Championship Night #2 Will Crown A Wingless Spec Sprint champion
2022-09-22 12:51dirtFan website https://dirtfan.com/dirtfan/assets/graphics/dirtfan-200x200.jpg
Antioch, CA...Saturday night will bring the curtain down on more championship battles at Antioch Speedway. On the heels of the successful night last week that crowned four champions, the Wingless Spec Sprints headline this show, joined by the Mini Stocks, WMR Midgets, Pacific Coast General Engineering Hobby Stocks and the Butch Althar Memorial race for the Vintage Hardtops.
Saturday wraps up the 24th championship season for the popular Wingless Spec Sprints, which had their first season in 1999. 2019 champion Shannon Newton leads the way over James East by only 9 points. Newton has picked up four feature wins, and East has finished as high as second with five Top 5 finishes. He hasn't won a Main Event since 2015.
Steve Maionchi seems headed for a career best third place ranking, while Zack Neeley is 27 points ahead of the consistent MacKenzie Newton in the race for fourth. Observers are speculating that second-generation racer Dylan Newberry could be a big threat to get his first feature win this Saturday night, and it's possible some Hunt Series competitors could be on hand as they have a race at Antioch on October 8th. They may want to get a tune-up for what's to come.
The Mini Stocks are in town for their championship night, and Petaluma champion Tom Brown seeks to wrap up his second Antioch title. Tom has won three of the four previous races to give him a 34 point lead over the consistent Dana Gardner. Gardner has finished as high as second twice this year. He holds a solid 34 point advantage over the steady Laina Bales. Bales is only four points ahead of Don Abitz and 20 over Shan Titman in a closer race for third.
The division has been bolstered by the addition of newcomers Ricky Mandonca and David Carson in recent events. The division has been on again and off again since it debuted with demo races in 2003 with IMCA Stock Car Rookie of the Year Jason Jennings winning the 2004 championship. The track also hosted a four cylinder Mini Truck division for several seasons. Management feels very strongly that this is the division to bring new drivers into the fold due to the more affordable budget for the cars.
The Western Midgets Racing group makes their third appearance of the season. They're in the midst of a marathon season with over 30 races on the schedule. Their previous visits saw wins earned by Micro Sprint graduate Sage Bordenave and reigning series champion Blake Bower. Bower has been difficult to beat on the tour this season. At Marysville recently, he scored his 19th career series victory and his 11th for the season. He's well in control in the standings, according to WMR sources.
Other drivers to watch for include the consistent Kyle Hawse, Bryant Bell, Nate Wait, Cory Brown and Logan Mitchell. The WMR Ecotec motor package is conducive to getting new drivers into Midget racing. It's a more affordable option for the drivers looking to move up from the popular 600 Micro Sprint shows on the smaller tracks. Saturday's race should be a good one.
The Hobby Stock championship battle has been wrapped up, and Misty Welborn is the champion. She joins inaugural champion Terrie Wacht, Melissa Myers and the mother and daughter duo of Denise McCown and Megan Ponciano as lady champions in the class.
Interestingly enough, four of the Top 5 drivers in the standings are female competitors. Three-time winner Welborn beat Michaela Taylor by an impressive 70 points. Taylor regained second last week as Jared Baugh didn't finish. He was four points behind her. Top rookie Taylor DeCarlo and the consistent Jewell Crandall rounded out the Top 5.
Initially, management considered giving the division the night off so drivers could compete at another race. However, several of the local drivers wanted to race at their home track, and the track also wanted to provide a better show for the fans. The Hobby Stocks have certainly been the MVP of the roster with the strongest car counts and some of the most exciting races.
Chances are good that the driver who wins this Saturday night may be getting their first win of the season. It's also an opportunity for them to tune up for the Dean Cline Classic on October 15th as well as the Big Jim Pettit Hobby Stock Nationals on November 4th and 5th.
The Vintage Hardtops have the first of two special occasions this Saturday night. We will be paying tribute to the late Butch Althar, who announced at Antioch Speedway for three seasons in the 1980s. He was very meticulous in his notes, introduced parade lap music to the fans and also started doing on track interviews after races. Butch was a Stock Car competitor at Vallejo Speedway in the 1960s and also announced at that track in the years preceding its closure at the end of the 1979 season.
Brad Coelho and Joel Hannigan lead the charge into Saturday's show. Coelho is looking forward to the Chet Thomson Memorial race, which will honor the father of his car owner Tommy Thomson on October 22nd. Coelho and Thompson recently teamed up for victory at the Stockton Dirt Track. The green #39 car has its origins as one of the last Hardtops that competed at Vallejo Speedway in the late 1970s.
Hannigan has been racing with the Winged Sportsman class at Merced Speedway and wrapped up the championship there in the Doug Broderick owned Junkyard Dog. The Hardtops do not compete for prize money or points, but the Top 5 finishers of the Main Event on Saturday will receive trophies.
Some of the drivers intending to compete include past Chet Thomson Memorial winner Jason Armstrong, the enthusiastic Ken Clifford, Matt Dragoon and Roger MacShain. There are some Winged Sportsman competitors from Merced Speedway also reportedly getting ready to come for the show.
Saturday's show will showcase the diversity of divisions offered at Antioch Speedway in its 62nd championship season. The gates will open at 4:00 with the first race starting at 6:00.
Adult tickets are $20, Senior/Military $15, Kids (5-12) $15 and kids four and under free.
For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.