By Gary Thomas
Antioch, CA – July 17, 2010…As the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car season gets closer to its end Elk Grove, California’s Kyle Larson continues to inch in on the point lead and has now dropped the deficit to under five-markers after leading all 30-laps in the main event on Saturday night at the Antioch Speedway to score his fourth series win of the season.
It marked the 17-year-old’s fifth career Golden State Challenge Series victory and puts him into a tie with Grinnell, Iowa’s Dennis Moore Jr. and Auburn’s Andy Forsberg on the all-time win list. Larson now unofficially sits just four-digits out of the GSC point lead with three-nights remaining in the season and also made it a sweep of the weekend, as he also picked up a big victory on Friday during an Ocean Sprints vs. Civil War Series event at the Ocean Speedway.
“I have to thank all my crew because they did a heckuva job tonight and this thing was fun to drive,” said Larson. “Getting to second after starting from the fourth row in the dash was a big help and in the main event I just tried to concentrate through all the yellows. It’s going to be a close battle to the end for the title and we’ll just try to keep doing what we’re doing and hopefully things will fall into place for us.”
The 30-lap main event began with Larson shooting into the lead from his outside front row starting spot and Campbell’s Brent Kaeding quickly getting up to second from the outside of row two. The opening stages of the race featured some tremendous action as the top-two drivers in the GSC standings picked their way through traffic without hesitation on the 3/8 mile dirt oval.
With Larson and Kaeding remaining fairly close together at certain points in traffic the yellow lights would then flash on after the first 12-laps were clicked off caution free. Following this a number of slowdowns were seen as the race went on, with the slick surface proving treacherous for a number of competitors and never allowing the race to get back into a constant flow. Throughout all of the restarts though, Larson never faltered, even with a couple of attempts by Kaeding to make something happen for the lead.
With the final caution of the race happening on lap 27 Larson proceeded to then drive the final three-circuits to perfection aboard the Stadelhofer Construction, Peppermill Resort-Spa-Casino-Reno No. 99 to cross under the checkered for victory, in what was just his fourth ever start at the Antioch Speedway. Kaeding crossed the line in second to continue his consistent year at the helm of the Al’s Roofing Supply, High Five Pizza No. 69. The 13-time King of California was able to get close a couple times to Larson, but couldn’t get by the fast moving youngster and was forced to settle for the runner up spot, as he still looks for his first win of the season.
Coming home in third and tying his best finish of the year with the Golden State Challenge Series was Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan in the C&H Veteran Enterprises, World Environmental No. 26b mount. It marked the former NARC Speedweek champs’ fourth top-five finish of the season after also claiming victory in the evening’s dash. Also doing a solid job in the feature and getting his career best GSC finish by scoring fourth at the checkered was the Kaplan Racing, K&N Filters No. 20 of Chico’s Ryan Kaplan. The former midget driver and outlaw kart ace was a welcome addition to the roster on Saturday in Antioch and continues to look better and better as he gets more and more laps in a winged sprint car.
Crossing the stripe in fifth was Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs, who came across the white flag in third, but got a bit high in the final corner as he was trying to make a pass of Kaeding for second, which resulted in him dropping a couple spots. The driver of the Suggs Racing, Lucas Oil Products No. 33e made some nice moves in the feature and was one of the few drivers able to make passes on the tricky surface. Rounding out the top-10 in the main event were Santa Rosa’s Brett Rollag, Grass Valley’s Pat Harvey, Graeagle’s Jim Richardson, American Canyon’s Matthew Davis and Rio Vista’s Danielle Simpson.
As previously noted McMahan claimed the win in the evening’s six-lap dash with Fremont’s Brent Bjork, Kyle Larson and Placerville’s Andy Gregg winning the three 10-lap heat races. Evan Suggs opened the night by setting his third fast-time of the Golden State Challenge Series season. Full results when available can be found at http://www.goldenstatechallengeseries.com
A-main finish- Kyle Larson, Brent Kaeding, Bobby McMahan, Ryan Kaplan, Evan Suggs, Brett Rollag, Pat Harvey, Jim Richardson, Matthew Davis, Danielle Simpson, Lynn Anderson, Dan Simpson, Art McCarthy, Alissa Geving, Sean McMahan, Brent Bjork, Andy Gregg, Todd Miller, Steve Williams
The Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series will now head next for the Marysville Raceway Park in Marysville, California next Saturday night July 24