Four-time track champ Troy Foulger of Martinez scored his first victory of the 2014 season Saturday night at Antioch Speedway, after battling Vacaville’s Danny Dozier in the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) main event.
Dozier quickly moved through the pack, fighting off challenges from Antioch’s Carl Berendsen in the modified stock car feature. Foulger and Dozier then fought side by side, with Dozier taking the lead on a restart with five laps to go.
“I thought the top of the track was faster, and he (Dozier) got me by staying low on the inside,” Foulger explained in victory lane. “Dozier was racing great. It was fun to be alongside him in a good, clean race.”
Luckily, there was one more caution flag, and Foulger regained the lead in a thrilling finish.
“My car pushed through the corners a bit,” Dozier later explained. “He just rolled through the center of the turn a little better than I could.”
Chico’s Duane Cleveland, coming off of a Friday night win at Silver Dollar Speedway, chased the two leaders throughout the race, waiting for the right opportunity to pass.
“We just missed the shock (absorber) set-up,” Cleveland explained in victory lane. “We thought it would be smart to use our late model shocks in the modified, but the decision actually hurt us.”
Berendsen hung on for fourth, chased by Antioch veteran driver Dan Gonderman.
Local modified stock car favorite Scott Busby was missing from the speedway Saturday. Busby was injured in a work related accident and will undergo surgery on Wednesday. He will miss several races during his recovery.
Hoff Declared Winner After Finishing Second
IMCA SportMod track champ Jeremy Hoff of Copperopolis was the surprise winner in the division’s feature event, which featured its largest car count to date.
Hoff battled alongside Morgan Hill’s Jim DiGiovanni for most of the race. DiGiovanni got in front of Hoff just before the checkered flag dropped.
As the cars were weighed after the race, DiGiovanni’s car was found to be too light. All Sotomayor of Watsonville was moved up to second.
“It feels strange to win that way,” Hoff said in the infield. “Rules are always a factor. That’s part of racing.”
Damitz Proud to be “Old”
Racing in seven different decades has its benefits, and Larry Damitz of Vallejo was quick to point to that in the Limited Late Model division victory lane.
Drivers noticed Damitz had no problem handling the track’s condition in his heat race. While others were scratching their heads, Damitz confidently prepared for the feature.
Damitz, 85, was untouchable in the feature event. Mike Hynes of Suisun chased him to the finish, several car lengths behind. Lori Brown of Antioch finished third.
When asked if experience was a factor, Damitz was quick to answer.
“Oh, yes,” he smiled. “Sometimes it pays to be old.”
Hynes was complimentary to Damitz.
“The master still teaches the kids how to run on this race track,” Hynes added.
Ryland a Force in Hobby Stocks
Don’t tell Brentwood’s “Peppermint” Patti Ryland that racing isn’t a sport. When the Hobby Stock feature event winner is running half-marathons, or climbing Mt. Diablo, she’s thinking of driving at Antioch Speedway.
“Running helps me prepare for racing. It improves a driver’s in-car performance,” Ryland explained in victory lane. “Driving a race car on dirt in a heat race, a trophy dash, and then a 20 lap feature is exhausting. It’s more exhausting than running a half-marathon, and I can attest to that.”
To win her second feature of the season, Ryland fought off the challenges of Oakley’s Nick Baldwin, who finished second. Baldwin, also an athlete outside of racing, fought hard in his challenge for the lead
“He was able to get by me on the good parts of the track,” Ryland said.
Baldwin was critical of his own performance.
“I just blew it,” he said. “I raced too hard into the turn and spun the car.”
Kimo “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” Oreta came all the way back to third after heading to the pits to fix a damage from a first lap crash.
Wagner’s Last Ditch Effort Pays Off
Danny Wagner of Bay Point recovered from a spin out to take the Dwarf Car division main event at the finish line. His car was damaged when hit in the driver’s side by another car early in the event.
With dirt flying from his bright yellow car, Wagner rode to the wall to narrowly squeeze by Pat Urdahl of Concord.
“Pat just bobbled a bit coming out of the fourth turn,” Wagner said. “I just decided to go for it. I didn’t even know where the wall was – until I felt the car hitting it.
Wagner had to crawl through his car’s passenger door to accept his trophy in victory lane. Mike Corsaro of Tracy finished third.