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 Posted: Thursday May 17th, 2018 11:36 PM
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Don Martin II
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Modified Classes Headline Show At Merced Speedway Saturday Night



Merced, CA...Racing season continues this Saturday night at Merced Speedway with another exciting four division lineup. IMCA Modifieds return to headline this race along with the IMCA Sport Modifieds, Mini Stocks and the Valley Sportsman division.

In recent years, three-time IMCA Modified champion Paul Stone has been taking his show on the road and running some of the big events across the country. He has been at the first three races of the season and finds himself leading Brian Pearce by seven points. Stone is a two-time feature winner, while Pearce has finished as high as second. The consistent Darrell Hughes II and Jeff Streeter also find themselves in contention, 10 points and 13 points out, respectively.

Ryan Porter ran very strong in the most recent race, but unfortunately his night ended after he and two-time reigning champion Randy Brown got together. Brown is likewise looking for his first win of the season. Also in the mix this season is four time champion Ramie Stone, who currently counts himself among the Top 10 in the standings. It should be a great night of racing, and other competitors to watch for this week include Troy Stone, Shane DeVolder, Ricky Thatcher and Jarod Fast.

The IMCA Sport Modified division has been interesting to watch. After four events, the Thomas brothers have won three of them. Coming off of his second win of the season, Tanner Thomas has now moved to within five points of the lead in the standings. If not for one bad night, he would likely be leading. As it is, past Antioch Speedway champion Jeremy Hoff leads the race by just one point ahead of Danny Roe. Both Hoff and Roe are still searching for their first wins of the season and are two of the three competitors who have four Top 10 finishes so far.

Tanner's brother Chase Thomas is a one-time winner, and he is only 12 points out of the lead in seventh. He'll be out to match his brother in the win column, but he can expect some tough competition from Top 5 ranked competitors Chris Falkenberg and Tim Elias, Bruce Nelson, Kelly Wilkinson and Chuck Weir, among others.

The Mini Stock division is having a surge in car count. Once again, there were over 20 competitors in the field last week. It was a battle of the Corder siblings at the front of the pack. Jennifer Corder, who is currently leading the standings, was battling Chris for her first win of the year. Unfortunately, her brother Chris Corder, who is the three-time reigning champion, sped past her for his third win of the season. Because of a bad night, Chris is 22 points out of the lead.

Jennifer is being challenged by a trio of newcomers. Allen Neal is just four point behind her, while Bryant Desarie is eight points out and Lee Ragsdale is nine points back. Another rookie, Tyler Jackson is 18 points out of the lead in sixth. Robert Jackson counts himself as the other feature winner so far. Other drivers to watch for this week include Jennifer Rodgers, Abigail Kennedy, Lucy Falkenberg, Jason Belton Jr, Devin Belton and Joe Terry.

The last time Watsonville Speedway Hall of Famer Jerry Cecil found himself at the top of a point list, he was winning the 1981 Watsonville Sportsman championship for the fourth time. Nobody has more wins in that division at his home track than Jerry. After two events, he leads Rick Elliott by three points and rookie Chris Corder by five tallies. All three drivers are in search of their first Sportsman wins of the year.

Last time out, Sport Modified star Chris Falkenberg took the wheel of reigning champion Jeff Bristow's car and put it in the Winner's Circle. He and Chris Birdsong have won the Main Event's so far. Both drivers will be looking for repeat performances this week.

It should be a great night of racing at Merced Speedway this Saturday. This four division event is being presented by Garton Tractor. After Saturday's races, the speedway will go dark for the rest of the month before coming back for the Wednesday Fair race on June 6th. IMCA Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and California Sharp Mini Late Models will compete that night. Then, on June 15th and 16th, the Western States Dwarf Car Association will hold their big National event. The Saturday show will see the Dwarf Cars joined by the Hobby Stocks, California Sharp Mini Late Models and an appearance by the Vintage Super Modifieds. For further information on the happenings at the speedway, go to http://www.racemerced.com.


Dean, Alexander, Corder Win Merced Speedway Features



Merced, CA...May 12...Kodie Dean won the 25 lap Hobby Stock Main Event Saturday night at Merced Speedway. This was the third win of the season for the reigning track champion as he closes in on the point lead. Dean chased George Silva for two laps before taking the lead, and two-time division champion Bruce Nelson settled into second on lap three. Austin Van Hoff at times made it a three-car battle for the lead throughout the race. But the biggest competition for Dean was given to him by Nelson, who searched high and low for a way around. However, Dean kept his cool under pressure and scored a well-earned victory ahead of Nelson and Van Hoff. Michael Shearer made a late race pass on incoming point leader Shannon Nelson to finish fourth as Donny Shearer Jr, Kristie Shearer, Mike Germait, Katie Briggs and Kaleb Shelton completed the Top 10. The three eight lap heat races were won by Shelton, Nelson and Dean.

The BCRA Midget Lites made their first of two scheduled appearances at the speedway. Dean Alexander came up from the California Lightning Sprint group and went flag-to-flag for the victory. Only one slow down in the race occurred with a lap 12 yellow flag, and Alexander maintained command on the restart. Scott Kinney wasn't too far back in second as the checkered flag flew. Hunter Kinney was a solid third ahead of Dakota Albright, Aidan Lange, Bradley Dillard, Eric Greco Jr, Steve Brown, Terry Bergstrom and Danika Jo Parker. The division also had time trials, and Scott Kinney set the fast lap of 12.925 to beat the 12.975 of Alexander. Hunter Kinney and Albright were eight lap heat race winners.

Three-time reigning Mini Stock champion Chris Corder bested the 20 car Mini Stock field to win his third Main Event of the season. Corder started back in the fourth row and worked his way up to battle his sister and current point leader Jennifer Corder for the lead. Chris Corder made the late race pass for the lead on the front straightaway and went on to victory. Jennifer Corder settled for second ahead of Shawn DePriest, Robert Jackson, Allen Neal, Lucy Falkenberg, Friday night Watsonville winner Kelly Campanille, Bryant Desaire, Lee Ragsdale and Jason Belton Jr. Belton also won one of the four eight lap heat races with Jennifer Rodgers, Chris Corder and DePriest winning the other three.

Jesse Burks won both the eight lap heat race and 15 lap Main Event for the California Sharp Mini Late Models. Burks had the pole for the Main Event and led most of the way to win with point leader Tim Crews a close second. Riley Jeppesen, Carson Guthrie and Ian Shearer rounded out the finishing order.

Racing resumes next Saturday night at Merced Speedway with a program headlined by the IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds. Mini Stocks will be back in action along with the Valley Sportsman division. For further information, go to http://www.racemerced.com.



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