By Troy Hennig
(Chico, CA 8-27-18) After the checkered flag is waived following 40-laps of fierce racing around the Silver Dollar Speedway during Saturday night’s 65th running of the Gold Cup, there is a good chance that a driver from California will be the winner. While the World of Outlaws are comprised of the best sprint car drivers on dirt from all over the world, six of the previous eight Saturday night Gold Cup Champions are native Californian’s. This unprecedented run of California winners began in 2010 when Clovis driver Jason Meyers broke a 20-year drought for California winners. San Lorenzo’s Darrell Hanestad was the last driver to be crowned Gold Cup Champion. That win took place in 1989. Since Meyer’s first win in 2010, and he followed that up with another win in 2013, Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson has won the event twice, Chico’s Jonathan Allard in 2014 and St. Helen’s Rico Abreu in 2016 have held the Gold Cup proudly on the Saturday night finale with California pride.
Entering this year’s Gold Cup, a plethora of California drivers could continue the local dominance of the historic race. While Brad Sweet is considered a World of Outlaw driver, he still calls Northern California home. The Grass Valley driver just won the Knoxville Nationals, sits second in World of Outlaw points and has four career wins at Silver Dollar Speedway. Tim Kaeding is a San Jose native but recently moved to Chico. This Gold Cup he teams up with Sides Motorsports. Together, this combination just finished fifth in the Knoxville Nationals. Kaeding has 56 career wins at Silver Dollar Speedway.
Auburn’s Andy Forsberg and Roseville’s Sean Becker have been the most revered drivers the last 10 years at Chico. Becker is a six-time track champion while Forsberg just picked up his fourth title this past Friday at Silver Dollar Speedway. Becker has 62 career wins, third-all time. Forsberg sits at 53 all-time wins. Paradise driver Kyle Hirst is no stranger to victory lane at Chico. Hirst has 33 career wins at Chico and last year won the Friday night main event of the Gold Cup. A long list of other California drivers is set to the battle the World of Outlaws including Campbell’s Bud Kaeding, Selma’s Cori Eliason, Aromas Justin Sanders, Fremont’s Shane Golobic and St. Helena’s Rico Abreu.
The historical Silver Dollar Speedway will host the 65th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions that will run September 5th – 8th of 2018. You must call the office to order reserved seating @ 530 350-7275. Reserve tickets are not available for purchase on line. General admission tickets which cover seating in rows A thru I in the south (turn-1) and north (turn-4) in the bleachers are on a first come basis, they can be purchased in advance by phone or on line. All reserved and general admission tickets will also be available at the gate each night starting at 5pm and from 9 to 4 daily in the ticket office the week of Gold Cup. Reserved seats are $25 for Wed., $30 for Thursday, $45 for Friday, and $55 for Saturday. General admission starts as low as $15 plus kids 11 and under are free on Wed. and Thursday.
The Friday and Saturday night pit fees have been rolled back to 2011 prices. Friday will be $45 and Saturday $55. In recent years there was a $5 upgrade for pit seating. New pit seats were added in 2015 to accommodate the large Gold Cup crowds. “We introduced a roll back on pit fees at the beginning of 2018 for our regular nights and we’ll extend those lower prices all the way through Gold Cup”, explained track manager Dennis Gage. “This will allow a fan to do an even exchange of their intact reserved seat ticket for pit seating on Friday and Saturday”. He continued. The change allows people more flexibility without additional cost to sit with their friends and family. The Gold Cup tradition has long been the relationships people have built, some just meeting once a year in Chico.
Pit fees for Wed. and Thursday remain at the roll back prices of $40 for members and $45 for non- members.
Many activities for the 65th Gold Cup are planned including the Black Light party on Thursday, the Clyde Lamar Golf Tournament on Friday, and the world famous Chili Feed and Miss Gold Cup Bikini contest. Beginning on August 15th fans purchasing both Friday and Saturday night race tickets will receive a free Chili Feed ticket.
The Gold Cup features 4 full nights of racing featuring the Civil War Sprints and Hunt Magneto Wingless series on Wednesday followed by the USAC/CRA show on Thursday with the all new 360 Platinum Cup added this year. Friday and Saturday the barnstorming World of Outlaws hit the ¼ clay oval this year joined by the NorCal Dwarf cars. Details are available at 530-350-7275 or at www.silverdollarspeedway.com.