Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Foulger A Double Winner At Antioch, McDaniel Wins At Marysville

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Foulger A Double Winner In 
Antioch Speedway Season Finale

Antioch, CA...October 22...Troy Foulger wrapped up an impressive double win night with his 20 lap DIRTcar Late Model feature win Saturday night at Antioch Speedway.  Driving the Bowers Racing Late Model, Foulger won his heat race and raced into the early Main Event lead.  Heat winner Rob Norris and Petaluma Modified star Michael Paul Jr. were in the hunt early.  With six laps remaining, however, Norris got into the front wall and rolled in front of the flag stand.  New track champion Richard Papenhausen took up the chase of Foulger, but Foulger stayed smooth and collected the victory.  Jeff Decker finished third ahead of Shawn DeForest and Paul.

The four time A Modified champion Foulger wasn't done there.  He drove the Bowers Racing Modified to his second 20 lap A Modified win of the season.  The team had work to do following his bout with the wall two weeks ago, but the car was ready for a run at the $1000 prize.  Foulger made all the right moves as he joined track legends Keith Brown Sr. and Bobby Hogge IV in being able to win A Modified and Late Model Main Events on the same night.  Anthony Slaney enjoyed a great night of his own with a season best second place finish ahead of Michelle Paul, Chester Kniss and Bobby Montalvo.  Carl Berendsen II wrapped up his second championship season in three years.

Newcomer Boy Moniz scored a surprise 20 lap Wingless Spec Sprint feature win.  Moniz led all the way in a Main Event that was destined to go without a yellow flag.  An open wheel racing competitor in Hawaii, Moniz drove a great race and pulled away to a comfortable margin of victory.  Shannon Newton won a close battle with new track champion Jim Perry Jr. for second, while Brandon Burd outdueled Roy Fisher for fourth.

2015 champion Fred Ryland scored his fifth 20 lap B Modified Main Event win in thrilling fashion.  Al Johnson raced out to the early lead ahead of Jim Waller and Alan Furuta.  Rookie Mike Mates spun for his second yellow flag on lap seven.  New track champion Trevor Clymens pitted from the Top 5 on lap 14. Johnson continued to lead, but Ryland was on the move and slipped past Ferguson for second.  Ryland made a last turn pass and beat Johnson back to the checkered flag.  Waller finished third ahead of Mike Merritt, Trent Wentworth and heat winner Megan Ponciano.

Kimo Oreta wrapped up a "Rookie Of The Year" and point runnerup season with his first career 20 lap Limited Late Model feature victory.  Oreta charged into the early lead ahead of Lori Brown and Jim Freethy.  After winning his heat race, five time winner Mark Garner had his sights set on second in the standings, but his race ended in a lap seven tangle with track champion Larry Damitz.  Oreta continued to lead the restart.  Two time champion Mike Gustafson managed to get past Brown for second and was in hot pursuit of the leader.  However, nothing was going to stop Oreta from getting the well earned victory.  Gustafson settled for second ahead of Brown, Damitz, Freethy and Shawn McCoy.

Guy Ahlwardt wrapped up his championship and "Rookie Of The Year" winning season with his sixth 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event triumph.  Ahlwardt jumped out to the early lead ahead of fellow heat race winner Chris Sorensen.  He led on a lap six restart following a fire under the hood of the Frank Furtado car and following a red flag on lap 11 for a lost wheel from the Lindsey Buirch car.  Furtado was running fourth at the time of his mishap.  Bob Brown stalled for a yellow flag on lap 13.  The slowdowns didn't matter to Ahlwardt as he continued to lead each restart with Sorensen in pursuit on his way to another win.  Cameron Swank finished third ahead of Michael Cooper and Jordan Swank.

Rising second generation star Ben Wiesz scored the victory in the 20 lap Dwarf Car Main Event.  The teen leadfoot started his night off strong with a heat race victory.  Earlier this year, Wisez scored an impressive victory in a Dwarf Car Nationals Event up in Medford, Oregon.  On this occasion, he had to contend with newly crowned Antioch champion Kevin Miraglio and Mike Corsaro, who won the other heat race.  With Miraglio leading the chase, Wiesz stayed smooth and grabbed his first Antioch feature victory.  Miraglio settled for second ahead of point runnerup Corsaro, recent Antioch winner Josh Miller and Preston Humphrey.

The Antioch Speedway 2016 Awards Banquet is set for November 19th, and the January 1, 2017 New Years Bash will feature A Modifieds, B Modifieds and Hobby Stocks.  For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.

Unofficial Race Results
DIRTcar Late Model
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Troy Foulger, Rob Norris.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Foulger, Richard Papenhausen, Jeff Decker, Shawn DeForest, Michael Paul Jr.

A Modified
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Shawn DeForest, Jake Dewsbury.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Troy Foulger, Anthony Slaney, Michelle Paul, Chester Kniss, Bobby Montalvo.

B Modified
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Trevor Clymens, Megan Ponciano.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Fred Ryland, Al Johnson, Jim Waller, Mike Merritt, Trent Wentworth.

Wingless Spec Sprint
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Roy Fisher, Shannon Newton.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Boy Moniz, Newton, Jim Perry Jr., Brandon Burd, Fisher.

Limited Late Model
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Mark Garner, Jim Freethy. Main Event (20 Laps)-Kimo Oreta, Mike Gustafson, Lori Brown, Larry Damitz, Freethy.

Hobby Stock
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Guy Ahlwardt, Chris Sorensen.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Ahlwardt, Sorensen, Cameron Swank, Michael Cooper, Jordan Swank.

Dwarf Car
Heat Winners (6 Laps)-Mike Corsaro, Ben Wiesz.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Wiesz, Kevin Miraglio, Cosaro, Josh Miller, Preston Humphrey.

Antioch Speedway Pit Stops

With the season done at Antioch Speedway, the next order of business for the track will be the awards banquet on November 19th.  The fact that speedway management decided to do an awards banquet and get it done so early is a good thing.  For many years, the awards banquet used to happen in November.  One of the big reasons it changed was because open comp season usually went all the way through November and some racers wanted to go racing rather than receive a trophy.  This season's accomplishments will be honored at the traditional time in November.

Congratulations goes out to all of the champions at Antioch Speedway, Billy Aton (Winged 360 Sprint Cars), Carl Berendsen II (A Modifieds), Richard Papenhausen (DIRTcar Late Models), Jim Perry Jr. (Wingless Spec Sprints), Trevor Clymens (B Modifieds), Larry Damitz (Limited Late Models), Guy Ahlwardt (Hobby Stocks) and Kevin Miraglio (Dwarf Cars).  Though winning a championship in 2016 is a bit different than it was back in the 1990's, it still takes dedication to do it.  It is difficult to juggle a day to day schedule in life and still have the time to run every race, more so when you're booked for every racing weekend as the B Modifieds were.  Despite missing one race during the season, Trevor Clymens managed to come back and beat Al Johnson for the championship

There was still some reason for Clymens to be nervous when the two rained out races were made up at the end of the season.  The seven time Main Event winner had a bad night on September 24th, while Al Johnson won his first Main Event. Johnson nearly won the season finale before being passed on the last lap by 2015 champion Fred Ryland.  Clymens had fallen out of the race before the finish, but Johnson could not gain enough points to pass him for the championship.

This was certainly a proud moment for the entire Clymens family.  From his father Tom, who raced Stock Cars and Sportsmans in a 1970's, to mother Debbie, who competed in several divisions in her "Hall Of Fame" worthy career, and continuing with his brothers, Todd and Tommy, Trevor proudly carries on the family tradition.  The championship was well earned, and he was unbeatable at times this year. While Trevor has established himself as one of the stars of the B Modifieds, the competition needs to be ready for the next generation as his nieces, Madison and Scarlett Clymens, are getting valuable experience in  Outlaw Karts and could be stars at Antioch Speedway in he future.

We will do a season review in a future article, but we wanted to give some praise to Al Johnson and his efforts this year.  Al ranked second last season to Fred Ryland.  This season saw him lead the points for several weeks.  Johnson had four seconds and five thirds.  He debuted a new car during the second half of the season and got his first career win.  He nearly won the finale before Ryland made his last lap pass.  Overall, however, Johnson did well this year and can be proud of his accomplishments.

On championship night, Troy Foulger put on such a driving clinic with his Late Model and A Modified Main Event wins that it was a reminder of the championship credentials he carries.  Bowers Racing has a reputation when it comes to winning championships, and Foulger won four of them in a row.  The team hasn't been chasing points in recent seasons as they focus on trying to win bigger races, such as their All Star Seres Tour victory at Tulare this year.  The DIRTcar Late Model win came ahead of new track champion Richard Papenhausen.

Papenhausen chased Foulger for his third second place finish of the season.  His $1500 win in the John Soares Sr. Memorial two weeks ago was his third victory of the season.  Richard was leading the battle going into the October 8th race when reigning champion Jeff Decker skipped the race.  Interestingly enough, a look at the UMP DIRTcar West Regional point list as of today (October 24) shows Decker still leading as the October races weren't factored in.  Last season, Decker's championship was worth $2000.

Decker and Bobby Hogge IV were two time winners this year, while Clay Daly and past Antioch champion Andy Obertello join Foulger as one time winners.  Car count took a hit in both the Antioch and Southern California efforts, but Antioch still had 21 different cars during the course of the season,  Ten cars competed in the tenth and final race of the season, and it is anticipated that the division will be back for its fourth straight championship season.

The A Modified division was marked by the fact that there were 12 different winners in 17 races, and Foulger, Scott Busby and Brian Cass were the only multiple time winners this year.  Carl Berendsen II was on his way to his second championship in two years without a feature win, but he did finally get that win.  Berendsen battled one of the greatest drivers in division history, Busby, to win this championship.  Even a rollover couldn't stop him.  His championship is well earned.  Busby's efforts were marred by motor problems during the summer, but he added three more wins to his total, giving him 71 in his Antioch career.  He is one win behind J.D. Willis.

Bobby Montalvo might have passed Sean O'Gara for third in the standings after finishing fifth in the finale, but enough cars between the two received no points due to not being regulars that O'Gara will still hold onto that position.  O'Gara, like Anthony Slaney in the season finale, has finished as high as second in the Main Event this season and was also second in points in 2012.  Montalvo will still be "Rookie Of The Year" this season.

Guy Alhwardt had hopes of winning the Hobby Stock "Rookie Of The Year" honors this year, but he exceeded that goal with the track championship.  Alhwardt had the lead, lost it and regained it before his closest rival and five time winner Danny Jones parked in protest of an official decision  The Alhwardt team earned this by battling through all of the obstacles and never giving up.  With six wins and six seconds, it was difficult for anybody to keep up with him.  Meanwhile, Lindsey Buirch ranked second in her rookie season, and she was the youngest competitor at the track at 16 years old.  Buirch withstood the late season surge of Jordan Swank to earn second. This was also the season in which division veterans Frank Furtado and Michael Cooper got their first feature wins.

This will come as a surprise to nobody, but 87 year old Larry Damitz is the Limited Late Model champion for the for fifth time in seven seasons.  He finished second the other two seasons.  You have to be consistent to beat Damitz when he is out there winning six races and finishing second another five times.  Mark Garner gave it a great effort, but the five time winner was out early in the season finale.  Meanwhile, Kimo Oreta already knew he was "Rookie Of The Year" this season, but his first career win in this division in the season finale kept him second in the standings behind Damitz.  Damitz has been somewhat of a mentor to Oreta this year.  Oreta's win came ahead of one of the division's best ever, Mike Gustafson, who won twice this year.

Speaking of one of the best ever, Jim Perry Jr. is the Wingless Spec Sprint champion for the second time in his career.  The open wheel veteran had four wins this season to add to his total of over 40 Antioch wins.  Second year racer Marcus Smith won the battle with Roy Fisher for second in the standings.  Fisher had one win this year to three for Smith, but the field was shocked in the finale by a little known racer from Hawaii named Boy Moniz.  Moniz won impressively while Shannon Newton held off Perry in a good battle for second.  It was Newton's second runnerup finish, matching the total of fourth ranked Rick Panfili.

With his fifth second place finish in the finale, Kevin Miraglio wrapped up his Dwarf Car championship season.  Kevin's impressive numbers included two seconds and three third place finishes.  Mike Corsaro started the year off with a win, but his mid season luck was so bad that he couldn't challenge the consistent Miraglio.  His second place ranking ahead of rookie Buddy Kniss made this a career best season for Corsaso.  The season also included first time Antioch wins for Ben Wiesz, Jenna Frazier and Josh Miller, while Stock Car veteran David Rosa got his fist Dwarf Car win.  As with all of the divisions, the Dwarf Cars at Antioch were very competitive with ten different feature winners.

Speaking of a long list of winners, the Winged 360 Sprint Cars also had a list of feature winners in double digits.  Originally, the final race of the season was going to include this division until it was realized that Tulare was running the Trophy Cup.  When past Spec Sprint champion Billy Aton scored his third win in the September 24th finale, he held off three time winner Art McCarthy to win the closest championship battle at the track.  These two drivers were the only ones to win more than one race, and the win list included such young up and coming drivers as Colby Johnson, Kaleb Montgomery and Brayden McMahan.  The racing was good and usually had at least ten cars as management stepped up its commitment to establishing this division with more races.

Promoter John M. Soares won't have much of an off season with a November 19th banquet to prepare for and the big January 1, 2017 race that will feature A Modifieds, B Modifieds and Hobby Stocks.  He will assess the numbers this year and could even have a 2017 schedule to announce as soon as the banquet.  All divisions that competed this year should be back next year, along with visits from the Hardtops and BCRA Midget Lites.  Unknown at this time is if there might be any new divisions or if there is any truth to the rumors that any Prentice Motorsports promoted Sprint Car or Modified series dates might be booked, though rumors are that it is possible.  We can say that the October 22nd finale did end the season on a positive note and brings optimism of good things to come in 2017.

Note:  This article is based on live scoring and subject to computer error and official decisions.  It is therefore unofficial.

McDaniel, Bartlett, Marino Win
Marysville Raceway Taxi Cab Open

Marysville, CA...October 22...Ryan McDaniel won the 20 lap Limited Late Model Main Event Saturday night at Marysville Raceway.  The Limited Late Models headlined the Annual Gold Fever Taxi Cab Open, and third generation racer McDaniel started the night with an eight lap heat race win ahead of Matt Micheli.  Wayne Trimble set the early pace, and a lap five yellow flag for Eddie Garnder in Turn 2 opened the door for McDaniel.  McDaniel took the lead on the restart.  Trimble began to fall off the pace, and M. Micheli grabbed second on lap 15.  By then, McDaniel held a half lap lead.  Ray Trimble took third from W. Trimble on lap 18, and W. Trimble was lapped late as McDaniel won ahead of Micheli, R. Trimble, W. Trimble, Gardner, Marysville legend Leroy Perry, Ken Micheli and Jason Palmer.

Past Stock Car champion Jerry Bartlett won the 20 lap Super Stock Main Event.  New champion James Castleberry held off three time champion Phillip Shelby to win his eight lap heat race.  Mike Walko won the other heat in front of Rod Oliver.  Driving the championship car of the late Billy Knoop, Shelby set the early pace ahead of Castleberry, but a yellow flag for past Petaluma champion Steve Studebaker slowed the pace on lap four.  The restart saw Shelby spin in Turn 1, putting Castleberry into the lead ahead of Bartlett and Walko,  Shelby brought out a lap six yellow flag and retired from the race.  Castleberry continued to lead with Bartlett in close pursuit.  Bartlett made his winning move late and scored the victory ahead of Castleberry, Walko, Studebaker, Oliver, Kyle Cheney and Shelby.

Two time Chico champion Phil Marino won the 20 lap Street Stock Main Event.  The Street Stocks had the biggest turnout of the night, and defending race champion Brent Lawrence was a heat race winner ahead of recent Petaluma Adobe Cup winner Mitch Machado.  Marino grabbed the second heat win ahead of Mickey Owens, and Kevin Lesch won the final heat in front of Phillip Shelby.  Marino set the pace from the start in front of Lawrence and Machado.  A lap three caution flag flew for Ted Ahart in Turn 1, ending the race for Ahart.  Petaluma champion Matt While brought out a lap four caution flag.  Marino continued to lead through this and three other restarts.  Following the final caution flag on lap 17 for While and Kyle Cheney, Machado made a move around Lawrence for second on the restart.  However, Marino drove a flawless race and scored the victory ahead of Machado.  Lawrence pitted late as Shelby finished third ahead of Lesch, Studebaker, Shawn Smith, Owens, Cameron Hammett, Clinton Earl and Ryan Cherezian.

Orville Owens led all the way to win the 20 lap Pure Stock Main Event.  Owens also won his eight lap heat race ahead of Russ Murphy.  Ryan Compton won the other heat ahead of Les Friend.  Owens had the lead from the start in front of Murphy and Jason Palmer.  Murphy's run up front ended in Turn 4 for a lap four caution flag.  Owens led Palmer and Compton on the restart.  Placerville champion Nick Baldwin moved into fourth and started battling Compton for third before making the pass.  A lap 18 yellow flag wiped out a straightaway lead for Owens.  Owens still led the restart and the final two laps ahead of Palmer, Baldwin, Compton, Friend, Rick Grunert, Ryan Peter, Robert Mull, Ted Ahart and Travis Emery.

Ryan Compton dominated the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event in victory.  Compton also win his eight lap heat race ahead of Shayna Robertson.  Kyle Allen won the other heat ahead of Shannon Collins.  Jimmy Ray Huffman and past Placerville champion Scott Grunert scratched from the Main Event.  Collins led Compton early, but Compton gained the lead on lap 11 as Collins retired.  Allen gained second at that point, but he surrendered the position to Robertson.  Robertson trailed Compton by a half lap by lap 15.  Compton cruised to victory as Todd Hemman made a late pass on Robertson for second.  Allen, Josh Gish and Collins rounded out the finishing order.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Antioch Speedway Weekend Preview, Plus Merced, Cedarville, Hayfork, More

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The DCRR Racing Radio Show

DCRR Racing Radio Show: Episode 97 by GenWhat

Seven Division Program Brings Curtain Down On Antioch Speedway Season

Antioch, CA...The 2016 season comes to a close at Antioch Speedway with a blowout seven division All Star Series program for the fans to enjoy. The final point event of the season will feature A Modifieds, DIRTCar Late Models, Wingless Spec Sprints, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars. The program offers a little something for everybody. This is the longest a point season has ever gone as track management made an effort to make up two rain outs from earlier in the season.

Despite the makeup races, Carl Berendsen II has pretty much secured his second A Modified championship of the last three seasons. Carl will be there to try for his second win of the season and enjoy and the evening as the champion. Meanwhile, five time champion Scott Busby will clinch his third runner up point season just by starting the Main Event, but he's after something more. He drove to a thrilling $1500 victory in the John Soares Sr. Memorial two weeks ago, which was the 71st win for him at Antioch Speedway. If he can win this race, he will join J.D. Willis as Antioch Speedway's all time feature win leader.

The battle will continue between Sean O'Gara, Bobby Montalvo and Trent Wentworth for third in the standings. Second generation racer O'Gara currently holds third in the standings.  Montalvo surprised the field by winning his first heat race two weeks ago, though it didn't go so well after that.  He is still just 12 points behind O'Gara. Wentworth has been given the opportunity to drive one of the Slaney Racing Team cars to finish the season.  All three drivers are still searching for their first feature win of the season. The opportunity to give the race track one more run should get some hard chargers to the track, including three time winner Brian Cass, 2015 point runner up Bobby Motts Jr., 2004 champion Aaron Crowell, Mike Salazar, Anthony Slaney, Josh Combs and others.

Richard Papenhausen has pretty much wrapped up the 2016 DIRTcar Late Model championship after his third win of the season two weeks ago. That win paid him $1500 and put some distance between himself and 2015 champion Jeff Decker. Following his third place finish two weeks ago, it also appears as if Dennis Souza has secured third in the standings. Terry Kuntz is coming off a season best second place finish, and other drivers to watch for this week include Shawn DeForest, Rob Norris, Mike Hynes, Danny Malfati and Paul Guglielmoni.

Jim Perry Jr. is headed for his second Wingless Spec Sprint championship as he has won the last two races. In fact, nobody has won more Wingless Spec Sprint Main Events in division history than Perry, and his championship season comes as a surprise to nobody. Second year racer Marcus Smith should be very proud of the battle he gave. Smith had three future wins along the way, but he will need a good finish this week to hold off one time winner Roy Fisher for second in the standings.

Still in the hunt for second but more interested in getting his first feature win is Rick Panfili.  Unfortunately, Panfili has been in a bit of a slump in recent races after scoring two second place finishes. Other racers to watch for this week include fifth ranked Brandon Burd, hard charger Shannon Newton, Jimmy Perry III, Jeremy Newberry and two time champion Billy Macedo.

To say that the last month has been a little bit nerve racking for Trevor Clymens is an understatement. Clymens had the B Modified championship well in hand heading into the September 24th race when the announcement was made of the two makeup point races. Then, he watched as his closest rival, Al Johnson, won his first career Main Event that week. Trevor is a seven time winner this year, and he heads into this race knowing that he merely needs to take a Main Event green flag to secure his first career championship.

Clymens will be going for his eight win of the season, but it just may be that 2015 champion Fred Ryland, who won the $850 prize for his victory in the John Soares Sr. Memorial Race two weeks ago, will be in action this week. Brian Pearce is another driver who's been running strong and is looking for his second win. The Brown brothers, Ron, Kevin and Randy, are also anticipated this week. Third ranked Shane DeVolder is another driver to keep an eye on. it should be a good race as the marathon season for the B Modified division comes to a close.

87 year old Larry Damitz has pretty much wrapped up his fifth Limited Late Model championship in six years. With consistency and six Main Event wins, Damitz proved too much for rookie Kimo Oreta and Mark Garner to overcome. Garner enjoyed his best season at the track with five Main Event wins, but he may need another one this week to win the battle for second in the standings.

There is late word that the only driver to beat Damitz for the championship in the last six seasons, Jim Freethy, will be there this week. Like Damitz, Garner and two time champion Mike Gustafson, Freethy is a Main Event winner this season. Other drivers to watch for this week include Lori Brown, John Evans, Ryan Cherezian, John Keith and Billy Garner.

Guy Ahlwardt enters the season finale knowing that he is the 2016 Hobby Stock champion and "Rookie Of The Year" all in one. With five feature victories and six seconds, there was no match for Ahlwardt after Danny Jones parked in protest of an official decision. The battle is still on between rookie Lindsey Buirch and 2015 "Rookie Of The Year" Jordan Swank. However, Lindsey still carries a 26 point advantage into the race. Both drivers are looking for their first win of the season, and this is their last opportunity to get it.

It's not likely that Chris Sorensen thought he would even be in the Top 5 in the standings, but scheduling worked out where he was able to race most of the season. The 2010 champion should be there along with fifth ranked Michael Cooper. These two drivers should be joined by such hard chargers as Anthony Vigna, Frank Furtado, Cameron Swank and Chase Templeton. It is possible that two time champion Melissa Myers may be among the field this week. Meyers is a two time winner this year in only three starts.

Kevin Miraglio has already secured the 2016 Dwarf Car championship with consistency and two feature wins. Kevin's closest rival this year was one time winner Mike Corsaro. Corsaro needs to go out there and maintain his position with a decent finish or surprising rookie Buddy Kniss could take it up a notch from third to second in the standings. Kniss has had an impressive rookie season, and plans are already underway for the talented teen to run a B Modified next season. A strong ending to the season is anticipated this weekend as other drivers to watch for include feature winners Jenna Frazier and David Rosa. Brian Gray, Robert Coe, Josh Miller, Tim Reeder and David Michael Rosa should also be among the roster. Rumor has it that 2015 champion and current South Bay Dwarf Car champion David Teves may be there as well.

So, if you're looking to get your fix of dirt track racing, Antioch Speedway has you covered this Saturday night. This "kitchen sink" race will include A Modifieds, DIRTcar Late Models, Wingless Spec Sprints, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars. Fans won't go long without a race as promoter John M. Soares has already announced the New Year's Bash for January 1st, featuring, A Modifieds, B Modifieds and Hobby Stocks. In between that is the annual awards banquet on November 19th. For further information on these and other happenings, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.

Antioch Speedway
All Star Series Points

Winged 360 Sprints
Billy Aton 698
Art McCarthy 683
Dan Gonderman 430
Burt Foland Jr. 390
Shawn Arriaga 283
Matt Barber 220
Marissa Polizi 206
Jenna Frazer 203
Matt DeMartini 202
Rick Brophy 174

Wingless Spec Sprint
Jim Perry Jr. 576
Marcus Smith 510
Roy Fisher 498
Rick Panfili 490
Brandon Burd 422
Shannon Newton 298
Dan Gonderman 290
Adam Teves 251
Jack Clark 246
James East 244

A Modifieds
Carl Berendsen II 656
Scott Busby 595
Sean O'Gara 542
Bobby Montalvo 530
Trent Wentworth 514
Troy Foulger 433
Aaron Crowell 374
Norman Boeck 330
Brian Cass 306
Josh Combs 282

B Modifieds
Trevor Clymens 1040
Al Johnson 1008
Shane DeVolder 874
K.C. Keller 712
Danny Jones 636
Randy Brown 442
Chuck Golden 438
Brian Pearce 388
Anthony Giuliani 321
Mike Mates 304

Hobby Stock
Guy Ahlwardt 834
Lindsey Buirch 682
Jordan Swank 656
Chris Sorensen  625
Michael Cooper 622
Frank Furtado 567
Danny Jones 537
Anthony Vigna 490
Cameron Swank 456
Natalie Perry 453

Limited Late Model
Larry Damitz 730
Kimo Oreta 680
Mark Garner 678
Mike Gustafson 526
Lori Brown 455
John Evans 418
Jim Freethy 272
Billy Garner 120
Jeff Kendrick 132
Ryan Cherezian 99

DIRTcar Late Model
Richard Papenhausen 464
Jeff Decker 392
Dennis Souza 336
Mike Hynes 263
Andy Obertello 244
Rob Norris 198
Chester Kniss 171
Troy Foulger 167
Bobby Hogge IV 162
Paul Guglielmoni 160
David Newquist 139

Dwarf Car
Kevin Miraglio 524
Mike Corsaro 454
Buddy Kniss 432
Tim Reeder 412
David Michael Rosa 390
David Rosa Sr. 374
Charlie Correia 360
Timmy Ryan 266
Robert Coe 256
Jenna Frazer 254

Reichenbach, Joaquin John Fore Jr. Memorial Race Winners At Merced Speedway

Mered, CA..October 15...Taking the lead from Brian Pearce with a Turn 2 pass, Clint Reichenbach scored the $1500 victory in the 50 lap John Fore Jr. Memorial race for IMCA Sport Modifieds Saturday night at Merced Speedway.  Kevin Joaquin also grabbed the biggest win of his career with a $500 victory in the 25 lap Hobby Stock Main Event.

The IMCA Sport Modifieds ran six heat races that transferred three cars each into the Main Event, while the remaining four starting positions for the big race came from four transfers from the B Main.  Heat race winners Bill Egleston, Mike Drake, Brian Pearce, Matt Hagio, new track champion Rick Diaz and Clint Reichenbach earned starting spots in the first three rows with their heat race wins.  The last two rows came from an eventful B Main, won by past Street Stock champion Tim Ragsdale ahead of Anthony Giuliani and Paul Espino.  Dewayne Short won a good battle with Mark Squadrito for the fourth and final transfer spot.

Egleston was driving the car of 2015 track champion Josh Hensley and raced into the lead at the start.  Antioch competitor Pearce slipped past Egleston to lead some laps before Reichenbach made his Turn 2 pass to grab the lead.  Pearce limped to the pits at that point as Diaz battled Giuliani for second.  Giuliani had charged all the way to the front before spinning in Turn 2.  A third place battle between Santa Maria champion Matt Hagio and 2014 State champion Nick Spainhoward got ugly after contact sent Hagio spinning in Turn 4.  Unhappy about what happened, Hagio hit Spainhoward as he came around in Turn 4 under caution.  Reichenbach was setting a fast pace up front and led Bakersfield hard charger Lee Jenson on the restart.  Reichenbach proved unbeatable as he sped to the $1500 victory.  Jenson settled for a $750 second, while 2016 point runner up Drake drove the George Medeiros car to a third place finish.  15th stater Tim Elias held off Marysville star Jerry Bartlett for the fourth place finish as Darren Thomas, Diaz, Espino, Shane DeVolder and Mark Odgers rounded out the Top 10.

The Hobby Stocks also had a strong turnout, and they would transfer the Top 4 finishers from each heat race into the Main Event.  Heat winners Kodie Dean, Robbie Loquaci, multi time champion Raul Rodriguez, 2015 champion Kevin Joaquin and Marc Key started in the first five positions.  Past Antioch champion Brad Myers ran a patient race with a car that was having problems, but he won the B Main ahead of Austin Van Hoff and Kyle Singleton.  Only two cars were slated to transfer, and Myers caught a break when Dexter Long and Dave Smart tangled while battling for the lead.  Singleton transferred in third after Jason Pugh scratched from the Main Event.

Dean raced into the lead at the start of the Main Event before surrendering the lead to Loquaci.  Unfortunately, the race went badly for both drivers.  Loquaci blew a motor on the front stretch after getting lead lead from Dean.  Dean lost a wheel on the back stretch while running in the Top 10 late in the race.  Rodriguez saw his run come to an end when he was spun in Turn 1 and then hit in the driver's door moments later by Matt Pedroni.  Fourth generation racer Garret Corn took the lead with 2016 point runnerup Joaquin taking up chase until Corn got a flat tire, surrendered the lead and limped to the pits without a caution flag.  When Dean lost a tire on the back stretch, it gave back of the pack starter and multi time champion Bruce "Bubba" Nelson a shot at victory.  However, with his grandfather back on the crew again, Joaquin sped to the $500 victory.  Nelson settled for a $300 second, while Mike Stockton was a $200 third.  New Placerville champion Nick Baldwin and past Merced champion Andrew Krumm rounded out the Top 5.  Ben Lewis II finished sixth ahead of new track champion Michael Shearer, Van Hoff, Key and Wally Kennedy. 

Abreu A Double Winner At Cotton Classic 
At Keller Auto Speedway

Hanford, CA...October 14-15...Rico Abreu wrapped up an impressive weekend with his 30 lap King Of The West 410 Sprint Car feature victory at Keller Auto Speedway Saturday night.  It was the final race of the two race, 31st Annual Cotton Classic weekend, and Abreu also scored the victory in the 30 lap King Of Kings Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event on Friday night.  Cody Laney collected victories in both the Friday and Saturday night IMCA Modified Main Events.  Blake Robertson continued his domination in the IMCA RaceSaver 305 Sprint Cars with his 25 lap Main Event win on Saturday night, while Shawn Schwartzenberger won Friday night's 15 lap Mini Stock Main Event.

The King Of The West Sprint Car championship season is still underway, and 31 competitors signed in for Saturday night's show.  They ran four ten lap heat races, and Abreu got the night started by winning his heat ahead of Michael Kofoid.  Brent beat Tim in a battle of the Kaedings in Heat 2, while fourth generation racer Chase Johnson won his heat ahead of Justyn Cox.  D.J. Netto won the final heat ahead of Ryan Bernal.  Mitchell Faccinto won the 12 lap B Main ahead of Bud Kaeding, Landon Hurst, Bobby McMahan and Scott Parker.  Tim Kaeding raced into the early lead in the Main Event, and Netto took second from Brent Kaeding on lap three.  A lap six restart provided Netto with his opportunity to drive the #3c car past T. Kaeding for the lead.  Abreu made an appearance in fourth on lap seven and raced by Brent Kaeding for third a lap later.  Abreu's charge to the front continued as he took second from T. Kaeding on lap nine, and he put the moves on Netto for the lead on lap 14. Once in front, even two yellow flags couldn't stop Abreu from winning.  Abreu collected the checkered flag a straightaway ahead of Netto.  Cory Eliason settled for third ahead of T. Kaeding, Cox, Kofoid, Bernal, Terry McCarl, Faccinto and Bud Kaeding.

The Friday night King Of Kings 360 Sprint Cars had a 38 car field, and Ryan Bernal won his ten lap heat race ahead of Michael Kofoid.  Cory Eliason won the second heat race ahead of Rico Abreu, while Giovanni Scelzi won the next heat ahead of Joey Magaruh.  Colby Copeland held off D.J. Netto to win the final heat race.  Blake Robertson won the B Main ahead of Matthew Moles, Terry McCarl, Lucas Ashe and Cole Danell.  Bud Keding set the early Main Event pace ahead of Netto.  Abreu took third from Eliason on lap three, and Netto took the lead from Kaeding on a lap five restart.  Abreu finally slipped past Kaeding for second on lap 14.  Abreu found his opening on lap 21 as he raced past Netto for the lead.  Once in front, Abreu made it through two more restarts to score the well earned victory.  Netto still had a solid run in second ahead of McCarl, Bernal, Kaeding, Steven Tiner, Eliason, Kofoid, Mitchell Faccinto and Scelzi.

The Friday night turnout was light for the $750 to win IMCA Modified Main Event.  Cody Laney won the heat race ahead of the previous Friday night $1500 Bakersfield winner Ethan Dotson.   Laney took the lead from Billy Wilker on lap 2 and led the rest of the Main Event.  Dotson settled for second ahead of Wilker, Ricky Thatcter, Nick Bartels and Carla Laney.

The Saturday night IMCA Modified show saw the field increase to ten cars.  Cody Laney won his heat race ahead of Cody Burke, while 2015 Santa Maria champion Josh Vogt won the other heat ahead of Nick Bartels.  Laney had a front row start for the Main Event and seized on that opportunity to lead all the way for a $750 victory.  Vogt grabbed second early on before bringing out a lap nine yellow flag.  C. Burke was then second, but Wilker surprised him by making the move to grab that position on lap 11.  Wilker brought out a lap 17 yellow flag.  Laney continued to lead C. Burke on that restart, and they ran 1-2 to the checkered flag.  Vogt settled for third ahead of Bartels, Austin Burke, Wilker, Steve Streeter, Ricky Thatcher, Carla Laney and Troy Morris Jr.

The IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Cars have grown into a strong division, and they ran three eight lap heat races for their Saturday night show.  Jesse Mack won the first heat ahead of Eric Correia.  Cory Elison took the lead from Mike Schott on lap five and won the second heat ahead of Zane Blanchard.  Blake Robertson won the final heat ahead of Tanner Boul.  Blanchard set the early pace in the Main Event with Jared Faria settling into second on lap two.  Robertson was working his way up from the back of the pack as Jesse Mack settled into third on lap five with Chris Ennis now fourth.  Robertson finally made his way into the Top 5, and he followed Ennis past Mack on lap eight.  Blanchard flipped for a red flag after nine laps, and Faria was the new leader ahead of Ennis and Robertson on the restart.  Robertson raced into the lead on lap 12 as Eliason was now fourth.  Eliason took third from Mack on lap 14 and grabbed second on a lap 16 restart.  Robertson led the rest of the way for the win ahead of Eliason, Matthew Moles, Mack, Dalton Hill, Blaine Fergundes, Faria, Danell, Correia and George Tristao.

The Mini Stocks had an opportunity to race for $300 to win on Friday night and  produced a ten car field.  Shawn Schwartzenberger started the night with a heat race win over Clinton Massey.  Matt Herod won his heat race by a straightaway ahead of Ben Lickey.  Herod led the opening lap of the Main Event ahead of Andrew Boydstun.  Boydstun's bid for a win ended ugly as he lost a wheel and rolled twice coming out of Turn 4.  He was uninjured, but the car was severely damaged.  Schwartzenberger led the restart ahead of C. Massey.  Chris Rutledge settled into third with Jason Cook battling him for position.  Cook made the pass for third on lap nine. Schwartzenberger set a good pace up front and went on to victory ahead of C. Massey, Cook, Rutledge, Kit Murphy, Helder Santos, Lickey, Herod, Boydstun and Mary Massey.

Pro Stock Race Scheduled For 
Cedarville Speedway In 2017

Cedarville, CA...It's been a few years since they raced at Cedarville Speedway, but the Cedarville area has a tradition of racing going back to the 1960's.  In fact, neighboring Alturas had a race track in the 1970's.  Not including the recent Mud Bogs and Destruction Derbies that have been held during the Modoc County Fair, Cedarville Speedway has had Street Stocks, Dirt Modifieds, Pro Stocks and Late Models, among other divisions.  About 15 years ago, the track had a regular Street Stock show.

This is where Gordon Russell Jr. enters the picture.  Gordon is a leader of the Nevada Pro Stock Association, which is a six year old organization.  Things have been looking up for the group, and Russell recently announced that they already have sponsorship lined up for half of their 2017 races.  Normally, this doesn't happen until the beginning of the next season, but the group is riding a wave of momentum.

This leads Russell to his next goal, putting a special race on for his father at the track in which he raced for many years, Cedarville Speedway.  Gordon Jr. started racing at Cedarville as well.  The race he has in mind is the Gordon Russell Sr. Memorial race, and the date circled on the calender at the moment is June 3. 2017.  Gordon Jr. led a group of people to the fairgrounds in Cedarville last weekend to have a look around the facility and determine what needs to happen next.

The meeting went well, and it looks as if this race will happen.  It's still in the planning stages, but the hope will be that not only will this be a race the Nevada group will support but the Oregon Outlaw Pro Stock Association and possibly some California racers as well. 

It is clear when Gordon Jr. speaks of this track that he has a love of the heritage of the place.  His father is a past champion at the track.  However, Gordon Jr.  recalls other stars of the speedway who are no longer with us, including Paul Del Rosa, Bert McGowan, Milt Adkins and Albert Belding.  It is clear that the Gordon Russell Sr. Memorial race is important to Gordon Jr. for many reasons.  "There's a list of people who raced this track for years and are no longer with us, " he explained in a live broadcast from Cedarville Speedway.  "If we can pull this memorial race off, it won't just be for my dad, but for all the racers that ran this track and are no longer with us."

Russell revealed that all of the paper work is coming together and people will be donating time to make the race happen.  The track prep man was on site and mentioned that it won't take too much work to get the track whipped into shape for a race.  "We've got to work hard to pull this thing off, " Russell admitted, "but I think it's gonna work out just fine."

It's early yet, but this is shaping up to be perhaps the biggest Pro Stock race of the 2017 season.  And, who knows?  A successful running of this race could lead to a return of a more regular racing program for the track.  Stay tuned to the Nevada Pro Stock Association on Facebook for more information.

Hayfork Speedway Wraps Up 2016 Season, 
Looks Forward To 2017

Hayfork, CA...October 20...There was excitement in the air as Hayfork Speedway wrapped up the 2016 season with a special Fan Appreciation Night on October 8th.  Adding to the source of pride for the Trinity County Fairgrounds race track was the fact that Speedway Illustrated Journalist/Photographer Mike Adaskaveg was there to cover the event.  Fans were allowed to meet their favorite drivers on the front straightaway before the races, and this led to one of the biggest attendances of the season.  More recently, Hayfork was again the first track in the state to announce its schedule for next year.  The 2017 season will have 11 events.

Kevin Kasper took care of business in the finale by holding off Bill Kasper for the Hobby Stock feature victory.  Carl Roberts enjoyed his best finish of the season in third.  Kevin Kasper is the 2016 division champion.  Meanwhile, 2015 champion Burl Richardson was involved in a wreck and eliminated early in the race.  Richardson had finished third in the September 24th race.  That night was Russ "The Newmanator" Newman's night to shine as he scored his second win of the season ahead of Brian Young, who enjoyed one of his best efforts of the year.

In the Mini Stock division, Andy Blackburn had another great effort with his second Main Event and Trophy Dash winning effort of the year.  Blackburn had his hands full holding off new division champion Ross Vige and William Young for the win.  Vige is a past Mini Truck champion at Orland Raceway who has enjoyed making regular trips to compete at Hayfork Speedway this season.  W. Young is the 2015 Enduro champion.  At the September 24th race, Vige held off W. Young for the victory.

W. Young recently made his return to he wild and entertaining Enduro class, and he closed that division's season with a Main Event win ahead if J.D. Hudman and Eric Brown.  At the September 24th race, it was Joey Young winning a battle of the Youngs for the victory as William settled for second.  Brown picked up another third place finish.  When the points were calculated for the season, it was Tim Kasper bringing another championship home to the Kasper family, which boasts three generations currently competing at the track.

Tressan Smith had already clinched the inaugural Outlaw Pro Stock championship, but he left no doubts by winning the finale.  Josh Smith turned the wheel of the #4 car over to his father Wade Smith, who finished second.  The Quads have been a more recent addition to the program, and Timmy Tremayne won the last two races of the season.

The Hobby Stocks, Pure Stocks, Mini Stocks, Pro Stocks, Enduro Cars and Quads are all going to be a part of the 2017 season, which starts on May 6 and continues with dates on May 20, June 10 and 24, July 8 and 22, August 12 and 26, September 8 and 23 and October 7.  For further information, check out www.hayforkspeedway.com.
Pit Stops

It's well into October and some tracks are still having their special races.  Marysville has had a long running end of the season tradition called the Gold Fever Race.  It's been split into two races with the Stock Car side getting the Taxi Cab Open this Saturday and the open wheel classes getting their race next Saturday.  Roseville's All American Speedway has the Vintage Classic this weekend, Ventura Raceway has a point race, as does Antioch Speedway this Saturday night.

A hot rumor out of Antioch that has been unconfirmed has Promoter John M. Soares being contacted by John Prentice of Prentice Motorsports group regarding possible race dates for some of his series, which includes King Of The West 410 Sprint Cars, Civil War 360 Sprint Cars, Hunt Wingless Spec Sprints and All Star Modifieds.  Reportedly, Soares was not pleased with Prentice using the All Star name on his Dirt Modified Tour.  About a decade ago, Soares switched to the All Star name in a dispute with brother Jim over the All Pro Series name.  A new name for the one year old Modified Series would be a simple matter as it is just being established.  Antioch's involvement in any of the series would be a huge plus for racers and fans.

It's not anticipated that there will be any changes in regards to the divisions competing at Antioch as A Modifieds, DIRTcar Late Models, Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars should continue to find a home there.  The inclusion of any of the Prentice Series divisions on the schedule would make it easier for certain divisions to have nights off and even make a coupe of A Modified races bigger.  Antioch inclusion in the Hunt Wingless Spec Sprint Series could be just what is needed to revive that series as Antioch is where that division started.  We'll just have to see what's to come and if Soares may announce scheduling plans at the November 19th Awards Banquet.

Next season will be the 20th for Soares and Oval Motorsports at Antioch Speedway.  His father ran the track for the first 20 years.  Perhaps in celebration of that fact, he has returned to the New Years race idea with the New Years Bash scheduled for January 1.  Soares made his first foray into New Years racing with the 2015 West Coast Nationals.  Oval Motorsports promoted Antioch, Merced and Chowchilla at the time with a January 1-4 event paying bigger money to the A and B Modifieds.  Despite Soares walking away from Chowchilla and selling Merced to Ed Parker, he entertained the idea of keeping the January 1 race at Antioch this year before abandoning the idea in mid November last year due to lack of time to prepare for it properly.

However, the New Years Bash will give the racers a chance to ring in the new year with a big race.  Other than the annual Marysville playday, there's nothing happening on any of the bigger tracks in Northern California on that day.  Therefore, A Modifieds, B Modifieds and Hobby Stocks have all been booked.  Unconfirmed reports say it will be $2017 to win for A Modifieds and $1000 for B Modifieds, though nothing has been officially announced.  All scheduling information will be forthcoming at www.antiochspeedway.com.

On the heels of the successful John Fore Jr. Memorial Race that saw some 60 competitors check in for a two division show at Merced Speedway, Ed Parker and his crew are preparing for their own awards banquet on November 19th.  By all accounts, this was a successful season for the track as a reasonable schedule for the five divisions (IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Valley Sportsman cars) helped further increase car count in all divisions.  All five divisions will be back in 2017, and the Mini Late Model class will be added.  All of the scheduling information will be forthcoming at www.racemerced.com.

When the Merced banquet comes, Randy Brown (IMCA Modifieds), Rick Diaz (IMCA Sport Modifieds), Michael Shearer (Hobby Stocks), Chris Corder (Mini Stocks) and Kenny Birdsong (Valley Sportsman) will get to celebrate their championships.  Brown battled Bill Egleston and runneup Ramie Stone early before pulling away with a strong ending to his season.  For Diaz, it could have ended when he lost the ride he started the season with, but he came back even stronger to end the season in championship form.  He dedicated this one to his friend John Fore Jr.  Shearer had a strong start and was never really threatened as the season went on.  Chris Corder continues to be the man in Mini Stock competition, but he's becoming known for giving racers an opportunity to drive his other cars and is a true sportsman.  Kenny Birsdong is living the dream in his Rod Poor Tribute car and did a good job in holding off one of the members of original roster of the 1999 Sportsman revival, Mike Friesen, for that championship.

We're only touching on a few things in this column, but we'd like to note a few things that have caught our eye in the point battles, including Mike Drake in the Sport Modifieds.  Mike was a model of consistency all season long in the George Medeiros car, and that enabled him to hold off Tim Elias in the battle for second in points.  To illustrate how good these two are, they both gave a good accounting of themselves in the John Fore Jr. Memorial race last week.  Drake finished third, while Elias was fourth in the race won by Bakersfield area racer Clint Reichenbach.  The Hobby Stock win went to Kevin  Joaquin.  Kevin's season didn't start all that well, but he ended it well with a pair of victories, including the $500 win last week.  The 2015 Merced and Chowchilla champion ranked second this year with a strong late season effort.

It wasn't a big surprise to see two time champion Bruce "Bubba" Nelson work his way up to second from 15th starting.  Any time Bubba gets behind the wheel of a Hobby Stock, he's a threat to win.  The 2016 IMCA Modified "Rookie Of The Year" has three Hobby Stock wins this season and finished a close second in last week's Main Event.  Another multi time champion and 2016 Main Event winner didn't do so well.  Raul Rodriguez Sr. figured to be a contender for the big win, but after being spun in Tun 1, he was hit hard by another car.  Fortunately, he wasn't injured, but his race was over.  We were happy to see another past champion, Andrew Krumm, back behind the wheel of the #555 car for a Top 5 finish.  We heard that Andrew was involved in a wreck during the week, but thankfully he was okay.  Hopefully, he can secure the sponsorship needed to be a regular next season.

Early in his career, Krumm competed at Chowchilla Speedway.  The Chowchilla Barnburner Series just kicked off last Saturday.  Sanders Motorsports continues to promote the successful event.  Sanders took a stab at promoting Kart races on a track cut in front of main grandstands last summer, meaning there have continued to be some kind of races happening at the track every year since Tom Sagmiller promoted events in 2000.  The big question is, will we ever see big cars on the big track in Chowchilla again?  It was hoped that the change in Fair Managers might lead to something happening again, but the economics of Chowchilla make it a big challenge.  As Merced Speedway gets stronger, could a bi monthly show happen here?  Might a show of Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks be the way to start?  We'll just have to wait and see.

Further north and into the "Jefferson" area comes news of Cedarville Speedway hosting a Nevada Pro Stock race in 2017 as we reported elsewhere.  Cedarville has hosted races on and off through the 1960's, and it was a somewhat regular occurrence at various times through the years.  Getting information on results is not so easy as, much like a few tracks these days, there doesn't appear to have been anybody reporting on things.  We are excited about racing coming back to Cedarville and can only hope that this race provides the spark needed to bring racing back on a more regular basis.

We've been hearing unconfirmed reports that there could be a change in  management at Chico Silver Dollar Speedway with people involved at Calistoga Speedway stepping up to run the track.  We don't know what to make of the rumors as it seems like the current team has done a good job promoting good shows at both Chico and Marysville these past two seasons.  Is change in the air, and would it be good for Chico?  The only thing we can tell from the rumors is that the people have a love for Sprint Car racing and might make a push for bigger things in that area.  However, that is just speculation. As long as racing continues in Chico, it's a good thing as far as we're concerned.  Marysville is in the midst of their big finish these next two weeks, and Sprint Car fans can  further rejoice that the Placerville Posse race will happen on October 28th before Marysville's big Sprint Car finale a night later.  More information can be found at www.marysvilleraceway.com and www.placervillespeedway.com.

Getting back to the Marysville Taxi Cab Open, they had a strong turnout last season, and what's interesting is they ran Main Events for Hobby Stocks, Street Stocks, Super Stocks and Limited Late Models separately last season, tough there is a bit of overlap in divisions.  Ryan McDaniel picked up the Limited Late Model win, while wins also went to Brent Lawrence (Super Stocks), Jerry Bartlett (Street Stocks) and 2016 Placerville champion Nick Baldwin (Hobby Stocks),  The Stock Cars are actually what the Gold Fever Race was founded on back in the 1980's, but through the years the event has grown to have a Stock Car night and an open wheel night.  These two events highlight a season that includes big races such as the Sherm & Loree Toller Memorial and Mel Hall Memorial as well.  While media outlets may only grab onto the bad things that have happened here in the past, racing fans know all about the good racing that happens here on a regular basis.

At Siskiyou Motor Speedway, they just held their SCMA Awards Banquet, crowning Marilyn Yawnick (McDonald's Mini Stocks), Garrett Hamilton (O'Reilly Auto Parts SCMA Sport Modifieds) and Duane Orsburn (SCMA Modifieds) as the champions.  IMCA championships were earned by Jimmy Lipke (Sport Modifieds) and Albert Gill (Modifieds).  There is some optimism in the air as the track has some talented young drivers competing, including Colton Cheffey, D.J. Bottoms, Colter Boswell and Ryder Boswell (IMCA Sport Modifieds) and Ethan Killingsworth (Mini Trucks).

Nominations have gone out to elect the new SCMA Board Members, and the time is now to start planning for the future.  They just improved the Outlaw Kart track, which is the launching pad for the next generation of racers to compete on the bigger track.  They also have to be mindful of the fact that the IMCA Modifieds are struggling while the IMCA Sport Modifieds and Mini Stocks are doing better.  Though the track has some visitation from SODCA Dwarf Cars and Outlaw Pro Stocks, it may be in their best interest to cultivate a new division under their own SCMA banner.  Hornets or Hobby Stocks would seem the best candidates for putting a division on the track capable of getting at least a decent heat race and Main Event in short time.  Any promoter will tell you that overall car count is a key in getting fans to come watch and ensuring the longevity of a race track.

Further up in the Jefferson area in Oregon, Douglas County Speedway just had their banquet and elected new board members for the PRA.  The Jefferson Racing News Blog will probably get into more of this in the future.  At Southern  Oregon Speedway, all is quiet.  Management is in contemplation mode regarding the 2017 season, though big changes to the divisions that competed this year are not anticipated.  It's all about bringing out better racing on both the big track and the Outlaw Kart track.  Good things are in the planning stages for the future, and some of it will come to light at the upcoming awards banquet.  The SODCA Dwarf Cars and Outlaw Pro Stock classes are set to have their banquets and are already in planning mode for the 2017 season.  There are reasons for both groups to be excited about the future as both figure to be a part of the new schedule at Southern Oregon Speedway.

Stability was an important goal in making the 2016 season happen a Southern Oregon Speedway.  Things have been declining at the track in recent seasons.  Running a consistent program and rebuilding car count was the priority, and for the most part, this was accomplished.  Though some things were slower to come around, other things performed above expectations.  What was learned this year will be applied towards making 2017 the best season in recent years.  This track has had some great seasons in the past, and it can happen again.  It starts when the awards banquet date is announced and we can celebrate the accomplishments of Mark Wauge (IMCA Modifieds), Mike Medel (IMCA Sport Modifieds), Bob Burkett (Mini Stocks), Lee Doty (Super 4's), Jake Wheeler (Pennzoil Winged Sprint Cars), Bob Dees (Open Stock) and Tim Hedges (Hornets) as track champions.

Friday, October 14, 2016

John Fore Jr. Memorial Sport Modified Race Closes Merced Speedway Season And Pit Stops

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John Fore Jr. Memorial Sport Modified Race
Closes Merced Speedway season

Merced, CA...About ten years ago, Merced Speedway was at the forefront of the latest big racing movement in California, the IMCA Sport Modifieds.  IMCA Modified car count was perhaps at its strongest point in it's history at the track as they were even running B Mains to fill the remainder of the Main Event field.  The promoter at the time, Chuck Griffin, could see costs escalating in the IMCA Modifieds, and he was also aware that there was a bounty of older chassis out there that were just waiting for new life.

Perhaps Griffin was just a little too ahead of his time with this division.  Though the track did have point races and crowned Neill Barcellos and Shawn Bryant as its first two champions, car count just didn't take off.  The IMCA Modifieds were fine.  Why add this?  It was in 2011 when two unlikely tracks, Chowchilla Speedway and Victorville Raceway, were starting to get noticed for car counts that reached into the double digits.  Chowchilla made the class its headliner and Victorville had an even bigger car count.

It took a few years, but Griffin proved to be right.  The Sport Modifieds were indeed the next big craze and the insurance policy that the Dirt Modified's already long life would be extended for the foreseeable future.  Suddenly, tracks in Hanford, Bakersfield and Watsonville just had to have this class, and now the Sport Modifieds rival the Modifieds in car count.  Up north, Chico Silver Dollar Speedway has even dropped the Modifieds in favor of the Sport Modifieds.

Merced continues to run both classes, though the Sport Nodifieds routinely outdraw their faster and more expensive counterparts.  One of the drivers who competed at both Merced and Chowchilla in recent seasons was John Fore Jr.  Fore even had a Top 5 season at Merced, and he became one of the more popular drivers among his peers.  Prior to this season, the Merced racing community was rocked by the news that John had died in a work related accident.

Merced Speedway promoter Ed Parker made two big announcements prior to the season.  The first was that all heat races would be for 9 laps, in honor of Fore, who ran that car number.  Secondly, the season would close with a John Fore Jr. Memorial race.  That race is this weekend.  The event will run 50 laps and pay $1500 to win, making this the biggest IMCA Sport Modified race in California this year.

Since the race was announced, Rick Diaz has had this event circled on his calendar.  Fore was a good friend of Rick's, and Diaz set about winning the championship this year running Fore's colors and number and dedicating it to him.  When Rick lost his ride during the year, people were saying it was over, but that was a motivating factor for the 2014 champion.  Rick found another ride, regained the point lead and won this year's championship by such a margin that he didn't even need to be at the final point race.

This is the race for the Sport Mod stars of California.  The $1500 first prize is a season maker for the driver who wins it, and already the driver to beat would have to be Diaz   However, the new track champion knows he'll have some talented racers coming to town to get the big victory.  Topping that list will be 2015 State champion Fred Ryland.  Diaz may top Merced's win list with seven victories, but Ryand has scored four wins of his own at Merced and has long since established his reputation for winning big races.  Further making that point was Ryland's $850 win last week at Antioch Speedway.

The Antioch contingent will reportedly be represented by likely new Antioch champion  Trevor Clymens.  Clymens has scored seven wins this year at his home track and will be hoping to add a Merced victory this week.  Other Antioch regulars who could show include Shane DeVolder, Brian Pearce and Al Johnson.  Jim DiGiovanni is actually a past Merced champion who just wrapped up the championship at Ocean Speedway.  It's possible he might be among a contingent of Watsonville representatives, along with 2015 Watsonville and 2016 Santa Maria champion, Matt Hagio

It's unknown who might come in from the south, but 2014 IMCA State champion Nick Spainhoward has been known to come to town for the bigger races.  Bud Nationals winner Jason Nation is another possibility.  Plus, Diaz and Ryland won't be the only Merced regulars looking to keep the money from going to a visiting driver.  Veteran Gary Tucker recently won a Main Event and maintained third in the standings.  He'll be one of the drivers to watch this week, as well as the driver who held down second in the standings, Mike Drake.  There's also Top 5 ranked Tim Elias and 2015 champion Josh Hensley to consider.

Merced Speedway has perhaps the most competitive IMCA Sport Modified division in the state, and this talented roster has many drivers capable of scoring the victory.  Drivers like Chris Falkenberg, Danny Roe, Mitch Enos, Dwayne Short, Mark Odgers and Andy Welch are just some of the competitors to watch.  The hard charging siblings, Chase Thomas and Tanner Thomas have made their presence known this season, and Chase is a Main Event winner.  The track has made it clear that the IMCA Modified teams are welcome to adjust their cars to Sport Modified rules, meaning there could be a few of them among the field.

The IMCA Sport Modifieds will compete for 50 laps to see who can win the $1500 prize from an increased purse of over $6000.  The field will take the Top 22 qualifiers, but the roster could reach well into the 30's by the time you factor in visitors from various tracks.  The Marysville cancellation could bring some heavy hitters to town from there.  We're not sure who will be there, but we know this will be the race of the year for the growing IMCA Sport Modified division.   A multitude of sponsors have come on board to make this such a big race, including long time racer Bob Smith of Smith Truck Repair and Steitz Towing.  John's son Haden Fore will be driving his #9d Sport Modified for the pace lap of the race.

As if that's not enough, the Hobby Stock division was added for a $500 first prize.  The track has been getting 20 cars or more for most races and this will likely be a show that includes some visitors from other tracks.  Michael Shearer has been in a bit of a dry spell lately, though he is the 2016 champion.  The winner of the 2015 Ted Stofle Classic will be hoping to get the victory this week.  Wife Kristie Shearer should also compete, but the team could have a couple other cars there as well.  Bruce "Bubba" Nelson has won on multiple occasions this year and would have to be considered a factor if he is in one of the cars for this race.  Wife Shannon Nelson returned recently, and she was a feature winner last season.

It's just possible that multi time winner and multi time champion Raul "Showtime" Rodriguez could be back for this race.  Another past champion, Kevin Joaquin, won a late season race to solidify his second place point ranking.  This talented group of drivers includes 2016 feature winners Robbie Loquaci, Garrett Corn, Darren Miguel, Dexter Long, Ben Lewis and Ted Stofle Classic winner Phillip Vaughn.  That's not even counting other fast competitors like Austin Van Hoff, Kodie Dean and Cody Parker, all of who were feature winners last season.

It's an old school double division show with big money on the line in both classes.  The John Fore Jr. Memorial race is an event that his fellow competitors have been looking forward to all season long.  Who will win the big prize?  Come on out Saturday night and find out.  For further information, go to www.racemerced.com.

Pit Stops

The challenge of running races in mid October is that you are technically into the rainy season.  California tracks have been able to get away with this over the past two decades or so, but rain will come in and wash out a race every so often.  The threat of rain was so great that the Placerville Posse Shoot Out Weekend was canceled on Wednesday and rescheduled for one night, October 28th.  This is because Marysville's Open Wheel Gold Fever race is set for October 29th, which still makes that a big weekend for Sprint Car enthusiasts.

Marysville, meanwhile, was still fighting for this Saturday night until canceling a few hours ago.  This was to be an All Star Series IMCA Modified race along with IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hardtops and Super Modifieds.  Marysville hasn't had it's own A Modified class for years, but there are still some very competitive racers who live in the area.  The All Star Series started this year and is generally fielding 20 cars per race.  Understandably, the track wanted to make this race happen.  Plus, there is the Sport Modified factor.

Marsyville is only a few seasons into Sport Modified racing, but this class has grown by leaps and bounds to become one of the top efforts in Northern California.  There are drivers in the area who would love to see this division added as a support to the All Star Series in 2017.  Will that happen?  Who knows?  But, if there is a promoter who would do it, it's John Prentice of Prentice Motorsports Group.  As it is, some of the best IMCA Sport Modified racers support Marysville, including new State champion Brian Cooper, Todd Cooper and Jerry Bartlett.

What is happening with Sport Modifieds here is pretty amazing.  Chico dropped the A Modifieds this year to start Sport Modifieds and pretty much match Marysville in car count already.  Placerville has been testing the waters on off nights for Marysville, and the result of that means a driver from the area is already competitive in the IMCA State point race.  The bigger question is what A Modified drivers left homeless at Chico might join Sport Modifieds next?  Past Chico champion Mark Abouzeid is already in the class.  What happens if a McDaniel, Kennemore or one of the other big names joins next?

While Marysville has given up on the fight for Saturday, Roseville's All American Speedway is fighting for the Bill McAnally promoted NASCAR West race this Saturday night.  The advantage Roseville has is that they are a pavement track, the pits are paved, and they can always dry the track if the rain doesn't get too bad.  We'll see what happens here.  Roseville is not done yet as the Vintage Classic is in town next week for Hardtops, Super Modifieds, Vintage Midgets and all of that.  It has become the race for lovers of the classic cars.

Down south, Hanford will be running the 31st Annual Cotton Classic at Keller Auto Speedway.  King of Kings Winged 360 Sprints headline Friday along with IMCA Modifieds and Mini Stocks.  Sprint Cars get $2000 to win, while the Modifieds are racing for $750 to win and $125 to start both Friday and Saturday.  This is half the purse Bakersfield ran last week, but drivers love racing on this track.  Mini Stocks get  $300 to win and $30 to start, which is better than they get at most places.

Saturday night is King Of The West Sprint Cars as the Kyle Hirst-Bud Kaeding battle continues.  IMCA Modifieds and IMCA RaceSaver 305 Sprint Cars are also part of the Saturday night program.  Overell, it should be a great night of racing.  The Prentice Motorsports Group divisions, which includes King Of The West 410 Sprint Cars, Civil War 360 Sprint Cars, Hunt Wingless Spec Sprints and All Star Modifieds, will be ending their season at the Stockton 99 Dirt Track on November 4-5 as part of the Gary Patterson Tribute Weekend.

While Hanford prepares for their Cotton Classic Blowout Weekend, Merced Speedway will host the John Fore Jr. Memorial 50 lap, $1500 to win IMCA Sport Modified race, along with a $500 to win Hobby Stock race.  It is the perfect way to end what has been an amazing first season under the promotion of Ed Parker.  Ed jumped into this situation  with a love for this race track and its great tradition of racing, and this has shined brightly all year.  There is no reason to believe that this good vibe won't continue at the track into the 2017 season.

Car count has remained solid in IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds and Hobby Stocks this year, Mini Stocks have maintained and the Valley Sportsman class rebounded a bit from last year.  People want to race at Merced Speedway again.  Management is taking a look at what can be done to improve on things for next year, which might include additions to the program, promoting big races and working their schedule around established big races at other tracks.  Anybody who knows how this business works knows that this is a challenge.  Parker and Doug Williams are more than capable of doing the job.

On Saturday night, $100 raffle tickets are being sold for a special November 19th awards banquet drawing for a race ready Mini Late Model race car.  The idea is sort of a take off from the Mini Cup cars that run on the pavement, but with a Dirt Late Model look.  They run motors you would find in a Micro 600 Sprint and boast a price tag of less than $10,000 to go racing.  FND Motorsports is giving away the car, and past Merced champion Robby Jeppeson is the authorized dealer of the Mini Late Model.  Parker announced late in the season that he will add this class for next season.

While they are looking forward to this weekend and the future at Merced Speedway, further south at Ventura Raceway Jim Naylor has a regular show booked for this weekend.  The fast, one-fifth mile clay oval by the beach has had a stronger season this year, especially when it comes to Dwarf Cars.  Count has also been solid in IMCA Modifieds and Hobby Stocks, and all three divisions are part of Saturday's program as the Dwarf Cars hold the George Calvo Sr. Memorial race.  As if Naylor doesn't have enough to smile about these days, Ventura landed the 76th Annual Turkey Classic on November 23rd and 24th for USAC Sprint Cars and Midgets.  Don't let the one-fifth mile size fool you.  Ventura Raceway has had some exciting races for both classes through the years, and this should be no different.

We don't always mention what is happening at Perris Auto Speedway with all that we have going on with The DCRR these days, and that's a shame.  Some might hold this track up as a shining example of how you promote racing.  Perris promotes Open Wheel nights, Stock Car nights and those exciting Eve Of Destruction nights and does well with them all.  This Saturday night is another Open Wheel night featuring USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, October 29th is another Stock Car night and then comes the big Oval Nationals three day event, November 10-12 for USAC/CRA Sprint Cars.  Perris Auto Speedway truly is one of the best tracks going today in California.

Out at Orland Raceway, we can report that the Enduro has been canceled due to rain.  This might be a good thing as there was no telling what the car count was going to be.  The fact is, the days seem long gone where you can book an Enduro and even get 20  cars to show up.  Could it be because cars are harder to come by?  Could a compact Enduro work better?  Who knows?  Orland has successfully reopened when it looked done, and they ran all ten point races this season with Mini Stocks, Mini Trucks, Hobby Stocks and Micro Sprints.

It might be better for Orland promoter Rich Hood and his crew to celebrate this success with an awards banquet and get to work planing the 2017 season.  The core three classes are known to have enough vehicles in the area to hit double digits, so the plan should center around finding a way to make that happen along with building the Micro Sprint class.  Hobby Stocks did have multiple nights with 10 or more cars, which they accomplished last year as well.  The building blocks are there for Hood to work with, but it will take a team effort to make it happen.

One has to remember that Hood had less than a month to get ready for the season opener, and the real goal this year was just to make racing happen.  With the benefit of an offseason for planning, this can and will get better.  The track will hopefully look at adding special attraction races as part of the regular program.  These may just be classes that visit once or twice, such as Street Stocks, Sport Modifieds, Wingless Sprint Cars, Hardtops or Dwarf Cars.  Making that happen requires planning and making sure there will be support.  One thing Orland Raceway has going for it is the fact that Hood has raced there for years and genuinely cares about keeping the track alive.

We close this column by commenting on the future of The DCRR.  We will be back in 2017.  This much we can say.  Our philosophy will change somewhat in how we cover things and certain stances we have taken may change as we evaluate the racing landscape and contemplate the future of the sport.  At this time, we're not saying anything else due to certain factors.  We want to make sure we have all of the correct information in front of us before we comment, because once we come out with any position on anything, we're going to stand by that position for reasons that we will make clear.

In the meantime, we have been looking at something Steve Kerstulovich has been doing in the Pacific Northwest called the Sport Modified Challenge Series and Modified Cup.  You may recall that at one time The DCRR did a State point race that covered a multitude of tracks and divisions.  The idea behind what we did was to create a level playing field where the best drivers competed in a close point battle.  Also, we promoted our ever optimistic goal of track unity.  At this time, we are considering a return of this point race for 2017.  There may be another announcement coming in the future.

There have been rumors surrounding Antioch Speedway.  One that crossed out desk and is sure to peak people's interest is that a well known and respected racer has expressed an interest in buying the lease at Antioch Speedway from Oval Motorsports.  Are the rumors true?  Well, at this time, we can't comment, but we can say this.  Promoter John M. Soares has announced the New Years Bash for January 1, 2017 to kick off his 20th season of promoting the track, and the event will include A Modifieds, B Modifieds and Hobby Stocks.  Word is the A Modifieds could pay $2017 to win, while the B Modifieds could be half a much.

The question becomes, will drivers support this race?  Antioch is coming off of the John Soares Sr. Memorial Race, and to say car count under performed, even with Bakersfield doing their thing that weekend, is an understatement.  There weren't many Antioch names on the list at Bakersfield, meaning many racers among all four divisions simply parked.  The one thing Antioch had going for them two years ago when they attempted a race on New Years was IMCA sanctioning.  The carrot of an IMCA point race and a big money payout on top of that was too much to resist.  Will the drivers be as motivated to support a non sanctioned race?  We don't know.  Can they be motivated to support a New Years race?  We don't know, but we hope so for the good of the track.

The two events remaining on the Antioch calendar this year are the point finale on October 22nd and the awards banquet on November 19th.  Seven divisions are on the card for the point finale, and the track had to issue a clarification that this is not a double point race.  Apparently, that rumor had circulated.  There have been drivers voicing frustrations that management chose to add the two rain makeup dates in October, but management wanted to make sure they got their full season in.  At this time, the B Modified point race is the only one that could change hands, and that won't be the case once Trevor Clymens takes a green flag in the Main Event.

For those wondering, this is a "kitchen sink" race with A Modifieds, Wingless Spec Sprints, B Modifieds, DIRTcar Late Models, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars all on the card.  Car count should reach into the 70's, and depending on the magnitude of support, it could rise significantly higher.  It should be a good show and a nice end to the 2016 season.  For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.