DeCarlo, Fraser, Leach and Wagner win in the season opener.
By Don Martin II Photography by Paul Gould
Reigning All Star Series A Modified champion Nick DeCarlo won a thrilling 20 lap Main Event Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. DeCarlo, who grabbed eight wins last season on the road to his first championship at the three-eighths mile clay oval, stalked race long leader Anthony Slaney for most of the race. Slaney led the opening lap ahead of Jeff Decker, before a yellow flag slowed the pace. The rest of the event went without a slow down, and Slaney set a rapid pace with DeCarlo in close pursuit. As the leaders caught slower traffic on the final lap, Slaney went underneath a slower car on the backstretch. DeCarlo moved to the inside of Slaney. A little paint trading ensued with DeCarlo emerging with the lead. Slaney gave it a valiant effort, but DeCarlo would prevail at the checkered flag. Slaney settled for second. Danny Wagner has made racing at Antioch a priority this season, and he finished a strong third, followed by Kellen Chadwick and Buddy Kniss.
Tommy Fraser made a great run during the final 10 laps of the B Modified 20 lap feature to score a crowd thrilling victory. Merced Speedway star Tanner Thomas raced into the early lead with Jason Womack and Cameron Swank in pursuit. A yellow flag on lap four was followed by a series of yellow flags during the next half-dozen laps. On one occasion, Swank spun from the Top 3 and collected several other cars in Turn 4. Thomas held the lead when a yellow flag waved on lap 10. Fraser and reigning champion Trevor Clymens were in contention behind Thomas, but Clymens was out by lap 13. Thomas led the lap 11 restart, but it was Fraser making a winning pass down the stretch to collect the victory. Thomas settled for second, followed by Kevin Brown, Swank and Mark Garner.
Josh Leach picked up the win in the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event. Leach benefited from the mishaps of drivers in front of him, but once he got the lead he was unchallenged. Breanna Troen led the first six laps of the race. She was leading Chris Sorensen on a lap seven restart, only to spin in Turn 4. Leach had the lead momentarily, only to be passed in Turn 4 by Anthony Welborn. Leach and Welborn enjoyed a good battle for another lap, but Welborn spun in Turn 2. This put Leach back into the lead. Leach led Sorensen on the restart, but he steadily pulled away to a nearly straightaway advantage by the waving of the checkered flag. Troen and Welborn charged back to finish third and fourth, respectively. Philip Oreta completed the Top 5. Unfortunately, Welborn was disqualified in post-race tech, moving Oreta and second generation racer Ken Johns into the fourth and fifth positions.
Although Danny Wagner has been expanding his horizons in recent seasons behind the wheel of an A Modified, He still remains one of the top drivers in Dwarf Car racing in the state of California. The two-time Antioch Speedway Dwarf Car champion and past NorCal Dwarf Car Association title winner proved unstoppable in collecting the victory in the 20 lap Main Event. Petaluma regular Marcus Hardina made a rare Antioch visit and came home second, followed by long time Dwarf Car competitor Michael “Spanky” Grenert, Ben Wiesz and Scott Dahlgren.