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NARC 410Racing Series

NARC 410Racing Series

NARC 410 Racing Series, Pacific Coast Hobby Stock, BCRA Lightning Sprints, and the 3rd Annual Mother's Day Mini Van Races

NARC 410Racing Series

NARC 410Racing Series

NARC 410 Racing Series, Pacific Coast Hobby Stock, BCRA Lightning Sprints, and the 3rd Annual Mother's Day Mini Van Races

NARC 410Racing Series

NARC 410Racing Series

NARC 410 Racing Series, Pacific Coast Hobby Stock, BCRA Lightning Sprints, and the 3rd Annual Mother's Day Mini Van Races

NARC 410Racing Series

NARC 410Racing Series

NARC 410 Racing Series, Pacific Coast Hobby Stock, BCRA Lightning Sprints, and the 3rd Annual Mother's Day Mini Van Races

Chet Thomson Memorial, USAC Midgets At Antioch Speedway Saturday night
384
9/28/2023

9/28/2023

Antioch Speedway


Chet Thomson Memorial, USAC Midgets At Antioch Speedway Saturday night

Antioch, CA...Variety is the name of the game at Antioch Speedway this year. There's been a little bit something for everybody to enjoy. Every division seems to get their highlight and this week will be no different.

The biggest race for the Hardtops on the West Coast comes to town with the 21st running of the Chet Thomson Memorial Hardtop race. Joining the Hardtops will be the USAC Western States Midgets, Delta Dwarf Cars and Super Stocks.

Last week saw the track feature the BCRA Midgets in a special tribute to Floyd Alvis. The $6,018 win went to Sprint Car ace Shane Golobic of Fremont. This is significant to the Hardtops because from the late 1940s through the early 1960s, BCRA sanctioned this division.

Simultaneously on any given night of the week, you might find a good Hardtop show or a good Midget show happening in Northern California. Many of those tracks don't even exist anymore.

The record shows that the first two BCRA Hardtop championships were won by none other than Hall of Fame Promoter John Pershing Soares.

In the 1960s, "Chargin" Chet Thomson was one of the star competitors, driving for Bob Thomas. Both of them eventually made it into the BCRA Hall of Fame, and this duo combined to win the 1962 Vallejo Speedway Championship. Chet was even a Main Event winner at Antioch Speedway during that time.

Sadly, Chet ended up in the fight of his life as he was diagnosed with cancer. He eventually lost that battle. He was one of the more beloved and popular racers in the division at that time. When he passed away, Vallejo Speedway created the 100 lap Chet Thompson Memorial.

Some of the track's biggest stars won that race, including Julian "Catchem" Castro, Phil "Bang Bang" Pedlar, "The Sun Drop Kid" Larry Damitz, Leroy Geving, Larry Hall and "Big" John Viel.

The last two races were held for Super Modifieds as the Hardtops had dwindled in numbers. They did participate in 1978 with Stan Cargo winning, but the memorial win went to the Super Modified of Augie Fonseca. Skip Brown is on record as winning the last one. Reportedly, Skip has been building a Hardtop during the last couple of years.

Dave Mackey is a staunch Vallejo Speedway Hardtop supporter. After the success of the Mike McCann of Creswell, Oregon promoted Hardtop race at Antioch in 2015, Dave got together with Tommy Thomson, the son of Chet, to bring that race back. Tommy agreed, Pete Paulsen stepped on board to do trophies and the legendary race returned.

Jason Armstrong of Placerville picked up the first two wins before Martinez leadfoot Terry DeCarlo drove the Harold Hardesty tribute car to a win in 2018. Following Vallejo's Kimo Oreta picking up the win in 2019, the race has been dominated by the same driver.

Antioch Speedway point leader Joel Hannagan of San Jose is piloting The Junkyard Dog for Doug Braudrick. They've won all five Antioch point races this year as they lead the standings. Last year, they teamed up to win the Merced Speedway Sportsman title, and they've won the last three Chet Thomson Memorial races.

Reportedly, three-time Merced Sportsman champion Rick Elliott is coming to town with other Sportsman racers. Elliott denied Hannagan the win in the Butch Althar Memorial race last year. That race will happen again in October.

A point race was created for the class this year. Antioch Speedway has not crowned a Hardtop champion since 1964. The Hardtop Auto Claimer class counted Jimmy Stewart twice in a row, Ron Vinge and Jim Nolan as the Hardtops champions before Antioch Speedway and BCRA Hall of Famer Dave Logan won the 1965 Sportsman Championship.

Currently, Hannagan leads Brad Coello of Oakley in the standings. With Ronnie Ruiz of West Sacramento missing the most recent race, Joe Shenefield of Modesto has moved into third in the standings, and fifth is currently held by Ken Clifford of Placerville. Saturday night will see a mixture of Hardtop racers and Sportsman competitors, all in the spirit of nostalgia and celebration of a great heritage of racing.

Meanwhile, the USAC Western States Midgets make their second Antioch Speedway appearance. When they visited back in August, TJ Smith of Fresno picked up the win. Bakersfield's Brody Fuson leads the ranks with four wins, including the most recent race at Ventura Raceway. The group has had nine races at six different tracks, and each time they put on a thrilling show for the fans.

Fuson's win in the last race keeps him 34 points ahead of Cade Lewis of Bakersfield. Ron Hazelton of Visalia is currently shown in third in the standings, but he's in a tie with CJ Sarna of Brea, six tallies ahead of Ben Worth of Coalinga. The Midgets have been putting on some great races in Antioch, and this should be no different. Car count has been in the 15-20 range for each event this year.

Currently, Chance Russell leads the way in the Delta Dwarf Car battle. Delta Dwarf Car enthusiasts had reason to celebrate when Bay Point's Danny Wagner picked up the win at Marysville in the Western States Dwarf Car Nationals, thereby making him the Pro Division champion.

Wagner is the three-time reigning Delta champion, but he hasn't been pursuing points this year. Russell has been battling Dublin's Devan Kammermann, who skipped the last race to use one of his throwaways. Kammermann has two wins, while Russell has one.

Another winner twice this year is Antioch's David Michael Rosa. He drove the Roberto Monroy owned entry to the win two weeks ago and is now within striking distance of Tracy's Joe LeDuc for third. Some of the stars to watch for this week include 2020 champion Travis Day of Concord, Discovery Bay's Pete Piantanida and David Rosa of Antioch.

The Super Stock division will have one more race to go after this, but it may not make a difference with the way Petaluma's Mike Learn is looking. He has won all three races so far in dominant fashion.

Learn is the inaugural Tri State Pro Stock champion and is also a title winner at Petaluma Speedway. He leads three-time champion Jim Freethy of Danville by 26 points, while Brentwood's Joey Ridgeway and Antonio Miramontez of Santa Rosa are tied for third, four points ahead of Antioch's Chad Hammer.

Open wheel racing will certainly be the flavor of the week at Antioch Speedway. With the beautiful machines of the Hardtops and the Sportsmans coming to town, it will be a fun night for hot rod enthusiasts. Midgets and Dwarf Cars will bring the speed.

It's a nice way to wrap up the month of September with the Hobby Stock Nationals and the Bill Bowers Memorial IMCA event around the corner in October.

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.raceantiochspeedway.com or check out the Antioch Speedway by PROmotions Facebook page


Article Credit: Candice Martin

Submitted By: Wylie Wade

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