Shannon, Johnson win Speedway races during County Fair
DJ Shannon and Bakersfield’s Michael Johnson won their respective Main Events Tuesday night at Merced Speedway.
The occasion was the annual Merced County Fair race, which played in front of one of the bigger crowds of the year. The midweek race saw the car count between the IMCA Sport Modified and IMCA Modified divisions swell to 63 cars combined.
For DJ Shannon, this was his second 25 lap IMCA Modified Main Event win of the season. Jesse James Burks had the pole for the race and led the early laps as Shannon worked his way from the fourth row and Paul Stone came from further back in the seventh row. Shannon would eventually take the lead and hold off the hard-charging Paul Stone for the victory. Burks settled for a best-ever third place finish, followed by Ryan Porter, point leader Troy Foulger, Trevor Fitzgibbon, Ryan Larimer, Ramie Stone, Anthony Giuliani and Kellen Chadwick.
There were 27 IMCA Modifieds, and the four 10 lap heat race wins went to Watsonville point leader Cody Burke and his brother Austin Burke, Porter and Ramie Stone. Championship contender Randy Brown suffered a setback when he finished seventh in the 12 lap B Main and failed to make the transfer. That race was won by Chadwick ahead of Paul Stone, Anthony Slaney and reigning State champion Shane DeVolder.
Michael Johnson is a regular in the IMCA Sport Modified division at Bakersfield Speedway, and the midweek scheduling allowed him to come compete at Merced. Jarrod Mounce had the pole for the 25 lap Main Event. The second-generation racer scored a big win down in Watsonville a few weeks ago, and he was looking to get a win in front of his home crowd. The track was very dry-slick and a bit dusty as the water truck broke down earlier in the afternoon. Mounce led several laps as Michael Johnson worked his way from the third row to eventually take the lead. While Johnson went on to victory, fourth row starter Kevin Johnson was also able to make a pass on Mounce to finish second. Mounce would settle for third, followed by Garrett Jernagan, new point leader Fred Ryland, Danny Roe, reigning champion Jeremy Hoff, Brent Curran, Kenny Schrader and current state point leader Guy Ahlwardt.
The Sport Modifieds had a strong 36 car field for the show. Kevin Johnson, Bruce “Bubba” Nelson, Mounce and Hoff were the ten lap heat race winners. There were a pair of 12 lap B Mains, and Chase Thomas won the first race ahead of Patti Ryland and Paul Espino. The second race was won by Antioch Speedway point leader Curran ahead of Tyler Thomas and Kenny Shrader.
Racing resumes on Saturday, June 15, with the Second Annual Ed Parker Memorial race.
The race pays respect to the man who promoted the speedway from 2016 through 2018, when he passed away. Increased purses will be on the line, and the IMCA Modifieds will be racing along with IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks.
For further information, go online to: mercedspeedway.net.
To relive other moments from the Merced County Fair, readers can check out our coverage of the opening ceremonies that included a groundbreaking of a new shade structure, the jr. livestock auctions and showmanship competitions that brought 4-H and FFA’s best and brightest together, the special needs Friends Helping Friends Day on Friday, the S.T.E.M activities that UC Merced’s Mobile Maker Space brought to this year’s fair, or the live music performance of Canaan Smith. Those interested in seeing the sights of the Merced County Fair again can check out our photo gallery post covering the attractions, rodeo, and more from this year’s fair.