ANTIOCH -- Before he put on his fire suit to race and win at Antioch Speedway on Aug. 17, hobby stock driver Nick Viscusi III of Vacaville was thinking about the life lessons taught to him by his high school football coach, Steve Green.
Viscusi, 21, had just returned from services for Green, who had passed away after a battle with cancer. He thought about strategies in preparing for competition that Green taught him on the football field of Vacaville High, where Viscusi played defensive end.
When it came time to compete in the biggest stock car race of his budding driving career, Viscusi took Green along with him.
"I dedicated the race to him," he said after winning the $1,500 purse in the 100-lap event. "I learned a lot in the classroom and on the field from him."
"Like in football, you don't have to be ahead the whole game, you just have to be in the game," said Viscusi. "And, then, you can win it all in the final quarter."
Viscusi did just that. He laid back for the first half of the race, running in sixth position and having fun racing with Brentwood's Brad Myers and Fred Ryland.
Meanwhile, outlaws Kimo Oreta and partner Dan Smith battled for first place in the first half. Oreta started from the outside pole position and led 25 laps before Smith got around him.
"My transmission failed," Oreta explained. "It was pumping out fluid and it was smoking like crazy. We pulled off to fix it and I thought we had it figured out. But, when we went back to racing it only lasted five more laps."
Smith moved into the lead after Oreta was out, and fought off challenges from Myers and Viscusi. Smith held the top spot at the halftime break, but things rapidly changed for him in the second half.
He pulled into the pits to change a flat tire and a leaking valve cover caused oil to catch fire from dripping on his engine's exhaust system. Myers then took the lead, being challenged by Viscusi.
"He (Viscusi) just got me on the restart," Myers said." I just couldn't beat him in the drag race down the front stretch. Once he got the jump on me, he took the line."
Viscusi timed his move perfectly, and once he grabbed the higher line on the racetrack, he stayed in the lead for the final 20 laps. Myers took second.
Jeremy Hoff of Copperopolis was victorious in the IMCA SportMod feature event. The point leader topped Jimmy Ford and Megan Ponciano of Oakley, who completed the top three.
Danny Wagner of Bay Point won his fourth Dwarf Car feature event of the season with a big lead second place Charlie Correia of Antioch.
In the IMCA Modified Stock Car feature, Ed Daviess of Antioch topped Aaron Crowell of Oakley. Crowell has finished second three weeks in a row. Dan Gonderman of Antioch was third.
On Aug. 24, Late Model Sportsman return to Antioch Speedway, along with IMCA Modified Stock Cars, IMCA SportMods, All Star Wingless Sprint Cars, Super Stocks with Super Hobby Stocks and Four Bangers. Racing starts at 6:30 p.m.