By Bill Foland
04/21/02 ...Hello once again from a "warming up" Mtn. View California. I will cover the past few weekends of racing that climaxed with the Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial race run last night. So without any further delay here we go….
Hanford is one of those places that is usually very racy but can be follow-the-leader if is gets too crumbly up top. A couple of weeks ago the main event turned into a freight train on the bottom. The heat races were fairly good with some passes but it turned out to be very difficult to pass later. After Jonathan Allard and Brent Kaeding started in the front row, it looked to be an Allard runaway as he scooted out to a commanding lead after just a few laps. Then, disaster struck as Allard hit the infield berm exiting turn four and did a slow rollover that ended his night.
Brent Kaeding was the benefactor and parlayed that into a 26 lap romp to victory lane. Jason Meyers looked to be on the move but a spin in front of him left him no place to go and front end damage sent him to the pits where he would lose a lap. Following BK across the line was Steve Kent, Peter Murphy, Blake Robertson and Tim Kaeding who ran the top side up to 3rd until it all but wore out and he faded to 5th.
The next weekend it was off to the picturesque Calistoga Speedway where the thin field of 21 cars and even thinner crowd in the stands greeted the Golden State Challenge. The wanted posters were all over the Fairgrounds looking for a lost boy from the Pylant racing past. Luckily he turned up, unharmed and unfazed by the "Beware of the White Mullett" posters. The old timers were also there, as well as Jimmy Sills with his two-seater. After watching both Heather Pylant and Melissa Tarlton strap into the car and take a few laps on the speedway, I am sure they either have a newfound respect for their husbands or were giving them pointers on how to get through traffic. Their smiles were both huge when they exited the two-seater.
The heat races that night were fairly uneventful except when Jim Skinner had a fuel line problem and jumped out of his car on fire. Luckily there were a few quick thinking drivers and pit crewmembers that pounced on him and put the fire out. The main event was once again taken from the front row, although it was very exciting as they weaved there way through traffic with Eric Rossi picking up his first win of the year over Kevin Pylant, 13th starting Jason Meyers, Brent Kaeding and Steve Kent. Congrats go out to some of the true nice guys of the sport: Florie Fillipich and his gang including Frank, Mike and Gene. Good job guys you really earned that one.
The following weekend was off to Chico for a doubleheader, including a regular show on Friday night followed by the Dave Bradway Jr. Race on Saturday night. The regular show got off to the same way it has the past 6 weeks as Peter Murphy blew past the clocks for fast time. Point Leader Jonathan Allard didn't make the A-Main after contact in B-Main, lapped traffic with 4 laps to go, sent him to the back. Jonathan made a strong bid to get into the top five but came up one car short.
With a 6 invert, this put Tim Kaeding, and young, up and coming, Chico regular, John Gray in the front row. Tim is hard to beat at Chico when he starts in the last row, so when given the front row it was over in turn one. He smoked the field as he endured a few yellows and other stoppages including a major water leak in turn 1 and 2 half way through the event. The extra water actually made for an interesting race, as the cars were actually able to hook up to the racing surface and make some passes. All kidding aside the main event ended with Tim Kaeding out front followed by John Gray, who scored a career best 2nd place finish. The top five was rounded out by Rick Hirst, Ryan Flynn and Peter Murphy.
The following night was the coveted Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial Race with extra money, extra laps, and extra high side passes, just the way Junior loved to race. The night started out with Garrett Ishii attacking the clocks to score his first ever fast time in one of the biggest upsets since Marv Webster won a NARC race at Chico. Garrett banked a healthy $600 for the most surprising fast time since Jim Taves took the honors a few Bradway races ago.
The heat races were fast and furious as all but one car made it out of row three to transfer into the 40-lap headliner. Tommy Tarlton returned from a qualifying flip to run third in his heat race from 7th. The past few weeks, there has been a whole lot of complaining about the pill draws etc. in the Golden State races. Here is my take on the whole thing… It basically comes down to two things: 1. You must time in the top 12-14, then make it out of the heat race, unless you are lucky enough to get the zero then it doesn't matter. Are you following me?? 2. Be in the right spot at the right time. Last night arguably the two fastest cars in the field started in the front row. The zero must have been pulled right?? Wrong, it was the 10 and it would have been interesting to see Tim Kaeding and Jason Meyers come from row 5 last night because the probably would have done well anyway.
With Tim Kaeding and Meyers in the front it more than likely spelled doom for the competition, but somebody forgot to tell Brent Kaeding that, as he rocketed into the lead as Tim and Jason jockeyed on lap one. Lap two got very close as Brent led entering turns 3-4 and slid across the very racy and wide racing surface. As both Meyers and Tim had a head of steam on the top they all met in the same place with Meyers and Brent making contact, sending Brent high in the air and Meyers with a broken front end. Brent was able to keep the lead with Tim in 2nd as Meyers was able to get his front end changed quickly and return to action without losing a lap (Great job goes to Preston Cross and Darren Carter).
Peter Murphy was also involved in a shunt early in the race and ended up with severe front-end damage and he also was able to return to the fray with help from an additional yellow. I counted no less than 26 guys from 9 different teams in there helping get Peter out there and for that you guys should all be commended.
After the restart Brent led Tim, as Brent was glued to the bottom of one and two, and Tim was dedicated to the razor thin high scary side that he has made a trademark over the past few years in Chico. Brent led until lap 14 when Tim made a high side pass exiting turn 2 and drove out to a huge lead. The next time the yellow flag flew, Tim had a hefty 6 lapped car advantage over Brent and a very fast Craig Stidham, who was running a very tight low groove. When the green light appeared again Brent disposed of the lapped car in 3 laps and set his sight on Tim but wasn't able to gain ground.
A Red flag on lap 35 closed the field up and allowed for fuel and adjustments to be done. It would have been very close for some of these guys as I heard a few of them say they had less than 5 gallons left. On the restart Brent took on last shot at Tim but came up short in the end as Tim nailed the top side lap after lap in a performance that would have made Dave Bradway Jr. come to victory lane and give Tim a high five. Great job to Tim and the entire Wright One Construction Team on a dream weekend.
Next week it is back to Watsonville then onto Santa Maria for another doubleheader…..
BF' Notes: All-Star winners over the past couple of weekends included, Jeff Shepard, Greg Wilson, Lance DeWease and Gary Wright…Steve Kinser took the Knoxville race and Danny Lasoski was very lucky that the following night got rained out as he was in California for the IROC race that ran long…Todd Shaffer and Tyler Walker won Gumout races in PA and Illinois…Steve Kinser also took home top honors in Nebraska and Granite City…Tyler Walker was able to do his patented endo on the front chute after winning in a World Of Outlaws race at Sedalia, Mo…Lance DeWease took home back to back weeks of Friday night races at Williams Grove…Todd Shaffer also took home another trophy from Port Royal last weekend…Cris Eash took top honors at Lincoln… Todd Hestor spanked the field this past Saturday after Keith Kauffman had problems in traffic…The Allard brothers have been strong at Chico with Jonathan and Stephen winning on consecutive Friday nights...Johnny Rodriguez returned to victory lane at Placerville a couple weeks ago, but Roger Crockett took home the honors at the Civil War race the following week…Dave Lindt continues to rack up wins at Petaluma as does the ageless Art McCarthy… Ricci Faria and Tim Worth were victorious at Hanford the past 2 weeks… Tony Hunt has caught fire winning two consecutive USAC Western States races… Congrats to Doug Lippincott on finishing 5th in his first ever USAC Sprint Car race over the weekend at Carson City…Joey Magaruh returned to Placerville in winning fashion over the weekend…Michael Dupuy, Travis Rilat and Garry Lee Maier all visited victory lane on the very tough ASCS Tour…Congrats to Cliff Blackwell as his young hot shoe Steven Williams won the BCRA race at Orland… J.J. Yeley won a USAC sprint and midget race the same night in Cedar Rapids, IA…Michael Lewis took home the gold in the Sparta, KY USAC midget race…Glen Carson went to Eureka and came home a victor in the BCRA ranks…Jon Stanbrough won the USAC Sprint car race at Terre Haute after Dave Darland and Bud Kaeding flipped wildly out of the racetrack in nearly identical spots. Darland returned to the track and Kaeding went to the hospital for a possible eye problem. (Hope you feel better soon, son we miss ya)…Tony Jones won at Ventura and Cory Kruseman at Manzanita in SCRA competition….That is all I have for this week, I hope to see you all at the races very soon…. BF
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