From Gary Thomas, image courtesy of M&M Racing Photo
Petaluma, CA – May 28, 2010…Just one week after losing the main event on the final corner Chico, California’s Jonathan Allard made certain that it wouldn’t happen again and withstood a late-race challenge from Evan Suggs and Zach Zimmerly to record his fourth Golden State Challenge 410 Series victory of the year.
The win on Friday for Allard was his fifth out of 12 races at the 3/8 mile clay oval since 410 sprint car racing returned to the track in 2005, which is tops among all drivers and was also his first triumph with GSC in over a month, after winning three of the first four events at the start of the season.
“I just tried to minimize the mistakes in the feature, because the track was really fast and narrow, but I knew there would be people coming after me,” commented the driver of the Williams Motorsports, Red Line Oil, Platinum Powder Coating No. 0 mount. “We lost a great guy this week in Jesse Hockett and it really hit close to him so I definitley want to dedicate this win to Jesse.”
The 30-lap main event started out with Allard getting the jump over pole sitter Suggs at the waving of the green flag, as much of the field tried to harness all 850 hp to the ground with a very fast and hooked up surface present. As often the case at Petaluma many drivers fought a tight condition, but up front Allard and Suggs appeared to be the class of the field with both putting distance between themselves and the rest of the pack.
The intial 15-laps were clicked off in no time at all with traffic in play for much of the running, but a yellow flag at the halfway point for Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan gave the leaders a clear track ahead. When the green lights flashed back on four more circuits would be completed until Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson came to a stop in the second corner with a flat right rear tire.
On the restart 16-year-old Zach Zimmerly of Vancouver, Washington showed his muscle by making a beautiful power move to charge to the high-side and get around 13-time King of California Brent Kaeding to claim third off turn two. With the race winding down Zimmerly quickly closed in on Suggs and Allard to make it a three-way fight for the lead as the five to go signal approached. As Allard tried to find a way by the slower cars a couple of bobbles allowed Suggs to close right up on his rear bumper, but the two-time King of California hit his marks over the remaining distance and drove off to tally his 23rd career Golden State Challenge Series feature win.
Suggs crossed under the checkered just behind Allard to claim his second runner-up finish of the 2010 Golden State Challenge season behind the wheel of the Suggs Racing, HoservilleCA, Lucas Oil Products No. 33e sprinter. It was a solid evening for the 23-year-old, who missed his college graduation to be with us in Petaluma during the night.
“It was a good night for us, but hats off to Jonathan Allard, Ashley Smith, Morrie Williams and them guys because they’re the best out here and if there’s one person to finish second to I’m glad it’s Jonathan,” said Suggs. “He was a little better on the restarts, but I felt we were pretty equal through traffic and I thought I had a shot at him one time, but he didn’t make any mistakes after that. My crew chief Richard Brown had the car good and it was fun to drive all night.”
Shadowing the top-two over the closing laps and finishing third after starting outside the fifth row and scoring his second career Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series podium was Zimmerly in the McMillen Motorsports, Christian Stover Foundation, Level One Concrete No. 94 machine.
“We’re always fast at this place and it feels great to get a top-three finish tonight,” said Zimmerly, who tallied a California Sprint Car Civil War 360 Series win at the Petaluma Speedway last September. “We had a great race with Evan there late in the main event and he did a good job and it was really fun to race in traffic like that. I want to thank Duke and Scott McMillen, my family, all of our sponsors and am really looking forward to going to Calistoga the next two night’s.”
Completing the top-10 in the main event on Friday night were the Al’s Roofing Supply No. 69 of Campbell’s Brent Kaeding, the DF Rios Construction No. 00 of Grass Valley’s Jason Statler, the Cherry St. Mini Storage No. 51 of Oroville’s Sean Becker, the A&A Stepping Stone No. 92 of Auburn’s Andy Forsberg, the Roth Motorsports No. 83 of San Jose’s Tim Kaeding, the Chick-O-Motorsports No. 3x of Penngrove’s Alissa Geving and the Stadelhofer Construction No. 99 of Kyle Larson.
Suggs scored victory in the six-lap dash with Brent Kaeding and Andy Forsberg claiming the two 10-lap heat races. Allard began the night by cutting a lap of 12.329 to set his fourth-fast time of the year in qualifying. Full results are available at http://www.goldenstatechallengeseries.com
The Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series will be right back in action tonight at the Calistoga Speedway to kick-start a two-night program at the historic half-mile dirt oval located on the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga, California.