Newlywed Statler Claims Initial Golden State Challenge Race - By Bobby Gerould, 07/05/03, Antioch, CA. … On a perfect, warm night for sprint car racing, Antioch Speedway race fans were treated to the first 410 winged event in six years. So excited were the delta racing enthusiasts that they produced the largest crowd in the six year Soares family ownership of the track. An estimated 2,400 fans cheered loudly in hot laps. The tight, small quarter-mile clay oval was the scene of "Big" Jason Statler's first ever Golden State Challenge feature event win Saturday night. A career best drive by Willie Croft of Sacramento was equally strong. Croft steered his 360 sprinter to a runner-up finish. Croft finished .95 seconds behind Statler at the checkered flag.
"My guys, DF Rios, and Mark (Bristow) did it all this week", said Statler. "I wasn't even at the shop all week." Statler married the former Stephanie Harvey last Sunday, and understandably was away from the racing shop. Statler added, "This is great but it's always tough out here in California. You've got twelve guys that can win on any given night. …Heck, a 360 guy just finished second." Statler earned $3,000 for the win.
Brent Kaeding had the opportunity to draw the inversion pill for the feature. Instead of picking it himself, "BK", who drew the highest pill possible last week (12) had crewmember Matt Britt pull from the bag. A "ten" was the number pulled by Britt who placed Jim Skinner and Croft on the front row of the $13,300 feature event. Skinner raced into the lead at the drop of the green flag. The 30-lap contest was interrupted on lap four when Kevin Pylant brought out a caution with a stall in turn two. The caution saved hard charging Shain Matthews who was challenging for the lead when he got sideways and lost two spots. Matthews had taken second from Croft with a low move in turn four on the third lap.
The track, which was super fast in the early portions of the evening, had now disintegrated to a one-lane bottom dweller paradise. Matthews was unlucky on lap eight when he "bicycled" his Alicia #67 in turn two, nearly flipping. Matthews saved the car and did a 360 spin to keep moving but the yellow flag was already waving. Because the caution flag appeared as a result of his spin, Matthews was forced to the rear of the field for the next restart. Matthews then brought out another yellow with a quick spin, and was out of the race due to the "two spin rule".
Croft pressured Skinner for the lead on lap nine before becoming crossed up coming out of turn two allowing Statler and Jimmy Carter to sneak by. Moments later, defending series champion, Tim Kaeding flipped in turn two. The red flag was displayed, and an uninjured Kaeding walked to the pits giving a hero style wave to the crowd as they cheered loudly for the 24 year-old hot shoe. At the lap eleven restart the running order was Skinner, Statler, Carter, Croft, and Andy Forsberg.
By the halfway mark of the feature, Statler stepped up the pressure on Skinner and took the lead with a low move in turn four. Croft passed Carter on the back chute to retake third and then moved by Skinner for second. Pylant took the leaders out of traffic on lap 18 with his second turn two spin. The ensuing restart saw Skinner and Carter get together resulting in a folded front end for Skinner's WB Equipment #73. Skinner was forced to the pits while Carter kept rolling to maintain his third spot. The final ten laps saw two more caution flags. On lap 26 Andy Gregg stalled in turn four. On lap 28 it was Kevin Sharrah who spun on the slippery surface.
The lap 29 restart set up a two-lap dash to the finish with Statler leading Croft, Carter, Jason York, and Forsberg. The only change in the final two tours of the track was Forsberg losing five spots on the last lap when he missed the bottom in turn one and was "freight-trained". Brent Kaeding finished fifth to extend his points lead. Blake Robertson advanced eight positions from his 14th starting spot to earn sixth place. Charlie Louden finished seventh, with Dennis Moore Jr., Colby Wiesz, and Forsberg completing the top ten. Campbell's Mike Shriver shared hard-charger honors with Robertson by passing eight cars to finish 14th.
The 12-lap Last Chance Race had trouble getting started. Rick Fowzer spun from his front row starting spot; three-quarters of the way through lap one. The caution placed Fowzer at the rear. The second attempt at a start saw Roberto Kirby spin. On the third restart, leader Doug Lippincott did a spin in turn four, and took 2002 Rookie of the Year Craig Stidham, and Charlie Louden with him in a tangle. Lippincott and Stidham both retired to the pits. Dennis Binstock of Napa ultimately won the 12-lapper. Fellow transfers to the feature were Dan Ochs, Louden, Chase Wood, Kevin Sharrah, and Shriver.
Brent Kaeding captured the B&B oval Track Products heat. Upstart, Andy Gregg of Placerville was impressive, posting a second place finish to the eleven-time champ. Gregg was utilizing a smaller 360 cubic inch powered sprinter in his debut with the Golden State series. Blake Robertson was an easy winner in heat two. Iowa's Dennis Moore Jr. dominated heat three action. Marysville champion, Colby Wiesz steered his family 360 to a win in the final heat race. Brent Kaeding blistered the quarter-mile in 11.992 seconds to establish a new track record, and earn the BR Motor Sports Quick Qualifier award.
Next Saturday, July 12th, the series makes its lone 2003 appearance at Santa Maria Speedway in Santa Maria, CA. Hoosier Tires, C.L. Bryant, BR MotorSports, and B&B Oval Track Products sponsor the Golden State Challenge.
July 5, 2003.
Golden State Challenge Round 16 of 21
BR Motor Sports Qualifying: Driver Hometown Car Time
- Brent Kaeding Campbell BK Racing #69 11.992* New Track Record
- Andy Forsberg Auburn Family Auto Service #98x 12.128
- Kevin Pylant Santa Cruz Pylant #14p 12.185
- Tim Kaeding San Jose Cowan #7T 12.255
- Jason Statler Los Gatos Statler #00 12.375
- Jason York Chico York #25 12.504
- Rick Fowzer Manteca Fowzer #5 12.561
- Doug Lippincott Minden, NV. Lippincott #4L 12.588
- Shain Matthews Marysville Matthews #67 12.595
- Jimmy Carter Surrey, British Columbia, Canada Rudeen Racing #26 12.603
- Willie Croft Sacramento Croft #29 12.634
- Jim Skinner Byron Skinner #73 12.635
- Charlie Louden Selma Louden X 12.683
- Dennis Binstock Napa Binstock #82 12.708
- Dennis Moore Jr. Grinnell, IA. Williams #0 12.775
- Craig Stidham Fresno Stidham #3 12.892
- Mike Shriver Campbell Taco Bravo #72 12.910
- Blake Robertson Visalia McMillen #10 12.925
- Dan Ochs Los Molinos Ochs #11n 12.999
- Colby Wiesz Colfax Wiesz #21 13.028
- Andy Gregg Placerville Gregg #16k 13.057
- Randy Lathrop Santa Rosa MaryLee #9n 13.144
- Mike Quigley Gardnerville, NV. Quigley #75 13.173
- Jim Van Lare Santa Rosa Van Lare #5v 13.190
- Chase Wood Milpitas Wood #68 13.612
- Kevin Sharrah Chico Sharrah #1k 13.666
- Nick Ringo Jr. San Jose Ringo #1x 13.780
- Roberto Kirby Santa Rosa Kirby #10k 19.045
B&B Oval Track Products Heat One: 1. Brent Kaeding, 2. Statler, 3. Gregg, 4. Matthews, 5. Shriver, 6. Louden, 7. Wood
Heat Two: 1. Robertson, 2. Carter, 3. York, 4. Forsberg, 5. Lathrop, 6. Binstock, 7. Sharrah
Heat Three: 1. Moore Jr., 2. Quigley, 3. Pylant, 4. Croft, 5. Ringo, 6. Ochs, 7. Fowzer
Heat Four: 1. Wiesz, 2. T. Kaeding, 3. Van Lare, 4. Skinner, 5. Lippincott, 6. Stidham, 7. Kirby
Last Chance Race (12 laps.) 1. Binstock, 2. Ochs, 3. Louden, 4. Wood, 5. Sharrah, 6. Shriver, 7. Fowzer, 8. Ringo Jr., 9. Lathrop, 10. Kirby, 11. Lippincott, 12. Stidham
Feature (30 laps) - 1. Statler, 2. Croft, 3. Carter, 4. York, 5. B. Kaeding, 6. Robertson, 7. Louden, 8. Moore Jr., 9. Wiesz, 10. Forsberg, 11. Quigley, 12. Van Lare, 13. Wood, 14. Shriver, 15. Binstock, 16. Ochs, 17. Sharrah, 18. Gregg, 19. Skinner, 20. Pylant, 21. T. Kaeding, 22. Matthews.