NARC NEWSLINE – OCTOBER 4, 2021, By Jim Allen, Okay race fans, we’re coming down the homestretch to our last four NARC King of the West Fujitsu Sprint Car Series races of the 2021 campaign. While that is somewhat of depressing statement to make, I think a majority of us are extremely grateful that we were able to enjoy a full season of open wheel racing this year. And even more grateful for that accomplishment in an almost post-Covid world where darn near everything seems to have negative overtones. With no intention of going political, or taking a stance on any specific issue, I appreciate sprint car racing (and motorsports in general) for what it is: A healthy dose of old school Americana and I’m proud to be part of that family. Better said, whenever I need a dose of sanity, it’s time to go to a dirt track for some open wheel chaos. As mixed up as that sounds, it makes perfect sense to all of us diehards. After all, it’s the little things in life that make it all worthwhile and enjoyable. Little things like standing and taking off our hats while the national anthem is played or reflecting for a solemn moment when our fallen heroes are honored. Also, witnessing the unique interaction and connection that our racing audience has with our competitors is among the best in sports. Everybody is family here! It’s not like you can walk up to LeBron James or Mike Trout after a game and get an autograph or a selfie, but you sure can with a Brad Sweet or a Dominic Scelzi. It’s about entertainment and family values, with no hidden agenda, and a chance to get a breather from some of the negativity that surrounds us. As always, we thank all of you for your support and hope you enjoyed playing in the dirt with us this season and much as we did.
Speaking of open wheel entertainment chaos, they say you should finish strong and that is exactly what we plan to do:
The highly anticipated Second Annual Morrie Williams Legends Tribute race takes place at Peter Murphy’s Keller Auto Speedway on Saturday, October 9th. This event represents a breath of fresh air as it conjures up something completely different; a racing event featuring Twin-20 main events.
For all of you at home taking notes, the first 20-lapper is lined up straight up by times and the second is completely inverted by the finish of the first race. (I know, I had you at “Twin-20.”) Teams are not allowed to change any tires unless they want to go to the very back of the pack for the second event (including behind the lapped cars.) It’s a unique format and if last season’s inaugural event was any preview, this type of show may represent the future of sprint car racing. On a worst-case scenario, it’s going to present infinite possibilities to build on. For those of you who need a quick 2020 refresher, Kyle Hirst edged Mitchell Faccinto in a wall-hopping photo-finish to steal away the first 20, and 11th starter Dominic Scelzi hopped in another “0” car that was towed in on an open trailer to win the second feature. Tim Kaeding, who finished fourth and second in the two events, tallied the most points to win the Legends Tribute bonus.
Each feature will pay $3200 to win and Peter Murphy, Ashley Smith & Katie Williams are still working on some other perks and bonuses. As of this moment in time, each 20-lap segment will pay $16,000 with the top five cashing out $3200, $1500, $1200, $1100, and $1000, respectively. It will pay $300 to start. On top of that there is a fast time bonus of $500, a dash winner kicker of $500, and the heat race winners will pocket an additional $200. On top of that, the overall champion will earn $2000 and the winning mechanic will also be pad his wallet to the tune of $400. And just to make sure our calendars are synchronized, the Morrie Williams race is the second night of racing at Keller Auto Speedway as the Friday show features SCCT 360’s and KoT410’s. Make a weekend out of it and catch ‘em both!
DID SOMEBODY SAY “ANTHONY SIMONE CLASSIC?” While many NARC-King of the West teams were disappointed to find out that the $21,000 to win Tom Tarlton Classic was transformed into a World of Outlaw show, it did open the door for another opportunity. Our Friday, October 29th show has evolved into the Anthony Simone Classic #1 and will feature a winged and non-winged NARC feature event. Yes, you read that correctly! The winged show will pay $7,000 to win the feature honoring the original “Mr. Excitement.” And it’s not a top-heavy adventure as second and third pays $5000 and $3000, respectively.
Now here is where things get interesting. The five-lap (yes, only five) six-car heat races will be lined up straight up by times and the top two finishers make the dash. Better said, if a driver isn’t sitting high in the seat with his elbows up at the start, it’s going to be a long night. There will be 10-cars in the dash (10 like in Anthony’s car number), and they will run 10-laps fully inverted by times. How they finish is how they start the 30-lap Fujitsu General USA headliner. No pill draw. Now if that doesn’t get you pumped up, you better check to see if you still have a pulse.
But as they say in the ShamWow infomercials … “but wait, there is more!”
Once that event is over, drivers will have the option to run a 20-lap non-wing NARC-sanctioned feature. The top ten will be inverted based on the finish of the winged race. Now this is NOT a mandatory race for NARC-King of the West teams, but many have already shown interest in going topless for this non-winged showcase. It will pay $3000 to win and at least $300 to start. So, if you do regular math like me – and not that common core stuff – that’s $10,000 to a driver who can win both. That “10” once again represents Anthony’s car number. (If you are doing common core math, you’ll come up with that same number in about 30 minutes.) I can already see the likes of a Shane Golobic and Bud Kaeding stroking their chin pondering the possibilities. And Chase Johnson and Ryan Bernal also come up as hot commodities for this night of racing.
How is it going to work? Teams will be given approximately 40-minutes to convert their cars from winged to non-winged in the infield work area in front of God and everyone while the USAC Midget feature is being run. Tire changes are allowed, but axle changes are not. With all the twists and turns, this overall event is awarding a flat 100 “show up” points to all teams. And it sure beats an event cancellation. This is a concept that we’ve been talking about for several years and now it’s going to become a reality. (I know Shawn Thomas is happy!)
Once the winged/non-winged extravaganza is in the books, we will have nailed down three consecutive races at Hanford and have only have two events remaining. The Simone race is the front end of a two-day Central California roadshow that will take the NARC King of the West Fujitsu Sprint Car Series down to Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield on Saturday (October 30th).
The following weekend, Saturday, November 6th to be exact, the popular Tribute to Gary Patterson will close out the season at the Stockton Dirt Track. This one will also feature the Sprint Car Challenge Tour. Just in case that’s not enough entertainment for one night, the one-and-only-and-very-legendary Steve Kinser will be in the house signing autographs.
CHAMPIONSHIP AWARDS CELEBRATION: As has become a new NARC tradition, the NARC King of the West series will honor its champions and pay out the 2021-point fund at our Champions Celebration Brunch on Sunday, November 7th – the morning after the Stockton race. It will take place on at the Brookside Country Club in Stockton, a beautiful private club that provides an excellent venue. Their food, drinks and service are all five-star worthy. Tickets are $40 each and includes a gigantic breakfast buffet, a NARC Benevolent Fund auction, your favorite race teams, and a ton of Dean Mills-produced videos from the 2021 season. Fans are welcome and encouraged to attend. Contact me to get your tickets.
In the unlikely event the November 6th show rains out and gets postponed or cancelled, the awards celebration will go off as planned. A rescheduled show would award a flat 75 points (per our rulebook) so the standings would not change. Unfortunately, when you book a venue like this, the date is set in concrete. Sort of sounds like my first wedding.
NARC NOTES: How cool was it to see 15-year-old Corey Day win his first NARC feature at the Jim Turner Memorial? We all had a feeling it was coming; we just didn’t know when. Day started sixth in the Meyers Construction 14 and battled to take the lead away from veteran Tim Kaeding on lap 13. I’m not sure who had the biggest smile at the checkered, Corey or his dad Ronnie! … Day became the second first time winner this season, joining Billy Aton. That’s the first time we have added two new names to the winners list since 2017. … Just in case you missed it, Rick Faeth recently announced that his contract to operate Petaluma Speedway has been extended through the 2023 season. Wish we could say the same for Calistoga, or Santa Maria! … Random thought: Have you ever noticed the boat load of enthusiastic kids at Monster Truck events? We need to duplicate that attendance at sprint car shows! … Here is a eye-opening list for you. These drivers have not claimed a King of the West feature this season (yet): Bud Kaeding, Shane Golobic, Willie Croft, and Austin McCarl. Also beating on the door for career win number one would be Joel Myers Jr., Tanner Carrick, Mitchel Moles, and Ryan Robinson. … Who is going to win more NARC-King of the West features this season? Justin Sanders (who has four), or Dominic Scelzi (who has five.) …
MIKE ANDREETA UPDATE: As most of you know, our Director of Competition Mike Andreetta took an unplanned ambulance ride to the hospital after the Labor Day weekend. He passed out at work and luckily the staff at Tognottis dialed 911. The good news is he didn’t have a stroke. The bad news was that he was admitted to Kaiser Hospital with bleeding on the brain from an apparent fall. Nobody is exactly sure where or how that fall took place. Luckily, no surgery was required but the healing process has been slow. Mike was treated in the ICU for three weeks and was recently released to a rehabilitation facility where he will undergo extensive physical therapy. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him soon.
And finally, based on everything being accented in pink, it’s a reminder that October is officially Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I’m always aware! Are you?
Coming to you live from Auburn, CA. See ya!