By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – July 7, 2012…Of all the previous King of the West 410 Series & Golden State victories that two-time California state champion Jonathan Allard has scored in his career, none had come at the Ocean Speedway. That all changed on Saturday night however, as the Chico driver captured a thrilling “Howard Kaeding Classic” main event, following a back & forth battle with track point leader Shane Golobic.
For Allard it was his fourth Cancen Oil KWS Series presented by Goodyear win of the season, tying Tim Kaeding for the most wins on tour this year. It also marked his 32nd career victory in combined KWS & Golden State 410 events, which is third all-time behind Brent and Tim Kaeding.
“I couldn’t be happier to win tonight since the last couple weeks haven’t gone like we wanted and it’s pretty special to get our first victory here with the 410 at Ocean during the HK Classic,” commented a very jubilant Allard. “That was some pretty intense racing there with Shane Golobic and I just wish we could get him out here full time with KWS. I also want to dedicate the win tonight to Duke McMillen, who passed away this week. He was a great man and we're going to miss him.”
The 30-lap “Howard Kaeding Classic” came to the line with KSE Dash winner Tommy Tarlton and Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs on the front row. Ironically Tarlton and Suggs were the two winners last season at the event and when the green lights flashed on it was Tarlton snagging the lead. Immediately it became a three-car fight for the top-spot though, as Fremont’s Shane Golobic and Jonathan Allard came hard after the Tarlton & Son Inc. No. 21 mount.
Golobic would take command in the thrilling fight for the lead early on and Allard followed along for second. Golobic, the current Ocean Speedway point leader, was in search of his second career Winged 410 Sprint Car win, but had Allard breathing down his neck running the extreme high-line aboard the Williams Motorsports No. 0 mount. The duo put on great show over the duration of the 30-lapper and kept fans on the edge of their seats, trading the lead multiple times.
By the time a caution came out just past the halfway mark Allard found himself in the lead, but a double-file restart worked to Golobic’s advantage and the youngster moved back to the top spot. The action continued to be hot and heavy with Golobic being extremely patient running the bottom and Allard blasting the cushion up top. Behind the two front runners positions changed hands frequently all race long, as drivers used every inch of the quarter-mile oval.
The tricky surface created tons of back and forth racing and double file restarts made for some tremendous action for the packed house on hand. A restart with eight-laps to go then raised the intensity level even more, as Allard rocketed to the high side in turns one & two and pulled off an aggressive move to re-take the lead. Hitting your marks was extremely paramount as the laps wound down and when traffic came into play it was even that much more important.
Golobic kept Allard in his sights, but also had a fast approaching Tarlton with new found life and the trio ran closely together over the final handful of circuits. Allard was able to pick his spots wisely and show the form that has made him a two-time state champ, as he crossed the checkered flag for his second career Ocean Speedway victory, but first in a 410.
Tarlton narrowly beat out Golobic at the stripe to record his best Cancen Oil KWS Series presented by Goodyear finish of the season. “We got rolling there pretty good late in the race, but just ran out of time,” commented the Terminator. “We always come out here to win races, but on the fun scale that race was pretty good. I want to congratulate Jonathan Allard on the win and have to thank my whole team and all our sponsors.”
Golobic’s third place finish was also his best result of the 2012 Cancen Oil KWS Series presented by Goodyear season. Driving the Joe VonSchriltz No. 121 sprinter Golobic has been one of the hottest drivers over the last few weeks with KWS. “We definitely wanted to win tonight, but being up here on the podium with Jonathan and Tommy is nothing to be too disappointed about,” said Golobic. “It’s been a great year for us and I can’t thank everyone that helps us out enough.”
Sacramento’s Kyle Hirst had an eventful main event and brought home a fourth place finish in the Roth Motorsports No. 83 machine. The 24-year-old was running in the top-five early on, until an incident in turn one forced him to the rear of the field. Hirst then charged back through the field to score another solid finish in his third event driving for Dennis & Teresa Roth.
Clovis, CA’s Peter Murphy also continued his recent momentum by rounding out the top-five aboard the Dalton’s Landscaping No. 11 sprinter. Murphy got to as high as third at one point, before crossing the stripe in fifth to record his third top-five finish of the KWS season.
Rounding out the top-10 in the “HK Classic” main event were Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs, Sacramento’s Willie Croft, Campbell’s Brent Kaeding, Grass Valley’s Jason Statler and Pit Stop USA Hard Charger Cory Eliason from Visalia.
The 12-lap Last Chance Qualifier was claimed by Willie Croft with the KSE Racing Products Dash captured by Tommy Tarlton. The three 10-lap Kaeding Performance Heat Races went to Peter Murphy, Evan Suggs and Brent Kaeding. In BR Motorsports qualifying Willie Croft toured the quarter-mile in 11.513 seconds to earn his second fast time of the year. Croft will also receive a custom KWS aluminum license plate courtesy of Grant’s Fine Art.
The night also included a couple of special moments, with the first being a memorial lap for legendary car owner & mechanic Duke McMillen, who passed away on Wednesday morning. King of the West Series drivers lined the front stretch to pay tribute to McMillen, as Cody Lamar and Brent Kaeding performed the memorial lap. As part of the “Howard Kaeding Classic” the legendary Howard Kaeding was presented with a couple of beautiful illustrations on the front stretch and honored for his storied career.
The Cancen Oil KWS Series presented by Goodyear will get next weekend off, with the previously scheduled Thunderbowl Raceway event being canceled due to wall repairs. The KWS Series will be back in action on Saturday July 21 at the Antioch Speedway located on the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds.
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