Sean Becker Wins His First Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial at Chico

By: Troy Hennig - (Chico, CA 5-13-06)…Sometimes things are just meant to be.  Two months before the racing season started in California the defending King of California Sean Becker was without a ride for the 2006 campaign.  At the same time, Tom Fisher and Kyle Main of Grass Valley, CA were in the process of looking for a driver and deciding their plans for the season.  The Grass Valley team wanted to run a limited schedule based around Silver Dollar Speedway’s schedule.  Becker was focused on trying to defend his title.  Luckily for the two parties involved, they were able to meet in the middle and join forces.  It so far has started out better than a Hollywood feel-good script.  The team had already won the opening two nights of point racing at Silver Dollar Speedway but that was nothing compared to what this team accomplished tonight.  In only their fifth race together as a team Becker drove the #35m JEI chassis sponsored by Cherry St. Mini Storage, A1A Muffler, Rolling Hills Reality and Lee Watson Inc. into victory lane and became a first time winner of the Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial.  Becker and team took home roughly $5500 for the win consisting of the $3,000 regular payday win, an extra grand from JPM Motorsports and extra lap money bonus that are a tradition during the Bradway Jr. event.  A record 52 Golden State Series King of California sprint cars entered the Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial event.   

Becker earned the win when he passed Chuck Gurney Jr. on lap 21 of the 40-lap race.  The track took some serious rubber during the main event.  In victory lane Becker’s tire was worn down to the core.  “I was driving so slow just to keep the tire from wearing down too fast,” said Becker in victory lane.  “When I got out of the car the first thing I did was look at the right rear and give it a kiss for lasting.”  Jonathan Allard, a three-time winner of the event, finished in the second spot.  Cool, CA driver Brad Sweet finished third, a Golden State best for him.  Becker also said into George Hague’s infield microphone, “When I first starting talking with crew chief Lee Watson he said ‘I want to win the Bradway’ and I said ‘you’re being pretty optimistic since we haven’t even raced together yet’.”  He later added, “ So I am happy for him and it’s such an honor to win this race.”  It is the teams third win in five races.  This partnership shows us that when one-door closes another will open up somewhere down the road.    

Chuck Gurney Jr. led the first lap of the main event.  Becker was second and Jonathan Allard third.  With the track in rubber down mode the field quickly stretched out single file.  Everyone was equalized due to the one lane racetrack.  However, this track went on to provide the fans with an exciting show that wasn’t over until the checkered flew.  On lap 19 Gurney Jr. had caught the back of the pack when his first of two fateful events happened.  Willie Croft spun right in front of Gurney Jr. who was forced to the infield, spun around but kept going.  With the yellow waiving he moved back into the lead with great driving ability. 

Two laps after the restart Becker was able to get around Gurney Jr. for the lead.  On lap 27 the first of five right rear blowouts occurred when Kyle Hirst came to a stop in turn one.  Four laps later, Gurney Jr. came to a stop.  His right rear tire was flat and he would give up second place.  In moved Allard followed by Brad Sweet. 

With tire issues the biggest concern of all, it was unbelievable to find out after the races that Sweet was given a used tire to start the race on from Johnny Gray’s team.  Sweet’s right rear tire had been raced on during a heat race with Gray.  While Sweet hung on for the third place finish, during a post race quick inspection of right rear tires, his seemed to hold up the best during the main event. 

More concern was felt on lap 37 when two more cars brought out the yellow.  Brent Kaeding, running sixth at the time, and fourth place Shain Matthews each wore through their right rear tire.  With just three laps to go Becker, Allard and Sweet along with their crews had to be wondering how much tread was left.  The three survived the final laps and finished in their running order.  Behind them were Dennis Moore Jr. and Mike Henry.  An extra $100 was presented to the night’s hard charger.  It wound up being Jason Statler who started 20th and finished tenth.  Steve Swarmer, representing the Pennsylvania Posse, donated the money. 

Brent Kaeding led all 12 laps to win the B main event and transfer into the feature.  Colby Weisz was second, driving a car partially owned by Dave Bradway Jr.’s brother Alan.  Brian DeRuyter was third and Johnny Gray was fourth.  Kyle Hirst and Jeff Delte were the final two transfers. 

Robert Ballou won the 10 lap C main event.  Delte followed him across the line and into the B main.  It was a very impressive night for Delte who was the only car to transfer from the C, B and into the A main.  He finished 19th in the feature main.  Throughout the night he ran 62 main event laps between the C, B and A features. Big Daddy’s Race Center donated money to the last place finisher of this race.

During the night Hoserville CA, an Internet message board fan site, donated a right rear tire and five sleeves of tear offs to the heat race winners.  The winner also was interviewed on the front straight and then asked to give the trophy to a young fan in the stands.  Heat race one winner Willie Croft and heat two winner Peter Murphy were able to do this.  Because of time constraints heat race three winner Brett Rollag and Ronnie Day were not stopped on the front stretch.  John’s Racing Photo’s and ManCamp Motorsports also donated things to give away to the children.  Gus Welty donated money to the last place finisher in heat one. 

Tom Rolfe Trucking put up $500 for the night’s fastest lap in qualifying.  For the fourth time in a row at Chico in 2006 Jonathan Allard earned the fast time award with an 11.902.  Of the 51 cars to make a qualifying lap, he was the only driver in the 11-second bracket. 

Big thanks need to go out to Dave and Dianne Durica for handling all of the lap sponsor money.  John and Robbie Padjen for throwing in an extra $1,000 for the main event winner.  Hoserville CA, Fast Trak Wings, Scribner Plastics, Tom Rolfe Trucking and the countless people who donated their hard earned money into the Dave Bradway Jr. lap money.  We are lucky to be involved with such a great sport and so many caring people.   


Results Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial Race – May 13, 2006


Fast Time: Jonathan Allard – 11.902


Heat 1: Willie Croft, Allard, Andy Forsberg, Jason Statler, Brent Kaeding

Heat 2: Peter Murphy, Billy Wallace, Dennis Moore Jr., Brad Furr, Colby Weisz

Heat 3: Brett Rollag, Shain Matthews, Chuck Gurney Jr., Mike Henry, Jon Maiwald

Heat 4: Ronnie Day, Roger Crockett, Brad Sweet, Sean Becker, Kyle Hirst


C Main: Robert Ballou, Jeff Delte, Carl Droivold, Craig Stidham, Danny Ochs, Jason York, Stuart Krum, Pat Harvey, Eddy Lewis, David Silveria, Chris Masters, Mark Workentine, Gary Hurley


Dash: Becker, Gurney Jr., Matthews, Allard, Moore Jr., Sweet, Forsberg, Henry


B Main: Brent Kaeding, Colby Weisz, Brian DeRuyter, Johnny Gray, Kyle Hirst, Delte, Stephen Allard, Ballou, Destiny Hays, Robbie Whitchurch, Kevin Sharrah, Doug Lippincott, Maiwald, Andy Gregg, Tony Silveria 


A Main (40 laps): Becker, J. Allard, Sweet, Moore Jr., Henry, Forsberg, Weisz, Crockett, Murphy, Statler, DeRuyter, Furr, Day, Kaeding, Gurney Jr.