By Troy Hennig
(Chico, CA 8-29-18…Fargo, North Dakota’s Donny Schatz will lead a pack of hungry travelers into the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series portion of the 65th Gold Cup Race of Champions at Chico’s Silver Dollar Speedway on Friday and Saturday September 7th and 8th.
Schatz, a two-time winner of the Gold Cup in his career, is coming off a runner up finish in the sports crown jewel event, the 58th Knoxville Nationals in mid-August. The veteran racer currently sits atop the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series standings on the strength of 17 wins and 39 top-five finishes aboard the Tony Stewart Racing No. 15 machine. If he can bring home the title at season’s end he would join Steve Kinser as the second driver to amass double digit championships with the series.
California’s own Brad Sweet stands second in the points as of press time and will be gunning to add the Gold Cup Race of Champions to his ever-growing resume. The Grass Valley native is fresh off the biggest victory of his career when he beat out Schatz to claim the $150,000-to-win Knoxville Nationals. Sweet has captured five wins overall this season and has been one of the strongest competitors over the last two months at the helm of his Kasey Kahne Racing No. 49 Sprint Car.
Watertown, Connecticut’s David Gravel; Owasso, Oklahoma’s Daryn Pittman and defending Gold Cup winner Shane Stewart round out the top-five in the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series heading into the west coast swing. Gravel has driven the CJB Motorsports No. 5 to five total victories so far this season, while Pittman has come on as of late and is up to six victories on the year. The driver of the Kasey Kahne Racing No. 9 scored a Gold Cup Race of Champions win in 2006.
Stewart’s Gold Cup win last season marked his initial triumph at the event driving for Kyle Larson Racing No. 2 machine. The Bixby, Oklahoma native has scored one win so far this season. Completing the top-10 in the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series standings as of press are Logan Schuchart, Sheldon Haudenschild, Ian Madsen, Brent Marks and Jacob Allen. Allen has been one of more impressive drivers as of late and is closing in on his first career series win.
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.