By Gary Thomas
Rio Vista, California – September 3, 2010…In front of a large crowd of attendees this past Sunday afternoon the top-10 drivers and owners in the 2010 Golden State Challenge Sprint Car standings were honored at the year-end series awards BBQ, hosted by Dan Simpson at the Simpson Racing compound in Rio Vista, California.
After wrapping up the championship on Saturday August 21 at the Placerville Speedway, 18-year-old Kyle Larson of Elk Grove was officially crowned as the 2010 King of California, making him the youngest titlist in the history of the Golden State Challenge Series.
The ’09 GSC Rookie of the Year picked up five main event wins, 17 top-five finishes, 21 top-10’s and six heat race triumphs en route to the title driving the Stadelhofer Construction, Peppermill-Resort-Spa-Casino-Reno No. 99.
Larson also joins an impressive list of past champions with the Golden State Challenge Series including Brent and Tim Kaeding, Jonathan Allard, Steve Kent, Jason Statler, Tyler Walker, Tim Green, Ronnie Day, Randy Hannagan and Sean Becker.
“It was a really great season for us and I want to thank Rich Stadelhofer, Brent Kaeding, my crew members Clarke Riolo, Matt Britt and Nick Wilke, the Hogs, all of our sponsors, my whole family and everyone that has supported me this year,” Larson said. “It’s awesome to be on that list with the drivers that have won the King of California title and to become the youngest person to do that is pretty cool.”
Competing with the Golden State Challenge Series full-time this season for the first time in her career Penngrove’s Alissa Geving was named the 2010 Rookie of the Year on Sunday.
The 18-year-old fought through some tough luck and various motor issues at the beginning of the season, but remained committed to the tour and made the tow to all 22-events this season, finishing fourth in the standings at the helm of her Chick-O-Motorsports, Pit Stop USA No. 3x sprint car.
Officials Dan and Laurel were also given an award for their years of dedication and hard work with the traveling 410 winged sprint car series. Promoters and representatives from a handful of tracks were also on hand Sunday, including those from Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford, Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Marysville Raceway Park and the Santa Maria Speedway.
The 2010 year was the 25th season of competition for the Golden State Challenge Series, with the tour visiting 13-different tracks throughout California and into Oregon. Winners on the season included Tim Kaeding (6), Kyle Larson and Jonathan Allard (5), Bud Kaeding and Tommy Tarlton (2), Shane Stewart, Zach Zimmerly and Sean Becker (1).
Not only did we have the youngest King of California this season, we also saw the youngest main event winner in the history of the series occur when Vancouver, Washington’s Zach Zimmerly captured the Tribute to Gary Patterson at Silver Dollar Speedway on June 11. The victory for Zimmerly came exactly one month after celebrating his 16th birthday.
For 2011 the Golden State Challenge Series will also be under some major changes, as Rio Vista’s Dan Simpson assumes the role of managing director for the tour.
“It’s an exciting time for us around here and we’re looking forward to bringing some excitement back to this series,” Simpson said. “We’ve had a lot of interest from different promoters and the response has been pretty positive so far so that’s been good. We’ll also be changing our name to the Golden State Challenge Series King of West next year, since we’ve continued to expand into different areas around the Western United States.”
The first scheduled event for the “new” Golden State Challenge King of the West Series will be the 25th annual Cotton Classic at Giant Chevrolet Speedway in Hanford on Saturday October 16, which will be a $5,000-to-win/$500-to-start GSC sanctioned non-point show. The Last Chance Showdown (b-main) during the night will also pay $300 for the first non-transfer and $100 just to start the 12-lap contest.
“We’re all really excited for the Cotton Classic in Hanford on October 16 and hope everyone can make it out to show their support,” commented Simpson. “Over the next handful of months we’re looking at bringing new sponsorship into the mix with the Golden State Challenge Series and are working hard with a TV package and other ways to make that happen. We want our shows to be as entertaining as possible for the fans and we have a lot of things in the plans to make that a reality.”
For more information on the upcoming Golden State Challenge Series 25th annual Cotton Classic at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford on October 16 please stay tuned to http://www.kingsspeedway.net/