“This feels great,” he said after catching his breath. “I was trying not to lose it. I was a bundle of nerves on the white flag lap.”
Nelson was pressured over the last 10 laps of the event by Jeremy Hawes of Marysville and Dave Press of San Mateo. Hawes had no brakes but managed to take home second by sticking on Nelson’s back bumper.
“I couldn’t check up,” Hawes said in victory lane. “I just had to run as safely as I could and hold my position.”
Holding the position wasn’t an easy chore. “Dynamite Dave” Press was trying every move in every groove to get around Nelson and Hawes.
“What good is it to follow the leaders?” Press said in victory lane. “They stayed in the high groove, so I tried the low groove. If they were low, I would have gone high.”
Press got under the leaders in the third and fourth turns several times in the thrilling final laps of the feature.
“I gained on them in the third and fourth, but lost ground in the first turn,” Press added. “I tried my best.”
Point leader Dan Gonderman of Antioch finished fourth, chased by Billy Macedo of Concord.
The “Larry and Freddie” show continued in the Limited Late Model Main event. This week it was “Fast Freddie” Ryland of Brentwood who took the lead and refused to give it up to 82-year-old Larry Damitz of Vallejo. The two drivers have dominated the division at both Antioch and Merced speedways. They were tied in points going into the event.
“It could have been either one of us in victory lane,” Ryland said. “We’re so closely matched this season.”
Damitz had one chance to pass Ryland on a restart, but had the inside position. “The place to be on that restart was the outside,” Damitz said. “Sometimes it is the inside, sometimes the outside. It makes all the difference.”
The crash-filled Four Banger main event saw Justin Silveira of Oak Grove battle Matt Larsen and Chris Gonzalez. “A couple of times I thought Matt was going to pass me,” Silveira said. “I just hung on and drove as fast as I could.”
Gonzalez thrilled the crowd as he took turns three and four on two wheels in his Volkswagen, almost rolling it over time and time again. “Did you see that?” he said smiling in Victory Lane. “It was fun.”
Hobby Stock winner Brad Myers of Brentwood took fiancée Melissa Hansen along for the ride to victory lane, just like he does every week. The two met at the auto parts store they work at and decided to race as a team. After three second-place finishes, they scored their first win.
Asked in victory lane about wedding plans, they offered no date. “As soon as we finish the racing season,” Myers said. “First things first.”
Jim Freethy finished second, and “Cole” Kimo Oreta of Vacaville, known as “Flyin’ Mo,” finished third in his first main event of the season. “We had a good, clean race,” Oreta said. “I tried hard to pass them and I didn’t want to mess them up.”
Danny Wagner won the Mini-Trux main event, continuing his dominance of the division.
– Contributed by Mike Adaskaveg