By Stephanie Deatherage
ANTIOCH, Calif. (May 5) – A defending champion and a rookie were feature winners in the fifth round of the California IMCA Speedweek presented by Hoppes Motorsports.
2020 Speedweek king Bobby Hogge was the $1,000 IMCA Modified winner Wednesday at Antioch Speedway while Tyler Bannister won his career-first Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod feature.
Hogge stormed to the point pulling away from the rest of the Modified field following two early restarts. Speedweek point leader Ethan Dotson challenged following a lap 10 caution but couldn’t complete the pass.
A lap 21 caution set up a late-race restart with an open racetrack for the leaders to deal with. Hogge, already a Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot candidate, hit all his marks perfectly and was the first to the finish line, ahead of Dotson in a close second, Troy Morris III, Kellen Chadwick and Nick DeCarlo.
For the Northern SportMod feature, Bannister put his mount in the prime position on the first lap. The Bakersfield teenager was slowed by three consecutive cautions but once a good green flag run unfolded, the leader set a torrid pace.
When the final wave of the green flag came out, just eight laps around the track remained. In the final few circuits, both Fred Ryland and Josh Most were closing in on Bannister. Eventually, Ryland and Most battled hard with each other and allowed Bannister to pull away.
Bannister parked his machine in victory lane two nights after his father and fifth place runner Jason won at Merced Speedway. Ryland, Most and Jason Nation ran second through fifth, respectively.
Rookie Tyler Bannister outran a veteran Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod field to top the California IMCA Speedweek main event at Antioch Speedway. (Photo by Steve Elliott, Elliott Digital Design)