(11/9/2021 – Alex Nieten) Stockton, CA… The 2021 NARC-King of the West Fujitsu Sprint Car campaign officially concluded Sunday afternoon with the Champions Celebration Brunch and Awards Banquet taking place at the scenic Brookside Country Club in Stockton.
The event came just a day after the Tribute to GP season finale, a race that gave NARC-King of the West a perfect record in 2021. After COVID-19 slashed 2020’s schedule to four events, neither the pandemic nor weather claimed a race this year as all twenty nights were completed.
Bud Kaeding, Auctioneer Extraordinaire
Prior to the hardware being presented to this year’s top-10 finishers in points along with a handful of other honors, the NARC Benevolent Fund auction set the stage for a fun afternoon. The Benevolent Fund goes toward helping injured racers and their families in times of need.
Master of ceremonies and NARC GM, Jim Allen, passed the microphone off to a lively Bud Kaeding.
Kaeding, who may or may not have been powered by a few adult beverages, was tasked with being the day’s auctioneer for items generously donated by Joe Shivak, Katie Williams of Williams Motorsports, Brent Kaeding, Dennis Roth of Roth Motorsports and Jim Allen.
The energetic Kaeding used some creative mathematics to help raise the bids, and the attendees were happy to play along with the money heading to the benevolent fund. After a FaceTime call from an absent but hard at work D.J. Netto, a PG-13 performance by Bud Kaeding and Dominic Scelzi and other shenanigans, more than $10,000 was raised for a great cause.
Reluctantly, Kaeding passed the mic back off to Allen to continue the proceedings.
The prestigious Billy Albini Mechanic of the Year was handed to a much deserving Jimmy Carr. The former driver and legendary mechanic worked his magic to help guide eventual champion Dominic Scelzi to a dominant season. A common theme of Scelzi’s victory lane interviews this year became heaving praise on Carr for his impact.
Benicia’s Billy Aton spent his fair share of time at the podium after collecting both the Johnstone Supply Rooke of the Year with a sixth-place finish in the standings and the Swift Metal Finishing Hardcharger by passing a whopping 104 cars in feature event competition in 2021.
A Part of History
The drivers who made up the top-10 in the 2021 standings therefore cementing themselves in West Coast racing history were also honored.
Though he finished eleventh in points, Geoffrey Strole was brought to the stage and presented with a point fund check for his efforts. Strole demonstrably improved each night out with California’s toughest series, his highlight coming at the Faria Memorial hosted by Thunderbowl Raceway when he earned the Hardcharger award and a top-10.
One of the latest in California’s perpetually growing crop of gassers who aren’t even old enough to drive a car on the street on their own, Joel Myers Jr., finished 10th in points.
Fremont’s Shane Golobic wound up ninth. The Matt Wood Racing pilot tallied the second most podiums and top-fives while not even running the entire schedule.
Another driver who might’ve been in the title fight had they completed the entire schedule was a spot ahead of Golobic, Justin Sanders. The Ocean Speedway ace won at Petaluma early in the season in Larry Antaya’s 16A but battled bad luck at a few tracks before missing a pair of events in July. Sanders came back aboard the Paul Silva-prepared Works Limited No. 57 and won four of the season’s final eleven races.
Seventh was Sean Watts who completed the entire season in his Billet America No. 98.
The aforementioned Billy Aton came home sixth and collected a respectable seven top-10 finishes along with his inaugural series win.
The top-five began with 2005 series titlist, Sean Becker. The Shark’s year was highlighted by a $6900 win in the Howard Kaeding Classic that kickstarted he and the Vertullo Motorsports team best stretch of the year of six top-10s in seven races.
Racecar driver turned auctioneer, Bud Kaeding, took the mic again for a fourth-place speech. The 2017 champ started out hot with top-fives in five of the opening six races but struggled throughout July and onward. Kaeding’s finish marked his seventh consecutive season in the top-five in points.
Sprint car racing legend, Tim Kaeding, earned third place honors. TK picked up a pair of victories, the 70th and 71st of his NARC career, and had an impressive streak of eleven consecutive top-10s at one point during the season.
The 2019 champion, D.J. Netto, claimed the runner-up spot. Known for being one of the series most consistent drivers, Netto put together his sixth straight season of earning top-10s in more than 75% of the races.
The proceedings wrapped up appropriately with the crowning of Dominic Scelzi as 2021 champion. Though he faced some early season challenges from Bud Kaeding and D.J. Netto, Scelzi ultimately distanced himself with one of the most impressive seasons in series history, finishing up the 21 feature events with six victories, 13 podiums and 16 top-fives.
For final championship point standings and statistics, GO HERE!
For a 2021 season highlight video, CLICK HERE!