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Trophy Cup & more coming to Thunderbowl Raceway in October

By Gary Thomasthunderbowltopstory

Tulare, CA – September 27, 2016…The biggest event of the season at Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is less than a month away, with the much anticipated 23rd annual Southwest Contractors Trophy Cup ready to commence on October 20, 21 & 22.

The Trophy Cup has catapulted itself into being one of the premier Winged Sprint Car showcases in the country and the 2016 version is sure to be another can’t miss weekend of racing & fun. The event originally started out at San Jose Speedway in 1994 and was held at the track until its closing in ’99. It then moved to Ocean Speedway for one year, before heading to the Kings Speedway in Hanford from 2001-2004. In ’05 the Trophy Cup was moved to Thunderbowl Raceway, where it has been held ever since.

With its unique format the Trophy Cup regularly produces some of the best Winged Sprint Car racing that fans will witness all season. Each time a driver hits the raceway for competitive racing there are points on the line. It’s all a lead-up to the 50-lap feature on Saturday night, which features the top-20 in overall points inverted, plus the four transfers out of the B-main making up the final four spots.

This year’s event will also be held on a new & improved surface that is 15-feet wider in each set of corners. The hope is that the action will be as good as ever with the added racing room. All cars that start the Saturday A-main are guaranteed at least $2,050 and the overall champion is guaranteed a stout $20,000 in winnings.

The Trophy Cup is always a type of “All Star” showcase in California, with champions & winners from all over the state on hand. Last season Campbell’s Bud Kaeding scored the overall trophy & money for the first time in his long running career. He was able to narrowly beat out Lemoore’s Carson Macedo to join his father Brent & brother Tim as a Trophy Cup champion. Other past winners entered this year include San Jose’s Tim Kaeding, Clovis, CA’s Jason Meyers, Sacramento’s Willie Croft, Chico’s Jonathan Allard and Fresno’s Craig Stidham.

Tickets continue to be on sale for the Trophy Cup with all seating in the house reserved during the weekend. Grandstand tickets cost $40 on Thursday & Friday and $45 on Saturday. Bleacher tickets are $35 on Thursday & Friday and $40 on Saturday. Kids 6-12 are half price and 5 & under are free. A seating chart is available at and tickets can be acquired by calling 559-688-0909. The pit gate opens at 10am on Thursday October 20, with the drivers meeting at 3:30pm sharp.

All of the special events are returning once again, including the Thursday Chili Dog Night sponsored by Taco Bravo, the Taco Bravo Fiesta Night on Friday and the Saturday afternoon spaghetti feed sponsored by La Villa Delicatessen. The post race parties run from 11pm to 1am, while the spaghetti feed goes from 12:30pm to 2:30pm. Live music will be featured with drinks available for purchase inside. A Friday morning breakfast sponsored by the Tulare County Fairgrounds is also going to occur from approx. 8am to 10:30am.

A new twist is being added to the Friday Fiesta Night, as a dancing with the stars competition will be held. Current & past racers such as Kyle Hirst, Bud Kaeding, Andy Forsberg, Ryan Bernal, Howard Kaeding, Craig Smith & others will test out their dancing skills.

A donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation at the door during all the special events is appreciated. Two seasons ago Dave Pusateri & the Trophy Cup team went over the $1,000,000 mark for donations to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Fans & teams are all encouraged to attend the special events. More info on the Trophy Cup, as well as an entry list can be found at

Prior to the Trophy Cup, Thunderbowl Raceway hosts the KRC Safety Fall Shootout on Saturday October 8, which features the final appearance of the season by the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series, the USAC Western Midgets & Western Race Saver Sprints. It’s the final chance for drivers to hit the track before the Trophy Cup and their only opportunity to test out the new wider surface.

Tickets are also on sale for the KRC Safety Fall Shootout at 559-688-0909. Adult reserved tickets are $20, with general admission bleachers $18. Kids 6-12 are half price and 5 & under are free.

A new event also added to the Thunderbowl schedule is the annual Dirt Nationals on Friday & Saturday October 28 & 29. Divisions racing during the weekend will include the IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Stocks, IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks. The Dirt Nationals will be the final event of the season at the track, before the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series returns in the spring. Seating in both the grandstands & the bleachers will be general admission at the Dirt Nationals and costs just $12 each night.

The Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds on the corner of Bardsley and K Streets in Tulare, California. From the junction of SR 99 and SR 137, go west on SR 137. At South K go south one-half mile to the Fairgrounds.