December 16, 2017, Santa Cruz, CA, Jim Allen … Newly crowned King of the West-NARC Fujitsu Sprint Car Series champion Bud Kaeding and car owner Morrie Williams were honored at the Cocoanut Ballroom at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk on Saturday night. The pair earned a $10,000 share of the Fujitsu-Hoosier Tires sponsored point fund, plus a pair of custom forged steering wheel trophies, championship rings, and more than $2000 in product awards.
Kaeding, who posted a pair of victories and nailed down a club high 11 top five finishes in 16 events, captured the closest points chase in King of the West-NARC history by one-point over 15-year old driving sensation Gio Scelzi. It was Kaeding’s first career King of the West-NARC title after finishing in the bridesmaid position the three previous years running. For Morrie Williams and his potent Williams Motorsports team, it was their fourth car owner championship.
“It feels so good to get this runner-up monkey off my back,” admitted Kaeding. “Gio(Scelzi) made me work really hard for this championship and I couldn’t have done it without this awesome team. The ‘Zero Heroes’ sacrificed a lot to be by my side every week this season. And there is nobody better to drive for than Morrie and Katie Williams. This was a complete team effort!
Kaeding presented his entire Zero Heroes pit crew with custom championship rings. Katie Williams was presented a custom 2017 championship locket.
Gio Scelzi, who led the point standings at three different times during the season in the potent Roth Motorsports entry, was named the 2017 KWS-NARC rookie of the year. He was the winner of three events and missed out by the slimmest of margins. This team took home $9000 for their efforts.
The event also served as a fund raiser for the Northern Auto Racing Club Benevolent Fund. More than $9400 was raised in the fun-filled auction due to the generosity of the open wheel supporters in attendance. These funds are used to assist injured racers and families in times of need.
The top 15 teams took home shares of the $62,000 point fund, plus another $25,000 in product awards. The balance of the top five included Cory Eliason-Antaya Motorsports, DJ Netto/Tri-C Machine Corp, and Kyle Hirst/Roth Motorsports. Rounding out the top ten was Bobby McMahan/McMahan Motorsports, Sean Watts/Watts Motorsports, Buddy Kofoid/Dan Simpson Racing, Jarrett Soares/Steven Soares, and Nathan Rolfe/Dennis Rolfe. The top ten featured three 15-year old drivers. Joining Scelzi was Buddy Kofoid and Nathan Rolfe.
Emcee Jim Allen also announced that Fujitsu will be back as title sponsor in 2018, along with several new associate sponsors.
The event also honored Civil War Sprint Car Champion Andy Forsberg and Geoff Ensign who claimed top honors at Ocean Speedway (see separate story).