NARC NEWSLINE – October 21, 2018, By Jim Allen
One of the best things about open wheel racing is that it’s almost always unpredictable. Every time you think you’ve got this gig figured out … BAM … the unexpected! Somebody jumps a wheel, somebody else scores a perfectly timed victory, and next thing you know, you’re in the middle of a championship hunt again.
Along those lines, my IM and texts messages have been blowing up since we pulled out of the Kern County Raceway Park parking lot. Tons of questions about what it would take for either Kyle Hirst or Shane Golobic to win the 2018 King of the West-NARC driving championship. You know …, the usual the stuff … Who’s got to finish where and what’s got to happen to claim the deal? So I only have to do this once, here is a breakdown of the possibilities:
Entering the season finale at the Stockton Dirt Track, Hirst owns a narrow 16-point lead over Golobic. Keep in mind that there are just two ways to earn points in the King of the West-NARC series … qualifying and the main event. The top qualifier earns four points, dropping by one for the four fastest cars. The series also pays a premium for winning. For example, parking it in victory lane is worth 42 points. Second place is worth 39, but it drops by one point per position from that point on.
Now … as a public service announcement, we are going to have some fun and share seven possible scenarios with you.
SCENARIO #1: On his way to Stockton, Kyle stops at a random 7-Eleven in Galt, CA and purchases a $20 California Lottery Scratch Off ticket. A few scratches with a screwdriver later, he realizes he’s just won a million bucks. Kyle jumps out of his truck and sets quick time running around the parking lot, hooping and hollering for a few minutes. Once the endorphins calm down some, he flips a U-turn and heads back to Paradise, CA where he proceeds to book a three-week all-inclusive Hawaiian family vacation. Fortunately for Shane Golobic, he only bought a Red Bull at a Chevron station in Lodi. He shows up at Stockton, qualifies, and lays claim to the 2018 title.
SCENARIO #2: Shane Golobic qualifies sixth, but still manages to win the Stockton feature. Hirst earns his ninth ARP quick time award of the season but has motor issues and finishes way back in 19th. Golobic and Hirst are now tied in points, but there are a few tiebreakers in the rule book, because ties are about as unsatisfying as my ex-wife. The first tiebreaker is feature event wins. At this point, they both have five. The second tiebreaker is fast times. Hirst promptly pulls off a classic Tiger Woods-type fist pump, knowing he won that one by a landslide, proving that qualifying plays a key role in determining our champion.
SCENARIO #3: Kyle Hirst decides at the last minute to attend a welding convention in Milwaukee for his new Tiner-Hirst Enterprises business venture. Coincidentally, Shane Golobic decides to leave a day early on his honeymoon and both end up missing the race in Stockton. Bud Kaeding takes the green flag in the Stockton feature and ends up winning back-to-back titles.
SCENARIO #4: It’s a Stockton sweeper night for Golobic. Fast time, heat win, a Bacon victory and his fifth win of the KWS-NARC season. That equals max points for his Tarlton Motorsports team! On the other hand, Hirst qualifies fifth fast and finishes 12th in the finale. Golobic wins the crown by one-point, tying last year’s mark for the closest points race in KWS-NARC history.
SCENARIO #5: Shane Golobic spray paints graffiti all over the Roth Motorsports top wing, keys the Roth hauler, glues a stack of tear offs to Kyle’s helmet, unfriends him on Facebook, and wins a dramatic photo-finish over Kaeding. Hirst drives like a man possessed, with a flipped up visor for 30-laps and finishes a remarkable 10th. Hirst claims his fourth King of the West-NARC driving championship.
SCENARIO #6: Chase Johnson decides to host Shane Golobic’s Bachelor Party and invites Hirst and Kaeding to Vegas for what amounts to be a racing version of the movie Hangover. Somehow … and we really don’t know how this happens …, but everyone not named Chase consumes Rohypnol (roofied) and ends up passed out on the rooftop of the MGM. Chase races back to Stockton, set’s quick time and win the feature, but comes up three points short of winning the title – making it the second closest points chase in the organization’s history.
AND FINALLY … SCENARIO #7: Both teams decide to get their relatives involved to enhance their chances. After all, according to the book Art of War, there’s power in numbers. So, Hirst recruits brother-in-law Willie Croft as a teammate to run interference on Golobic. In return, Golobic enlists the support of younger brother Dustin to slow the way for Hirst. Not wanting to be left out, Brent Kaeding suits up to drive his iconic 69, and Tim Kaeding literally hops one-legged into the 42 car to set a blockade for Bud. At this point, cars are driving wider than Rosie O’Donnell strolling down the cookie aisle at Albertsons.
Meanwhile, Paul McMahan takes advantage of a Southwest Airlines Wanna Get Away fare from Tennessee for a double big-Mac attack to get Bobby McMahan back in the top ten. And let’s not forget about the Scelzi’s – Dominic and Gio – who should be sponsored by Lenscrafters, because their matching 41 cars are giving everybody in the grandstands double-vision. But wait there is more … Chase Johnson also decides at the last moment that he wants a piece of this action, so he puts brother Colby in his other car and un-retires his racing father, grandfather, and great grandfather to compete with four generations of Johnson’s. That’s a lot O’Johnsons! At that point, announcer Bobby Gerould is so confused trying to tabulate points, he falls off his barstool and breaks his other leg. The NARC Benevolent Fund buys him an electric wheelchair with a built-in microphone and we all go to the championship awards brunch the next day not caring about points – just the fun time we had the night before.
So there you have it! Seven likely, but probably unlikely scenarios on what it’s going to take to claim the King of the West-NARC championship in 2018. The bottom line is anything can happen and usually does! My advice? Come experience the unpredictability first hand at the Stockton Dirt Track finale on November 3rd. You might find out there’s an eighth scenario!
THE DIRT TRACK AT KERN COUNTY RACEWAY PARK: Willie Croft was the only driver in the 12-second bracket and earned his third ARP Quick Time award of the season. He also claimed the Sunnyvalley Bacon dash. He ended up giving the nine pounds of bacon to an overly-enthusiastic race fan who flipped up his shirt to show Willie how much he loved bacon. I’m not exactly sure what the correlation is there? … The HydrochemPSC NARC Coloring Books made their debut and they are a hit with the kids (and adults.) … Dominic Scelzi registered as “Bondo Johnson” during the pill draw. The roost was still in the bag when the announcer informed the crowd that “Bondo” was piloting the Scelzi Motorsports 41S during qualifying. What’s next for Dominic? Richard Cranium? … By the way, the battle between Scelzi and Bud Kaeding for the runner-up spot midway through the 30-lapper was a racing classic. Too bad they took each other out. … DJ Netto – Swift Metal Finishing hardcharger. Sixteenth to fourth. Just think what DJ could do with a better starting position. …
… Jace Vanderweerd finished 10th. … Rookie Dustin Golobic posted his only DNF of the season. Think about that for a second. That’s impressive. … Kyle Hirst’s violent crash into the first turn on the original start was of the scary variety that totally destroyed the Roth Motorsports KPC. A deep sigh of relief watching Kyle crawl out of the carnage. The car literally had to be dragged into the hauler. He was scored in 18th, which is 14 positions worse than his next worst finish of the 2018 season. Yup, that is a real stat! … On the other side of the coin, Shane Golobic couldn’t have picked a better night to pick off his fourth Tarlton Motorsports win of the KWS-NARC season. He sliced Hirst’s once daunting 34-point lead down to only 13 in one night. For those of you at home taking notes, Golobic won both KCRP events this season. … Once again, thank you to promoter Larry Collins and your staff for the great accommodations and racy track. This is a great facility! It was fun and we will do it again next year.
COTTON CLASSIC AT KELLER AUTO SPEEDWAY: Mitchell Faccinto won last year’s Cotton Classic for his first King of the West-NARC career victory. How do you back it up? You win this year’s Cotton Classic for your second career “W” with a thrilling last corner pass of Kyle Hirst. Faccinto was stellar as he took no prisoners bouncing along the cushion to score the very popular victory in front of his hometown crowd. Car owner Stan Greenberg was a happy camper. … And how about Nathan Rolfe? The kid drove like there was a fire under him and scored a season-best seventh place finish in the Dennis Rolfe sprint car. He was elbows up the entire distance. … Golobic was third and obviously gassed in victory lane. That’s reasonable considering he just spent 35-laps battling Rico Abreu in the SCCT main and then swapped cars for another 30-lap slugfest. …
… Our compliments go out to promoter Bubby Morse who dished up an excellent racing surface for the 82 cars in the pits. It was a fantastic show, even though the Racesavers main was a little rough around the edges. … “Bondo” Scelzi – hardcharger – 13th to fifth. … Chase Johnson “quietly” posted his 10th consecutive top ten finish in the Shawn Thomas Maxim. … Faccinto became only the third dash winner this season to go on to win the A-Main. … One race fan – this one a woman – offers to flip up her shirt to get a NARC coloring book. Not sure about the correlation on that one either – but she got a couple of coloring books – and crayons! … The $1100 Double Duty Challenge rolls over to the season finale as no driver “double-downed” with both a King of the West and SCCT victory. Thanks to ace photographer Joe Shivak for getting that promotion started.
And finally, the King of the West-NARC Fujitsu Sprint Car Series championship banquet is on Sunday, November 4th. Yes, the day after the Tribute to Gary Patterson finale at Stockton. It’s a brunch that kicks off at the Brookside Country Club at 11:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 each and are going fast. Dean Mills has promised some great videos and there is a whole lot of money and prizes being distributed! If you want to join us, call me at 714-397-7417 … like yesterday!
Coming to you live from Auburn, California. See ya!