IMCA Modifieds, Sport Modifieds featured at Merced County Fair
BY DON MARTIN II
Special to the Times
The IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds were scheduled to race in front of the Merced County Fair crowd on Wednesday, June 5. This continues a long tradition in which the speedway gets to be part of entertaining the fairgoers every year.
With the quarter-mile clay oval in great shape these days, it’s going to be an entertaining show.
The IMCA Modifieds are in the midst of a very exciting season. We are five races in, and the last program saw the first two-time winner in Troy Foulger. Foulger and car owner Billy Bowers decided to team up this season to make a run at the Merced honors, knowing that the competition level would be very high. The team has won some big events In recent years and is all about testing themselves against the best competition out there. Foulger outran DJ Shannon to win the most recent race.
The standings are still very close with Foulger leading two-time Merced champion Randy Brown by just nine points. Foulger is the only driver with all Top 5 finishes so far, while second-ranked Brown and third-ranked Ryan Porter have four each. Brown has a win, but Porter, who trails Foulger by 13 points, is still looking for his first victory of the season. Shannon is trying to make up for a couple of bad races. Despite a win and his recent second, he is 29 points out of the lead in fourth and three ahead of four-time Merced champion Ramie Stone.
After cousin Paul Stone skipped the most recent event, Ramie Stone moved into fifth in the standings. He’s still not running as strong as hoped for and in search of his first win of the season. Perhaps it could happen at the fair race? Other drivers to watch for this week include Jesse James Burks, Ricky Thatcher, Anthony Giuliani and longtime Merced racer Bob Williamson.
The IMCA Sport Modified competitors have had just about enough of the rain outs. We are now in the month of June, and they have only managed to hold two of their scheduled six events this year. Both races came on the weekend of the Malicious Monster Truck Tour event with wins being recorded by Kelly Wilkinson and recent Marysville winner Andrew Peckham.
Nick Tucker has used his two Top 5 finishes to maintain a one point lead over the tied Wilkinson and Fred Ryland. It’s unknown whether Ryland is chasing points this year, but the 2016 champion is a threat to win it again if he does. His wife, Patti Ryland, is just four points out of the lead, while perennial title contender Bruce “Bubba” Nelson is seven points back. These five drivers always put on a show, and other racers to watch for Include Tanner Thomas, Tim Elias, Danny Roe and Paul Espino. State championship contenders Guy Ahlwardt and Keith Brown Jr are also anticipated for this event.
The Wednesday fair race was also set to be a tune-up for the big event coming on June 15. This will be the second annual Ed Parker Memorial race for IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks. Extra money will be on the line for that show. For further information, go online to: mercedspeedway.net.