Kaeding Wins At Calistoga Speedway - By Bill Sessa May 27, 2005 Calistoga, CA. - Brent Kaeding finally had a little bit of good luck literally pulled out of a hat and he took advantage of it to win the main the event for sprint cars at Calistoga Speedway Saturday night. A night of bad luck, which included an unscheduled engine change after burning a piston in his heat race, turned on the draw of a pill that inverted the fastest 10 cars and put the 12-time Golden State Challenge champion on the front row of the starting grid. Kaeding's luck held for the rest of the night as he led all 25 laps on the Napa County Fairgrounds half-mile oval and beat back a fast-closing Steve Kent while running on seven cylinders in his second engine of the night to seal the win. 

"We haven't been very fortunate this year," said a relieved Kaeding, whose last win at Calistoga was four years ago, almost to the day.  "The pill draw put us on the front row and the crew did a great job of swapping out the motor and making a lot of last minute adjustments.  But that engine was only running on seven cylinders and I was kinda nervous over the last eight laps."

His concern was justified as Kent, a two-time state sprint car champion and six-time Calistoga Speedway titleholder who started sixth, dove under Kevin Plyant in turn three on lap 19 to settle what had been a wheel to wheel fight for second place and used the last six laps to cut down almost a straightaway lead to follow Kaeding over the finish line by just three car lengths.

"It took a while for the top groove to come in and that's where we were running good," said Kent.  "If we had one more yellow flag to bunch up the field, we would have had a heck of a race to the finish."         

Pole-sitter Kevin Pylant ran second most of the race, often a full-straightaway behind Kaeding while he dueled with KentPylant came in third across the finish line.  "Steve goes real good here and Brent was locked down on the racetrack," said Pylant.

 

The hardest charger of the night, however, was defending Golden State Challenge Series champion Jason Stattler, who had to rely on a top finish in the "B" race to earn the last starting spot in the main event after crashing in a heat race.  After starting 22nd, Statler passed nine cars in the first three laps and eventually moved into the eighth spot in just ten laps.  Just when it seemed that he would salvage a strong finish, he dove into the pits with just a handful of laps remaining, ending his night suddenly, when a fuel nozzle disconnected and he smelled fuel on the hot exhaust headers.  "The last time I smelled fuel like that," he said, "I was on fire and tonight I wasn't taking any chances."   

Calistoga Speedway, Golden State Challenge sprint cars (Sat.):  

 

Fast time qualifier:  Brian Coelho, Tulare ( 16.615 sec.). 

 

Heat 1 (10 laps):  Blake Robertson, Visalia; Jason York, Chico; Jonathan Allard, Chico; Andy Forsberg, Auburn; Coelho. 

 

Heat 2: Peter Murphy, Fresno; Steven Allard, Chico; Brent Kaeding, Campbell; Steve Kent, Fresno; Kyle Hirst, Sacramento. 

 

Heat 3: Kevin Pylant, Santa Cruz; Roger Crockett, Eugene Ore.; Brad Furr, Pleasanton; Garrett Ishii, Caruthers; Jim Skinner, Discovery Bay. 

 

Semi-Main event (12 laps):  Sean Becker, Chico; Ricky Williams, Castro Valley; Tony Lutar, White Rock, British Columbia; Sparky Howard, Santa Rosa; Rich Fowzler, Manteca; Johnny Greay, Chico; Jason Statler, San Jose. 

 

MAIN EVENT (25 laps):  Kaeding, Kent, Pylant, J. Allard, S. Allard, Ishii, Becker, Furr, York, Coelho, Robertson, Hirst, Forsberg, Murphy, Howard, Lutar, Crockett, Coelho, Statler, Skinner, Williams.