By Bill W
September 14, 2011 – The final two races of the season for the Sprint Invaders saw Kaley Gharst, car owners Randy and Lori Plath and the #14P team propel themselves into second in the final standings for the series. They pulled down a seventh place finish at Quincy on Monday, September 5, and a third place run in the Season championship at the 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa last Saturday. The Decatur, Illinois driver will compete this weekend at the Tom Knowles Memorial at the Spoon River Speedway south of Canton, Illinois.
The race at Quincy Raceways started with a tough draw and a heat finish back in the pack. “We had high expectations,” says Kaley. “We’ve done well there in the past. The heat was tough. The track was pretty heavy and we drew outside row three. We had a pretty tough heat with (Bobby) Mincer, (Ben) Wagoner and some others. We were only able to get to fifth.”
Starting in row seven, there was a long way for Kaley to go to get his third win at Quincy. “I went to the top early on,” he says. “We finally got a yellow, and we were able to get two or three of them on the bottom. I started picking them off. I wish I could have gotten them earlier than I did, but we ended up with a seventh place finish.”
Kaley chalked it up to a tough night. “It was a little worse than what we were hoping for, but the car was still in one piece,” he says. “We were able to roll it to Burlington for the Season Championship.”
The finale for the 2011 Sprint Invaders season saw Kaley finish second in his heat from the front row. “We drew well, we just didn’t get the start we needed to win the heat and get in the dash,” he says. “That put us eighth in the feature.”
The first try at green went well for Kaley, but it was called back. Instead he had to slowly work his way forward. “We had a good start on the first try,” he says. “We were next to (Dustin) Selvage for fifth coming out of four, and somebody spun or something. We had to race from eighth again, and they didn’t let me get the same start.”
As the race wore on, Kaley got better and better. He was sitting in third when a late yellow flag flew. “We were coming on towards the end, and just about got by (second place Jon) Agan when that late caution came out,” he says. “He took my line on the restart, and I had to switch it up. I was just holding on there at the end really.”
The third place finish propelled Kaley into second in the final point standings for the Sprint Invaders. “Randy and John and Lucas worked really hard this year to make sure we got to all the races,” he says. “We had some tough nights along the way, so to come up with second was pretty good considering.”
This week, Kaley will run the Tom Knowles Memorial at the Spoon River Speedway south of Canton, Illinois with the Monster Energy™ Sprint Car Series.
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 email@example.com.
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.