By Gary Thomas
Hanford, CA – May 23, 2010…The much anticipated return of the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Cars to the Giant Chevrolet Speedway certainly did not disappoint on Friday night and for the second week in a row it was San Jose’s Tim Kaeding taking advantage of a final lap opportunity to claim his 44th career series victory, narrowly beating out Chico’s Jonathan Allard at the line.
The night as a whole featured terrific racing, not only during the main event, but also the heat races and brought back a lot of memories from the past at the lightning-fast 3/8 mile clay oval located on the Kings County Fairgrounds in Hanford, California.
The 30-lap Golden State Challenge Sprint Car Series main event started out with pole sitter Brent Kaeding of Campbell jumping into the lead aboard his Al’s Roofing Supply, High Five Pizza No. 69. “BK” was in search of his first feature victory of the season and would hold the lead until lap-four, when Jonathan Allard charged around to grab the top-spot. After this the two-time King of California pulled away from the pack and assumed a comfortable lead, as the rest of the field began to duke it out on the well prepared Giant Chevrolet Speedway surface.
A lap-six restart would then see Tim Kaeding make the move by Grass Valley’s Jason Statler for third, before shadowing Brent Kaeding for a number of laps through traffic. Multiple green flag laps were run and allowed for heavy-duty traffic to come into play, with B. Kaeding doing his best to hold off the fast-moving Roth Motorsports, DTR Transport No. 83, but just prior to a lap-17 caution “TK” was able to make the pass to claim second.
Sitting in second for the restart T. Kaeding proceeded to fling his machine to the inside of the speedway trying to make the move under Allard in turn three, but the Chico kept his foot in the accelerator and maintained the top-spot in exciting fashion exiting the corner. Just following the thrilling exchange however, the yellow lights would flash back on and ultimately become a fuel stop, as the number laps run under caution had raised the total to the maximum amount allowed and forced officials to open the pits for fuel only. When the racing got back underway things began to heat up in the battle for the lead and it soon became the “JA” and “TK” show, as the pair went at it up front once traffic came back into play.
The immensely talented duo showed no hesitation racing amongst the lappers and would race wheel-to-wheel trading the lead back and forth, while at the same time having to make some very precise moves through the slower cars. Splitting lapped cars on various occasions Allard would come out on top of the intense battle and then started to put some distance between himself and Kaeding, but as soon as that occurred the red flag waved for Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs, who had gotten upside down on the front stretch. Suggs was ok, but damage was too severe for him to continue on.
When the green flag waved again with only four-circuits remaining Kaeding stayed close to Allard for about a lap, before the driver of the Williams Motorsports, Sharp Insurance No. 0 started to pull away and gain a steady advantage with the race winding down. Allard appeared to be headed for victory after crossing under the white flag, but just when things looked to be over he encountered a pair of lapped cars racing side by side directly in front of him in turn three, which forced the Chico driver to get out of the gas and gave Kaeding one final stab at grabbing the win.
With slower cars boxing the leader in off the final corner Kaeding was able to squeeze by and beat Allard to the checkered by the narrowest of margins in one of the most exciting finishes in Golden State Challenge Series history. “I sure hope the fans that were here tonight enjoyed that one because it sure was a lot of fun from the seat,” said Kaeding. “I thought we were going to be second again like I thought last week after taking the white flag, but luckily we got a break there with the traffic and were able to get this car in victory lane again.”
Allard crossed the stripe in second with Easton’s Tommy Tarlton making some good moves as the race went on to score third at the finish behind the wheel of his Corporate America Lending, Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino No. 21. Brent Kaeding finished the 30-lapper in fourth with Jason Statler having a solid run earn fifth aboard his DF Rios Construction, YAK Graphics No. 00. Rounding out the top-10 in the feature was the Stadelhofer Construction No. 99 of Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson, the Ridgeline Framing No. 13 of Clovis’ Peter Murphy, the Advance Auto & Smog No. 00x of Cory Eliason from Visalia, the Christian Stover Foundation No. 94 of Vancouver, Washington’s Zach Zimmerly and the 7-Industries No. 53 of Placerville’s Andy Gregg.
The evening’s dash was picked off by Brent Kaeding, with Tim Kaeding, Peter Murphy and Jonathan Allard capturing the three 10-lap heat races. T. Kaeding started off the event by scoring quick-time with a lap of 12.845 around the 3/8 mile oval.
Full results and the updated point standings are available at http://www.goldenstatechallengeseries.com
The Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series will now head for a triple header weekend of racing starting next Friday with an event at the Petaluma Speedway, followed by two-night’s of action at the Calistoga Speedway half-mile on Saturday and Sunday.