NARC NEWSLINE – August 2, 2020, By Jim Allen … Let’s face it, motorsports in general has been pretty lucky over the past 120-days or so. While just about every sport on the planet was completely shut down due to the COVID-19 panic, racing was the first to get its game face back and actually put on some events. True, it’s been a little like the Twilight Zone without spectators in the main grandstands, but it’s better than nothing. The best way to describe “fan-less” events would be to say it’s sort of like showing up to a family reunion and then finding out you got the date wrong. At that point you just make the best of the situation. Then again, many race fans have told me that they really haven’t sacrificied much (if anything) as they sprawl out on their leather couch, watching Floracing.com on a giant flat screen, drinking hard alcohol, with fresh food served hot off the BBQ. And let’s not forget there is never a line for the bathroom. I guess if you ever had to compromise without a mask on, that’s not a bad way to go!
Now don’t get me wrong, this coronavirus deal really sucks ass – whether you buy into the big picture or not. Yes, we are all upset that racing events play in front of full grandstands in the Midwest, but four family members going to church on Sunday or not wearing masks at a Costco in California is a punishable crime. Throw in all of the other drama in the United States and it gets even worse as the human race starves for anything resembling normalcy. For race promoters, normalcy has been trying to find a way to struggle through some racing shows as their livelihood gets threatened forever. Placerville, Petaluma, Ocean, Keller Auto, and Marysville have managed to squeeze in some weekly shows and generate some grocery money. On the other side, Calistoga, Tulare, Santa Maria, Kern County and Stockton are laying on the mat like a bloodied UFC fighter with a crumpled financial statement in their hands. It’s not pretty and you would be able to see that distress on every promoters face if it weren’t for the fact it’s hidden behind a mask. Now top it off with no Knoxville Nationals, no Trophy Cup and the medical profession is wondering why prescriptions for anti-depressants are going through the roof. Which brings me to my next question: Has anybody got COVID-19 at a race track? I didn’t think so!
KELLER AUTO SPEEDWAY (Season Opener – 6/20/20) … A NARC season opener in June? Are you kidding me? What’s next, Thanksgiving in July? But seriously, thank you to Keller Auto Speedway promoter Peter Murphy for working with us to generate enough sponsorship money and back gate proceeds to sport a full paying purse on June 20th. Twenty-nine cars towed down to Hanford to race in 103-degree heat with a full set of COVID-19 health guidelines to follow. Also making the call was 20 RaceSavers and 14 Kings of Thunder non-wing machines. The pit gate was backed up bumper-to-bumper like Los Angeles rush hour as releases were signed and body temperatures were scanned. And wearing a mask in 100-degree plus weather is about as comfortable as telling your mother-in-law you have an illegitimate kid with a stripper in Kansas. But we all survived to watch Spencer Bayston represent the Hoosier state with an impressive fast time-heat race win-dash win-and feature win domination on the 3/8 mile oval. Tarlton Motorsports crew chief Paul Baines had Bayston dialed in and on a wire with a perfect race car after a previous series of weekly show” off-nights.” Seventh starter Bud Kaeding kept the Indiana driver honest in the late going, but Bayston answered the call to become the 84th winner in series history. My compliments to Bayston who is very well spoken and professional with a microphone in his face.
… Roseville’s Jodie Robinson was excited like a kid on Christmas morning making her first ever 410 start. She logged a 16th place finish in the feature. Running a 410 at Hanford for the first time clarifies the statement of getting “thrown to the wolves.” … Michael Faccinto impressed driving a 360 for Harley Van Dyke. Starting 23rd and staying out of trouble, Faccinto methodically picked his way to a ninth place finish. The team earned $150 from Swift Metal Finishing and another $300 from super fan Rick Freund. … It was also Trent Canales first ever race driving a 410 sprint car. He finished fifth in the semi. … Brendan Warmerdam took a wild ride in the main. He jammed a rut in turn one and catapulted deep into the shadows of downtown Hanford. He exited the car with a smile on his face and smirked, “that was a wild ride.” We totally agree. … Tim Kaeding, driving the Bates-Hamilton Maxim started 10th and finished the night on the podium with a third. … With absolutely no racing going on in the COVID-19 hotbed of Southern California, AJ Bender made the tow to Hanford from San Diego. The non-wing ace qualified for the feature, but finished 21st. … Kurt Nelson was the first car to qualify during the 2020 season. … Tucker Worth: Semi-winner. … Four-time NARC King of the West champ Kyle Hirst made his first appearance aboard the Katie Williams Motorsports “0” car. Started seventh, finished sixth. …
… Thank you to Roth Motorsport, Tarlton Motorsports, Dalton’s, Speedshift and Fujitsu General USA for their tremendous support of this show. … The King of the West feature ran first and finished around 10:45 p.m. The non-wing cars didn’t finish their race until about midnight. …. Yes that was Dominic Scelzi who has spent most of 2020 zigging and zagging between California events and shows in the Midwest. Problem is, he lost track of his racing gear and returned to the Golden State without a uniform or helmet. He improvised with an old helmet and a uniform that belonged to his dad Gary from his drag racing days. He finished seventh in the Roth Motorsports KPC. … If you needed proof that hair salons and barbers have been closed for a while in California, a quick trip through the pit area would have proved it. … Nobody died from COVID-19.
OCEAN SPEEDWAY (Howard Kaeding Classic – 7/18/20) … Usually when you read the box score and you see something like: “Kyle Hirst 1-30,” you kind of figure it was a cake walk and as exciting as watching paint dry. However, never judge a book by it’s cover and if you need proof, all you had to do was to take a look at Mr. Hirst when he exited the Williams Motorsports Maxim in victory lane. He was happy and smiling, but sweating up a storm and admitting he was winded. That’s because Justin Sanders pushed, challenged and attacked him the entire distance in a classic Ocean Speedway battle that theoretically would have had a packed grandstands buzzing with excitement. It was a great race with both drivers getting completely out of shape at times, but bouncing off the mat to continue the open wheel skirmish. … Spencer Bayston charged from 15th to third in the Tarlton Motorsports KPC. However, it was Sanders who pocketed the $500 Spire Sport & Entertainment HK Classic weekend bonus without passing a car on Saturday. Sanders roared past 14 cars on the Friday night show (20th-6th) to score the money. Ironically, Sanders and his crew had built a brand new car in the wee hours of the Friday morning for Saturday’s show. According to Sanders the car wasn’t quite right after sustaining damage in an ASCoC race a month prior. I think he got his monies worth. …
The Keller Motorsports 2 car driven by James Ringo sported a 410 motor on loan from Larry Antaya. … Joey Ancona was a happy camper after pocketing $250 from Johnstone Supply for his semi-win. … Kyle Offill was a no show on Saturday after destroying his car in an ugly heat race crash at Friday’s Taco Bravo show. … DJ Netto, the winner on Friday night, appeared headed towards a weekend sweep when he started with fast time. He pocketed $500 from Norm Martin and ARP for his 12.041 seconds worth of work. Good work if you can get it! Unfortunately, his 88N developed a few battle scars in the feature and dropped out after 15-laps. … Blake Carrick scored his second NARC top ten of the season at Ocean. He scored sixth. … The hired gun for the HK Classic in the Roth Motorsports ride was Ryan Bernal. He was ninth. … While some drivers were enjoying just their second or third outing of the year, Shane Golobic has already toured all around the country and logged over 35 shows. He finished second on Friday and seventh on this night. … You can pretty much count on the Howard Kaeding Classic being a 40-lap main next year. … There was a scaled-down HK Classic Luncheon in the pits with proceeds benefiting the NARC Benevolent Fund. A $20 donation got you some of the best food that Myles McAtee and his crew could serve up. It was worth every finger-licking cent. … There was a 35+ temperature swing between the Hanford event at the Watsonville show. A great way to spend a summer night. … Nobody died from COVID-19.
… And finally, a special thank you to Bud Kaeding for all of his hard work that make the 10th Annual event a possibility, and then a reality. It wasn’t a mistake that this show paid $5000 to win and $800 to start. He worked the phones and relationships to generate a stout $36,000 in prize money. Just think of what it would’ve been with spectators in the grandstands? Of course all of this would have not be possible without the tremendous support of all of the sponsors who contributed. Thank you very much!
NARC NOTES: With his HK win, Hirst passed Steve Kent into fourth place on the NARC-King of the West all-time winners list with 29 victories. … There is a remote possibility of a NARC King of the West Fujitsu Sprint Car Series race on Saturday, September 5th. Nothing has been finalized and a whole lot of planets need to align to make it a reality. That’s all we are saying at this point. Stay tuned! … Just in case you missed it, the NARC King of the West series is not crowning a championship team or rookie of the year this season (for obvious reasons.) … After watching several races on PPV, it’s my opinion that it’s imperative to speed up shows – and that is with a nice refreshing adult beverage in my hands while sitting on my couch eating barbecued ribs. The down time between races is grueling. … The more I learn about driver McKenna Haase, the more impressed I am. This girl has a huge heart and has it going on. … Kyle Larson is in the midst of one of the greatest seasons in sprint car history. “Yung Money” is a generational talent. Enjoy it while you have the opportunity.
Coming to you live from Auburn, CA! See ya!