Competing in the 60th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions last week, Justin Sanders had a week where anything that could go wrong, did just that making it a very tough week.
Kicking off action on Wednesday night, Sanders was aboard the Rudy Warrington No. 18 machine taking on the Civil War Series, hoping to get some breathing room in the series standings.
With 38 cars on hand, Sanders timed his entry in 11th quickest in time trials, putting him in the first heat, where he scored a fourth place finish.
With the 10 pill being pulled for the inversion, Sanders found himself lining up up the second row for the 30-lap feature event.
When the race went green, Sanders jumped into the third spot as he chased after a blazing fast, Dominic Scelzi.
A yellow flag waived on the fifth lap, and Sanders lined up right on the bumper of Scelzi, putting him in prime position to steal the lead on the restart.
Back underway, Sanders was able to put a monster slider on Scelzi, putting him in the lead, where he went on to stretch his lead out on an extremely slick surface.
Pacing the field, Sanders clicked off laps, as Kyle Hirst began to reel him in. The caution waived again on the 15th lap, and at that time, Hirst pulled alongside Sanders to let him know his right-rear tire was beginning to lose air, but Sanders elected to keep his lead.
The decision nearly paid off for Sanders, but on the 27th lap, the tire let go just three laps from the end, and Sanders lost the lead.
“We were really good on Wednesday night, and it is unfortunate we lost that tire,” he said. “This Civil War Championship is coming down to the wire, and hopefully we can score two-top finishes and win the deal.”
Climbing aboard Clayton Snow’s Snow Racing Engines No.7j for the World of Outlaw portion of the Gold Cup, Sanders seemed to have brought the bad luck with him.
During qualifications on Friday night, Sanders’ entry popped out of gear, and he was forced to take one lap at the end, and ended up 22nd fastest out of the 55 entrants.
In heat race action, Sanders was unable to make a lap as his U-Joint broke lining up, and he was relegated to run the B main event.
Starting seventh in the B, the Prunedale, CA driver was able to score the win, putting him in the feature event, though it was back in the 22nd position.
Lining up in the 11th row, Sanders went toe-to-toe with the best drivers in the world, and carved his way up to the 11th position by the 27th lap. Again experiencing bad luck with jus three laps to go, Sanders experienced mechanical woes, and pulled off.
Back for the Gold Cup finale on Saturday night, Sanders timed in very early, and wound up 45th fastest, as the track gained serious speed during the time trial session.
In heat race action, Sanders had issues with his engine getting to hot, and ultimately pulled off, and was done for the night.
“It was a brutal weekend overall, but I have to thank everyone who worked so hard for me on both cars to even make this possible,” he said. “Hopefully this is the last of the bad luck, and we can do well at some of these final races.”
ON TAP: Sanders will return to the seat of the Warrington No.18 machine on Saturday night in Petaluma, CA as he looks to regain the Civil War Series point lead.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Justin Sanders by visiting his website, www.teamsandersmotorsports.com