NARC NEWSLINE, By Jim Allen, November 24, 2017 … And yes, we finally have a champion! In the tightest championship points race in the 57 year history of King of the West, Golden State Challenge, King of California and Northern Auto Racing Club, Bud Kaeding nipped Gio Scelzi by a single point to capture the 2017 crown. That’s right, it’s not a misprint, ONE POINT! Consider that for a moment. After 16 high-flying events featuring qualifying, heat races, dashes and 475 laps of feature event racing, it all came down to who passed one more car than the other – literally.
This championship showdown couldn’t have played out any better, beginning with qualifying. Kaeding and Scelzi turned the same exact time in time trials around Tony Noceti’s 4/10 mile oval – right down to the a thousand of a second (13.168 seconds.) What are the odds of that? They followed that up by each running away with their respective heats. And for the season finale showdown, they started side-by-side in the third row still separated by three points. Fast forward 30-laps and Scelzi crosses the checkered in fourth and Kaeding sixth with the title. Final score: Bud Kaeding/Williams Motorsports 910, Gio Scelzi/Roth Motorsports 909.
The “tie question” came up a bunch of times at Stockton. What happens if it ends up in a tie? Well that would be like kissing your sister. Might feel okay, but it’s just not right! The fact is there isn’t an official tiebreaker in the King of the West-NARC rulebook. There are some obvious ones, like most feature event wins of fast times, but there was nothing in print to make it official. So if it had ended in a tie, it was going to be exactly that – dual champions. Looks likes it time to add another page to the KWS-NARC rulebook in 2018.
As much as we are congratulating the Kaeding-Williams team on their hard fought championship, we also want to sincerely commend the Scelzi-Roth pairing. The startling fact that a 15-year old driver could make such a high-profile headline-grabbing run at a championship was amazing. Scelzi’s competitive edge and composure throughout the season was simply remarkable. Let’s be honest, you can’t pry most 15-year olds out of the mall, video games, or the shower. In Gio’s case, you’ll have to pry him out of a sprint car because there are several championships in his future – and that future is now. Along those lines, let’s take it another step down to Cory Eliason, who picked off the Stockton headliner. If it weren’t for a faulty U-joint a month ago at Ocean Speedway Eliason’s win could have been for the championship, especially since a win pays a three-point premium over second place. Or a three-way tie? That’s too many sisters!
By the way, for you racing historian’s out there, the previous closest mark for a pressure-packed mathematically challenging nail biter happened way back in 1982 when Brent Kaeding nipped Hank Butcher by three points for the NARC title (3404-3401). At this point, we have three Kaeding’s listed as “Kings” with Brent and Tim now being joined by Bud. That is one heck of a family legacy.
STOCKTON DIRT TRACK NOTES: Dominic Scelzi won both the SCCT and KWS dashes. And it was a good night to do it since there was a $1000 bonus for each from Chase Chevrolet and Kleen Blast. … On display at the Tribute to Gary Patterson was the famous number 56 sprinter, thanks to Sheila Ross. When you look at that car and what we work with now, you can get a true perspective on how sprint car racing has evolved. … Also in the house was 1976 NARC champion Johnny Anderson. … Cory Eliason is headed to Australia this winter to represent the red, white and blue. Speaking of Eliason, his win at Stockton allowed him to slide past DJ Netto from fourth to third in the final standings. …
… The King of the West-NARC title was the fourth for car owner Morrie Williams. He has won a trifecta of titles with Jonathan Allard in 2006, 2008 and 2012. … Bud finally shagged the perennial bridesmaid role that has chased him three-seasons running. Can you say happy camper? … Kyle Hirst – Quick Time – Third in the feature behind Tim Kaeding and Eliason. … Promoter Tony Noceti knows how to have fun and put on an entertaining show. To him the word “promoter” is a verb not a noun! Look it up if you need to. He is involved in everything. Leading up to the event, his television ads blitzed the Sacramento-area airwaves. At the event, he threw in added features like a car show, a live-band, and an assortment of fireworks. That took it from a race to a show! … It was headers optional at Stockton. It was like the ear-numbing front row at a Guns N Roses concert – except faster! … Seven teams ran both a 410 and 360. …
MUSICAL CHAIRS: In the musical chairs department, Clyde Lamar and his Tri-C team shook hands and parted ways with DJ Netto at the end of the season. They had a good run, winning at Calistoga and finishing fourth in the final standings. Mr. Netto was tied for a KWS-NARC high with 14 top ten finishes this season. … DJ will drive the Netto Family sprinter in 2018. … Gio Scelzi and Roth Motorsports parted ways at the end of the night in Stockton. … Cory Eliason is the new driver in the Roth Motorsports ride. … Buddy Kofoid will be out searching for a full-time ride now that Dan Simpson is hanging it up for a while. … I’m sure there will be more!
ODDS & ENDS: Silver Dollar Speedway announced at their banquet that they will no longer run 410 sprint cars at their weekly shows. They are going the 360 route making the King of the West-NARC series the only 410 game in town – when we are in town. … The Outlaw schedule is out and it pretty much mirrors the 2017 stops with the exception of an adder at Ocean Speedway. … Congratulations to Kyle Hirst who won the inaugural SCCT championship title. … The NARC Benevolent Fund made a contribution to injured driver Sean Becker after his scary ride in a non-wing machine at Stockton. He was airborne for a long time and the ugly crash landing resulted in a bruised lung and face. I think sometimes we forget this is a dangerous sport. We wish him well in his recovery. …
… Try not to cuss too loud when you hear this, but there will not be a KWS-NARC Speedweek next year. I know! Short term it’s not in the cards. Consider it a work in progress. … Some other schedule teasers include the Peter Murphy Classic race being moved to May 18-19. The Bradway Memorial race is on May 5th, making it a great month for teams to stuff their wallets! … If everything falls into place, our 2018 schedule will be rolled out at our December 16th banquet. … Speaking of which, do you have your banquet tickets yet? In addition to $62,000 in point fund money, we are awarding more than $20,000 in product awards to KWS-NARC teams that night via raffles. BUT … you must be present to win. … To get your tickets online, go HERE!
And I’ll end this column with my wish list for the perfect race track. Let’s take the scenic views, the history and the catch fence from Calistoga, throw in the grass infield from Ocean Speedway, the lighting and sound system and “victory lane” from the Stockton Dirt Track, the frantic wheel-to-wheel close racing of a Placerville and Chico, the gumbo clay from Petaluma, and the banking of Keller Auto Speedway and put them all together. That would be my new home track. #justsaying. And for good measure, let’s throw in the street tacos from Hanford, the Chicken Kabobs at Stockton, and the Tri-Tip from Tulare. Now I’m good. Your opinion may vary.
Coming to you live from Auburn, CA. We will catch up with all of you at the King of the West-NARC Championship awards banquet on December 16th in Santa Cruz. (Got tickets?) See ya!