By Gary Thomas
Tulare, CA – May 8, 2012…The excitement level is set to be kicked up a notch with the Cancen Oil KWS Series presented by Goodyear this weekend, as young stars Kyle Larson and Rico Abreu throw their names into the mix for the “Chris & Brian Faria Memorial Spring Shootout” at Thunderbowl Raceway.
Both drivers were in action last weekend with the USAC National Midget Series in Dodge City, Kansas where Larson picked up a win on Friday and then tallied a runner up effort to Tracy Hines on Saturday. Larson then promptly jumped into the Abreu/Stadelhofer wingless sprint car on Sunday night and captured victory at the Kokomo Speedway in Indiana.
Abreu brought home a best finish of eighth in his debut at the Dodge City Raceway, as he continued his rookie season with the USAC National Midget Series driving for Keith Kunz Motorsports.
Larson considers the Tulare Thunderbowl to be his favorite track and the 19-year-old will be searching for another win at the one-third mile oval while driving the Silva Motorsports No. 57 mount this weekend. At the KWS opener on April 7 he drove the Paul Silva owned machine to a fourth place finish from the rear of the field.
Last October Larson dominated the Saturday night portion of the Trophy Cup to easily win the 50-lap finale. The Elk Grove native will also be doing double duty this weekend in Tulare, with him competing without the wing both nights with the West Coast 360’s. The former state 410 champion claimed the “Chris & Brian Faria Memorial” in 2010, which was the same season he ended up winning the title.
Abreu returns to California for the first time since winning his first career sprint car race two weeks ago in Chico. The 20-year-old also had a strong run going with the Cancen Oil KWS Series the following night, until issues in turn two put an end to his night. The St. Helena driver should be a thrill to watch at the Thunderbowl as he guns for his initial KWS victory.
Larson and Abreu will be just two of the many top drivers expected to be on hand for the weekend.
Current Cancen Oil KWS presented by Goodyear point leader Tim Kaeding of San Jose will be a definite favorite at the track he has practically owned in recent years. Driving for Fresno based Roth Motorsports “TK” is routinely the man to beat at the Thunderbowl and is the defending winner of the Faria Memorial. Kaeding also beat the traveling World of Outlaw stars when the series competed in Tulare on March 16 and comes into Friday having scored two KWS wins thus far in 2012.
Chico’s Jonathan Allard also goes into the weekend with momentum, following his big victory last Saturday during the “Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial” at Silver Dollar Speedway. Allard sits just 10-markers behind Kaeding in the fight for the point lead and is gunning to close even more on Friday & Saturday. Allard captured the Faria Memorial in 2003 and will look to add another this weekend.
Three-time USAC Silver Crown Series champion Bud Kaeding will make his first start of the season with the Cancen Oil KWS Series presented by Goodyear this weekend. The Campbell, CA driver is set for double-duty on Friday and Saturday as he, like Larson, will also run with the West Coast 360’s. Bud was the winner at Thunderbowl Raceway on April 28 with the Rebel Cup 360 Series.
Local favorite Tommy Tarlton will also make his season debut with the Cancen Oil KWS Series presented by Goodyear this weekend at the Thunderbowl. The Easton wheel-man claimed a pair of victories with KWS last year, including one at the Tulare County Fairgrounds based one-third mile clay oval.
Rounding out the top-five in the Cancen Oil KWS presented by Goodyear standings coming into the Thunderbowl Raceway are Campbell’s Brent Kaeding, Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan and Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs. The trio is separated by only four-points and this weekend’s event at the Thunderbowl should prove pivotal as we gear up for another two-night show on Memorial Day weekend in Calistoga.
Other drivers ready to tackle the Thunderbowl Raceway for both nights of competition will include 2005 Faria Memorial winner Jason Statler of Grass Valley, Fresno’s Craig Stidham, Clovis, CA’s Peter Murphy, Placerville’s Andy Gregg, Sacramento’s Willie Croft, Loomis’ Kyle Hirst, Fair Oaks Chad Compton, Visalia’s Cory Eliason, Rio Vista’s Danielle Simpson, Oakhurst’s Doug Gandy, Laton’s Geoffrey Strole and more.
The event will also include a complimentary breakfast on Saturday morning at the fairgrounds for ticket & pit pass holders from the night before. The breakfast will be in building two from 8am to 10am. All you have to do is show your ticket stub or pit pass from Friday for the breakfast courtesy of KWS.
On Friday & Saturday May 11 & 12 the front grandstand gate will open at 5pm. Hot laps are scheduled for 6pm, with qualifying at 6:30pm and racing anticipated to start around 7pm. Also on hand both nights will be the West Coast Wingless 360’s and IMCA Modifieds.
Advance tickets for the weekend are on sale and be acquired by contacting the track ticket office at (559) 688-0909. Reserved grandstand seats cost $20 with general admission bleacher tickets $17. For a seating chart visit the track website at http://www.thunderbowlraceway.com
The Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds on the corner of Bardsley and K Streets in Tulare, California. From the junction of SR 99 and SR 137, go west on SR 137. At South K go south one-half mile to the Fairgrounds. For directions visit http://www.mapquest.com/maps?address=E+Bardsley+Ave+%26+S+K+St&city=Tulare&state=CA&zipcode=93274