From Steven Blakesley
WATSONVILLE, Calif. (July 18, 2020) – Sacramento’s Kyle Hirst became the first three-time winner of the Howard Kaeding Classic, winning the tenth running on Saturday for the NARC King of the West 410 Sprint Cars at Ocean Speedway. The victory at Watsonville saw Hirst lead all 30 laps on the box score, but the win was anything but easy as he defended the lead from 2015 Ocean Sprints champion Justin Sanders.
Friday night Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo winner DJ Netto won the $500 fast-time courtesy of ARP and Martin Motorsports, while Willie Croft, Chase Johnson, Shane Golobic, and Bud Kaeding won the four heat races. The Sunny Valley dash paid $300 and was won by Hirst, earning him the pole for the 30-lap feature.
Hirst won both the 2015 and 2016 editions of the event and led the opening lap while Netto battled with Tim Kaeding back and forth for third. The first caution flew on lap five for Roseville’s Jodie Robinson having trouble in turn three. Netto and Kaeding continued their battle before the caution flew on lap six for Bud Kaeding facing the wrong way in turn four.
Hirst picked the inside of Sanders on the restart then led Sanders and Netto into lapped traffic. Hirst survived a bid for the lead from Sanders before the caution flew for 2019 Ocean Sprints champion James Ringo spinning in turn three. Netto challenged Sanders on the restart for second, with the pair making contact into turn one. Netto slid off the track and nearly spun, falling outside the top-ten as he rejoined. Netto then went around in turn four to bring out the caution on lap 15.
Netto was a part of the next caution on the backstretch, in an incident which ended the night for Ringo.
15th starting Spencer Bayston entered the frame as he overhauled Golobic for fourth on lap 19. Sanders dove inside Hirst again for the lead but Hirst managed to pull away off turn two to lead lap 25. Hirst bounced off the front stretch wall in the closing laps but kept the lead over Sanders and grabbed the $5000 win. Bayston passed Mitchell Faccinto for third at the finish with Tim Kaeding scored fifth.
“It’s pretty special. The Kaedings put so much effort into making this all happen. For them to make it happen with everything going on in the world is pretty cool. We made the most of it and got a win,” Hirst said. “I said earlier in the dash that traffic was going to be the make or break. But that’s what makes Sprint Car racing great. Tight, it’s a bullring, we banged off the fence, probably banged off a couple of cars, but came out with the W.”
Oakley’s Troy Foulger drove from the seventh starting position to win the IMCA Modified feature. 2020 West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame inductee Jim Pettit II swept past Robert Marsh to lead the opening lap. 2018 track champion Cody Burke of Salinas took over second, passing Marsh on the inside on lap five.
Lapped traffic became a focal point by lap seven, with Foulger going three-wide from the outside of the trio. Foulger took over the top spot on lap 10 as a result. Pettit tangled with a lapped car, causing terminal damage that forced a lap 11 caution. Burke assumed the lead on lap 11 on the restart but Fougler went around the outside of him to lead lap 12.
Fougler led the final 13 laps ahead of Burke, eighth starting Nick Decarlo, ninth starting Aaron Crowell, and Marsh.
Bakersfield’s Nicholas Johnson won the second night of Hobby Stock action, leading all 20-laps for the win. Johnson took the lead from 2020 season opening winner Terry Campion on the start. Friday night runner-up Adriane Frost used a three-wide maneuver in turn four to take over second. Campion spun for the race’s lone caution on lap 11.
Rob Gallaher advanced into second position and faced several challenges from Bakersfield’s Cody Johnson but to no avail. Nicholas Johnson won in a close finish over Gallaher, Cody Johnson, 12th starting Friday winner Joe Gallaher, and Frost.
Ocean Speedway is scheduled to return next Friday night with the fifth round of the 2020 Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo. They will be joined by IMCA Sport Mods, South Bay Dwarf Cars, Four Bangers, and Police-N-Pursuit. For more information, visit www.OceanSpeedway.com or visit them on Facebook and Twitter.
Tenth Howard Kaeding Classic – July 18, 2020 Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif.
1. 0-Kyle Hirst; 2. 17-Justin Sanders; 3. 21-Spencer Bayston; 4. 37-Mitchell Faccinto; 5. 42X-Tim Kaeding; 6. 38B-Blake Carrick; 7. 17W-Shane Golobic; 8. 92-Andy Forsberg; 9. 83-Ryan Bernal; 10. 88M-Sean Becker; 11. 73T-Chase Johnson; 12. 5C-Colby Copeland; 13. 98-Sean Watts; 14. 69-Bud Kaeding; 15. 88A-Joey Ancona; 16. 5T-Trent Canales; 17. 34-Kurt Nelson; 18. 3-Craig Stidham; 19. 83V-Jodie Robinson; 20. 68X-Nick Ringo; 21. 3M-Adam Kaeding; 22. 88N-DJ Netto; 23. 2-James Ringo; 24. 56-Willie Croft