Kaley Gharst – Big Win at ELKO Fall Dirt Nationals!

By Bill W

October 31, 2011 – The weekend of October 15, Kaley Gharst picked up a win at the ELKO Fall Dirt Nationals held at the ELKO Speedway in New Market, Minnesota. The Decatur, Illinois driver paired with owner Jeremy Scadden’s #6 team to win the prelim, and come a lap away from sweeping the weekend in the finale. It was Kaley’s first career win with the Upper Midwest Sprint Car Series (UMSS).

It was Kaley’s first trip to the facility that was covered in dirt for the weekend. “It’s a really nice facility,” he says. “They came out and reworked the track a few times during the weekend. There was plenty of room to race come feature time.”

Kaley started in row three in his heat race in Friday’s prelim, and moved up to finish fourth. “We got a little break when the guy in front of us was late to staging,” he says. “We were able to move up a spot, but it was tough to pass early on. That put us starting twelfth in the feature.”

The start at mid-pack did not affect the two-time Sprint Invaders champion. With 27 cars on the track in the feature, there were some dicey times, but he plugged his way forward in picking up his first win with the Scadden #6 team. The winning pass came in the low groove on the final circuit. “There was definitely a lot of traffic out there,” says Kaley. “We were able to move up through there pretty steadily. We were able to take the lead there at the end, and fortunately, the win.”

Saturday’s finale started smoother with a heat win. “We drew outside of row one for the heat,” says Kaley. “We were able to win that going away, and I think we lapped up to fourth place.”

Again, Kaley worked his way to the front. “We were in a battle with (Davey) Heskin there and we finally got by him,” he says of his battle for second. “I ran (Scott) Winters down and got by him too. I was getting through lapped traffic pretty well. On the last lap, Winters and Heskin got a run on me and slid me. Obviously, there wasn’t enough room and we crashed out.”

Despite the unfortunate circumstances, the team proved themselves fastest on both nights at ELKO. “We came to win two, so from that perspective we didn’t get it done,” says Kaley. “We fell one lap short, unfortunately. I look forward to running for Jeremy next year. We’re planning on running the 410 weekly at Knoxville, and also hitting some other shows.”

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 sprntcar@iowatelecom.net.
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.