Antioch, CA…As the summer season kicks into high gear, Antioch Speedway continues It’s 63rd season of championship auto racing with another five division lineup. Back in action this week will be the Wingless Spec Sprints, joined by the Xtreme Late Models, Super Stocks, Delta Dwarf Cars and the Hardtops. The combination of open wheel and stock car racing should bring some excitement to the Speedway.
This is the 25th championship season for the Wingless Spec Sprints. It’s been a good run for the class. On Monday night, division founder Don O’Keefe Jr, who now resides in Pittsboro, Indiana, was voted into the track’s Hall of Fame. Don did the leg work in guiding this division through its first season and wrote all of the rules. Currently, we have a battle on our hands to see who will leave with the championship.
Oakley’s James East has been a model of consistency, but the Main Event wins have been eluding him since 2015. Last season, he led for several weeks until a red hot Shannon Newton forced him to settle for second in the standings. This year, he battles Jarrett Soares of Gilroy to see who can claim the honors. Soares has one win so far this year and is also a regular on the Hunt Series Tour, which returns on the 29th. He trails East by 10 points in the track’s title chase.
On the heels of a third place finish last time out ahead of nephew Dylan Newberry, Bob Newberry of Brentwood is hoping this could be the week he returns to the winner’s circle. At this point, only fellow two-time champions Jim Perry Jr and Darrell Hanestad have more feature wins than Newberry. Steve Maionchi of Sonora maintains third in the standings, and other drivers to watch for include 82-year-old mainstay Roy Fisher of Antioch, Jeff Scotto of Brentwood and rookie Steve Bruno of Pittsburg.
When it comes to Late Models, California racing fans might have to head up north to Oregon to get their fix. Thanks to Mike Slaney of Martinez, the Xtreme Scaffolding Late Model Series offers them another way. This Saturday night, the group makes their eagerly anticipated second visit of the season, and they will be doing it topless. This gives the fans an opportunity to see the drivers working the wheel as they make their way around the 3/8 mile clay oval.
Last time out, Live Oak’s Matt Michelli claimed the honors. A winner of 10 championships in his impressive career, the second-generation racer also finished second in the series standings behind Dan Brown Jr of Lincoln last season. These two fast competitors lead the charge coming into Saturday night. They may be the odds on favorites, but there is a local driver hoping to stake a claim on the winner’s prize.
Martinez racer Anthony Slaney has won multiple races on the tour, and he’s excited about making a run this week. He’s dabbled in IMCA Stock Cars and Modifieds at Antioch this year and has Top 5 finishes in both classes to show for it. Slaney is also a past IMCA Modified champion at Petaluma Speedway. Others joining him this week include Rod Oliver of Yuba City, Ray Trimble of Placerville and Shawn DeForest of Livermore.
Delta Dwarf Cars are back as the division continues it’s 26 championship season at the track. Last time out, it was last year’s runner-up and most improved driver Devan Kammermann of Dublin claiming the honors. He’s been enjoying some good racing with Chance Russell of Antioch and Pete Piantanida of Discovery Bay.
Unfortunately, Piantanida and David Rosa of Antioch were disqualified for failing to report to tech last time out. Both are looking to rebound this week. Russell leads Kammermann by just four points in the championship chase.
David Michael Rosa was left with a pretty damaged race car after an incident on the front straightaway that saw another car flip. Thankfully, Roberto Monroy has given the Antioch charger the opportunity to drive his car while making repairs. The second-generation racer remains in contention, just 12 points out of the lead.
The fastest of them all is three-time reigning champion Danny Wagner. The Bay Point leadfoot may be the favorite to win. He’ll be joined by fiance Ellie Russ of Bay Point, 2020 champion Travis Day of Concord and Sean Catucci of Antioch.
Super Stock racing returns for the latest round of their 24th championship season and Jim Freethy of Danville is hoping to get things back on track. So far, he’s had some mechanical issues giving him less than satisfactory results. The three-time reigning champion hopes to get it back into the winner’s circle. The season opener for the class was won by past Tri State champion Mike Learn of Petaluma. Learn leads Freethy by just eight markers.
Jimmy Robbins of Concord will have his 57 Chevy bodied X car back on track after being challenged by Ryan Cherezian. The two will settle it on the track in a battle to see who can finish in front of the other. Robbins is a past Super Hobby Stock and Figure 8 champion, who will be competing in the Figure 8 the following week. Others to watch for include 2020 champion Mike Walko of Oakley, Chad Hammer and Joey Ridgeway of Antioch and Jay Bryant of Folsom.
Not to be forgotten in the mix is the Hardtop division. Three races have yielded the same results. Joel Hannagan of San Jose has picked up the wins in the Doug Braudrick owned Junkyard Dog. The car is a tribute to Doug’s father Dick Braudrick’s Hardtop from Vallejo Speedway in the 1970s. Another tribute car will be brought from Creswell, Oregon. It’s the #0 car, which is a salute to the Lee Dudley car from the early 1970’s. It will be piloted by long-time Promoter Mike McCann.
The modern era of the Hardtop movement in California was launched by McCann back in 2002 at Sacramento Raceway and Orland Raceway. McCann had successfully promoted multiple championship seasons that paid purses to the competitors at Sunset Speedway in Banks, Oregon. He felt the division could take hold in California, and he was right. Multiple groups keep the spirit of Hardtop racing alive.
If there’s a driver who might have a shot at the win this week, it could be Brad Coello of Oakley or Ronnie Ruiz of West Sacramento. After Coelho fell out from a second place run last time, Ruiz moved into second in the standings. Ruiz leads Coelho by four points in the race for second and trails Hannagan by 20 in the championship chase.
Ronnie has won multiple races on the Hardtop circuit through the years, and he would love to be the one to evict Hannagan from the winner’s circle. However, everybody knows that won’t be easy. Other drivers to watch for include Don Slaney of Martinez, Joe Shenefield of Modesto and Ken Clifford of Placerville.
Saturday racing offers a nice variety for the fans to enjoy, from vintage Hardtops to Wingless Spec Sprints to Late Models. It will be a show you won’t want to miss.
The gates will open at 5:00 with the first race starting at 7:00.
Adult tickets are $20, Senior/Military $15, Kids (5-12) $15 and kids four and under free.
For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com or check out the Antioch Speedway by PROmotions Facebook page.