Antioch IMCA Action: Aaron Crowell Returns to Victory Lane, Ferguson Wins First Ever!

Aaron Crowell in route to victory in the IMCA Modified feature. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer

Aaron Crowell in route to victory in the IMCA Modified feature. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer

            Oakley’s Aaron Crowell dominated the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) Modified Stock Car class – winning both his qualifying race and the main event Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. The 2004 champion was untouchable as he blasted into an early lead and never looked back.

The five division program saw Jason Ferguson of Meridian take his first-ever win in the IMCA SportMod division, and Dan McCown of Oakley driving to a Hobby Stock victory in Steve Roger’s car. Jim Perry III of Concord is batting .500 this season after winning his fourth Northern All Stars wingless sprint car feature.

Mike Corsaro of Tracy won the Dwarf Car feature, which started with a memorial lap for driver Josh Miller’s father, Joe Reeder, who was killed in a car crash earlier in the week. Miller, of Pittsburg drove to second in the race.

Crowell Borrowed Engine to Race

           

Fred Ryland congratulates Crowell in victory lane.

Fred Ryland congratulates Crowell in victory lane.

Crowell’s family and friends work on and sponsor his car. When his engine started going bad a couple of weeks ago, they feared the season would end early.

Earlier in the week, Crowell borrowed an engine from IMCA SportMod racer Fred Ryland of Brentwood.

“I was just trying the engine out, and the thing ran like a top,” Crowell said in victory lane. “I’ve got to see if I can keep it.”

Terry Kaiser of Fairfield finished second with Nick Viscusi III of Vacaville chasing him across the finish line. IMCA Champ Carl Berendsen from Antioch was fourth with Antioch’s Ed Daviess following in fifth.

Ferguson Scores First Win

Ferguson was all smiles as he won his first race - ever

Ferguson was all smiles as he won his first race – ever

            “It’s my first win ever – in any kind of car at any race track – ever,” proclaimed Ferguson in victory lane after fighting off Antioch’s Ron Brown. “And it feels amazing.”

Ferguson, 20 began racing when he was seven years old. He’s raced in karts and stock cars – never winning.

“I finished second so many times,” he yelled. “I’m going to Disneyland!”

Brentwood’s Trevor Clymens was first to challenge Ferguson. The two cars got so close in turn two, that Clymens popped a tire. Then, Brown took up the chase, with Hayward’s KC Keller along side of him to the finish.

“It’s my last night racing for a while,” Brown explained in victory lane. He had been experiencing kidney problems. “The doctors told me to take a break and I figured I’d give it one more try. I was having a great season this year.”

Keller was third.

Ferguson got challenged by Trevor Clymens through the first half of the race. Clymens was sidelined with a flat tire.

Ferguson got challenged by Trevor Clymens through the first half of the race. Clymens was sidelined with a flat tire.

“I’m happy to get third place – it was great fun,” he said. “I made a decision to keep it clean and backed down on Brown when I couldn’t pass him without contact.”

Clymens came back for fourth, with Brentwood neighbor Fred Ryland alongside him and finishing fifth at the finish.

Perry III Almost Didn’t Win

            Perry III has four wins in eight outings, but the fourth win Saturday night almost didn’t happen. His car failed on the white flag lap.

“I was talking to my car, saying ‘just one more lap, come on, you can make it’,” he laughed in victory lane. A main bearing “spun” in the car’s engine, slowing him to a stop just after the checkered flag dropped.

James East of San Jose was a distant second, followed by Kyle Bakkie from Citrus Heights.

Dan McCown Jumps in and Goes

Dan McCown takes the high groove as he keeps Kimo Oreta (03) at bay. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer)

Dan McCown takes the high groove as he keeps Kimo Oreta (03) at bay. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer) 

            Veteran Hobby Stock ace McCown jumped in a Steve Roger’s car that just arrived at the race track moments before it’s heat race was called.

“My engine was in the Roger’s other chassis and it broke tonight,” McCown explained. “So he went back home to Oakley, got HIS car, and let me drive it.”

The strategy went well, as McCown kept a car length ahead of Vacaville’s Kimo Oreta the entire race.

McCown climbs out of Rogers' car.

McCown climbs out of Rogers’ car.

“I got caught in traffic,” said Oreta. “Once I broke free, it was all I could do to keep pace with him (McCown). He was fast.”

Third place finisher Natalie Perry from Concord had Mt. Diablo High School student Shayla Blackman, 14, along for the ride.

“I’m hooked. I wanted to be a race car driver since I was five, and now I know I HAVE to be a race car driver,” Blackman said of her first time on the track.

Frank Furtado of Antioch and Chris Sorensen of El Sobrante rounded out the top five.

Somber Night For Dwarf Car Drivers

Josh Miller (22) races in memory of his dad, Joe Reeder as he holds second to Mike Corsaro (00)

Josh Miller (22) races in memory of his dad, Joe Reeder as he holds second to Mike Corsaro (00)

 

It was a somber and reflective night for the drivers and crews in the Dwarf Car division Saturday night. Joe Reeder, an instrumental member of the dwarf car community at Antioch Speedway and beyond, died in a car accident earlier in the week.

Reeder’s brother, Tim Reeder and son Josh Miller race in the dwarf car division. Joe Reeder was Josh Miller’s crew chief.

Miller, from Pittsburg, carried a checkered flag for his dad in a memorial lap prior to the Dwarf Car feature. He then drove one of the best races of his career to finish second to top driver Corsaro.ADAS8291.JPG

Miller and sisters Mary Kay and Cassie survived Reeder, who was 51. He had two granddaughters and one great-grand child “on the way”.

“It was very hard to drive tonight,” Miller said after the race. “But it is what he would have wanted. He would have loved it to be here and see me trying so hard to win.”ADAS8284.JPG

 

This Week at Antioch Speedway

         DIRTCar Late Models headline Saturday night’s program at Antioch Speedway. The fastest stock cars on dirt will be joined by the Brentwood Auto Parts IMCA SportMod, Northern All Stars Limited Late Models, Winged 360 Sprint Cars and Hobby Stocks.

Antioch Speedway is located within the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, 1201 W. 10th St. in Antioch, Calif. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens, and $10 for children 6-12. Children under six years old are admitted free. A family four pack of tickets is $40. Secured parking is offered by the Fairgrounds for $5. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m.

Van Hoff Keeps The Family Name In the Racing Forefront

By Mike Adaskaveg

Special to the Sun-Star

As Austin Van Hoff dodged spinning cars and worked his way to the front of the pack in Merced Speedway’s Hobby Stock main event Sunay night, his father’s words kept playing over and over in his head.

“Be patient and things will go your way,” is what veteran driver Jack Van Hoff told his 17 year old son Austin.

Austin Van Hoff's First Win.

Austin Van Hoff’s First Win.

In his second full season of racing, the Chowchilla High School senior scored his first victory. He is the second high school student in two weeks to beat a field of experienced drivers. Merced’s Cody Parker won the previous week.

“It was still ubelievable when we got home and unloaded the car,” Austin Van Hoff said. “Growing up I watched my dad win and now he was in the pits watchimg me win.”

Jack Van Hoff hung up his helmet in 2008. He won the Tim Post Memorial 50 lap Street Stock event, and drove in three different divisions that year. When he moved up to the modified stock car division, he found costs to be high, so he retired to nurture his son’s racing goals.

The father and son found a Camaro stock car in Madera and brought it home to set it up for Merced Speedway. It was ready to race for the 2014 season, and the Van Hoff name returned to the lineup Merced and Chowchilla Speedways.

“I looked up to my dad as a race driver. My aunt, Cindy Briggs, also raced in the street stock division. So racing is always something I wanted to do,” Austin Van Hoff said.

The elder Van Hoff explained his own racing methodology to his son.

“Try two laps on the bottom (inside lane) of the track, two in the middle lane and two on top,” Jack Van Hoff said. “Then pick the one that the car goes fastest in.”

Austin Van Hoff did just that, and went on to win the race. Last week’s winner, Parker, tangled with Sonora’s Kevin Joaquin, and both cars went to the rear of the field. Van Hoff was then too fast for them to catch.

At Chowchilla High School, Van Hoff is setting goals to further his education in Agricultural Business. He is in the FFA and shows pigs.

Van Hoff sells the pigs they raise for meat. It is only fitting that Hobby Stocks are often referred to as “Pigs on Ice” as they squirm and slide through the turns of a race track.

“I can understand the saying – when a track gets dry and slick like Chowchilla did on ‘Fair Night’, cars were sliding everywhere,” he said. “I tried to avoid all the crashes and wound up getting collected in one of them.”

It is actually the pigs that keep the Van Hoffs in racing.

“The first year I got attached to the pigs, and it was hard to sell them off,”

Van Hoff explained. “Then, we put half the money we get from selling the pigs towards the race car and we bank the other half. So, the pigs now sponsor the race car. I feel better about that.”

Austin Van Hoff (44) battles Kevin Joaquin in the Hobby Stock main event a week ago.

Austin Van Hoff (44) battles Kevin Joaquin in the Hobby Stock main event a week ago.

 

This Sunday At Merced Speedway

The IMCA Modified ad SportMod divisions highlight the program that includes Hobby Stocks, Mini-Stocks and Dwarf Cars on Sunday evening.

Merced Speedway is located inside the Merced County Fairgrounds, 900 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.

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 6 p.m. on Sunday. The grandstand opens at 4:30 p.m.

 

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.

 

 

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