Brent Kaeding on a roll; captures Chris & Brian Faria Memorial

By Gary Thomas

Tulare, CA - May 20, 2007... When you’re hot you’re hot, and Brent Kaeding is on fire after claiming his fifth main event win in the last six Golden State Challenge Series races this past Saturday night during the Chris & Brian Faria Memorial at the Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway. Dating back to last year it is the Campbell veterans fifth consecutive Golden State Challenge win at Thunderbowl Raceway and is the 75th overall of his GSC career. The 12-time King of California had an immaculately prepared car from Billy Albini & the hogs as he dominated much of the middle stages of the race en route to extending his lead in the GSC points standings.

The 30 lap Chris & Brian Faria Memorial main event started out with Kaeding and defending King of California Jonathan Allard of Chico on the front row. The track was perfectly prepared by Steve Faria and the Thunderbowl crew and it made for some of the best racing of the season at the 1/3 mile clay oval. BK got the jump into turn one as the green flag came out but Allard used the inside of turn four to get under him and take the lead as they crossed the line to complete the first lap. Allard hadn’t won with the Golden State Challenge Series since opening night in March and early on through the first handful of laps it looked like it was going to be his night as the Ashley Smith prepared Williams Motorsports machine was flying around the Thunderbowl Raceway. A debris caution on lap five, however, gave BK a shot on the restart. Kaeding moved up to the high scary side and was able to use the momentum to get around Allard off turn two on lap six. At that time Allard’s engine began to lay over and the defending champ pulled into the infield on lap 10 to put an end to his night.

With Allard out of the picture it gave Kaeding a huge lead over the rest of the field and the action heated up as traffic became thick and hectic. Salinas’ driver Ronnie Day was on the move from his row four starting spot and had made it up fourth by the time Allard broke, and he then went to work on Roger Crockett who had inherited the runner-up spot. Day, the 2000 King of California, had a great run at Thunderbowl Raceway’s Pombo/Sargent Classic last month only to break while leading with two laps to go. Once again his Brian Cannon tuned Ridgeline Framing No. 1 was fast and he made the move around Crockett on lap 13 to take over second.

The red flag flew on lap 21 for Tipton’s Mike Faria who had flipped in turn four. For the restart Kaeding had a four lap car cushion but Day wasn’t about to let it stop him from making it a race. Kaeding jumped out a large lead but Day cleared the traffic with about four laps left and he quickly cut into Kaeding’s advantage. The last couple laps saw Kaeding have issues with a couple lap cars and Day was ripping around the cushion in a frantic bid to make up ground. As BK rounded turn four on the final lap, Tipton’s Danny Faria got loose in front of him and allowed Day to close up to a couple car lengths but he didn’t have enough and the driver of the Al’s Roofing Supply 69 brought home the victory. Kaeding now has a shot at the all-time GSC season win mark of eight that was set by son Tim in 2004. BK hasn’t finished worse than second since March and has been driving like the BK of old as he’s in a groove right now and will have tons of momentum heading into next week’s three day GSC Memorial Day weekend extravaganza.

Day’s second place finish marked his fourth top five of the season. The 48 year-old was his usual exciting self as he got up on the wheel and carved his way forward. Had he gotten a caution it would have been an interesting finish and he almost got with a few laps left when teammate Ric McCormick spun a 360 in turn four. McCormick was able to keep it going but Day still closed in on BK quickly and he should be strong next weekend in Petaluma & Calistoga, which are two of his better tracks. Crockett continued his strong season aboard the Henderson Motorsports No. 7n with a third place finish, his fourth top five in four GSC starts. Crockett was also fast time for the second race this season with GSC and fourth time overall this year for him and the team. The Crockett/Henderson combo has been potent this season as they are also the point leaders in the Northwest Sprint Challenge 360 Series which competes in Oregon & Washington.

Sacramento’s Willie Croft finished a solid fourth aboard the Holey Smokes BBQ No. 29. It’s the third top five finish for Croft with GSC this season and the second time he’s been in the top five at Thunderbowl Raceway in what was just his third 410 start at the track. Croft finished second at the Thunderbowl in March and has done a great job at the track this year. With his fourth place finish, coupled with Allard’s misfortune, Croft has closed in on the defending champ and will go into next weekend just two points behind him for third in the series standings. Rounding out the top five was the Reedley Irrigation No. 89 of Visalia’s Ricci Faria. Faria started 12th in the feature and moved his way forward to score his second top five of the season with GSC. The Central Valley racer has been impressive in limited starts this season.

Faria was able to inch out Oroville’s Sean Becker at the line by about ½ a car length as the two had torrid battle over the last handful of laps. Becker’s sixth place finish was his 10th top 10 in 10 races this season aboard the Fisher/Main Motorsports No. 35m and it came from the ninth starting spot. Becker’s night started out well with him qualifying sixth fastest, but he got behind in his heat race early. Becker gave it a valiant charge at the end of the heat as he drove the wheels off the 35m JEI, but he couldn’t get the momentum to move around Chico’s Brett Miller for the final transfer spot. It took away a spot in the dash which was big on this night as the driver he is chasing in the GSC point standings, Brent Kaeding, drew a front row starting spot in the dash. Becker will look to have a strong run next weekend at Petaluma and Calistoga.

Fairmont, Indiana’s Brandon Wimmer had a strong run in the feature as he drove the ARB Inc. No. 1k from 15th to seventh. Wimmer had a poor qualifying effort and it put him deep in the field but he charged his way forward to score his third top five of the season with GSC. Rounding out the top 10 were the Tom Rolfe Trucking No. 10 of San Jose’s Jason Statler, the Tachi Palace No. 21 of Fresno’s Tommy Tarlton and the Wright One Construction No. 35 of Campbell’s Bud Kaeding.

Brent Kaeding won the dash to earn the pole for the main event. Three 10 lap heats were held and were picked off by Bud Kaeding, Tommy Tarlton and Brandon Wimmer.

Roger Crockett toured the 1/3 mile in 13.520 seconds to score quick time.

Next Sunday night will see the USAC/CRA 410 wingless sprint cars compete at the Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway for the Salute to Indy.

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Race Results- Thunderbowl Raceway Chris & Brian Faria Memorial

Fast time- Roger Crockett 13.520

Heat 1: Bud Kaeding, Jason Statler, Jonathan Allard, Garrett Ishii, Roger Crockett, Danny Faria Jr., Jon Maiwald, Ken Fredenburg

Heat 2: Tommy Tarlton, Brent Kaeding, Craig Stidham, Mike Faria, Ric McCormick, Jim Skinner, Mike Stallings

Heat 3: Brandon Wimmer, Willie Croft, Ricci Faria, Ronnie Day, Brett Miller, Sean Becker, Charlie Louden, Dan Simpson

Dash: Brent Kaeding, Allard, Statler, Crockett, Croft, Stidham, Mike Faria, Day

A-main: Brent Kaeding, Day, Crockett, Croft, Ricci Faria, Becker, Wimmer, Statler, Tarlton, Bud Kaeding, Stidham, Ishii, Danny Faria Jr., Louden, Maiwald, Miller, Workentine, McCormick, Stallings, Mike Faria, Fredenburg, Skinner, Allard, Simpson