By JIM ALLEN
HANFORD, CA – Mitchell Faccinto became the 10th different winner on the King of the West-NARC Fujitsu Sprint Car Racing Series with an impressive victory in Saturday’s 30-lap Penny Newman Grain Cotton Classic at Keller Auto Speedway.
Faccinto, piloting Stan Greenberg’s potent TSG Recycling Disposal/Western Metal KPC sprint car, started third in the 22-car grid and had a front row seat to the two previous leaders who suffered mechanical issues in front of him.
Buddy Kofoid was the first driver to pace the field and survived contact on the first circuit with polesitter and dash winner Chase Johnson. Unfortunately, he did not survive a broken shock tower as he powered into the third corner on lap four, which caused his car to pirouette and helicopter several times before landing against the catch fence. The red came out and Kofoid climbed from his car unhurt.
Faccinto led the field on the restart, chased by Dominic Scelzi, Kyle Hirst, Tim Kaeding and Johnson. The two frontrunners battled side-by-side for the lead until Scelzi wheeled past the leader going down the frontchute on the fifth circuit. Scelzi essentially began to check out on the field and was a wizard in lap traffic until the caution appeared for a spinning car on lap 13.
The drama unfolded in front of Faccinto on the restart. As the field roared to the green, the torque tube shattered and flew out from Scelzi’s ride putting Faccinto back in front again. Scelzi coasted to the pit area and Faccinto wasn’t about to squander the opportunity to score his first career King of the West-NARC victory.
Faccinto mastered lap traffic the remaining distance and outran fast qualifier and second place finisher Hirst to win by 10-car lengths. The winning team pocketed a $3000 payday and the custom Cotton Classic Hay Bale trophy for their efforts. Hirst’s podium finish came aboard the Roth Motorsports KPC.
Bud Kaeding, who started 10th in the grid, methodically worked his way to the front of the pack in the Morrie Williams Motorsports Maxim. He was eighth on lap four, sixth on the 13th circuit, fifth on lap 17 and eventually finished third. Kaeding entered the event trailing KWS-NARC point leader Gio Scelzi by one point. He left Hanford with a narrow 855-852 lead with only one race remaining on the schedule.
Scelzi’s evening didn’t go exactly as planned when he jumped the cushion and crashed his Roth Motorsports KPC in his heat race. His team hustled and made repairs to put him position to run away with the 12-lap Flowmaster semi. Scelzi started the feature in the 14th spot, and finished eighth.
2011 series champion Tim Kaeding scored fourth in the Harley Van Dyke sprinter. Cole Macedo posted his best career KWS-NARC outing, driving to fifth in the Tarlton Motorsports ride.
The second five to cross Ed Entz’s checkered was 15th starter Cory Eliason, DJ Netto, Scelzi, Jason Statler, and Mathew Moles.
Heat races were picked off by Hirst, Faccinto, Statler and Moles.
KWS-NARC Fujitsu Feature Event (30 laps): Mitchell Faccinto, Kyle Hirst, Bud Kaeding, Tim Kaeding, Cole Macedo, Cory Eliason, DJ Netto Gio Scelzi, Jason Statler, Mathews Moles, Craig Stidham, Sean Watts, Richard Vanderweerd, Luca Romanazzi, Bobby McMahan, Dominic Scelzi, Chase Johnson, Jarrett Soares, Jace Vanderweerd, Nathan Rolfe, Buddy Kofoid, Grant Anderson
Lap Leaders: Kofoid 1-4, Dominic Scelzi 5-13, Faccinto 14-30
Fast Qualifier (3/8 mile clay oval – 30 cars): Kyle Hirst – 13.823 seconds
Heat 1 (10 laps): Kyle Hirst, Bud Kaeding, Dominic Scelzi, Jace Vanderweerd, Bobby McMahan, Nathan Rolfe, Travis Coelho, Jenna Frazier,
Heat 2 (10 laps): Mitchell Faccinto, Cole Macedo, DJ Netto, Cory Eliason, Sean Watts, Cole Danell, Grant Duinkerken, Geoffry Strole
Heat 3 (10 laps): Jason Statler, Grant Anderson, Tim Kaeding, Craig Stidham, Jarrett Soares, Richard Vanderweerd, Tanner Boul
Heat 4 (10 laps): Mathew Moles, Chase Johnson, Buddy Kofoid, Luca Romanazzi, Vaughn Schott, Brent Bjork, Gio Scelzi
Hoosier Tires Dash (6 laps): Chase Johnson, Buddy Kofoid, Mitchell Faccinto, Cole Macedo, Dominic Scelzi, Kyle Hirst, Tim Kaeding, DJ Netto, Jason Statler, Bud Kaeding, Mathew Moles