By Gary Thomas
Hanford, CA – May 25, 2010…With the Golden State Challenge Series making its return to the Giant Chevrolet Speedway in Hanford this past Friday night Chico, California’s Jonathan Allard looked to be on way to victory in the main event, until lapped traffic in the final corners allowed San Jose’s Tim Kaeding the chance to steal the win away and relegate him to second at the finish.
Despite the disappointing ending it was still a solid night for Allard as he drove a very strong 30-laps in the feature, doing just about everything he could in his bid for a fourth GSC win of the season. “It’s definitely frustrating to lose a race like that when you feel like you put yourself in position to win,” said Allard. “These races are never over till the checkered flag though and sometimes traffic helps you, but sometimes it doesn’t and tonight it just didn’t go our way on that last turn.”
Allard opened the night by qualifying third fastest in the 22-car field and then drove to victory from the third row in his heat race to put the Williams Motorsports, Sharp Insurance, K&N Filters No. 0 into the dash. The two-time King of California drew the number three pill for the six-lap contest and would make an early pass of Jason Statler to jump into second, where he eventually went on to finish and earn an outside front row starting spot in the feature alongside dash winner Brent Kaeding.
When the green waved in 30-lap main event Kaeding got the jump with Allard settling into second, but it didn’t take the Chico wheel-man long to make his move and after a handful of laps he rocketed by the black No. 69 sprinter down the back stretch to assume the lead. Once in front he was able to check out from the field and pull away to a sizeable advantage, until a lap-17 caution put a fast moving Tim Kaeding on his bumper.
On the restart Kaeding powered to his inside and nosed ahead of him entering turn three, but showing no hesitation at all Allard kept his foot in the throttle and charged back around to maintain the lead in thrilling fashion exiting the fourth corner. With the laps winding down Allard continued to have Kaeding all over him and the pair put on a great show through traffic over the closing circuits. With seven-laps left Kaeding got by for the lead in turns one and two while racing amongst slower cars, but Allard stayed with it and returned the favor to reclaim the top-spot by the time they came back around turn four.
A restart with four-laps remaining then saw Allard cut some great circuits to put space between himself and Kaeding and with the white flag waving he appeared to be headed for sure victory with plenty of breathing room. Just when things looked to be over though, 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 the chance to squeeze past just prior to the finish line.
With the tough ending behind him Allard will now gear up for three-nights of racing with the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series this weekend and will bring a six-point lead in the standings over Brent Kaeding into the Petaluma Speedway on Friday night. When the traveling circuit last competed at the 3/8 mile clay oval on April 17 “JA” had a strong night by winning his heat race, the dash and the main event to score his fourth GSC victory at the track since 2006, which is tops among all drivers.
Following the event in Petaluma Allard will then bring the Williams Motorsports, Red Line Oil, Butler Built Performance No. 0 sprinter into the famed Calistoga Speedway half-mile for two nights of racing, highlighted by Sunday’s annual Salute to Walt Ross. Last season the 33-year-old finished runner-up after having an entertaining duel through traffic with Tim Kaeding during the Saturday portion of the Calistoga Memorial Day Weekend double-header. On Sunday evening he then brought home a third place finish in the feature behind Kyle Hirst and Brent Kaeding.
In his career Allard has captured one victory at the beautiful and picturesque Calistoga Speedway, with that win coming in May of 2007 and this weekend he will be gunning to add to that total. “We’ve been really good at Calistoga every time we’ve been there over the last handful of years and it would be really cool if we could get another win there this weekend,” commented Allard, who has set fast-time in four of the past six GSC events at the track. “Calistoga is definitely pretty special to everyone in California and it’s a challenging track to race at, but Ashley Smith has given me some great cars there so it’s really given me a lot of confidence at the place.”
For more info on Chico, California’s Jonathan Allard please visit http://www.allardmotorsports.com