ANTIOCH -- Scott Busby, one of California's most famous stock car drivers, returned to victory lane as a surprise winner in the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) modified stock car main event March 15 at Antioch Speedway.
Four-time straight track champion Troy Foulger of Martinez was leading on the last lap of the IMCA modified feature event when the ring and pinion gear failed in his car. As Foulger slowed just 100 feet from victory lane, Busby's car did the same for a different reason -- his engine was firing on only six of its eight cylinders.
After both cars limped across the finish lane, Chris Sieweke of Santa Rosa charged hard for third place.
For Busby, the win was bittersweet. His hometown rival, Foulger, and early leader Kellen Chadwick of Oakley were both knocked from competition.
"A win with those guys running would have been much nicer," Busby said in victory lane. "I just had no power at the end, but somehow I won."
Foulger was visibly upset as he exited his modified. He wasn't alone in his frustration. Earlier in the race, Chadwick had a commanding lead, only to lose it after a lapped made contact with his car, causing a flat tire.
With his last win two seasons ago, Busby had 464 feature wins in four decades of racing on clay and pavement tracks of all sizes throughout the West.
Another veteran driver, Billy Macedo of Concord, raced a new car to the checkered flag in the Northern All Star Wingless Sprint Car main event.
"I took last year off just to build this car," Macedo smiled in victory lane. "Not bad for the car's first time out."
Rowdy McClennon of Anderson chased Macedo to the checkered flag. Early leader Gary Nelson, Jr. of San Jose came back for third after contact was made by a lapped car in the fourth turn.
New names on the opening night winner's list included Steve Rogers, of Oakley and Chris Corder of Modesto.
Rogers scored his first career Hobby Stock feature win in the first race of his second season. He was challenged throughout the race by Brentwood's Patti Ryland and division champion Kimo Oreta, from Vacaville. Ryland's car was over heating throughout the race.
"It's time to celebrate," Rogers said as he stood with Ryland and Oreta. "I was watching the scoreboard, and I knew Patti was coming after me."
The Corter family from Modesto dominated the four-cylinder passenger car "Four-Banger" division -- despite being pavement racers who never before ventured to Antioch's 3/8-mile clay oval.
Dad Chris Corder topped son Brian Corder, while daughter Jennifer Corder took fifth. Antioch's Mike Christopher and Oakley's Louie McNally were the top speedway regulars, bringing home third and fourth, respectively.
Mike Hynes of Suisun continued his winning ways of last season by taking the main event for the new Limited Late Model division. Champ Jim Freethy of Danville had a radio failure that caused a missed opportunity to catch Hynes on a restart.
David Teves of Concord beat his half-brother Kurtis Craig of Antioch in the Dwarf Car division. Duane Jordan of Dublin was third.
The young season continues March 22 at Antioch Speedway. Northern All Stars Modified Stock Cars and Wingless Sprint Cars, IMCA SportMods, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks, and "Four-Bangers" will be on the card for a 6:30 p.m. start.
Admission is $14 for adults, $10 for children age 6-12, and $8 for senior citizens. A family four-pack of two adult and two child tickets is $40.
Antioch Speedway is located within the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, 1201 West 10th St., Antioch, Calif. Secure parking is provided by the Fairgrounds for $5.