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 Posted: Friday Jul 20th, 2018 02:04 AM
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Don Martin II

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Late Models, A Modifieds Back As Antioch Speedway Returns From Break

Antioch, CA...After taking a week off for a concert at the fairgrounds, the All Star Series racing program returns to Antioch Speedway this Saturday night. DIRTcar Late Models are back in action along with the A Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and the Bay Area Hardtops.

This is only the third event of the season for the Late Models, but Jeff Decker once again leads the charge on the strength of two wins and a second place finish. The standings have a different look behind him as Rod Oliver trails Decker by 16 points on the strength of all Top 4 finishes. Four points behind Oliver is Dennis Souza, who has picked up a season-high second place finish already. These two drivers have hopes of being the next one to get a feature victory, but others to keep an eye on this week include Rob Norris, Mike Hynes, Kimo Oreta, Paul Guglielmoni and two-time champion Richard Papenhausen

In the A Modified division, we have a close battle between Nick DeCarlo and reigning champion Bobby Motts Jr. DeCarlo has won four Main Events so far, but he still only leads the consistent Motts by two points. Motts has a pair of seconds and three thirds, but he is still searching for his first win of the season. DeCarlo has won championships at Watsonville and Petaluma in recent seasons, but he would like to add Antioch to his list of credentials. At the moment, Motts is the only driver offering any resistance.

Sean O'Gara runs a solid third in the standings once again, leading rookie Buddy Kniss by 34 points. Third generation racer Kniss has rapidly climbed the ladder of divisions at the speedway from Dwarf Cars to Limited Late Models, and he's held his own against the more experienced competitors in an A Modified. Kniss leads Bobby Montalvo by 14 points and past champion Kellen Chadwick by 22 in a close race for fourth. Chadwick is a three-time feature winner so far this year. Other drivers to watch for this week include David Zeider, Ray Lindeman, Trent Wentworth and five-time champion Scott Busby.

The Limited Late Model championship battle is the closest at the speedway, and it pits reigning champion Kimo Oreta against third generation competitor Mark Garner and the returning Mike Walko. Walko started his career at Antioch Speedway before competing in most recent seasons at Marysville Raceway. Oreta got off to a slow start, but after his third feature win the last time, he took a four point lead over two-time winner Garner. Walko had all Top 3 finishes in his first seven starts, including two wins, keeping him 14 points behind Oreta.

Ryan Cherezian has finished as high as second this season, and he's hoping to put his truck in the Winner's Circle. He has a solid hold on fourth in the standings, leaving last year's top rookie, Chad Hammer and the steady John Evans to battle for fifth. Hammer holds a four point lead over Evans, who had his best career finish in second last time out. Other drivers to watch for this week include two-time champion Mike Gustafson, Jon Haney and Jim Freethy.

After the track's decision to adjust the schedule at the end of the season last year cost Chris Sorensen a possible championship, he seems to be making up for it as he's off to a flying start in the Hobby Stock division. Sorensen tops the win list with five victories, putting him 86 points in front of his nearest challenger, Michael Cooper. Cooper has picked up three wins this year, while reigning champion Cameron Swank has four victories. Swank trails Cooper by 29 points in a closer race for second.

It's hard to get a win in this field with those three drivers carrying such an experience advantage. However, fourth ranked Billy Garner and fifth ranked John Wacht each have a win. Garner leads Wacht by just 28 points, and Wacht leads the rookie race by over 100 points ahead of Haley Gomez. Interestingly enough, Gomez had a race a few weeks ago that she led for 19 laps before mechanical issues ended that run right after she took the white flag. She shouldn't be counted out this week, and other drivers to watch for include Breanna Troen, Anthony Vigna, Anthony Wellborn and Josh Leach.

The last time the Bay Area Hardtop division was at Antioch Speedway, Ken Retzloff with picking up the win. Retzloff has also won a race on the Hardtop circuit at Placerville Speedway. He is anticipated this week along with two drivers who have Antioch wins in the past, Terry DeCarlo and Dave Mackey. Doug Braudrick continues to work the bugs out of his race car, but he should be back this week along with Kimo Oreta. We're still waiting on Tommy Thomson to complete repairs and get his #39 car back out at the race track, which could also signal the return of Dan Williams when that happens. It's possible there could be a few drivers from the California Hardtop Association, and most likely candidates include Ken Clifford, Jason Armstrong, Dave Reed and Ron Ruiz.

Saturday night should be an exciting night of racing at Antioch Speedway with the return of the popular Late Models and A Modifieds. For further information, go to http://www.antiochspeedway.com.
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