By: Gary Jacob and Bobby Gerould|
Where: Hanford, CA
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Hanford, CA -- Seeking an unprecendented 12th Golden State Challenge King of California title, Brent Kaeding of San Jose paced the final 26 laps to win the 30 lap visit to Kings Speedway Saturday night. B Kaeding timed 9th fast in a 28 car field and started the 30 lapper on the front row alongside Jonathan Allard. J Allard led the first four laps before flipping onto his side. Steve Kent ran second to B Kaeding with Australiaís Peter Murphy in third. Fast timer Blake Robertson had to win the B Main to earn his A Main starting slot and he rallied to finish 4th ahead of Tim Kaeding. Wintonís Paul Stone won a four car shootout with defending track champion Jimmy Reeves, Livermoreís Brian Cass and Watsonville Speedway regular Tim Clark to take the 20 lap feature for the IMCA Modifieds. Rod Freitas finished fifth behind the four car duel and holds a narrow 3 point lead in the early season standings. It was P Stoneís first Hanford win and he climbed to fourth in track points.
The Golden State Challenge Series drew a 28 car field at Hanford, bolstered by a few winged 360 sprint car additions when their scheduled Rebel Cup event at Santa Maria was cancelled due to the Friday rains in that area. Time trial specialist Robertson posted fast time honors for the 3/8 mile clay oval with a 13.175 lap. T Kaeding was second quick at 13.219 that just nipped the 13.220 turned in by incoming point leader Jason Meyers. The quick three were much faster than the remainder of the field as fourth fast Eric Rossi had a 13.478 and Kent turned a 13.489. Kevin Pylant was 6th fast followed by final qualifier Murphy, last yearís Rebel Cup champion Craig Stidham, B Kaeding and Lawrence Edlund. The top four finishers from each of the four qualifying heats moved into the 30 lap A Main. Jason Statler won heat 1 from an outside front row start ahead of 4th starting B Kaeding, Kent and Tommy Tarlton. Local favorite Mike Faria won heat 2 from the outside front row with T Kaeding second over Ricci Faria and Pylant. Brian Coelho became the third straight heat winner to win from outside front row. Meyers ran second over J Allard and Murphy. Stephen Allard came from third to win heat 4 with pole starter Kurt Nelson second over Ronnie Day and Stidham. Six more feature starters moved forward from an 11 car B Main. Robertson won that race from the pole with fellow front row starter Rossi second ahead of Danny Faria Jr, Steve Osborne, Garrett Ishii and Edlund. The feature inversion draw came up an 8, but the failures of Robertson, Rossi and Edlund to transfer through the heat action put 11th fast J Allard and 9th fast B Kaeding on the front row. Stidham and Murphy were in the second row while Robertson and Rossi made up the fifth row after their B Main runs.
J Allard paced the first four laps of the 30 lap feature before getting loose. As he tried to accelerate out of his incident, his McMillen owned mount reared back and dumped onto itís right side. B Kaeding inherited the lead and paced the remainder of the 30 lapper. Sixth starter Kent advanced through the field to finish 2nd with Murphy third over Robertson, 8th starting T Kaeding, Stidham and Statler, who raced forward from a 16th starting spot. Incoming point leader Meyers was involved in an early race tangle with Kent and Stidham. Meyers suffered front end damage and he lost a lap to the field making repairs. The top ten was rounded out by Pylant, Tarlton and D Faria Jr.
The Golden State Challenge Series makes itís first 2002 visit to Calistoga Speedway on May 4th.
The IMCA Modifieds had a 15 car turnout. Former Merced Speedway racer Marcus Aue won the first heat over Cass and Clark, who had a solid 2nd place run at Watsonville on Friday night. Another former Merced champion Mark Hamblin took heat 2 ahead of Reeves and Lonnie Lacy Jr. Steve Smothermon from Porterville had a tough night with last place finishes in both his heat and the feature. Fourth starting Paul Stone won the main event ahead of outside front row starter Reeves, 7th starting Cass and 6th starter Clark. Freitas depends on his ability to finish every race to keep him in the point fight and he did that again with a fifth place run ahead of Lacy, Bryan Burnes, Hamblin and Eddie Stewart. Freitas holds just a 3 point lead on Cass with Clark 4 more points back. Stone is ten points behind the point leader and just 2 ahead of the tied duo of Lacy and Burnes.
Summary IMCA Modified Heat 1-Marcus Aue, Brian Cass, Tim Clark, Tom Stidham, Joel Hale. Heat 2-Mark Hamblin, Jimmy Reeves, Lonnie Lacy Jr, Paul Stone, Rod Freitas. Main-Stone, Reeves, Cass, Clark, Freitas, Lacy, Bryan Burnes, Hamblin, Eddie Stewart, Hale, Aue, Stidham, Joe Chapman, Todd Hermasillo, Steve Smothermon. Golden State Winged 410 Sprint Car Fast Time-Blake Robertson 13.175 Heat 1-Jason Statler, Brent Kaeding, Steve Kent, Tommy Tarlton, Robertson. Heat 2-Mike Faria, Tim Kaeding, Ricci Faria, Kevin Pylant, Lawrence Edlund. Heat 3-Brian Coelho, Jason Meyers, Jonathan Allard, Peter Murphy, Danny Faria Jr. Heat 4-Stephen Allard, Kurt Nelson, Ronnie Day, Craig Sitdham, Garrett Ishii. B Main-Robertson, Eric Rossi, D Faria Jr, Steve Osborne, Ishii, Edlund, Mark Barosso, Dennis Binstock, Jim Turner, Stuart Krum, Davey Key. A Main-B Kaeding, Kent, Murphy, Robertson, T Kaeding, Stidham, Statler, Pylant, Tarlton, D Faria Jr, M Faria, Rossi, Day, R Faria, S Allard, Coelho, Edlund, Osborne, Ishii, Nelson, Meyers, J Allard.
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