When you can hear the roar of the crowd over the roar of the racecars on the track, you know a thrilling battle is underway. That was the case Saturday night at Antioch Speedway, when three-time track champ Troy Foulger of Martinez battled former champ Aaron Crowell of Oakley to the wire in the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) modified stock car main event.
Crowell jumped into the lead early, staying ahead of encounters in a crash filled main event that eliminated more than half of the field. Foulger did the same, but found himself having to gain nearly a straightaway’s distance from the leader with ten laps to go.
“It took us a while (him and his car) to get going,” Foulger explained after the race. “We had replaced a flat tire earlier, and it took a while to get that cold tire worked in.”
The fans came to their feet in the final laps of the race. Foulger tried the inside, racing alongside Crowell ever so closely that at times the two cars seemed one.
With a lap to go, Foulger went outside on the front stretch, and was able to use the momentum to make a pass in the second turn.
“That was the most fun I have had racing – ever!” Foulger exclaimed in victory lane. “To race that close and not hit each other takes trust. He was champ here before I started racing. It is just so cool that we can race like that.”
Crowell, the 2004 modified champ, was all smiles, despite having victory snatched from him by Foulger.
“We finally got the car working right, and it felt good to be that fast,” Crowell said. “I wanted the win badly, but it was tough to hold Troy (Foulger) off. To be beaten by him is to be beaten by one of the best.”
Antioch’s David Michael Rosa brought home one of his best finishes in taking third. Mike Slaney of Antioch and Sean Wilson of Concord chased him.
In the Super Stock main event, Mark Garner of Oakley Garner scored his first feature win in 12 years. He’d given up racing, and became a fan – until he found an old 1974 Hobby Stock sitting in a Brentwood field last winter.
His triumphant return had racers talking. Not only did he win, but also was nearly untouchable most of the race driving what is considered ancient technology compared to the modern stock cars on the track with him.
“It’s a 3300 lb. 1974 Camaro, stock frame, stock firewall,” he proudly stated in victory lane. “The key is having a great engine guy. He’s Dave Rebello from Antioch.”
Concord’s racing accountant, Mike “Pencil” Gustafson chased Garner across the line in an impressive run. An early battle for the lead between Brentwood’s Fred Ryland and Larry Damitz of Vallejo fizzled when Ryland had mechanical problems and Damitz was sidelined with a flat tire.
Brentwood’s Brad Myers tried to settle the question of whether it’s the car or the driver who wins the race. He drove Hobby Stock his wife Melissa had won in, and did the same.
“It’s definitely the car,” he laughed. “We work on it together, and now we both won in it.”
Myers took Steve Huddleston of Antioch along for the ride in the feature event.
“It’s one thing to go around a track, but when you are passing cars on the left and right at the same time, it’s a different story,” he said after the race. “I have new respect for Brad’s driving ability.”
Oakley rookie Nick Baldwin made an early charge to the front, and faced stiff competition from Vacaville’s Nick Viscusi III. When a lapped car blocked Baldwin, Viscusi passed him to chase Myers. Baldwin brought home third.
Vacaville’s “Flyin’ Hawaiian”, Kimo Oreta, a three time winner this season, had battery problems with his car. He finished fourth at the drop of the checkered flag.
Jimmy Robbins of Concord won the Super Hobby Stock feature, chased by retired sheriff Gene Haney of Brentwood.
Ken Radabaugh of Brentwood started in 10th position in the four-cylinder “Four Banger” division and brought his ’89 Honda Prelude to the front of the pack for his third win of the season. Tony Jennings, Jr., of Pittsburg, driving a ’94 Saturn, tried his best to pass Radabaugh, but had to settle for second.
Zack Lynskey of Fairfield won his first race ever at Antioch Speedway in the All-Star Wingless Sprint Car division. Lynskey, 20, has raced since childhood, but seldom ventures to Antioch Speedway. After jumping to a first lap lead, he faced pressure from the division’s top racers. Gary Nelson, Jr. of San Jose, Roy Fisher of Antioch, and Danny Malfatti of Hayward, in that order, were right behind him at the finish.