Extremely close point battle highlights Golden State Challenge return to Kings Speedway

Golden State Challenge

From Gary Thomas

Hanford, CA – May 18, 2010…For the first time in three-years the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series will invade the Kings County Fairgrounds in Hanford, California this Friday for an exciting night of racing at the newly re-named Giant Chevrolet Speedway.

At the height of its success Kings Speedway was arguably one of the top dirt tracks in the country, as exciting racing was seen with regularity at the 3/8 mile clay oval and over the last handful of years many fans, teams and drivers have very much missed having the track in the mix like it once was. In the off-season Plaza Park Raceway promoters Don Chambers and Bubby Morse assumed leadership of the track and with their help the Hanford oval looks to be in position to return as one of the premier dirt track facilities in California.

This Friday’s event will be the first of two season appearances for the Golden State Challenge Series at the Giant Chevrolet Speedway, with the other coming on Saturday night June 26. Also on tap at the track will be the running of the annual Cotton Classic, which will return as a winged 410 sprint car event in 2010 and is scheduled to occur on Saturday evening October 16. This weekend’s event will be the first GSC visit to the 3/8 mile clay oval since March of 2007 and just the second time the series has competed at the track since July of 2005.

Going into this Friday the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series features a terrific three-way fight at the top of the standings with Chico’s Jonathan Allard, Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson and Campbell’s Brent Kaeding all separated by only two-markers. This weekend’s event will be the ninth round of action in the 25-race battle for the King of California title, which brings the series to 13 different tracks throughout California and Oregon.

Following a fifth place finish in the feature last Saturday at the Tulare Thunderbowl Allard has re-assumed the top-spot in the standings, after losing it on April 24 and comes into Friday holding the slimmest of margins with a one-point advantage over Larson. The two-time King of California won a pair of GSC main events at Hanford in his first year driving the Williams Motorsports, Sharp Insurance No. 0 in 2005 and also captured the 410 Cotton Classic in ’07, as well as a 360 win in September of ’08 during his most recent start at the track. Allard has three-wins with GSC this year, but will be shooting for his first triumph in over a month with the series on Friday night at the 3/8 mile clay oval.

Larson has been one of the most consistent drivers in all of Northern California over the past month and has tallied five podiums in the past six GSC events aboard his Stadelhofer Construction, Peppermill Casino No. 99. The 17-year-old made his Hanford debut during the Cotton Classic in 2007, scoring a 10th place finish in the 360 feature and also had a great run going in the 410 main event to charge up to sixth, until a spin with just a couple laps remaining relegated him to an 11th place result. Larson will look for a solid night on Friday to try and move himself to the top of the GSC points for the first time in his career.

Continuing to look for his first victory of the season, Kaeding will go into Friday searching to make that happen, as he now sits two-markers behind Allard for the point-lead after a ninth place finish in the main event last Saturday behind the wheel of his Al’s Roofing Supply, Williams Roofing No. 69. During his career “BK” has always been a driver to reckon with at the Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway and has captured a number of big wins at the track, from the Cotton Classic, to the Pombo/Sargent Classic and the Spanky Matthews Memorial among others.

Last Saturday night’s winner at the Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway Tim Kaeding of San Jose will be looking to make it back-to-back victories with the Golden State Challenge Series on Friday night. “TK” was part of an exciting duel towards the front of the field last weekend and took advantage of a 360-spin by leader Tommy Tarlton on the final lap to get by and score his 43rd career series win. The driver of the Central Valley based Roth Motorsports, DTR Transport Inc. No. 83 has always been a dominant force at the Hanford 3/8 mile oval and in one time span from 2002-’03 was nearly unbeatable at the track, which included winning the World of Outlaws season-opener in ’03.

Coming off the tough ending to the main event last week Easton’s Tommy Tarlton will be searching to continue his very strong start to the 2010 campaign this Friday night. The driver of the Corporate America Lending, Sharp Insurance No. 21 has tallied four podium finishes in his five Golden State Challenge Series starts so far this year, including a clean-sweep of the event in Santa Maria on May 1. Tarlton won a 360 event at the Giant Chevrolet Speedway just two weeks ago and has always been solid at the track, claiming a number of victories through the years, including a pair of Pombo/Sargent Classic triumphs and also a big win in September of ’08 during the Tachi Invitational.

Other possibilities this Friday night at the Giant Chevrolet Speedway will include Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs, Vancouver, Washington’s Zach Zimmerly, Grass Valley’s Jason Statler, Clovis’ Peter Murphy, Penngrove’s Alissa Geving, Visalia’s Cory Eliason, Placerville’s Andy Gregg, American Canyon’s Matthew Davis, Caruther’s Garrett Ishii, Fresno’s Mark Workentine, Rio Vista’s Dan and Danielle Simpson, Selma’s Charlie Louden and more.

The front gate will open at 5:30 pm this Friday evening May 21 with Reserved Grandstand tickets costing $20 and General Admission bleacher tickets being $17. The Giant Chevrolet Speedway is located on the Kings County Fairgrounds in Hanford, California. More information can be found at http://www.kingsspeedway.net

Coming up- Next Friday, Saturday and Sunday will find the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series in competition during a rare triple-header weekend beginning with an event at the Petaluma Speedway on Friday evening May 28.

Then on Saturday and Sunday the series will head for the traditional Memorial Day weekend events at the famed Calistoga Speedway half-mile located on the beautiful Napa County Fairgrounds. Sunday’s event will be the annual running of the Salute to Walt Ross, paying tribute to the former Northern Auto Racing Club president and car owner.

For a full schedule of events, updated point standings and all your info pertaining to the Golden State Challenge Sprint Car Series log onto http://www.goldenstatechallengeseries.com