6/17/17 – By Jim Allen – Petaluma, CA … Chase Johnson outdueled Bud Kaeding in a thrilling open wheel battle at Petaluma Speedway to capture his first career King of the West-NARC Fujitsu Sprint Car Series feature event victory Saturday night.
Johnson, piloting the potent Shawn & Cyndi Thomas-owned, Wesmar-Champion Machine-powered Maxim, played cat and mouse with polesitter Kaeding throughout the 30-lapper before capitalizing on slower traffic to make his winning move. As the pair sliced and diced through lapped cars, Johnson launched a no holds barred slide job in the third corner on lap 16 to get under race long leader who had stutter-stepped behind a slower car. He exited the fourth turn with the point.
Kaeding wasn’t done yet and continued his frantic pursuit of the leader in a race that ran nonstop the final 21-laps after a couple of early caution flags. Johnson almost took himself out of contention when he collided with the car of Nathan Rolfe going down the frontchute three laps later. However, he regrouped and held on to the win by five car lengths.
“I knew I had a chance to get around Bud (Kaeding) if we got into traffic,” explained Johnson, after become the sixth different KWS-NARC winner this season before a hometown crowd. “Once I got there and made it happen, I was surprised that it worked out so well.”
Kaeding finished in the runner up spot in the Williams Motorsports Alviso Rock Maxim. Australian sprint car star Jason Veal finished third after surviving several different wheel-to-wheel skirmishes with Andy Forsberg, KWS-NARC point leader and quick qualifier Gio Scelzi and Cory Eliason. Veal was driving the BK Racing Al’s Roofing Maxim.
Eliason was on the move from the initial green after starting 11th. He was seventh after nine circuits, fifth after 19 and ended up fourth in the Antaya Motorsports Fuel Curve-sponsored Maxim. Tenth starter Scelzi, who failed to transfer out of his heat race in the Roth Motorsports KPC, secured fifth.
Scelzi still maintains a slim 467-466 advantage over Kaeding in the KWS-NARC championship standings, after both drivers finished the event earning the same amount of points.
Andy Forsberg, DJ Netto, Billy Alton, Sean Watts and Bobby McMahan rounded out the top 10. Watt’s performance was a season-best. The checkered flag in the four division program waved at 9:22 p.m.
Heat race victories were picked off by Geoff Ensign, Sean Watts & DJ Netto.
KWS-NARC Fujitsu Feature Event (30 laps): Chase Johnson, Bud Kaeding, Jamie Veal, Cory Eliason, Gio Scelzi, Andy Forsberg, DJ Netto, Billy Alton, Sean Watts, Bobby McMahan, Riley Matson, Chase Madjic, Jarrett Soares, Brent Bjork, Nathan Rolfe, John Clark, Brian Boswell, Jenna Frazier, Geoff Ensign, Eli Deshaies, Jason Paniagua, Bill Cornwell
Lap Leaders: Bud Kaeding 1-16, Chase Johnson 17-30
Hoosier Tires Dash (6 laps): Bud Kaeding, Chase Johnson, Jamie Veal, Geoff Ensign, Billy Alton, Andy Forsberg, DJ Netto, Bobby McMahan, Sean Watts
Fast Qualifier (3/8 mile clay oval – 22 cars): Gio Scelzi – 12.701
Heat 1 (10 laps): Geoff Ensign, Bobby McMahan, Bud Kaeding, Gio Scelzi, Nathan Rolfe, Jarrett Soares, Jenna Frazier
Heat 2 (10 laps): Sean Watts, Andy Forsberg, Bill Alton, Cory Eliason, John Clark, Eli Deschaies
Heat 3 (10 laps): DJ Netto, Jamie Veal, Chase Johnson, Chase Madjic, Riley Matson, Brent Bjork, Jason Paniagua, Brian Boswell