TULARE, California — Campbell, California’s Bud Kaeding and New Castle, Indiana’s Tracy Hines shared honors on Saturday night, claiming feature wins with the USAC National/CRA Sprint Cars and USAC National/Western Midget Series respectively during the 31st Pacific Coast Nationals at Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway.
Regardless if it has been with the wing or without this year, Kaeding has enjoyed some of the finest moments of his career in 2010 and the Pacific Coast Nationals victory marked his third USAC National Sprint Car triumph of the season, going along with other big wins at the Knoxville Raceway Non Wing Nationals and the Ultimate Challenge in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
“I definitely want to thank my guys because they’ve been doing a great job all year,” said Kaeding, who also finished runner up in the USAC Silver Crown Series standings this year, missing out on his fourth title by just a couple points. “This is a real prestigious race so winning the Pacific Coast Nationals is pretty awesome”
The 30-lap main event began with Noblesville, Indiana’s Bryan Clauson jumping into the lead aboard his RWB No. 2 sprinter. Early on Kaeding would move up to second and a hard charging Damion Gardner sliced his way into third, as it became a three-way fight for the top-spot after a handful of laps.
With the top-three tightly bunched Gardner made a beautiful move to slip by Kaeding and grab second off turn four on lap six, but disaster would strike the next time by when the “Demon” tried to charge under Clauson. As the duo went wheel to wheel contact ensued and resulted in both drivers flipping wildly in between the third and fourth corners.
Both drivers were reported ok, but done for the night. It then moved Kaeding up to the lead and he would maintain a comfortable advantage for much of the remainder. USAC National Sprint Car champion Levi Jones was able to close in on Kaeding with the race winding down, but the California driver had nothing of it and charged off to take the checkered flag for victory at the helm of his BK Motorsports No. 29.
Jones crossed the stripe in second to wrap up his second consecutive USAC National Sprint Car Series title and fourth overall, tying Steve Butler for the most all time. Completing the top-10 in the 30-lapper were Tracy Hines, Justin Grant, Matt Mitchell, Casey Shuman, Mike Spencer, Chris Windom, Austin Williams and Jerry Coons Jr.
Winning the b-main for the sprint cars during the night was 2009 Pacific Coast Nationals champ Jon Stanbrough and claiming the four eight-lap heat races were Danny Sheridan, Nick Faas, Tim Kaeding and Levi Jones. A total of 33 wingless sprint cars signed in at the back gate and Stanbrough began the night by setting fast time with a clocking of 14.853.
While the USAC National Sprint Car Series season is concluded the USAC/CRA Sprints Cars will finish off the 2010 year with the upcoming Glen Howard Memorial at the Perris Auto Speedway on Saturday November 27.
Although leading all 30-laps in the USAC National/Western Midget Series feature, Hines had to deal with heavy pressure from Jerry Coons Jr. and Bryan Clauson over the closing laps, but was able to hang on to record his fourth National Midget victory of the season aboard the Parker Machinery No. 24 mount.
“I was getting a little worried there because Jerry Coons was showing his nose a few times, but I just tried to focus on holding my line and it paid off,” commented Hines, who sits third in the overall National Midget standings. “This is a fun place and it’s nice to get a win tonight.”
Coons Jr. gave it a hard run, but came up just shy finishing second, with National Midget point leader Clauson making up ground late in the race to finish a close third at the line. Rounding out the top-10 was new USAC Western Midget Series point leader Alex Schutte, Brad Kuhn, Bobby East, Zach Daum, Henry Clarke, Levi Roberts and Cody Swanson.
The midget b-main was picked off by Alex Schutte with the four eight-lap heat races being won by Bryan Clauson, Henry Clarke, Shannon McQueen and Kody Swanson. The night of racing marked the first USAC National Midget event at the Tulare Thunderbowl and Clauson started off the evening by driving the Cory Tucker/Bryan Clauson Inc. No. 39 around the 1/3 mile oval in 15.628 seconds for fast time in the 32-car field.
The USAC National and Western Midget Series have two events remaining in the 2010 season, with those being this Saturday’s Fall Classic at the Ventura Raceway and then the 70th Turkey Night Grand Prix at the Toyota Speedway in Irwindale on Thursday November 25.
Pacific Coast Nationals USAC National/CRA Sprint Car Series main event finish:
1. Bud Kaeding, 2. Levi Jones, 3. Tracy Hines, 4. Justin Grant, 5. Matt Mitchell, 6. Casey Shuman, 7. Mike Spencer, 8. Chris Windom, 9. Austin Williams, 10. Jerry Coons Jr., 11. Dave Darland, 12. Danny Faria Jr.13. Bobby East, 14. Richard VanderWeerd, 15. Jace VanderWeerd, 16. Henry Clarke, 17. Casey Riggs, 18. Cory Kruseman, 19. Nic Faas, 20. Tim Kaeding, 21. Danny Sheridan, 22. Bryan Clauson, 23. Damion Gardner, 24. Jon Stanbrough
Pacific Coast Nationals USAC National/Western Midget Series main event finish:
1. Tracy Hines, 2. Jerry Coons Jr., 3. Bryan Clauson, 4. Alex Schutte, 5. Brad Kuhn, 6. Bobby East, 7. Zach Daum, 8. Henry Clarke, 9. Levi Roberts, 10. Cody Swanson, 11. Evan Margeson, 12. Matt Streeter, 13. Randi Pankratz, 14. Scott Pierovich, 15. Jake Swanson, 16. Brad Loyet, 17. Chris Ennis, 18. Cory Kruseman, 19. Levi Jones, 20. Robby Josett, 21. Sean Dodenhoff, 22. Troy Rutherford, 23. Danny Faria Jr., 24. Dave Darland, 25. Kody Swanson, 26. Shannon McQueen