top 4 positions. The race was restarted twice due to crashes that eliminated past champions Michael Shearer and Raul Rodriguez. Irwin charged into the lead at the start ahead of Domissie Scoggins. Nicholas Johnson moved into third on lap five and made a low pass in Turn 4 of the seventh lap to take second from Scoggins. As Scoggins was fighting to hold on to third, Johnson tried to reel in a big Irwin lead. Both Cody Johnson and Buddy Shepherd got around Scoggins on lap 11. Irwin set a rapid pace and caught slower traffic. However, that didn't keep him from scoring the impressive win. Nicholas Johnson finished second ahead of Shepherd, Cody Johnson, Scoggins, John Hensley, George Silva, DJ Keldsen, Austin Van Hoff and Allen Neal.

There were 28 Hobby Stocks, and the four eight lap heat race wins were earned by Scoggins, Cody Johnson, Meghan Myers and Keldsen. Neal won the first 12 lap B Main ahead of Jeff Lacy and Lee Ragsdale. Van Hoff outran Mike Germait and Rodriguez to win the other one.

Chris Corder won the 20 lap Mini Stock Main Event. Corder was driving the car of the late Robert Jackson, who died in an auto accident due to somebody who was texting and driving last year. He is a three-time Merced Speedway champion, and he took advantage of his front row starting position to lead all the way. Corder set the early pace ahead of Central Valley Mini Stock point leader Dan Myrick and reigning CVMS champion and Greg Baronian. Baronian made an outside frontstretch pass on Myrick to gain second on lap seven and started pressuring Corder for the lead. Just as Baronian was making an outside pass on Corder to gain the lead on the backstretch, Austin Sprague lost a wheel in Turn 4 to bring out a lap 15 yellow flag and negate the past. After a pair of yellow flags botched restart attempts, Corder led Baronian and Myrick on the restart, and they would finished in that order. Clinton Massey finished fourth, followed by Shawn DePriest, Gene Glover, Jerry Tubbs, Lauren Oliveiea, Tracy Glass and James McGranahan. Massey, Baronian and Dakota Keldsen were the eight lap heat race winners.

For further information on the happenings at the track, go to www.mercedspeedway.net.


Wheeler, Rayburn, Killingsworth, Flowers Close 
Siskiyou Speedway Season With Victories

Yreka, CA...October 26...Jake Wheeler won the 25 lap Interstate Sprint Car Series Main Event Saturday night at Siskiyou Golden Speedway. Wheeler is the 2016 Southern Oregon Speedway champion. He was once again piloting the car owned by Ron Osborne, which he has driven to victory twice in Medford this year. The night featured a Halloween theme with a costume contest and kids trick-or-treating with the racers on the front straightaway during intermission.

Wheeler drew a fourth row starting position for the feature race with fellow past Medford champion TJ Winningham starting in the second row. Winningham and Scott Fox ran in contention as Wheeler quickly moved his way to the front of the pack. Wheeler got around Winningham and went on to score the impressive victory. Winningham settled for second, followed by Fox, Anthony Pope, Tyrell Mead, Steven Snawder, Cooper Desbiens and Brody Sim. Snawder and Mead were the eight lap heat race winners.

Bruce Rayburn Jr won the 25 lap Late Model Main Event. Rayburn was piloting the Joey Tanner Willamette Speedway championship car, which is now owned by Pete Bowne. The second-generation racer shared the front row with Dustin Knight, but Knight had problems early on. Rayburn had his closest competition from Chris Biggs, but in the end he was too fast for everybody in victory. Biggs held onto second ahead of seven-time Medford Modified champion Mark Wauge, Bob Dees, Eric Massey, Cliff Massey, Jason Schultz, Knight and Dana Bowers. Dees and Wauge were the eight lap heat race winners.

Ethan Killingsworth scored the victory in the 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event. Killingsworth is the champion this year, and this was his division-leading fourth win of the season. Both Killingsworth and Matt Sanders picked up their respective eight lap heat race wins, and that put them both on the front row for the feature race. Sanders has won at four different venues this year, including twice in Yreka. However, Killingsworth would prevail in this battle with Sanders settling for second. Colt Boswell placed third, followed by Isaac Sanders, Zak Potts, Rich McCoy, Randy Wright, Ryder Boswell, Cale Cunial and Chris Silva.

James Flowers won the 20 lap Calculated Comfort Outlaw Pro Stock Main Event. This was the first win of the season for Flowers, and he outran his father, Scott Flowers, to get the job done. In finishing second, Scott Flowers notched his first career championship. James Flowers had started in the third row with his father in the row behind him, but both came up through the pack. Following James and Scott were Matt Harlow, John David Duffie, Rick Lukens, Colby Hammond, Steve Borror and Ginny Flowers. Borror and Duffie were the eight lap heat race winners.

Marilyn Yawnick won the 20 lap Jefferson State Jalopy Main Event and the eight lap heat race. This was the division champion's fourth win of the season, and she held off JJ Smith for the feature win. Three-time winner Michael Colson settled for third ahead of Karl Bernstein.

Following the trick or treating with the kids and the drivers in the infield during intermission, there was an Outlaw Kart exhibition race, which was won by Dallin Dagata.

This wraps up the 2019 racing season. Keep up with the latest happenings by checking out the Siskiyou Golden Speedway Facebook page or going to www.siskiyougoldenspeedway.com.


Forsberg, Ford, Schank Win At Marysville Raceway

Marysville,, CA...October 26...Andy Forsberg won the Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Marysville Raceway. This was the annual H&H Trenching Gold Fever Sprint Car Spooktacular event.  Forsberg is the Placerville Speedway Sprint Car champion.

Forsberg started back in the fourth row of the feature race, and polesitter Shane Hopkins set the early pace. Blake Carrick was an early second, but he surrendered the position to Forsberg on a lap eight restart. Forsberg set his sights on Hopkins, and he finally put the moves on him to grab the lead on lap 14. Forsberg pulled away just a little bit from Hopkins in the closing laps to score the victory. Cole Macedo finished third, followed by Carrick, Chico champion Sean Becker, Jake Haulot, Colby Wiesz, Marysville champion Michael Ing, Korey Lovell and Geoff Ensign.

There were 27 competitors, and Rowdy McLenon set the quickest time of 12.173 to beat the 12.186 of Justyn Cox. Eight lap heat race wins went to Carrick, Macedo, Brad Bumgarner and Ing. Ensign won the 13 lap B Main after taking the lead from Burt Foland Jr early on. Foland settled for second ahead of Mike Monahan.

Jimmy Ford won the 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event. Ford is a two-time Mini Stock champion at the track. Richard Vander Ploeg led four laps before tangling with Chuck Golden for a yellow flag. Driving the David Pierce car, track champion Todd Cooper took over the lead ahead of Ford. Ford moved past Cooper for the lead on lap 12, but Cooper ran closely behind him. Ford kept his cool in the closing laps for the well-earned victory as Cooper settled for second ahead of his brother, Brian Cooper, David Larabee, Timothy Allerdings, Mike Merritt, Alan Furuta, Golden, Vander Ploeg and Bryce Campbell. Merritt and Golden won their respective six lap heat races.

Terry Schank Jr won the 20 lap Wingless Spec Sprint Main Event. Schank is a three-time Hunt Series champion. With the benefit of a pole position start, Schank bolted into the lead at the start and would lead Josh Young for the entire distance. The race only had two yellow flag slowdowns, and the second yellow flag would fall for Kevin Box and Cort Marchuk on lap 11. Orland star Nathan Johnson moved into third on the restart and would finish there, followed by Braiden Moniz, Wyatt Brown, Box, Kaimi Moniz-Costa, James Thomson and Marchuk. Schank also won the eight lap heat race.

Cameron Haney Jr won the 15 lap Crate Sprint Main Event. Haney had the pole and led all the way in victory. Cody Smith ran second before his race ended on lap six. Brandon Dozier took over second, but he trailed Haney buy a straightaway at the checkered Flag. Jaylon Deas finished third ahead of Chad Thompson and Cody Smith. Smith won the eight lap heat race, and Chad Stancil was a Main Event scratch.

On November 9th, The Mel Hall Memorial race will be made up from the May 26th rain out. This event will feature the Civil War Sprint Car Series and the Hunt Wingless Spec Sprints. For further information, go to www.marysvilleraceway.com.


Johnson, Bender Win At Ventura Raceway

Ventura, CA...October 26...Chase Johnson won the USAC Midget 30 lap Main Event Saturday night at Ventura Raceway. The Penngrove competitor seems to compete in various open-wheel divisions, which also includes Winged and Wingless Sprint Cars. Johnson maneuvered past early leader Ben Worth on the 13th lap and would proceed to lead the rest of the way for the victory. Worth held on for second, followed by championship hopeful Cory Elliott, Shannon McQueen, Josh Lakatos, Robbie Josett, David Prickett, CJ Sarna, Terry Nichols and Saldana Racing Products hard-charger Kyle Beilman, who started back in 18th.

Incoming point leader Robert Dalby settled for a disappointing 14th and holds a slim 25 point lead over Elliott going into the 52nd Annual Western World Championships, which happens at Arizona Speedway in San Tan Valley, Arizona on November 15th and 16th. Johnson, Dalby and Lakatos won their respective 10 lap heat races. Elliott set the fastest time on the 1/5 mile clay oval with a lap of 13.112, beating the 13.137 of Robbie Josett.

AJ Bender won the 25 lap Lucas Oil POWRi California Lightning Sprint Main Event. Dominic Del Monte led 10 laps before bringing out a yellow flag. Bender was running second at that point and took the lead on the restart with Cody Nigh settling into second. The duo drove to a 1-2 finish, leaving the battle for third. Aiden Lange held third until being overtaken by Grant Sexton on lap 16. Sexton would finish third, followed by Jarrett Kramer, Lange, James Turnbull, Jeff Dyer, Del Monte, Brent Sexton and John Robertson. Eric Greco set the fast time of 12.743, beating the 12.833 of Bender. The eight lap heat race wins went to Robertson, Jason Arnolde and Lange.

Jeff Fillingame scored the victory in the VRA Sprint Car Main Event. Fillingame started up front and led all 20 laps in victory. Trent Williams finished second ahead of heat race winner Rick Hendrix. The third place finish also wrapped up an impressive championship season for Hendrix. Ricky Lewis finished fourth, followed by Brent Owens, Chris Meredith, Tyler Hatzikian and Colby Johnson.

Brody Fuson picked up the win in the Western Midget Racing division. Fuson started on the front row and proceeded to lead all 20 laps in victory with Kevin Woody settling for second. Randi Pankratz won a heat race and finished third in the feature to secure the division championship. Heat race winner Jessica Swanson finished fourth in the Main Event, followed by final lead-lap finisher Greg Edenholm. Wally Pankratz, Joey Bishop, Tyler Slay, Keoni Texeira and Blake Bower rounded out the Top 10 finishers. Following Pankratz in the championship race were the absent David Prickett and Texeira.

Trent Morley won his heat race and also scored the victory in the 20 lap VRA Dwarf Car Main Event. Morley had to make a little effort to score this victory. Johnny Conley paced the first three laps before his race came to an end as Tom Morley took over. Morley only led a pair of laps before being overtaken by new division champion Jason Horton. Horton led until Trent Morley put the moves on him on lap 15 to take the lead. Morley led the rest of the way with Horton settling for second. Horton also won a heat race. Gage Cheek scored a podium finish in third. Tom Morley would settle for fourth, followed by Jeff Brink, Brad Curnel, Shane Linenberger, Jeff Hinz, Tim Morse and Bobby Meneley. Following Jason Horton in the standings were Trent Morley and Tom Morley.

The track was considering going to IMCA rules for the Hobby Stock division, but that plan has been abandoned for next year as some of the regulars would not have been legal for the class. Ricky Lewis won the division championship this year by just 15 points ahead of Tom Stephens Jr. Alyssa Smith solidified her third place ranking by winning the October 19th point season finale. There were 10 starters in that race

Jack Parker ended up winning the IMCA Modified championship. Despite winning the September 28th point season finale, IMCA State champion Trevor Fitzgibbon finished seven points behind Parker in second with Terry Hershberger ranking third in the final rundown. 

Ventura Raceway will be hosting the 79th Annual Turkey Night Grand Prix event on November 27th and 28th. The USAC Midgets and USAC 360 Sprint Cars will be competing on both nights. For further information, go to www.venturaraceway.com.


The Editor's Viewpoint

I'm sitting here in a power outage at the race track as I'm writing this. Merced Speedway just had the John Fore Jr Memorial race. I was a little bit disappointed in General Manager Doug Lockwood and his decision to eliminate some of the special races that the speedway has had in recent years. I considered it almost miraculous that the track's General Manager at the time, Doug Williams, managed to revive the Ted Stofle Classic when he did. The Timmy Post Memorial and the Matt And Glass Cancer Fundraiser races were both very special to the Merced Speedway schedule. All three of these races fell by the wayside under the leadership of Lockwood.

Before I give praise for what just happened, I need to nitpick this. I disagree strongly with Doug's decision to eliminate these races. Ted Stofle was an absolute Stock Car racing legend. Some say he was the greatest Stock Car racer on the dirt in California in the 1970s, and I wouldn't disagree with that statement. Matt was special because of all the things he did for the racers for all of those years, and it wasn't that this race was some big event for money. It was that money was raised to fight Cancer in Matt's name, and people loved the guy. I get a big kick out of looking at Angela Brown's race car with the Matt And Glass sticker on it.

I know the argument is you can't have a memorial race for everybody. Yeah, whatever. In this day and age, when you're trying to get people to come out to the track, you do whatever you can. When you have a memorial race, it doesn't always mean that it has to be for bigger money or any of that. Just a nice trophy would work. Maybe just a small increase in the purse. I don't know. What Doug said was that everybody would be honored at Legends Night, but as I understand it, the honorees were Porter family. As of yet, Merced Speedway still hasn't started a Hall of Fame. Doing this would be remarkably easy, and I nearly had the late Ed Parker ready to get it started. You already have Legends Night and a Legends Breakfast the Friday morning before the show. What happens is people get bogged down in small details, and before you know it, those small details prevent it from happening.

Doug did keep the John Fore Jr Dirt Track Nationals on the schedule. John wasn't really around for that long, but he did make an impact. Ed Parker established this race as an IMCA Sport Modified show back in 2016, and it has grown to include the core four divisions that the speedway has. It was also moved to October. One thing I will give Doug Lockwood credit for is he put together a rather nice schedule, despite the lack of certain key memorial races. Not only were there some big IMCA Modified shows, there were also some big open wheel events. A nice mixture. This is something to build a future on.

When you're trying to book a postseason race in October, the goal is to get as many race cars as you can. I'm kind of amazed that there aren't that many races that have established long traditions. Watsonville has been building the Pat And Jim Pettit Memorial Dirt Track Shootout, and it's going to be 10 years old next year. Bakersfield Speedway has the Bud Nationals the second week of October, and this race has happened for over 30 years. This leaves open dates for other tracks to get big races. Hanford and Tulare have taken shots at big Stock Car type shows, but in recent years they've backed off. Antioch Speedway takes looks here and there and just had the West Coast Nationals the week before. Petaluma has the Adobe Cup at the beginning of October, but there's room to grab a date and build a tradition.

As I said, the John Fore Jr Memorial race was established by Parker and moved to October by Parker. He had turned it into a four division show last year, but he passed away before he could see it through. The show wasn't as big as it could have been that year, but under the circumstances, I understand. Ed's son, Cody Parker, oversaw a lot of that. Margie Mejia was the woman behind the scenes who kept things going when we lost Ed. The show went on, and even if the numbers weren't as big as they could have been, it wasn't a bad show in 2018. Doug came in this season with the goal of making it a little bit bigger.

Honestly, there is potential for Merced to host something extraordinary. Something on the level of a George Steitz show could be possible. However, you're also dealing with big show fatigue. Drivers have already run the Bakersfield show and are gearing up for Las Vegas. A Steitz level show would bring huge fields in each division. Merced had respectable fields both nights, and there were almost 120 cars competing on Saturday. That's not bad. Is it big by open show standards? Maybe not, but it was one heck of a show nonetheless. I don't get a sense that Doug and Merced Speedway were swinging for the bleachers with this race. Put it this way, the purses were bigger than usual, but they were reasonable purses. The three primary classes delivered enough cars for B Mains to be required, which always helps with the purse when you get more cars than you will run in the Main Event.

The secret of George Steitz was pretty simple. He had a nice to win prize for his divisions, but the Main Event starters were not getting more than their entry fee to get into the show. However, this was attractive enough to get lots of racers. You had enough cars to go three or four letters into the alphabet in Mains, and those purses were more than paid for. In his case, George went the extra mile to make it fun for everybody. It doesn't require a ridiculously huge purse to make an open show tick. It requires a good format, a well run program and the feeling that this is a place that you need to be. Throughout the season, there's been lots of positive buzz regarding the Modified show at Merced Speedway, so there were drivers ready to come to come out for this event. They came from as far south as Ventura and as far north as Oregon to be in Merced.

I believe that Merced Speedway has the potential to establish something really strong with this event. You always want to end the season on a high note, and I think this race accomplished that. I think there are still more cars and more fans to be had, but this requires some finesse and some intelligent planning. I don't subscribe to the theory that you need to dump a bunch of money into the purse to accomplice this goal. You just need to establish this as a fun event with a regular date people can circle on their calendars. Perhaps the end of October will be the regular time for this show? As far as money to win, I don't think $2,000 for the IMCA Modifieds, $1,200 for the IMCA Sport Modifieds and $1,000 for for the Hobby Stocks is bad. $400 for the Mini Stock winner was nice as well.

Actually, you can get yourself into trouble when you are worried about topping your biggest race. Pettit is a good example of that. There was a time when they kept raising the winner's purse for the IMCA Modifieds, and it reached $10,003 at one point. The family reassessed things at that point, and they settled on the $3,003 first prize they have now. I don't think the IMCA Modified purse needs to go much bigger, if at all, at Merced to keep the show going. It's the little touches you might be able to add to the program that could make a difference. I'm sure Doug and his staff had to be pleased with the way things went, and they should be proud of this show. Every track should have a few marquee events throughout the season with one to go out on if possible, and I think Merced Speedway is accomplishing that.

I seriously questioned why Kevin Barba would book races into October at Siskiyou Golden Speedway. You deal with colder weather and the possibility of rain that far north in California. On the other hand, weather patterns in the last couple of decades have been such that you've certainly got a chance to get some racing in. I think part of the reason Kevin went this far was to pay the bills to keep things going. However, this wasn't merely about money. I also believe he was looking to see what other divisions might be there for possible scheduling in 2020. There were some things to be gained by going to the end of October.

What made me nervous about the schedule was the fact that the annual Rod Restad Memorial race on September 21st produced some 60 cars in the pits. By all accounts, that final point race was a success, and it was also the biggest car count Kevin had achieved at the speedway. I know that he had announced from the start that he was going into October, but I was starting to wonder if maybe he would rethink his position and end it there. He did not. He doubled down, and the car count nose dived to around 20 the following week. It didn't get much better at the next race, and I thought that at that point he might be doing more harm than good to his effort.

In the midst of those numbers, however, there were some positive signs being shown. Yreka hosted their first Late Model race in several seasons. Granted, there were only five cars that came in from Medford, but it was still something different. Kevin had announced that any division that could give him five or six cars would have a purse paying show, and that prompted Sprint Car drivers to question whether they could be involved in this. The problem with that Late Model show was that it was impromptu. Nobody knew Late Models were going to be there that week, and the track was not really able to gain the potential fans it could have had if it were known ahead of time.

It was sounding like the Sprint Cars were going to do the same thing. You might get a half-dozen Sprint Cars, but it would happen that next race and the fans wouldn't know anything about it. This is when the Interstate Sprint Car Series officials stepped in. They reached out to Kevin to set a race date, and that date was last Saturday. The Interstate Sprint Car Series was relaunched as a Limited Sprint Series prior to the 2018 season, and I was well aware that officials were interested in booking at least one date at Yreka. The date they were thinking of was Week of Speed in August. The problem is the Siskiyou Speedway track is basically closed during much of August to allow for the Siskiyou Golden Fair to take over the area.

Week of Speed really needs another date to help it along. As Medford chooses not to participate in the series, it starts later than officials would like. They would like to have Yreka be a part of this. I'm not going to tell you that this is going to happen in 2020, but I can tell you that series officials are looking at doing something at Yreka. So, this hastily scheduled Interstate Sprint Car Series race was almost like a test to see what was out there. While this was scheduled, several Late Model drivers also voiced an interest in being a part of that show, and Barba agreed.

I can't tell you when the last time was that Siskiyou Golden Speedway had a Sprint Car and Late Model show on the same bill, but it happened on Saturday. This, in my opinion, was probably Kevin's shining moment in his inaugural year as the promoter. Though I've had some criticism for the way things have been scheduled and changed on the fly, this race was booked in plenty of time to get the interest of the fans. It was booked in plenty of time for the racers to know and be ready to go racing. I'm not going to tell you that they flooded the pit with cars, but both divisions delivered enough cars to give the fans a good taste of what they have to offer. There were eight Interstate Sprint Cars and nine Late Models. Add to that the eight Calculated Comfort Outlaw Pro Stocks, 12 IMCA Sport Modifieds, four Jefferson State Jalopies an even the kids who ran an exhibition with their Outlaw Karts, and you had over 40 competitors for the final race.

The biggest problem at Siskiyou Golden Speedway is easy to see. They don't deliver enough cars on a regular basis. Once upon a time, they did. The show has dwindled down to IMCA Sport Modifieds and Mini Stocks and whatever visiting divisions they can get. They watched their IMCA Modified division basically die on them, though I think Kevin could resurrect this class if he made the effort. There are drivers there who want to race in Yreka. Even if there aren't a bunch, the six or eight cars you could get to restart this thing is better than having nothing at all. Fans want to see cars, and two divisions with 20 cars total on average is simply not enough for some fans to want to spend money to come watch.

Kevin didn't enter the picture with blinders on. He knew the program was struggling and knew that change needed to be made. Perhaps it was the late announcement that he would be promoter that hurt his effort to book a schedule and forced him to do some things on the fly. Whatever the case, he got through the season, and the later part of the season saw the success of the Rod Restad and this last race. He left the fans with something exciting to go out on, and the Sprint Car Main Event winner, Jake Wheeler, started in the fourth row and scored the victory. The Rayburn family returned for the first time in several seasons with a victory in the Late Models. The night was a winner.

Kevin has been working on family-friendly things, giving away free passes to get people to come check out the show and doing whatever he can to change the perception that this Speedway is fading away. Saturday night was a successful effort, and it's one he can be proud of. It's also raised the track's status as a place that can offer bigger shows for the fans. You are likely to see an Interstate Sprint Car Series race on the schedule next year, perhaps even a Limited Sprint race or two. You could even see Late Models. You can expect anything at this point as Kevin knows he needs to get more cars and give the fans more of a show. You want fans in the seats? Give them more cars to watch.

I give Kevin credit for pulling this one off, but I wonder if the relationship between Yreka and Medford will warm up a little bit. Medford Promoter Mike McCann entered the picture at a track who's own show had fell to a point where only 18 cars showed up for a three division show one night in 2015. McCann invested heavily in rebuilding this program. If there's a Late Model division or a Limited Sprint Car division for Yreka to borrow from Medford, it's only because McCann made the investment in paying a good purse to get the cars out there in the first place. I already know the question Medford would ask in any potential partnership with Yreka. What do we gain?

I know a lot of people would like to see the track that's doing better off just lend a helping hand to the track that isn't, but it's a business. If you're not taking care of your own business model and building your own show, you're not getting fans. Even though Medford had another solid season this past year, they are not out of the woods just yet. Lots of work has to be done to maintain the progress and build upon it. Partnerships can work, but a potential partnership that Medford might have with Yreka is incumbent upon Yreka being able to provide visiting drivers to Medford. There is potential with the IMCA Sport Modifieds, but Yreka can't really work with Medford in IMCA Modifieds without having its own class. They must work on building that back up.

My opinion on the matter is that a stronger Yreka partnering with Medford would be a winner. If I had the power to make it happen, Yreka would become a Friday night track with occasional Saturday shows thrown in when scheduling allows. In that way, you could have Medford drivers more free to go to Yreka without missing a local show and vice versa. Yreka could work on cultivating an IMCA Modified show and establishing other classes. The only negative in a point series sort of way is that the two tracks are in two different states. You're not going to rank high in the IMCA State point race because you cross the border to run at the other track. So, without creating a Medford/Yreka series of your own, there is no bigger point race beyond the track point race.

It's a bit of hypothetical thinking, but it's not likely to happen. When you have a track that has run on Saturday night for as long as Yreka has, it's risky to change it to Friday. My contention is that numbers are low enough at Yreka that you could make that move and build from there. However, I believe no move would be made unless it was with the understanding that there would be a partnership. I see no partnership forthcoming. Medford will stay the course. There will be a few adjustments next year, and the track will try to improve upon what's been done for the past four years and make the fifth year under McCann that much better.

As a promoter in your first year, you have to learn. From the outside looking in, it may seem like those guys don't know what the hell they're doing and all of that. A new promoter should be confident in thinking they can do it better, but they're going to learn a lot in that first year. Kevin got a wake up call from the start when a car crashed through the fence on the front straightaway, prompting the rest of the show to get cancelled. He's had his struggles behind the scenes that have challenged him, but he's persevered. Just when things might have looked hopeless, things started to get better. He's learned some things that have worked for him, and he'll continue to learn.

I think the first thing is bringing a sense of stability to the race track. Kevin is working on accomplishing that goal. The next thing is improvement of program. You're building your car count, figuring out what divisions you can run and all of that. Kevin's made much progress, and this will be reflected in the 2020 schedule. There's also been improvements to the facility and in fan interaction. One would have to say that Kevin's first year has certainly been better than the previous year, and that's a positive. There is much progress yet to be made, but there certainly is hope that it's going to get better. As I said, I give Kevin credit for having probably his biggest night of promoting to close the year.

I would certainly recommend getting out of the season now. Then again, the last month would not have happened in Yreka had that been my call. Then, they wouldn't have had the night they just had. Kevin has already announced a playday for November 2nd, and the danger you get into when you're making moves like this is thinking maybe you could even book another race or something of that nature. Drivers need time to recoup their budgets and fix their race cars, and promoters need the off time to make more improvements to the track and make plans for next season. Hopefully, the playday this Saturday is all that will happen. Just a play day, and then it's time to plan for next year. But, even if they try to go much longer, the weather will tell them what they can and can't do.

Marysville Raceway had the H&H Trenching Sprint Car Spooktacular Saturday night, and there were 27 Winged 360 Sprint Cars in the pits. They were the headliners of the night. There were only a half-dozen Crate Sprints, and there were nine Wingless Spec Sprints despite the fact that the track dropped the class from it's regular rotation two years ago. The IMCA Sport Modifieds also had a 10 car show. I think those numbers were within the parameters that were expected. I doubt management thought they would have a huge field of Spec Sprints since they're not promoting the class. However, there might have been a little bit of disappointment that only six Crate Sprints were there. Given the fact that management dumped Spec Sprints in favor of this other Winged Sprint Car class and it still isn't delivering double digits, I can't imagine people are too happy. I know I wouldn't be. Then again, I always thought of it as a stupid decision for Chico and Marysville to ever add Crate Sprints in the first place as it only divided a good car count. The Crate Sprints have failed to deliver so far. By now, they should be averaging double digits. They are lucky to get that.

Remaining on the schedule is the November 9th Mel Hall Memorial race. This race was initially rained out on Memorial Day Weekend, so it's been rescheduled for after next week's Gary Patterson Memorial race at the Stockton Dirt Track. It's also being listed as a Civil War Series and Hunt Series event. I can find no evidence that the Civil War Series is even in existence at this point, and that does make me a little bit sad. I spoke with Watsonville track prep guru Tom Sagmiller at the West Coast Nationals, and he indicated that he knew nothing about Marysville being a Civil War race on this night.

I had some comments to make about it as it looked like there would be no champion crowned. Since before the last Watsonville race, you couldn't find Civil War Sprint Car points on the official webpage. After the Watsonville race ran, there was no indication that the rescheduled Mel Hall Memorial race at Marysville was being acknowledged by the Civil War. Marysville had it on the their webpage, but not a word from the Civil War. No race scheduled, no point race and it looks like the thing is dead, right?

I'm actually pleased to report that upon looking at a news release on my phone from Marysville concerning the November 9th race, they were talking about a point leader for the Civil War and hyping the deal up. I said to myself that this didn't sound right as just a couple of days ago I went to the official page and there were no points. Punching it in on my phone web browser, I found the point sheet. Koen Shaw is listed as the Civil War Series leader going into Marysville, which will be the fourth and final race. So, it looks as if John Prentice will make sure that the Civil War Sprint Car Series has a champion this year.

The real question is will it continue into a 30th season next year? Will there be enough races to make it happen? Will there be enough tracks to get involved? Some places have sided with the Sprint Car Challenge Tour and others don't appear to be interested in getting dates. On the other hand, there might just be enough interest to keep this thing going. Personally, I want to see that be the case. I know John may have upset a few people here or there, but the Civil War Series means something. Well, at least it used to and still can.

In my mind, a Civil War Series schedule probably doesn't need more than 6 to 10 races to be good enough. If Prentice is at the helm, then you could put two or three races on at Watsonville. As it seems as if Dennis Gage is still on board at Marysville, you could keep that going. Perhaps a race at Chico could be secured again? The harder question is, where do you get other race dates? I believe a Civil War Series should have four or five different tracks on its schedule. It's not likely to happen at Petaluma, and Merced has just thrown in with the Sprint Car Challenge Tour as well. Going as far north as Yreka might be stretching it a bit. Antioch Speedway? Not if John Soares is running the track.

I always like to play devil's advocate with situations like these. What would happen if? It's likely that if Prentice is going to work towards a series, he'll look at the All Star IMCA Modified Series first. Personally, I see potential to get that thing back up to eight or nine dates in 2020. The Civil War Sprint Car Series brand may not get that kind of attention, and that's unfortunate given it's lengthy history. There was a time when promoters worked together on that series, and it was normal to see 50 or 60 cars at any event. I don't think you're looking at 50 or 60 cars on average, even if this thing could be salvaged. However, you could get it into the 20s, and that would still be an entertaining show. To do so, it would take a lot of work. Is Prentice still willing to put in the effort? Are there enough promoters willing to work with him? The answers may be forthcoming after we see what happens with this November 9th date at Marysville.

I recently had a really good conversation with my friend Don O'Keefe on the subject of the Bay Cities Racing Association. This was on my mind back in August, and I recall writing something for a Viewpoint column. Unfortunately, it somehow got wiped out. I'd have to look back to see if I rewrote anything and posted my thoughts on the subject. In my opinion, the merger of BCRA and POWRi has been a failure. I think when they did that, some of the BCRA leaders felt that the national status of POWRi would help elevate their group, but this was never the answer. Don tells me that one of the BCRA people he spoke to with recently said the only thing the group is getting out of it is an insurance policy.

In BCRA, you have California's oldest sanctioning auto racing organization, and it's heritage is something that I believe should be preserved. You go back to the 1930s when you talk about BCRA. Back in the 1950s, BCRA was sanctioning races at several different tracks throughout the state, and they also had a booming Hardtop circuit in addition to the Midgets. Times have changed, and the organization always managed to adapt. It was through BCRA that some of the greatest Bay Area promoters, such as Bob Barkhimer, John P Soares and Bert Moreland, got their starts. Even when Barkhimer started his own association and eventually sold to NASCAR, he did all he could to help the BCRA keep going.

In the 1990s, the group was still viable, but they branched out to absorb the Mini Sprint tour that had been running under the Northern Stars banner. BCRA sanctions Midgets, Midget Lites and the Vintage Midgets. When I spoke with Don recently, he suggested that the Midget Lites group should basically merge with the Midgets, running the two groups together. He also suggested something I've been saying for a while. BCRA should stick with the dirt and drop the pavement idea. I believe pavement is being pushed by maybe a couple of staunch BCRA supporters, but it's doing more harm than good.

I'm going to elect to side step the idea of the Midget Lites being forced to run with the Midgets. My thinking is that BCRA is booking far too many race dates as it is. Drivers don't want to run 20 or more times a year. While it might be nice for BCRA to have dates at so many different race tracks, it really doesn't do them good when they're not producing a car count to entertain the fans. My belief is that you should cut back. BCRA has long had its strongest car counts on the dirt, even though they've had a mixture of dirt and pavement on the schedule.

You're not getting a bunch of Midget drivers coming from other places in the way you would with Winged 360 Sprint Cars. BCRA is the only full Midget game in Northern California. There is a fledgling Eco Tech Midget effort that's getting started at Watsonville and Ventura. It's not really anything new as they ran under the Ford Focus banner for a while, but leadership is attempting to make something of this in the way the Northwest Focus Midget group has done up in Washington and Northern Oregon. You can actually run this group with the Midgets on occasion, and I would certainly advocate for that.

Since there's not an abundance of Midgets to draw cars from at the moment, but there are several dirt track cars out there that are parked, a shorter schedule on dirt would work perfectly. Work with the tracks that are willing to book you, such as Petaluma, Watsonville and Placerville. Reach out to other tracks on the dirt to see what you can get. Look at 12 to 14 dates as your ideal schedule to get the car count up. When you look at where the strongest car count has come in recent years, as I have said, it happens on the dirt. Placerville this year was a good example of that. If you want to save BCRA, you don't need national sanctioning. You need a sensible schedule, a focus on dirt and an effort to bring cars back to the track, even if they are a bit older. It can happen. The question is, is there any desire to do it?

This year, BCRA didn't have a Hall of Fame picnic. I'm very disappointed in that. In recent years, these events happened at Petaluma, but I believe the weekend in question ended up going to USAC, rather than BCRA. Whatever the case was, it didn't happen. Now, I know BCRA has a pretty big Hall of Fame as it is, and you might be running out of people to induct. However, the idea of the pre race picnic and get together of the old guard and the new drivers is still a good thing to do. Perhaps you make it BCRA Legends night. This is a night when you have all three of your groups on hand, if possible, induct somebody into the Hall of Fame if you can or simply invite a few of the old timers out there as legends to be saluted on that occasion. Don't let this gathering fall by the wayside.

I'm not going to tell you that I've been the biggest fan of Midget racing through the years. I was offered a scorekeeping job with the group back in 1985 and declined as Stock Cars have been my love. You weren't going to get me to leave Antioch Speedway back then. I do have an appreciation of this form of racing. Looking back when BCRA had a bunch of races at Antioch in 1981 and 1982, the racing was pretty darn good. Drivers like Floyd Alvis, Rick Bussell, Bobby Morrow, Wheeler Gresham, Ted Montague, Tim Joyce, Victor Mancarini, Tom Enea and so on put on some great races. It can be that way again, but I believe it happens when you make a more reasonable schedule and do it on the dirt. Time will tell what happens.

Arena racing is something I've been advocating for since discovering this form of auto racing about five years ago. You're taking cars and running them in a Rodeo Arena sized venue. It's an off shoot of the concept I fell in love with back in the 1990s that had Mini Stock race cars running on the little 1/8th mile oval at Delta Speedway in Stockton. I was pessimistic about that until going out there and seeing how well those cars ran on that little track. You couldn't run 20 cars in a Main Event. I think it was 12 or 14, and they were very entertaining. They had a big car count throughout the 1990s until the Outlaw Kart program took over.

I suppose Arena Racing begin at the County Fairs. Not every Fairgrounds has a quarter mile or bigger race track. Some of them have little Rodeo Arenas, and many of them like hosting a Destruction Derby when the County Fair happens. This appeared on my radar back in 2015 when a Destruction Derby promoter added an Arena Figure 8 to the Alameda County Fair lineup. Three nights of racing. In this case, they paid a pretty nice sum to the drivers who came out to run each race, and they only asked for a half dozen of them.

I was also made aware of a little Derby Arena back in Hoagland, Indiana. Destruction Derbies are their mainstay, but they added a really cool attraction. Figure 8 races. They would run full programs of big cars and little cars with heats and Main Events. At the end of the night, they do the Destruction Derby. Other venues have run similar programs. Out west, we've had venues in Oregon and Washington doing a Figure 8 and also this Alameda Fair effort. Also, there was the Agri Race that happened at the Salinas Rodeo Grounds. I've seen them run on a track that I don't even know if it would measure as 1/8th mile in size. What's remarkable about the Agri Race is they have a set limit of entries. I think it was 24 cars this year, and they had 24 entities.

Now, a tight bull ring might not make it to 1/8th of a mile in size. I'm not sure. You could be looking at somewhere between 1/10th of a mile and 1/7th, but it's not very big. However, with the basic stock Hornet car, not to be confused with the regular Mini Stocks, you're not talking a bunch of money in a car, and you're not talking high speeds. In a little Arena 8, the cars don't go very fast. What you see with the Arena 8 is that you can get six cars on the track, no more than eight, and that's plenty. The fans get lots of action, there is contact, but you're not going so fast that you have as big a chance of getting hurt as you might in the bigger 8.

The Agri Race I looked at was interesting, because it's in such tight confines. You don't have a long straightaway to gather up speed, and it's all about getting through the turns as quickly as possible. They're not big, wide turns. The excitement comes when second-place comes in really hard behind first place and has to watch themselves or they might dump the leader. The officials at the Agri Race frown on any sort of rough driving. In other words, while an accident might happen, you'd better be trying not to dump the guy in front of you. There's still an art form in this sort of thing, and it is racing.

I'm still trying to shape this idea in my mind, and there is no real worry. It's not like I'm sitting on a pile of money and can make something like this happen anyway. My dream would be to move to Contra Costa County and establish an Arena Race Track. The ultimate goal would be to expand something to 1/5th of a mile, the size of Ventura or Orland. I'm looking for stuff the average working person can afford to race and isn't too expensive to come watch as a fan.

One of my beliefs is that racing doesn't necessarily have to be about the fastest cars going out there. If you give the fans a show with close competition, it doesn't matter how fast the cars go. In the 1980's, Late Models were fast at Antioch Speedway, but frequently the show of the night took place in those old, beat-up Street Stocks. Fans liked the competition, and people weren't rushing to get out the gates if Street Stocks happened to be running last. They wanted to watch these cars as much as they did the Late Models. It's all about close, competitive racing.

I'm looking for something here that can entertain and is something people can afford to do on a reasonable budget. The Arena Racing idea is perfect. In seeking to build any sort of racing venue, you're faced with all sorts of loopholes in California, but I think we've learned that it is not impossible to keep racing going. Look at the number of tracks we have in the state. However, my idea is offering something different and unique. The Hornet race cars I would like to use are affordable enough that anybody could race them. An Arena Race Track means that a full Main Event is achieved at 6 to 8 cars. If you deliver a dozen to 20 cars, you're talking about a full show with qualifying, Trophy Dash, heat races and B Mains. You could do that with oval and Figure 8.

I picture weekend warrior racing. This is somebody who's not seeking to travel up and down the road to go racing. Being able to put together a cheap Hornet race car might be appealing. They bring it out to the arena to run so many times a year and park it in the garage or alongside their house until next year. Give the fans enough close, competitive racing and they will show up. The venue I look at would have seating somewhere in the area of 600 to 800 in the grandstands. It doesn't take much to have a full grandstand, and even half full, it still appears to be packed. It's the place to be.

My Arena Racing idea would feature the Hornet race car, but there are other things that would be considered. In addition to the four-cylinder Destruction Derbies that we would host, Outlaw Kart racing, Micro racing, Dwarf Cars (see Vintage Duels and what they did in Grass Valley), Quads and even Motorcycles. Motorsports entertainment. The beauty of the Outlaw Kart program is that this is where the kids get in. You're instilling a love of racing in the next generation to help keep racing going at the big track as well.

My ideal venue, if I were to build a track, would be a Rodeo Arena sized venue, which might measure anywheres from 1/10th of a mile to 1/7th of a mile. The goal would be to have enough room to make it 1/5th in the vein of Orland Raceway or Ventura Raceway. If you look at what they do at Ventura Raceway on that little track, they run injected Wingless Sprint Cars and Midgets. I can assure you, that's one hell of a show. However, I wouldn't necessarily be looking to do those two things on my 1/5th. I might consider midcard to lower class divisions, such as Sport Modifieds, Street Stocks, Hobby Stocks and those sorts of things. This would be a long-range goal, though if a new track were actually being built, it would be the arena first.

The idea that I have is one that I call Friday Night Mayhem. Being that I'm looking to do something in Contra Costa County, in my dream at least, I wouldn't want to try to go head-to-head with Saturday night racing at Antioch Speedway. Saturday night would only happen if Antioch Speedway didn't have something scheduled. Otherwise, it's Friday night, and we have no problem encouraging fans to go to the Antioch Speedway on Saturday. In fact, if we were to cultivate a good Arena Figure 8, and Antioch Speedway was interested in hosting something like that on the infield, we would endorse it. That's the dream, anyways. Where could I build a track like this? That's the big question.

I'm sorting through these thoughts, and they still evolve. There's a lot I don't know. How much would it cost to operate such a venue and so on. In the midst of my stay here in Antioch, I took notice of the old Rodeo Arena. This was built during the 1980s, and these days they use it for paintball. The bleachers are still there, and the seating capacity has to be somewhere in the 800 fan range. The arena could host the things I talk about. The only question would be, could something like an Arena Racing venue be doable there?

I've heard rumors, though unconfirmed, that the paintball place might eventually move. This leaves an opening. It appears as if the rodeos and horsing events have gone by the wayside, which is a shame. This was a nice little venue for those things when it was built back in the 1980s as Antioch Speedway stopped being a place to host rodeos. They needed to keep money coming into the fairgrounds, and paintball became popular enough to pay the rent there. In absence of that, could Arena Racing happen?

I had a thought as I peered over the fence. Okay, maybe I walked a little bit further. I call it the Antioch Fairgrounds Arena and the program would be Friday Night Mayhem. A lot of things need to be cleaned up in the area surrounding the arena, but you've got enough area to pit your race cars. You could host an event like this within those confines without even using the Antioch Speedway pits. That is if you're thinking that it's possible for a racing promoter to come in and use that venue, while Antioch Speedway has its own promoter. This was the case in Chowchilla when Chowchilla Speedway ran and somebody else promoted the Barnburner Series.

On the other hand, if Antioch Speedway was to expand, this could be just another event promoted by the Antioch promoter. I'm sure that the arena racing idea that I pitch won't go over with everybody. Hornets on that little venue? But I think it could be a winner. Furthermore, whereas Antioch Speedway isn't hosting Destruction Derbies these days, the Antioch Fairgrounds Arena could host a derby and Arena Figure 8, and I bet you would pack the stands. You might even need to do what they do in Alameda, which means you have two or three nights where these events are happening during the annual County Fair. They would get more use out of this venue during the fair under my proposal than they currently get.

What I could see this venue doing, that is if Antioch Speedway were able to take on the promotional role there, is Outlaw Kart Racing. There's been an interest in establishing an Outlaw Kart venue here for the past few years, but it hasn't materialized. I think there's just a concern about using the infield for a race track due to the fact that there are scales in the infield for weighing cars afterwards, the water for the water truck is there and so on. I think those things have served to keep Outlaw Kart racing from happening.

The arena next to the speedway would serve as a perfect venue for this. You've got bleachers, you've got concessions and you've got everything you need to make something happen. If this is being promoted by Antioch Speedway, you can even use the Antioch Speedway pits if need be. However, I think you could still use the space that is there to run an event. Speedway management would not have to worry about the effects an Outlaw Kart track has on the big track. It would be next door.

The bigger question would be how much does this cost? It's not a secret that running Antioch Speedway is an expensive endeavor. I haven't seen the operational cost numbers for Fairgrounds race tracks, but I'd be utterly shocked if Antioch didn't rank in the Top 3 of the most expensive Fairgrounds to run a race track, if not the most expensive. It's not going to get any cheaper. Therefore, if Antioch Speedway management were to look into this venue, the Fairgrounds would have to cut them some sort of break. They couldn't gouge them at every turn the way they do on the big track. You're not talking about a lot of money. The same holds true if another racing promoter were to step in and run just that little venue.

You're not going to be talking about a lot of money here. Racers will not be running for big purses. You don't have huge seating capacity. If you can get 800 fans to show up, you're about at capacity. It's not likely that you could get away with charging a $15 adult ticket to this venue. Plus, there are other costs you have to associate with this venue, also considering you don't have as much money coming in. Therefore, if the Fairgrounds wasn't willing to work out some sort of deal, at least ways where they didn't have their hands in percentages and that sort of thing, it's not likely that the idea could get off the ground.

The question is, would they want some money or no money at all. If the paintball Arena ends up being taken out, what takes its place? Will there be rent money coming in? Now, if this thing were to come in and be successful, and if that meant more money coming in, negotiations might take place where the fairgrounds might try to get a few more dollars out of it. However, they're not going to be able to shake the little track down for money and get away with it for long before racing ends. I couldn't tell you what they'd have in mind to do, but I do see much potential there.

I'm not kidding myself. I'm lucky to have a roof over my head, and I certainly don't have the money to build a race track unless I had people investing in my idea. I'm not even sure that the Fairgrounds would entertain such an idea. The best bet may be the Antioch Speedway promoter taking on the smaller venue and putting somebody in charge of putting together the program. Whether that would ever happen, I couldn't begin to tell you. However, these sorts of ideas start with talk. When a plan gets put together, you never know. I still believe in Arena Racing.

I'm still here for a couple more days as I write this. I extended my stay in Antioch a little longer, thanks to John allowing me a place to stay. My curiosity was to see what exactly was in the cards for this race track as it enters its 60th consecutive season. I will still be evasive in talking about anything else, but many of you know what it is I'm looking at when I ask what the future is here. As I am still weighing my options for 2020 and looking for opportunities for myself and my involvement in the sport, this extra time staying here in Antioch seemed necessary.

I've been saying all along that I expect to be involved at a race track next year and to continue to be active on this blog. Nothing has changed in that. The blog activity may change a little bit as it became very stressful when it came to sending things out to media outlets to get tracks coverage this year. I still feel there is much for me to do in the sport, and I can be very helpful to the cause of building up a racing program. I feel that my work these past four years in Medford speaks for itself, and the work I've taken on with my media effort for all the different tracks shows more of what I can do.

This feels very much like a crossroads moment for me in any possible return to Antioch Speedway. I know what I can offer, and it's been humbling to me to realize the outpouring of love that's come my way. I wouldn't have been able to step back through those gates if it wasn't for some of the people who helped me make it happen. They treat me like I haven't been away for long, and I'm still a part of it. They make me feel like I am still a part of the family. It means a lot more than you know. I sometimes feel like I've run my course with racing and feel like it's a matter of time before I go away, but I also feel like there are things that I can do to help.

I look around at Antioch Speedway, and like other venues here on the West Coast, it's had its down moments in recent years. I also see an incredible potential to make things better. I know there are things that I do that can help make it better. I'm careful when I say things like this to not say if you hire me to do this I'm going to give you that. That is to say, I won't put any sort of attendance numbers behind what I think I can do to impact the show. What I do think is I can and will work hard every week and things will get better over time. The question is, do they want me here?

I feel that during these past four years, I have done everything from afar that I can to try to help the track. I feel like it's made a difference, but it hasn't made as much difference as it could have had I been here. There's things I can't do for this track unless I am here, and I'm a believer in the  idea that every race track should hire somebody on the scene to work media, engage the racers and fans and promote the positivity of the race track. Antioch Speedway needs this, whether I am the one brought in here or somebody else is. So, when I say I'm at a crossroads, I really believe that I've done everything I can for here from afar, but I don't think it helps the track as much as somebody on the scene would.

So, I'm waiting to see what happens and if the appropriate conversation will happen before I board my train. That's all I know. There's a lot more I can say and may say when the time comes. I won't speculate on what's going on behind the scenes, but I will comment on whatever happens once I know what happens. Because I don't think it really helps the cause to speculate too much, I've kept my mouth shut on purpose. There should be news here within the next couple of weeks.

With this blog post, I have intentions of at least taking a couple of weeks off from the blog to take a little bit of a break. I'll be heading back to Oregon to take care of whatever loose ends need to be handled regarding this past season in Medford. If I know a little bit more when I head up to Oregon, it may impact what I do over the next few weeks. If something needs to be said, keep an eye on this blog, my Facebook page or more likely The DCRR Twitter page for my comments or whatever news. In the meantime, I think I've said plenty for now. Until next time...