From Gary Thomas, images courtesy of Steve Cox
Tulare, CA – October 26, 2010…After starting the year off with a frightening crash at the Thunderbowl Raceway former two-time King of California Jonathan Allard proceeded to close the Winged Sprint Car season at the track in grand fashion this past weekend, bringing home his first career Trophy Cup title.
Allard went into the 50-lap/totally inverted finale on Saturday night as the high-point driver and marched through the field to finish fourth from 24th starting, which earned him the big $20,000 victory to conclude his 2010 season in the United States.
“This is an event I’ve wanted to win for a long time and it’s an awesome feeling to finally to do it,” commented Allard. “I’m really thankful to win the Trophy Cup for our sponsors and most importantly Morrie & Katie Williams, who have believed in me for a long time. I also want to thank Ashley Smith & my guys because they gave me a phenomenal car all weekend and this is a great way to end the year.”
In seasons past the Chico, California driver had been in the thick of things on multiple occasions at the Trophy Cup, but luck hadn’t always seemed to be on his side, at an event that features larger inversions than normal and puts emphasis on passing cars each time a driver hits the raceway. Opening up the 17th edition this most recent Friday evening Allard came out late in the qualifying order and ripped off the fourth fastest lap in the 75-car field.
Allard then went from sixth to second in his heat race to transfer into the main event, where he lined up from the sixth row, due to a 12-car invert based on points combined from qualifying and heats. At the drop of the green flag in the 30-lapper he began to pick his way forward and by the halfway point charged into third and set his sights on the leaders. A couple circuits later “JA” cut to the bottom in turn four and passed World of Outlaw driver Lucas Wolfe for second, before closing in on leader Roger Crockett.
Allard and Crockett would fight neck and neck over the final 10-laps, with Allard trying everything to make a pass stick for the lead. At one point he was able to make the pass, only to have a stoppage force him back to second, but as the laps wound down he continued to put heavy pressure on the Medford, Oregon driver. When the white flag flew Allard blasted around Crockett for the top-spot, but as they raced around turns three and four Crockett slipped back by and forced the Williams Motorsports No. 0 to settle for second.
Going to the final night on Saturday Allard led the overall Trophy Cup standings by 14-markers over Washington driver Jayme Barnes, as he looked to score his first ever win in the event. With no qualifying being held Allard kicked off the evening in strong style by charging from eighth to second in his heat race and maintain a 14-point advantage going into the main event.
With the total invert Allard lined up 24th on the grid in the 50-lap feature and immediately tried to fight his way forward aboard the K&N Filters, Red Line Oil, Platinum Powder Coating No. 0 sprinter. Making passes on the bottom and the top throughout the A-main, “JA” methodically carved through the field and was up to the top-five by the time a mandatory open red flag was thrown on lap 34.
Positioning himself comfortably in fourth over the final stages of the race Allard crossed the stripe in that spot to lock up his first Cup title.
“Dave Pusateri and his staff do an amazing job with the Trophy Cup so I have to give them a huge thanks and everyone that supports it because this is a race we look forward to every year,” said Allard. “We’ve had some rough luck at Tulare through the years as well and to come in and have a weekend like this means a lot to us. After that bad crash earlier in the year at Tulare, there isn’t a better way to end the season here, so in a way this feels like a double win.”
Allard ends his year on the West Coast with nine wins overall, including five triumphs with the Golden State Challenge Series, three in weekly competition at the Silver Dollar Speedway and a preliminary night victory at the Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup in Washington. The Trophy Cup title also finishes off his sixth season driving for Williams Motorsports, as he gets set to embark upon his annual trip down under competing in New Zealand and Australia.
For more on Chico’s Jonathan Allard log onto http://www.allardmotorsports.com