Antioch Speedway: Jake Haulot, Kyle Bakkie, Jeff Thomas and Mike Gustafson with Commanding Wins; Kimo Oreta Surprise Victor

051615JeffThomas_PG

Jeff Thomas (07) takes the inside as he passes Bobby Motts in IMCA Modified competition. Thomas was back with an old engine after breaking down twice in his last two Antioch outings. The old engine propelled him to a wire-to-wire run! (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer) 

Young drivers Jake Haulot of Cotati and UC Davis student Kyle Bakkie shared the sprint car winner’s circle Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. Haulot led start to finish in the Northern All Stars Winged 360 Sprint Car division, with veteran driver Art McCarthy of San Jose chasing. A long time driver also chased Bakkie, as Roy Fisher finished second in the Econo 360 Sprint Car division.

Jeff Thomas of Petaluma came back to Antioch Speedway after his new engine failed two weeks ago, installing old engine to win the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) modified feature event. He also led the race from pole to checkered flag. Kimo Oreta of Vacaville scored his fourth win of the year in the Hobby Stock Division and veteran driver Mike Gustafson was victorious in the Limited Late Model Division.

Haulot Hauls

IMG_9701.JPG

Jake Haulot of Cotati scored his first winged 360 win.

            “I had a broken torsion bracket in the front end, and had all I could do to hold on to the car,” Haulot said of his first win at Antioch Speedway. “The track was so fast, I was worried that someone would catch me.”

That someone would be cagey veteran Art McCarthy.

“I’ve been around long enough to see the kid had something broken on his sprint car – I could see his wheel hanging,” McCarthy said. “Experience told me to stay behind him. No sense losing both cars if something went wrong while I tried to pass him.”

Third place Shawn Arriaga of Antioch was in the mix, and had a big smile on his face after the main event.

“We were fast tonight – everyone was,” he said. “It was a thrilling night and a great finish for us.”

Fourth place finisher Chris Magoon of Oakley echoed the thrills.

“The track was so smooth and so fast, it took the breath right out of me,” he laughed. “It is quite an experience to feel that much speed.”

Chase Wood of Milpitas brought home fifth.

IMG_9707.JPG

More exciting than the Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames combined! Fourth place Winged 360 finisher Shawn Arriaga signs autographs for Canadian fans from B.C. and Alberta. They will be back! 

Bakkie Back for Another Win

051615Bakkie_PG

Kyle Bakkie takes the high groove as he wards off Roy Fisher (21) and passes David Dias. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer)

 

            Student Bakkie took a break from his studies to make continue his A+ season at Antioch. His third win of the year, backed up with all top five finishes make him the racer to beat in the Econo 360 Wingless Sprint Car division.

It did not look as though Bakkie would win because former San Francisco 49ers pro Jeremy Newberry of Brentwood led the first 14 laps of the race. Newberry was sidelined when it looked like he would have his first Antioch Wingless Sprint car win.

“The car had some damage unknown to me when it came in contact with another car in practice,” Newberry explained. “On the fourteenth lap, the rear axle tube came apart.”

“I was able to stay ahead but I knew there were some experienced drivers behind me.

Fisher and Rick Panfilli of Antioch were right there, waiting to make a move. Discovery Bay’s Ricky Brophy IV and Chase Wood, Jr. followed to complete the top five.

051615BerendsenChadwick_PG

While Jeff Thomas was driving like he stole it, Carl Berendsen was flying the Golden State Warriors colors. Kellen Chadwick, was too, though the gold was a shade off!. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer) 

No Game for Thomas 

            It was no game for Jeff Thomas of Petaluma, one of the developers of the Grand Theft Auto video game, as he was all business in leading the IMCA Modified race from start to finish. Thomas had been denied victory while leading by failing engines on his previous two Antioch outings this season.

“I had no engines left but this eight year old one that I put in the car for tonight’s race,” a happy Thomas said in victory lane. “It proved to be just right – and it lasted the whole night.”

Kyle Wilson of Salinas had his best run of the season as he chased Thomas.

“I was waiting for him (Thomas) to bobble,” Wilson said. “But, it never happened.”

California legend Scott Busby of Martinez was third, with Oakley’s Kellen Chadwick fourth. Michael Salazar of Antioch rounded out the top five.

Kimo is King in Hobby Stocks

051615Oreta_Nevin_PG

Kimo Oreta (03) snatched the win in Hobby Stock main when Robert Niven (69) and Tony Jennings made contact.                                                           (Photo by Paul Gould Track Photographer)

 

“I didn’t think I was going to win tonight,” admitted Oreta. “I worked my way from the back up to third and watched the battle for first.

That was when the cars of Pittsburg’s Tony Jennings and Robert Niven of Concord came together and spun out. Oreta found himself in first.

“A win is a win,” Oreta said. “No matter how surprising it is.”

Brentwood’s Brad Myers was second, followed by Jordan Swank of Concord, then Jennings and Niven.

 

Gustafson Great in Limited Late Models

051615Gustafson_PG

Driving the perfect line, like he has done year after year, Mike Gustafson brought home another win in the Limited Late Model Division. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer)

            Mike Gustafson of Concord won his second Limited Late Model feature of the year, topping Jim Freethy of Danville, and Vallejo’s Larry Damitz. Mark Garner of Antioch was fourth, chased by Mike Hynes of Suisun City.

Antioch Speedway on Memorial Day Break

            Antioch Speedway will be closed for two weeks, with the next event being on June 6, when IMCA Modifieds, Winged 360 Sprint Cars and Econo 360 Wingless Sprint cars again headline the show. Limited Late Models and Hobby Stocks will complete the five-division card.

Young drivers Jake Haulot of Cotati and UC Davis student Kyle Bakkie shared the sprint car winner’s circle Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. Haulot led start to finish in the Northern All Stars Winged 360 Sprint Car division, with veteran driver Art McCarthy of San Jose chasing. A long time driver also chased Bakkie, as Roy Fisher finished second in the Econo 360 Sprint Car division.

Jeff Thomas of Petaluma came back to Antioch Speedway after his new engine failed two weeks ago, installing old engine to win the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) modified feature event. He also led the race from pole to checkered flag. Kimo Oreta of Vacaville scored his fourth win of the year in the Hobby Stock Division and veteran driver Mike Gustafson was victorious in the Limited Late Model Division.

 

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

ADAS5616.JPG

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.