Salazar Tops Crowell; Track Prepares for World of Outlaws Sept. 7

Keith Brown, Jr (128) battles Robert Galaher (1) in IMCA SportMod heat race action.

Keith Brown, Jr (128) battles Robert Galaher (1) in IMCA SportMod heat race action. (PAUL GOULD PHOTO)

Michael Salazar of Antioch battled Aaron Crowell of Oakley to the finish in the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) modified stock car main event Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. The race program was the last August event, as the speedway prepares for the World of Outlaws sprint car tour’s visit on Sunday, Sept. 7.

Salazar, who won a feature event early in the season, had damaged his car in June and was waiting for parts until his return on Saturday.

“I was hoping to get one or two more races in,” he said after the win. “To come back and win is fantastic.”

Salazar drew pole position in the feature because he finished last the night he crashed. On a lap three restart, he passed Crowell coming out of turn two. Salazar never relinquished the lead.

Michael Salazar (29) is door to door with Aaron Crowell (1) in the IMCA Modified feature. (Paul Gould Photo)

Michael Salazar (29) is door to door with Aaron Crowell (1) in the IMCA Modified feature. (Paul Gould Photo)

“I barely held him off – especially in lapped traffic,” Salazar said. “I could see the nose of his car pulling alongside of me lap after lap.”

Crowell and Salazar were both excited in victory lane.

“It was a great race,” Salazar said. “We were both pumped up after going door to door for the distance.”

Eric Vanhooser of Campbell brought home third place in his initial Antioch Speedway modified run. Brothers Kyle and Alex Wilson of Salinas rounded out the top five

Brown Goes Green to Checkered in SportMods

            Keith Brown, Jr. of Pittsburg led start to finish in a non-stop IMCA SportMod feature event. Second place Fred Ryland of Brentwood couldn’t catch Brown. In fact, Ryland thought he was the leader.

“I just drove as fast as I could,” Brown, Jr. said. “Then, half-way through the race I saw Fred’s number in second place. I looked and saw him across the track coming out of turn two when I was coming out of turn four. That was a good feeling.”

In his previous outing, Brown, Jr., failed to finish the race. He made several changes to his car that enabled him to score his first win of the year.

Following Ryland was Paul Mulder of San Jose, Jeremy Hoff of Copperopolis, and Oakley’s Megan Ponciano.

Kimo Wins Hobby Stock Thriller

Vacaville’s Kimo Oreta brought home his fifth Hobby Stock feature win of the season. It did not come easy in the caution flag filled event. Brentwood’s Brad Myers and Oakley’s Nick Baldwin challenged Oreta.

“Brad (Myers) had me, then he got tangled up in some traffic,” Oreta said. “Nick (Baldwin) and I had a heck of a run for the money. He got the lead from me a couple of times, then I got the lead back. That’s great racing.”

Oreta had his Camaro working well high on the racetrack. He took the lead from Baldwin and stayed at the top when the race was ended after the sixth caution flag.

“You never know what is going to happen in racing,” said Oreta. “Time was up for the event. A win is a win.”

Mike Gustafson in the Limited late Model Feature (Paul Gould Photo)

Mike Gustafson in the Limited late Model Feature (Paul Gould Photo)

Curran, Gustafson and Wagner Win

Brent Curran of Antioch continued his domination of the four cylinder

“Four-Banger” division. He topped Jordan Swank of Concord and Carlos Gonzalez of Bethel Island.

Mike Gustafson of Concord raced to the checkered flag first in the limited late model main event. Mark Garner and Larry Damitz of Vallejo completed the top three.

Bay Point’s Danny Wagner came from the middle of the pack to win in the Dwarf car main event. Mike Corsaro of Tracy finished second.

Danny Wagner (11D) and Mike Corsaro duke it out in the Dwarf Car main event. (Paul Gould Photo)

Danny Wagner (11D) and Thomas Leiby duke it out in the Dwarf Car main event. (Paul Gould Photo)

Preparation Underway for World of Outlaws Sprint Cars

There will be no racing at Antioch Speedway this weekend as the track prepares for the World of Outlaws sprint cars event on Sunday, Sept. 7.

The World of Outlaws September visitis the speedway’s biggest event of the year. The professional drivers in the World of Outlaws tour North America throughout the season.

North Dakota’s Donny Schatz is the driver to beat in the series. Schatz has 17 wins to date. Oklahoma’s Daryn Pittman follows with 12 wins. Local favorite Paul McMahan of Elk Grove is in third place in World of Outlaws points and has four wins this season.

Reserved seating tickets for Antioch Speedway’s Sept. 7 World of Outlaws race are available on the World of Outlaws website and on the Antioch Speedway website: www.ovalmotorsports.com

 

Merced Speedway: Diaz v. Stone – The Fight for the IMCA SportMod Championship

By Mike Adaskaveg

Merced Sun-Star

Though the Bay Cities Racing Association has scheduled a one-time special event for Midget Lites Saturday night at Merced Speedway, the focus is upon the heated battle for the track’s SportMod championship.

For Rick Diaz of Los Banos, his only chance at winning the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) National Championship comes with winning the Merced Speedway Championship. There are only two more IMCA point races left at the speedway.

Diaz is ranked in the top 10 nationally, 40 points out of first place. The IMCA gives drivers bonus points for winning a track championship. There are more bonus points awarded for the average car count that a driver has to beat in becoming a track champion.

“The national championship is still in reach for me,” Diaz contends. “The Merced championship can erase the amount of points I am behind.”

Last weekend, a heat race wreck knocked the rear end out of Diaz’s car. He scrambled to the pits, making repairs in time for the feature. He started last and finished third.

Only one other driver can spoil Diaz’s run for the national title – Winton’s Ramie Stone.

“I have to survive the heat races and then finish ahead of him in the feature,” Diaz explains. “He’s a tough competitor.”

Stone is a six-time track champion at Merced Speedway. Four of those times he raced in the IMCA modified class. He went on a five-year hiatus to spend time with his family and is looking for the track championship in his comeback year.

“I figured out how to run with him, now I have something for him,” Stone says of Diaz. “I wish him no bad luck. He’s had enough on his own. I want to beat him clean.”

The IMCA SportMods are like the old modifieds Stone used to run in the early 2000’s. At the time, he raced 35 races a year. This year, he’s focused on his hometown track.

“It’s a personal quest,” Stone explains. “I left a champion, I want to come back as one.”

Stone emphasized he loves to race without crashing.

“If a driver runs me hard, I’ll run him hard,” he maintains. “But, don’t take me out and I won’t take you out.”

Stone will make Diaz work for his championship.

“I won’t lay down. I’ll give it my all,” he says.

Diaz puts the responsibility to win upon himself.

“Consistent driving and a consistent, thorough maintenance program will make the difference,” he predicts. “I will do the best I can do.”ADAS1526.JPG

Merced Speedway Saturday Night

The BCRA Winged Midget Lites have never raced at Merced Speedway in many years. Saturday night’s event came about because there was a rainout at a Northern California Speedway and that speedway did not have an open date.

The fast open-wheeled cars will be competing in a complete program of qualifying races and a main event. A full field of cars is expected, since the BCRA is a “traveling show.”

IMCA SportMods, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks will also be featured at the speedway. 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 $5 for children 6-12. A family four-pack of tickets admits two children and two adults for $30.           Racing begins at 7 p.m. The grandstand opens at 5 p.m.