By Gary Thomas
Placerville, CA – June 30, 2012…Going into this past weekend California racing legend Brent Kaeding hadn’t won a Golden State or King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series event since July of 2009, which was the longest dry spell he’d experienced in his entire 30-plus year career.
The man simply known as “BK” had been knocking on the door this season and at the Placerville Speedway on Saturday night, the moment everyone had been waiting for finally came. Starting from 13th in the feature the Campbell, CA veteran methodically carved his way forward and took the lead on lap 20 from Kyle Hirst, before holding him off to claim a thrilling victory in front of a huge crowd on hand.
“This is pretty great to come out here and finally get another win for this team,” said a pumped up Kaeding in victory lane. “We finally got the monkey off our back and hopefully this will lead to more wins. We’ve been good this year and finally were able to get it done so I want to thank all my guys. Billy Albini has been with me for so long and to get another win for him means a lot.”
Cancen Oil King of the West presented by Goodyear point leader Jonathan Allard of Chico jumped into the lead at the waving of the green flag in the 30-lapper and looked strong the first few laps. Things came to a grinding halt on lap three though when pole sitter Shane Golobic spun around while running second and resulted in a multiple car pileup in turn one. It marked the end of the night for both Sean Becker and Justin Johnson.
On the restart a pack of hungry drivers were charging hard after Allard, including last week’s winner Kyle Hirst, who got a big run down the back stretch on lap-five and executed a beautiful slide job to take command in the third and fourth corners. At that same time Placerville’s very own Andy Gregg began to show his muscle and got by Prunedale’s Justin Sanders for third on lap-seven. Gregg wasn’t done there and charged by Allard for second just four laps later, before a caution came out to slow things down.
When the green lights came back on it was fourth running Brent Kaeding continuing his charge through the field from 13th starting, getting by Allard for third and then second from Gregg on lap 12. “BK” has his elbows up and finessed the slicked off quarter-mile better than anyone in the field. The 13-time Golden State champ closed in on Hirst for the lead, as the crowd came to their feet and would spend a number of laps hounding the rear bumper of the Roth Motorsports No. 83 mount.
With 20-circuits complete Kaeding finally got the momentum he needed and shot to the lead aboard his famed Al’s Roofing Supply No. 69 machine. The remainder of the race saw Hirst stay glued to Kaeding, as the pair put on a thrilling display of unlimited 410 Sprint Car racing over the final 10-laps. Hirst tried everything in his book running the high-side, but it wasn’t meant to be and Kaeding crossed the checkered flag by just 0.258 seconds ahead of the Sacramento driver for victory.
Hirst’s second place finish marked another great run in his second start driving for the famed Roth Motorsports team out of Fresno. The 24-year-old also started the night out by setting fast time for the second week in a row. “It was another strong night for us and although we wanted to win, it’s nice to see the old guy get one tonight,” Hirst said with a smile in victory lane. “I want to thank the whole Roth Motorsports team and hopefully I can get another shot in this car at some point.”
Hometown driver Andy Gregg brought home a third place finish at the conclusion for the second week in a row, much to the delight of the large crowd. “Let’s hear it for Hangtown!” Gregg yelled on the front stretch. “I thought we had a shot at these guys, but I might have just tried my hand a little too early on one of those restarts. We’re thrilled with a podium finish here at our home track though and I can’t thank all my guys enough.”
Shane Golobic did a fine job to rebound after the early race incident and scored a fourth place finish aboard the Soltis Brothers backed No. 121 sprinter. The 20-year-old got back to as high as third at one point in the KWS feature and also won the companion BCRA Midget main event driving for Doug Bock. Sacramento’s Willie Croft also did a nice job in the KWS feature and rounded out the top-five in the Holey Smokes BBQ No. 29 machine. It was his second top-five effort at Placerville this season.
Completing the top 10 in the main event were Prunedale’s Justin Sanders, Placerville Speedway point leader Andy Forsberg of Auburn, 18th starter Chad Compton from Fair Oaks, Hall of Famer Jimmy Sills of Elverta and Richard Brace Jr. from Auburn. For Brace it marked his best night of the season and was nice to see.
Winning the Last Chance Qualifier was Richard Brace Jr. and taking home the KSE Racing Products Dash was Jonathan Allard. The three 10-lap Kaeding Performance heat races were picked off by Shane Golobic, Jonathan Allard and Bobby McMahan. For the second straight KWS event it was Kyle Hirst opening the evening by setting the BR Motorsports fast time by turning a 10.412 second lap.
The Cancen Oil King of the West Sprint Car Series presented by Goodyear will return to action this coming Saturday July 7 for the second annual “Howard Kaeding Classic” at Ocean Speedway Watsonville. The front gate will open a little earlier than usual at 3:30pm with qualifying scheduled to fire off just after 5pm.
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