MERCED SPEEDWAY: TO THE FORE FRONT – PARTNERSHIP PAYS OFF

To the Fore-front: John Fore's partnership with Bob Smith has paid off as the two drivers share this car.

To the Fore-front: John Fore’s partnership with Bob Smith has paid off as the two drivers share this car. (Mike Adaskaveg Photo)

By Mike Adaskaveg

Merced Sun-Star

When John Fore was growing up, he always wanted to be a racer, but his dad cautioned him against it.

Now, years later, he’s the top runner in the race to be “Rookie of the Year” in the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) SportMod division at Merced Speedway.

“My dad would tell me not to waste my money,” Fore says. “I would argue back that it is not a waste of money because it is fun, and you have to have fun in life.”

Fore dabbled in quad racing a few years back. His dad asked “Why?”

The Chowchilla driver decided to become a pit crewmember – something he could do to have fun and be involved in racing – without spending money.

Fore races TJ Etchison in a  IMCA SportMod heat race. (Mike Adaskaveg Photo)

Fore races TJ Etchison in a IMCA SportMod heat race last Saturday night. Etchison went on to win the feature event.. (Mike Adaskaveg Photo)

The desire to drive proved too strong to ignore. Fore, at age 46, became a stock car driver this year. He did so by partnering up with friend Bob Smith from Merced. The two purchased a SportMod racecar to share.

“When people asked why, I just told them because we had a room full of money,” he laughs. “Actually, sharing a car with Bob (Smith) has been a way to race without spending much money. It is way less expensive than quad racing.”

Smith drove the car last season at Merced Speedway. Fore will drive it this season. Next season, they will split the season, driving 10 races each.

Fore’s goal for “Rookie of the Year” is very much attainable. A crack at the track championship is a long shot.

“I’m trying for a top three position at the end of the season,” Fore explains. “I’m 21 points away from third. I would be so happy with that – especially never driving a race car before this year.”

The SportMod class, comprised of older modified stock cars driven by beginners, seasoned veterans – and everyone in between – was developed by the IMCA as a cost effective racing division.

Fore, who repairs farm trucks and dairy farm equipment for a living, saw a future in the new division.

“Bob (Smith) and I predicted a couple of seasons ago that the class would get bigger and bigger,” he adds. “Now, it is so popular that it is the best class to race in. It has become the premiere racing division.”

Finishing fourth was a major accomplishment for Fore. He was running in the top three a few times this year and competitors spun out his car.

“I was mad,” he says. “But, Bob (Smith) calmed me down. He has the opposite personality. He told me ‘that’s racing – time to move on and think about the next race’.”

Fore’s large following of family and friends supports him from the stands.

“I get a lot of encouragement,” he adds. “With that and Bob being the calming force of our team, we should be good for the second half of the season.”

How can you beat IMCA Modified action like this! Ricky Thatcher gets a little  loose breaking for a spinning car ahead of him. Jeff Streeter dives low. JR Harper squeezes between. Clay Daly takes the high road. (Mike Adaskaveg Photo)

How can you beat IMCA Modified action like this! Ricky Thatcher gets a little loose breaking for a spinning car ahead of him. Jeff Streeter dives low. JR Harper squeezes between. Clay Daly takes the high road. (Mike Adaskaveg Photo)

Saturday Night at Merced Speedway

Four divisions of racecars are on the schedule at Merced Speedway on Saturday night. There will be complete programs of qualifying races and a feature for each division.

The IMCA Modified and SportMod racecar divisions will headline the show. The four-cylinder Mini Stock and the winged retro Valley Sportsman divisions will join them.

In last week's IMCA Modified feature, Karl Rose drove a superb race. He led most of the way, then locked into a battle with Paul Stone for the last few laps. Stone nipped him at the line. (Mike Adaskaveg Photo)

In last week’s IMCA Modified feature, Karl Rose drove a superb race. He led most of the way, then locked into a battle with Paul Stone for the last few laps. Stone nipped him at the line. (Mike Adaskaveg Photo)

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.

 

 

GENE ROMERO’S FLAT TRACK MOTORCYCLE RACING COMES TO ANTIOCH SPEEDWAY SATURDAY (JULY 12) !!!

101604AntiochSpeedwayMotorcycles002lores

Gene Romero’s nationally acclaimed professional championship motorcycle races will take place at Antioch Speedway for the first time on Saturday night. Both fans and drivers are anticipating a wild night of racing on the 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval.

The series, which last raced in Las Vegas, has West Coast Series champion Tony Meiring, of Tracy, preparing to race at a track he never visited – even though it is in his own “back yard.”

“I’ve been calling friends who race cars at the track to get a hint of what to expect,” Meiring said. “I’ve been racing motorcycles since I was four years old – that’s 26 years now, and I’ve never been to Antioch Speedway.”

Meiring, who races in the top “Open Pro” division, tried racing cars, but it didn’t work out.

“I’m not a car guy,” he laughed. “I’m way too brave when I have a roll cage around me.”

Driving at 90 miles an hour side by side in a pack of 16 motorcycles that are inches apart may seem extreme to most racers.

“Fitness is a big part of motorcycle racing,” Meiring added. “You’re controlling a speeding bike with your whole body.”

A personal trainer by trade, Meiring now manages a large fitness center in Tracy. His workout routine equals what is necessary for many professional sports.

“You have to be 100 per cent mentally and physically,” he explained. “A lot of daily cardio – it is necessary to get oxygen to the muscles, and to eliminate stress for mental strength.”

He follows up with weight training so he could control his Honda 450 racing bike. He also tried to keep excess weight off of his body.

“The lighter you are, the more horsepower you have,” he reasoned.

Drivers, who are coming to California from many states West of the Mississippi, are not familiar with racing on a high-banked oval like Antioch Speedway. Most tracks they race on are flat.

“There will be a whole different set-up and strategy,” Meiring explains.

“The G-forces will be intense. The speeds will be faster.”

Meiring knows no fear. He’s survived many spills during his career, the worst leaving him with a steel plate screwed to the bones in his arm.

“Spills happen – it is part of motorcycle racing,” Meiring said. “Keeping yourself fit is keeping yourself safe.”111710AntiochSpeedwayMotorcycles001lores

 

Antioch Speedway to Open Early

The Gene Romero West Coast Pro Championship Motorcycle Races at Antioch Speedway will begin with time trials at 5:15 p.m. The first race will be ay 7 p.m. There will be four divisions of motorcycles racing. A total of 80 motorcycles is expected. Heat races and features will take place for each division.

Practice for the drivers will take place at 4:30 p.m. The grandstand will be open at 4 p.m. for fans wishing to arrive early.

Admission is $14 for adults, $10 for children 6-12, and $8 for senior citizens. 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. Antioch Speedway is located within the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, 1201 W. 10th St. in Antioch, Calif.Gene Romero Schedule01lores