By JIM ALLEN
PETALUMA, CA – Championship point leader Kyle Hirst captured his second victory in a row and third of the King of the West-NARC sprint car season by claiming Saturday’s 30-lap Fujitsu-sponsored feature event at Petaluma Speedway.
Hirst, driving the 25th Anniversary Roth Investments KPC owned by Dennis & Teresa Roth, started on the outside of the front row and spent the first third of the contest tailgating his brother-in-law and race leader Willie Croft, while holding off the advances of Buddy Kofoid.
Hirst inherited the lead on the 11th circuit when he narrowly avoided Croft in traffic, who spun out powering out of the fourth corner to bring out the caution. Tenth starter Colby Copeland was taking no prisoners on his drive to the front. Driving the Larry Antaya Motorsports Fuel Curve Maxim, Copeland passed Billy Aton to move into seventh place on lap six, won a spirited battle with Shane Golobic to take fifth on lap 10, and launched a slide job on Kofoid to take over the runner-up spot on the 13th circuit.
However, Hirst had the car to beat and used it to masterfully slice and dice his way through slower traffic and effectively avoid all challengers. He survived two more caution periods during the final 10-laps on his way to securing a healthy 10-car length $3,000 victory. Copeland’s runner-up finish was his best of the season.
“I was hoping I could mix it up a little more with Willie (Croft),” said Hirst in victory lane, “but I’ll take the lead any way I can get it. Once again, I really need to thank my team for giving me another fantastic car to drive tonight.”
The open wheel battle of the night was for the third through sixth positions. Kofoid, Shane Golobic, Chase Johnson, and Bud Kaeding battled fiercely wheel-to-wheel during the second half of the contest. Golobic managed to motor past Kofoid for the third spot with six laps remaining and held that position until the finish. He was piloting the Tarlton Motorsports KPC.
Defending series champ Bud Kaeding slipped under Kofoid to secure fourth place with five to go aboard the Williams Motorsports Alviso Rock Maxim. Chase Johnson rounded out the top five in Shawn Thomas’s Safecraft Safety Equipment-sponsored sprint car.
The second five to cross the checkered were Kofoid, semi-winner DJ Netto, Croft, Aton, and Geoff Ensign. Netto earned the Swift Metal Finishing Hardcharger bonus after starting 16th. Ensign picked up a $250 Fujitsu bonus as the highest finishing 360.
Hirst started the program by earning his fifth Automotive Racing Products Quick Time award of the season. Croft was the Sunnyvalley Bacon dash winner.
Heat races were picked off by Copeland, Matt Dumesny, and Kofoid.
KWS-NARC Fujitsu Feature Event (30 laps): Kyle Hirst, Colby Copeland, Shane Golobic, Bud Kaeding, Chase Johnson, Michael Kofoid, DJ Netto, Willie Croft, Billy Aton, Geoff Ensign, Dustin Golobic, Jarrett Soares, Richard Brace Jr., Sean Watts, Klint Simpson, Jake Haulot, Nicholas Ringo, Nathan Rolfe, John Clark, Gary Paulson, Jason Statler, Matt Dumesny.
Lap Leaders: Croft 1-10, Hirst 11-30
ARP Fast Qualifier (3/8 mile clay oval – 25 cars): Kyle Hirst
BMRS First Heat (10 laps): Colby Copeland, Chase Johnson, Dustin Golobic, Kyle Hirst, Nicholas Ringo, Bobby McMahan, Jarrett Soares, Jake Haulot
HydrochemPSC Second Heat (10 laps): Matt Dumesny, Billy Aton, Shane Golobic, Sean Watts, Nathan Rolfe, John Clark, Richard Brace Jr, Jason Statler
The Cushion Third Heat (10 laps): Michael Kofoid, Willie Croft, Klint Simpson, Bud Kaeding, Geoff Ensign, DJ Netto, Will Fatu, Gary Paulson
Sunnyvalley Bacon Trophy Dash (6 laps): Willie Croft, Kyle Hirst, Michael Kofoid, Matt Dumesny, Chase Johnson, Shane Golobic
Kaeding Performance Center Last Chance Race (12 laps): DJ Netto, Richard Brace Jr., Jarrett Soares, Jake Haulot, Jason Statler, John Clark, Gary Paulson, Bobby McMahan, Will Fatu, Jenna Frazier