Merced Speedway: Stone Drives Ailing Car to Win; First Wins for Mark Odgers, Austin Van Hoff

Winner Paul Stone with Bob Wiliamson, left, finished second.

Winner Paul Stone, right, with Bob Wiliamson, left, finished second in the IMCA Modified Main Event.

by Mike Adaskaveg

Merced Sun Star

Paul Stone drove an ailing racecar to victory in the IMCA Modified Stock Car main event Sunday night at Merced Speedway. Stone, from Winton, survived a third turn pileup then went on to take on veteran Merced Racer Bob Williamson, who finished second.

“A can spun out, I slowed down, and my car got drilled from behind,” Stone said of the early incident. “I thought I was done at that point.”

Stone had an old engine in the car, but never let up as he saw Williamson coming on strong.

“The engine is pretty tired,” Stone said. “Time to freshen it up.”

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Wilson finished third despite his left front wheel on a 90 degree angle. Dereck Colvin (21) stays up high.

Meanwhile, Alex Wilson of Salinas was driving a car with an obvious broken tie rod, as the left front wheel was 90 degrees to the car. He still managed to finish third.

“I had to use an old style of driving,” Wilson said. “I used the throttle to turn the car – I kept the car on the bottom of the track where it was wet then hit the gas to turn.”

Odgers Scores First IMCA SportMod Win

Mark Odgers (57) stays low and inside daughter Marisa in the IMCA SportMod main event. (Photo by Mark Brooks, Track Photographer)

Mark Odgers (57) stays low and inside daughter Marisa in the IMCA SportMod main event. (Photo by Mark Brooks, Track Photographer)

Mark Odgers of Mariposa kept his car tight to the inside of the track to out-run Merced’s Dwayne Short and win the IMCA SportMod feature event. Short battled Odgers most of the race, then had to contend with Josh Hensley, who emerged from the pack and snatched second with two laps to go.

“The inside of the track was where everyone wanted to be tonight,” said Odgers in victory lane. “I held the bottom and it paid off.”

Odgers, who has raced at the speedway since 1995, had not won in the SportMod division. Mark’s daughter, Marisa, finished fourth and ahead of Mark Squadrito from Stockton.

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Austin Van Hoff (44) stays low in the Hobby Stock feature as he fights off Dexter Long (911). Photo by Mark Brooks, Track Photographer

First Win For Van Hoff, Too

            Chowchilla High School Senior Austin Van Hoff is in his sophomore year at Merced Speedway, but he graduated to the winner’s circle in taking the Hobby Stock main event by steering through spinning cars and fighting off challenges from Balico’s Dexter Long.

“I was at the right place at the right time,” said Van Hoff in victory lane. “I’m so excited I’m shaking.”

Kevin Joaquin and Cody Parker met nose to nose during the hobby stock main event.

Kevin Joaquin and Cody Parker met nose to nose during the hobby stock main event.

Van Hoff is a second-generation driver, his dad being Merced Speedway driver Jack Van Hoff.

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Three wide action on the second lap saw Dexter Long in the middle of Cody Parker (33) and Kevin Joaquin.

The spinouts included last week’s winner, Merced high school student Cody Parker and Sonora’s Kevin Joaquin. Jenifer Corder of Modesto moved up into third as Joaquin fought to take fourth after coming from the back of the pack. Michael Shearer of Los Banos was fifth.

Corder Wins Again in Mini-Stocks

It was Kelly Campanile holding the Mini-Stock main event lead until a restart, when Chris Corder (48) charged forward.

It was Kelly Campanile (2) holding the Mini-Stock main event lead until a restart, when Chris Corder (48) charged forward.                                                  (Photo by Mark Brooks, Track Photographer)

 

Modesto’s Chris Corder waged a thrilling battle with Kelly Campanile of San Ramon. Campanile, driving a Ford Pinto, fought off several side-by-side challenges from Corder, only to lose the lead on a restart.

“I thought I had him,” Campanile said after the race. “He got me on that restart, and I couldn’t pass him back.”

“In mini-stocks, It is all about the rpm at takeoff,” Corder said. “I had the momentum going into the first turn after the green flag on the restart.”

Third place finisher Joy Alger got balloons from the grandstands for racing on her birthday.

Third place finisher Joy Alger got balloons from the grandstands for racing on her birthday.

 

Garner First in Limited Late Models

Mark Garner and Roy Hart, Jr. battled for the top spot in Northern All Stars Limited Late Models (Photo by Mark Brooks, Track Photographer)

Mark Garner and Roy Hart, Jr. battled for the top spot in Northern All Stars Limited Late Models (Photo by Mark Brooks, Track Photographer)

Mark Garner of Antioch won the Limited Late Model stock car feature, trading places with Roy Hart, Jr., who won the qualifying race with Garner finishing second. Buddy Thatcher of Mariposa finished third in both races.

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Hart spins and Buddy Thatcher (88) squeaks in early race action.

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Mark Odgers (57) passes Dwayne Short in the IMCA SPortMod feature.

 

 

Antioch Speedway: Richard Papenhausen Tops DIRTcar Late Models; Jeff Lee, Kimo Oreta Back in Victory Lane

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Richard Papenhausen dominated the field of DIRTcar late model stock cars in winning Saturday night’s main event at Antioch Speedway. Papenhausen, of Chico, left Santa Rosa’s Anthony Restad and local hero Troy Foulger of Martinez several car lengths behind as he returned to the winner’s circle for the fourth time this season.

David Teves of Concord also scored his fourth win in a row, out-dueling Pat Urdahl in the Dwarf Car division feature event. Kimo Oreta of Vacaville ended his drought as he had rookie Jordan Swank of Antioch chasing him across the finish line in the Hobby Stock main.

Anthony Giuliani of Morgan Hill was tops in the Brentwood Auto Parts IMCA SportMod division, with Patti Ryland of Brentwood challenging him to the checkered flag. Jeff Lee of visited Antioch Speedway twice this season and won both times as he fought off UC Davis student Kyle Bakkie to win the Northern All Stars Wingless Sprint Car feature.

Richard Papenhausen (4p) fought off challenges from Anthony Restad (4R) in the DIRTcar Late Model feature event. (Photo by Paul Gould Track Photographer)

Richard Papenhausen (4p) fought off challenges from Anthony Restad (4R) in the DIRTcar Late Model feature event.                                                          (Photo by Paul Gould Track Photographer)

 

Papenhausen Found the Right Combination

“We hit on something when we set up the car,” Papenhausen said in victory lane. “The track was really good tonight, and when we made our adjustments we were right.”

Papenhausen, who missed the last DIRTcar race because of back problems, was in full form this week.

“It was fun to be back. Once I got by (Troy) Foulger and (Jeff) Decker – who were real fast – I was all set.”

Restad, finishing second for the second time the season, couldn’t gain ground on Papenhausen.

“I just ran out of horsepower,” he said. “I ran to the fence in the third and fourth turn and moved down low in the first and second turn. That’s all I could do.”

Foulger, who finished third, challenged Restad twice when he went high in the third and fourth turns.

“I just couldn’t get around him, and I didn’t want to bully him,” Foulger said.

Anthony Giuliani (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer)

Anthony Giuliani (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer)

Giuliani and Fred Ryland Tangle

            Brentwood’s Fred Ryland was challenging winner Anthony Giuliani for the lead in the IMCA SportMod feature when the two tangled in the third turn.

“I don’t know what happened,” Giuliani said in victory lane. “We just tangled. I wasn’t about to give up my position like the last time we tangled.”

Giuliani lost his bid for the lead when he raced alongside Fred Ryland in the last IMCA SportMod feature. This time, Ryland went to the wall, only to come back on the restart, crash, and lose his car’s hood. Ryland finished ninth.

Then Giuliani had another Ryland to contend with. Patti Ryland moved up, passing Al Sotomayor of Watsonville and Paul Mulder of Pleasanton to take second. KC Keller of Hayward brought home fifth.

Jeff Lee made it two for two this season. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer)

Jeff Lee made it two for two this season. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer)

Two for Two for Lee

            Richmond’s Jeff Lee won the first Northern All Stars Wingless Sprint Car feature of the season, but damaged his car’s engine beyond repair in doing so. It took four months, but Lee returned to victory lane upon his return.

“We cracked the engine block when we won the first race of the year,” he explained. “We got it rebuilt by last week, and strangely, this race was a replay of the first race.”

That was because Kyle Bakkie of Citrus Heights was right there challenging Lee for the length of the race – just like he did in the first race.

It has been a Lee-Bakkie 1-2 in Wingless Sprint Cars both times Lee raced this year. (Photo by

It has been a Lee-Bakkie 1-2 in Wingless Sprint Cars both times Lee raced this year. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer)

Bakkie dove low on the track as he attempted to steal the win from Lee.

“He was running up on the top of the track, and I was hoping for him to mess up just once,” said Bakkie who hugged the inside of the high-banked turns. “I certainly was out of my comfort zone down there.”

Third went to Jim Perry III of Concord.

Kimo Oreta (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer)

Kimo Oreta (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer)

Oreta Back in Victory Lane

They call Kimo Oreta “Flyin’ Mo” and his car was like a rocket in the Hobby Stock main event.

“We blasted to the front,” Oreta said while he patted his Camaro in victory lane. We were flying all night.”

It has been four weeks since reigning champion Oreta had won. He was third three times. Friend Jim Thompson donated new tires to Oreta, which helped make a difference this week.

Rookie Swank was chasing him down, with Calvin Louis of San Lorenzo in tow. Swank, who graduated from the former four-cylinder division, registered his best finish in a hobby stock.

“It’s all about team work,” he explained. “My dad (Ken Swank) is the biggest part of my success.”

David Teves passes Pat Urdahl (Photo by Paul Gould Track Photographer)

David Teves passes Pat Urdahl (Photo by Paul Gould Track Photographer)

David Teves Wins Four in A Row

            He may have ruined his engine, but he won again. David Teves wasn’t about to let his fourth win in a row slip away.

“My temperature gauge was showing 270 degrees, and I knew it was bad not to shut the car down,” said Teves in victory lane. “I was going to lift my foot off the gas pedal, then I saw the white flag and reasoned with myself that I need a new engine anyhow – I have to go for the win.”

            The Teves family has dominated the Dwarf Car division this season, with eight wins combined. David Teves notched his sixth win Saturday night, fighting off Concord neighbor Pat Urdahl and son Adam Teves.

 

 

 

Merced Speedway: Darren Miguel Winning and Having Fun in Rookie Season

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Darren Miguel

By Mike Adaskaveg

Merced Sun-Star

When it comes to being a winning stock car driver, Darren Miguel calls himself a “late bloomer.” Miguel, from Ballico, is riding high on his rookie season success at Merced Speedway.

Saturday night, Miguel will leave his day job in almond processing far behind when he dons a fire suit and helmet to hop into his ’94 Acura Integra at the quarter-mile clay track.

“I always wanted to drive a race car, but never had the opportunity,” Miguel, 28, explains. It was his cousin, Josh Hensley, who gave him a shot at being behind the wheel late last season.

“Once I strapped in, I was hooked,” Miguel says. “I bought the Integra, stripped it down over the winter and made it into s race car.”

Miguel is racing and winning in the highly competitive Mini-Stock Division at the speedway. It is an entry-level class of compact four-cylinder powered cars affordable to just about anyone who wants to try racing.

Hensley and Miguel’s cars carry the number “86”, a number which has been in the family for three generations of Merced Speedway racers.

“Having that number is a legacy for our family,” Miguel points out. “It is the number that gives us luck.”

Miguel is riding second in the point tally that determines the track champion. He’s just eight points behind Modesto’s Chris Corder, a veteran Mini-Stock driver.

“Even though we are rivals for the Mini Stock championship, we talk on the phone a couple of times a week,” Miguel says. “He offers me advice – he knows I am new to the sport.”

Miguel has a crew comprised of family members helping him work on the car during the week and performing pit duties at the track. In the stands are his brothers, sisters and cousins to cheer him on.

“I look forward to Saturday night,” Miguel says. “It is exciting to race and hear the cheers of the crowd. I can’t thank my family enough for their help and for their support.”

When Hensley moved up from the Hobby Stock division to the IMCA Sport mod division this season, it opened up a second opportunity for Miguel. He put an exclamation point on his rookie season when he jumped into Hensley’s Hobby Stock car and won the feature on the his first night out.

“I’ll be driving the Hobby Stock again,” Miguel adds. “And, I’ll be definitely chasing the championship in the Mini-Stock Division.

Two Classes of IMCA Racing Saturday Night

The International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) Modified and Sport Mod classes will headline Saturday night’s program at Merced Speedway.

The Northern All Star Limited Late Model Stock Car division will visit Merced to continue the challenge between the drivers of Antioch Speedway and Merced Speedway. Along with the other three classes of cars, the Hobby Stock and Mini Stock divisions will each compete in a complete program of qualification races and a feature event.

Merced Speedway is located inside the Merced County Fairgrounds; 900 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in Merced, Calif. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens and $8 for children 6-12. A family four-pack of tickets admits two children and two adults for $32.

Racing begins at 7 p.m. The grandstand opens at 5 p.m.