On to Merced Speedway – Chowchilla Winners Ready for Showdown Saturday Night!

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What a Dog Fight! Rick Diaz (16) rides outside Fred Ryland (7) to the finish in the Chowchilla Speedway IMCA SportMod Feature despite having no brakes and a failing fuel pump.

By Mike Adaskaveg

Merced Sun-Star

His car’s fuel pump was failing. The brakes were fading. Yet, Chowchilla’s Rick Diaz was able to give Fred Ryland of Brentwood a side-by-side battle all the way to the checkered flag Sunday night in the IMCA SportMod feature at Chowchilla Speedway.

Saturday night at Merced Speedway, the battle will continue.

Ryland, who is ranked second in the IMCA’s nationwide point system, has made no secret about going for the national championship. Diaz, who will be defending his Merced Speedway championship, wants to stop Ryland in his tracks.

“Every point counts – especially for the track championship,” Diaz said this week. “We had a bad start in January, and we need the wins.”

Diaz showed how strong his desire to win was on Sunday at the Chowchilla race.

“First it was the fuel pump, then the brakes,” he explained.

Yet, he still managed to stay side by side with Ryland for most of the 30-lap feature.

“I couldn’t get down low on the track because of my car’s situation,” he reasoned. “So I just drove as fast as I could in the top groove, and let the momentum keep my car alongside of his (Ryland’s).”

Ryland, who now has three straight IMCA SportMod victories in the young season, maintained his line throughout the entire race.

“He (Diaz) only had the momentum to pass me in the second turn,” he said. “So I held my line down low. I knew he couldn’t run well down there. That’s what gave me the advantage.”

Coming off of his rookie year, Chris Falkenberg of Turlock turned in an impressive run to take third in front of Chowchilla’s John Fore, Jr. Mark Squadrito of Manteca finished fifth in the 18 car field.

Santa Maria's Josh Vogt runs low at Chowchilla - passing Michael of Los Banos.

IMCA Modified Action: Santa Maria’s Josh Vogt runs low at Chowchilla Speedway – passing Michael of Los Banos.

Vogt Coming Back 

            Santa Maria’s Josh Vogt ran so well Sunday at Chowchilla Speedway, he said he will be coming back to race the Valley drivers in the IMCA modified division this Saturday night at Merced Speedway.

“It should be fun racing against the drivers there,” Vogt said. “I love the competition. There should be a good field of cars.”

Vogt is the reigning track champion at Chowchilla Speedway. His only challenge Sunday came from Billy Wilker of Reedley. Wilker ran high on the track, relinquishing the bottom groove to Vogt.

“Only Josh can run the bottom like that,” Wilker explained. “I‘m better on the high groove.”

Chowchilla’s Jeff Streeter finished third, followed by Ray Mayer of Bass Lake and Michael Shearer of Los Banos.

Backward Fun -

Backward Fun – Mini Stock drivers were told to run the track in the opposite direction. Darren Miguel of Balico (96) and Brian Widdowson of Denair battle for the lead int he Chowchilla Speedway Mini Stock main event.

Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks 

            Kevin Joaquin of Sonora raced his hobby stock to victory over Austin Van Hoff of Chowchilla. Both drivers are expected to race at Merced Speedway Saturday night.

In the Mini-Stock division, the field was told the run the track in the opposite direction. Darren Miguel of Merced topped Brian Widdowson Denair. Merced’s Joy Alger was third.

Champ Kevin Joaquin

Champ Kevin Joaquin

Saturday Night at Merced Speedway 

            The start of the weekly racing season begins at Merced Speedway Saturday night at 7 p.m. The new tri-track schedule has Antioch Speedway running sprint cars on the same night, meaning Merced Speedway should have a larger field of IMCA Modified and SportMod drivers. Chowchilla Speedway is on a monthly schedule.

Merced Speedway is located within the Merced County Fairgrounds, 900 Martin Luther King Way in Merced. The grandstand will open at 5 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens and $5 for children. A family four pack of tickets is $30.

 

 

 

Antioch Speedway Champs Honored – Weekly Season Begins Saturday! (MAR. 7)

Antioch Speedway Banquet -  Speedway Champions (l. to r.)  Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas - Northern All Stars Series;  Carl Berendsen of Antioch - IMCA Modified Division; Chris Magoon of Oakley - Winged 360 Sprint Car Division; Brent Curran of Antioch - "Four-Banger" Division; Danny Wagner of Bay Point - Dwarf Car Division; Larry Damitz of Vallejo - Limited Late Model Division; and, Kimo Oreta of Allendale - Hobby Stock Division.  Missing are Rob Gallaher of San Jose - IMCA SportMod division and Billy Macedo of Concord - Wingless Sprint Car division.

Antioch Speedway Banquet – Speedway Champions (l. to r.) Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas – Northern All Stars Series; Carl Berendsen of Antioch – IMCA Modified Division; Chris Magoon of Oakley – Winged 360 Sprint Car Division; Brent Curran of Antioch – “Four-Banger” Division; Danny Wagner of Bay Point – Dwarf Car Division; Larry Damitz of Vallejo – Limited Late Model Division; and, Kimo Oreta of Allendale – Hobby Stock Division. Missing are Rob Gallaher of San Jose – IMCA SportMod division and Billy Macedo of Concord – Wingless Sprint Car division.

Antioch Speedway’s s annual awards banquet last week honored 2014’s champions and top drivers in ten divisions. The speedway begins its weekly summer schedule this Saturday night (March 7) with Winged 360 Sprint Cars headlining the four-division program.

“I’m ready for the new season. We built a new car from the ground up over the winter,” Winged 360 Sprint Car champion Chris Magoon of Oakley said at the banquet. “Our goal is to win the championship again. We’re going for it.”

The Limited Late Model stock car division will also be featured this Saturday night. The division’s 2014 champion, Larry Damitz of Vallejo, has been racing at the track since 1953. He won the New Year’s Day special event at the speedway.

“I’ve got my cars ready,” Damitz warned rival Mike Hynes of Suisun at the banquet.

“I may have a chance to win one when you retire – if you ever do,” answered Hynes. “Seriously, it is an honor to race with a legend.”

The 2014 championship in the Hobby Stock division is the second straight for Kimo Oreta of Vacaville. Oreta wants to make it a hat trick.

“I’m going to defend my championships,” Oreta said. “I’m sticking with the Hobby Stock division and I’m going to bring my car to every race and run as fast as I can.”

Billy Macedo of Concord repeated as Wingless Sprint Car champ. On Saturday, the Wingless Sprint Cars debut as the “Econo 360” Wingless Sprint cars. The new name coincides with rules limiting the expense of the fast open-wheeled racers.

It was six years ago when Carl Berendsen’s buddies talked him into racing. Now, he is the champion of the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) modified stock cars.

“Winning the IMCA championship is truly special,” the Antioch roofing contractor said. “It brings with it national recognition from the IMCA.”

The IMCA Modifieds race at the speedway on March 14, as does the Dwarf Car Division.

“Driving a dwarf car is fast and fun,” said second time champion Danny Wagner of Bay Point. Wagner used to race in the pick-up truck division. “Now that I drive a dwarf car I don’t want to go to any other division.”

Antioch Speedway has discontinued the “Four Banger” division. The front wheel drive division has fallen from popularity as beginning racers opt for purpose built racecars. Brent Curran, 20, of Antioch will go down in the records as the last champion. Curran is moving up to the Hobby Stock division.

“It is a good feeling to move up. I need to learn to drive other types of cars,” Curran said. “I am broadening my resume – if it has a racing seat and roll bars, count me in as a driver.”

Curran was first in a field of 57 rookies at a go-kart race in Fontana this season. He’ll be driving in races at paved tracks and making every hobby stock race at Antioch Speedway. His dad, Flying Brian Curran was the Antioch Speedway modified champion in 2001.

“Racing is in my blood,” Curran added. “I even work at an indoor go-kart track.”

 

The Saturday (March7) program at Antioch Speedway begins at 6:30 p.m. Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Wingless Sprint Cars, Limited Late Models and Hobby Stocks will be racing on the high-banked 3/8-mile clay oval. Antioch Speedway is located in the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, 1201 W. Tenth St. in Antioch.

 

 

Ryan McDaniel Takes Chowchilla IMCA Modified Main; Ryland Repeats in SportMods

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Ryan McDaniel (10) battled Steve Noland in route to victory in the Chowchilla special race during the IMCA West Coast Nationals.

Ryan McDaniel of Chico hit his marks lap after lap as he stayed a step ahead of Torrance’s Cody Laney to win the final modified feature event in the IMCA West Coast Nationals Sunday evening at Chowchilla Speedway. Fred Ryland of Brentwood made it two straight wining the IMCA SportMod half of the event.

“As fast as it was up there on the top of the track I wasn’t about to venture anywhere else,” McDaniel said in victory lane. “It was a racey track, but there was no way he (Laney) was going to get me from the bottom.”

Laney stayed at the bottom of the track, thwarting third placed finisher Paul Stone’s bid for second. Stone, of Winton, was the top local driver in the event.

Troy Foulger (49) broke on the second turn of the first lap, making a bid to pass Billy Wilker (71)

Troy Foulger (49) broke on the second turn of the first lap, making a bid to pass Billy Wilker (71)

“He showed me a nose, but I kept ahead,” 19 year old Laney said of Stone. “I just couldn’t catch McDaniel. I knew I had to try something, but nothing seemed to work.”

Stone tried his best to crack the top two.

“I pushed a hole right through the floorboard,” he laughed.

FREDDIE RYLAND FAST AND SMOOTHIMG_9956.JPG

Ryland was untouchable at both Merced and Chowchilla. His nemesis, Nick Spainhoward of Bakersfield tried in vain to catch Ryland.

“Our car was just perfect,” Ryland said in victory lane. “The crew set it up just right.”

Now the national points leader, Ryland was asked of his plans.

“The national title now needs to be considered,” he said of his 2015 schedule. “I just have to explain that to my wife.”

CORDER CONTINUES ON

Chis Corder won the "Four Banger"Mini Stock feature in a pavement car

Chis Corder won the “Four Banger”Mini Stock feature in a pavement car.

Mini-Stock Champion Chris Corder of Stockton continued his winning ways in taking the first feature of the young season.

“I didn’t have a dirt car ready, so I came with the care I usually run on pavement at Madera,” Corder said in victory lane. “It surprisingly had no trouble winning.”
The racing season continues with practice sessions at Antioch, Merced, and Chowchilla speedways scheduled for February. The local season begins on March 1 at Chowchilla Speedway.

 

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