By Gary Thomas
Tulare, CA – May 14, 2010…Visions of the past will be seen on Saturday night at the Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway as a number of vintage super modifieds are scheduled to be on hand for the running of the annual Pombo/Sargent Classic.
At least six super modifieds will be in Tulare on Saturday evening, including those of Al Pombo, Marshall Sargent, Johnny Brazil, Herman Hutton and others, giving fans a glimpse of the past as we pay homage to the days gone by at the Pombo/Sargent Classic. “It should be really neat to have so many supers on hand this weekend,” said Don Sharp of the Tulare Thunderbowl. “The weather is looking amazing for Saturday so we definitely hope everyone can come out the races and have some fun.”
The Pombo/Sargent Classic has been going on for over 20 years and honors California racing icons Al Pombo and Marshall Sargent. The event originally started at the nearby Kings Speedway in Hanford, before moving to the Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway in 2006.
Al Pombo began his career in the 1940’s and is credited with more than 500 main event victories, including multiple wins in the Gold Cup at Capital Speedway, the same event which is now held at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico. He also won five San Jose Speedway titles, seven NASCAR super-modified championships, nine titles at Kearney Bowl and six at Clovis Speedway.
Early in Marshall Sargent’s career he won a pair of San Jose titles, which included two wins in the Johnny Key Memorial, and also won the Australian championship in 1964. A pair of crashes unfortunately cut his career short and he enjoyed his retirement until passing in 1990.
In competition Saturday night at the Pombo/Sargent Classic will be the Golden State Challenge Winged 410 Sprint Cars, the USAC West Coast Wingless 360 Sprints and the dirt modifieds.
California racing legend and 13-time King of California Brent Kaeding comes into this weekend holding a three-point lead over two-time King of California Jonathan at the top of the GSC point standings. Talented 17-year-old and the most recent winner in GSC competition at the Thunderbowl, Kyle Larson of Elk Grove currently sits third in the standings and is just six-markers out of the lead.
Also scheduled to be in competition among others with GSC at the Pombo/Sargent Classic are San Jose’s Tim Kaeding and Bixby, Oklahoma’s Shane Stewart, who finished one-two in the final points at last year’s Trophy Cup in Tulare.
Fresno’s Craig Stidham will lead the charge for the USAC West Coast 360 Series as he maintains a strong 69-point advantage at the top of the standings. Stidham will be in search of his fourth overall win of the year and third straight at the Thunderbowl 1/3 mile clay oval on Saturday.
The front gate will open at 5pm this Saturday night May 15 for the Pombo/Sargent Classic with qualifying scheduled for 6 and racing at 7. Reserved grandstand tickets will cost $18 with general admission bleacher seats costing just $15.
For more info please log onto http://www.thunderbowlraceway.com or call (559) 688-0909. The Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds on the corner of Bardsley and K Streets in Tulare.