By Bill W
June 29, 2010 – Kaley Gharst was in a familiar place last Friday night, towards the front of the pack. He has been gaining momentum in the Plath Motorsports #14P in Sprint Invaders competition and came home second at the Jacksonville Speedway. The finish put him into a tie for third in points heading into some big Fair races coming up in Iowa the next three weeks.
For once, the draw went well and Kaley was slotted to start on the pole of his heat race. “Starting on the pole with the Invaders definitely helps things,” he says. “With the format, you need to be in the top two to make the dash.”
Despite being impaired, Kaley won his heat in convincing fashion. “We had no brakes in the heat race, we were just lucky to hold on for the win,” says the Decatur, Illinois driver. “We had a new motor in from Manny Rockhold (Automotive Machine) and it seemed to be hitting.”
Starting fourth in the Shake-Up Dash, Kaley would run in the show position. Winner Justin Parrish rolled a four, meaning a start for Kaley outside of row three in the main event. “The invert didn’t work as well for us as it did at Donnellson (he ended up on the pole and won that night),” he says. “It put us outside row three for the feature.”
There was no time wasted on moving forward, as the track looked like it may take rubber. “We got off to a good start and got up to third,” says Kaley. “The track took rubber, and about halfway through we were able to get second from Donnie Steward.”
From there on, there was no catching Joey Moughan, who had put a number of lapped cars between himself and Kaley. “We fell in line after that and kind of rode out the race,” says the 2007 Sprint Invaders champion. “I wasn’t pushing the issue in lapped traffic really. I wasn’t going to catch Joey, and even if I did, I don’t know that I could have passed him the way the track was. Fortunately, nobody crashed. We got through it o.k. Sometimes, on a track like that, you’re worried about contact.”
The #14P team changed to a car they utilized in 2009 before their Donnellson win. That followed a struggle in a couple of Sprint Invaders shows and at the Knoxville Raceway. Things seem to be back on track. “We’ll take second after how we did there a few races,” says Kaley. “I want to thank Randy, Nick, John, Lucas and everyone that works on the team for their help.”
Kaley is planning a two-night race weekend. He’ll travel with the family #44G 410 sprint car to the Dodge County Fairgrounds in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin on Friday night for the Sue Thiel Memorial with the IRA. On Saturday, he’ll be back in Randy and Lori Plath’s #14P with the Sprint Invaders at West Liberty Raceway in West Liberty, Iowa. “We were there once,” Kaley says of Dodge County. “It was a short night. We set quick time, and then cooked the motor in the heat. We’re hoping to stick around a little longer this time.”
Keep an eye on Kaley’s progress this week and beyond at www.KaleyGharst.com!
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Kaley and car owner Randy Plath would like to thank Sebastian Powder Coating and Sandblasting, Holtkamp Truck and Trailer Repair, Nelson’s Catering, Pieper Inc., Lange Chiropractic, Rockstar Graphics, Scott Performance, Midland Performance and GPC Race Products.