(5/18/23) NARC By the NUM8ER5!: Petaluma Speedway, Hanford, CA, By Ben Deatherage … Petaluma Speedway is the next battleground the cars and stars of the NARC 410 Sprint Series will visit in 2023. This is the fourth different facility the tour will have raced at so far in the current campaign.
154 different drivers have started at least once on the 3/8-mile adobe clay oval. The current track record at Petaluma set by a 410 is 11.923 seconds on August 27th, 2016. However, Sean Becker laid down the all-time best lap, in a 360, on October 5th, 2019, at 11.861 seconds.
Since 2001, thirteen drivers have won the last twenty-four events. Jonathan Allard has the most recent triumphs with four trips to victory lane. Bud Kaeding has three wins, while Chase Johnson, Justin Sanders, Sean Becker, Shane Golobic, Tyler Walker, and Willie Croft are all two-time victors. In addition, single-race victories have been obtained by Colby Copeland, Dominic Scelzi, Jason Statler, Kyle Hirst, and Tim Kaeding.
The only time that Dominic Scelzi won at Petaluma was last year. In nine series visits, Scelzi has never finished outside of the Top 5 at Petaluma. Dom has won two of the previous three features in the 2023 season and continues his impressive streak of Top 10 runs. The two-time series champion’s worst finish of the entire year has been tenth place on the final night of the Dennis Roth Classic in mid-April.
Bud Kaeding is looking for a breakthrough performance, and what better place to turn things around as he only has one Top 5 in six feature starts in 2023. He’s perfect in top-ten performances in his last seventeen starts, and eleven have resulted in Top 5 finishes. Kaeding has also been an eight-time podium visitor. He has accumulated the most Podiums, Top 5s, and Top 10s since 2001 at the facility.
Corey Day has only visited Petaluma Speedway once in his NARC career. It was a fourteenth-place outing for Day. Undoubtedly, he will improve off that performance as Corey has an incredible streak of nine straight Podium results in point-paying events and has finished among the Top 10 in the last ten shows.
Justin Sanders is another notable racer to keep an eye on. Sanders’ two wins came in 2021, and in five career series starts at the place, he has finished outside the Top 5 once. Justin comes off a fourth-place result at Kings Speedway on Saturday night and was runner-up at the High Limit Series event at Wayne County on Tuesday evening.
Chase Johnson will be one of the locals trying to protect his home turf. Johnson won features in 2017 and 2019, complimenting his eight Top 10s and seven Top 5 performances. Johnson was third last year at this event. Joel Myers Jr. is another racer repping Sonoma County. Joel has four starts with the series at Petaluma, three Top 10s, and just a lone Top 5 finish to his credit.
As I wrap up this latest edition of this column, it will be a special weekend for this author. I’m returning to Sonoma County for the first time since my wife, Stephanie, passed in September 2021. The Petaluma area was a special place and where she was from. So without a doubt, it will feel like a second homecoming, and I can’t wait to see everyone there.