By Bill W
June 2, 2011 – Kaley Gharst rolled into the Quincy Raceways on Monday night having already provided plenty of thrills at the racy 3/8-mile oval. There are few tracks that he has lived up to his nickname “Showtime” more than Quincy. The defending Sprint Invaders champion finally saw the first action for the series, and he and the Plath Motorsports #14P team overcame a number of obstacles to finish in the runner-up position. The Decatur, Illinois driver hopes to make the two-night 360 show at the Knoxville Raceway in Iowa this weekend.
Kaley got a good draw, and finished second in his heat race. “We were able to get a good start from the outside of the front row there,” he says. “(Bret) Tripplett was able to get back by us. The track was a little slicker than we thought. Second still got us in the dash.”
The Plath team went to work to get things ready for the dash, and it resulted in victory. “We went back and did some chassis adjustments on the car,” says Kaley. “We got it good. We drew second for the dash and ended up winning it. We ended up rolling a five.”
To say that the feature got off to a rocky start would be an understatement. Kaley became acquainted with a few tractor tires along the way. “We got a bad start and let a couple guys by us,” he says. “We started to get back through there, and I hit a tractor tire in turn one. Before I could get the car straightened out, I hit another one. Before I hit the third one, I turned into the infield and came out on the backstretch.”
Kaley handicapped himself back in 2009 as well when he went over the berm at Quincy while leading and came back to run down Jim Moughan Jr. for the win. He was fortunate just to get back on the track Monday. “It didn’t bend the draglink, axle, shocks or anything,” he says. “It was pretty amazing that we didn’t. I hit the first one with the left front. The second one, I hit with the front bumper and drove over the top of it. We had some luck on our side there.”
Now back on the track, Kaley started proceeding towards the front. “That put us back in eleventh or twelfth, and I really had to get the elbows up,” he says. “We started charging back through there and we were able to get to third.”
Victory was two cars away, but in the end, a second place finish was solid considering the circumstances. “The yellow came out, and after that, the tires sealed up it seemed,” says Kaley. “They were just spinning. We were able to get by (Mark) Shirshekan for second, and we just couldn’t quite catch (Jim) Moughan.”
The 360 have two full shows Friday and Saturday night at Knoxville this week, and Kaley hopes to be in the house.
Keep an eye on Kaley’s progress this week and beyond at www.KaleyGharst.com!
If you would like to receive Kaley’s weekly releases, send an e-mail with the subject line “Kaley” to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kaley and car owners Randy and Lori Plath would like to thank Sebastian Powder Coating and Sandblasting, Holtkamp Truck and Trailer Repair, Nelson’s Catering, Pieper Inc., Lange Chiropractic, Rockstar Graphics, Scott Performance, Midland Performance, Winters Performance Products and GPC Race Products.