NARC NEWSLINE – JULY 18, 2019, By Jim Allen … It took eight races before the King of the West-NARC Fujitsu 410 Sprint Car Series finally revisited a race track this season.  And, that’s the way it should be.  Not to take anything away from points chasers who lock in to a local track, but I think the true talent of a driver and team shines through when they must adjust to new variables, or in this case, different racetracks on a weekly basis.  It’s the same reason why I have played at over 450 golf courses in 29 states and four different countries during my lifetime.  It never gets boring and you always have to be on top of your game, or you get your butt kicked.

For those of you at home who need a quick refresher on what has happened, and what is happening, on the King of the West-NARC tour, here you go:

OCEAN SPEEDWAY NOTES (6/21/19):  The 32nd annual Pombo-Sargent Classic marked the fifth round of the Fujitsu-sponsored series and it didn’t disappoint.  Anytime you have 410 sprint cars on a quarter-mile bullring, you only need the edge of your seat.  This one was a Willie Croft vs. Mitchell Faccinto shootout during the first half of the race, before evolving into an exciting can Dominic Scelzi outrun Ryan Bernal” chase to the finish.  In the end it was Scelzi by two-car lengths over Bernal and another four over 13th starter Colby Copeland.  Said Copeland afterwards, “That was a fun one to watch.  I had a front row seat for the whole thing.” … Rear end issues knocked Faccinto out of the hunt at the midway point. … DJ Netto entered Watsonville in front of Bernal by 12-points and pulled out of the Ocean pits leading by eight.  Netto scored sixth after starting 11th… Croft’s save after clipping the infield tire exiting turn four in the main may have qualified as the save of the year.  The fact that he kept his number 29 Amerikote ride from barrel-rolling through the infield was commendable.  Croft finished fifth.  … Just in case being a car owner isn’t tough already, try throwing in getting attacked by yellow jackets.  That’s exactly what happened to Shawn Thomas, who was casually standing in the push off area with his 68 Maxim.  With absolutely no warning, he was randomly attacked by a swarm of yellow jackets.  He suffered at least five stings on his neck giving him an ice pack and a perpetual “I’m pissed” look on his face the rest of the night.  To make matters worse, his motor blew up early in the feature. …  Scelzi becomes the first two-time winner this season.

STOCKTON DIRT TRACK NOTES (6/22/19):  Every season has at least one race that I best describe as a “Battle Royale.”  It’s one of those unpredictable WWE, no-holds barred, clench the wheel for dear life, hope your rock guard does its job, and let the last man standing win sort of deal.  And yes, that’s exactly what it was.  No knock on the track or promoter, but like a race car, sometimes you just miss the set up on track prep.  Sometimes, the best laid plans don’t work out.  This one didn’t cooperate at all as mud-packing had to be done three-times to make it race-worthy. … And when it was all said and done, Atwater’s Sean Watts was essentially the last man standing.  He became the 83rd different winner in series history, driving his own Billet America/Kaeding Performance Maxim.  Watts led all 25-laps, surviving challenges by both Dominic Scelzi and DJ Netto.  It was a great way to end a rough night.  In victory lane, it was the feelgood celebration of the season for the unheralded team in a race where only seven cars finished.  Let’s count them … Watts, Netto, Scelzi, Kaeding, Jason Statler, Bernal and Matt DeMartini.  Everybody else got purple hearts.  Once again, almost the last man standing sort of deal.  …

… It was a season best performance for Statler and a King of the West-NARC best for the 19th starting DeMartini. …  By the way, the track preparation issues have since been worked out by promoter Tony Noceti and Placerville’s dirt-master Scott Russell, who promises a gem for the two-day $70,000 Champions Classic in August.  Proof is the Stockton track surface at the SCCT race two weeks later.  …  While he enjoyed a tremendous save at Ocean, Willie Croft didn’t get one at Stockton.  The steering box broke and Croft took a nasty tumble down the frontstretch – with emphasis on the word nasty!  The alleged culprit was a broken steering box.  In fact, everything on the car was broke, so it could have been anything.  Croft had some sore knees after exiting the carnage but was okay otherwise.  We thank God for safety equipment. … To stay in the points hunt, Chase Johnson drove his own number 24, because the motor in Shawn Thomas’s car was sitting at Shaver Racing Engines. …  Jonathan Allard made his second outing of the season in the Weldon Offill Country Builders 88.  Said Allard, “My wife said it was time for me to go racing again,” and like any good husband, we all live by the “happy wife, happy life” mantra.  The 40-year old three-time champion has been spending most of his time coaching up rookie driver Kyle Offill, and it shows.  Allard started on the front row, but had his muffler sheared off on the second lap.   … Back to Watts.  He was extremely happy but sort of subdued in victory lane.  He said later that the victory didn’t really set in until Tuesday after the event. …

PLACERVILLE SPEEDWAY NOTES (6/29/19):  Two words: Justin Sanders!  Two more words:  Two wins.  Yes, this one was officially the Marcel Cassulo Classic, but could’ve easily been renamed the Justin Sanders Showcase by the end of the night.  Mr. Sanders took no prisoners and claimed the Sprint Car Challenge Tour … AND … the King of the West-NARC features, driving for a pair of different car owners.  He dominated the 35-lapper SCCT main and outfoxed track veteran Andy Forsberg in traffic with less than two to go to steal the King of the West main.  And like all features at Placerville, this was a frenetic, hold your breath, don’t you dare blink affair. … With a combined $4400 in Marcel Cassulo lap money added to both payoffs and the $900 Double-Down bonus, Sanders probably sported a bounce in his step as he sauntered into his bank this week. … The “Century Club” made up the front row of the KWS feature – Forsberg and Sean Becker.  That can refer to either their combined wins at the Placerville, or maybe their combined age.  Your call! …  Kenny Allen performed the wheelie of the season in his heat.  Unfortunately, it was because the starting field checked up at the start of his heat race, causing him to jump the rear tire of DJ Netto and shoot up in the air.  By the time the car pirouetted and landed, just about everything you can bolt on a car was broke on the Ed Butterfield machine. … DJ Netto had an off-night finishing 13th and Bernal scored his second runner-up of the season.  Bernal left the event leading the championship standings by a single point. … The age-less CJ Humphreys finished 10th. … Back to Sanders. This was his second appearance of the King of the West-NARC season.  The first one was at the Bradway Memorial, where he also pocketed a huge purse and lap money.  His next race:  The Howard Kaeding Classic. Hmmm? … Scelzi jumped the turn one cushion “after” winning his heat race and flipped the Roth Motorsports KPC.  Lots of damage that caused him to miss the dash.  Said Scelzi after climbing from the wreckage, “that was dumb.” …  Thank you Jeff & Jennifer Pippin for making the first MCC a winner.

PETALUMA SPEEDWAY NOTES (7/13/19):  And finally, the return trip to Petaluma Speedway.  The fastest 3/8th mile oval in Northern California has had more than its fair share of drama and excitement this season.  First, the triple-OT KWS-NARC thriller won by Colby Copeland over Chase Johnson in June.  Then the SCCT Scelzi-Golobic scrum in early July, eventually won by Chase Johnson.  With that in mind, it only seemed logical that Chase Johnson would play a factor somewhere in this one. … After setting quick time and winning the Sunnyvalley bacon in the dash, Ryan Bernal was the man to beat in this 30-lapper.  Unfortunately, lap traffic had other plans after leading the first half of this show.  In the end, Johnson passed Bill Aton to score his second career King of the West-NARC win in front of his hometown crowd.  From yellow jacket stings, to blown motors, to a sweet victory is about as radical a swing as a team can endure.  And to top it off, it was done with a borrowed Shaver motor, because their regular powerplant wasn’t fixed yet. … Billy Aton second place.  Best ever 410 finish. … Willie Croft was third. … Klint Simpson was driving Ted Finkenbinders iconic 3F.  A surprised entry was Dave Lindt in the Petaluma-famous blue 52.  Unfortunately, their night ended with engine issues after qualifying. … Kenny Allen, second quick in qualifying. … Jonathan Allard drove Larry Antaya’s 16A to an eighth place finish.  He was subbing for Colby Copeland who was “Speedweek-ing” in Oregon. … DJ Netto earned the Hardcharger award, starting 14th and finished sixth.  Bernal rebounded from his lap traffic melee and scored tenth.  Bernal still leads by one. … Checkered was waved at a minute before 9:00 p.m. … It was the largest crowd of the season, according to promoter Rick Faeth! …  Chase Johnson became the sixth different winner this season.

So there you go!  Now you’re caught up and ready to move forward with our next two shows.  That would be the July 20th Howard Kaeding Classic at Ocean Speedway and a trip down to Santa Maria Raceway on July 27th.

The ninth annual HKC (presented by Al’s Roofing) is shaping up to be a gem.  The 30,000-foot view showcases a $30,000+ purse paying $5000 to win and $800 to start the 24-car feature.  Plus, there’s big money for fast time and hardcharger.  Throw in an “After-Hours” party after Friday’s Civil War race and the HKC luncheon on Saturday afternoon and you have an epic weekend in store.  This race weekend will help raise money for the NARC Benevolent Fund.  Make sure you stop by the Bullet Impressions trailer and pick up a benevolent fund t-shirt.  All proceeds go to the fund!  By the way, there’s a lot of work that goes making this a successful weekend, most of it handled by Bud and Brent Kaeding – plus a ton of sponsors who have contributed to the show.  We thank them all!

There will also be a special $1900 Williams Roofing Dash for Cash at Ocean.  Steve Williams has been extremely generous rewarding dedicated points chasers on the King of the West-NARC campaign each season.  He also gives away $100 per night to a lucky fan during the frisbee throw each night with the potential to give away $1000 to the feature event winner based on a fan pill draw.  Based on those pill draws so far this season, Kenny Allen, Sean Watts and Geoff Ensign have earned automatic starting spots in the four-lap dash, because they have competed in every event.  Ryan Bernal, Bud Kaeding, DJ Netto, Dominic Scelzi, Willie Croft and Nathan Rolfe will be drawing for the final starting spot.  The dash pays $1000 to win, $500 for second, $250 for third, and $150 for last.  Think about that for a second … $1000 for about 48 seconds worth of work!  Where do I sign up? …

A week later, it’s a trip to Santa Maria for some Winged Madness!  It’s been five-years since the King of the West 410 sprint cars invaded this action-packed facility.  And this one will feature a $2000 HammerDown! Wheelie Contest – $1000 to the winner.  As of right now, Bud Kaeding has officially entered.  Crew chief Paul Baines said that Tarlton Motorsports is considering entering, as well as Jenna Frazier.  Stay tuned for more on that.  Just think – $1000 for digging a rear nerf bar into the mud and shooting out a dirt rooster tail for about 100-yards.  Where do I sign up?

And finally, thank you for your support of sprint car racing!  Make sure that the next time you make it to a race – that you Bring a Friend.  Coming to you live from Auburn, CA.  See ya!