From Gary Thomas
Returning to the track he made his first career sprint car start at 10-years ago Elk Grove, CA’s Kyle Larson charged to the lead midway through the feature on Saturday and proceeded to drive away from the field, en route to claiming the second round of action with the Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Abreu Vineyards.
The current NASCAR Monster Energy Cup point leader was making his second start at the Placerville Speedway this season and took home $4000 for his efforts on Saturday night aboard the Silva Motorsports No. 57 Finley Farms Special. The huge evening of racing during Double Trouble Night saw 63 Sprint Car Challenge Tour competitors on hand and showcased tremendous action all night long, in front of a standing room only crowd.
“That was definitely a fun race tonight and a good battle up front early on,” Larson commented. “I just tried to be patient at the start racing behind Kyle Hirst and Rico (Abreu) because they set a really good pace. After I got around Hirst for the lead I felt like I could control things out front. Big thanks to Paul Silva and this entire 57 team for all their hard work. I also want to thank all the fans for coming out and supporting this new series. The track tonight was kind of a retro Placerville with a nice cushion up top and slick all the way across the groove.”
Early on in the 40-lap feature it was Hirst that jumped into the lead and had to fend off the challenges applied to his rear bumper by fellow front row starter Abreu. At one point the Rutherford driver was able to get around him for the top-spot, only to have a yellow negate the pass. He continued to race closely behind when going back green, with Larson and Fremont’s Shane Golobic just behind.
Things changed on lap 18 however, when Abreu made a bid for the lead in turn three. Things got a little too close for comfort and he caught the infield berm just enough to shoot him sideways, resulting in the Abreu Vineyards No. 24 spinning to a stop. Fremont’s Shane Golobic was running fourth, but had nowhere to go and contacted the stalled Abreu. On the restart Larson found himself in second and immediately went to work on the leader. After a couple laps he sliced his way by the Roth Motorsports No. 83 and grabbed the lead that he would never relinquish.
Despite Larson having his way out front the fight for second on back continued to be a heated one. Clarksburg’s Justyn Cox was impressive all night and at one point challenged Hirst for the runner up spot with around 15-laps remaining, however, he would slip off the edge and drop a handful of positions shortly after. Watsonville’s Justin Sanders then began to apply heavy pressure to Hirst, while Fresno’s Gio Scelzi soon joined the fight. The entertaining three-car battle kept fans on the edge of their seats during the closing laps.
Larson took the checkered flag with 3.646 seconds to spare, as Scelzi made a wild final lap move to charge around Hirst and claim second aboard the Scelzi Ent. No. 41 mount. It was another ultra impressive outing for the 15-year-old, who was making his first ever Placerville Speedway start. Hirst, Sanders and 13th starter Ryan Bernal of Hollister rounded out the top-five. Roseville’s Willie Croft came home sixth and earned the Pit Stop USA Hard Charger Award after starting 19th on the grid. Princeton’s Mason Moore, Cox, Golobic and 21st starter Sean Becker of Roseville completed the top-10.
The Finley Farms B-main was captured by Ryan Bernal, with the two C-mains going to Andy Gregg and Shawn Arriaga. The RacePartsTrader.com Dashes went to Rico Abreu and Kyle Hirst. All Star Performance Heat one went to DJ Netto. A.R.T. Speed Equipment Heat two was claimed by Justin Sanders. BR Motorsports Heat three was won by Kyle Hirst and King Racing Products Heat four went to Mason Moore. Shane Golobic opened the night by earning the overall LRB Inc. / ADCO Driveline and Custom Exhaust Fast Time Award by clocking a 10.796 around the quarter-mile, beating out the 62 other entrants on hand.
The Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Abreu Vineyards will return to action this coming Friday April 21 for opening night of the annual Peter Murphy Classic at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare. Reserved seating is available at the event and can be acquired by contacting 559-688-0909. More info on the track can be found at www.thunderbowlraceway.com
Sprint Car Challenge Tour
Saturday April 15, 2017
Feature (40 Laps): 1. 57R – Kyle Larson, 2. 41 – Giovanni Scelzi, 3. 83 – Kyle Hirst, 4. 17W – Justin Sanders, 5. 56 – Ryan Bernal, 6. 29 – Willie Croft, 7. X1 – Mason Moore, 8. 31C – Justyn Cox, 9. 22 -Shane Golobic, 10. 75 – Sean Becker, 11. 43 – Bradley Terrell, 12. 19 – Chase Majdic, 13. X1JR – Colby Copeland, 14. 37 – Mitchell Faccinto, 15. 9L – Cody Lamar, 16. 45A – Greg DeCaires, 17. 42X – Herman Klein, 18. 3 – Kaleb Montgomery, 19. 7C – Andy Forsberg, 20. 45 – Jake Morgan, 21. 24 – Rico Abreu, 22. 3C – D.J. Netto.