Les Friend, Fred Ryland Win IMCA Thrillers at Merced Speedway

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Les Friend of Galt (15) passes Merced’s Bob Williamson early in the IMCA Modified feature.

By Mike Adaskaveg

Merced Sun-Star

When Les Friend of Galt won his first race ever in IMCA modified stock car competition Saturday night at Merced Speedway, he had no idea who the driver was that challenged him at the finish line.

“I always dreamed of driving a modified and racing against the big names – Bobby Hogge, IV, Paul Stone, Scott Busby,” said Friend, whose first race was at Merced just two months earlier. “I didn’t know who was trying to pass me until after the race.”

That driver trying to pass Friend would be Merced Speedway champ and Valley racing legend Paul Stone, driving a friend’s car because his was destroyed in Arizona a few weeks earlier.

Paul Stone was behind the wheel of the #44. Here, he works his way past Atwater's Bill Egleston (15) in the IMCA modified feature event.

Paul Stone was behind the wheel of the #44. Here, he works his way past Atwater’s Bill Egleston (15) in the IMCA modified feature event.

“I never met Paul Stone, and I knew it wasn’t the car he drives that was on my tail,” laughed Friend on Sunday, as he hoisted his trophy at his birthday party. “When he shook my hand I still didn’t know that was him.”

Stone, from Winton, was invited to drive the car owned by Merced’s Jack Mounce and Will Davis.

“I was going crazy not being able to drive,” Stone laughed. “I could only take sitting on the couch so long.”

Stone came from the back of the pack to get behind Friend with five laps to go. That’s when the steering box failed on the car, and Stone was forced to strong arm the steering wheel all the way to the finish line.

“I was worn out by the last lap, “ Stone explained. “I used every bit of strength I had left to try to make a clean pass going to the checkered flag.”

Stone had the fans cheering louder than the sounds of the cars.

“I just couldn’t pass him clean, and I didn’t want to chance wrecking him or me,” Stone said. “Better being second than wrecking.”

Friend’s birthday party was in full swing with the win.

Les Friend (15) alongside Clarence Hobrook III in IMCA modified action.

Les Friend (15) alongside Clarence Hobrook III in IMCA modified action.

“I’m pretty stoked. It’s my birthday and all my family was able to see me get my first win ever,” Friend said. “This is a dream come true. I’ve raced all kinds of cars and always had the modified division as my goal. The road to this win took 26 years, and it was well worth it.”

Fred Ryland Eying National Top Spot

            Fred Ryland of Brentwood and Keith Brown, Jr. of Pittsburg thrilled the crowd as they battled side by side for most of the IMCA SportMod feature event, with Ryland making his move from the top of the track with two laps to go. Ryland is second in IMCA national points, and he’s out to be the first Californian to win the title.

“The bottom of the track was greasy – a real tough place for me to run,” Ryland said in victory lane. “Keith (Brown, Jr.) was protecting it, so I had no choice but to take him from the outside.”

Ryland worked his magic lap after lap, getting along side Brown, Jr. several times while riding the outside cushion. Finally, he was able to nip Brown in the turn.

Keith Brown, Jr. hugs the bottom of the track while Fred Ryland (7) rides high to attempt a pass.

Keith Brown, Jr. hugs the bottom of the track while Fred Ryland (7) rides high to attempt a pass.

“I lost a left rear spring with eight laps to go,” Brown, Jr. said in victory lane. “That amplified any mistake I made. I couldn’t make a single bad move on the track without loosing momentum.”

Brown kept it up for the remainder of the race, showing his skill in running the same line.

“Just that little bit of lost momentum – that tenth of a second – made the difference between winning and finishing second,” Brown said.

Mike Hynes from Suisun won the Limited Late Model feature.

Mike Hynes from Suisun won the Limited Late Model feature.

Joaquin Keeps on Tickin’ in Hobby Stocks,  Hynes Travels to Win:ADAS6784.JPG

Kevin Joaquin of Sonora has a Hobby Stock that he says runs like “a Timex”. Joaquin won the Hobby Stock main event handily. Mike Hynes traveled all the way from Suisun to win in the Limited Late Model Division, and ended the winning streak of Antioch’s  Mark Garner.

 

 

LUCK DRIVING THROUGH TRAFFIC KEY TO WINNING AT ANTIOCH- Kerry Madsen

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Australian Kerry Madsen, center, with Connecticut’s David Gravel, left, and Californian Kyle Hirst, right. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer)

By Gary Thomas
Last year’s Antioch Speedway World of Outlaws  event produced the closest finish in World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series history when Kerry Madsen edged out two-time King of the West Series champion Kyle Hirst by just .005 seconds.

“I felt like I was doing it comfortably and managing traffic pretty well, but I just got bottled up there and he got a run,” Madsen said. “I was pretty lucky to get away with that one. You definitely had to maneuver through traffic well, because cars were everywhere during the main event.”

Bixby, Oklahoma’s Shane Stewart currently leads the World of Outlaws standings by 18-markers over six-time and defending series champion Donny Schatz of Fargo, North Dakota. The pair was involved in one of the most exciting late race duels in recent memory last week. Schatz came out on top by inches to become the first repeat winner at the time. Stewart is in his first full season with the “Greatest Show on Dirt”  driving the Larson/Marks Racing No. 2 and captured victory a few weeks back in Las Vegas.

Jason Sides flies by Paul McMahon in last year's WoO action. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer)

Jason Sides flies by Paul McMahon in last year’s WoO action. (Photo by Paul Gould, Track Photographer)

Completing the top-10 in World of Outlaws points going into this weekend are California natives Paul McMahan and Brad Sweet, Indiana’s Joey Saldana, Oklahoma’s Daryn Pittman, Australian Kerry Madsen, Connecticut’s David Gravel, Tennesee’s Jason Sides BS  Iowa’s Terry McCarl.

Of all the tracks that the World of Outlaws compete at in the Golden State, Northern California drivers have seemed to make the most noise at Antioch Speedway. With that in mind California natives have captured three of the first four events held by the series during their “Spring Break Tour” in the state. Rutherford’s Rico Abreu has won main events each of the last two weeks and will be looking for another score this Sunday night. The 23-year-old has had a tremendous start to the year, which was kicked off by winning the Chili Bowl Nationals in Oklahoma.

Antioch Winged Sprint champ Chris MaGoon of Oakley will be back for the World of Outlaws event.

Antioch Winged Sprint champ Chris MaGoon of Oakley will be back for the World of Outlaws event.


Multiple-time Antioch winner Tim Kaeding of San Jose scored a thrilling win at Tulare a couple weeks ago and will bring Dennis AND Theresa Roth’s No. 83jr into the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds venue on Sunday. The two-time King of the West Series champion earned a final lap victory with the World of Outlaws at Antioch in 2012 and is a four-time winner at the track with KWS. Kaeding was also the hard charger in last week’s Stockton finale.

The Antioch Speedway is located on the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds at the corner of 10th and L Streets in Antioch, California. Take SR-4 East (Highway 4) to the Somersville Road North Exit. Follow Somersville Road to 10th Street. Turn Right on 10th Street. The address for the track is 1201 W. 10th Street Antioch, CA 94509. The track is located just a little over an hour from the capital city of Sacramento.

Tickets for the Sunday March 29 event are on sale and can be acquired by visiting http://dirtcar.ticketforce.com/ordertickets.asp?p=570&backurl=default.asp or by calling1-877-395-8606. General admission tickets cost $39, while reserved grandstand seats cost $45. Children 12 and under are $15 for general admission.

Will Call and the ticket sales window will open at noon on Sunday at the track, the front gate will open at 4pm, with qualifying scheduled for 6pm & racing at 7pm.
<http://dirtcar.ticketforce.com/ordertickets.asp?p=570&backurl=default.asp>
Information about the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series can be found online at <http://www.woosprint.com/> www.woosprint.com<http://www.woosprint.com/>

<http://www.woosprint.com/>



Past World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series winners at Antioch Speedway

2014- Kerry Madsen
2013- Kyle Larson and Shane Golobic
2012- Tim Kaeding
2011- Steve Kinser

Past winners of KWS Winged 410 events at track since 2003

2013- Willie Croft and Jonathan Allard
2012- Tim Kaeding, Kyle Hirst & Craig Stidham
2011- Jonathan Allard and Tim Kaeding
2010- Jonathan Allard and Kyle Larson
2009- Tyler Walker and Brent Kaeding
2008- Tyler Walker and Tim Kaeding
2007- Brent Kaeding and Tim Kaeding
2006- Dennis Moore Jr.
2005- Lawrence Edlund and Robert Ballou
2004- Brent Kaeding and Brent Kaeding
2003- Jason Statler

Photos courtesy Steve Lafond & Paul Trevino