When Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas comes to town, the intensity of competition goes up a notch at Antioch Speedway.
Add North Carolina-based NASCAR star Kenny Wallace, a consummate dirt track driver, and the bar is raised even higher.
Four-time track champ Troy Foulger rose to the occasion, showing the visitors the fast way to the finish line as he won the Antioch Speedway Summer Nationals main event on Saturday night.
Foulger, from Martinez, was not about to let Hogge IV or Wallace rule in the $2500-to-win International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) sanctioned modified stock car feature race. He and Hogge IV waged a cat-and-mouse battle for first right up to the fall of the checkered flag.
Cheered on by a full grandstand of fans standing up for the final two laps, Foulger scored a victory for the local racers. Wallace finished 10th.
Foulger came out of the box fast at the start of the IMCA Modified feature, dashing to a straightaway lead ahead of the pack of 18 cars.
That gap was soon erased.
The car of Oakley’s Aaron Crowell stalled in turn four to bring out a caution flag with eight laps to go in the event. That set up the battle between Foulger and Hogge IV.
On the restart, Kellen Chadwick of Oakley and Randy McDaniel of Chico were right behind Foulger and Hogge IV, waiting for a miscue by either driver. There were no mistakes as Foulger and Hogge IV raced side by side to the finish.
“Bobby (Hogge IV) is a great competitor no matter where he races,” Foulger said in victory lane. “I saw the nose of his car along side me quite a few times. What a race! It is such a great feeling to win like this.”
Hogge IV praised his new car and the track.
“This is the best track I’ve raced on in a long time – smooth and fast. We’ve got the new modified set up right,” he said after the race. “Troy (Foulger) just did a great job reading the track. It was a great race.”
McDaniel, Chadwick, and Darrell Hughes of Manteca completed the top five finishers in the 18-car field.
“These drivers are the best,” Wallace said after the race. “It was a thrill racing with them. The competition is top-notch here. This race track is tough and fast.”
Wallace secured his position in the IMCA main event by winning one of two “B-Main” events. After winning, he stood on the door edge of his Las Vegas-based IMCA car to the delight of fans chanting “Earnhardt” – until he sang a song written by John Roberts, his NASCAR Race Day TV show co-host.
Hogge Dominates Late Model Stock Car Event
Hogge IV, considered California’s best dirt tack driver, was untouchable in winning the DIRTcar Late Model Stock car feature event of the Summer Nationals. His commanding lead was never challenged.
“I pride myself in setting up a car to have momentum getting through the turns,” Hogge IV explained. “Getting into the turns deeper and getting up to speed faster coming out of the turns is the key.”
Randy Shafer of Vacaville topped Anthony Restad of Santa Rosa in the battle for second. Ryan McDaniel of Chico drove Richard Papenhausen’s car to fourth. Jeff Decker of Morgan Hill brought home fifth.
Thomas New Winner IMCA SportMod Event
Darrin Thomas of Atwater raced his car three years without a win until he scored in the IMCA SportMod portion of the Summer Nationals. Thomas was able to out-run IMCA national point leader Fred Ryland of Brentwood, who finished second.
“I haven’t won here since ’93,” Thomas proclaimed in victory lane.
Ryland complimented Thomas.
“He did a great job – I just couldn’t catch him,” Ryland explained.
Jorddon Braaten of Medford, Oregon finished third on his first visit to Antioch Speedway. Matt Haggio of Watsonville and Paul Mulder from Pleasanton were fourth and fifth.
Ryland, Busby Win in Friday Night IMCA Program
The Summer Nationals heated up with special Friday night events at Antioch Speedway. Veteran racer Scott Busby scored $1500, winning his fourth IMCA Modified feature event of the season. He fought off Ryan McDaniel and his dad Randy McDaniel, who finished second and third, respectively. Hogge IV was fourth, and Nick DeCarlo of Martinez finished fifth. Larry Damitz of Vacaville won the Limited Late Model feature.
Action Returns to Antioch Speedway July 11
The DIRTcar Late Model Stock Car, IMCA SportMod and Northern All Stars Winged 360 Sprint Car divisions headline the July 11 event at Antioch Speedway. The speedway is closed for the 4th of July holiday.
SUMMER NATIONALS PHOTO HIGHLIGHTS: TWO NIGHTS OF THRILLS AND SPILLS:
Mark Garner went over in turn Three during the Limited Late Model feature event on Friday. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Phorographer)