By Bill W
August 3, 2011 – It was a bit of a tough week for Kaley Gharst in both the family #8 410 sprint car and the Plath Motorsports #14P. After chasing motor issues in the 410 through three nights of Illinois Sprint Week, he pulled off Sunday night with the Sprint Invaders in Peoria. He will compete tonight in Knoxville, Illinois with the Sprint Invaders before heading to Knoxville, Iowa for the 360 Nationals.
The Decatur, Illinois driver started the week at the Spoon River Speedway near Canton, Illinois with the Monster Energy™ Sprint Car Series. Things started well enough. “We drew well and a heat win got us in the dash,” says Kaley. “We ran second to (Brian) Brownie, and we started second in the feature.”
With the track drying off and eventually drawing rubber, Kaley backed up from outside row one to a fourth place finish. “We’ve been struggling with our motor taking off, so (Brown) got away from us pretty quick on the start,” he says. “It started rubbering up on the bottom, and once it did that, the car started falling on its face. Danny Smith and Jerrod Hull got by us, and we were lucky to hold onto fourth.”
The next night saw action in Granite City, Illinois at the second leg of Sprint Week. “We went there to try to figure out the motor,” says Kaley. “We had found some bad fuel in the car, and thought that was it, but it wasn’t. It didn’t fix the problem.”
Still, Kaley managed to move up to third in the heat. “The car was decent on the throttle,” he says. “When you had to run the bottom is when it would act up. We were decent in our heat, and we were able to run the top from sixth to third.”
Track conditions didn’t bode well for the motor problem, so Kaley cut his losses. “By feature time, it was rubber down,” he says. “We knew that would be trouble for the motor, so we just took the green and pulled in.”
Saturday night found the team in Macon, Illinois. A top ten finish was the result. “It’s a pretty tight track over there,” says Kaley of the Macon Speedway. “We mainly went there to keep trying things with the motor. We still didn’t have it figured out, but we were able to come (from 13th) up to eighth. It was a little bit of a solid finish I guess.”
It was on to Peoria on Sunday night with the #14P. “Things started well in the heat with the win there,” says Kaley. “We struggled a little in the dash, finishing sixth.”
That’s when things started sounding ill. “When we fired off for the feature the motor didn’t sound good, and it was pretty flat,” he says. “We got going, and the motor never really went. After a few laps, it started vibrating and I shut it off and pulled in. We’re not sure exactly sure what’s going on.”
Kaley will run the #14P tonight, and will hit Knoxville, Iowa Friday for the 360 Nationals. “How we do really depends on what is going on with the motors,” he says. “We think it was a plug wire issue with the 14P, so we will see.”
Keep an eye on Kaley’s progress this week and beyond at www.KaleyGharst.com!
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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, Winters Performance Products and GPC Race Products.