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Antioch Speedway

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Hard Tops / Valley Sportsman

BCRA Midgets Return To Antioch Speedway Saturday Night


Antioch Speedway

BCRA Midgets Return To Antioch Speedway Saturday Night

Antioch, CA...We wrap up the month of June at Antioch Speedway with a packed eight division lineup this Saturday night. Headlining the show will be the BCRA Midgets, who were added to this date to make up for a rain out earlier this season.

Joining the Midgets and bringing more open wheel excitement will be the Wingless Spec Sprint division. Also on the card will be the Super Stocks in what is shaping up to be a bigger race for them than originally anticipated. With Mini Stocks, Dwarf Cars, Hardtops, Wingless and Winged Micro Sprints also on the bill, Saturday night will have much variety to choose from.

After the rainout earlier in the season, the BCRA is excited about finally returning to Antioch. A car count in the high teens is anticipated. Though they haven't been on the schedule much in recent years, the organization returned in a big way last season.

Those three races, billed as the Triple Crown Series, were won by reigning champion Caden Sarale of Stockton, Jake Andreotti of Castro Valley and Shane Golobic of San Jose. Fans were reminded of just how exciting this division is. In the early 1980s and with wings, the BCRA was a regular attraction at the Contra Costa County Event Center racing facility.

Rainouts have been hard on the BCRA this year, forcing some rescheduling. Just a few weeks ago, the group had a double header opening weekend at Petaluma and Stockton. Wins went to Sarale and Chase Johnson of Penngrove. This puts Sarale in the point lead as he seeks to defend his series championship. He has a 16 point advantage over Drake Edwards of Surprise, Arizona. Kyle Hawse of Las Vegas, Nevada is 58 points out of the lead and eight ahead of BCRA Hall Of Famer Floyd Alvis of San Carlos.

Last weekend, a few Wingless Spec Sprint teams were chasing a bigger payday down the road. This put Brentwood's Blake Bower in a position to take the point lead. Unfortunately, the past USAC Western States and WMR Midgets champion had motor issues and loaded up before the heat races.

However, there was a lead change atop the standings. Sonora's Steve Maionchi is leading for the first time in his career. Steve is fielding a new car this year, but the championship wasn't the goal. He was simply looking to be more competitive, which he has been.

Following his third place finish last week, Maionchi took a 12 point lead over Oakley's Jacob Tuttle and a 38 point advantage over Bob Newberry of Brentwood. Bower slipped to fourth, 44 points out of lead. The most recent race was won by Hunt Series regular Shawn Arriaga of Antioch ahead of Brentwood's Dylan Newberry.

Bad luck and mechanical issues have been affecting some of the divisions this year, and that's the case with the Wingless Spec Sprint drivers. Kevin Box of Bethel Island also loaded up before the feature race last week with motor issues. Rookie John Ulrich was driving it a little bit harder last week, but he ended up contacting the Turn 4 wall to end his race. During that caution, past Petaluma champion Ryon Siverling of Concord lost his motor on the front stretch.

The Super Stocks had no expectations at the Larry Damitz Memorial race in May. However, they delivered a half-dozen cars, and Ryan Cherezian of Knightsen picked up the win ahead of multi-time champion Jim Freethy of Danville. It's what happened after the race that is making the difference.

Some of the teams started making plans to help promote this Saturday's race. Reigning champion Mike Learn of Petaluma, who's currently leading the standings at his home track, indicated a willingness to come support this next race with a few others from Petaluma. He hopes to see some Antioch support at his track's next race.

Antioch's Joey Ridgeway, who's been a supporter of Super Stocks in recent years, helped put together an increased purse. The hope is for better support for this race. Some of the teams to watch for include 2020 champion Mike Walko of Oakley.

Attrition has rocked the Mini Stock division this year. It started when Josh Appelbaum of Antioch blew a motor in Merced prior to the season getting started at Antioch. Recently, rookie Jackie Price of Antioch hit the back wall and sustained heavy damage. At the previous race and while competing for third, Laina Bales of Antioch was involved in a crash that left her car with heavy damage.

The "Battle of the Toms" continues atop the standings. Tom Davis of Los Molinos, the reigning champion and a four-time Orland title winner, collected his 13th career Antioch win after a battle with Tom Brown of Santa Rosa. Brown currently leads Davis by eight points, while Tony Quinonez of Corning is 18 points back in third.

The Hardtops didn't have a big count at their opener, but Merced Sportsman point leader Mike Gillard of Atwater made his presence known in an early battle with reigning champion Joel Hannagan of San Jose. Hannagan proceeded to win the Main Event, and Gillard's last lap spin put multi-time Merced champion Rick Elliott into second on that occasion. Other drivers to watch for this week include Don Slaney of Martinez and Joe Shenefield of Modesto.

The Dwarf Car division has come back under the Antioch banner, but there have been some growing pains. Various drivers have opted to take a break after last season, and it almost has a feel like the Dwarf Cars are a brand new division.

However, Antioch Speedway has crowned Dwarf Car champions each year since 1998 and was a part of the PCDCRA schedule prior to that since 1994. Dwarf Cars have been a staple on the 3/8 mile clay oval for 30 years.

2020 champion Travis Day of Concord and newcomer Brandon Aylesworth of Benicia are battling for the lead in the standings. With two races in the books, both drivers have recorded a win. There are rumblings of a couple of teams making season debuts this week.

Antioch Speedway has been attempting to build a Wingless 600 Micro Sprint program. Season opener winner Don McLeister and son Devin McLeister, both of Stockton, have been staunch supporters along with Antioch's Charlie Kight.

Last time out, the McLeister team wasn't present, but there were three new teams in the field. Petaluma competitor Ken Carter of Santa Rosa won the most recent race ahead of Cameron Gonsalez of Santa Rosa and Ryan Dotson of Fremont.

With the Micro Sprint program losing their Dixon venue, management is testing the waters to see if any Micro Sprint teams want to compete at Antioch with wings. In the early 2000s, the track had a half-dozen races one season for the Winged Micros. This will be an opportunity for those drivers to try their cars out on a bigger track than they usually run.

This Saturday's show has a decidedly open wheel flavor to it, and the BCRA Midgets and Wingless Spec Sprints will definitely be the attention getters of the group. However, indications are that the Super Stocks will be bringing a good show. It's also an opportunity for the other divisions to make a big statement to the fans. It'll be the last opportunity to see a race at the track until the July 13th Dean Cline Classic.

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 or check out the Antioch Speedway by PROmotions Facebook page.

Article Credit: Candice Martin, Photos by Katrina Kniss

Submitted By: Wylie Wade

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