MERCED, California — The “Spring Classic” for DIRTcar West UMP modified stock cars is expected to draw large fields of cars Saturday at Chowchilla Speedway and Sunday at Merced Speedway.
The two tracks, just 17 miles apart in the Central Valley of California, have cooperated to allow DIRTcar racers a chance to collect points and race for extra money while traveling a very short distance over the weekend. In addition, both tracks will also have super stock, hobby stock, and “four-banger” events drawing large fields of cars.
“The fans in the valley love modifieds - they are clearly the fan’s racer of choice,” Merced Speedway promoter John Soares said. “We’re committed to the growth of this division. Any incentive we can create to allow more modifieds to race more often will reward the drivers and continue to build the division and it’s fan base.”
All of the top drivers in the modified division will be looking to advance in the lucrative regional and national DIRTcar point standings, which have a combined total of more than $70,000 up for grabs.
King of the mountain as of right now is 20-year-old Troy Foulger of Martinez. A regular at both Antioch and Merced Speedways, Foulger wants the championship. His consistent top three finishes have been rewarding.
“We’re going for it (the championship),” he said. “We just got to keep going strong all season long. We need to get some “W’s” though.”
Foulger is ready for the challenge of Chowchilla and is relying on his knowledge after two seasons at Merced to grab a win this weekend. His rivals will be two of the most experienced drivers in the division. Second place is Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas and third is Merced’s local hero Chris Shannon.
“It’s going to be sweet - it’s always more fun racing with those two guys,” Foulger said. “I’ve got to get faster, so, we’re making some adjustments to the car that should make a difference.”
Young gun Dereck Colvin will be back this week in his new ride. A strong contender, Colvin’s late start this season will be overcome soon as the Dale Ferriera team has been burning the midnight oil to get their car adjusted.
The weekend will also see Mike Shepherd’s newly painted modified - dedicated to his daughter Marley who has Prader-Willi Syndrome - bring awareness to the cause at both speedways. Shepherd is always a strong runner.
Racing at Merced begins at 5 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. The non- stop action event is usually concluded by 8:30. Gates will open at 4 p.m. Tickets prices are only $10, children 6-12 are $7, senior citizens are $8. A family pack of tickets is available for $28.
The speedway is located in the Merced County Fairgrounds, 900 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in Merced, CA.