(10/29/2021 – Alex Nieten) Hanford, CA… Though he prides himself on being one of sprint car racing’s most consistent drivers, Shane Golobic doesn’t come to the racetrack to run second.
Heading into Friday night’s Anthony Simone Classic at Hanford’s Keller Auto Speedway, Golobic had finished in the runner-up spot five times in 410-competition since his last 410 win in November of 2019 with the NARC-King of the West Fujitsu Sprint Cars.
The Fremont native appeared headed for yet another second-place result at the Kings County track, but a determined Golobic refused to settle and earned both his 13th career victory and 50th career podium with NARC-King of the West in the Anthony Simone Classic.
“It’s pretty cool to win in honor of Anthony,” Golobic said in victory lane. “I didn’t have the chance to be really good buddies with him, but anytime we parked near him in the pit area he was nothing but cool to me. I always remember him as one of the coolest, most unique guys in the pits. It really means a lot to get this win in honor of him.”
The 30-lap Fujitsu Feature kicked off with Sean Becker on pole and Golobic to his outside. Becker paced the field early in his Starr Property Management/Morrison Concrete No. 83V on a hooked-up Hanford surface as Golobic and Bud Kaeding loomed behind him.
The leaders hammered around the tacky bottom groove and quickly approached traffic, but the yellow flag flew just as the front of the field was about to enter slower cars as Sean Watts stopped on the back stretch.
When racing resumed hometown hero DJ Netto ripped around Kaeding to climb onto the podium but then got out of shape on the next circuit, dropping him to sixth. Shortly after Netto’s mishap the caution came out again, this time for a stopped Justin Sanders in turn three.
The ensuing restart saw Golobic briefly take the lead from Becker, but the pass was negated by the reg flag coming out for a vicious flip in turn one from Michael Faccinto. Faccinto climbed from the car uninjured. The wreck prompted an open red as officials wanted teams to have to opportunity to adjust on their cars for safety purposes considering the lightning-fast track conditions.
Becker learned from the previous start and didn’t allow Golobic to grab the top spot on the restart. Golobic, piloting the NOS Energy Drink/Elk Grove Ford No. 17W hung right with Becker as the pair again neared the tail of the field.
Just as it appeared Becker would get some breathing room when Golobic bobbled out of turn two, Becker went a little too high in turn four on lap 13, allowing Golobic to slip by for the lead, one he would not relinquish.
“That front row starting spot was huge,” Golobic said of what helped him get the lead. “I didn’t get a very good start. Sean (Becker) actually got a really good launch on the outside there at the beginning, so I knew it was going to come down to traffic, and luckily he made a mistake in traffic and I was able to sneak by.”
After taking over the lead, Golobic didn’t let up. He built a comfortable advantage, picking off slower cars while Becker, Kaeding, Cory Eliason and Joel Myers Jr. all ran close together but stuck behind traffic.
Ultimately Golobic cruised to the victory with a huge lead and the $10,000 payday thanks to his expertise navigating the slower cars.
“Coming through lap traffic is huge on a racetrack like this,” Golobic said. “I had a couple close calls and obviously that’s how I was able to get Sean. It’s all about bouncing the right way and trying to position yourself as best as possible. Those guys that are racing back there are racing hard too.”
Cory Eliason climbed onto the podium on the final lap in his Rudeen Racing No. 26 after Bud Kaeding’s left-rear tire went down just short of the finish.
Completing the top-10 was Joel Myers Jr., DJ Netto, Tyler Courtney, Corey Day, Bud Kaeding, Kyle Hirst and Rico Abreu.
Tyler Courtney scored the special 15-lap non-wing feature to honor Anthony Simone that followed the winged main event to become the first NARC wingless winner since 1985.
FUJITSU GENERAL USA WINGED FEATURE (30 laps): 1. Shane Golobic 17W 2. Sean Becker 83V 3. Cory Eliason 26 4. Joel Myers Jr. 46JR 5. DJ Netto 88N 6. Tyler Courtney 83 7. Corey Day 14 8. Bud Kaeding 69 9. Kyle Hirst 0 10. Rico Abreu 24 11. Dominic Scelzi 41S 12. Keith Day Jr. 22 13. Ryan Bernal 21 14. Bill Balog 7 15. Billy Aton 26X 16. Sean Watts 98 17. Tim Estenson 14T 18. Austin McCarl 88 19. Justin Sanders 57 20. Ryan Timms 5T 21. Mauro Simone 10 22. Michael Faccinto 56 23. Blake Carrick 38B 24. Tim Kaeding 42 25. JJ Hickle 63.
HOOSIER TIRE LAP LEADERS: Becker 1-12, Golobic 13-30
SWIFT METAL FINISHING HARDCHARGER: Ryan Bernal 22nd to 13th
FUJITSU GENERAL USA “NON-WINGED” FEATURE (15 laps): 1. Tyler Courtney 83 2. Bill Balog 7 3. Ryan Bernal 21 4. Max Adams 42XL 5. Billy Aton 26X 6. Sean Becker 83V 7. Bud Kaeding 69
HOOSIER TIRE LAP LEADERS: Courtney 1-15
SUNNYVALLEY BACON TROPHY DASH (10-laps): Shane Golobic, Sean Becker, Bud Kaeding, DJ Netto, Joel Myers Jr., Tyler Courtney, Michael Faccinto, Cory Eliason, Justin Sanders, Corey Day.
BROWN AND MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS HEAT RACE ONE (6 laps): DJ Netto, Dominic Scelzi, Bud Kaeding, Sean Becker, Tim Estenson, Keith Day Jr., Ryan Timms
FUJITSU HEAT RACE TWO (6 laps): Justin Sanders, Sean Watts, Kyle Hirst, Joel Myers Jr., Billy Aton, Blake Carrick
FLORACING HEAT RACE THREE (6 laps): Austin McCarl, Cory Eliason, Tim Kaeding, Bill Balog, Shane Golobic, Mitchel Moles, JJ Hickle
KAEDING PERFORMANCE HEAT RACE FOUR (6 laps): Rico Abreu, Michael Faccinto, Tyler Courtney, Corey Day, Mauro Simone, Ryan Bernal, Max Adams
WILWOOD HEAT RACE FIVE (6 laps): Keith Day Jr., Sean Becker, Bud Kaeding, Tim Estenson, DJ Netto, Ryan Timms, Dominic Scelzi
PYROTECT HEAT RACE SIX (6 laps): Joel Myers Jr., Kyle Hirst, Blake Carrick, Justin Sanders, Sean Watts, Billy Aton
SCHOENFELD HEAT RACE SEVEN (6 laps): Shane Golobic, Cory Eliason, JJ Hickle, Bill Balog, Tim Kaeding, Austin McCarl, Mitchel Moles
SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS HEAT EIGHT (6 laps): Corey Day, Tyler Courtney, Michael Faccinto, Ryan Bernal, Max Adama, Mauro Simone, Rico Abreu
KAEDING PERFORMANCE LAST-CHANCE RACE (12-laps): JJ Hickle, Ryan Bernal, Billy Aton, Ryan Timms, Mauro Simone, Max Adams, Geoffrey Strole