By Gary Thomas
Marysville, CA – April 21, 2012…Lightning fast 410 Sprint Cars and hooked up bullrings have been synonymous with each other in Northern California over the years and on Saturday night at the Marysville Raceway Park, that was seen front and center by the Cancen Oil KWS Series presented by Goodyear.
When everything was said and done Chico’s Jonathan Allard stood in victory lane after a thrilling duel with veterans Bobby McMahan and Jimmy Sills, before fending off a late challenge from defending KWS champ Tim Kaeding.
The triumph was Allard’s 29th career win in combined King of the West and Golden State Challenge main events, which breaks a tie with Steve Kent for third on the all-time list. It was also Allard’s first ever 410 win at Marysville Raceway Park and gives him the point lead by one-marker over Tim Kaeding.
“It’s great to come out here and get the win tonight for Morrie & Katie Williams, Ashley Smith and this whole team,” said the two-time state 410 champion. “I saw Tim poke his nose in there a couple of times and I just stayed focused, drove hard and here we are on the front stretch. I also want to thank all you fans for coming out. It’s great to see so many people here in the stands.”
The 30-lap feature came to the line with KSE Dash winner Bobby McMahan on the pole and Hall of Famer Jimmy Sills to his outside. At the waving of Ryan Riley’s green flag it was McMahan getting the jump into turns one and two. Sills however, stalked the rear of the No. 25 sprinter over the early laps and when traffic came into play, things got even more interesting.
The track surface remained extremely tacky and drivers were blazing around the quarter-mile, making them catch lapped cars in a heartbeat. Once they began the lapping process it created a three-car fight for the lead between McMahan, Sills and Allard. The trio put on an outstanding show for the packed house in attendance and had fans on the edge of their seats.
Sills was making his return in a 410 Sprint Car driving for Dan Simpson Racing and got the crowd on its feet when he carved his way underneath McMahan to take the lead down the back stretch. It was short lived however, as “Bobby Mac” stayed with it and charged back by coming off the fourth corner to re-claim the spot.
At this time Allard had found his groove aboard the Williams Motorsports No. 0 mount and made a thrilling muscle-move to get by Sills, just prior to a caution coming out on lap 15. On the ensuing double file restart McMahan got the jump, but coming around turn four fought a push and that’s all Allard needed to make his way by for the lead of the race.
While that was going on Sills had issues that parked him on the infield and put an end to his amazing run. It was still a very impressive night for the legend, who qualified fifth quick overall and finished second in the Dash.
With the final 10-laps approaching Tim Kaeding had been steadily making his way to the front after starting from the fifth row in the Roth Motorsports No. 83 sprinter. “TK” battled hard with McMahan for a handful of laps and finally made the pass for second on lap 24.
He then closed in on Allard for the lead of the race and it set up a classic fight between two of the west coast’s very best sprint car drivers. The defending King of the West champ was all over Allard for the last five-laps, but “JA” hit his marks and dealt with traffic to perfection. The reigning Dirt Cup winner crossed the checkered flag by 0.783 seconds ahead of Kaeding to narrowly claim his first KWS victory of 2012.
McMahan came home in third for a solid night overall in the American Tool & Mfg No. 25 mount and unofficially moves to third in points. Completing the top-five in the main event was the Suggs Racing No. 33e of Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs and the Al’s Roofing Supply No. 69 driven by Campbell’s Brent Kaeding. Rounding out the top-10 were Loomis’ Kyle Hirst, Grass Valley’s Jason Statler, Clovis’ Peter Murphy, Pit Stop USA hard charger Andy Gregg and Fresno’s Craig Stidham.
St. Helena’s Rico Abreu captured an entertaining Last Chance Qualifier, with Bobby McMahan claiming the KSE Dash. Kaeding Performance heat race wins went to Brent Kaeding, Craig Stidham, Redding’s Tyler Wolf and Kyle Hirst. A total of 29 cars were on hand Saturday and KWS rookie driver Chad Compton earned his first career “BR Motorsports Fast Time Award” with a lap of 12.846 around the quarter-mile.
The Cancen Oil KWS Series presented by Goodyear will be right back in action next Saturday night April 28 at another quarter-mile bullring located near the Sacramento area, with the much anticipated Winged 410 Sprint Car return to Placerville Speedway. The high-banked oval with its trademarked red clay always lends itself to fantastic racing so it’s sure to be another must see show.
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