For the second time in the race’s four-year history, Bobby Hogge IV took both of the Delta-Valley Classic modified stock car features at Antioch and Merced Speedways.
Hogge IV, of Salinas, was crowned the Northern All Stars Modified Champion with his weekend of winning. After a flawless race at Antioch, Hogge IV survived a massive pileup on the fist lap of the Merced leg of the classic. Hogge IV’s luck never ran out – even on the last lap of the 30-lap event, when the front end of his car’s engine disintegrated at the finish line.
“The water pump went and everything got wadded up,” Hogge said as he assessed the damage from his steaming car in victory lane. “I sure was lucky that that happened just after the checkered flag flew.”
The first lap turn one pileup sent Merced 2012 track champ Bill Egleston into an end over end flip – one of the most violent wrecks at the track in recent history. Egleston was cut from his car and was uninjured from the wreck. Hogge found himself under the rear end of Hanford driver Eric Hamilton’s car. Hogge IV had another car under his car’s rear end.
“I thought I cleared Hamilton,” Hogge IV said. “I thought there was only cosmetic damage to my car and it ran fine after the cars were lifted off each other.”
Hogge IV started back in the pack, and emerged as the challenger to Chet Reeves’ substantial lead with 10 laps to go. Hogge IV worked on passing Kellen Chadwick of Oakley, before Chadwick was sidelined with distributor problems. With Chadwick gone, Reeves, from Bakersfield, was Hogge IV’s target. Cody Burke of Salinas was moving in on the top two from third position.
“Chet (Reeeves) was locked down on the bottom,” Hogge IV said. “I could not get around him running beside him on the outside. I watched where he was running on the track, and I made my move to the bottom coming out of turn two – I made my own lane and it paid off.”
Reeves was all smiles in victory lane, despite finishing second.
“I should have had the win. But, Bobby Hogge is no slouch,” Reeves said. “The fact I lasted all the way to lap 27 against him feels pretty good, actually.”
Cody Burke of Salinas was challenging Reeves at the finish. Mitch Enos of Livermore was fourth, chased by Merced Speedway 2014 IMCA champion Paul Stone.
ALL HOGGE IV AT ANTIOCH
Defending Delta-Valley Classic winner Brian Cass of Livermore had to chase Hogge IV at Antioch Speedway on Saturday night. Shawn DeForest, who has been Hogge’s IV nemesis all season long, had to settle for third.
Hogge IV drew a great starting spot – in the front row – for the Antioch leg of the Classic.
“With a front row start and a track with traction, all I had to do is keep my nose clean,” he said in victory lane. “Week after week, we’ve had the same race car and it’s been right there for us.”
When Hogge IV did not win at Antioch, he finished second. Only DeForest was able to steal two wins from him this season.
Mike Salazar of Antioch was fourth, followed by visitors Michel Paul, Jr. of Petaluma and Richard Papenhausen from Chico.
SPAINHOWARD ENDS ANTIOCH DROUGHT
It’s a seven hour haul up “the 5” for Bakersfield’s Nick Spainhoward to race at Antioch Speedway – yet he’s been a regular at the Bay Area track this season. Those trips paid off with a win in the IMCA SportMod feature in Saturday’s Delta-Valley Classic.
“Fourteen wins this year and never one at Antioch until now,” Spainhoward said proudly in victory lane while being presented the Delta Transmission Cup from Beverly Kniss.
Spainhoward’s win came after a 10-lap dogfight with local SportMod standout Fred Ryland. Ryland, from Brentwood, dropped a drive shaft in the first turn while battling Spainhoward with three laps to go.
“He (Fred) was giving me a run for the money,” said Spainhoward. “It is unfortunate for him that that happened – I would have preferred he was right behind me at the finish line.”
Merced Speedway IMCA champ Rick Diaz of Los Banos took up the chase of Spainhoward at the finish. Al Johnson of Antioch took third after a battle with Merced’s Tim Elias. Fifth went to Rob Gallaher of San Jose who was in a battle fot he track championship with sixth place Jeremy Hoff of Copperopolis. Gallaher, a rookie, took the championship from Hoff by five points.
15 YEAR OLD ETHAN DOTSON TAKES MERCED IMCA SPORT MOD FEATURE
The kid sensation from Bakersfield couldn’t be caught by Spainhoward at Merced Speedway. Spainhoward got alongside of Ethan Dotson going into the first turn lap after lap in the IMCA SportMod feature event.
“He (Dotson) had a real good car, I had nothing for him coming out of turn two. I just had no exit speed,” Spainhoward lamented in victory lane.
Spainhoward wrapped up the IMCA state championship with the second place finish.
“This is my first Merced win in three tries,” high school student Dotson said. “I finally got this track down.”
Merced regulars Darren Thomas, Jordan Hagar and Elias rounded out the top five.
COMEBACK KID BRAD MYERS TAKES BOTH HOBBY STOCK MAINS
Antioch 2012 Hobby Stock Champ Brad Myers of Brentwood came back to the track midway through the 2014 season and has been nearly unstoppable ever since. Myers took both the Antioch and Merced Hobby Stock main events during the Delta-Valley Classic.
Myers got ahead of Kimo Oreta at Antioch and never relinquished the lead. Christopher Brown was third. Oreta captured the track championship in the division. At Merced, it was Nick Baldwin of Oakley that was chasing Myers when Kevin Joaquin of Sonora made his move to separate the two Antioch Speedway drivers at the finish.
ANTIOCH DRIVERSTAKE BOTH LIMITED LATE MODEL EVENTS
Mike Gustafason brought home the win in the Limited Late Model division at Antioch. He was chased to the finish line by his perennial foe, Larry Damitz. Damitz brought home the Antioch Speedway Limited Late Model Championship.
At Merced Speedway, Antioch Speedway regular Mark Gardner was number one at the finish line. He fought off Merced standout Buddy Thatcher. John Soares of Livermore finished third after winning his heat race in his first time driving Mike Hynes’ limited late model stock car.
The 2014 season has concluded at both Antioch and Merced Speedways. Racing will resume in early 2015. Both Speedways will release their 2015 schedules in November.