Photos Courtest Kartina Kniss Photography
By Don Martin II
Antioch, CA…We are now three months into racing season at Antioch Speedway, and nobody is walking off with the championship just yet in most of the classes. This Saturday night, we see a trifecta of IMCA sanctioned divisions, led by the Modifieds, Sport Modifieds, and Stock Cars. Also competing will be the Delta Dwarf Cars. In all four cases, the championship races are close.
Last Saturday night, Kellen Chadwick came within a whisker of picking up his third IMCA Modified feature win of the season. Though he settled for second behind 2004 title winner Aaron Crowell, he still managed to take a one-point lead over Bobby Motts Jr by the end of the evening. Motts managed a sixth-place finish, but that was much better than incoming leader Nick DeCarlo could accomplish. Nick had to borrow father Terry DeCarlo Sr’s car, but it was still a disappointing night that dropped him to third, three points behind Chadwick.
The good news is DeCarlo has done well enough that he could absorb a couple of bad nights and still not hinder his championship hopes too badly. It will still leave the DeCarlo team scrambling to get the car ready for Saturday. Chadwick might have had a bit of a bumpy start this year, but he’s begun to hit his stride. While 2017 champion Motts still searches for his first win, he finds himself in the hunt based on consistently good finishes. Thirteen points out of the lead in fourth is the top rookie Trevor Clymens, who leads Terry DeCarlo Jr by two points.
In IMCA Sport Modifieds, Fred Ryland seems to be hitting on all eight cylinders now. He had to start deep in the pack at the most recent race, which had no yellow flags. He also had to reel in Nick Zapatero and make a last-lap pass to secure his third win of the season. In doing so, Ryland wrestled the point lead away from Andrew Pearce by just two points. To this stage of the season, Pearce has done it with consistency, but the rising young star will probably need to get at least one win to keep up with Ryland in the championship chase.
Another of the division’s young guns, Jacob Mallet Jr, is just 11 points out of the lead in third. Mallet does have a win at Watsonville this year, but he’s still looking for his first Antioch victory. He finished fourth last time out to stay in the hunt. The standings were shaken up just a little bit this past week with a couple of absences from the field. Jason Ryan Jr has moved into fourth in the standings, 39 points behind Ryland. Five points behind Ryan is Chuck Golden. As we approach the midpoint of the season, this is the time for drivers to step it up in their quest for championship glory.
Reigning IMCA Stock Car champion Travis Dutra is still in pursuit of his first win of the season. He has been very consistent this year and has finished as high as second. This has enabled him to keep a seven-point lead over two-time winner Jason Robles. However, the past Dwarf Car and Mini Truck champion isn’t content to come out and finish second. He’s hungry for Main Event glory, and he’ll have his eyes on the prize this Saturday night.
It looks like the championship race may be a two-car battle at this point, although anything can happen. In the meantime, Kellen Chadwick and Jason Jennings find themselves tied for third in the standings, 10 ahead of the tied Joe Gallaher and Dave Hill. All four drivers are still looking for their first feature wins of the season in this class, although Gallaher is a multi-time winner in Hobby Stock competition at Watsonville this year, where he is the reigning champion. The competition level is fierce in this class, and it’s anybody’s guess who might win this week.
Danny Wagner has certainly raised the bar in Delta Dwarf Car competition. The two-time Antioch champion broke his arm about a month ago, and he still manages to pilot his car very impressively. Last time out, however, he followed up his heat race win with the DNF in the future race. It turned out to be the night in which Devan Kammeramann finally scored his first career win. The win for Kammeramann moved him to within four points of Wagner in another close championship battle. They say that the first win is the hardest, but it isn’t as tough after that. If that’s the case, Kammeramann may make it more challenging for Wagner this week and in the weeks ahead.
Chance Russell leads the battle for third, 14 points ahead of Ellie Russo, 18 ahead of David Rosa, and 22 in front of David Michael Rosa. All four of these drivers are in search of their first win of the season, and Russell has certainly been fast. David Rosa knows a thing or two about winning at Antioch Speedway as only four other drivers have won more Main Events than him in the history of this track. Dwarf Car racing is fast and furious, and the field has their sights set on Wagner and Kammeramann in the quest for Main Event glory this Saturday night.
Good car counts are anticipated in all four divisions when the action resumes this Saturday night. The grandstands will open at 4:00 with the first race firing off at 6:00.
Ticket prices are
$20 for adults,
$15 for Military, Seniors (60 and over), and Children (under 11)
Children five and under are free.
For further information, go to www.antochspeedway.com.