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|Posted: Saturday Aug 26th, 2017 02:11 AM||
Don Martin II
Sprint Car And Modified Classes Highlight
Antioch, CA...Antioch Speedway wraps up the month of August with an exciting seven division program this Saturday night. Both the All Star Series Winged 360 Sprint Cars and Wingless Spec Sprints are on the card along with both the A and B Modifieds. Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Bay Area Hardtops will make this an exciting seven division program. The point races are getting interesting as we head into a month of September that will have the John Soares Sr. Memorial on September 16th and the Fall Brawl on September 30th.
The Winged 360 Sprint Car championship battle looks like it's about to get interesting. The pressure is on the surprising Marissa Polizzi to maintain the point lead. Last week, she had a respectable sixth place finish in a 16 car field. However, second generation racer Burt Foland Jr. picked up his third second place finish, and that enabled him to cut Polizzi's point advantage to 18. Making things even more interesting was the return of Art McCarthy to the winner's circle. The 2007 champion McCarthy had only finished as high as fifth twice in the first five races, but he showed everybody what he is capable of with his heat race and feature wins. McCarthy cut Polizzi's lead over him from 53 to 37 points and moved into third in the standings.
Aaron Miller's championship hopes took a severe blow when he failed to start the feature last week and fell to fifth in the standings by two points behind last year's top rookie, Jenna Frazier. The field was boosted by some visitors from Petaluma Speedway, and two of that track's regulars, Jake Haulot and David Lindt Jr., finished fourth and fifth last week. As Petaluma's race this week does not include 360 Sprints, it's possible that you will see some of that track's stars return this week. Teen rookie Jacob Tuttle had a third place finish last week. You may recall Tuttle's debut earlier this season resulted in a second place finish. Might he strike for a win this week? Dan Gonderman was back last week, and other stars to watch for this week include Jason Paniagua and Adam Brenton.
An even more intense battle at the top of the Wingless Spec Sprint standings finds just 23 points separating the Top 4 drivers. 2014 Watsonville champion Bryan Grier may have missed a race this year, but he has matched Bob Newberry with three feature wins. Bryan has two wins in the last three races to hold a twelve point lead over Rick Panfili. Just 18 points back is rookie Robert Floyd, who is coming off of a second place finish. The one time winner actually passed Grier for the lead last time out in what appeared to be a completed lap, but a yellow flag put him back to second. After a non start a couple races ago, Alan Miranda has dropped from first to 23 points out of the lead in fourth, Like Panfili, he's sill searching for his first win, but he has two second place finishes this season.
Shannon Newton has a pair for third place finishes to hold fifth in he standings, but it's a little too close for comfort. Bob Newberry is only two points behind him. People can all breathe a sigh of relief that the past Antioch and Chico Spec Sprint champion Newberry got a late start this year, because he'd be further up if he'd been at all of the races. The Spec Sprints are having some great races in their 19th season at the track, and other stars to look for include past Chowchilla champion Brandon Burd, James East, Roy Fisher and rookie Abigail Gonderman.
Bobby Motts Jr. had a goal of winning the 2015 A Modified championship. Though he settled for second, the past Antioch Speedway Street Stock champion made Scott Busby work for it. At the moment, Motts leads this year's championship chase by 38 points over Sean O'Gara. Bobby won the most recent race and has a pair of seconds and a pair of third among his other finishes. With Mike Salazar regrouping and missing the most recent race, O'Gara now has a better hold on what would be a career best second place ranking. With one second and one third, the second generation racer is still looking for his first win.
Salazar's lead over rookie Eric Berendsen in the race for third is now 12 points. Both drivers have had blown motors, but Berendsen may have one upped Salazar in the bad luck department as a member of the 2017 Rollover Club. Eric has four fourth place finishes in his brother Carl's old car. Two time winner Scott Busby is still in the hunt for third at 55 points back. Busby is also in the hunt for sole possession of the all time win record. At the moment, he and the legendary J.D. Willis each have 72 wins at Antioch. It's hard to say who might be there this week, but others to watch for include Gary Hetrick, Gregg McElhaney, Anthony Slaney and possible appearances from past Petaluma champions Nick DeCarlo and Michael Paul Jr.
With his third feature triumph last week, K.C. Keller appears to be on his way to the B Modified championship, but the job isn't finished yet. He's one non start away from having a close battle on his hands again. As it is, he leads two time winner Mark Garner by 56 points as Garner is in the hunt for two championships this season. Chuck Golden lurks only eight points behind Garner in the race for second, but he's hoping to get his first win of the season. It's possible that the next new winner will be Nick Caughman Jr. Caughman had a heat win last week and led some Main Event laps. He finished second in his division debut a week earlier. Caughman is a past Petaluma IMCA Modified champion. Other drivers to watch for this week include Kevin Brown, Doff Cooksey, Tim Hammett and the possible return of reigning champion Trevor Clymens.
Kimo Oreta is not taking his eyes off the prize. After winning three straight Hobby Stock championships and last year's top rookie honors in Limited Late Models, he's looking to win the championship in his second year in that division. Last week, Oreta collected his third win of the season to go with four seconds. Somewhere up there, Larry Damitz is smiling as he looks down at his old car still running up front. Mark Garner has been tenacious in second. This was the championship that he set out to win this season, and he only trails Oreta by 14 points. Mark has three seconds and two thirds to go with one win, but he knows he'll need to get his #76 car back to the winner's circle again if he hopes to have any chance of overtaking Oreta.
Jim Freethy seemed like he was poised to make that challenge after winning his first feature two races ago, but a DNF last time out dropped him from a tie with Garner to 12 points behind him and just eight ahead of two time winner Mike Gustafson. With Oreta being so consistent up front, each bad night the others have is only bringing him closer to the championship. The steady John Evans continues to hold fifth in the standings, but his lead is a still catchable 32 points over Chad Hammer. Both drivers had Top 5 finishes last week, and it was the second in a row for Hammer. Rookie Buddy Kniss is anticipated for this race, and we could also see Jeff Kendrick, Jon Haney and the possible return of Lori Brown.
The battle in the Hobby Stocks has changed during the course of the season. Chris Long and Brent Curran have each taken their turn in the lead, yet both have missed races due to motor issues. Title contender Chris Sorensen had to deal with transmission issues, and yet the four time feature winner has crept into contention for his second championship. Sorensen just earned his second runnerup finish, while Long finished fourth. This gives Long a 20 point lead over Sorensen. At one point, it didn't seem like a championship was within reach for Sorensen, but he's there now. Both Long and Sorensen have been doing it on a limited budget, and both are looking for any sponsorship help they can get to make it through the final month. Both of these drivers would make any sponsor proud to be associated with them.
Brent Curran's luck has taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks. Despite that, the two time winner is 19 points behind Sorensen for second and not giving up on his championship hopes just yet. The 2014 Mini Stock champion knows these battles can go down to the final race. Curran is five points ahead of Cameron Swank for third. Swank shouldn't be counted out just yet either. Really, the four time Main Event runnerup is hoping to finally get his first feature win. Two time Super Hobby Stock champion Gene Haney won his second feature last week. He's slowly gaining on fifth place Chris Bennett. Haney trails the rookie by just 20 points. These hard chargers should be joined by such tough competitors as Billy Garner, two time winner Michael Cooper, Jordan Swank, Ricky Foster and Ken Rhoades for another great night of racing.
The Bay Area Hardtops are back this week for their final race before September 9th's Chet Thomson Memorial. Last week, Kimo Oreta won his second race of the season ahead of heat winner Rob Waldrop. The Bill McLaughlin car that Waldrop has been driving has been sold to Roger MacShane out of Sacramento. Dave Mackey's #1 car broke another transmission, but it should be ready this week with Tommy Thomson behind the wheel. Ken Retzloff is anticipated for his second start, and we're close to the debut of Doug Braudrick. Other drivers we could see this week include Steve Cloyes, Dan Williams and possibly Ron Ruiz.
With seven divisions on the card this week, it should be an exciting night of racing. For further information, go to http://www.antiochspeedway.com.
McCarthy, Haney, Oreta Score Antioch Speedway Wins
Antioch, CA...August 19...Art McCarthy won the 25 lap All Star Series Winged 360 Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. McCarthy hadn't finished higher than fifth in the first five races, but he finally broke through for his first win of the season. He joined multi time Petaluma Speedway champion David Lindt Jr. in winning his eight lap heat race. Teen rookie Jacob Tuttle started on the front row, Burt Foland Jr. was in the second row and McCarthy lined up in the third row. McCarthy battled his way past the other two and earned a hard fought victory. Foland settled for his third runnerup finish, followed by Tuttle, Jake Haulot and Lindt.
Gene Haney won the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event. Haney won a Main Event earlier this season, but it was the disqualification of the two drivers in front of him that gained the two time Super Hobby Stock champion the victory that night. This time, Haney shared the front row with Brian Zachary. Haney battled Zachary and Chris Sorensen to take the checkered flag first. Sorensen raced past Zachary for a second place finish. Zachary settled for third, followed by heat race winner Chris Long and Cameron Swank.
Kimo Oreta had an impressive double win weekend as he won the 20 Lap Limited Late Model and Bay Area Hardtop Main Events. Oreta is the Limited Late Model point leader, and this was his third win of the season. Oreta had a front row start and looked impressive in victory. Eight lap heat race winner Mark Garner gave chase for his third runnerup finish as he continues to be Oreta's closet point rival in second. Mike Gustafson, John Evans and Chad Hammer rounded out the Top 5 finishers.
In the Bay Area Hardtop division, Rob Waldrop returned and drove the Bill McLaughlin car to a heat race win ahead of Oreta. Oreta is piloting the Sun Drop Racing #100 car that Larry Damitz drove to several wins during the past ten seasons. Oreta got the lead and held off Waldrop for his second win of the season in that class. Ron Ruiz finished third ahead of Ken Retzloff and Tommy Thomson.
K.C. Keller won the 20 lap B Modified Main Event. Nick Caughman Jr. started his night by winning the eight lap heat race and leading the first three laps of the Main Event. However, Caughman spun in Turn 4 as Keller and Mark Garner raced by. Keller increased his point lead with his third feature win of the season. Garner settled for second ahead of Kevin Brown, Caughman and Chuck Golden.
Bradley Dillard won the 20 lap BCRA Midget Lites Main Event. Bradley jumped into the car normally piloted by point leader Craig Dillard and led all the way for the victory. Hunter Kinney ran closely behind Dillard for a second place finish as Scott Kinney, Emilee Lindgren and heat race winner Kayla Green completed the Top 5 at the checkered flag.
Next week's All Star Series lineup will feature Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Bay Area Hardtops. For further information, go to http://www.antiochspeedway.com.
Unofficial Race Results
Winged 360 Sprint cars
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Art McCarthy, David Lindt Jr. Main Event (20 laps)-Art McCarthy, Burt Foland Jr., Jacob Tuttle, Jake Haulot, David Lindt Jr.
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Ken Rhoades, Brian Zachary. Main Event (20 Laps)-Gene Haney, Chris Sorensen, Brian Zachary, Chris Long, Cameron Swank.
Limited Late Models
Heat Winner (8 Laps)-Mark Garner. Main Event (20 Laps)-Kimo Oreta, Mark Garner, Mike Gustafson, John Evans, Chad Hammer.
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Nick Caughman Jr. Main Event (20 Laps)-K.C. Keller, Mark Garner, Kevin Brown, Nick Caughman Jr., Chuck Golden.
Bay Area Hardtops
Heat Winner (8 Laps)-Rob Waldrop. Main Event (20 Laps)-Kimo Oreta, Rob Waldrop, Ron Ruiz, Ken Retzloff, Tommy Thomson.
BCRA Midget Lites
Heat Winner (8 Laps)-Kayla Green. Main Event (20 Laps)-Bradly Dillard, Hunter Kinney, Scott Kinney, Emilee Lindgren, Kayla Green.
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