Damitz’s second consecutive two-championship season at Oval Motorsports’ two racetracks will go down in the record books. Track announcer John Myers, master of ceremonies for the event, said he’d never seen such an ovation for a driver.
Topping the field of Super Stock drivers, Damitz, who will be 84 this year, said he’d be back to race at Antioch again this season. He has raced and won since 1952, before most of the drivers at the track were born. Humbled by the ovation, Damitz was speechless as he smiled and waved to the crowd.
In his address to the gathering, promoter John Soares spoke of Antioch’s growing field of cars and the track’s reputation as one of the best-run race tracks in the nation. He said sanctioning by the International Motorsports Competition Association (IMCA) would open new opportunities for drivers in the Modified and Sportmod stock car divisions.
The track will also feature Delta Series events and an extra-distance major event for Hobby Stock drivers in August. Soares announced a wide variety of Sprint car competitions for the season, featuring two visits by the World of Outlaws, bringing winged and wingless sprint cars to the 3/8-mile clay oval throughout the season.
Champions and top drivers in all divisions were honored. Modified champion Troy Foulger of Martinez thanked the Bowers family of Oakley for its dedication in providing him the ride that took him to his third straight championship. Foulger won eight times and earned 14 top-five victories against tough competition in 2012.
Wingless Sprint champion D.J. Johnson of Stockton spoke of his trek to Antioch Speedway, where he won a single race the previous season and rose to the top of the heap with the help of newfound friends at his new home track. Johnson notched five wins and 10 top-five finishes en route to the championship.
Gene Haney took some ribbing for fulfilling his desire to pursue drivers as he captured the Super Hobby Stock Championship. Dwarf car driver Nick Davis recited a long list of benefactors in appreciation of his championship season.
Sarah Leslie also spoke and Greg Williams and Phil Indihar walked away with awards.
– Contributed by Antioch Speedway