By JIM ALLEN
STOCKTON, CA – Cory Eliason picked off the 34th Annual Tribute to Gary Patterson season finale and Bud Kaeding claimed his first King of the West-NARC championship in an exciting night of sprint car racing at Tony Noceti’s lightning fast Stockton Dirt Track.
Eliason, piloting the Antaya Motorsports Good Guys/Fuel Curve-sponsored Maxim, held off a flurry of late race challenges by Tim Kaeding to score his second KWS-NARC Fujitsu 30-lap feature of the season. This team also won the season opener on April 4th.
However, some of Eliason victory lane thunder may have been stolen by Bud Kaeding who claimed the King of the West-NARC championship by a single-point (910-909) over 15-year old driving sensation Gio Scelzi. It will be logged in the racing journals as the closest points chase in the sanctioning bodies history. Kaeding’s season long campaign came aboard Morrie Williams’ potent Alviso Rock Maxim.
Eliason started on the outside of the front row and won a drag race with Hoosier Tires dash winner Dominic Scelzi on the initial green to take the lead. He duplicated that effort five times for caution period restarts for minor incidents during the first 10-circuits. Once the field got sorted out, Tim Kaeding motored the Harley Van Dyke sprint car past Dominic Scelzi on lap 12 and began the process of reeling in the leader.
Slower traffic became a serious factor with a handful of laps to go and T. Kaeding got past Eliason for a single lap. Eliason returned the favor the next time around only to have the red flag come out with two to go. D. Scelzi was uninjured when his car vaulted up over turn three.
Once action resumed, Eliason set the winning standard for the two remaining two laps, chased by Kaeding, and 10th starter and fast qualifier Kyle Hirst in the Roth Motorsports KPC.
“We were in the running for the championship most of the season,” stated Eliason in victory lane. “It sure is nice to get the win and set the stage to come back strong next season.”
Gio Scelzi and Bud Kaeding, who posted identical times in qualifying and won their respective heat races, started the main event side-by-side in the third row. Scelzi battled to finish fourth in the sister Roth Motosports H & R Livestock Transport KPC, chased by Bill Balog in the Snow Racing Engines 7T. Kaeding kept his sights on Scelzi’s rear nerf bar throughout and scored sixth.
“It feels so good to finally win this title,” said a champagne-soaked Kaeding, a three-time runner-up in the series during the past three years. “I can’t say enough about my team and everyone who made this run possible. Gio was a great competitor and made us work hard all season long.”“
The balance of the top ten included Shane Golobic, DJ Netto, Chase Johnson and Sean Watts. Golobic efforts were notable in that he had to start at the back of the pack twice.
Heat races wins were claimed by Eliason, Kaeding, and Gio Scelzi.
KWS-NARC Fujitsu Feature Event (30 laps): Cory Eliason, Tim Kaeding, Kyle Hirst, Gio Scelzi, Bill Balog, Bud Kaeding, Shane Golobic, DJ Netto, Chase Johnson, Sean Watts, Bobby McMahan, Dominic Scelzi, Jenna Frazier, Pat Harvey, Nathan Rolfe, Jarrett Soares, Andy Forsberg, Justyn Cox, Buddy Kofoid.
Fast Qualifier (.400 mile clay oval): Kyle Hirst – 12.841 seconds
Heat 1 (10 laps): Cory Eliason, Kyle Hirst, DJ Netto, Andy Forsberg, Pat Harvey, Bobby McMahan, Buddy Kofoid.
Heat 2 (10 laps): Bud Kaeding, Shane Golobic, Dominic Scelzi, Sean Watts, Jarrett Soares, Justyn Cox.
Heat 3 (10 laps): Gio Scelzi, Tim Kaeding, Chase Johnson, Nathan Rolfe, Bill Balog, Jenna Frazier.
Hoosier Tires Dash (6 laps): Dominic Scelzi, Cory Eliason, Tim Kaeding, Shane Golobic, Bud Kaeding, Gio Scelzi, Chase Johnson, DJ Netto, Andy Forsberg.