Brad Sweet Wins Trophy Cup

 by Ron Rodda

Tulare, CA…What many observers are labeling the best Trophy Cup event ever produced a new champion when 22 year old Brad Sweet, still claiming Grass Valley CA as home base, made late race passes to claim the title over Sammy Swindell. Sweet’s 454 point total compared to Swindell’s 448 led to a post race celebration in the Rod Tiner owned car pit area. Timer’s 83 car won the event in 2006 with Tim Kaeding aboard.

The 3rd evening of the first ever triple night Cup event started with scrambles for the top 20 in points, already seeded into the A main. Paying 10 points to win with a one point drop, the 15 lap scrambles were completely inverted by points and were aligned by odd and even in the standings.

Sean Becker led the first scramble all 15 times around the Tulare Thunderbowl 3/8 for the $1000 win while 8th starting Tyler Walker made the most progress, hustling to a 2nd place finish with a perfectly executed slide job in turn 4 producing the final pass. Kyle Larson was 3rd ahead of Stephen Allard and Randy Hannagan. Shane Stewart flipped in turn 1 after one lap was complete, but was able to make repairs to run the A main.

The 2nd scramble was all Willie Croft with 17 year old Shane Golobic and Ronnie Day completing the top 3 each of the 15 laps. Tim Kaeding flipped along the turn 3 wall so the 2nd and 3rd point cars each had troubles in their scramble. Kaeding also made repairs but was suffering some soreness as the A main went green later.

The C main started 15 cars straight up by points and Mike Faria won from the outside front row stating spot, joined in transferring to the B main by Colby Solomon, Chad Groves, and Jonathan Logan. Logan got the final spot with a last lap pass low in turn one.

The B main inverted six by points and moved the top four to the first two rows of the A main. Due to the A being completely inverted by points, the B main transfers are guaranteed of filling the first four spots. Colby Wiesz led 23 of the 25 laps with frantic action behind him as top drivers chased the coveted top four spots.

Jonathan Allard was 2nd by lap 3 and Mark Dobmeier and Henry Van Dam ran in the transfer spots by lap 5. Dobmeier got past J. Allard for 2nd on lap 10 and Allard spun a lap later, moving Bud Kaeding into the top 4. Kaeding took 3rd a lap later and the top 4 ran unchanged until 2 laps remained. Dobmeier used the top of turn 4 to power past Weisz for the lead on lap 24 and Kaeding used the same move a lap later to nab 2nd. The four transfers of Dobmeier, B. Kaeding, Weisz, and Van Dam were assigned to the first two rows of the 50 lap finale due to their lowest point total.

Brad Sweet entered the main with a 3 point lead over Tim Kaeding, 9 ahead of Tyler Walker, and 11 better than Sammy Swindell. With a 5 point drop per finishing position and 150 points to the winner, position changes in the points order are obtainable, depending on which driver makes the most progress from the back of the 24 car field. Two races are occurring simultaneously, the race up front for the main event win, and the race from the back of the pack to accumulate the most points.

Up front, Bud Kaeding led a lap before Dobmeier took over with a high side pass for the lead. An apparent brush with the wall saw Bud Kaeding pit and return and Ben Gregg was 2nd ahead of Shane Golobic. The front trio remain unchanged until lap 21 when 10th starting Randy Hannagan took 3rd, then nabbed 2nd 3 laps later using the bottom of turn 2.

The front threesome ran in the same order until the 41st lap when Hannagan used the top of turn 4 to take the lead. Dobmeier faded over the last 10 laps, some incredible racing as the Cup title hopefuls reached the top 5. Swindell raced from 4th to 2nd on lap 44 and at that point, he was the Cup point leader.

On lap 45 Kyle Larson rejoined the top group, jumping into 3rd with Sweet and Golobic behind. Swindell needed 2 cars between himself and Sweet to win the Cup and the 44th lap was the last one that situation prevailed. When Sweet got past Golobic for 4th on lap 45 the was just a single car between the 2 point leaders. That driver, Larson, was passed by Sweet on lap 46 to make a top 3 of Hannagan, Swindell, and Sweet.

They ran the last laps in that order to secure the Cup title for Sweet, the main event for Hannagan, and fine finishes also for Larson in 4th and Tim Kaeding in 5th. T. Kaeding was in 12th at the halfway point and made his progress while nursing soreness from the scramble flip. T. Kaeding needed to finish just in front of Sweet for the title, but was never ahead of the 2008 champion.

Sweet had an outstanding start, passing 4 cars on the topside of turns 1 and 2, but by lap 7 it was Shane Stewart who owned the point lead. Stewart led in points many laps, running 8th at the halfway point to easily outdistance all rivals in the point chase. Swindell took the overall point lead on lap 31, getting past Stewart, but Sweet took that away on lap 39 when he moved into 6th while Swindell was in 4th, one spot short of the needed gap.

Other than lap 44 when Swindell had the point lead for about 15 seconds, Sweet was in control for 11 of the last 12 laps. Stewart’s title chase ended with a DNF after 41 laps while Tyler Walker, winner of the first two night’s mains, flipped on lap 32 while running 11th. Four time Cup champion, Brent Kaeding, also crashed hard into the turn 3 wall on lap 23. Tommy Tarlton had to pit for work early and dropped out late, so 4 of the top 7 in points were DNF’s for the finale.

Scramble 1--Sean Becker, Tyler Walker, Kyle Larson, Stephen Allard, Randy Hannagan, Roger Crockett, Brent Kaeding, Brad Sweet, Andy Forsberg, Shane Stewart

Scramble 2--Willie Croft, Shane Golobic, Ronnie Day, Sammy Swindell, Kyle Hirst, Jason Solwold, Tommy Tarlton, Steven Tiner, Ben Gregg, Tim Kaeding

C main--Mike Faria, Colby Solomon, Chad Groves, Jonathan Logan, Kevin Barnes, Anthony Simone, Roberto Kirby, Mike Stallings, Pat Harvey, Mark Barroso, Matt Sargent, Burt Foland, Jr., Scott Kinney, Chad Compton

B main--Mark Dobmeier, Bud Kaeding, Colby Weisz, Henry Van Dam, Evan Suggs, Jimmy Trulli, Bradley Terrell, Christian Stover, M. Faria, Mason Moore, Herman Klein, Myles Bishop, Andy Gregg, Logan, Groves, Geoff Ensign, Jonathan Allard, Danny Faria Jr., Solomon, Cory Eliason, Kurt Nelson, Ken Fredenburg, M. Faria, Mark Workentine

A main--Hannagan, Swindell, Sweet, Larson, T. Kaeding, Dobmeier, Golobic, S. Allard, Hirst, Crockett, Solwold, Van Dam, Day, Gregg, Becker, Tiner, Forsberg, Tarlton, Stewart, Bud Kaeding, Walker, Brent Kaeding, Croft, Weisz

Final points

1. Brad Sweet 454 2. Sammy Swindell 448 3. Tim Kaeding 441 4. Randy Hannagan 416 5. Kyle Hirst 398 6. Kyle Larson 395 7. Stephen Allard 392 8. Roger Crockett 384 9. Shane Golobic 381 10. Jason Solwold 378 11. Ronnie Day 373 12. Mark Dobmeier 369 13. Shane Stewart 361 14. Tommy Tarlton 357 15. Tyler Walker 355 16. Andy Forsberg 353 17. Steven Tiner 345 18. Sean Becker 343 19. Ben Gregg 342 20. Henry Van Dam 340 21. Brent Kaeding 337 22. Willie Croft 299 23. Bud Kaeding 266 24. Colby Weisz 261