By Gary Thomas
Calistoga, CA – May 29, 2010…Last season Jonathan Allard scored one win with the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series, but finished runner up on seven different occasions and the Chico, California driver vowed that things would be different in 2010.
After winning opening night to begin the year the two-time King of California has continued to set a blistering pace and on Saturday night at the Calistoga Speedway picked up his series leading fifth victory of the year in the first 11-races. It was also his 24th career series triumph, putting him four victories shy of tying fellow two-time King of California Steve Kent for third on the all-time GSC win list.
The victory didn’t come easy for Allard however, as he had San Jose’s Tim Kaeding breathing down his neck for much of the running in the 25-lap main event. “The track was tough tonight so it was definitley a demanding race and it was pretty difficult getting through traffic,” said Allard. “I really have to thank all my guys for giving a great car again, because they’ve been doing it all year long.”
A rather long delay was seen at the start of the evening in Calistoga on Saturday as track conditions forced prep crews to re-work the surface prior to hot laps, which forced Golden State Challenge officials to modify the program. For the first time group qualifying was used and the dash was scrapped in order to make time under the 11pm state mandated curfew.
With fast-qualifier Tim Kaeding drawing the number four pill for the inversion it put brother Bud Kaeding of Campbell and Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan on the front row for the feature event. At the drop of the green flag the three-time & defending USAC Silver Crown champion jumped into the lead, while McMahan slowed with what were reported as rear-end problems, which left him parked on the infield and put a tough end to his night.
Allard immediatley moved up to second with T. Kaeding following along in third. With four-laps complete Allard would move the Williams Motorsports, Red Line Oil No. 0 to the top spot nipping Bud Kaeding at the line prior to a caution flag for a slowing Matthew Davis. On the restart T. Kaeding made the move by his younger brother to claim second and it set up a fight between two of west coast sprint car racing’s top wheel-men
Driving the Roth Motorsports, DTR Transport No. 83 “TK” charged hard after Allard as lapped traffic made things very dicy for the leaders. Navigating their way through the slower cars on the extremely hooked up and rough half-mile the duo ran close together over much of the remaining distance. With just a few circuits left a couple of slight bobbles allowed T. Kaeding the chance to close right up on Allard’s bumper, but the Chico driver hung tough and held off a final lap surge to record his second career Calistoga Speedway victory.
T. Kaeding crossed the checkered in second with Larson making a late-race pass of Bud and Brent Kaeding to score his first career Calistoga Speedway podium finish at the helm of his Stadelhofer Construction, Peppermill Casino No. 99. Ending the race in fourth was Bud Kaeding in the Alviso Rock, K&N Filters No. 29 with Brent Kaeding rounding out the top-five aboard the Al’s Roofing Supply, High Five Pizza No. 69.
Completing the top-10 were the Suggs Racing No. 33e of Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs, the Christian Stover Foundation No. 94 of Vancouver, Washington’s Zach Zimmerly, the DF Rios Construction No. 00 of Grass Valley’s Jason Statler, the Stadelhofer Construction No. 77 of Calistoga’s Mike Benson and the Copeland Motorsports No. 24c of Roseville’s Colby Copeland.
The three 10-lap heat races were won by Zimmerly, Benson and Suggs with Tim Kaeding beginning the night by setting fast-time. Full results when available can be found at http://www.goldenstatechallengeseries.com
Racing action will continue tonight at the Calistoga Speedway for the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series in the running of the annual Salute to Walter T. Ross.