CHICO, California — Looking to get a leg up on the competition for the 55th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California, Jason Meyers and his team competed in the Mini Gold Cup at the high-banked ¼-mile back in March. He won that event and learned a number of things that paid off on Friday night as he was victorious on the second preliminary night of the Gold Cup and earned a front row starting spot for the 40-lap $50,000-to win finale on Saturday night.
Meyers lined up second on Friday night and shot to the lead on the high side of the track on both the initial start and the second start that resulted from an opening lap caution. He would go on to lead all 30 laps to pick up his second consecutive win at Silver Dollar Speedway and the fifth of his career at the track in his home state.
“It was a great night tonight,” said Meyers. “I am in the best position I have ever been in to win my first Gold Cup. Not only am I starting in a great position, but I have a great race car and a great team behind me. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow night. We have to put 40 good ones in and hopefully we’ll be standing here again on the front chute.”
The caution flag flew six times on Friday night along with one red flag, which gave Jac Haudenschild, Brent Kaeding and Kraig Kinser a number of chances on restarts to make a move on Meyers,
“You just had to get good starts on the restarts and get off of turn four good, so that they couldn’t take a crack at me in turns one and two,” shared the winner. “I knew once I got rolling that I had a good race car. I was anxious each time to get going off of turn four.”
The final caution of the night flew with five laps remaining just as the leaders were about to enter lapped traffic. Meyers quickly pulled away on the ensuing restart, as Kaeding tried to take the second spot from Haudenschild.
“I welcomed that yellow at the end,” noted the California native. “It gave me a little breathing room and let me relax a little bit on the last five laps. We had a little rubber down there at the end and you certainly don’t want to see traffic when there is rubber down, because it makes the car tight and hard to pass.”
Meyers, who began the night by setting fast time aboard the GLR Investments KPC, finished second in the first heat race and second in the Crane Cams Dash. He earned the exact same number of event points as Thursday night’s winner Craig Dollansky and will start on the front row of the finale on Saturday night.
“We’ll go and sit down with some family and friends that were here tonight and celebrate a good night and get to bed early and get some rest for tomorrow,” Meyers said. “This was a great night tonight, but we have to follow it up with an even better night tomorrow.”
Haudenschild did everything he could to track down Meyers, using both the high and low side of the track. He started third and patiently worked on pole sitter Kraig Kinser who was running second for the first half of the race. On a lap 18 restart, Haudenschild charged around the third generation driver on the high side of turns one and two to move into the runner-up spot.
“The car felt really good tonight and has been running strong all season,” said Haudenschild. “Leonard Lee has the car going pretty good. We are locked into a good spot for tomorrow night and we feel good.”
Brent Kaeding who has won over 80 times in his career at Silver Dollar Speedway finished third aboard the Al’s Roofing Supply Maxim. He started sixth and was in the Top-Five on the third lap when Tyler Walker fell out of the race while running fourth. He then took the fourth spot from Robbie Farr on the sixth go-around. On the 21st lap he took the third position from Kraig Kinser in traffic.
“We’re really happy to be where we are at,” said Kaeding, who was celebrating his birthday at the track on Friday. “We were hoping for a Top-10 tonight and certainly got that. We were fortunate to draw a good number and qualify well. We had the race working very well.”
Kraig Kinser finished fourth in the Bass Pro Shops Maxim, with Paul McMahan finishing fifth in the Casey’s General Store Maxim, after racing his way into the preliminary feature through the B-Main. Kerry Madsen was sixth in the TK Concrete Maxim, with Chad Hillier seventh in the DIRT Inc. Maxim. Jason Solwold was eighth in the Aggressive Oilfield Technology Maxim, with Jesse Hockett in ninth aboard the Hansen Machine & Fabrication Maxim. Joey Saldana rounded out the Top-10 after starting 23rd in the Budweiser/Open Joist Mopar-powered JEI.
Haudenschild closed in on Meyers on the 19th lap and looked low off the third and fourth turns, but could not quite make a pass after running side-by-side with Meyers through those two turns. He tried nearly the same move on the next lap, again pulling event with Meyers, but he could not quite make a pass. With six laps to go, as the leader closed in on lapped traffic, Haudenschild again looked to the high side of turns three and four and bounced his way through a very deep rut to nearly take the lead. On the following circuit, the caution flag flew, giving the leaders clean race track to finish the race on. Haudenschild wound up second in the Owens-Corning Fiberglass Maxim.
“It was really tough tonight,” admitted the veteran driver. “The track got rough and then there was some rubber down about 17 laps in. You could run all over it and it ended up being a good track and good racing tonight.”
Haudenschild was gaining ground on Meyers in traffic late in the race when the final caution of the night flew with five laps remaining. He will have 10 more laps tomorrow to chase his third win in the Gold Cup.
“It did hurt me a little bit, but you have 30 laps and you have to do it in 30 laps,” summed up the native of Wooster, Ohio of the late caution. “Tomorrow night will be mostly the same thing. You have to get a good starting position and keep it up front.”
With all of the cautions periods on Friday night, there was only one green flag run that was longer than 10 laps. For Brent Kaeding, who was gaining ground on the leaders in traffic, the caution came at the wrong time. He was steadily gaining ground on the Top-Two in the late stages of the race.
“It really was tough to get in a rhythm,” Kaeding explained. “The last caution really hurt me. I found the rubber before the other guys and we ran them down pretty good. I thought we had a shot at driving by both of them before they got down there. My crew did a great job tonight and this Maxim car worked well and Ron Shaver gave us some great horsepower.”
Kaeding, who has six podium finishes in the Gold Cup in his career, will line up on the third row for the main event, as he looks to become just the third driver from the state of California to win the event since 1978.
“It will be a tough one tomorrow with 40 laps. I hope to hang in the Top-10. I would love to win it, but I don’t know if that is possible running with these boys that are half my age. We’ll see if we can get it done. We’ll give it a shot.”
The 55th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions wraps up on Saturday night with the 40-lap finale that will pay $50,000 to the winner.
55TH ANNUAL GOLD CUP RACE OF CHAMPIONS NIGHT #2 NOTEBOOK
• FAST QUALIFIER: Jason Meyers paced the 54 cars that took time with an AMB i.t. timed lap around the high-banked 1/4-mile oval at 11.604 seconds. The Gold Cup is a multi-day event with the field split up for the first two nights and thus qualifying bonus points were not issued.
• QUALIFYING WINNERS: Jason Solwold, Robbie Farr, Kraig Kinser and Brad Sweet won heat races… Kraig Kinser won the Crane Cams Dash… Paul McMahan won the B-Main… Kurt Nelson won the C-Main.
• FEATURE WINNERS: There have been 49 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series A-Feature events held in 2008. The winners include: Donny Schatz (Knoxville Raceway-twice, Attica Raceway Park, Eldora Speedway, Tri-City Speedway, Sedalia’s State Fair Speedway, Dodge City Raceway Park, River Cities Speedway, Cedar Lake Speedway, Riverside International Speedway, Williams Grove Speedway, K-C Raceway and Cottage Grove Speedway), Jason Meyers (Volusia Speedway Park, Manzanita Speedway, I-55 Raceway, Lernerville Speedway, Virginia Motor Speedway, Limaland Motorsports Park, Nodak Speedway and Castrol Raceway), Craig Dollansky (Volusia Speedway Park, Eldora Speedway, Huset’s Speedway-twice, Eagle Raceway, Tri-State Speedway and Paducah International Raceway), Steve Kinser (Williams Grove Speedway, Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, Lernerville Speedway, I-96 Speedway, Charter Raceway Park and Dacotah Speedway), Daryn Pittman (Eldora Speedway, Williams Grove Speedway, Wilmot Speedway and Red River Valley Speedway), Joey Saldana (Dodge City Raceway Park, Eldora Speedway, Billings Motorsports Park and Skagit Speedway), Tony Bruce Jr. (34 Raceway), Lance Dewease (The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway), Jac Haudenschild (Castrol Raceway), Kraig Kinser (Grays Harbor Raceway), Danny Lasoski (Volusia Speedway Park), Jason Solwold (Skagit Speedway) and Shane Stewart (Knoxville Raceway).
•PRELIMINARY FEATURE WINNERS: There have been two Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Preliminary Feature events held in 2008. The winners include Craig Dollansky (Silver Dollar Speedway) and Jason Meyers (Silver Dollar Speedway.
• 1/4-MILE WINNERS: Silver Dollar Speedway is a high-banked ¼-mile. The Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series has raced six times this season on a track that size this season. The winners include: Craig Dollansky (Tri-State Speedway and Silver Dollar Speedway), Jason Meyers (Limaland Motorsports Park and Silver Dollar Speedway) and Donny Schatz (Riverside International Speedway and Cottage Grove Speedway).
• UP NEXT: The finale of the 55th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway on Saturday, September 6.
• UPCOMING EVENTS: A return to the Midwest for events at Clay County Fair Speedway in Iowa, U.S. 36 Raceway in Missouri, Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas and the series inaugural stop at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri.
Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway; Chico, CA; September 5, 2008