By Bill Foland
10/14/02 ...I know, I know, it has been a long time since I last wrote a column. All I have to say for myself is the fact that I have been very busy with my racecar, going to the WoO races throughout California and running the parts trailer at some of the special 360 races in California. Other than that I haven't been doing much of anything.
Over the past several years the odds of a local California guy winning a World Of Outlaws race was nearly slim and none. Not just have the Outlaws become nearly unbeatable but the talent crop in California has lost out to the WoO with Brad Furr, Randy Hannagan and Jason Meyers all leaving California for greener pastures back east. Not to mention losing Bud Kaeding to USAC and Damion Gardner to SCRA. That has been a big blow to California 410 racing, but it is still alive and kicking here in the Golden State. As long as there are 410 races in California, you will always have interest and the Outlaws in town at least once a year.
The Gold Cup has always been a huge deal for me as I was growing up that was my Knoxville Nationals, King's Royal and Big One all wrapped into one race. Almost every hero that has strapped into a sprint car for professional and or serious matters has raced at the Gold Cup. Opperman, Wolfgang, Ferkel, Van Connett, Doty, Kinser, Swindell, Patterson and Boyd have all had big years but not all have won the Gold Cup. Steve Kinser once won the Gold Cup Prelim night with a car that wasn't even straight enough to fix, the next day it was discarded.
Working on Brent Kaeding's car for over 13 years, we had our share of success at the Gold Cup with 3 Prelim night wins. Also there were the 3-second place finishes that were great, but way too close to winning the big one and not being able to pop the cork. Every single time the WoO knew we were there and they had to earn every dollar that they took home from California. Brent is still going strong here but now his son Tim has become as big a pain to the Outlaws at Chico as his dad was over the past several years.
The race that was put on during the Friday night of Gold Cup 2002 was an epic battle with no less than 7 lead changes with 4 different drivers. Sammy Swindell looked to have a dominant car in the dash, but Tim Kaeding was there to put the pressure on as well as his dad Brent. Tim took the lead from Swindell, and then Brent took second from Sammy a few laps later. A restart brought the field closer and Brent actually got around Tim for a brief moment before Tim took charge and Brent faded with a broken Jacobs ladder.
Tim now was in the driver's seat as far as the fans thought he would be the man to beat on Saturday. The newly crowned King Of California would have his hands full with the king of the Outlaws Steve Kinser and former PA posse member Tim Shaffer. When Tim Kaeding put a great move on the King, he took second, and headed after Shaffer. With Tim K. running every groove on the very racy, wide and slick racing surface he passed Shaffer on lap 25. The 40 lap distance is reserved for the big races and none we bigger than this one for Tim. Steve Kinser got by Shaffer and set his sights on the young Kaeding. With less than 10 laps to go, I could see Steve running different lines trying to catch the fleeing Kaeding. Tim slipped off the back chute one time and the King was there to pounce, only to be negated by a yellow flag.
That was when I figured it was going to be Tim's night, with only a handful of laps to go, Tim took the green flag and looked destined to write his name in the history books. Fate would step in as Tim once again made a slight error and this time Kinser went for the jugular and didn't let up and he raced to his first gold Cup title in 7 years.
As Kinser said in his victory lane interview "Tim will win this race many times if he sticks with it". I agree with Kinser and Tim has better things yet to come and hopefully he can find his way into a top-notch WoO ride, I think he has earned it. ... Anybody listening out there???
BF's notes: Greg Hodnett has had a great year, winning with the WoO, the Gumout series and over 20 races total. Congrats to Greg and Lee Stauffer…Mike Henry won the Placerville title as well as the Civil War title, it seems like they always go hand in hand. Congrats go out to Mike and Larry Shelton on a great year…Tracy Hines just clinched the USAC Sprint car title and J.J. Yeley took home the Silver Crown title…Richard Griffin has already clinched the SCRA title, great job once again to the Gasman and Bruce Bromme…Special thanks to KBB for the great place to stay while in the North State...An EPIC battle was put on during the Fall Nationals at Chico last week with Brent Kaeding taking the exciting win over his son Tim after 25 laps not separated by more than 4 car lengths…Fred Rahmer just keep on rolling after taking home yet another Lincoln title and the Kenny Weld Memorial race…With all the driver changes going on here in California, you need a program to keep track, Peter Murphy is now in the McMillen 10, with Jonathan Allard is now the driver of the 35 Wright One car formerly driven by Tim Kaeding. Tim made a 2-week guest appearance in the Morrie Williams 0 and won both races as well as driving for Terry Cowan in the blue 7 for Gold Cup, the Fall Nationals and beyond. Dennis Moore Jr. filled the vacancy in the Williams 0 for a couple of weeks. Not to mention David Robinson splitting with the Redi-Green 1K 360 with Greg DeCaires now in the chair…Did you get all of that??? I am dizzy now and there will be more to come I am sure so I will save that for next time. Thanks again to everyone that has shown interest in my column and I will TRY to make it happen more often…See ya at the races,BF
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