By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – August 25, 2010…Over the course of the 2010 season Campbell, California’s Bud Kaeding has put together some of the most impressive stats of his career and that blazing hot pace continued in the Midwest recently, highlighted by a pair of huge victories with the USAC National Sprint Car Series.
While competing with some of the top non wing sprint car drivers across the country the three-time Oval Nationals champion showed that he can certainly still get it done without the wing, by scoring a win at the Knoxville Raceway Non Wing Nationals and then backed it up with another big triumph during the Ultimate Challenge at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa.
“You couldn’t ask for a better couple nights than we had two weeks ago,” said the driver of the BK Motorsports, Alviso Rock, High Five Pizza No. 29 mount. “Any time you can win a race at Knoxville it is a special thing no matter what you’re driving and then winning at Oskaloosa was pretty awesome too. The Ultimate Challenge has become such a big race and to get it on my resume is pretty cool.”
The hectic stretch of racing began on Sunday August 8 with the Knoxville Non Wing Nationals at the famed Knoxville Raceway, for what was the first USAC sprint car event at the track in 22-years. A solid 33-car field was on hand for the much anticipated show and Kaeding began the evening by qualifying second fastest in the field, before charging to an ultra exciting victory in his heat race coming from sixth starting.
Going from the third row in the main event Kaeding wasted little time fighting his way forward, as he found the high scary side to his liking and took the black and white No. 29 Maxim to the front of the field on lap-five. After taking the lead from Brady Bacon he continued to drive the wheels off the car, but had to be nearly mistake free as Bacon stayed right there within striking distance. Despite Bacon’s best attempts Kaeding was able to drive away and claim the $10,000 win.
With the huge victory under his belt Kaeding went into the Ultimate Challenge on Tuesday August 10 and hoped for more good things. Unlike Knoxville the night before however, no qualifying was held, in favor of a Chili Bowl style format and the 30-year-old kicked off the night by tallying a fourth place finish in a very stacked heat race number three. He then came back to score a third place effort in his qualifying race and when the green flag waved in the 30-lap feature he immediately charged forward.
Running the high line in impressive fashion for the second night in a row Kaeding blasted to the front of the field and carved his way by early leader Bryan Clauson on lap-10 for the top spot. After taking the lead a couple of red flag periods slowed the pace of the main event down, but under green flag conditions nobody could slow Kaeding, who checked out from the pack and crossed under the checkered flag to easily win the 30-lapper, which paid him a cool $15,000 for the strong effort.
Following a day off Kaeding then headed for the Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan on Thursday August 12 for the fifth race of the 2010 USAC Silver Crown Series season and brought a 24-point lead into the night at the 7/16 mile paved oval. The three-time and defending series champ proceeded to qualify eighth quick in the 25-car field and then tallied a third place finish in the 150-lap main event behind brothers Tanner and Kody Swanson.
The third place effort allowed Kaeding to extend his current point lead to 42-markers as he looks to become the first ever four-time USAC Silver Crown Series champion with just four nights of racing left in the season. “Even though we haven’t won a Silver Crown race yet this year we have been really consistent and have been fast every night,” said Kaeding. “It would be a big accomplishment if we could bring home that fourth title and we’re in a great position to do that, so hopefully everything works out the last few races and we can make some history.”
Kaeding then took a flight home to be back in time and do battle with the USAC/CRA Series at the Santa Maria Speedway on Saturday August 14, while driving for car owners George Snider and Junior Bowman. With 31-entrants signed into the pits the veteran wheel-man timed in 10th fastest and scored a sixth place finish in his heat race, before running third in the semi to transfer into the feature, where he would eventually go on and finish in third aboard the Buster and Ziggy Enterprise No. 2x sprinter.
This weekend will find Kaeding returning to winged sprint car competition in the 50th running of the Johnny Key Classic on Saturday night at the Ocean Speedway in Watsonville. Kaeding was the winner of the prestigious event in 1996, while at the time being just 16-years-old and last season picked up a second place finish at the race, after having a tremendous slide job fest with eventual victor Tommy Tarlton.
For the evening of racing Kaeding will get back behind the wheel of the always potent Sala/Matherly Racing, M&M Powder Coaters No. 19 Maxim. “The Johnny Key is always a big race and that win in ’96 has always been a really fond memory of mine,” commented Kaeding, who captured victory on opening night with the Ocean Sprints in April. “Last year I almost won it again for the second time and came up just a bit short, but we’ll be trying our best this weekend to get into victory lane.”
For more news and information on Campbell’s Bud Kaeding visit http://www.budkaedingracing.com