Merced Speedway: Alex Wilson over Ryan Porter – Again

 

Alex Wilson (39) stays low on the track to top Ryan Porter (14) in the IMCA Modified feature. (Photo by Mark Brooks, Track Photographer)

Alex Wilson (39) stays low on the track to top Ryan Porter (14) in the IMCA Modified feature. (Photo by Mark Brooks, Track Photographer)

It was déjà vu all over again in Sunday night’s IMCA Modified feature at Merced Speedway Alex Wilson of Salinas was chased across the finish line by Atwater’s Ryan Porter. It was Fred Ryland of Brentwood holding off a late charge by Bruce “Bubba” Nelson of Turlock in the IMCA SportMod feature.

Five divisions raced as part of the special “Legends of Merced” program. Some of the greatest drivers in the Speedway’s history drove Valley Sportsman cars to the start finish line and were interviewed in front of the crowd.

The "Legends of Merced Speedway" returned to be honored at the speedway's special event for them.

The “Legends of Merced Speedway” returned to be honored at the speedway’s special event for them.

Track Announcer and historian Don Martin III, right, interviews Dennis Moomjean about racing at the speedway three decades ago.

Track Announcer and historian Don Martin III, right, interviews Dennis Moomjean about racing at the speedway three decades ago.

Wilson Repeats Last Week’s Strategy

“I stayed on the bottom of the track, just like last week,” explained Wilson. “Why change something that works.”

His taking the inside lane was to Porters dismay, as he tried in vain to get the traction necessary to pass Wilson.

“I was stuck on the high lane,” Porter said. “Another caution could have made the difference.”

Troy Foulger from Martinez recovered from an early crash to come home third, followed by Bakersfield’s Robbie Sawyer.

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Jason Nation (83) takes the inside lane to challenge IMCA SportMod winner Fred Ryland (7). Photo by Mark Brooks, Track Photographer)

Nation Surprises Ryland and Nelson

            Bakersfield’s Jason Nation put the pressure on Ryland for most of the SportMod feature.

“He’s from Bakersfield, he can drive on a slick track,” Ryland said of the newcomer’s challenges. “I quit looking at him and concentrated on where I was going.”

Nation and Ryland traded positions for the lead while Nelson worked his way through the pack. He picked off Nation to take second with a lap to go.

“I raced him like he raced me – a little rough, but clean,” Nelson said.

Nation had no comment after the race except to say he was “not good.”

Fourth went to Chowchilla’s Rick Diaz, who was followed by Merced’s Darrin Thomas.

Back in the winners circle - Shane Hausmann is congratulated by veteran Race Director Steve Sutherland, who returned to Merced Speedway for the Legends of Merced program.

Back in the winners circle – Shane Hausmann is congratulated by veteran Race Director Steve Sutherland, who returned to Merced Speedway for the Legends of Merced program.

Haussmann Returns To Win

            Shane Haussmann came back from two years parental leave and returned to a familiar place – victory lane.

Mark Key (21) and Shane Hausmann (55) battle it out in the Hobby Stock main event.

Mark Key (21) and Shane Hausmann (55) battle it out in the Hobby Stock main event.

“Having twins is a life changing experience,” Hausmann said in victory lane. He drove his overheating Hobby Stock to victory over Merced’s Mark Key, whose car was also steaming on the final laps of the feature.

Kevin Joaquin of Sonora finished third, chased by Kristie Shearer of Los Banos.

Corder and Germait raced so close you couldn't tell there were two cars. (Photo by Mark Brooks, Track Photographer)

Corder and Germait raced so close you couldn’t tell there were two cars. (Photo by Mark Brooks, Track Photographer)

Corder Sputters to Another Win

Chris Corder’s Mini Stock sputtered to the checkered flag after waging a side-by-side battle with Merced’s Mike Germait. Corder, from Modesto, inherited the lead after Balico’s Darren Miguel saw his car sidelined after an engine failure midway through the feature.

“I thought I could beat Chris (Corder). It was a good battle,” said Germait, who was in his second race of the season. Jennifer Corder finished third, followed by Merced’s Jimmy Stockton and Miguel.

Eric Seeley Wins in Valley Sportsman Division

Eric Seeley flies by Marcus Lung in the winged Valley Sportsman retro division feature event.

Eric Seeley flies by Marcus Lung in the winged Valley Sportsman retro division feature event.The Valley Sportsman cars returned to Merced Speedway for the special “Legends of Merced” race.

 

 

Antioch DIRTcar Late Models: Jeff Decker Gets Win He Has Been Working For

Jeff Decker (84) passes Mike Hynes (04) in DIRTcar Late Model action.

Jeff Decker (84) passes Mike Hynes (04) in DIRTcar Late Model action.

Jeff Decker of Morgan Hill has been trying to get his new car to run perfectly all season long in the DIRTcar Late Model Stock Car division at Antioch Speedway. Saturday night, he did just that beating Hayward’s Danny Malfatti and Paul Guglielmoni from Vacaville in the feature event.

“The track was hooked up (had a lot of traction) and the cars were very fast tonight,” Decker explained. “My car was running awesomely tonight – it’s the best it’s ever been.”

The late model event was marred by a turn one pileup that collected most of the field. On an early race re-start, Chico’s Richard Papenhausen raced side by side with Livermore’s John Soares. Papenhausen’s car touched the wall, then spun sideways going into the turn, leaving the pack no where to go.

Most of the cars returned to the pits, made repairs, and re-entered the feature. Papenhausen’s crew entered the infield of the track to change a tire under the red flag, which is a rules violation. Papenhausen was black-flagged for the infield tire change when the race restarted.

The Field piled up in the first turn during the DIRTcar Late Model Feature.

The Field piled up in the first turn during the DIRTcar Late Model Feature.

Decker, who emerged unscathed from the wreck, raced to the lead. Malfatti tried to chase him down. Guglielmoni made major repairs to his car and returned to the feature to challenge Malfatti for second.

“I wish Papenhausen was in the race,” Decker said of his rival. “We would have had something for him tonight. We would have beaten him tonight.”

Decker felt his hard work setting up the new car finally paid off.

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Jeff Decker at Speed – Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer

“It’s been a long time coming,” he smiled.

Mike Hynes of Suisun City brought home fourth place driving David Newquist’s back-up car. Fifth went to Vallejo’s Larry Damityz, who brought his old late model stock car out of hibernation for the race. Damitz also brought his vintage 1970’s era “Hard Top” stock car and won the vintage car feature event.

Clymens_PG_WebvClymens First Win in IMCA SportMod Rookie Season 

            Brentwood’s Trevor Clymens, a rookie in the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) SportMod division, won his first race as he outran Anthony Giuliani of Morgan Hill.

“There were plenty of heart breakers this season,” Clymens said. “It’s our seventh race – we’ve led, we’ve run in the top three, but we couldn’t pull off a win until tonight.”

Clymens, a standout Hobby Stock driver 12 years ago, returned to Antioch Speedway this season with the SportMod.

“The car was set up for no failures,” he said of his SportMod. “And, it’s the best it’s been all season.”

Clymens maneuvered through traffic as Giuliani, a three-time winner in the division, gained ground.

Giuliani races hard with Al Johnson in the third turn. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer)

Giuliani races hard with Al Johnson in the third turn. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer)

“I just needed a caution flag to have a chance to race Trevor side-by side,” Giuliani said. “I was hung up in traffic at the beginning of the race and never could catch up after that.

Merced Speedway standout Rick Diaz was third, edging Brentwood’s Fred Ryland. KC Keller of Hayward completed the top five.

Joaquin’s Rocket

Kevin Joaquin alone in the lead of the Hobby Stock main event.  (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer

Kevin Joaquin alone in the lead of the Hobby Stock main event. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer

            Sonora’s Kevin Joaquin won his second Hobby Stock feature of the season. Joaquin topped Merced’s George Silva, who fought off challenges from Jordan Swank of Concord and Vacaville’s Kimo Oreta. Cameron Swank of Antioch was fifth.

After the race, Swank commented that Joaquin’s car was a “rocket”

“All I did was wash my car after last week and I won,” Joaquin told the other drivers.

Silva complimented Joaquin.

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Larry Damitz (100) on route to victory in the Vintage Hardtop race. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer)

“He raced hard and he raced against me clean,” Silva added.

This Week At Antioch Speedway

            A six division show is on the card Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. Northern All Stars Winged and Wingless 360 sprint cars and IMCA Modified stock cars headline the event. Also included are the Brentwood Auto Parts IMCA SportMods, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf cars.

Antioch Speedway is located within the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, 1201 W. 10th St. in Antioch, Calif.

Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens, and $10 for children 6-12. 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.

Merced Speedway: Darren Miguel Winning and Having Fun in Rookie Season

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Darren Miguel

By Mike Adaskaveg

Merced Sun-Star

When it comes to being a winning stock car driver, Darren Miguel calls himself a “late bloomer.” Miguel, from Ballico, is riding high on his rookie season success at Merced Speedway.

Saturday night, Miguel will leave his day job in almond processing far behind when he dons a fire suit and helmet to hop into his ’94 Acura Integra at the quarter-mile clay track.

“I always wanted to drive a race car, but never had the opportunity,” Miguel, 28, explains. It was his cousin, Josh Hensley, who gave him a shot at being behind the wheel late last season.

“Once I strapped in, I was hooked,” Miguel says. “I bought the Integra, stripped it down over the winter and made it into s race car.”

Miguel is racing and winning in the highly competitive Mini-Stock Division at the speedway. It is an entry-level class of compact four-cylinder powered cars affordable to just about anyone who wants to try racing.

Hensley and Miguel’s cars carry the number “86”, a number which has been in the family for three generations of Merced Speedway racers.

“Having that number is a legacy for our family,” Miguel points out. “It is the number that gives us luck.”

Miguel is riding second in the point tally that determines the track champion. He’s just eight points behind Modesto’s Chris Corder, a veteran Mini-Stock driver.

“Even though we are rivals for the Mini Stock championship, we talk on the phone a couple of times a week,” Miguel says. “He offers me advice – he knows I am new to the sport.”

Miguel has a crew comprised of family members helping him work on the car during the week and performing pit duties at the track. In the stands are his brothers, sisters and cousins to cheer him on.

“I look forward to Saturday night,” Miguel says. “It is exciting to race and hear the cheers of the crowd. I can’t thank my family enough for their help and for their support.”

When Hensley moved up from the Hobby Stock division to the IMCA Sport mod division this season, it opened up a second opportunity for Miguel. He put an exclamation point on his rookie season when he jumped into Hensley’s Hobby Stock car and won the feature on the his first night out.

“I’ll be driving the Hobby Stock again,” Miguel adds. “And, I’ll be definitely chasing the championship in the Mini-Stock Division.

Two Classes of IMCA Racing Saturday Night

The International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) Modified and Sport Mod classes will headline Saturday night’s program at Merced Speedway.

The Northern All Star Limited Late Model Stock Car division will visit Merced to continue the challenge between the drivers of Antioch Speedway and Merced Speedway. Along with the other three classes of cars, the Hobby Stock and Mini Stock divisions will each compete in a complete program of qualification races and a feature event.

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 $8 for children 6-12. A family four-pack of tickets admits two children and two adults for $32.

Racing begins at 7 p.m. The grandstand opens at 5 p.m.