YORK HAVEN, PA – Australian driver James McFadden had no plans to come to the United States to race a Sprint Car in 2019.
Then, he got a call from Kasey Kahne. The former NASCAR star and now Sprint Car driver was injured in a crash at Williams Grove Speedway early in the season and needed someone to fill the seat.
McFadden jumped at the opportunity, and ever since he’s joined the Kasey Kahne Racing organization, he’s been fast.
That continued Thursday night at BAPS Motor Speedway. McFadden tamed a tricky surface and held off Brock Zearfoss to claim the 30-lap Select Collision Kevin Gobrecht Classic and a $5,000 payday.
“It beats sitting on the couch, which is what I was going to do,” McFadden said of his original plans to remain in Australia in 2019. “I’ve got a hell of an opportunity in this car, and everyone knows how good this car is.
“So, to be a part of it is really cool, and to be winning races is even cooler. You get that outside pressure from driving this car because of what it is and how it has been raced, so to win some races is cool.”
This win was even more special. McFadden never got a chance to race with the late Kevin Gobrecht, but his crew did, and this was the perfect way to honor the Gobrecht family and his team.
“It’s been fun, mate,” said McFadden of his recent success. “It’s an honor to win this race, Kevin’s race. I never got to see him race, but obviously, a hell of a racer, and to win his race is really cool.”
McFadden started second and beat Danny Dietrich off the cushion in Turn 2. Third-place Gio Scelzi dove to the bottom off the corner and also slipped past Dietrich to take over the runner-up spot.
The first caution of the event came on Lap 4, when Jared Esh and Chase Dietz got hooked together in Turn 1. McFadden blasted out front on the restart, with Scelzi in tow. Eliason and Brock Zearfoss swapped the third position multiple times through the corner over the next two circuits.
McFadden had a close call in traffic on Lap 11. The Aussie got sideways on the bottom of Turn 4 after making slight contact while trying to lap Ryan Linder.
“I watched the lapped car the lap before run right around the gutter,” McFadden said. “I thought he was going to do the same thing, and I tried to run off his right rear because there was a big moisture strip through the middle.
“I didn’t want anything to do with the cushion out of four, and I kind of tried to run on his right rear. He just moved up a bit, which was no fault of his own, and I was kind of there. It’s lucky he was there, because I got into the side of him, and it bounced me back straight. We got lucky, so I slowed down when we got to traffic.”
The incident didn’t slow McFadden’s pace. He increased his lead to 1.410 seconds by the halfway point and was able to maintain a one-second advantage through lapped traffic on Lap 17.
Zearfoss entered the picture on Lap 18, when he made a daring low move through Turns 3 and 4 to pass the lapped car of Greg Plank and Scelzi for the runner-up spot. He closed the gap to .963 seconds on Lap 18 and got a shot at the leader on a Lap 23 restart, when Danny Dietrich got upside down while running sixth.
But, McFadden was too much on the restart. He rode the cushion and opened up a 10 car-length lead by the time the next lap was scored.
“For three laps, I would go hard and try to pull a gap,” McFadden said. “Then, I would ease off because there were seven laps, and I didn’t want to catch traffic.
“I just tried to hit my marks. I hate double-file restarts. I reckon they can get rid of them, and I would be happy. It’s too much decision making … I have enough on my plate as it is.”
The final restart of the night occurred on Lap 24 after Scelzi hit the fence between the first and second corner. Like the previous stoppage, McFadden was able to pull away out of Turn 2 and down the backstretch on the restart.
McFadden pushed the car as hard as he had to over the final six circuits and took the win. It was his third in his last four starts, as he won two-of-three All Star Circuit of Champions events last weekend.
Zearfoss came from sixth to second in the final rundown. Eliason won a tight battle with Ryan Smith for fourth, and J.J. Grasso came from 16th to fifth.
“We were really good on the bottom of three and four, and that’s where we made up a lot of our time,” Zearfoss said. “James was really slowing down, and I could charge the corner, but I couldn’t keep it rolling without slowing down.
“It was just so treacherous off of four. You had to hit it perfect, and I was just carrying so much speed and shoving the nose. Still, sixth to second on a track like that is pretty good.”
Steve Owings added to his solid 2019 season with his eighth victory of the season in the 25-lap 358 Sprint Car main event.
Cody Fletcher got a good jump off the front row and led the first six circuits. Owings stormed toward the front from his sixth-place starting spot and took the lead on a Lap 7 restart after a crash involving Wyatt Hinkle.
Once out front, it was all Owings. He took the win by 5.203 seconds over Dave Brown Jr. and Steven Drevicki. Fletcher and Tyler Ross completed the top five.
BAPS Motor Speedway
York Haven, Pa.
Thursday, September 19, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SPRINTCARUNLIMITED.COM 410 SPRINT CARS “SELECT COLLISION KEVIN GOBRECHT CLASSIC”
Feature (30 Laps) – 1. 9-James McFadden ($5,000), ; 2. 70-Brock Zearfoss, ; 3. 26-Cory Eliason, ; 4. 72-Ryan Smith, ; 5. 37-J.J. Grasso, ; 6. 44-Trey Starks, ; 7. 91R-Kyle Reinhardt, ; 8. 99M-Kyle Moody, ; 9. 8-Billy Dietrich, ; 10. 21-Brian Montieth (The Cushion & Jackson Motorplex Hard Charger), ; 11. W20-Greg Wilson, ; 12. 73B-Brett Michalski, ; 13. 4-Dwight Leppo, ; 14. 75-Chase Dietz, ; 15. 9L-Ryan Linder, ; 16. 11P-Greg Plank, ; 17. (DNF) 39M-Anthony Macri, ; 18. (DNF) 71-Giovanni Scelzi, ; 19. (DNF) 48-Danny Dietrich, ; 20. (DNF) 99G-George Riden III, ; 21. (DNF) 91-Anthony Fiore, ; 22. (DNF) 97-Brie Hershey, ; 23. (DNF) 33-Jared Esh, ; (DNS) 24-Lucas Wolfe,
Lap Leaders – James McFadden (1-30)
410 Sprint Car Time Trial Finish – 1. 9-James McFadden 14.977; 2. 48-Danny Dietrich 15.044; 3. 72-Ryan Smith 15.157; 4. 71-Gio Scelzi 15.211; 5. 24-Lucas Wolfe 15.257; 6. 26-Cory Eliason 15.302; 7. 44-Trey Starks 15.306; 8. 33-Jared Esh 15.325; 9. 21-Brian Montieth 15.343; 10. 39M-Anthony Macri 15.391; 11. 91-Tony Fiore 15.527; 12. 75-Chase Dietz 15.555; 13. 8-Bill Dietrich 15.578; 14. 70-Brock Zearfoss 15.650; 15. 91R-Kyle Reinhardt 15.656; 16. 37-JJ Grasso 15.767; 17. 4-Dwight Leppo 15.798; 18. W20-Greg Wilson 15.805; 19. 73B-Brett Michalski 15.893; 20. 99M-Kyle Moody 15.900; 21. 99G-George Riden 16.036; 22. 9L-Ryan Linder 16.353; 23. 97-Brie Hershey 16.385; 24. 11P-Greg Plank 16.495.
410 Sprint Car Heat 1 Finish (10 Laps/All Qualify) – 1. 39M-Anthony Macri, ; 2. 9-James McFadden, ; 3. 71-Giovanni Scelzi, ; 4. 44-Trey Starks, ; 5. 8-Billy Dietrich, ; 6. 37-J.J. Grasso, ; 7. 9L-Ryan Linder, ; 8. 73B-Brett Michalski, ; (DNS) 44N-Dylan Norris.
410 Sprint Car Heat 2 Finish (10 Laps/All Qualify) – 1. 24-Lucas Wolfe, ; 2. 70-Brock Zearfoss, ; 3. 91-Anthony Fiore, ; 4. 33-Jared Esh, ; 5. 99M-Kyle Moody, ; 6. 48-Danny Dietrich, ; 7. (DNF) 97-Brie Hershey, ; (DNS) 4-Dwight Leppo.
410 Sprint Car Heat 3 Finish (10 Laps/All Qualify) – 1. 26-Cory Eliason, ; 2. 72-Ryan Smith, ; 3. 91R-Kyle Reinhardt, ; 4. 75-Chase Dietz, ; 5. W20-Greg Wilson, ; 6. 99G-George Riden III, ; 7. 11P-Greg Plank, ; 8. (DNF) 21-Brian Montieth, .
358 SPRINT CARS
Feature (25 Laps) – 1. 35-Steve Owings, ; 2. 44-Dave Brown, ; 3. 19S-Steven Drevicki, ; 4. 66A-Cody Fletcher, ; 5. 41B-Tyler Ross, ; 6. 00-Chris Frank, ; 7. 19-Troy Wagaman Jr., ; 8. 54-Brett Wanner, ; 9. 34-Mark Van Vorst, ; 10. 17-Andrew Hake, ; 11. 5A-Zachary Allman, ; 12. 89-Ashley Cappetta, ; 13. 47-Michael Hamer, ; 14. (DNF) 32-Gregg Foster, ; 15. (DNF) 19D-Wyatt Hinkle, ; 16. (DNF) 10T-Brody Treaster, .
Lap Leaders – Cody Fletcher (1-6), Steve Owings (7-25)
358 Sprint Car Heat 1 Finish (8 Laps/All Qualify) – 1. 35-Steve Owings, ; 2. 19S-Steven Drevicki, ; 3. 66A-Cody Fletcher, ; 4. 54-Brett Wanner, ; 5. 00-Chris Frank, ; 6. 5A-Zachary Allman, ; 7. 89-Ashley Cappetta, ; 8. 47-Michael Hamer, .
358 Sprint Car Heat 2 Finish (8 Laps/All Qualify) – 1. 44-Dave Brown, ; 2. 17-Andrew Hake, ; 3. 19D-Wyatt Hinkle, ; 4. 34-Mark Van Vorst, ; 5. 19-Troy Wagaman Jr., ; 6. 32-Gregg Foster, ; 7. 41B-Tyler Ross, ; 8. 10T-Brody Treaster, .