Antioch Speedway

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Sprint Car Challenge Tour

Sprint Car Challenge Tour

IMCE Sport Mods, IMCA Stock Cars, Print Club Mini Stocks

Sprint Car Challenge Tour

Sprint Car Challenge Tour

IMCE Sport Mods, IMCA Stock Cars, Print Club Mini Stocks

Sprint Car Challenge Tour

Sprint Car Challenge Tour

IMCE Sport Mods, IMCA Stock Cars, Print Club Mini Stocks

Sprint Car Challenge Tour

Sprint Car Challenge Tour

IMCE Sport Mods, IMCA Stock Cars, Print Club Mini Stocks

Larry Damitz Memorial At Antioch Speedway This Saturday Night
305
5/21/2024

5/21/2024

Antioch Speedway


Larry Damitz Memorial At Antioch Speedway This Saturday Night

Antioch, CA...There's excitement in the air at Antioch Speedway this season. The rain delayed things a bit this year, but there has been some good racing when weather has allowed. Last weekend, the track offered two nights of racing during the annual Contra Costa County Fair, and all went well.

This Saturday night, the speedway is offering one of its special races. It's the Eighth Annual Larry Damitz Memorial race. Known as The Sun Drop Kid because of his love of that brand of soda, Larry competed in various different divisions for over 60 years.

He started racing Hardtops at Contra Costa Speedway in Pacheco and Vallejo Speedway in 1954. He raced Hardtops and won multiple races and championships over the next 20 years before moving on to Super Stocks. He won several races there and was a champion before moving on to Late Models.

The pattern of winning races and championships continued as he entered his '80s. In fact, Larry won seven Super Stock titles in his '80s, including his last year of competing at 87 years old. He passed away prior to the 2017 season, and this special memorial race was created in his memory.

Known for his competitive racing and his quiet demeanor behind the scenes, Larry was an inspiration to his fellow competitors. Many people saw him as a role model and spoke of their hopes of being able to do their thing as well as he did in his '80s.

In April, the Xtreme Late Model Series was added to the schedule as a headliner for this race. The series was created in 2021 to help keep Late Model racing alive in California. Previous Antioch Speedway Promoter John Michael Soares had added the class to the rotation in 2014 and continued to feature them through the end of the 2019 season.

Slaney began to seek out cars and race dates, and current Antioch Promoter Chad Chadwick got on board with the idea in 2021. Last season, the series concluded a competitive championship run with an Antioch race, won by current champion Matt Micheli of Live Oak. It was his second Antioch win of the year and his 11th racing championship.

Micheli won a close battle with Rod Oliver of Yuba City. Oliver has already won on the circuit this year. The series has some fast racers, including Anthony Slaney of Martinez, Buddy Kniss of Oakley, Paul Guglielmoni of Vacaville, Placerville's Tyler Lightfoot and 2022 champion Dan Brown Jr of Lincoln. Brown won the opener in Placerville.

The Wingless Spec Sprints will also be bringing the speed this weekend. Last Friday, Jake Tuttle of Oakley collected his second win of the season in the Ted Finkenbinder owned car. Tuttle has the early lead in the standings. He benefited from the mechanical misfortune of Bob Newberry of Brentwood, who was leading when he had to retire late in the most recent race.

Tuttle's teammate, Blake Bower of Brentwood, topped the rookies last season, but he's been off to a bumpy start this year. He's hoping to turn it around with his next start. Other drivers to watch for include Steve Maionchi of Sonora, Kevin Box of Bethel Island, Antioch's Chris Geiluss and rookie John Ulrich of Antioch.

Dwarf Cars will be a part of this weekend's program. Though the track will be bringing the group back in house after four years under the Delta Dwarf Car banner, this will also be the 27th season in which a Dwarf Car champion will be crowned at the 64-year-old racing facility. Chance Russell of Antioch topped the field last year after a competitive battle with David Michael Rosa of Antioch and Devan Kammermann of Dublin.

Though Kammermann has since retired to pursue other interests, Rosa and his Hall of Fame father David Rosa of Antioch are still a part of the roster along with 2020 champion Travis Day of Concord and Sean Catucci of Antioch. Dwarf Cars are another division that gets around the 3/8 mile clay oval at a rapid pace.

The closure of Orland Raceway is bad news for racing fans in Glenn County, but it's good news for Mini Stock fans who like to see top notch racers. They don't get much better than reigning Antioch champion Tom Davis of Los Molinos. Driving for Delbert Rios, Davis won four championships in Orland, and his 10 wins last year assured him of his most recent title in Antioch.

Mini Truck and Mini Stock racer Tony Quinonez of Corning collected the Most Improved Driver hardware last year, while also holding off 2022 champion Tom Brown of Santa Rosa to finish second in the standings. Brown had a bit of an off year at Antioch, though he did win the final race of the season and was also the Petaluma champion once again.

Josh Appelbaum of Antioch has been getting valuable track time in Merced this year, though he's looking forward to racing at his home track. Others to watch for include past division point runner-up Laina Bales of Antioch, David Dupuis of Danville, Rookie Jackie Price of Antioch and Antioch's David Carson..

The Super Stocks have been a part of almost every Larry Damitz Memorial race and were the headline class on multiple occasions. With the uncertainty surrounding the future of the division, it's hard to forecast who will be there. Past champions Jim Freethy of Danville and Mike Walko of Oakley are both anticipated for the show.

For the Late Models and Spec Sprints alone, this show will bring lots of speed and excitement. The Mini Stocks offer a glimpse of drivers who could rise up the ranks into other divisions in the future. It's also an opportunity to pay tribute to Hall of Famer Larry Damitz and see who will win the special Late Model trophy made in his honor.

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, Photos by Katrina Kniss

Submitted By: Wylie Wade

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