Lucky and good, Winebarger sweeps holiday weekend IMCA Modified features at Antioch

Collen Winebarger was a double winner at Antioch Speedway, sweeping holiday weekend IMCA Modified Covid 19/George Steitz Memorial main events. (Photo by Paul Gould)

ANTIOCH, Calif. (May 23-24) – A driver who says he’d rather be lucky than good was both Sunday at Antioch Speedway.

Collen Winebarger three-wheeled his way to the $2,200 IMCA Modified checkers, completing a sweep of the Covid 19 special/George Steitz Memorial despite a tie rod broken in an early-race dustup with an infield tire.

“I was super embarrassed because I thought I’d given it away. I was lucky that was all that broke,” said Winebarger, from Oregon and making just his career second visit to the California speedplant. “I had no steering on the left side at all but was fortunate the yellows that came out late got lapped traffic out of the way.”

He’d started from the pole and got too close to that tire about seven circuits in. Ryan Porter, Darrell Hughes, Troy Foulger and Trevor Fitz-Gibbon rounded out the top five.

There were fewer anxious moments before Winebarger put his name on the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot with Saturday’s $1,000 win. He started fourth and was in the lead before midway, cruising to the checkers ahead of Shane DeVolder and Chadwick. 

Winebarger’s one previous outing at Antioch was at a two-day show in 2015. 

Both IMCA Modified and Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod entries each topped 50 both nights of the holiday weekend show. 

Michael Johnson scored the $800 Northern SportMod victory on Saturday while Brian Cooper landed a career-best $1,700 payday on Sunday.

Johnson started sixth and led the last 10 of 15 laps in winning his first-ever Antioch start.

“It was a tighter track than what we run locally. The corners were quite a bit narrower,” said Johnson, who crossed the stripe ahead of Tom Fraser and Kenny Shrader. “It’s a fun little track for sure.”

Like Winebarger, Cooper was making his first Antioch start in about five years. He got surprised twice, first when he drew the pole start and then watching his start-to-finish run at the front of the field. 

“(The draw) hasn’t been on my side in a while,” he said. “I was surprised when I watched the video and saw how we could pull away. We had everything set up just right.” 

Late contributions pushed Cooper’s share of the purse to $1,700. He’d posted his previous career-best $1,200 earlier this season at Marysville.

Runner-up was Todd Gomez and Guy Ahlwardt was third.

May 23 Feature Results 

Modifieds – 1. Collen Winebarger; 2. Shane DeVolder; 3. Kellen Chadwick; 4. Troy Foulger; 5. Cody Laney; 6. John Campos; 7. Zack Simpson; 8. Riley Simmons; 9. Trevor Fitz-Gibbon; 10. Austin Burke; 11. Cody Burke; 12. Darrell Hughes; 13. Jim Pettit; 14. Albert Gill; 15. Craig Cassell; 16. Jesse Bailey; 17. Paul Guglielmoini; 18. Chester Kniss; 19. Bobby Motts Jr.; 20. J.C. Elrod; 21. Robert Miller.

Northern SportMods – 1. Michael Johnson; 2. Tom Fraser; 3. Kenny Shrader; 4. Brent Curran; 5. Todd Gomez; 6. Chase Thomas; 7. Fred Ryland; 8. Timothy Allerdings; 9. Nick Spainhoward; 10. K.C. Keller; 11. David Schmidt; 12. Brian Pearce; 13. Jeremy Hoff; 14. David Pearson; 15. Randy Miller; 16. Jason Ferguson; 17. Adriane Frost; 18. Chuck Golden; 19. Jarrod Mounce; 20. Chris Falkenberg; 21. Mark Garner.

May 24 Feature Results

Modifieds – 1. Winebarger; 2. Ryan Porter; 3. Hughes; 4. Foulger; 5. Fitz-Gibbon; 6. Cody Burke; 7. Campos; 8. Bobby Hogge IV; 9. Miller; 10. Cody Laney; 11. DeVolder; 12. Chadwick; 13. Simpson; 14. Bailey; 15. Cassell; 16. Carl Berendsen; 17. Paul Culp; 18. Simmons; 19. James Lipke; 20. Austin Burke; 21. Ryan McDaniel. 

Northern SportMods – 1. Brian Cooper; 2. Gomez; 3. Guy Ahlwardt; 4. Keller; 5. Johnson; 6. Pearce; 7. Fraser; 8. Garner; 9. Allerdings; 10. Schmidt; 11. Hoff; 12. Shrader; 13. Curran; 14. Jimmy Ford; 15. Patti Ryland; 16. Nick Caughman; 17. Thomas; 18. Spainhoward; 19. Fred Rowland; 20. Mounce; 21. Pearson.