This weekend, Pappenhausen is out to be king of the DIRTcar Late Model and Modified stock cars at Antioch and Merced Speedway’s Budweiser Fall Classic. Two classes of cars in two big events at two of California’s top racetracks will draw the best drivers in the West to the biggest event of the season.
The Budweiser Fall Classic program begins at 7 p.m. at Antioch Speedway and at 5 p.m. at Merced Speedway. Antioch Speedway is located in the Contra Costa Fairgrounds at 1201 W. 10th St. Merced Speedway is located in the Merced County Fairgrounds at 900 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.
“It’s not too hard for me to run two different cars in one night,” Pappenhausen said. “The differences are drastic. The Late Model Stock cars have a lot of horsepower and big tires; the Modified Stock Cars have a decent amount of horsepower with small tires. You have to drive them differently, but I’ve been at it (driving both types of cars) for 10 years now.”
Several of California’s top drivers will field cars in both divisions. Included are Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas and Chris Shannon of Merced.
What Pappenhausen accomplished last weekend in Oregon is rare. “We blew an engine in qualifying on Friday night,” he said. “But we didn’t have a spare.”
Pappenhusen’s Late Model racer is housed at his uncle Dave’s garage in Petaluma, where he and cousin Mike maintain it for Richard.
“We hauled the car all the way back late Friday night, arriving in the wee hours of Saturday morning,” said Pappenhausen. “The crew said if we get our spare engine in before noon, we were heading back to Oregon.”
The crew did just that, and Pappenhausen was required to start from the last position in the second “B Main” – a last-chance-qualifying race for the main event. He won the race and made it into the main event.
Sixty laps later, Pappenhausen sat in victory lane. “I look forward to racing in the big shows,” he said. “They make you want to go the extra mile.”
Saturday night at Antioch Speedway, Pappenhausen expects a good run. Merced is an untested battleground, since the Western All Stars have not raced there yet. “I seem to have some good luck at Antioch,” Pappenhausen said. “There are a lot of fast drivers there. The track has more than one groove, and guys are aggressive. Things happen fast on the track. Double file restarts make it interesting, too.”
Pappenhausen will be eying the competition. “Guys like Bobby Hogge IV and Chris Shannon are always on top of their game,” he said. “And there are many others capable of winning. You can’t count many drivers out.”
– Contributed by Mike Adaskaveg