Ryland Halted in IMCA SportMods: Diaz Takes Merced; Keith Brown, Jr. Wins at Chowchilla


Keith Brown, Jr. – Proud of his first win of the season in IMCA SportMods on Sunday night at Chowchilla Speedway. That’s Freddy Ryland wiping his brow in the background!

Chowchilla’s Rick Diaz halted IMCA national point leader Fred Ryland’s bid to win another SportMod feature Saturday night at Merced Speedway; and, Keith Brown, Jr. of Pittsburg stole the lead from Diaz Sunday night at Chowchilla Speedway while Ryland was forced to hold on to third place.

“Someone had to give Ryland some competition,” Diaz said after returning to Merced Speedway after several weeks’ absence. “I came out to beat him.”

Diaz drove a blistering pace to work his way from a 10th starting position to third place in just a few laps. Then, he had to contend with Keith Brown, who was running second, before he could reach leader Jeremy Hoff of Copperopolis.


Rick Diaz (16) heads to the finish line Sautrday night at Merced Speedway. Photo by Mark Brooks, Sonora Sports Photography

Ryland, also working his way up from the back of the pack, passed Hoff for second with eight laps to go.

“Rick (Diaz) was a little faster than I was. He set up his car better – he knows Merced Speedway well,” Ryland said. “I couldn’t catch him after I got by Jeremy (Hoff.)”

Bruce “Bubba” Nelson of Turlock caught Brown and snatched fourth, just behind Hoff. Brown finished fifth.

Brown Turns The Finish Around At Chowchilla

Sunday afternoon’s IMCA SportMod feature on a very dry and slick Chowchilla 1/3-mile oval found Brown stealing the lead from Diaz on a re-start.

“I kept my car on the bottom and got to the middle of the third and fourth turns first,” Brown explained of his first win of the season. “Rick (Diaz) was outside my door going into the first turn – it was that close.”


Randy Brown emerges from his upside down modified, background. Teammate Rick Diaz helped right the car and bring it back to the pit area.

Diaz’s teammate, Randy Brown, was piled into during the IMCA modified feature, causing major damage to his car. Diaz helped Randy Brown after the badly damaged car landed upside down in the third turn.

“I did not have time to set up my SportMod for track conditions because I was occupied with my teammates wreck,” Brown said. “The car was very loose in the turns and there was nothing I could do but drive it that way.”

Ryland, with ten wins this season, had to settle for a third at Chowchilla Speedway. His wheels locked with the wheels of Chris Falkenberg of Turlock as they headed into the first turn early in the main event.

“The wheels and tires were not right after that strange incident,” Ryland said. “It is not bad that I finished third. I’ll take it.


Mark Key, Winner of the Hobby Stock main event. (Photo by Mark Brooks, Sonora Sports Photography)

Merced Winners    

            Mark Key of Merced won the hobby stock main event with his door flapping in the breeze. Kevin Joaquin of Sonora was second, chased by Kristie Shearer of Los Banos, and Mercedians Andrew Krumm and Marshall Weaver.

Robert Alger won the mini-stock main event, followed by Dan McCabe, Chris Corder. Mike Germait and Alicia Caldwell. Eric Seely of Ceres topped Jeff Bristow Turlock and Marcus Lung of Modesto in the Valley Sportsman main event.


Josh Vogt, Chowchilla Champ in the IMCA Modified Division, won his second feature of the season.

Chowchilla Winners

Chowchilla Speedway 2014 IMCA Modified Champion Josh Vogt of Santa Maria continued his winning ways Sunday night. Merced’s Karl Rose was second, with Modesto’s Harley Turner taking third in his modified debut.

Antioch Speedway 2014 Mini-Stock Champion Brent Curran won his first Chowchilla Speedway Mini-Stock feature, topping Jadon Harrington and Alex Odisho, who finished second and third.

Joaquin was not to be denied in the Chowchilla Speedway Hobby Stock main event. Joaquin suffered a flat while leading the race. Since it was on the left front, he was not required to leave the track and change the tire – but he did, opting to restart at the back of the pack with six laps to go.

`           Joaquin worked his way back to the front, where Turlock’s Gary Hildebrand had held the lead since Joaquin left.

With his hood flapping in the breeze, Hildebrand tried to outrun Joaquin, but it was Joaquin who pulled into first at the fall of the checkered flag.

“I can’t believe I won!” Joaquin screamed in victory lane. “I though I was done for. I couldn’t control my car with that flat tire, so I pulled in for a pit stop. I didn’t think I would even have a chance after that.

Hildebrand chose the inside on the final restart.

“It was a good, clean race,” Hildebrand said. “And it was a lot of fun.”


Gary Hildebrand, left, helps Kevin Joaquin celebrate his “come back from a tire change” win.





ANTIOCH SPEEDWAY: Motts with First IMCA Mod Win; Melissa Myers Takes Third Hobby Stock Main


Bobby Motts in route to his first IMCA Modified win!

It was a long road to the Antioch Speedway’s victory lane for San Pablo’s Bobby Motts. After four years behind the wheel of his plain blue modified stock car, Motts steered to the checkered flag in Saturday night’s International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) main event.

Winners in the five-feature card included Brentwood new mother Melissa Myers, who scored her third win of the season in the Hobby Stock Division; student Kyle Bakkie of Citrus Heights, who brought home the trophy in the Wingless Sprint Division; long-time Concord racer Mike Gustafson, who scored in the Limited Late Model Class; and, Danny Wagner of Bay Point, who fought off all challengers in the Dwarf Car division.ADAS8342.JPG

Motts Flawless in Drive to VictoryIMG_8155.JPG

            “I’m shaking like a leaf,” were the first words out of Motts’ mouth when he got out of his car in victory lane. ”All these years of trying, and it finally paid off.”

Motts’ car is devoid of graphics and sponsorship decals that cover most stock cars. Instead it is a collaboration of personal time and money of crewmembers Mike Ferry, Bill Garrell and Steve Cunningham.

“The guys have been with me for 18 years,” explained Motts, who won the Speedway’s Super Stock championship back in 2004.

The feature event unfolded with the twists and turns of an action movie. IMCA Champ Carl Berendsen of Antioch looked to be in route to a win. Then, halfway through the feature, a tap in turn two from Scott Busby spun out Berendsen and sent both he and Busby to the back of the lineup.


Michael Salazar (29) charges into second passing fourth place finisher Chris Elby (74).

Fairfield’s Sean O’Gara looked to be heading for the win, but he was sidelined with engine problems with five laps to go. As Motts maintained his lead, it was Antioch’s Michael Salazar who charged forward.

“I just drove it as hard as I could,” Motts said of the last laps of the race.

Salazar, in his first appearance of the season, had to settle for second.

“My car just started fading away on me near the end of the race – I just couldn’t catch Bobby (Motts),” Salazar said. “I’m happy taking second on my first night out.”

Berendsen fought his way up to third from the back of the pack.

“You have to break out of the best line to pass – which is a risky move,” Berendsen said. “That late in the race I decided to do damage control and be content with third.”

Chris Elby of Tracy was fourth and Dustin Himes of Manteca completed the top five finishers.

Myers Takes Sponsor for Joy RideADAS8295.JPG


Melissa Myers

             Sponsor Steve Huddleston jumped into the passenger seat to get a thrilling perspective of his driver’s skills when Melissa Myers fought off champ Kimo Oreta of Vacaville to win the Hobby Stock main event.

“I loved every minute of it,” said Huddleston of his ride along. “I’ve been a passenger twice in this car and twice we’ve been in victory lane. Can a sponsor ask for anything more?”

Myers led from start to finish in the non-stop event.

“I could see the nose of Kimo’s (Oreta) car alongside of me,” Myers said. “But I knew as long as I did not mess up, I would be o.k.”

Oreta tried lap after lap to catch Myers.

“I just couldn’t get my car under hers for a pass,” Oreta said. “She drove clean and I wanted to keep it that way – a good, clean race.”

Jason Jennings of Pittsburg finished third, followed by Michael Cooper and Calvin Louis.


Gustafson vs. Damitz in Classic BattleGustafsonDamitz_PG

            The only two drivers at the speedway who could have 100 years combined experience finished first and second in the Limited Late Model Division. Gustafson, who has raced since the 1960’s, stayed a step ahead of Vallejo’s Larry Damitz, who started his racing career in 1953.

“My car was right for the track,” said Gustafson. “I could see Larry’s (Damitz) number on the scoreboard, so I knew he was coming for me.”

The duo survived a chain reaction crash coming out of the second turn. The car of John Evans came off the wall in front of Gustafson, who tapped it, causing Damitz to bang into Gustafson.

Earlier in the race, Mark Garner of Antioch had his car destroyed as he took a hard hit into the turn one wall after contact from Mike Hynes of Suisun.

Lori Brown of Antioch finished third in front of Jim Freethy from Danville.

Bakkie Back in Victory LaneBakkie_PG

UC Davis chemistry major Kyle Bakkie won his second Wingless Sprint Car feature of the season with no one in front of him or right behind him. His last win this season came when the winning car was disqualified.

“It feels good to win this one by actually winning,” Bakkie said in victory lane.

Bakkie is in school all week, with his 75 year old grandparents, Judy and Earl Bradford, maintaining his car.

“They’ve been taking care of my cars since I was seven years old,” Bakkie said. “They just love sprint car racing. This means so much to them.”

Jeremy Newberry of Oakley finished a distant second in the race, followed by Marcus Smith of Manteca.


Mike Corsaro (00) gets inside Danny Wagner (11D) on the backstretch late in the feature.

Wagner Feels the Pressure

            It would be hard to say Danny Wagner ran away with this week’s Dwarf Car Feature. Mike Corsaro of Tracy and David Teves of Concord pressured Wagner all the way to the finish line.

“I never gave up, just kept going,” said Wagner, who was passed in the turns by each of the drivers, and managed to pass them back.

First it was Teves who challenged Wagner’s lead.

“I’m just trying to get the bugs out of my new car,” Teves said of the maiden voyage in the Dwarf Car he built from start to finish. “The car got tighter as the race went on, we’ll have to work on that.”

So Teves let Corsaro peck at Wagner.

“I almost had him,” Corsaro said. “We’re going to get him soon. We’re going to tame ‘Captain Chaos’ (Wagner’s Nickname).”


Jack Haverty inside and three wide on the Antioch Backstretch.

It was Corsaro, Teves, Jerry Doty of Hayward and Charlie Correia of Tracy across the finish line.

One More for Old Times Sake!


More than 100 years of racing experience between them – Mike Gustafson and Larry Damitz after their 1-2 finish in Liimited Late Models!