GLOVES COME OFF IN FRIDAY GSC ACTION!
Hanford, CA- As I followed the A&A
Motorsports hauler into Hanford, I was thinking great! This
team is ready to race. I was also thinking that this is one
helluva drive from Auburn to Hanford. As I knew Andy Forsberg
and the team would have to be in Placerville the next night
for the Civil War Series.
After checking into my room, it was a
pleasant surprise to meet Kings Speedway announcer and super
nice guy Dave Munoz. Dave does a great job, but more
importantly is a class act.
Beautiful weather greeted the fans and
Golden State Challenge Series stars and cars for the
double-header show at the 3/8 mile facility. The pits were
packed with a nice mixture of rookies and veteran drivers.
As I made my usual pit walk, I met nice
guy and car owner, Dennis Wright who is the owner of the
Wright Motorsports immaculate blue #99’s. 20-year-old Shawn
Wright will wheel the 410 for many of the GSC races, while the
360 will be piloted by 18-year-old Brandon Carey.
As the cars started lining up to be
pushed out for hot laps, I saw the GSC P/R man Gary Thomas. We
talked it up a bit, and took in hot laps. Gary was up in the
booth this night and did a whale of a job.
Obviously the track was getting faster
and faster with each hot lap session. It’s amazing that
these guys can haul the mail in the turns on a “greasy”
track and run as hard as they do without screwing up.
Qualifying was set for the 29 cars in
attendance. I know it serves its purpose, but I don’t really
don’t like qualifying, so I decided to grab a couple of
burgers. Well, as I was walking between Andy Forsberg’s and
Sean Becker’s haulers, I hear an engine rev real high, then
I saw Andy going end-over-end. It was a hard one. I breathed a
sigh of relief when I saw the gasser from Auburn walk away, I
also started thinking about there race tomorrow (Saturday) at
Placerville. Needless to say, they loaded up and headed home
as heat #1 was lining up.
Andy’s mount on the hook after the
As all the
heat races were all posted, I kept thinking man; all of these
heats should be pretty damn good. Sometimes we have a heat
that looks to be a yawner, but not on this night. The Golden
State Challenge Series looks to be really tough this year.
It’s never been an easy series anyway, but with the mix of
drivers that the series has this year, and not to mention the
guys that will drop in from time to time, it will make every
night a “get the elbows way up race”.
time! I made the walk to my favorite spot to the turn #1
bleachers to watch them go at each other. This night there
would be 4 stout heats. I settled in with some friends as the
rockets were being pushed onto the track.
Heat #1 would show that Ricci Faria
hasn’t lost a step. Mike Stallings was on it, testing
crew-chief Brian Cannon’s wrenches. You could see the
confidence shining through the visor as Mike was running the
wheels off the thing. Faria was coming however and made an
absolutely sick outside move on the top of 3-4 passing
Stallings. Brad Sweet 2nd, Roger Crockett 3rd,
and Stallings 4th all transferred. Brad and
Crockett both came from the 3rd row.
Heat #2 was another good one. Veteran
moves abound coming from Salinas’s masher Ronnie Day. Ronnie
got my adrenaline pumping in this one. He started on the
outside of the 3rd row and entertained the crowd
with his take no prisoners driving style. Kody Swanson was
doing a fantastic job, leading most of the way. However,
Ronnie threw in all his chips and passed Jim Skinner, Jason
Statler and then took the lead from Swanson in one lap! When
Ronnie went under the checkered flag, the 2nd place
car was on the middle of the backstretch. Also moving into the
main was; Swanson 2nd, Statler 3rd, and
Jonathan Allard 4th.
Heat #3 took the green flag and
“Campbell Mafia” member Brent Kaeding who started in the 6th
slot was coming and coming fast. A hold your breath moment
occurred on the front strait as Taylor Malsam spun in front of
the pack; thankfully nobody got tangled up in it. Matt Shelton
did a great job and brought the win home as a super racy
Willie Croft took 2nd, BK 3rd and Jason
Botsford all transferred to the main.
Heat #4 was all Craig Stidham until he
encountered engine woes wile running hard up front. Kyle Hirst
was awesome in this heat. Rookie Shawn Wright inherited the
lead and did a great job winning the 4th heat. Sean
Becker 2nd, Kyle Hirst 3rd, and Brett
Miller 4th all went into the show.
The dash was not only a very entertaining
one, but a stout one; Kyle Hirst was balls to the walls in
Kyle Hirst was racy all night!
The semi was won by Garrett Ishii
followed by Stephen Allard 2nd, Evan Suggs 3rd,
and Steven Kilcup 4th.
The way these guys were going after each
other in the heats, I couldn’t wait for the main event.
When we went green, the gloves
immediately came off, as Kyle Hirst and Sweet who started in
row #1 were on kill. We went yellow on lap-3 for Garrett
Ishii. The top-3 at this point was; Sweet, Hirst and J.
We got 2 laps in as a yellow was thrown
on lap-5 for Ronnie Day. The green light went on again, and
battles broke loose allover the race track.
Jonathan Allard was trying to rip off the
Peter Murphy Graphics on the Morrie Williams #0, as he got the
point! Lap-10 was not a welcome one for Willie Croft however
as he banged the front strait wall, too bad as he too was
making some really nice moves.
A lap-10 restart proved disastrous for
Jason Statler who was on the move. Going into turn-1, he
hopped a wheel and took off! The car lost the top wing midway
through the flip and the car just kept flipping, eventually
landing by the fence outside of turns 1-2.
The green flew on the speedway once
again, but Ronnie Day was running’ hard and got caught up
with a couple of cars coming off of 2. The scary part was that
the car got on the left side which at that point I thought
that he was going to take a tumble. The car drifted onto the
track surface, but thankfully nobody hit him.
On the restart BK, who was running 4th
dropped to the bottom of the race track and took the 3rd
spot away from Hirst.
Yellow again! Shawn Wright came to a stop
RC was on the gas big time!
Your top-5 at this point idling past us
under yellow are; J. Allard, Sweet, BK, Hirst, and Crockett.
Green again! Hirst and Crockett are
letting it all hang out. The racing is intense, fast and
furious. Drivers are trading spots on every lap, wheelies;
cars are bicycling in the turns. Unfortunately the red comes
out for a vicious series of flips by Stephen Allard on lap-20.
Stephen is OK.
Top-3 ready for the restart are;
Stephen’s Brother Jonathan, Sweet and Brent.
Lap-21 Kyle Hirst made the save of the
night. The car got sideways coming out of 4, and he did a
masterful job of gathering it up.
Lap-23 Sweet slid JA on the restart, what
a move! JA is coming back with his never give up driving
style. The steering broke on Steven Kilcup car, and he pounds
the wall head on! The red comes out again.
The lap-23 restart was sick, as JA threw
the #0 to the bottom of the track. He couldn’t make it
stick, but he was giving it his all.
Lap-24 is a heartbreaker for not only me
and the fans, but for Kyle Hirst. Don’t let his finish
deceive you. This kid was on the gas big time. I give him
two-thumbs up for controlled balls out driving.
Kody Swanson popped out of gear on lap-25
slowing us down again.
Don’t let these yellows fool you by any
means. The action was superb, even if it was for a lap or two
The lap-25 restart was a wild one. Sweet
and Allard made contact after the cone and the cars jumbled up
a bit, but kept them all shiny side up. It was now Roger
Crockett’s time to shine. Roger passed two cars on the
backstretch and put himself in the 2nd spot giving
Roger Henderson’s #7N all it could stand.
Brad Sweet earned this one!
When the checkered flew, the top-3 was
Brad Sweet, Roger Crockett and Brent Kaeding. Jonathan faded
to the back. He may have run out of fuel.
A big thank you goes out to the staff at
Kings Speedway for holding the Golden State Challenge Series
events. Be sure to mark your calendars, as the series will
return to Kings on Saturday July 21st.
When the Golden State Challenge Series
comes to a town near you, I encourage you to check them out.
The GSC will be at Placerville Speedway next Saturday March,
24th. Follow this great series here: http://www.johnpadjenmotorsports.com/
This Saturday March 24th the
BCRA Midgets and the SCRA Sprint Cars will both be on the menu
at Kings Speedway. Follow the happenings at the track here: http://www.kingsspeedway.net/
See you soon!