NARC NEWSLINE – November 1, 2020, By Jim Allen … Here’s something that has never been said in the 61-year history of the Northern Auto Racing Club during the month of October:  “Welcome to our third race of the season!”  Such was the case when the King of the West Fujitsu 410 Sprint Car Series pulled through the Keller Auto Speedway pit gate in Hanford on October 10th.   Rest assured, we all agree that having only three races before Halloween sucks on many different levels, but what we have lacked in quantity, we have made up for with quality. I know that sound like a cliché’ marketing slogan but it would pass my polygraph test.  And be thankful because without that, we would all be shuffling like a Zombie down the Tequila aisle at Bevmo! or be in desperate need of strong prescription meds.

The inaugural Morrie Williams Legends Tribute lived up to that mantra of a good quality event.  For the first time since … well … I really can’t remember … if ever … we ran a pair of twin 20-main events on the same program.  The first one straight up by times, and the second completely inverted by the finish of the first 20.  Yup, the fast guys charging from the back reminiscent of the 1970’s non-wing days of NARC.  If you were nostalgic enough, you were probably walking through the pit area looking for the likes of LeRoy Van Connect, Hank Butcher, Rick Horton, and Johnny Anderson.

It’s not every day that you can drop this type of event on a NARC King of the West racing schedule.  But without a 2020 championship being pursued, and everyone eager to honor the late great Morrie Williams, it became a reality.  It started at the top with promoter Peter Murphy doing what he does best by putting on his “Sprint Car Ambassador” hat and talking it up.  This included many conversations with local officials who are basically handcuffed by PP (Pandemic Politics) in Sacramento.  But with less than a month remaining before the scheduled race day, it was cleared for launch.  At that point, Ashley Smith caffeinated-up and hustled extra sponsorship support for the show that eventually sported a healthy $28,000 purse.  Not bad for having to run only 10 extra action-packed feature event laps.

What made this event really, really work was an exceptional multiple-line racing surface that promoted great wheel-to-wheel racing.  Although he will never admit it before the event, Peter Murphy was a little stressed because he knew an excellent track surface was 100% mandatory for this 20/20 in 2020.  A hooked up first 20, followed by a rubber-down back 20 would have been disastrous.  In the end, Murphy deserved a nice frosty Fosters beer for what he delivered!  Drivers were charging from deep in the pack and it was “edge of the seat” type of open wheel entertainment.

One of the best things about this show was it had a storybook ending that few could have predicted.  After all, what are the odds of two different Williams Motorsports white ZERO cars winning the two features?  (Well, that one might actually have good odds.)  And what is the numerical probability that one of those winning cars was towed to Hanford on an open trailer?  That hasn’t happened at a NARC race since the early 1990’s.  Kyle Hirst’s cushion-riding final lap, wheel-hopping photo finish over Mitchell Faccinto had America vaulting off their couches with a massive beer-spilling adrenalin rush.  It was the sixth lead change in the first 20-laps.  Dominic Scelzi’ s methodical charge to the front in the second main after starting 11th was a gem also.  You can chalk up some of that success to a pair of master crew chiefs by the name of Sean Grealy and Ashley Smith.

In the end, it was a great Katie Scott, Hirst, Scelzi, Grealy, Smith & crew photograph in victory lane that served as a perfect legends tribute to Morrie Williams.

Two races, two winners. Kyle Hirst and Dominic Scelzi got it done! Photo by Ashley Grealy.

MORRIE WILLIAMS RACE NOTES:  One of the more impressive performances was by 2005 series champ Sean Becker in the Dan Monhoff #35 machine.  He started 10th and took the lead from Kyle Hirst in the late going of the first event, only to have the caution wave and revert back a lap.  That got Hirst sitting high in the seat with his elbows-up the rest of the way.  Becker ended up with a front row seat for the crazy Hirst/Mitchell Faccinto wheel-to-wheel scuffle at the checkered.  The “Shark” started 17th in the second feature and fought his way to fourth.  That was good enough to finish second in the overall standings, only one spot behind Tim Kaeding. … Speaking of Kaeding, he was on a mission during the final laps of the night, getting past Becker and Ryan Robinson during the last 1 ½ laps.  That was worth an additional $1000 and something everybody needs, a Budweiser acoustic guitar. … Iowa’s Austin McCarl was the featured driver in the Roth Motorsports 83JR and was a rocket from the first second he stomped on the loud pedal.  He set quick time, picked off his heat race, and claimed the Sunnyvalley Bacon dash to start on the pole. At this point, it looked like he was going to pull a “Spencer Bayston repeat of June 20th” and sweep the night.  But racing is unpredictable, otherwise we would be doing something else on our weekends.  He ended up eighth and fifth in the two 20’s. …

… Earning the Hardcharger award proved to be lucrative.  Sean Becker (10th to 3rd) and Tim Kaeding (16th to 2nd) ended up with the honors.  Each pocketed $400 from Swift Metal Finishing and Alan Cade, plus a Hoosier right rear tire. … Two-days before the event, Tarlton Motorsports announced that Bud Kaeding was their driver for the Morrie Williams event.  Wasn’t expecting that?  The familiar BK Racing 69 sported a 360 powerplant which he used to claim the Kings of Thunder 360 Cotton Classic race over Mr. Scelzi. … Yes, that was Sean Grealy sporting white coveralls honoring Mr. Williams. …  No tire changes were allowed during the intermission unless the team wanted their car to start the second 20 at the very back (even behind the lapped cars).  Most knew it, but some got sidetracked.  The Country Builders team inadvertently changed a LR tire and had to start dead last in feature number two. Otherwise, Kyle Offill would have started in the fourth row. … When Stan Greenberg and Mitchell Faccinto were asked if they were considering a RR tire change during intermission, they answered they couldn’t if they wanted to.  Their spare was on their 360.  The Williams Motorsports team changed the RR on Hirst car after the win figuring they had nothing to lose.  Hirst pulled off only 11 laps in with motor issues. … Yes, that was Burt Foland Jr. driving a 410-powered sprint car. … Ryan Robinson led the first 15-laps of the second feature in Mike Phulps #56. … Blake Carrick was impressive battling for the lead midway through the first main.  He finished fifth.  Tanner Carrick finished sixth in the second race. …  Kyle Hirst captured Friday nights Kings of Thunder 410 feature at Hanford.  Yes, that was Sean Watts who set quick time. …

… We would like to thank all the sponsors of the event once again.  They include:  EMADCO, Southern Pacific Farms, Fujitsu General, Tiner/Hirst Enterprises, Ashley Smith, Johnstone Supply,, Kistler Racing Engines, Prior Engineering, Kimo’s Tropical Car Wash, Hoosier Tire West, Roth Motorsports, Dan Bandy, Kevin Shearer Design and Peter Murphy. …

NARC NOTES:  We know there isn’t a NARC-KWS championship points race this season due to the COVID challenged schedule.  But, if there was, Tim Kaeding and car owners Joshua Bates/Roger Hamilton would be on top of the standings.  Kaeding leads Mitchell Faccinto by five points and the car owner duo has a three-point advantage over Tarlton Motorsports.  Kaeding will be competing with the Outlaws at the season finale, so the mythical 2020 championship driver’s battle is up for grabs.  The Bates-Hamilton team is expected to announce their cameo driver soon.  No matter what happens, this will be a great trivia question a decade or two down the road: “Who won the 2020 NARC King of the West championships that didn’t count?”Dennis Roth was presented with the prestigious Dave Bradway Jr. Inspirational Trophy at Hanford.  Roth’s contributions to sprint car racing could easily fill a Hall of Fame. Team Manager Todd Ventura accepted the award on his behalf because Dennis was home nursing a sore back.  However, he was watching the presentation on

… It’s also time for a random shout out to Keller Motorsports motor sponsor Mike Mitchell Construction.  He is a General Contractor out of Paso Robles who actively supports the 410-motor program of the Keller’s and driver JJ Ringo.  This sport isn’t cheap, and we need all the Mike Mitchell’s we can get.  Thank him if you get a chance (  Better yet, do business with him if the opportunity presents itself.  Please support those who support sprint car racing. …  Mike Andreetta and Chris Good will be presenting the Billy Albini Mechanic of the Year Award at the season finale.  Expect this award to recognize past crew chief superheroes as well as current ones because there are a lot of noteworthy candidates that need to be put on a pedestal. …  Enjoyed a nice conversation with Greg DeCaires in the Hanford pits.  DeCaires just finished up radiation cancer treatments and is now in the recovery mode – ready to tackle regular life again and go back to work.  What started out as a little lump became serious, but he got a jump on it and got treated  We traded cancer recovery stories and concluded that we were glad we both acted fast.  Not to provide any medical advice here, but we ask that all of you race fans do the same.  Go to the doctor and get a physical once a year.  You’ll live longer! … The 2021 season opener?  How about March 13th at Kern County Raceway Park!

WHAT’S NEXT?  Well, the only thing better than three NARC King of the West 410 races in 2020, would be four.  Stockton Dirt Track promoter Tony Noceti, who has been chomping at the bit since March to get the lights turned on, finally got an approval to stage a racing event (without mufflers no less.)  It will be the November 7th Tribute to Gary Patterson.  Are the grandstands open for front gate general admission?  NO …, BUT …, that’s not any fault of anyone in the racing community.  However, and this is a big HOWEVER, there will be two types of pit passes offered to accommodate an “in person” experience.  Stay with me here and read between the lines.  All racing team participants, diehard supporters and people staying in the pit area will purchase the normal (HOT) pit pass.  For this event, there will also be a COLD PASS sold at the front gate tunnel for race sponsors/family & fanatics.  A $30 cold pass will get you into the pits until racing gets underway around 5:00 p.m.

At that point, all “Cold-Passers” will be funneled back into the main grandstand area, where they can safely enjoy the 37th Annual GP race, along with 360 racing on the 4/10th mile dirt oval. Make sense?  It’s what has to be done to play within the regulations that were provided.

As part of our standard public service announcement, please note that the normal California COVID-19 safety protocols are in full effect:  Wear a mask, practice social distancing, and don’t sing, chant, chew tobacco, bob for apples, share a Kleenex, sit at a bar, spit out your gum or sunflower seeds, French kiss a homeless person, play a kazoo, get your nails done, trade bodily fluids in the parking lot, travel to Wuhan, use a friends toothbrush or earplugs, pick your teeth with a business card, work out with gym equipment, cough, sneeze, touch your face, hold hands, or … use a plastic straw or bag.  And for God’s sake, if you don’t feel good, please stay at home, and watch the festivities on

Coming to you live from Auburn, CA.  See ya.

Tim Kaeding claimed the overall Morrie Williams Twin 20’s title. Photo by Brian Ratchford