Brent Kaeding Wins His Fourth Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial

By: Troy Hennig

(Chico, CA 5-12-07)…History was made last night during the 17th annual Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial race held at the Silver Dollar Speedway on Saturday night.  The twelve-time King of California champion Brent Kaeding led all 40 laps to win the prestigious event.  In doing so, Kaeding became the first four-time champion of the special race that pays tribute and remembers the late and great Dave Bradway Jr.  Often referred to as “Junior” by fans and drivers, Bradway Jr. was killed in a sprint car wreck at Skagit Speedway in 1987.  In 1991, the first Dave Bradway Jr. was held at Silver Dollar Speedway.  That year Jason McMillen was the first winner.  Now seventeen year later, Kaeding became the first four-time winner of the event.  By leading every lap, Kaeding also pocketed extra lap money generated by Dave and Dianne Durica.  Kaeding earned $4, 000 for the win and an extra $2,000 in lap money.  That pushed his total to $6,000 for the win.  “I think Junior was up there watching us tonight,” said Kaeding, one of the few drivers still racing today that also mixed it up with Junior on the race track.  “This wasn’t a Junior racetrack but I’m glad we got the win and I know he’d be proud.”  Kaeding won the race in 1995, 1999 and 2000. 

            Following Kaeding for all 40-laps was Brad Sweet.  To show the difference between Sweet and Kaeding racing experience, consider Sweet was two-years old when Bradway Jr. died.  Now, Sweet for the second year in a row finished in the top three of the race.  “Brent was tough tonight and we just came up a little short,” said Sweet.  “The track took a lot of rubber and was very narrow.  Near the end I was just conserving my tire and looking for a good finish.”  For his effort, Sweet collected $1200 in lap money by running in the second spot all 40-laps.  Adding that to his second place finish and Sweet will be pushing a $3,000 payday for second. 

            On lap 36 Andy Forsberg moved under Colby Weisz and moved into the third spot.  Forsberg stayed in the position for the final four laps.  “This is my best Bradway finish and I could not be happier,” said Forsberg.  “We had Johnny Fever turning the wrenches tonight and Les Nessman was suppose to fly in and drive the car but he couldn’t land his helicopter,” said Forsberg into the microphone.  Forsberg is as knowledgeable about 70’s sitcoms television shows as he is driving s sprint car.  Ask him about his favorite show of all time, ChiPS, and his face will light.  “Hey did you see the episode where Ponch drives a sprint car at Ascot?” he asked me before the race.

            Kaeding took the lead going into the first turn.  Fellow front row starter Ronnie Day was unable to get to the bottom of the track before Sweet dove under him for second.  Day fell into the third spot with Colby Weisz in fourth.  The lead cars fell into a single file line trying to race, yet, conserve the big right rear tire for the whole forty laps.  On lap 12 the first yellow was needed for Andy Gregg.  Two laps later Evan Suggs spun in turn four. 

            The race resumed for another 11 laps until the first red flag of the race was needed.  Brandon Wimmer flipped in turn two.  The roll over didn’t seem too tough but there was enough damage to prevent him from continuing on in the main event.  At the time Wimmer was in the top five.  The next restart saw Sweet stumble through turns one and two.  Day was right behind him and stomped on his brakes to avoid Sweet.  In doing so, Day spun the Ridgeline Racing #1 and stopped.  He also collected Mike Benson who at the time was ninth. 

On the restart Kaeding continued to lead and would pull away from Sweet.  The only lap that Kaeding seemed to have a problem with the track was on lap 31 when he missed the bottom going into turn one and spun the wheels in the middle of the track.  Sweet had a small window of opportunity to make it a race for the lead but was too far behind and by the time he closed on Kaeding’s Bumper it was too late.  Kaeding pulled away down the straight and kept the lead.  Weisz was running a solid race and had moved into the third spot when Day spun.  On lap 35 he drifted up the track in turn four and allowed Forsberg to sneak on through.  Weisz drifted back to fifth, as Trevor Green was able to pass Weisz three laps from the finish. 

It was all Kaeding, all night.  Kaeding led the final few laps to secure his fourth Dave Bradway Jr. win.  It marked Kaeding’s fourth win of the year during the Golden State Challenge, top in the series.  With the win Kaeding is now the new point leader of the series.  Sean Becker, who has lead the points since March, finished in the sixth spot and will drop to second in the point standings. 

Kyle Hirst had a unfortunate start to his night.  He was the tenth driver to qualify and at the time he was the quickest with a strong lap.  However, he exceeded the decibel reading and the lap was disallowed.  Behind the eight ball all night, Hirst continued his fight and it was worth it.  Hirst started twenty-first in the main event and finished seventh.  He earned the Tom Rolfe hard charger award of the night and pocketed an extra $500. 

Usually the fastest driver in sprint car qualifying offers no money and little prestige.  However, tonight the fastest lap would earn a driver $1,000.  Tom Rolfe put in $500, ManCamp Motorsports added $200 and HoservilleCA added $300.  When it was all said and done Sacramento driver Willie Croft was the fastest.  His winning time was 12.460.  Croft was the thirty-sixth driver to qualify. 

HoservilleCA also was involved with the heat race winners.  Each winner received a free right rear tire, a big box of tear offs and birdcages from VMAC and BR Motorsports.  The most exciting racing of the night was in heat one when Brad Sweet came from third to first on the last lap to get the win.  Heat race two was also exciting as Sean Becker beat the field to the checkered.  Colby Weisz won the third heat race as he also made a late race pass for the lead.  Young racer Evan Suggs led all ten laps to win the fourth heat race.  If you take Suggs out of the mix, the other three heat race winners came from the third row.  Sweet started fifth, Becker sixth and Weisz started sixth. 

Brandon Wimmer led all 12 laps to win the B main event.  Lap money was also involved in this race and Wimmer won an extra $600.

Wimmer also led all eight laps to win the C main event.  Stephen Allard followed him.  The C main event featured a stellar line up with Jonathan Allard and Jason Statler also in this race.  On lap four Allard was leading when something let go in the rear end and he drifted off turn one and headed to the pit area.  Early in the night tangled with Jason Statler and flipped.  It was a tough night to say the least for the defending King of California.  Statler was third in the race and did not transfer.  It was a tough way to go out for a former winner of the Dave Bradway Jr. 



Fast Time: Willie Croft – 12.460

Heat 1: Brad Sweet, Brent Kaeding, Ronnie Day, Korey Lovell, Jason Botsford

Heat 2: Sean Becker, Kyle Larson, Ryan Kaplan, Andy Forsberg, Mark Tabor Jr.

Heat 3: Colby Weisz, Trevor Green, Craig Stidham, Shain Matthews, Kyle Hirst

Heat 4: Evan Suggs, Mike Benson, Brett Miller, Bud Kaeding, Chris Masters

C Main: Brandon Wimmer, Stephen Allard, Jason Statler, Matt Shelton, Mark Tabor Sr., Mike Stallings, Ricky Fauver, Jeff Flure, Brent Bjork, Johnny Gray, Pat Harvey, Jon Allard

Dash: Brent Kaeding, Day, Weisz, Sweet, Benson, Green, Becker, Forsberg

B Main: Wimmer, S. Allard, Gregg, Croft, Hirst, Robert Stice, Brett Rollag, Jon Maiwold, Eddie Lewis, Tabor Jr., Mason Moore, Jay Burns, Mike Monahan, Masters, Dan Ochs

A Main: Brent Kaeding, Sweet, Forsberg, Green, Weisz, Becker, Hirst, Bud Kaeding, Larson, Stidham, Croft, Matthews, Lovell, Day, Gregg