Kent posts Civil War Hanford victory; series now bound for Marysville this Saturday HANFORD,CA - In California when it comes to traveling race campaigns for 360 cubic inch powered sprint cars the Hoosier Tires Civil War Series and the California Rebel Cup are by far the most competitive pair of campaigns in the market. Saturday night the two sanctioning bodies met face to face for the first time at King's Speedway in Hanford which marked the 12th round of action for the Civil War competitors and the 17th event for the southern state based Rebel Cup contenders.
When the checkered flag waved it was a driver who doesn't often frequent either of the campaigns taking home the honors as Fresno's Steve Kent dominated the 30-lap feature event. For Kent, Saturday's event was the third time he has one during an equal number of Cameo appearances in the Rebel Cup series. At the same time, it was the first Civil War victory for the driver who has won multiple championships at Kings Speedway, Calistoga Speedway and was champion of the Golden State Challenge Series in 1986 and 1987.
A total of 50 Pacific Sprint cars qualified for Saturday's event which was pretty well balanced between the two campaigns with 26 Civil War regulars making the long haul to Hanford's 3/8 mile track. A total of 18 drivers represented the locally based Rebel Cup series while six drivers made surprise appearances who normally race with the Golden State Challenge series for 410 cubic inch powered sprints cars which wrapped up its season last month.
In qualifying Johnny Rodriguez of Elk Grove turned the fastest lap of 14:102 to pick up six Civil War bonus points. Defending two-time Civil War champion Andy Forsberg of Auburn clocked in in the second position while Kent, fresh off a victory at Hanford just last weekend, turned the third fastest time of the evening.
With Rodriguez being the only driver among the top three qualifiers having to make the feature by means of a second place B-main feature the straight up inversion placed Forsberg on the pole of the 30-lap feature with Kent on the outside of the front row. Rodriguez earned his qualifying time back behind the draw and started on the inside of row two with Brian Coehlo starting fourth on the outside. Lengthy preliminary events combined with a steady breeze throughout the evening created very dry track conditions for the feature event which saw very little in the way of passing and close battles for much of the event.
Once in front Kent illustrated the reason he has won multiple events and championships on the Hanford 3/8 mile as he drove his Roger Henderson Jr. owned #7n to a safe margin over Coehlo early in the race. For Forsberg the night appeared to be off to a good start. Following his top qualifying time and a third place finish in heat race action the second place starter faded to third shortly after the green flag flew but was on the rebound when a flat tire forced him out of contention and into the 20th finishing position.
At the checkered flag Kent was followed by Coehlo. Placerville's Jimmy Trulli finished in the third position after starting sixth and was one of only seven Civil War regulars in the feature event. Peter Murphy and Luke Beberria rounded out the top five.
In preliminary action Saturday night, heat race victories went to rebel cuppers Lawrence Edlund, Mark Barroso, Beberria and Ricci Faria, indicating that the home track advantage can be effective as this was the first Hanford event for Civil War regulars and one of many events for those who compete in the Rebel Cup series. The c-main was won by Greg DeCaires who transferred into the B-main and finished third behind Coehlo and Rodriguez. Following Saturday's event, the Civil War series now returns to familiar territory as action continues this coming Saturday at Twin Cities Speedway in Marysville. This event will be the 12th round of action for the series and will mark the final season appearance on the tight Twin Cities 1/4 mile.
Throughout the second half of the 13-race campaign, Mike Henry of Sacramento has maintained a healthy lead in the point standings, a lead that has often times appeared to by insurmountable. However after finishing 12th in his heat race in Saturday's Hanford event and then 17th in the B-main, it's a likely bet that Kings Speedway is not Henry's favorite track on the Civil War trail. Entering this next event, Henry's lead remains very healthy but is no longer insurmountable as 52-points separate him from Grass Valley's Marc Hall in the standings. Hall was one of just 7 drivers in the feature event of round 11.
Competing on his home track this week, Hall will attempt to close in on Henry who now must have top performances in these final two -weeks to insure the season title. Sitting third in the point standings is Rodriguez who trails Hall by 41-digits. Ron McBride ranks fourth in the standings, trailing by just four points while Steven Tiner of Elverta rounds out the top five sitting just 8 points behind McBride. DeCaires, Trulli, Marc Mackay, Mike Monahan and Chad Riolo round out the top ten in the series point standings. Action at Twin Cities is set to begin at 6:30 with qualifying for an expected 40 or more entrants Saturday followed by racing around 7 p.m.
The grandstands will open at 5 p.m. For further information contact the track office at (530) 742-9222. Following the Marysville event the Civil War series will complete the 2002 season at Placerville Speedway on Saturday, September 28. For further information on the Civil War campaign as well as point standings and results log on to www.johnpadjenmotorsports.com or contact the business office at (916) 969-7484.
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