Evan Suggs scores 1st career KWS 410 Series win at HK Classic
By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – July 2, 2011…At the end of last year one of the hottest drivers on tour with the Golden State 410 Series was Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs, which has carried over into this season with the Golden State King of the West Sprints.
Despite running up front all year long and ranking 2nd in the series standings going into the weekend however, Suggs had been unable to find victory lane.
That all changed on Saturday night though when the 24-year-old put on a thrilling display to pass both Tim Kaeding and Tommy Tarlton over the final half of the race to become the inaugural winner of the “Howard Kaeding Classic.”
The only thing keeping Suggs from a clean sweep for the night was the fact that he qualified second fastest, before winning his heat race, the dash and then the 30-lap feature.
Suggs also became the seventh different winner in 11 KWS events so far this season and kept up the streak of every race having a lead change.
“This is just an awesome feeling to finally come out here and win one of these races,” Suggs said. “I really have to thank my parents and family because they’re been so important to all of this. I also have to thank Brian Poe who has been with me for so long and everyone who has supported us.”
At the waving of the green flag in the 30-lap “Howard Kaeding Classic” main event it was outside front row starter Tommy Tarlton of Easton jumping into the lead. The two-time Ocean Sprints champ looked large and in charge early on, as he looked to make it back-to-back wins after claiming Friday’s opener at the Ocean Speedway.
Current Golden State King of the West point leader Tim Kaeding would make the move around Suggs on lap seven to take over the runner up position. A number of green flag laps would be clicked off until the caution flag waved with 16-laps complete and brought everything to a halt. Prior to the caution Suggs had fallen back to fourth on lap nine, before reclaiming the position on lap 12.
On the double-file restart Tarlton pulled out to the lead once again, but had Kaeding and Suggs tucked in closely behind. Lap 17 saw Kaeding catch the cushion extremely hard and bicycle the car losing a few spots. This allowed Suggs to take over second and he proceeded to close in on Tarlton for the lead of the race.
The next couple laps saw Suggs get closer and closer to Tarlton and with just 10-circuits remaining he would throw a slider in turn one to charge into the lead at the delight of the crowd. Suggs tried to pull away, but Tarlton would remain glued to the rear of the Suggs Racing No. 33e mount over the next handful of laps.
As the five to go signal approached however, Suggs kicked it into overdrive and began to pull away through lapped traffic. The final few laps then saw the Scotts Valley driver hit his marks and drive off to accept Ryan Riley’s checkered flag, as the crowd roared their approval for his first ever Golden State King of the West main event victory.
“It’s just been a great season so far and I have to thank Dan Simpson and the whole King of the West staff for putting so much effort into this series,” Suggs commented. “I have so many people to thank tonight and just hope they all know how much we appreciate their support.”
Tarlton was able to fend off the relentless challenges of Sacramento’s Willie Croft to finish the race in second aboard the Corporate America Lending No. 21 mount. Croft had passed Tarlton on lap 25, but was able to slice his way back around with just three-laps left. Croft eventually got out of the groove late in the race and dropped to seventh by the conclusion.
Following a season-best finish the previous night Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan came home in third to tally his first podium effort of the year with the Golden State King of the West Sprint Car Series. It was nice to see the veteran driver have a solid weekend while utilizing a fresher 410 power-plant under the hood of his American Tool and Manufacturing No. 25 sprint car.
Completing the top-five in the 30-lap “Howard Kaeding Classic” finale were Tim Kaeding and Grass Valley’s Jason Statler. Rounding out the top-10 were Gilroy’s Kurt Nelson, who did a tremendous job utilizing a 360 engine for the weekend, Croft, Prunedale’s Justin Sander’s, Campbell’s Brent Kaeding and St. Helena’s Rico Abreu.
The 12-lap Last Chance Qualifier went to Fremont’s Brent Bjork and the six-lap KSE Racing Products/ Grant’s Fine Art Dash was captured by Evan Suggs. The four 10-lap heat races were picked off by Tommy Tarlton, Evan Suggs, Tim Kaeding and Willie Croft. Scoring the Grant’s Fine Art Fast Time award was Tommy Tarlton, who turned a 12.271 around the Ocean Speedway quarter-mile.
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Fast time: Tommy Tarlton 12.271
Heat one: Tommy Tarlton, Justin Sanders, Andy Gregg, Kurt Nelson, Brent Bjork, Doug Gandy, Art McCarthy
Heat two: Evan Suggs, Jason Statler, Kenny Allen, Brad Furr, Koen Shaw, Matthew Davis, Nick Rescino Jr.
Heat three: Tim Kaeding, Jonathan Allard, Bobby McMahan, Rico Abreu, Eli Deshaies, Danielle Simpson, Nick Ringo Jr.
Heat four: Willie Croft, Brent Kaeding, Craig Stidham, Austen Wheatley, Cory Eliason, Pat Harvey, Mark Barroso
Dash: Evan Suggs, Tommy Tarlton, Willie Croft, Tim Kaeding, Jason Statler, Austen Wheatley, Bobby McMahan, Kurt Nelson
LCQ: Brent Bjork, Eli Deshaies, Danielle Simpson, Art McCarthy, Cory Eliason, Matthew Davis, Pat Harvey, Koen Shaw, Nick Ringo Jr., Doug Gandy, Mark Barroso
A-Main: Evan Suggs, Tommy Tarlton, Bobby McMahan, Tim Kaeding, Jason Statler, Kurt Nelson, Willie Croft, Justin Sanders, Brent Kaeding, Rico Abreu, Craig Stidham, Andy Gregg, Cory Eliason, Brent Bjork, Eli Deshaies, Kenny Allen, Matthew Davis, Art McCarthy, Danielle Simpson, Jonathan Allard, Brad Furr, Austen Wheatley