From Gary Thomas
Tulare, CA – April 4, 2010…Hoping to make it three in a row to begin the Golden State Challenge Series season Chico’s Jonathan Allard looked to be in position to make it happen on Saturday night until contact while battling for the lead relegated him to the rear of the field, where he would eventually charge back for a fifth place finish in the 30-lap feature at the Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway.
Allard went into the Chris & Brian Faria Memorial on the strength of back-to-back victories to kick-off the GSC season and despite not ending the feature in the position he had hoped for it was still a strong night overall. “We definitely wanted to get another win and I felt like we were good enough to do so, but sometimes the luck just doesn’t go your way,” said the two-time King of California. “We came forward really well early on and Bud and I were just racing hard for the lead and it was one of those racing deals. The track was definitely tricky tonight, but it was really racy and hopefully the fans got a good show.”
Allard opened the night for the second straight week by setting fast-time in the Williams Motorsports, Sharp Insurance, K&N Filters No. 0, but was then forced to change motors following the qualifying session due to a blown oil seal.
The 33-year-old then brought home a second place finish in the heat race and ran fifth in the dash after starting the six lap contest in eighth. With the track being very slick and hard-packed it made for some exciting racing right from the get-go in the 30-lap Golden State Challenge Series main event. Lining-up in the third row Allard would make his way past Bobby McMahan to steal fourth on the second circuit and proceed to make a hair-raising move up high in turn four to charge around both Tommy Tarlton and Kyle Larson to grab second on lap-five.
A caution just after taking the runner-up spot put Allard right on the bumper of race leader Bud Kaeding and when the action got back underway “JA” powered to the inside of the raceway and slipped by Kaeding to put the Butler Built Performance, JP’s Paint & Body No. 0 into the top-spot. Kaeding would race back however, and the duo went wheel-to-wheel all the way around the 1/3 mile clay oval, until contact in turn two sent Allard spinning to a stop. The Chico racer went to the work area, before re-joining the field at the tail end and methodically picking his way forward to get all the way back to fifth by the time starter Willie Williams unveiled the checkered flag.
Up next for Allard and the Williams Motorsports No. 0 team will be a double-header weekend beginning on Friday with the opening Feather Falls Casino 410 point race at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico.
Then on Saturday the team will head to the Petaluma Speedway for the fourth round of competition with the Golden State Challenge Sprint Car Series. Since the traveling 410 circuit returned to Petaluma in 2005 Allard leads all drivers with three victories at the 3/8 mile clay oval, including a sweep of both events in 2006. Last season he scored a close second place finish in the April event to Tyler Walker as he narrowly missed out on the victory by about a car length at the line. Allard currently sits atop the GSC standings by six points over 13-time King of California Brent Kaeding and will be searching for his third win of the year with the series Saturday.
For more news on two-time King of California Jonathan Allard log onto http://www.allardmotorsports.com