Santa Maria Speedway Doug Fort Memorial preview
By Gary Thomas
Santa Maria, CA – July 6, 2011…Following an entertaining double-header of racing over 4th of July weekend the Golden State King of the West Sprint Car Series will continue its trek around California this Saturday July 9 with the third annual “Doug Fort Memorial” at the Santa Maria Speedway.
The event will mark the 12th round of action for KWS and including this weekend, eight races remain in the fight to see who will become the first “King of the West.”
Doug Fort built the Santa Maria Speedway in 1964 and helped mold it into one of the top dirt tracks in the country as the owner/promoter until his passing in 1999.
The one-third mile clay oval has been named "Best Short Track Operation West of the Mississippi" on two separate occasions and is nestled in a semi amphitheater of natural terrain, sheltered by dense eucalyptus trees at the top and to the back of the bleacher area.
So far this season there has been seven different winners in 11 Golden State King of the West Sprint Car Series races. Each main event has also featured at least one lead change, showing the immense competition level that has been seen thus far.
Continuing to maintain a healthy advantage at the top of the standings San Jose’s Tim Kaeding will enter the Santa Maria Speedway on Saturday searching for his fourth victory of the season aboard the Dennis & Theresa Roth owned No. 83 mount. “TK” drove to a runner up finish at Santa Maria in May and will look to improve one more position this weekend.
Fresh off his first career KWS victory this past weekend Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs will look to make it back to back on Saturday night in Santa Maria driving the Suggs Racing No. 33e. The 24-year-old scored an exciting win at the “Howard Kaeding Classic” last week and goes into a track this weekend that he has had success at in the past.
National Sprint Car Hall of Fame member Brent Kaeding of Campbell was the Santa Maria Speedway Rookie of the Year in 1978 and will be gunning to get into victory lane for the first time this season at the helm of his famed Al’s Roofing Supply No. 69 machine. “BK” finished fifth at the track back in May.
Two-time Golden State 410 champion Jonathan Allard from Chico will look to rebound this weekend after a tough night at the Ocean Speedway last Saturday. The driver of the Morrie & Katie Williams owned No. 0 sprinter sits fourth in the KWS standings and finished third at Santa Maria Speedway in May.
Former World of Outlaw winner at Santa Maria Speedway Jason Statler of Grass Valley has moved to fifth in the Golden State King of the West Sprint Car Series standings. “The Big Guy” scored a fifth place finish at the “HK Classic” finale last Saturday and will be looking to break into victory lane this weekend aboard the DF Rios No. 00.
After picking up his first ever Golden State King of the West Sprint Car Series victory at the Santa Maria Speedway in May Placerville’s Andy Gregg will look to sweep the events on Saturday. The driver of the Seven Industries No. 53 sprinter ranks sixth in the standings going into the weekend and will try to chip away at the top-five.
Sacramento’s Willie Croft comes into the weekend seventh in the KWS standings and will be going for his second win of the season on Saturday in the Christian Stover Foundation No. 29 sprinter. “Double Down” had a tough outing at the “HK Classic” this past Friday and Saturday, but will be looking to rebound in Santa Maria.
Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan is coming off his best weekend of the season and will look for another strong outing in Santa Maria on Saturday. The former NARC Speedweek winner tallied his first podium of the year this past week. Fremont’s Brent Bjork ranks ninth in the KWS standings going into the weekend and rounding out the top-10 in series points is 16-year-old rookie Kenny Allen of Chico.
Other drivers set to take to the Santa Maria Speedway for the “Doug Fort Memorial” will include Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson, Easton’s Tommy Tarlton, Campbell’s Bud Kaeding, Stockton’s Brad Furr, Visalia’s Cory Eliason, North Kingstown, Rhode Island’s Eli Deshaies, Rio Vista’s Danielle Simpson, Grass Valley’s Pat Harvey, Oakhurst’s Doug Gandy and more.
The third annual Angello’s ATV Rental Wheelie contest will also be held on Saturday and always makes for a fun time.
On Saturday July 9 the front grandstand gate will open at 4pm with qualifying getting underway around 5 and racing at about 6. Adult tickets will cost $20 on Saturday with seniors, student and military costing $18, kids 6-12 $6 and children five and under free.
The Santa Maria Speedway is located 12 miles inland from the Pacific coast, three miles north of the city of Santa Maria and is located a 1/4-mile north of the US 101/166 interchange on Hutton Road. The facility is one hundred seventy miles north of Los Angeles and 260 miles south of San Francisco.
More information on Saturday’s event can be found at http://www.kwssprints.com and http://www.racesantamariaspeedway.com