By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – August 2, 2010…Defending Golden State Challenge Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson will bring a six-point lead over 13-time King of California Brent Kaeding into Watsonville, California’s Ocean Speedway this Saturday night, during what will be the penultimate event of the season for the traveling 410 sprint car series.
Please note an earlier start time is scheduled for Saturday’s event with the front grandstand gate opening up at 3:30 pm. The pit board meeting will be held around 3:45 with track packing at 4, qualifying about 5:15 and racing scheduled to follow. A full program of qualifying time-trials, heat races, a dash and the 30-lap $3,000-to-win/ $400-to-start main event will be on tap this Saturday night.
With no racing this past weekend the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series will resume action at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds bullring on Saturday with the season quickly coming to an end in less than a few weeks.
Coming off his third victory in the last four GSC races on July 24 at Marysville Raceway Park Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson now sits atop the points for the first time in his career going into the Ocean Speedway, where he will be searching for his sixth series win of the year to try and lengthen the gap back to second. Larson also presently sits tied with Chico’s Jonathan Allard and San Jose’s Tim Kaeding for the most victories this season with GSC.
Over the last couple seasons few have been more successful at the Watsonville based quarter-mile than the now 18-year-old, who claimed his first ever Golden State Challenge Series win at the track on May 29 of last year. Including that night the pilot of the Stadelhofer Construction, Peppermill Casino-Reno No. 99 has scored five triumphs at Ocean Speedway and routinely finds himself at the front of the field each time he competes at the track. Larson currently ranks second in the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo standings and also finished runner up when GSC was on hand at the facility in April.
Finding himself in second now Campbell’s Brent Kaeding will be looking to find some magic at his home track in an attempt make up the six-point margin between himself and Larson in the standings. “BK” has been held winless on the season thus far, but his consistency has kept him near the top of the points all year long as he searches to bring home his 14th King of California title. The driver of the Al’s Roofing Supply, High Five Pizza No. 69 was sitting out front in the feature last Friday with the Ocean Sprints at Ocean Speedway, until issues forced him to the work area and took away a chance at his first overall win of 2010.
Following a strong night in Marysville a couple weeks ago Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs will also go into his home track of Ocean Speedway gunning for his first career Golden State Challenge Series victory. During his first ever Marysville Raceway Park start on July 24 the driver of the Suggs Racing, Riley Collins Body Shop No. 33e qualified second quickest and brought home a third place finish in the main event. Suggs currently sits third in the GSC standings and last week set a new 360 sprint car track record at the Watsonville track with a lightning fast clocking of 11.517 around the quarter-mile.
Two-time & defending Petaluma Speedway track champion Alissa Geving is coming off one of the strongest nights of her Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series career in Marysville on July 24 and will look to keep the good things coming at Ocean Speedway this Saturday. During that event two weeks ago the 18-year-old set fast time and finished sixth in the main event at the helm of her Chicko Motorsports, Pit Stop USA No. 3x sprinter. Geving comes into the weekend rounding out the top-five in the GSC standings during her first full season of 410 sprint car racing.
Current Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo point leader Tommy Tarlton will certainly be a driver to deal with on Saturday night, after tallying his second Ocean Speedway win of the season last Friday. The wheel-man of the Corporate America Lending, Tarlton & Son Inc. No. 21 has been very successful this season in Golden State Challenge 410 competition, having picked up top-five finishes in all nine of the his series starts, including a clean sweep on May 1 at the Santa Maria Speedway. In April Tarlton scored a third place finish with GSC at Ocean Speedway and will look for his second win of the year with the series on Saturday.
The last time the Golden State Challenge Series was in action at Ocean Speedway it was Campbell’s Bud Kaeding who picked up victory, after becoming the third different leader in the main event to score the first of his two wins with the tour in 2010. The three-time USAC Silver Crown Series champ and current point leader last competed with GSC on the 4th of July in Chico, where he tallied a runner up finish aboard the Alviso Rock, Kaeding Performance No. 29. The 30-year-old also charged from the sixth row to finish third last Friday in Watsonville with the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo.
Fresh off a big win last Saturday night in Placerville with the California Sprint Car Civil War Series Grass Valley’s Jason Statler will be hoping to continue the momentum he has been gaining the last few weeks. During his two most recent Golden State Challenge Series starts Statler has scored finishes of second in Marysville on July 24 and third in Chico on July 4 aboard his DF Rios Construction, YAK Graphics No. 00 mount. “The Big Guy” also brought home a fourth place finish in the feature with the Ocean Sprints last Friday at Ocean Speedway and will be trying hard on Saturday for his first GSC win since June of 2008.
Other possibilities this Saturday night will include Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan, Clovis’ Peter Murphy, Pleasanton’s Brad Furr, Visalia’s Cory Eliason, Placerville’s Andy Gregg, Gilroy’s Kurt Nelson, San Martin’s Craig Smith, Corralitos’ Jerry Bonnema, Fresno’s Anthony Simone, Rio Vista’s Dan and Danielle Simpson, Nevada City’s Pat Harvey and more.
The front gate at the Ocean Speedway will open at 3:30 pm this Saturday April 24 with adult tickets costing $20, children 6 to 12 $14, seniors 65 and older $18 and kids five and under will be free. A family pack featuring two adults and two children will be available for $55. The Ocean Speedway is located on the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville, California. For more info on the track visit http://www.oceanspeedway.com
Next up- Following a week off for the Knoxville Nationals next weekend the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series will head for championship night at the Placerville Speedway on Saturday August 21.
For the full point standings, results and more information on the Golden State Challenge Series log onto http://www.goldenstatechallengeseries.com