BAKERSFIELD, CA – The high-powered 950-horsepower sprint cars of the King of the West-NARC Fujitsu Racing Series will open their highly anticipated 2018 season this Saturday, April 7th at the Dirt Track at Kern County Raceway Park.
This marks the first event of what is expected to be an ultra-competitive 16-race contest to claim the coveted King of the West-NARC 410 sprint car championship. The series features the top open wheel teams in the Golden State.
Leading an all star cast of drivers into Bakersfield will be defending champion Bud Kaeding of Campbell, CA. The third generation driver claimed his first title in the closest battle in KWS-NARC history, driving an Oakhurst-based car owned by Morrie Williams. It was the fourth King of the West title for Williams Motorsports.
This season promises to deliver another exciting pressure-packed points race as even more teams have committed to run full-time for the championship. Among them is Shane Golobic of Elk Grove, who is driving for the potent Fresno-based Tarlton Motorsports team. The Tarlton team is a two-time series car owner champion with two different drivers (Carson Macedo in 2015 and Kyle Hirst in 2016.)
Also expected to be a top contender is Paradise driver Kyle Hirst, who is a three-time series champion. He is piloting a car for three-time car owner champion Roth Motorsports, another Fresno-based team.
Longtime West Sacramento car owner Clyde Lamar is looking to claim his first King of the West-NARC title and hired Tanner Thorsen from Columbus, IN to get the job done. Thorsen is a versatile multi-faceted driver who pilots a variety of race cars around the nation.
“The King of the West-NARC series gets tougher and tougher every year,” states Kaeding. “The talent level keeps improving and the teams are more prepared and competitive than ever. I can guarantee that nobody is going to cut me any slack in my run at a second NARC title.”
This is the second year in a row that the one-third mile Dirt Track at Kern County Raceway Park has hosted the King of the West-NARC season opener. The 2017 race was one of the most talked about and exciting events of the season. A near perfect track surface produced a multi-groove track that produced multiple slide jobs and close entertaining wheel-to-wheel battle throughout the main event.
“Kern County Raceway Park is a fun track to race,” continued Kaeding. “I think we were all a little surprised at how good it was last year. We could run down low, up high up against the fence and just about everywhere in between. We are looking forward to putting on a great show for the fans.”
Among the 30-plus teams expected to compete include Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto; Atwater’s Sean Watts and Nathan Rolfe; Chase Johnson and Michael Kofoid of Penngrove; Roseville driver’s Willie Croft and Colby Copeland; Bobby McMahan of Elk Grove; Discovery Bay’s Jarrett Soares, and the Scelzi brothers (Dominic and Gio) of Fresno. Gio Scelzi finished second in the final standings last season, a single-point behind Kaeding. The Scelzi’s are looking to play the role of spoilers at KCRP as both plan to compete around the country this year. Faccinto captured the SCCT 360 season opener last weekend at Placerville Speedway.
Pit gates open at 2:00 p.m. Front gates open at 4:00 p.m. Also on the racing card are Bakersfield Hard Tops and Mod-Lites. Qualifying gets underway at 6:00 p.m. Advanced ticket sales are available online.
There will be a driver autograph session at the main grandstands from 4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. featuring 2017 Champion Bud Kaeding, Bobby McMahan, and Rookie of the Year contender Jenna Frazier.
The King of the West-NARC format includes qualifying, four heat races, a trophy dash, the Last Chance semi-main and the 30-lap headliner.
Kern County Raceway Park is located at 13500 Raceway Blvd in Bakersfield (Interstate 5 & Enos Lane.) For more information, call 661-835-1264.
ED NOTE: There is a $1000 bonus on the line if any driver can beat the one-lap KWS-NARC qualifying record at KCRP (courtesy of Croft Racing.) The current mark is 12.894 seconds set by Chase Johnson last season.