By Gary Thomas
Antioch, CA – April 4, 2012…The anticipation has been mounting ever so slightly in Northern California and this Saturday night the Cancen Oil King of the West Series presented by Goodyear will officially begin the 2012 season at the action packed Antioch Speedway.
The season-opener for KWS will be “Jackson Rancheria Night at the Races” and every adult fan 21 & older in attendance will take home a card worth $25 of free play at Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort. We will be kicking off the season “Rancheria Style” at the Antioch Speedway!
A number of championship contenders will be on hand to try and dethrone last year’s titlist Tim Kaeding, but the man simply known as “TK” has already shown his muscle by claiming a pair of victories with the World of Outlaws.
Kaeding and Roth Motorsports last season captured six wins en route to dominating the point chase, during what was the inaugural year for 410 Sprint Car racing in California under the King of the West banner. The team took home an impressive $20,000 at the awards banquet and will look to do it all over again in 2012.
Two-time state 410 champion Jonathan Allard won the second most main events last season and will be searching to get back into championship contention this year. The Chico native has opened the last two seasons in victory lane and is hoping to make it three in a row on Saturday in Antioch. Allard also won his third career Dirt Cup last season, which was worth $40,000.
Last year’s runner up in the KWS points Evan Suggs put together the best season of his sprint car career, which included a big victory at the “Howard Kaeding Classic” in July. The Scotts Valley driver has improved one spot in the standings each year and will be gunning for the title in 2012.
Hall of Famer Brent Kaeding will be looking to kick off his bid for another state 410 title in Antioch this weekend. The wheel-man of the famed black No. 69 sprint car has won 26 combined championships between the Golden State Series and NARC. “BK” also always runs well at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds facility and is sure to be a contender this weekend.
Former state champ Jason Statler is back at it once again in 2012 with the Cancen Oil King of the West Sprint Car Series presented by Goodyear. “The Big Guy” finished fifth in the standings last season with a season-best finish of second, which came in August.
Placerville’s Andy Gregg accomplished a long time goal of winning a traveling 410 main event last season and will look for more in 2012. The veteran driver finished seventh in the points at the end of the season.
Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan will be hoping to continue the momentum he built up towards the end of last season when the campaign kicks off this Saturday. The 1996 NARC Speedweek champion ended the year eighth in points.
Last year’s Rookie of the Year Kenny Allen is back for more this season and will look to move up the point ladder, after finishing ninth in 2011. The highlight of last season for the Chico youngster was a fast time effort at the Southern Oregon Speedway.
A packed house of contenders will be featured for the Rookie of the Year award this season, which will include Fair Oak’s Chad Compton, Rio Linda’s Cody Lamar, Laton’s Geoffrey Strole and Elk Grove’s Sean McMahan.
Central Valley contenders Peter Murphy from Clovis and Craig Stidham of Fresno will also be returning to the traveling 410 Sprint Car wars this season with KWS. Murphy last year won the “Bradway Memorial/Tribute to GP” in Chico and Stidham was a former Rookie of the Year with the Golden State 410 Series.
Other drivers expected to be on hand for the season-opener will include Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson, Sacramento’s Willie Croft, Loomis’ Kyle Hirst, St. Helena’s Rico Abreu, Fremont’s Shane Golobic and Brent Bjork, Rio Vista’s Danielle Simpson, Grass Valley’s Pat Harvey, Oakhurst’s Doug Gandy, Merced’s Mark Barroso, Brentwood’s Rick Eberhardt and more.
On Saturday April 7 the front grandstand gate for “Jackson Rancheria Night at the Races” will open at 5pm. Hot laps are scheduled for 6pm, with qualifying at 6:30 and racing anticipated to start around 7. Tickets will be available the day of the race with adults being $20, children 6-12 $10, seniors 65 & older $10 and children 5 & under free. A family pack with two adults & two children will also be available for $50.
The Antioch Speedway is located at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds on the corner of 10th & L Streets in Antioch, California. Take SR-4 East (Highway 4) to the Somersville Road North Exit. Follow Somersville Road to 10thStreet. Turn Right on 10th Street. The address for the track is 1201 W. 10th Street Antioch, CA 94509.
Don’t forget to “like” the Cancen Oil King of the West Series on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/kingofthewestsprints and follow us on Twitter @kwssprintracing for the most timely and up to date information on the series.
Also check out our official website at http://www.kwssprints.com for the latest news, results, history and more on the Cancen Oil King of the West 410 Sprint Cars presented by Goodyear.
Be sure to catch archived shows of “KWS Tonight,” along with special highlight clips from the 2011 season at http://vimeo.com/user5784994/videos and http://vimeo.com/user10076991