By Gary Thomas
Santa Maria, CA – July 6, 2010…With just five more races remaining on the schedule this year the Golden State Challenge King of California 410 Sprint Cars will make the haul south to the Santa Maria Speedway this coming Saturday night for the 20th round of competition in the 2010 season.
This weekend’s event will mark the second and final appearance of the season for the Golden State Challenge Series to the Santa Maria Speedway, following its return to the track last year for the first time since 2005. The second annual Angello’s ATV Rental Wheelie contest is also scheduled for Saturday after being postponed on May 1.
The 1/3 mile clay oval has been named “Best Short Track Operation West of the Mississippi” on two separate occasions and is nestled in a semi amphitheater of natural terrain, sheltered by dense eucalyptus trees at the top and to the back of the bleacher area. Promoter Chris Kearns has also quickly become one of the top dirt track promoters in the west; with both GSC events at the track over the last year featuring great crowds on hand to watch the top 410 winged sprint car drivers in California.
When the Golden State Challenge Series was in action at the Santa Maria Speedway in May the man of the night was Easton’s Tommy Tarlton, who recorded a clean sweep during the evening in impressive fashion aboard his Corporate America Lending, Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino No. 21 sprint car.
The victory for the veteran driver was the sixth of his career with the series and also capped off a total sweep of the weekend, as he also won at the track the night before with the Ocean 360 Series. Tarlton is also coming off runner up finishes with GSC during his two most recent starts with the series in Cottage Grove and Hanford respectively and will look to get back into victory lane on Saturday.
After last weekend’s Golden State Challenge Series event in Chico former two-time King of California Jonathan Allard continues to lead the standings, but the battle for second has closed up even tighter with Campbell’s Brent Kaeding holding a slim nine-point advantage over third place Kyle Larson of Elk Grove.
Kaeding is still in search of his first victory this season and will be looking to accomplish that on Saturday at the track where he captured Rookie of the Year in 1978 and also claimed a World of Outlaws win in ’97. The driver of the Al’s Roofing Supply, Angello’s ATV Rental No. 69 machine last weekend suffered a flat tire in the main event at Silver Dollar Speedway and finished 12th, which marked the first time he hasn’t finished among the top-10 with GSC all year. “BK” ran seventh when the series competed at Santa Maria in May and will look to move his way up the order this time around.
Coming into Saturday with momentum following his third Golden State Challenge 410 victory of the year Larson will look to make up even more ground on Kaeding in Santa Maria behind the wheel of his Stadelhofer Construction, Peppermill Resort-Spa-Casino-Reno No. 99 mount. The talented 17-year-old won the dash on the 4th of July in Chico and dominated all 30-laps in the feature to score his fourth career series triumph. In May Larson finished fifth in the feature at Santa Maria Speedway, in what was just his second ever start at the track.
Looking for his first career Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series win this Saturday will be Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs, who tallied a runner up finish during the July event for the series last season at Santa Maria Speedway. The 23-year-old driver of the Suggs Racing, Lucas Oil Products No. 33e has been going through some tough luck lately, but has shown the ability to get around the 1/3 mile clay oval and will be searching to break the trend of issues he has been plagued by in recent weeks, as he currently sits fifth in the GSC points.
Other possibilities for Saturday in Santa Maria will include Penngrove’s Alissa Geving, Clovis, CA’s Peter Murphy, Visalia’s Cory Eliason, American Canyon’s Matthew Davis, Selma’s Charlie Louden, Fresno’s Mark Workentine and Anthony Simone, San Luis Obispo’s Lynn Anderson and more.
The front gate will open at 5pm on Saturday night with qualifying scheduled for 6 and racing at 7. Adult tickets will cost $19, with seniors and military $17, kids 6-12 $5 and children 5 and under free. Parking and camping are free of charge.
The Santa Maria Speedway is a 1/3 mile clay oval, located 12 miles inland from the Pacific coast, three miles north of the city of Santa Maria and is located a 1/4-mile north of the US 101/166 interchange on Hutton Road. The facility is one hundred seventy miles north of Los Angeles and 260 miles south of San Francisco. More information can be found at http://www.racesantamariaspeedway.com
Coming up- The Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series will head next after Santa Maria to the Antioch Speedway on Saturday July 17 and then the Marysville Raceway Park on Saturday July 24. The night of racing at the Marysville bullring will be the first time 410 sprint cars have competed at the track since 1999. For more info on upcoming events and the full point standings log onto http://www.goldenstatechallengeseries.com