Tulare Thunderbowl kicks off 2015 season next week

Top Story Tulare Thuderbowl Raceway

DSC_9815-Tulare-3-15-14From Gary Thomas

Tulare, CA — (March 3, 2015) — The smell of methanol & the euphoric sound of racing engines returns to Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway next week, as the 2015 season kicks-off in style with the World of Outlaws & King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series on March 13 & 14. Along with WOO & KWS, each night will also showcase the USAC West Coast Wingless 360 Sprint Cars, while Saturday finds the Western RaceSaver Sprints making their debut.

To purchase your tickets for the big weekend at Steve Faria’s Thunderbowl Raceway contact the track box office at (559) 688-0909. The front gate will open at 4pm both nights with racing scheduled to fire-off around 7pm. All seating is reserved during the double-header weekend with Bleacher tickets costing $40 and Grandstands seats $45 each night. A seating chart is available online at www.thunderbowlraceway.com

California fan favorite Tim Kaeding of San Jose will be looking to continue his usual trend of success with the World of Outlaws at Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway, having been a three-time WOO winner at the track. The two-time King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series champion is always worth the price of admission at the Thunderbowl and claimed Outlaw wins at the one-third mile oval in 2007, 2012 & 2013. He also raced to victory in Tulare at the National Sprint Tour finale in 2006.

“Tulare is just one of those tracks I always seem to excel at and we’re looking forward to the Outlaw/ KWS weekend,” said Kaeding, who captured nine wins with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in 2013. “For fans and drivers it doesn’t get much better than the Thunderbowl because there’s always a number of lines to use, but to win races there you typically have to go to the high-side and that’s how I like it. Hopefully all of our California drivers perform well and we can keep the trophies in the Golden State.”

With three races complete in the World of Outlaws season Grass Valley, CA’s Brad Sweet sits atop the standings by just four-points over six-time & defending series champion Donny Schatz of Fargo, North Dakota. Sweet’s Kasey Kahne Racing teammate Daryn Pittman from Owasso, Oklahoma stands third, only six-markers out of the lead going into the next event that takes place this week in Las Vegas. Last season saw Sweet claim five victories and capture Rookie of the Year honors with the tour. He capped the year by finishing sixth in the points and will be poised to move his way up the ladder in 2015.

Brownsburg, Indiana’s Joey Saldana, who has scored four main event wins at the Thunderbowl in his career currently ranks fourth in the World of Outlaws standings. No driver has won more WOO features at the track than the Brownsburg Bullet and he’ll be gunning to add to that total next week. Other national stars set to hit the Thunderbowl next week will include California native Paul McMahan, Australian Kerry Madsen, Oklahoma’s Shane Stewart, Connecticut’s David Gravel, Tennessee’s Jason Sides, Louisiana’s Jason Johnson, Minnesota’s Craig Dollansky, Indiana resident & California native Bryan Clauson, Iowa’s Terry McCarl, Missouri’s Brian Brown, Pennsylvania’s Logan Schuchart and more.

Last season’s King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series title was claimed for the second year in a row by Chico’s Kyle Hirst, who earned a pair of victories at the Thunderbowl, including the Faria Memorial & opening night of the Trophy Cup. Three-time KWS titlist & reigning Gold Cup winner Jonathan Allard from Chico captured the Peter Murphy Classic last season and earned a runner up finish with the World of Outlaws in Tulare a couple years back. The annual Trophy Cup was scooped up by King of the West regular Willie Croft of Sacramento, who will also be searching for a solid outing next weekend, as will youngster Carson Macedo of Lemoore, who picked up a World of Outlaws win last season in Chico.

Chili Bowl Midget Nationals winner Rico Abreu of Rutherford returns to the Thunderbowl Raceway looking to duplicate his performance from last season’s World of Outlaws weekend, where he earned his first career series victory during the finale. The 23-year-old considers the one-third mile clay oval to be his favorite track and will be in action both nights. Abreu raced to a trio of KWS wins last season in what was a banner year for the hard charging driver, which saw 25 overall victories, including the USAC National Midget championship.

The action last season with the USAC West Coast 360 Sprints at Thunderbowl Raceway was dominated by Ryan Bernal, who captured multiple main events at the track. The Hollister, CA wheel-man is set to pull double duty next week competing in both a Winged 410 Sprint & a Wingless 360 Sprinter. Bernal holds the USAC 360 track record at the Thunderbowl and last year earned four victories at the track. The event held in conjunction with the World of Outlaws last year was claimed by Rancho Palos Verdes’ Dennis Howell.

Following the March weekend Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway will be dark until April 25 when the Civil War 360 Sprint Car Series presented by Flowmaster invades the track for the first time. The premier Winged 360 Sprint Car tour out west will bring a solid field to the one-third mile clay oval and will be joined by the Western RaceSaver Sprints & Vintage Cars during the night. The King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series & USAC West Coast 360 Sprints will next compete in Tulare on May 16 at the annual Chris & Brian Faria Memorial.

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