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Fierce Charge for the Rocket__ Ancona 21st to 3rd in MHM Finale

ancona salmon mhm podium
Joey Ancona celebrates with the winner, Jake Andreotti, and second, Raio Salmon, on the podium. PC: Cameron Hageman Photography

Sprint Car Insider – Driver Exclusive. CONCORD, Calif. (September 24, 2018) – He may not have won the race but Joey Ancona put on the charge of the weekend in Saturday nights 50-lap mark Hagopian memorial finale.

Just before the B main Saturday night, things were all doom and gloom around the Ancona pit. Signaled with a lone thumbs down reaction when asked how things were going for them that night, the whole atmosphere would change completely following his main event performance. But it really all began Friday night.

After qualifying 5th quick on the opening night of the mhm he failed to make the inversion through his heat. Things were already looking eerily similar to last years run. Forced to run the B main, Ancona was able to make quick work of the stacked field, pick up the win, and advance into the Feature. In the opening night, 30-lap main event Ancona settled for a lackluster (by his standards) 13th place finish.

Onto Saturday Night, the money night, where Ancona’s performance highs and lows would continue but flip-flop in order. The rocket is ordinarily considered by most to be the king of qualifying. When he posted the 26th fastest time of the night many the Ancona’s were left scratching their heads.

With his qualifying time putting him behind the eight-ball he failed to advance to the main through the heat once again. This meant the pressure would be on for the B Main which saw only the top three advance, and Joey would start from 6th. The pressure was on and the mood was tense around the rockets pit.

ancona mhm b lugo photo
PC: Bryan Lugo Photography

“I can make it but it’s gonna be tough,” said Ancona. “There’s a lot of really fast cars in my B and I start from 6th but I can do it.”

This is when Joe Ancona looked over, shook his head, and replied with a simple thumbs down.

When the B main rolled out there were some heavy hitters such as The likes of Ancona, Moles, Watts, and Holland, who would have their work cut out for them. Of the aforementioned drivers, only Ancona made his way to the third and final transfer spot behind Chad Laughton and Dillon Horsley.

Ancona made the show and would roll off from the 21st position.

With as stout of a final year of micro sprint racing Ancona has had, a forgettable performance at one of the season biggest races was unforeseeable. In addition to having the Keller Auto Raceway track Championship on the line, it was time to dig.

The rocket dug deep.

The initial stages of the race proved to be a battle of attrition but the old racing adage says, “you gotta be in it to win it.” With laps winding down, Ancona was still motoring through the pack and advancing quickly. Ancona moved into the 4th spot as leader Michael Faccinto fell out due to engine trouble. After the rocky start to the weekend, Joey Ancona found himself in podium contention with just laps remaining.

The checkered flag flew after 50 grueling laps with Jake Andreotti crossing the stripe first followed by Raio Salmon. Ancona completed the comeback in the third position. He put on the charge of the weekend.

podium mhm champaine
PC: Bryan Lugo Photography

“If this race was 55 laps I would have gotten second,” said Ancona, as everyone chuckled. “I just can’t believe we’re up here on the podium. It’s been a weekend I could forget until now, I just can’t explain how happy I am.”

Joey Ancona may not have been able to explain it himself but the tears said it all. After just 50 laps, The Mark Hagopian Memorial went from a race that the Ancona family would rather not remember to one they will never forget.

Joey Ancona would like to cordially thank all of his sponsors – DRYCO, Melrose Powder Coating, Hamblin Motorsports, Swindell Speed Labs, Factory Kahne Shocks, and CS9 Chassis.

2018 mhm football pic
The Commemorative “Team Photo” PC: Bryan Lugo



Quick Results: Friday, September 21, 2018

2nd Annual Mark Hagopian Memorial

Keller Auto Raceway Plaza Park – Night One

  • Joey Ancona #88a – Super 600
  • Qualifying: 5th
  • Heat Race:
  • B-Main: 1st
  • Main Event: 13th

Current Points Position: At this point, we are not sure if it was enough for the title as the driver he was battling finished one spot ahead of him. No room to speculate at this time.


Quick Results: Saturday, September 22, 2018

2nd Annual Mark Hagopian Memorial

Keller Auto Raceway Plaza Park – Night two

  • Qualifying: 26th
  • Heat Race:
  • B-Main: 3rd
  • Main Event: 3rd (started 21st)
  • Current Points: At this point we are not sure if it was enough for the title as the driver he was battling finished one spot ahead of him. No room to speculate at this time.

Season Stats:

  • Shows:
  • Wins:

Follow Joey and his racing personally at

ancona wins 8 25 18




Instagram: @joeyanconaracing

Biggest Accomplishments: Winning Quarter midget Grand Nationals at 8 years old


Catch Joey Ancona in action this weekend at –

Budweiser Grand Prix/ Points Finale

Lemoore Raceway – Lemoore, Ca

 Saturday, September 29, 2018

To follow the race be sure to follow: (track/series social)

  • Facebook: @tzonepromotions
  • Instagram: @tzone_lre
  • Twitter: @LemooreRaceway 

On deck: (upcoming races)

  1. Budweiser Grand Prix

– September 29, 2018

– Lemoore Raceway

  1. King of California Rd. 15

– October 5, 2018

– Dixon Speedway

  1.   King of California Rd, 16

– October 6, 2018

-Delta Speedway


October 6, 2018 *(If points permit)

Antioch Raceway 360 sprint car


Make sure to follow Sprint Car Insider on Facebook, @SCI_uodates on twitter or visit our website – for or all of the updates on Joey Ancona as he continues his assault on the 2018 campaign.

Follow us:

  • Facebook: Sprint Car Insider
  • Twitter: @SCI_updates
  • Instagram: Sprntcarinsider


On the Horizon:

Cotton Classic

  • October 13, 2018
  • Keller Auto Speedway (formerly Kings Speedway)
  • Hanford, California


35th Annual Tulsa Shootout

  • January 1-5, 2019
  • Tulsa Expo Center
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma


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Feel Free to give a ring or shoot an email anytime –

Contact:   Or (559) 284-2438 for more details.

Sprint Car Insider is the exclusive print division of DIRT CO Media House. Covering everything from Jr Sprints to the world of Outlaws SCI is your source for behind the scenes information, up to the minute coverage and racing entertainment.

Follow us:

Facebook: Sprint Car Insider

Twitter: @SCI_updates

Instagram: Sprntcarinsider

JJ Cox View All

JJ Cox -
Lead Contributor of Sprint Car Insider.
Sole Proprietor of Prodigy Race Promotions.
Current Freelance Announcer with educated broadcast experience.
Media Relations Advisor.
P.R Practitioner.

Fresno State Bulldog - Broadcasting and Public Relations.
Grew up going to 50+ Sprint Car races a year and Raced Motocross for 10 years.
Die Hard Dirt Race Fan
Just a rolling stone.

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