Troy Foulger of Martinez returned to victory lane, and did it the hard way in the International Motor Contest Association feature event for modified stock cars Saturday night at Antioch Speedway.
The three-time division champ started from the 20th position in the 20-car feature, working his way through the pack, picking off car after car to lead by the event's midway point.
"The crew worked hard to get the car back into the feature," Foulger said of the Oakley-based Bowers Racing Team. Foulger hit the front stretch wall in his heat race.
Ed Davies of Antioch challenged Foulger for the lead on two restarts after he got by hometown rival Michael Salazar.
"We had a couple of good drag races down the front stretch," Davies explained. "I spun my tires, but he got tire bite in the turns to pull ahead. It was fun racing alongside Troy."
The Big Show, with seven feature events, drew a record number of cars to the 38-mile high-banked speedway.
The return of the popular full-bodied late model stock cars saw Richard Papenhausen of Chico remain untouchable in the division. After passing Rick Shafer of Fairfield with 14 laps to go, Papenhausen had a clear path to the checkered flag. Shawn DeForest of Livermore passed Shafer for second late in the feature.
A highlight of the night was D.J. Johnson of Stockton returning to the ranks of the All Star Wingless Sprint Cars. Johnson, Antioch track champ in the division last season, used the wingless sprints as a stepping stone this season to race in the United Sates Auto Club (USAC). He finished third in the USAC Western Classic and garnered Rookie of the Year honors.
"It was great to race in Antioch again," he said in victory lane, speaking from his sprint car adorned with a for sale sign. "I guess the value of the car just went up."
Colton Slack of Brentwood chased Johnson to the finish. Gary Nelson, Jr. of San Jose brought home third.
Rookie Hobby Stock driver Nick Baldwin of Oakley scored his first career feature win, topping Nick Viscusi III and Kimo Oreta of Vacaville, who were second and third, respectively.
"We didn't even think we would make the main event, let alone win it, after we broke the front suspension in the heat race," Baldwin said in victory lane.
Larry Damitz of Vallejo is the oldest stock car driver in America racing in a competitive division. He added another win in a long list that began in 1952, topping youngsters Jim Freethy of Danville and Fred Ryland of Brentwood in the Super Stock division.
"This win feels just as good as the first one," said Damitz in victory lane.
Gene Haney of Brentwood and Jimmy Robbins of Concord collided while running for the win in the Super Hobby Stock Division. The two are locked in a championship battle.
"Jimmy would have won if we didn't bump," Haney said. "He's the best driver out there."
Ken Radabaugh of Brentwood topped his uncle Fred Radabaugh of Antioch in the four-cylinder Four-Banger division.
"I had to pull some tricks out of the bag to get away from Uncle Fred," Radabaugh said with a laugh in victory lane.
A rough IMCA SportMod feature event was won by Keith Brown Jr. of Pittsburg. Brown was shaking down a new car, as he prepares to run for the national title next season. He was challenged by Jeremy Hoff of Copperopolis for most of the feature. Jimmy Ford of Yuba City, Calif. was right behind Hoff for third.
"Not bad for the second time out," Brown said of his first win of the year. "We'll be ready for the SportMod spectacular next weekend."
Megan Ponciano, second in points, saw her bid to overtake Jeremy Hoff fall short with a crash into the wall. She finished sixth with a bent frame. Hoff holds an 11-point lead in the division.
The IMCA SportMods are center stage Sept. 21 at Antioch Speedway. A special extra-money event will draw the best drivers in the division. Also included in the program will be Wingless Sprint Cars, Super Stocks, Super Hobby Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars and Four-Bangers.