(6/11/2022 – Alex Nieten) Placerville, CA… At just 16-years old, Corey Day continues to write his name in the West Coast racing history books.
The sprint car prodigy is hitting marks with the NARC Fujitsu General Sprint Cars that even his most talented California predecessors didn’t reach. A hard-fought battle in just his second start in the potent Works Limited No. 57 at Saturday’s Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial resulted in Day picking up his fifth career Fujitsu Feature victory in just his 19th career series start. Drivers like Kyle Larson, Brad Sweet, and Carson Macedo didn’t manage to reach that feat in their stints with NARC. In fact, none of them even won more than twice in their first 19 appearances.
Day also cemented his name next to perhaps the greatest driver in the history of the California circuit. His Placerville Speedway Bradway triumph came a day after he claimed the Pombo-Sargent Classic. The only other driver to win the two prestigious events that have more than three decades of history in the same year? None other than Brent Kaeding.
“Happy is an understatement,” Day said of his emotion in victory lane. “I can’t say enough about Paul Silva, Doug, Hayden, Kevin Kozlowski and everyone on this car for the opportunity. These guys work their tails off, and I’m the lucky guy that gets to drive it.”
Leading the field to green was Dominic Scelzi and Mitchell Faccinto. The race’s initial start was halted twice, first for a tangle between Billy Aton and Logan Forler and then for a violently flipping Chase Johnson on the second attempt. All drivers were unharmed.
After one more early yellow for a spinning Jake Morgan, the race was finally able to establish a bit of a green flag run.
Scelzi led the lap four restart, and Day quickly jumped into the runner-up spot and began to pursue the reigning series champion. On lap eight Day showed Scelzi a nose, but “The Dominator” shut the door in the next corner. Day proved he could put the Finley Farms sponsored No. 57 anywhere he wanted, heading to the high line and pouncing.
On lap nine Scelzi missed the bottom on the exit of turn four, and Day rocketed around his outside to snag the lead. Day pulled slightly ahead of Scelzi until a lap 13 caution for a spinning Max Mittry bunched the field together.
Day and Scelzi nearly touched on the restart after an attempted Scelzi slider but Day held on. The yellow flew yet again on lap 15 for an issue between Ing and Aton. Both of their nights were done.
The ensuing restart provided some of the race’s wildest moments. Scelzi jumped ahead (a jump that was deemed early by officials) and took the top spot back. In turn three Day launched a slider and cleared the No. 41, but Scelzi powered underneath him with a crossover as Tanner Carrick rolled the bottom perfectly to make it three wide for the lead down the front stretch.
Scelzi came out ahead, but when the yellow flew on lap 16 for C.J. Humphreys and John Clark slowing, Scelzi was docked two spots for jumping the previous restart. The penalty gifted the lead back to Day who had fallen to third, but with Scelzi’s penalty and the lineup revering to the previous lap before the yellow, Day leaped ahead of Scelzi and Carrick.
“I had to clean up my restarts,” Day said of what might’ve prevented him from ever falling to third. “I got a gift there on that double file when Tanner and Dominic got by me. After that I really had to clean them up. I had to get down in the grip there off (turn) four and kind of mess them up by running the opposite line that I was running and get them in the dirty air.”
Day did exactly that as, after the timely caution gave him the lead, the teenager went effectively unchallenged the remainder of the way.
A pair of yellows forced Day to show he could do better on restarts, and he did so as none of his competitors were able to mount a serious run at the top spot.
Day went on to win comfortably by 3.271 seconds over Tanner Carrick.
It all worked out, and we’re here in victory lane,” Day said with a smile.
Carrick’s runner up result in the CVC Concrete/Arai Helmets No. 83T matched his career best result with NARC. Though he was happy with the podium effort, Carrick hoped a longer green flag run might’ve given him a shot at an inaugural series win.
“I didn’t need the yellows,” Carrick said. “I got the yellows at the wrong time, and that kind of hurt me, especially on the long run. We got really good. I don’t know if their stuff was going away or what, but we were getting really good on the long runs. Short runs, I struggled. I couldn’t get going until about 10 laps in.”
A quiet charge from seventh led Shane Golobic to take the final spot on the podium, the 53rd top-three of his NARC career. The pilot of the NOS Energy Drink/Elk Grove Ford No. 17W found himself wishing he’d managed the first three quarters of the race differently to give himself a chance to win.
“I put together 30 really bad laps,” Golobic explained. “The last 10 laps I kind of got up on the wheel a little bit and got going. I just made a lot of bad decisions early and put ourselves in a bad spot multiple times. So, it was good to get back going there at the end.”
Completing the top-10 was Willie Croft, Dominic Scelzi, Mitchell Faccinto, Sean Becker, Bud Kaeding, Shane Hopkins, and Kalib Henry.
FUJITSU GENERAL USA FEATURE (40 laps): 1. Corey Day 57 2. Tanner Carrick 83T 3. Shane Golobic 17W 4. Willie Croft 29 5. Dominic Scelzi 41 6. Mitchell Faccinto 21 7. Sean Becker 5V 8. Bud Kaeding 69 9. Shane Hopkins 51 10. Kalib Henry 17 11. Logan Forler 2L 12. Max Mittry 2XM 13. Jake Morgan 45 14. Koen Shaw 88 15. Colby Wiesz 8 16. Nick Parker 15 17. John Clark 12J 18. Justin Bradway 20 19. C.J. Humphreys 85 20. Kyle Hirst 42X 21. Justin Sanders 2X 22. Ryan Robinson 56 23. Michael Ing 21M 24. Billy Aton 26 25. Stephen Ingraham 93 26. Chase Johnson 24
HOOSIER TIRE LAP LEADERS: Scelzi 1-8, 15; Day 9-14, 16-40
SWIFT METAL FINISHING HARDCHARGER: Colby Wiesz 25th to 15th
CARWASH MIKE AVILLA/ARP FAST QUALIFIER (26 cars): Willie Croft 10.637 seconds
BROWN AND MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS HEAT ONE (10 laps): Faccinto, Day, Croft, Clark, Becker, Robinson, Humphreys, Morgan, Bradway
KIMO’s TROPICAL CAR WASH HEAT TWO (10 laps): Scelzi, Ing, Carrick, Henry, Kaeding, Forler, Aton, Wiesz, Ingraham
DIRT.TRAVEL CLUB HEAT THREE (10 laps): Hirst, Golobic, Hopkins, Sanders, Johnson, Parker, Mittry, Shaw
SUNNYVALLEY “POWERED BY BACON” TROPHY DASH (6 laps): Scelzi, Faccinto, Day, Hirst, Carrick, Croft