Petaluma and Calistoga highlight big Memorial Day Weekend for Golden State Challenge Series

Golden State Challenge

By Gary Thomas

Petaluma/Calistoga, CA – May 26, 2010…For just the second time in the past 10-years the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series will head for three-consecutive nights of racing beginning this Friday evening at the Petaluma Speedway. Following that the tour will then be in action at the historic Calistoga Speedway half-mile on Saturday and Sunday.

This Friday’s show at the Petaluma Speedway will be the 10th overall round of racing for the traveling series and the second stop of 2010 at the always hooked up 3/8 mile clay oval. The front gate is scheduled to open at 4:30 pm with all seating being general admission. Adult tickets will be $16, juniors $12, seniors 65 and older $10 and children 5 and under free. The Petaluma Speedway is located in the southern part of the wine country at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds just off Highway 101 in Petaluma, California. For more information visit

Saturday and Sunday’s event at the Calistoga Speedway will be the traditional Memorial Day Weekend double-header at the beautiful and picturesque track and will serve as rounds 11 and 12 for the Golden State Challenge Series. Sunday’s event will be the annual running of the Salute to Walter T. Ross, a night paying respect to the former Northern Auto Racing Club President and long time car owner. Ross’ famous No. 56 graced victory lane at the Calistoga Speedway on 11 occasions and was one of the most recognizable sprint cars of its era. His car was driven by some of the biggest names in Northern California sprint racing including Gary Patterson, Dave Bradway Jr., Leroy Van Connett, Mike Andreetta, Rendy Boldrini and others.

As president of NARC Ross was crucial in moving the club forward following the retirement of Louis Vermeil in the mid-1980’s. He was also named one of the 40 most influential people in Northern Auto Racing Club history. Ross passed away in 1987 from A.L.S. and a race recognizing him has become a tradition on Memorial Day weekend. Former Calistoga Speedway & Napa County Fair manager Mike Kenney said of Ross in a past racing program, “As a former president of NARC, Ross brought the racing club into era of sponsorship, but most of all Walter T. Ross was best known for his heart. He cared about people, sprint car racing and his friends and family.”

The hottest man at the moment in Northern California sprint car racing is San Jose’s Tim Kaeding, who will be looking to make it three in a row in Golden State Challenge competition on Friday night. “TK” has driven the Roth Motorsports, DTR Transport No. 83 to wins at the Tulare Thunderbowl and Giant Chevrolet Speedway the last two weeks with GSC since returning to California, after following the World of Outlaws tour over the first two months of the season. Kaeding has also captured five feature victories in his Calistoga career, including the opener of last year’s Memorial Day weekend double-header.

Coming into the triple-header weekend the battle at the front of the Golden State Challenge Series standings continues to be a close one with just eight-points separating the top-three. Two-time King of California Jonathan Allard of Chico goes into the Memorial Day events holding a six-digit advantage at the top of the points following a runner-up finish in the feature last Friday evening in Hanford. The driver of the Williams Motorsports, Red Line Oil No. 0 scored victory when GSC competed in Petaluma earlier this season and last year brought home a pair of podium finishes at Calistoga over Memorial Day Weekend.

Keeping pace with Allard by utilizing some strong consistency over the early part of the year has been Campbell’s Brent Kaeding, who is still searching for his first win of the season and will have three chances at it this weekend. “BK” finished runner-up aboard his Al’s Roofing Supply, High Five Pizza No. 69 at Petaluma in April and on Friday will also be looking for his first win at the track since GSC returned to the 3/8 mile clay oval in 2005. The 13-time King of California last year finished second at the Salute to Walt Ross and in his career is the second winningest driver in Calistoga Speedway history, with 21 triumphs through the years.

Going into the big weekend only eight-points behind Allard for the lead and looking to chip away at that advantage will be Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson, who has tallied podium finishes in five of the last seven Golden State Challenge events this year. In April Larson drove his Stadelhofer Construction, Peppermill Casino No. 99 to a third place finish at Petaluma and last season scored a best finish of sixth over Memorial Day Weekend, in what was his 410 debut at the intimating Calistoga Speedway half-mile. The 17-year-old last year was also very impressive over Labor Day weekend without the wing with the USAC CRA Series and this weekend will look for his first win at the track.

After making his Calistoga Speedway debut last year Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs goes into the weekend looking to improve upon a best finish of seventh last season at the track aboard his Suggs Racing, HoservilleCA No. 33e. The 23-year-old racer currently sits fourth in the Golden State Challenge Sprint Car Series standings going into Friday’s event at Petaluma and will be looking to rebound after getting upside down in the main event last week in Hanford. In April Suggs brought home a fourth place finish at the Petaluma Speedway and will be hoping to move his way even further up the order this time around.

Rounding out the top-five in the GSC standings coming into the weekend is Vancouver, Washington’s Zach Zimmerly, who will be making his first ever appearance’s at the Calistoga Speedway on Saturday and Sunday. The 16-year-old driver will also be gunning for his first ever series victory on Friday evening at the Petaluma Speedway, the track where he won his ever sprint car race at last September when he claimed a Civil War Series triumph. The driver of the Christian Stover Foundation, McMillen Motorsports No. 94 had a good night going in April at Petaluma, until getting upside down while running fifth in the feature.

Returning to her home track of Petaluma Speedway with the 410 under the hood on Friday and sitting sixth in the Golden State Challenge Series standings will be Penngrove’s Alissa Geving. The 18-year-old driver of the Chicko-O-Motorsports No. 3x battled motor woes en route to a 10th place finish in April at Petaluma and during this weekend will also be making her second ever appearance with a 410 at the Calistoga Speedway. Last season Geving scored a 15th place finish during the opener of the two-night stand at the half-mile.

Coming off a top-five effort last week in Hanford, Grass Valley’s Jason Statler will be shooting to get back into Golden State Challenge Series victory lane this weekend aboard his DF Rios Construction No. 00. In April Statler had tough luck end his main event on the opening lap in Petaluma and the former King of California will be looking to change that up on Friday. “The Big Guy” also claimed the Calistoga Speedway track championship in 2006 and in his career has raced to three overall victories at the famed Napa County Fairgrounds oval. Statler year also scored a fourth place finish on opening night at Calistoga during Memorial Day Weekend.

Returning to Golden State Challenge Series competition at the Calistoga Speedway will be Campbell’s Bud Kaeding, who last week took over the USAC Silver Crown Series point lead and will bring it into Friday’s series event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds’ annual running of the Hoosier Hundred. Kaeding so far this year has been one of the strongest drivers in Nor Cal sprint car racing having tallied five top-five finishes in his seven GSC starts, including a victory at his home track of Ocean Speedway in April. For the Calistoga weekend he is scheduled to make his fourth and fifth starts of the season aboard the Roth Motorsports, HR Cattle No. 83jr mount.

First year Golden State Challenge Series driver Matthew Davis will have a trio of races close to his American Canyon home this weekend and comes into the Memorial Day events ninth in the standings. The former Silver Dollar Speedway Rookie of the Year has picked up a pair of top-10 finishes at the helm of his Matthew Davis Racing, K&N Filters No. 11md.

After missing the past two races with the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan will return to competition this weekend in Petaluma and Calistoga behind the wheel of the Racing for the Troops, C&H Veteran Enterprises No. 26b. The defending Silver Dollar Speedway champ has four victories in his Calistoga Speedway career and always enjoys racing at the intimidating half-mile. “When I was away from this sport the track I missed most was Calistoga,” McMahan said last year. “When I got the deal to drive for Steve Harris Racing the one track I wanted to come to more than any was definitely Calistoga.”

All seating will be general admission during the weekend at Calistoga Speedway with the front gate opening at 4pm. Adult tickets will cost $20 and kids 4-10 will be $10. Children under four will be free. For more info on the event contact 707-942-5111 or log onto

The Calistoga Speedway is located on the beautiful Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga, California and is located at 1435 North Oak Street. Don’t forget to get to the track early each day as most of the teams will be on the grounds working on their race cars and many will also have merchandise for sale at the same time.

For results, the full point standings and more on the Golden State Challenge Series please visit