By: Alex Nieten
PETALUMA, CA – It’s been quite the eight-day stretch for Dominic Scelzi. Last weekend, the reigning NARC Fujitsu General Sprint Car champion swept the NARC portion of the Peter Murphy Classic, becoming the first driver the win the finale twice in the process.
And Saturday night at Petaluma Speedway’s Salute to First Responders, Scelzi led all 30 circuits en route to his third straight series victory. With his third consecutive triumph, he became the first person to accomplish the feat since Kyle Hirst in 2016. The win was the 18th of his career, and Petaluma Speedway became the 10th different track he’s won at in NARC competition.
As if that list of milestones wasn’t enough, Scelzi again extended his point lead as his title defense continues.
After the checkered flew, Scelzi continued to heap praise on his crew for his success.
“What can I saw about these guys?” Scelzi said of his crew. “That’s three in a row. Jimmy (Carr) has this thing on kill mode. This is not my cup of tea when we’ve got to get up on the gas like this, and we were really good tonight.”
After winning the Sunnyvalley Bacon Trophy Dash, Scelzi earned the pole for the Fujitsu General Feature, lining up next to second-starting Willie Croft. With the way the Petaluma adobe clay surface was hooked up, Scelzi made potentially the winning move on the opening lap by rocketing by Croft out of turn two to take the initial lead.
“I knew the start was going to be key,” Scelzi said. “This place is known for getting wetter and wetter as the night goes and it did that tonight.”
Scelzi quickly opened a big lead in the early going in his Red Rose Transportation/Whipple Superchargers No. 41 as Croft settled into second and Chase Johnson faced a challenge from Justin Sanders for third.
The leaders entered traffic before 10 laps were complete, and just as things were tightening as they navigated slower cars, the race’s first caution flew.
Tim Kaeding, who was running inside the top-10, had trouble with a slower car and contact between the them sent Kaeding into Ryan Robinson, ending TK’s night and hampering Robinson’s.
On the ensuing restart Scelzi again jumped out to a strong advantage. Croft and Johnson continued to pursue as heavy traffic again became a factor with just 10 circuits remaining. However, another caution for John Clark and Billy Aton colliding in turn two with nine laps to go temporarily eliminated the threat of traffic.
As the laps dwindled after the next restart, lap traffic presented Croft with one final opportunity. Scelzi struggled to get by Geoffrey Strole, swinging wide out of turn four and scraping momentum. Croft dove to his inside down the front stretch, but Scelzi hammered the top in turns one and two, clearing Croft and Strole and ultimately cruising to victory.
“I feel like Andy Forsberg right now,” Scelzi said with a laugh after the race. “It was juiced up and bouncy and all over the place.”
Croft held on to bring his Holey Smokes BBQ/Amerikote Powdercoating No. 29 home in the runner-up spot, his first podium of the year and third top-10 as he continues to chase his first series title.
“First off I’d like to thank my crew, Billy and my son, Cole,” Croft said. “Some of my guys couldn’t make it this weekend, so luckily Billy jumped in the truck and really helped us out… Things just didn’t quite go my way. I thought they were in traffic there then I just ran out of laps. The track was technical. It had slick and wet. It had moisture and a curb. It was pretty entertaining.”
The third-place spot was filled by the hometown hero, Chase Johnson in his Price-Simms/Toyota No. 24. It was his first NARC podium since July of 2019. Johnson was proud to have made some strides with his family-owned machine in front of his home fans.
“It was a good night tonight,” Johnson said. “Sure would’ve liked to be two spots better, but third with how our year’s been going so far with the 24 car is a good improvement. We’ve been struggling getting a handle on it, but we kind of got a little bit more of a handle on it now.”
Completing the top-10 was Justin Sanders, Mitchell Faccinto, Shane Golobic, Bud Kaeding, Joel Myers Jr., Landon Brooks (first series top-10), and Ryan Robinson.
FUJITSU GENERAL USA FEATURE (30 laps): 1. Dominic Scelzi 41 2. Willie Croft 29 3. Chase Johnson 24 4. Justin Sanders 2X 5. Mitchell Faccinto 21 6. Shane Golobic 17W 7. Bud Kaeding 69 8. Joel Myers Jr. 83V 9. Landon Brooks 5V 10. Ryan Robinson 56 11. Max Mittry 2XM 12. John Clark 12J 13. Billy Aton 26 14. Geoffrey Strole 09S 15. Tim Kaeding 42X 16. Angelique Bell 551 17. Adam Kaeding 3M
HOOSIER TIRE LAP LEADERS: Scelzi 1-30
SWIFT METAL FINISHING HARDCHARGER: Shane Golobic 12th to 6th
ARP FAST QUALIFIER (17 Cars): Tim Kaeding 12.433
BROWN AND MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS HEAT ONE (8 laps): Johnson, Croft, Kaeding, Mittry, Clark, Bell
KIMO’s TROPICAL CAR WASH HEAT TWO (8 laps): B. Kaeding, Sanders, Scelzi, Myers Jr. Strole, A. Kaeding
DIRT.TRAVEL CLUB HEAT THREE (8 laps): Faccinto, Golobic, Robinson, Aton, Brooks
SUNNYVALLEY “POWERED BY BACON” TROPHY DASH (6 laps): Scelzi, Croft, Johnson, Kaeding, Sanders, Faccinto