Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas repeated history in taking both legs of the 4th Annual Delta-Valley Classic at Antioch and Merced Speedways, collecting $4000 in winnings and a $500 bonus. Hogge IV accomplished the same unlikely feat four years earlier.
Challenged by 16-year-old Ethan Dotson of Bakersfield, the veteran Hogge IV searched for the right groove to maintain the lead at Merced Speedway. Winton’s Paul Stone, who finished third at Merced and second at Antioch Speedway, chased Dotson across the finish line.
“Ethan (Dotson) is a true racer – he left me room to race him clean. He’s very impressive for his age,” Hogge IV said in victory lane. “As the track became slicker and slicker, I tried to stay in the same ruts lap after lap to maintain traction.” The Delta-Valley Classic closes the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) season for modified and SportMod race cars.
Easrlier this summer, Dotson pulled off an upset, winning the IMCA Harris Clash in Iowa. He was the first Californian to win the race.
Soft-spoken Dotson was modest after the race.
“I came close to passing him a few times – once I almost did it on a restart,” he said. “Bobby (HoggeIV) was just a little bit better than I could be tonight.”
The event began Saturday night at Antioch Speedway, where Stone got behind Hogge IV just before the finish.
“I wasn’t surprised to see Paul (Stone) there,” Hogge IV said of the Antioch Speedway race. “I could see him hounding Brian Cass on the bottom, so I went to the bottom and that was the place to be.”
Stone, who worked his way to the front had a smooth drive at Antioch, but had to survive a couple of skirmishes at Merced Speedway.
“I tried not to overdrive, because I needed to be there at the end,” Stone said of his Antioch performance. “From starting 13th to finishing second wasn’t a bad run.”
Merced Speedway action saw Stone narrowly avoid serious damage from spinning cars. He brushed the fourth turn wall early in the race.
“I started too far back,” Stone said. “It was a hornet’s nest back there. My front end was a little messed up – that would make it hard to catch a top driver like Bobby (Hogge IV).”
At Antioch Speedway it was Chico’s Duane Cleveland, Ryan McDaniel of Chico, and Troy Foulger of Martinez who completed the top five spots behind Hogge IV and Stone in the 22-car field.
Merced Speedway saw Stone, followed by Kyle and Alex Wilson of Salinas to complete the top five behind Hogge IV and Dotson.
Winners in the other divisions at Antioch Speedway included: Vallejo’s Larry Damitz in the Northern All Stars Limited Late Model division, Fred Ryland of Brentwood in the IMCA SportMod division, and Concord’s Jordan Swank in the Hobby Stock division.
Merced Speedway winners included Turlock’s Chris Falkenberg in the IMCA SportMod division, Cody Parker of Merced in the Hobby Stock division and Roy Hart, Jr. in the Northern All Stars Limited Late Model Division.
The 2015 season has concluded at Antioch and Merced Speedways. The 2016 schedule will be posted in November.