TK Express rolls to KWS victory
Cancen Oil King of the West Series presented by Goodyear season opens in familiar fashion with the “TK Express” rolling to victory lane
By Gary Thomas
Antioch, CA – April 7, 2012…A packed house of rabid and vocal race fans filled the Antioch Speedway Saturday night and witnessed reigning Cancen Oil KWS Series champion Tim Kaeding charge to victory in the famed Roth Motorsports No. 83 machine.
Kaeding has already had a tremendous start to the year by winning a pair of World of Outlaws main events and it was only fitting that he would kick-off the Cancen Oil King of the West Series presented by Goodyear season in that same fashion.
“I have to thank all these guys that work on this car because it was a rocket ship out here tonight,” said Kaeding, who has now won the last two KWS events at the Antioch Speedway. “I also have to thank Dennis & Teresa Roth for giving me such a great opportunity and all you fans for coming out tonight.”
The front row for the main event featured Kaeding and Chico’s Jonathan Allard and when the green lights came on they would go wheel-to-wheel into turn one with “TK” getting the advantage. Things slowed down immediately however, as a car spun in turn two, but even more drama happened when second row starters Kyle Larson and Peter Murphy came together in turns three and four, forcing both to the rear.
The ensuing restart once again saw the front row go side by side into the first set of corners, with Kaeding getting the momentum up high to rocket into the lead. The lightning fast one-third mile clay oval saw Kaeding handle the field with ease in the open track, as crew chief Sonny Kratzer put an immaculately prepared car underneath the defending KWS champ.
A restart on lap-eight then shook things up when a multiple car pileup occurred towards the front of the field, which involved Kyle Hirst, Evan Suggs, Craig Stidham and others.
After getting the accident scene cleared away things went back green, with the biggest mover and shaker being Rico Abreu, who started 13th and found himself in fourth. Shane Golobic had also made nice movement to come from 16th to seventh in the first eight laps.
When the action got back underway a number of green flag laps were run and Kaeding continued to pull away from the field out front. The rest of the pack however, began to dice it up and most of the attention was turned to Larson, who started to charge forward in Paul Silva’s No. 57 mount. The former state champ had made it back to seventh by the time a caution flew on lap 18 for Andy Gregg.
The upcoming double-file restart saw Kaeding get the jump again, but fourth running Abreu was able to use it to his advantage and get by Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan for the third position. Abreu’s good buddy Larson also took advantage and moved up to sixth, before carving his way around Brent Kaeding to claim fifth on lap 20.
The final handful of laps saw Allard cut into Kaeding’s advantage as lapped traffic came into play, but “TK” would not be denied and drove flawlessly to take the checkered flag by 1.366 seconds and kick off the season in victory lane. Kaeding’s fastest lap in the main event of 11.563 was under the KWS track record set earlier in the night and amazingly tied the all-time mark, which was set by Sammy Swindell last fall.
Allard crossed the line in second to get his campaign off to a consistent start aboard the Morrie & Katie Williams No. 0 sprinter. The two-time state 410 champion also opened the night by setting a new Antioch Speedway KWS track record and later on claimed the KSE Racing Products Dash.
Coming home in third and earning his best career Cancen Oil King of the West Sprint Car Series finish was Abreu, who also earned the Pit Stop USA hard charger award after originally starting from row seven. It marked his first podium finish with the series, during what is his sophomore season of sprint car racing in the Abreu Vineyards No. 89.
Larson’s charge through the field ended in fourth place, after executing a crowd pleasing move on the high side to take the spot from Bobby McMahan on lap 26. The 19-year-old will be back in action with KWS next Saturday in Tulare. Rounding out the top-five and having a solid run in the feature was McMahan in the American Tool & Mfg No. 25.
Finishing sixth and tying Abreu for the Pit Stop USA hard charger was Golobic in the Joe Vonschriltz Racing No. 121 special. Hall of Famer Brent Kaeding brought the Al’s Roofing Supply No. 69 home in seventh, with Jason Statler finishing eighth in the DF Rios Motorsports No. 00, Peter Murphy in ninth aboard the Dalton’s No. 11 and completing the top-10 was Evan Suggs in the Suggs Racing No. 33e.
Craig Stidham claimed the night’s Last Chance Qualifier, with Jonathan Allard winning the KSE Dash and heat race victories going to Peter Murphy, Redding’s Tyler Wolf and Kyle Larson. Allard opened the night by beating out 24 other cars to set the BR Motorsports Fast Time with a new KWS track record of 11.756 seconds.
The Cancen Oil King of the West Sprint Car Series presented by Goodyear will be back in action next Saturday April 14 at the Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway for the annual “Chris & Brian Faria Memorial.” Tickets are on sale and be acquired by calling (559) 688-0909.
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Rico Abreu was the hard charger in the main event and earned his first career KWS podium by carving his way from 13th starting to finish third. Shane Golobic also came from 16th to sixth and shared hard charger honors. Photo by Steve Lafond of Tear Off Heaven Fotos.