From Gary Thomas
TULARE, Cal. (October 19, 2016) — One of the drivers to beat at the Southwest Contractors Trophy Cup will certainly be San Jose, California’s Tim Kaeding, who looks for his fourth career cup title this weekend at Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway. If he can do so, it would match his Hall of Fame father Brent Kaeding for the most victories in event history, which enters its 23rd year in 2016.
The two-time King of the West Series champion has won it all at the Trophy Cup in 2002, ’06 & ’09. He climbs aboard the potent Roth Motorsports No. 83 this year, the same car he captured his 2009 triumph in. That season “TK” started 24th on the grid Saturday night and drove all the way through the field to claim a stunning victory. Last year Kaeding scooped up a World of Outlaws win at the Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway, tying Brownsburg, Indiana’s Joey Saldana for the most WOO victories at the facility.
“The Thunderbowl Raceway has definitely been a track that has suited me well over the years,” Kaeding said. “To be fast there you pretty much have to run the high side and that’s just how I like it. The Trophy Cup is one of the biggest events we run all season and it would mean a lot if I could tie my old man for the most wins. It’s going to be a great weekend with lots of tough cars and lots of action, so we hope everyone comes on out. I’m happy to have the opportunity to drive for Dennis & Teresa Roth once again at the Trophy Cup. Our win back in 2009 was one that I will never forget.”
Kaeding has a had strong season across the country in 2016, which includes winning a preliminary night at the 5-Hour Energy Knoxville Nationals in Iowa and bringing home the 360 track title at Badlands Motor Speedway in South Dakota. Fellow two-time King of the West 410 Sprint Car champion & current series point leader Kyle Hirst will be a teammate with Kaeding at the Trophy Cup, forming a potent one-two punch for car owners Dennis & Teresa Roth.
Brent Kaeding’s all-time leading four Trophy Cup wins occurred in 1996, ’98, ’99 and 2005. His most recent came during the very first season that the event was held at Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway. After originally starting out at the San Jose Speedway in 1994 this season marks the 12th straight year that the event will be contested in Tulare.
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. Everything fires-off on Thursday evening with the opening preliminary night, followed by another prelim on Friday and then championship night on Saturday. The overall champion will be crowned following the 50-lap finale, which caps the event. All drivers compete each night, with the better of their two prelim totals being used going into Saturday’s finale.
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 www.thunderbowlraceway.com 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 that help add to the Make-A-Wish Foundation pot 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 3:30pm. 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 approximately 8am to 10:30am. A new twist has been added to the Taco Bravo Friday Fiesta later that 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 will take part. As always a donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation at the door during all the special events is appreciated.
To keep track of all the latest happenings from the 23rd annual Southwest Contractors Trophy Cup be sure & follow the official Twitter of the event https://twitter.com/trophy__cup
Williams Roofing of Fremont, CA has put up the Royal Fan Draw for all 3-nights at the Trophy Cup. A trivia question will be asked and the fan that answers correctly will pull a random number (1-24) out of a bag. The fan automatically wins $100 and if the driver wins the feature from the starting spot drawn, the driver receives a $1000 bonus. If nobody wins the bonus on Saturday night the $1000 will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
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.