By Gary Thomas
Tulare, CA – October 15, 2019…Excitement and buzz is floating through the air as one of the biggest weeks in California Sprint Car racing has arrived, which means only one thing, it’s time for the 26th annual Trophy Cup at Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare.
The Abreu Vineyards Trophy Cup presented by Rudeen Racing is not only known for featuring some of the best racing seen all year long, but it’s also well regarded for being held to benefit one of the truly great organizations around, the Make-A-Wish Foundation. With the Trophy Cup donating $200,000 at last year’s event it brought the total amount of donations up to a staggering $1,770,000 since the event was created back in 1994.
This weekend marks the 15th occasion that the Trophy Cup will be held at Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare. All cars that start the Saturday A-main are guaranteed at least $5,000 in weekend winnings and the overall champion is guaranteed a stout $26,000 in winnings. The three-day extravaganza features a $200,000 overall purse.
Past Trophy Cup winners entered for this weekend include three-time and defending champion Jac Haudenschild of Wooster, Ohio; three-time titlist Tim Kaeding of San Jose; two-time champion Shane Golobic of Fremont, along with single-time winners Bud Kaeding from Campbell, Willie Croft of Roseville and Fresno’s Craig Stidham.
Driver’s looking to take home the Abreu Vineyards Trophy Cup presented by Rudeen Racing for the first time will include Paradise, California’s Kyle Hirst; Fresno’s Dominic Scelzi; Clute, Texas’ Aaron Reutzel; Rutherford’s Rico Abreu; Aliquippa, Pennsylvania’s Tim Shaffer; Hanford’s DJ Netto; Penngrove’s Buddy Kofoid; Clarksburg’s Justyn Cox; Watsonville’s Justin Sanders; Roseville’s Colby Copeland; Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto; Hollister’s Ryan Bernal; Mount Vernon, Washington’s Jason Solwold; Benton, Arkansas’ Tim Crawley; Knoxville, Iowa’s Wayne Johnson and many many more.
“It’s been great to see the fan support continue to grow at the Trophy Cup year after year, which has simply been amazing to watch,” said Thunderbowl Raceway promoter Steve Faria. “The extra functions on the fairgrounds have definitely created a happening at the event and one that people mark down on their calendar every season. I know we are looking forward to it and hope everyone else is too. Dave Pusateri and his entire team do an outstanding job with everything and I know we’re honored to host the Trophy Cup for the 15th straight year.”
Tickets continue to be on sale for the Abreu Vineyards 26th annual Trophy Cup presented by Rudeen Racing with all seating in the house reserved during the weekend. Adult grandstand tickets cost $50 on Thursday and Friday and $55 on Saturday. Bleacher tickets are $45 on Thursday and Friday and $50 on Saturday. Kids pricing and senior pricing is also available.
A seating chart is online at www.thunderbowlraceway.com and tickets can be acquired by calling 559-688-0909. The pit gate opens at 10am on Thursday October 17, with the drivers meeting at 3:30pm sharp. Qualifying is scheduled for 4:45pm, with first race at 6:15pm.
All the special events that have become so popular are returning once again, with a slight change up this year. Thursday night will now showcase the Spaghetti Feed sponsored by La Villa Delicatessen featuring spaghetti, meat balls, salad, bread and desert. Friday post-race will be the annual Taco Bravo Fiesta Night featuring tacos and burritos.
Driver and fan razor bike racing also returns after the races this year on both Thursday and Friday with tickets to compete available at the T-shirt booth or pit sign in booth. The cost is $20 a night to compete with all proceeds going to Make-A-Wish and is open to the first 60 people to sign up.
The post-race parties start 20 minutes after the checkered flag with beer, water and soft drinks also available for purchase inside.
The annual Breakfast/ Brunch sponsored by the Tulare County Fairgrounds and KRC Safety Company will now move to Saturday from 11am-1:30pm.
The Bean Bag/ Cornhole Tournament will begin at approximately 10am on Saturday with sign ups taking place at the T-shirt booth or by seeing Kim Offill in the pit area. Sponsors of this year’s tournament include HRP, Maxwell Industries, Tarlton Motorsports, Tiner-Hirst Enterprises, Offill Family Farms, Fire Protection Management, Hoosier Tire Midwest, Ancona Motorsports, A.R.T. Speed Equipment, Maxim Chassis, Capital Renegade, Scelzi Enterprises Inc., Smith Precision Products and Soares Racing.
A donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation at the door during all these events is appreciated. Fans and teams are all encouraged to attend the special eating events. More info on the Trophy Cup, as well as an entry list can be found at www.trophycup.org
Special thanks to Steve Faria with System 1 Filters and all our partners for making things happen at Thunderbowl Raceway including Merle Stone Chevrolet, Budweiser, Roth Motorsports, KRC Safety, Western Metal Company, Double “D” Towing and JD Heiskel & Company.
For more info on Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway visit www.thunderbowlraceway.com and like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Tulare-Thunderbowl-Raceway-392991907541396/?fref=ts
The Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds on the corner of Bardsley and K Streets at 620 South K Street Tulare, California 93274. 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. Camping is available for fans off turns three and four.