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Kaley Gharst – A Win at the “Other” Knoxville!

By Bill W

– August 18, 2010 – “Showtime” Kaley Gharst picked up a win in Knoxville on August 5. He has five career wins at the Knoxville Raceway in Iowa, but this one came at the Knox County Speedway in his home state of Illinois with the Sprint Invaders. The point leader with the series will be back in the Plath Motorsports #14P this weekend for the “Night of the Twins” at the 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa.

It was the first appearance for the Sprint Invaders at the Illinois ½ mile. Kaley would run third in his heat after starting fifth. “We didn’t draw well in the heat, but we worked our way up to third,” says the Decatur 22 year old. “Luckily, they took the top three to the dash.”

The Shake-Up Dash was next. “The draw was not good to us again, we drew a six,” says Kaley. “We were able to work up to fourth, but then the draw put us outside of row three for the feature anyway.”

Dry conditions greeted the drivers. “It’s a nice big track, but I don’t know how often they run it,” says the 2007 Sprint Invaders champion. “It was taking rubber early in the night. We were actually loose all night, so we went pretty extreme to get the car to tighten in the corners. They moved the infield tires out a bit (before the feature) to eliminate some of the rubber the cars were running in. That made it interesting for a little bit…at least until more rubber was laid down.”

Kaley was on the move early. “We had a good start and got up to third behind (Matt) Sutton and (Jimmy) Davies,” he says. “I wasn’t able to do a whole lot until Davies got a little tight in turn two. I was able to get underneath him, and ran up on Sutton. I kind of followed him a couple laps until we were in traffic. He ran on it fast in turn one, and had to back out of it. I stayed on the throttle and went around the outside of him (lap 15). I was hoping it would stick, and it did.”

It was on to the Knoxville Nationals in Iowa aboard the Nelson’s Catering #44G. Kaley qualified on Thursday. “We drew a good number, and we qualified 18th,” he says. “That was probably as well as we qualified all year at Knoxville. We were loose in the heat and finished sixth. Then in the B, we were off on the car, and we fell back quite a ways. I was able to gain a little ground late.”

Friday night rains turned the program into a day show on Saturday. Kaley lined up seventh for the semi-feature that transferred the top ten to the main event. “I think we had it figured out on Saturday,” he says. “We passed a few cars, but then our motor let go. That put us behind for Saturday night.”

Disappointed, Kaley and the crew were ready to go again on Saturday. The 10-lap E feature was up first, and provided little opportunity to get into the top two (from inside row four) on the heavy surface. “We put another motor in and started seventh in the E,” he says. “We were able to move up to fourth, but that was all we could do on a one-lane track like that.”

Double features means double points for the Sprint Invaders on Saturday at 34 Raceway. The point race has been tight with Kaley leading Matt Sutton by five points, and Ryan Jamison by ten.

Keep an eye on Kaley’s progress this week and beyond at www.KaleyGharst.com!

If you would like to receive Kaley’s weekly releases, send an e-mail with the subject line “Kaley” to sprntcar@iowatelecom.net.

Kaley and car owners Randy and Lori 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.