CHICO, California — The 56th annual Gold Cup Race of Champions is less than a week away and the entry list for this $50,000 fall classic has a number of storylines within it. While the World of Outlaws will bring national recognition to Handy Racing Promotions’ Silver Dollar Speedway, California is due to be well represented as well.
As the annual Gold Cup Race of Champions takes place at the conclusion of many weekly tracks regular season, the three richest days of 410 cubic inch sprint car racing in California will draw a strong local contingent all looking to test their skill against the nation’s best open wheel pilots. Among the long list of locals will be four recently crowned champions looking to earn a piece of the California Gold.
Topping the list of recently crowned champions will be one driver that is very familiar with the Silver Dollar clay, Bobby McMahan of Elk Grove. Just two weeks ago McMahan was crowed the newest champion to Silver Dollar Speedway. Following a several year absence from the sport, McMahan returned to the driver’s seat during the 2008 Gold Cup Race of Champions aboard a car owned by Steve Harris.
After a successful debut aboard a 360 powered machine, McMahan was quickly back into the sport he dominated in the late 80’s and 90’s while racing with the Northern Auto Racing Club, the Golden State Challenge and the USAC Western States campaign. Driving fulltime for Harris in 2009, McMahan drove his way to his first career championship, claming the Silver Dollar Speedway Feather Falls Casino 410 Sprint Car championship.
“I’m looking forward to coming back to the Gold Cup this year,” said McMahan. “For me it’s not really any different after winning the championship. I’ve had a lot more track time under me and this time I will have a 410 motor rather then a 360 under the hood.”
McMahan will be joined by one of California’s most recognized champions this year as Tyler Walker of Los Angeles returns to the famed race as a new champion. Walker made a record breaking run to the 2009 Golden State Challenge Series title last month aboard the NMI Industrial #24. With a record nine wins to his name during the season, there is no doubt that Walker knows his way to the front of 410 sprint car racing in the Golden State and will surely be one to watch next week as he will go head to head one more time with his season long rival Jonathan Allard of Chico, the 2008 Golden State Challenge champion who too will be on hand.
Joining the fast boys of California 410 sprint car racing will be Penngrove native Alissa Geving. Geving recently won her second straight Petaluma Speedway All Pro Sprint Car Championship aboard her family owned #3x Sprint Car. Geving is the youngest female two time sprint car champion in the nation and is ready to roll onto the Chico clay, a track that is now in her hometown as a student at CSU Chico. In addition to the weekly series at Petaluma, Geving has had successful runs in the Civil War Series throughout the year and made her debut in the USAC Western States Sprint Car Series.
Colby Wiesz of Colfax has logged an entry in Chico’s great race. Wiesz was just crowned the 2009 Placerville Speedway track champion. Wiesz earned his second Placerville title aboard John Taylor’s #35 car. During the year, Wiesz has competed in Friday night competition aboard his family owned #21, the car in which he will compete in throughout the entire Gold Cup, including the Pacific Sprint Cup on Wednesday night.
Nearly 100 different drivers or more are expected to be in competition over the upcoming Gold Cup Race of Champions four day run. The event opens on Wednesday, Speptember 9 with the Hoosier Tires Civil War Pacific Sprint Cup and the Wingless Sprint Car event. Thursday will mark the first of two qualifying days for the World of Outlaws Gold Cup Racing of Champions.
As in the past, a number of pre race and after race activities will highlight the Gold Cup event. Thursday night will bring a new event to the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds as racers and fans can gather in then pavilion for the first “Fantastic Finishes, a Tribute to the Gold Cup” brings historical race footage to the big screen and $3 Coors Light into a Happy Hour atmosphere.
Thursday morning the Annual Sprint Car Hall of Fame Gold Classic will tee off. Friday night the famed Gold Cup Chili Feed and Mrs. Gold Cup Bikini Contest will draw thousands to the Silver Dollar Pavilion. Single day tickets are still available for this upcoming fall classic. For complete ticket information and further details of the 56th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions visit www.handyracingpromotions.com.