Chico, CA – May 7, 2013…When hanging around the track and bench racing with fans throughout Northern California the now defunct Baylands Raceway Park often comes up in conversation. The famous dirt track located in Fremont, California was a favorite among many and this Saturday night at the Petaluma Speedway we will be paying honor to the famed Baylands Raceway.
Sprint Car Announcer, Writer & Historian Bobby Gerould has said of Baylands: “Baylands was a hot spot for great sprint car racing during a much too short-lived time in the 1980’s. Located in the heart of the thriving Bay Area, Baylands ran weekly winged sprints, as well as special World of Outlaws, CRA, BCRA, Golden State Challenge and NARC shows. Opening in August, 1981, and racing until November, 1988, Baylands played a vital role in the booming sprint car scene in Northern California.”
Former champions at the track included Jimmy Sills, who dominated action at Baylands and led the speedway in all-time wins, as well as Jimmy Boyd, Dave Bradway Jr., Ed Organ, Steve Kent and “Charging” Chuck Miller on two occasions. A vintage Baylands Raceway Park autograph session is scheduled to go on from 5pm to 5:30pm this Saturday so be sure and stop by to see past racers & officials such as Tim Green, Chuck Gurney, John Golobic, Brent Kaeding, Bruce Homer, David Vodden, George Hague and more.
“We are very excited to be back at the Petaluma Speedway on Saturday and want to thank Rick Faeth and John Soares for making it possible,” said KWS Operations Manager & former Baylands Raceway Park Announcer George Hague. “I have a lot of memories of Baylands from my days as an announcer there and we think it will be great to hold an event to relive the history of the track. We love racing at Petaluma Speedway and getting back on that famous black gumbo will be fun.”
Petaluma Speedway had been commonplace on the Northern Auto Racing Club/ Golden State 410 Series schedule over the years, but a hiatus from the track occurred from the late 90’s to 2004. In 2005 the Golden State 410 Series returned to Petaluma and ran each season through 2010, until another hiatus was seen over the last couple years. In total there have been 11 Winged 410 Sprint Car events held at Petaluma Speedway since ’05.
Three-time & defending King of the West 410 champion Jonathan Allard has been the most dominant driver in 410 competition at Petaluma since 2005 and currently ranks third in the series standings. The Chico native has claimed five victories at Petaluma Speedway out of the last 11 Winged 410 events held at the track, including the most recent race in 2010. Allard is coming off his first podium of the KWS season last Saturday in Chico.
“We’ve had a lot of success at Petaluma Speedway over the last eight or nine years and have really missed going there the last couple seasons,” said Allard. “The racing at Petaluma can be some of the best you will see anywhere and when we get into traffic it can be real hairy. Definitely excited that we have the opportunity to get there on Saturday with the King of the West Series and we hope all the fans will come out and support the show.”
Sacramento’s Kyle Hirst leads the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series standings going into the “Salute to Baylands” on Saturday. The 25-year-old has scored podium finishes in each of the first three events, including a runner up effort last weekend at the “Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial” aboard his Dennis & Teresa Roth owned Roth Enterprises No. 83jr mount. Hirst claimed victory in round two at the Placerville Speedway and will be looking for another on Saturday.
Sitting just one-point back of Hirst in second happens to be last Saturday’s big winner at the “Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial” young Rico Abreu. The hard charging driver from St. Helena picked up the biggest win of his young career last weekend at the Silver Dollar Speedway and went home with over $8500 for his efforts during the night. Abreu has claimed finishes of fourth or better in all of the first three races in his Abreu Vineyards No. 24 sprinter.
Fresno’s Craig Stidham has had a consistent start to the year and goes into the “Salute to Baylands” on Saturday holding down the fourth spot in the standings. The former “Trophy Cup” winner has scooped up top-10 finishes in every race so far this season. Opening night winner Willie Croft currently rounds out the top-five in KWS points while driving the Clyde Lamar Tri-C Machine mount, which was seen quite often at the Baylands Raceway Park.
Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs ranks sixth in the standings and brought home a runner up finish during the most recent Winged 410 Sprint Car event at the Petaluma Speedway in May of 2010. Reigning Rookie of the Year Chad Compton holds down the seventh spot in points during his sophomore season with the King of the West Series. 2013 Rookie of the Year contender Cory Eliason sits eighth in the standings, while 13-time champion Brent Kaeding and Auburn’s Richard Brace Jr. complete the top-10.
Just on the cusp of the top-10 is past Petaluma Speedway winner Jason Statler of Grass Valley, who has been bit by bad luck the last couple weekends. Statler’s last Golden State/ KWS win came at the Petaluma Speedway and he will be trying hard to make a return to victory lane on Saturday. Elk Grove youngster Sean McMahan is 12th in the series standings, with Sydney, Australia native Peter Murphy 13th, Fresno young gun Dominic Scelzi 14th and Coarsegold, CA youngster Scott Parker completing the top-15 in the standings.
Scelzi is coming off a strong performance at the “Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial” last Saturday, where he won a heat race and tied his career best KWS finish with a sixth place effort in the feature. Murphy suffered through his second straight week of tough luck last Saturday, which saw him get upside down in the Last Chance Qualifier. After finishing fourth in the KWS points last season Murphy will look to make up ground in the standings beginning at Petaluma this weekend.
Other’s expected to take on the sticky 3/8 mile clay oval Saturday will include World of Outlaw winner earlier this season Shane Golobic of Fremont, Clarksburg’s Justyn Cox, Fresno’s Carson Macedo, Chico’s Brad Bumgarner, Oakhurst’s Doug Gandy, Grass Valley’s Pat Harvey & Carl Droivold, Laton’s Geoffrey Strole, Corning’s Bud Walberg, San Jose’s Nick Green, Rhode Island native Eli Deshaies, Des Moines, Iowa’s Chris Martin and more.
The front gate at the Petaluma Speedway will open at 4pm on Saturday May 11 with racing anticipated to get underway around 7pm. Adult tickets cost $20, with it being $15 for seniors/juniors. The pit gate will open at noon for competitors. Petaluma Speedway is located in the southern part of the wine country at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds just off Highway 101 in Petaluma, California. Fans are recommended to bring a jacket and warm clothes if you have never been to the Petaluma Speedway, as temperatures usually do chill off once the sun goes down.
More information on the traveling King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series can be found online at http://www.kwssprints.com and by tuning in to “KWS Tonight” every Thursday evening throughout the season on the homepage of the website.
Be sure to like us on the KWS Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/
You can also follow us on Instagram by searching “kwssprints” and contact us via phone at the King of the West office (707) 374-2222. For questions or comments please don’t be hesitate to shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Upcoming King of the West events:
Next Friday & Saturday May 17 & 18 the King of the West 410’s will head for the Reno Tahoe Fernley Speedway in Fernley, Nevada for the first of five weekends of action at the facility. KWS Managing Director Dan Simpson also happens to be the promoter at RTF Speedway and during the off season a revitalization of the track surface took place. The high-banked 3/8 mile oval should provide great racing over the two-night’s of action.
Be sure and reserve your rooms at the host hotel for KWS in Sparks, Nevada the John Ascuaga’s Nugget. The KWS fan code to use is GKWS2 and to book your rooms visit http://www.janugget.com/hotel/
On Memorial Day Weekend the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series will be in action at the Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway for the “Chris & Brian Faria Memorial.” The exciting double header will occur on Saturday & Sunday May 25 & 26 and will hopefully be the start of a new Memorial Day tradition for 410 Sprint Car fans and teams in California. The Tulare County Fairgrounds offers a great campground so we invite everyone to come on down and camp out for the special event at Thunderbowl Raceway. More information on the one-third mile clay oval can be found at http://www.thunderbowlraceway.