(6/1/19, Petaluma, CA) By Jim Allen … Colby Copeland captured a thrilling three-overtime victory over Chase Johnson in Saturday’s King of the West-NARC Fujitsu 410 Sprint Car Series show at Petaluma Speedway. Although the final stat line reads that Copeland officially led the entire 30-plus lap distance aboard Larry Antaya’s Fire Protection Management-sponsored, S & S Automotive-powered Maxim, it was far from that simple.
Copeland and Johnson started the event on the front row and created a highlight reel with a thrilling game of cat and mouse for the first 27 non-stop laps. The pair battled wheel-to-wheel and sliced and diced masterfully through slower traffic as Copeland attempted to shag his aggressive tailgater. The frantic action finally took a breath when the caution appeared for Jason Statler who spun in the second corner. This set the stage for Johnson, in Shawn Thomas’es Fire Suppression Engineering sprinter, to regroup once again for another all out blitzkrieg on the leader. However, the final few laps were packed with even more drama.
First, the event came to a screeching halt on the 30th circuit when Eli Deshaies tangled with Stephen Ingraham and flipped head-over-tail on the frontchute. He was unhurt. This set the stage for the first “green-white-checkered” dash. Bud Kaeding, who had the best seat in the house running third for most of the night, banged the frontstretch concrete and spun on the next white flag lap to bring out the yellow once again. On the next restart, Johnson attempted to run the high side around Copeland, but smacked the wall on the final lap and stopped on the backchute. On the final OT restart, Copeland, held off the hard charging DJ Netto to score the three-car length victory.
“I felt like I won this race at least four times,” explained a very happy Copeland. “I wasn’t sure if this race was going to ever end,”
“I had a great battle with Chase and he raced me hard and clean, just like I would do with him,” Copeland continued. “After every caution, I would just take a deep breath and tighten up my belts to do it again.”
Netto, started the Netto Ag KPC in fifth and passed Kaeding with three to go before going on to secure the runner-up spot at the finish. Netto enhanced his position as the King of the West-NARC championship point leader.
Rookie Geoff Ensign drove the Snow Motorsports West Coast Race Parts XXX to a season best third place finish. Thirteenth starter Ryan Bernal was on the move during the final 15-laps to score fourth and the Swift Metal Finishing hardcharger award. Dominic Scelzi secured fifth in the Roth Motorsports ride without a left rear shock.
The second five to take the checkered were Kaeding, Jason Statler, Johnson, ARP fast qualifier Willie Croft, and Nathan Rolfe.
FUJITSU FEATURE EVENT (30-laps): Colby Copeland, DJ Netto, Geoff Ensign, Ryan Bernal, Dominic Scelzi, Bud Kaeding, Jason Statler, Chase Johnson, Willie Croft, Nathan Rolfe, Kyle Offill, Kenny Allen, Tim Estenson, Stephen Ingraham, Eli Deshaies, Richard Brace Jr., Sean Watts, Matt DeMartini
LAP LEADERS: Copeland 1-30.
ARP FAST QUALIFIER: Willie Croft – 14.269 seconds
BROWN & MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS FIRST HEAT (10 laps): Willie Croft, Dominic Scelzi, Bud Kaeding, Ryan Bernal, Sean Watts, Kenny Allen, Tom Estenson.
FK ROD ENDS SECOND HEAT (10 laps): Geoff Ensign, DJ Netto, Jason Statler, Nathan Rolfe, Richard Brace Jr.
SPEEDSHIFT TV/MILLS VIDEO PROMOTIONS THIRD HEAT (10 laps): Chase Johnson, Colby Copeland, Kyle Offill, Matt DeMartini, Stephen Ingraham, Eli Deshaies.
SUNNYVALLEY BACON TROPHY DASH (6 laps): Colby Copeland, Chase Johnson, Geoff Ensign, Bud Kaeding, DJ Netto, Willie Croft
Colby Copeland held off Chase Johnson to score the victory at Petaluma Speedway.