ANTIOCH -- Chris Magoon of Oakley scored his first career win in the Northern All-Star Winged 360 Sprint Car division May 10 at Antioch Speedway. Magoon stalked Kurt Nelson of Gilroy, finally catching him with five laps to go in the non-stop 25-lap race.
"I thought he (Nelson) had me," Magoon said in victory lane. "Then I figured it out. If I ran wide open at the top of the track and took it easy in the fourth turn, I could catch him."
As they weaved through traffic, Magoon closed the gap between he and Nelson, whose right rear tire was heating up from the continuous action.
With a heart-stopping pass, Magoon burst into the lead on the front stretch. Nelson tried in vain to return to the top spot. Shawn Arriaga of Antioch followed closely for third.
The triple feature card found Chico drivers Richard Papenhausen and Randy McDaniel in the winner's circle. Undefeated Jeff Decker of Morgan Hill could not catch Papenhausen in the Northern All Star Late Model Stock Car feature. McDaniel survived a crash-filled International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) modified stock car main event.
Last season, Papenhausen dominated the late model stock car division. This year it has been Decker who was on a tear.
"The track was really good tonight," Papenhausen said in victory lane. "In the last race, we bent a shock absorber. It was a whole different world tonight."
Papenhausen surged into the lead early in the feature, making the battle for second place the focus. Paul Guglielmoni of Vacaville, in his best run to date, battled Decker to the finish.
With two laps to go, Decker squeezed by Guglielmoni coming out of the second turn.
The IMCA modified feature was a crash-filled race. Even though it featured the top drivers in the region, every car that started the 18-car NORCAL Challenge main event was damaged, and only the top three cars were on the lead lap at the finish.
McDaniel, who made a pit stop to repair damage early in the race, managed to re-enter the track without loosing a lap.
He found himself in the lead on the final restart, with Troy Foulger of Martinez chasing him in a very battered car.
"I can't believe it — all these cars torn up," McDaniel said in victory lane.
He and Foulger commiserated in victory lane.
"This is the worst this car has been damaged in quite some time," an angry Foulger said after the event.
Third place finisher Tom Purcell of Carson City, Nevada, was the happiest of the drivers after the race.
Purcell, a full time engineering student at the University of Nevada, Reno, had never raced at Antioch Speedway before. It was the third time out for his new car.
"I tried to stay out of the trouble. I came from all the way in the back to third place," he said in victory lane. "I'm very happy with my third place finish, even though the car is damaged -- I'll take third place, any day."
Northern All Star Modifieds and IMCA SportMods action continues at Antioch Speedway on May 17. The 3/8-mile clay oval will feature Northern All Star Modifieds, IMCA SportMods, Hobby Stocks and the four cylinder powered "Four-Bangers."