RIVERSIDE, California — Randel King, the 17-year old honor roll student out of Riverside, California, thought he had hung up his racing helmet for the winter. After wrapping up Rookie of the Year honors in Super Late Model Division at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale this past season, the King’s planned on taking some time off to get their Super Late ready for NASCAR’s All-Star Showdown in January. Kevin Smith, ASA Speed Truck owner and part-time racer, had a different plan in mind.
“Kevin called a few weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in competing in one of his trucks at the Irwindale finale”, King explained. “I try to do as much racing as I can, so I jumped at the chance!”
Randel competed in the ASA Speed Truck Challenge in the 2006 and 2007 seasons with 20 top tens, 15 top fives, 7 top threes and 1 win. Randel also won the 2006 ASA Speed Truck Rookie of the Year.
Smith, looking to sell one of his trucks and garner good results on the racetrack knew King was the right choice.
“Randel gained a ton of experience and respect at Irwindale this past season. When you couple that with his ASA Speed Truck success, I knew he was the best choice for getting this re-vamped truck up to speed and contend for the win.”
Dallas Leininger, Randel’s crew chief, worked extremely hard getting the truck race-ready and competitive. Understanding the series has evolved and it would take some innovation and changes to the current set-up to be competitive, Leininger went to work on giving King a truck that he could win with. And that he did as Randel had the fastest time in the Friday night practice out-pacing almost 20 trucks.
When the race day began on Saturday, the truck was very balanced and showed it with the third fastest time in practice on old tires. Unfortunately their race day took a turn for the worse. As Randel prepared to qualify, the battery went dead and he was not able to take the track. The crew of Leininger, Jace Thomas and Scott King really stepped up to get the truck ready for the main event.
Starting dead last in the 17th position for the 100-lap main event, Randel remained calm and collected throughout the caution-free race and passed all but two competitors ending his night in the third position.
“It was a very busy day today and it didn’t go quite as we had planned”, Randel stated after the race. “Although we ended up in third, I think if we had been able to qualify I would have had chance to run up front with Darren Young and Chris Buescher. I think a late caution also may have put us in an excellent position for the win. I am very thankful for the opportunity Kevin Smith gave us to race this weekend. I have to thank my crew Dallas Leininger and Jace Thomas for all their hard work getting this truck ready and very fast. I love racing these trucks and the $1,100.00 payout was cool from the new series sponsor, Verve. I can’t thank the series enough for trying to help bring the purse money up and help cover the cost of racing.”