Words like “finesse” and “patience” are not usually associated with the rough and tumble world of dirt track stock car racing. They are words used by veteran drivers preparing for Saturday night’s “Terrific Two”, a double-header for modified and late model stock cars at Antioch Speedway.
“Antioch Speedway is like a bullring – it’s a little smaller than most race tracks,” said late model stock car driver David Newquist. “It’s a driver’s race track. It takes finesse to deal with the walls and tight corners. I’m getting better at driving here.”
Newquist, of Chico, was on hand a week early to fine tune his skills in preparation for big June 22 race. The late model stock cars will have the largest purse of the new season, as will the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) modifieds.
With $2500 going to the winner of the modified event, veteran driver Scott Busby of Martinez offered some advice.
“More patience is needed for a big race,” he said. “The big events here can be tough because there’s too much action early in the race and not enough patience. It’s best to just race the first half of the feature, then race hard the second half of the feature.”
After a decade-long absence, the late model stock cars are a part of the regular mix of race divisions at the track.
“Late model stock car racing is exciting,” said promoter John Soares. “We brought the division back with hopes it will grow in popularity with both the fans and drivers.”
This past Saturday night’s racing saw several drivers doing double duty – hopping back and forth from modifieds to late models.
“It’s hard to drive two different cars in one night,” said three time modified track champ Troy Foulger of Martinez. “But, it can be fun. I don’t prefer one to the other. The cars are different, but the key is to adapt and remember how to handle the car you are in.”
Richard Pappenhausen of Chico, who won the late model event last Saturday night, finished second to Kellen Chadwick in the modified main event.
“It can be a real workout for a driver to race two cars in one night,” Pappenhausen explained. “You’re going from a modified with small tires the requiring the driver to have more throttle control to a late model with big tires and a better suspension.”
For Livermore’s Shawn Deforest, juggling cars is routine. He was working on three, driving two, last Saturday night as he prepared for this weekend’s “Terrific Two”.
“Sure, it is a challenge (to drive two different cars in a night),” he said. “However it is easier than it was in the past. Technology has made the modified a lot closer to the late model stock car in recent years. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
The “Terrific Two” racing program will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 22. Regular admission prices are in effect. Adult admission is $14, senior admission is $10, and a child admission is $8. There is a family four-pack of tickets (two adults, two children) for $38.
Antioch Speedway is located in the Contra Costa Fairgrounds, 1201 West 10th Street, Antioch, Calif. 94509. Secure parking is available for $5, charged by the fairgrounds.