(11/9/2022) Stockton, CA… On Sunday afternoon at Stockton’s Brookside Country Club the NARC Fujitsu General Sprint Cars celebrated their 62nd campaign of racing with the season-ending awards banquet.
Many laughs were had and the occasional tear was shed as series GM, Jim Allen, hosted the room full of members of the racing family through a fun few hours as many of the people who helped make 2022 another successful season were honored.
Scelzi is Crowned
For the second straight year Dominic Scelzi was officially crowned champion of the series. The Fresno driver has been a dominant force in his home state since deciding to refocus his racing efforts in California at the beginning of last year. He’s tallied 10 wins, 26 podiums and 32 top-fives in the 42 NARC features contested over the past two seasons as he joined the exclusive group of back-to-back champs.
During the ceremony Scelzi was quick to credit his crew, led by Jimmy Carr, for helping to elevate the Scelzi Motorsports No. 41 into the car to beat out west. He also made his intentions clear about gearing up for a run at the 2023 title to try and become just the third driver in series history to earn a three-peat.
Along with Scelzi, the remainder of the drivers who secured a spot in the top-10 of the standings and thus a chunk of the point fund were also recognized.
2nd – Willie Croft: In perhaps his final full season of racing sprint cars, Willie Croft put together an excellent campaign that saw him claim runner-up in the points. The Colfax native’s season was highlighted by an early stretch of six straight top-fives that included his one victory of the season at Willamette Speedway in Oregon.
3rd – Bud Kaeding: For the seventh time in the last eight seasons Bud Kaeding earned a spot on the points podium by finishing third. The 2017 champion continues to be a model of consistency as he kicked off the 2022 season by piecing together eight consecutive top-10 finishes aboard the BK Racing No 69.
4th – Mitchell Faccinto: For the first time in his career, Mitchell Faccinto completed the full NARC campaign and brought home a top-five in the standings. The Hanford wheelman joined forces with Tarlton Motorsports and tallied seven top-fives, including four in the first five races, highlighted by a pair of podiums.
5th – Shane Golobic: Completing the top-five was the driver out of Fremont, Shane Golobic. He continued to prove that he’s one of the top drivers on the west coast by adding six more podiums to his career total driving for Matt Wood Racing. Golobic found victory lane once at Kern County this season.
6th – Justin Sanders: While Justin Sanders might’ve won more races in 2021, he undoubtedly put together his best overall NARC campaign in 2022 teamed with Mittry Motorsports. Sanders’s consistency led him to eight podiums and 13 top-fives, both second most of the series. He notched a pair of victories highlighted by his first win in the prestigious Howard Kaeding Classic at his home track, Ocean Speedway.
7th – Max Mittry: The driver occupying the seventh slot is yet another testament to California’s tendency to produce talent before they’re even juniors in high school. Redding’s Max Mittry had never driven a 410 sprint car prior to 2022, but he competed during full NARC campaign this year and bagged seven top-10s en route to earning Rookie of the Year honors.
8th – Billy Aton: The 2021 Rookie of the Year, Billy Aton, experienced a bit of a sophomore slump but still managed to net a top-10 in points. “Wild Bill” and his team took on the full campaign again in 2022 and look to find some of their speed from last year heading into 2023.
9th – Tim Kaeding: At one point early in the season after a string of crashes sidelined him, Tim Kaeding wasn’t sure he’d race again. The California legend did return to the seat, though, and quickly scored a NARC win at a Dirt Cup prelim. Driving this season for Bates-Hamilton Racing, Kevin Kozlowski, and Roth Motorsports, TK brought home a top-10 in points.
10th – Joel Myers Jr: Rounding out the top-10 was another young gun in the form of Joel Myers Jr. The Sebastopol native competed the first part of the season aboard the Vertullo No. 83V then transitioned back to his family No. 46JR in June and notched his best finish of the season of third at the Howard Kaeding Classic.
A handful of prestigious awards were also handed out during the proceedings.
Johnstone Supply Rookie of the Year: The driver mentioned above for claiming seventh in the standings, Max Mittry, also pocketed an extra $1,000 for earning the top rookie honors. The 16-year-old smoothly adapted to having a 410 under the hood and joined some notable names as a NARC Rookie of the Year.
Billy Albini Mechanic of the Year: The person who took home the top mechanic award happens to be pretty good with both a wrench and a steering wheel. Willie Croft was given this prestigious piece of hardware for his efforts as a dual driver/crew chief. His steadfast efforts calling the shots on his personally owned No. 29 with a rotation of crew members throughout the season led him to his best career finish in the NARC standings.
Swift Metal Finishing Hardcharger of the Year: Most drivers look at this award as indicator of needing to qualify better, but nonetheless Bud Kaeding made the most of some unfavorable starting positions by charging to the front on many occasions this season. His tally of 60 total cars passed during the year’s features was enough to earn him the season-long Hardcharger award.
Dave Bradway Jr. Inspirational Trophy: Alex Nieten took home this prestigious award recognizing his outstanding efforts with media relations and other PR activities for the organization.
NARC Benevolent Fund Auction
The annual banquet tradition of hosting an auction for the Benevolent Fund, which raises money for injured racers and their families, was honored.
The tradition of it also being perhaps the most entertaining portion of the afternoon was also honored thanks to Bud Kaeding.
The legendary driver/auctioneer has a magical ability to bring out the utmost generosity in those around him, and the result was an astonishing $11,000 being raised for the Benevolent Fund through the auctioning of just five items.
The Northern Auto Racing Club would like to thank Kaeding for his talents and everyone who contributed during the auction and anyone who has donated to the Benevolent Fund in the past.