(12/9/2021 – Alex Nieten) Sacramento, CA… After the disappointment of 2020’s pandemic shortened season, the NARC King of the West Fujitsu General USA Sprint Cars resurged in 2021 with a 21-race schedule that was punctuated with the crowning of a new champion.
The first quarter of the campaign offered a good indicator of how the year would ultimately play out.
The four who would prove to be the strongest competitors of the full-time roster all delivered strong starts to the season. D.J. Netto began his title defense by dominating the season opener at The Stockton Dirt Track and followed it with top-10s in the next four races.
Dominic Scelzi scored the year’s second event by claiming the Peter Murphy Classic and the $11,000 check that went with it. Outside of a DNF at Ocean Speedway, Scelzi finished no worse than fifth in the opening five events and picked up his second victory at the Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial Race.
Though he didn’t win a race in the opening fourth of the season, Bud Kaeding’s consistency led him to the best overall start of any driver. Through five races the 2017 series champion had tallied a pair of podiums, four top-fives and an average finish of fourth.
Bud’s brother, Tim Kaeding started the year with four consecutive top-10s including a win in Ocean Speedway’s Pombo-Sargent Classic, his 70th career NARC victory. TK’s win made it so a “Kaeding” owns a win in all five decades of the Pombo-Sargent Classic’s history.
As July’s four races unfolded those same four drivers continued to jockey at the top of the point standings.
Bud Kaeding went from unshakeable consistency to feast or famine in the next four races with finishes of 3rd, 18th, 6th, and 17th. Tim Kaeding picked up another win at Petaluma Speedway but followed it with a DNF the next weekend in Watsonville. The two-time series champ recovered during the following week’s double header at Tulare and Santa Maria with two top-10s which would kickstart what became his best stretch of the season. Netto collected a trio of top-10s but had to settle for 13th in Watsonville after an incident. Scelzi also had issues at Ocean Speedway but bounced back the next week with a win at Tulare, the start of a historic podium streak for the Fresno racer.
Over that same stretch of races, Sean Becker earned his first NARC victory in seven years by taking the checkered flag at the Howard Kaeding Classic. The month’s final event at Santa Maria Raceway saw Billy Aton snag his first career series victory.
The Fastest Four Days in Motorsports ushered in the second half of the campaign and began with the new pairing of Justin Sanders and Paul Silva in the Works Limited No. 57 winning at Merced Speedway. The next night Mitchell Faccinto earned his first series victory since 2018 at Ocean Speedway, and Dominic Scelzi and Justin Sanders capped the Speedweek with triumphs at Stockton and Petaluma. Scelzi earned the points title for the FFDM with podiums each night, stretching his top-three streak to six and widening his points lead. Colby Copeland, in the Vanlare machine with help from Larry Antaya, came home second in the FFDM standings by finishing no worse than 8th in any race.
Scelzi and Sanders split the two nights of the Louie Vermeil Classic, making it four wins in a row for the duo. Scelzi’s 3rd place result on night two brought his podium streak to eight in a row as he continued to near his first title. Meanwhile, Tim Kaeding earned his 7th & 8th straight top-10s at The Louie as he continued to climb toward the battle for runner-up in points while Netto and Bud Kaeding struggled with incidents.
September concluded with 15-year-old Corey Day earning his first series victory at the same track his father, Ronnie Day, scored his final one, Hanford’s Keller Auto Speedway. Scelzi’s podium run was snapped but only by a single spot as he finished fourth.
October opened with the twin-20 lap features at the Morrie Williams Memorial in Hanford where Scelzi earned his career-best sixth win of the year. The second main event produced a first-time winner as Mitchel Moles wheeled the Roth Motorsports machine from 11th to the front. Tim Kaeding stretched his top-10 roll to 11 straight with an 8th and a 3rd in the pair of features.
A few weeks later the series made their third consecutive trip to Keller Auto Speedway for the first ever Anthony Simone Classic. Shane Golobic took his first trip to victory lane of the season after a mid-race pass on Sean Becker to claim the $10,000 prize. Following the A-main, a handful of drivers took their wings off to compete in a special race honoring the versatile Anthony Simone. The recently crowned All-Star Circuit of Champions titlist, Tyler Courtney, came out on top after the 15-laps to become the first NARC non-wing winner since 1985.
The next night at The Dirt Track at Kern County Raceway Park, Scelzi and Sanders resumed their dominance of the year’s second half by finishing one-two with Sanders collecting his fifth checkered flag of 2021 and fourth in eleven starts in the No. 57.
The season concluded with Corey Day becoming the first driver since Gio Scelzi in 2017 to earn their first and second career NARC wins in the same season by claiming the 38th Annual Tribute to Gary Patterson at The Stockton Dirt Track. Dominic Scelzi wrapped up the championship by merely completing his qualifying run as he had built such a large points lead that he only needed to earn show-up points the final night to clinch his first title. Scelzi became the 28th different champion in NARC history.
D.J. Netto passed Sean Becker with only two laps to go in the season finale to give himself a one-point advantage over Tim Kaeding and claim second in points. TK took third while Bud Kaeding and Sean Becker completed the top-five in the standings. Billy Aton finished sixth and earned Rookie of the Year honors. Sean Watts, Justin Sanders, Shane Golobic and Joel Myers Jr. rounded out the top-10.
Overall, the season saw 10 different winners over the 21 Fujitsu Features. Dominic Scelzi tallied the most victories with six while Justin Sanders settled for second with five. Tim Kaeding and Corey Day earned a pair of wins apiece, and six drivers claimed a single triumph. 2021 produced three first-time series winners, the most since four in 2017.
Justin Sanders topped the Hoosier Tire Laps Led category by pacing a whopping 138 circuits. Eleven different drivers earned ARP Fast Time honors over the course of the year with Sanders and D.J. Netto tying for the most with three apiece. Dominic Scelzi won the most Brown and Miller Racing Solutions Heat Races with seven. Scelzi and Sanders each collected 36 pounds of bacon with their series-leading four victories in the Sunnyvalley Bacon Trophy Dash. Billy Aton drove by 104 cars in feature competition to top the Swift Metal Finishing Most Cars Passed category.
2021 NARC KING OF THE WEST FUJITSU GENERAL RACING SERIES RACE RESULTS
March 20 – The Stockton Dirt Track – Salute to LeRoy Van Conett – (DJ Netto, Netto Ag 88N)
May 15 – Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway – Peter Murphy Classic – (Dominic Scelzi, Scelzi Enterprises 41)
May 22 – Petaluma Speedway – Salute To First Responders – (Justin Sanders, Antaya Motorports 16A)
June 11 – Ocean Speedway – 35th Annual Pombo-Sargent Classic – (Tim Kaeding, Bates/Hamilton 42x)
June 12 – Placerville Speedway w/SCCT – 30th Annual Dave Bradway Jr. Race – (Dominic Scelzi, Scelzi Enterprises 41)
July 10 – Petaluma Speedway – Salute to Baylands Raceway Park (Tim Kaeding, Bates/Hamilton 42x)
July 17 – Ocean Speedway – 11th Annual Howard Kaeding Classic (Sean Becker, David Vertullo 83V)
July 23 – Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway – Chris & Brian Faria Memorial (Dominic Scelzi, Scelzi Enterprises 41)
July 24 – Santa Maria Raceway – Winged Madness (Billy Aton, Aton 26)
“Fastest FOUR Days in Motorsports”
August 26 – Merced Speedway – Thursday Night Thunder (Justin Sanders, Works Limited 57)
August 27 – Ocean Speedway – Friday Night Showdown (Mitchell Faccinto, Greenberg 37)
August 28 – The Stockton Dirt Track – Champions Classic (Dominic Scelzi, Scelzi Enterprises 41)
August 29 – Petaluma Speedway – The Four Day Finale (Justin Sanders, Works Limited 57)
September 4 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico) w/USAC-CRA – Louie Vermeil Classic (Dominic Scelzi, Scelzi Enterprises 41)
September 5 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico) w/USAC-CRA – Louie Vermeil Classic (Justin Sanders, Works Limited 57)
September 25 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford) – Jim Turner Memorial (Corey Day, Meyers Construction 14)
October 9 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford) – Morrie Williams Legends Tribute – Twin 20’s (Dominic Scelzi, Scelzi Enterprises 41 & Mitchel Moles, Roth Motorsports 83JR)
October 29 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford) – $10,000 to win Anthony Simone Classic (Shane Golobic, Matt Wood Racing 41 & (non-wing) Tyler Courtney, Roth Motorsports 83JR)
October 30 – The Dirt Track at Kern Country Raceway Park (Justin Sanders, Works Unlimited 57)
November 6 – The Stockton Dirt Track w/SCCT – 38th Annual Tribute to Gary Patterson (Corey Day, Meyers Construction 14)