Thirteen-time King of California Brent Kaeding will be searching for his fifth straight Pombo/Sargent Classic victory this Saturday night at the Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway. The Campbell veteran also comes into the night with a three-point lead over second place Jonathan Allard and a six-point edge over third running Kyle Larson in the GSC standings. Photo by Steve Lamothe of http://www.stevesracingphotos.com
From Gary Thomas
Tulare, CA – In the 20-plus year history of the Pombo/Sargent Classic no competitor has experienced more success than Campbell, California’s Brent Kaeding and the veteran driver will look to continue that trend this Saturday night at the Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare.
Kaeding comes into Saturday as the current Golden State Challenge Sprint Car Series point leader and is involved in a tight three-way battle for the top-spot, as he sits just three-digits ahead of former two-time King of California Jonathan Allard and only six in front of defending GSC Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson.
In his career Kaeding has won the Pombo/Sargent Classic 11-times overall and each of the past four years since the event moved to the Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway. “We’ve won a lot of these Pombo/Sargent Classic’s and it’s definitely nice to continue this event, because they were two hard nose guys that would beat and bang on each other and always put on a show,” said the 13-time King of California.
The Pombo/Sargent Classic first came to the Tulare Thunderbowl in 2006 and that first year featured a two-day event, in which Kaeding won both nights, dominating the 30-lap finale on Saturday behind the wheel of his Al’s Roofing Supply, High Five Pizza, Kaeding Performance No. 69.
In ’07 the Classic moved to a single night show and Salinas driver Ronnie Day looked to have the race wrapped up, until mechanical issues parked him on the infield with just two laps left, allowing Kaeding the chance to grab the win away. In ’08 the Campbell veteran easily won the feature, at one point having an amazing seven lapped car cushion between he and second place. Kaeding then came back last season and took the lead from Easton’s Tommy Tarlton on lap-six, before pulling away late in the race to make it four in a row.
In addition to winning the past four Pombo/Sargent Classic’s “BK” also captured the event one other time this most recent decade, with that triumph coming aboard the Al Peterson No. 2m in 2000, when he passed Tipton’s Mike Faria on the very last corner of the feature. That victory marked his final win at the race while it was still held at Hanford’s Kings Speedway. “We have a lot of memories of this race when it was over at Hanford and it’s been great of Tulare to keep the tradition going,” said Kaeding. “Hopefully we can come in on Saturday and put ourselves in position to make it five in a row.”
The Pombo/Sargent Classic has been going on for over 20-years and honors California racing icons Al Pombo and Marshall Sargent. It originally started at nearby Kings Speedway in Hanford, before moving to the Tulare Thunderbowl in 2006. An interesting facet about the Pombo/Sargent Classic is the fact that the event was created while both legends were still alive. Marshall Sargent has since passed, but Al Pombo is still around and seen at Thunderbowl Raceway events in his booth behind the main grandstands.
Other drivers expected with the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series this Saturday night will include Chico’s Jonathan Allard, Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson, San Jose’s Tim Kaeding, Bixby, Oklahoma’s Shane Stewart, Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs, Easton’s Tommy Tarlton, Grass Valley’s Jason Statler, Campbell’s Bud Kaeding, Vancouver, Washington’s Zach Zimmerly, Placerville’s Andy Gregg, Penngrove’s Alissa Geving and more. For news, results and more on the Golden State Challenge Series visit http://www.goldenstatechallengeseries.com
Also on hand for the night’s festivities will be the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series and dirt modifieds. For more on the West Coast 360’s log onto http://www.westcoastsprintcars.com/
The front gate at the Pombo/Sargent Classic will open up at 5 pm this Saturday night with reserved grandstand tickets costing only $18 and general admission bleacher tickets just $15. Visit http://www.thunderbowlraceway.com to view a seating chart and then call (559) 688-0909 to get the seats you want.
The Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds on the corner of Bardsley and K Streets in Tulare, California.