With the Fourth Of July break behind us, Antioch Speedway is ready for two straight months of weekly racing. It starts on Saturday night with an action packed lineup that includes Winged 360 Sprint Cars, DIRTcar Late Models, IMCA Sport Mods and Hobby Stocks. There aren’t many tracks left in California that have Winged Sprint Cars and Late Models, and Antioch Speedway has them both on the same night.
The Sprint Cars have put on some great races so far this season as this program is being established on the three-eighth mile clay oval. With five of eight races in the books, there have been five different winners. On the list so far are Art McCarthy, Alissa Geving, Jake Haulot, Shawn Arriaga and Austn Liggett. Liggett bested the 12 car field two weeks ago in his first appearance at the track.
The drivers finishing fourth and fifth last time, McCarthy and Arriaga, are the championship contenders as the division heads down the stretch. Third generation racer Arriaga leads by eight points as he tries to beat the 2007 champion for his first Antioch title. Haulot may be a bit behind the lead duo, but he leads 2014 champion Chris Magoon by just 16 points in the battle for third.
Other regulars to watch for this week include two time Spec Sprint champion Dan Gonderman, Ricky Brophy, Chase Wood and Chico point leader Brandon Powell. With different drivers coming in every time to try their luck, you never know who will show up to give the locals a challenge.
Richard Papenhausen of Chico has five wins and seemed to be hitting stride in his bid to repeat as the Late Model champion. Then, he injured his back leading into the Summer Nationals and sent his car to the track with a backup driver. That enabled Jeff Decker to use a fifth place finish to take a 22 point lead in a still very close battle. Word was that Papenhausen was planning to get back behind the wheel of his fast orange #4p car.
The Late Models have been putting on a good show this season, and there could be as many as a dozen cars this Saturday night. David Newquist continues to have a solid season and holds a 26 point lead over Danny Malfatti in the battle for third. Two Antioch based racers, Rob Norris and Chester Kniss, are running closely in the battle for fourth in the standings. Norris leads by just 11 points.
Randy Shafer turned a few heads last time with a season best second place finish ahead of Anthony Restad. Restad already has two Top 3 finishes in recent starts and is looking like he could just grab a feature win in the near future. It may just happen this week.
Fred Ryland is slowly pulling away from the rest of the pack in the quest for his first IMCA Sport Mod championship. Ryland collected his first Antioch win last week and leads both the National and track point standings. Ryland’s lead over Keith Brown Jr. is now 40 points. Brown grabbed a season best second place finish at the Summer Nationals, but he’ll be racing hard to get his first win of the season.
Al Johnson has struggled in recent weeks, and now he has just a three point lead over one time feature winner Paul Mulder in the battle for third in the standings. Even rookie Patti Ryland is in that battle as she is 19 points behind Johnson. The Sport Mods have seen the recent debuts of Trevor Clymens and a new car for Lloyd Cline as car count continues to grow.
With five wins to his credit, two time defending champion Kimo Oreta has about a 200 point lead over Danny Jones. The battle is for second. Veteran Danny Jones is still without a win, but his five second place finishes have helped give him a 20 point advantage over rookie Jordan Swank. Swank now has a 21 point lead over teammate Michael Cooper, and Cooper only leads Frank Furtado by eight points in the race for fourth.
Some very competitive racers have been showing up in recent weeks, including 2010 champion Chris Sorensen. Sorensen had a fourth place finish last time and is already a feature winner in his few starts this season. Chris Long had a solid second place finish last time, and both of these drivers are a threat to won on any given week. Others to watch for include Natalie Perry, Jessica Jones and Jeremy Jennings.
Antioch Speedway is located within the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, 1201 W. 10th St. in Antioch, Calif. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m.
Top 5 In Points at A Glance
Winged 360 Sprint Car
- 238 – Shawn Arriaga
- 230 – Art McCarthy
- 184 – Jake Haulot
- 186 – Chris Magoon
- 142 – Dan Gonderman
- 446 – Jeff Decker
- 424 – Richard Papenhausen
- 374 – Dave Newquist
- 348 – Danny Malfatti
- 283 – Rob Norris
IMCA Sport Mod
- 322 – Fred Ryland
- 282 – Keith Brown Jr.
- 263 – Al Johnson
- 260 – Paul Mulder
- 244 – Patti Ryland
- 686 – Kimo Oreta
- 487 – Dan Jones
- 467 – Jordan Swank
- 446 – Michael Cooper
- 438 – Frank Furtado