4/9/17 – By Jim Allen – Bakersfield, CA … Cory Eliason held off a furious late race charge by Carson Macedo to capture Saturday’s exciting King of the West-NARC Fujitsu Sprint Car Series season opener at Kern County Raceway Park.
Eliason, who started seventh in the 22-car grid aboard the Antaya Motorsports Good Guys Rod & Custom Association-sponsored Maxim, battled his way through the field to take the runner-up spot on lap 25. Up to that point, a variety of challengers attempted to reel in pole sitter Willie Croft who dominated and consistently pulled away from the field after a couple of yellow flags.
However, Croft’s machine began to sputter a couple of laps later and Eliason began to reel him in. The field came to a complete stop with only two to go when fast qualifier Chase Johnson flipped in turn three. He was unhurt.
Croft car was out of fuel and unable to push off for the restart, allowing Eliason to inherit the point, followed by challengers Macedo, defending champ Kyle Hirst, Bud Kaeding and Giovanni Scelzi.
The green-white-checkered finish was organized open wheel mayhem as Macedo in the Tarlton Motorsports played wheel-to-wheel cat and mouse. Macedo actually took the lead in turn two with a massive slide job, but Eliason powered back by to take the lead and the victory.
“It got pretty wild at the end,” said Eliason. “Carson (Macedo) and I put on a show for the fans. I hope you enjoyed it.”
It was the first ever feature event victory for the Antaya Motorsports team!
“Willie (Croft) ran out of fuel,” continued Eliason. “If it weren’t for that, I’m pretty sure he would have won the race.” Croft ended his night in 17th.
Defending series champion Kyle Hirst survived a back-and-forth battle with Bud Kaeding and Roth Motorsports teammate Giovanni Scelzi. Scelzi claimed fourth. Kaeding held on to fifth in the Morrie Williams owned sprinter.
Thirteenth starter and semi-winner Mitchell Faccinto, DJ Netto, Sean Becker, Sean Watts and 15-year old Michael Kofoid rounded out the top 10.
Chase Johnson set the standard in qualifying around the one-third mile oval with a 12.909 second run. Twenty-four cars timed in.
Heat races were picked off by DJ Netto, Macedo and Eliason.
KWS-NARC Fujitsu Feature Event (30 laps): Cory Eliason, Carson Macedo, Kyle Hirst, Giovanni Scelzi, Bud Kaeding, Mitchell Faccinto, DJ Netto, Sean Becker, Sean Watts, Michael Kolfoid, Matthew Moles, Bobby McMahan, Brent Kaeding, Scott Parker, Craig Stidham, Jason Statler, Willie Croft, Chase Johnson, Nathan Rolfe, Taylor Malsum, Jeremy Chisum, Zane Blanchard
Lap Leaders: Willie Croft 1-28, Eliason 29-30
Hoosier Tires Fast Qualifier (24 cars): Chase Johnson 12.894 seconds
Heat 1 (10 laps): DJ Netto, Giovanni Scelzi, Chase Johnson, Scott Parker, Jason Statler, Brent Kaeding, Mitchell Faccinto, Craig Stidham
Heat 2 (10 laps): Carson Macedo, Bud Kaeding, Bobby McMahan, Sean Watts, Sean Becker, Zane Blanchard, Jarrett Soares, Brent Bjork
Heat 3 (10 laps): Cory Eliason, Willie Croft, Kyle Hirst, Tayler Malsum, Michael Kofoid, Nathan Rolfe, Jeremy Chisum, Matthew Moles
Hoosier Tires Dash (6 laps): Willie Croft, Chase Johnson, Kyle Hirst, Carson Macedo, Bud Kaeding, Giovanni Scelzi, Cory Eliason, DJ Netto, Bobby McMahan
B-Main (12 laps): Mitchell Faccinto, Zane Blanchard, Craig Stidham, Brent Kaeding, Jeremy Chisum, Nathan Rolfe, Matthew Moles, Jarrett Soares, Brent Bjork