By Don Martin II
Antioch, CA…This weekend Antioch Speedway will be hosting the biggest Dirt Modified race of the year. It’s the First Annual West Coast Nationals. The A Modifieds and the B Modifieds will both be competing.
Past Modified and Stock Car competitor Chad Chadwick is making his foray into promoting with this big event. He’s hoping not just to offer the racers a big money race, but also to help reclaim Antioch Speedway’s status as one of the top tier dirt tracks in the state. “The fans will be seeing some of the best Modified racing you’ll find anywhere,” said Chadwick. “Some of the best drivers on the West Coast will be here this weekend. We have a format that will give the racers several opportunities to make it into the big race. I’m excited to be bringing this race to Antioch Speedway.”
The event kicks off on Thursday night with a practice, barbecue, cornhole tournament and live music. Both divisions will compete in heat races and Preliminary Features on Friday. The Top 4 finishers in the Preliminary Features will be locked into Saturday’s big money Main Event.
On Saturday, the two divisions will again run heat races as well as B Mains and Last Chance Qualifiers. The night ends with the Main Events offering purses of $25,000 for the A Modifieds and over $5,000 for the B Modifieds.
Antioch Speedway has held some big Modified races during the past 30 years, but this one will be the biggest ever. Just to take the green flag in the A Modified Main Event on Saturday will ensure a driver a minimum $500 payday. To win the show will be worth $7,500, and even second place walks off with a tidy sum of $3,800. The B Modified drivers will be competing for $1,500 to win their feature race with drivers earning $150 just to start.
The money being offered for the A Modifieds was enough to attract the attention of Bakersfield driver Ethan Dotson. Dotson gained national attention by winning the big IMCA Nationals event in Boone, Iowa in early September. He may come in as a top driver to beat, but an all star lineup of competitors is anticipated with the money on the line.
Bobby Hogge IV has a knack for winning some of the biggest races on the West Coast, and he’s won 70 Main Events at Antioch Speedway alone in his impressive career. Hogge picked up the lucrative victory in the Mike Cecil Memorial at Watsonville earlier this year and also left with the big prize money in the Roger Haudenshild Tribute race in Medford back in June.
When you talk about drivers to beat, Bobby’s name will be found near the top of the list. “These are the races that I look forward to,” said Hogge. “You get some of the best drivers out there, and it makes it a lot more fun and challenging for me. I’m looking forward to this race. We’ve always done pretty well at Antioch.”
Like Hogge, Kellen Chadwick, Troy Foulger and Nick DeCarlo are all past Antioch Speedway champions. Chadwick won both the Donna Soares Memorial and Jerry Hetrick Memorial at Antioch this year. He also won the Wild West Speedweek Series title for the second time this year and the $5,000 R Charles Snyder Salute in Medford.
Foulger is a four-time Antioch champion teaming with Billy Bowers, and he won the Merced Speedway title this year. DeCarlo won the Antioch championship last season and had three wins this year. This second-generation competitor bears the distinction of being the only driver to win Modified championships at Antioch, Petaluma and Watsonville.
This is just a sampling of some of the stars anticipated not just from California but from the Pacific Northwest and even Canada. Local stars such as new champion Buddy Kniss, 2017 champion Bobby Motts Jr, Sean O’Gara, multi-time Late Model champion Jeff Decker and Bob Newberry are among a roster of roughly 50 competitors expected to do battle.
The $1,500 is one of the bigger prizes being offered for the B Modifieds, and that kind of cash will bring some fast competitors to Antioch Speedway. This will include past champion Fred Ryland. Ryland has won over 50 Main Events in his career at Antioch Speedway alone as well as the 2015 championship. He won the Merced title this year. Local star Tommy Fraser, who won the championship this year along with eight Main Events, is anticipated as well.
In addition to other local stars such as Trevor Clymens and brother Tommy Clymens Jr, Todd Gomez and Kevin Brown, top racers from tracks such as Watsonville, Merced and Marysville are anticipated for this special event. There’s even reports of a few Modified racers bringing two cars to compete in both divisions.
The track has offered some big paying events through the years, and this is the biggest one yet. The West Coast Nationals promises to be a can’t miss event. This two-day event is also the final race of the season until next year. For further information, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.