Tim Kaeding claims exciting late race shootout at the Tribute to Gary Patterson while Kyle Hirst wraps up third King of the West title
By Gary Thomas
Stockton, CA – November 6, 2016…A green-white-checkered restart set the stage for a thrilling late race finish in which San Jose’s Tim Kaeding fended off Rutherford’s Rico Abreu to claim victory during the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series portion of the Tribute to Gary Patterson.
A packed house of fans took in the final Northern California race of the season on Saturday night at the Stockton Dirt Track, in what was the fourth straight year we’ve honored the late great GP at the facility. A combined 79 Sprint Cars with the King of the West Series & Civil War Series also filled the jam packed pit area.
For Kaeding the hard fought win aboard the Roth Motorsports/ HR Livestock Transportation No. 83 marked his 66th career series victory, which ranks second all-time. It was also his second triumph at the Tribute to Gary Patterson, with his first coming during the 2008 season at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico.
“That was one great finish battling with Rico (Abreu) and I couldn’t be happier to get another win at the Tribute to GP,” Kaeding commented in victory circle. “I can’t thank Dennis & Teresa Roth enough for giving me the chance to come home and finish the season in this Roth Motorsports car. We’ve had a lot of success together over the years and I always love having the chance to get back in the 83. I’m definitely feeling pretty happy & emotional right now that I was able to win the main event with my new baby at the track for the first time.”
Kaeding had his way out front for much of the 30-lapper, but a couple yellows in the later going set things up for yet another closing laps shootout at the Stockton Dirt Track. Abreu fought his way past Mount Vernon, Washington’s Jason Solwold just prior to the final caution of the night waving on lap 29. King of the West rules stipulate that we must finish with a green-white-checkered restart and during it the Kaeding vs Abreu show took place, with two of the most exciting Sprint Car drivers in the world going back & forth to decide the winner.
The duo traded the lead a couple different times and as they rounded the final set of corners Abreu tried to drive around on the high-side, but room ran out and Kaeding was able to cross the stripe first to claim victory by 0.668 seconds. Abreu’s runner up finish continued his solid string of success in Stockton, a track he’s won at four times before. It’s always a pleasure to have the 24-year-old on hand with the King of the West Series. Mount Vernon, Washington’s Jason Solwold had a strong run in the feature to round out the podium. It was great having the Mike Anderson owned team make the long trip down from the Northwest.
Fresno’s Cory Eliason & Campbell’s Bud Kaeding completed the top-five after having a nice battle at times in the main event. The remainder of the top-10 was comprised of Fremont’s Shane Golobic, Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto, Paradise, CA’s Kyle Hirst, Penngrove’s Buddy Kofoid and Clarksburg’s Justyn Cox. Grass Valley’s Jason Statler earned the Hard Charger Award coming from 21st to 11th and went home with a set of seat belts courtesy of Chris Kenner & SRP.
The eighth place finish was enough to wrap up the 2016 King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series title for Hirst, making him just the third driver to reach at least three career championships with the tour, joining Brent Kaeding & Jonathan Allard. It was also the second straight owner title for Tarlton Racing after winning last year’s championship with driver Carson Macedo. Hirst had a fantastic season overall, scoring six wins aboard the Roth Motorsports/ Tarlton & Son No. 21x machine.
“It feels great to lock up the King of the West championship tonight here in Stockton,” Hirst said after the race. “I want to send a big thanks to Roth Motorsports & Tarlton Racing for allowing me to drive the 21x this year. We had a great season on the whole and picked up some big wins, especially during the summer months. Being able to join Jonathan Allard as a three-time KWS champion is pretty special. It’s great to see all these fans come out and pack this place tonight as well. I can’t wait for next year to roll around.”
The 12-lap B-main was captured by Hirst, with the six-lap dash going to Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan. The four 10-lap heat races were picked off by Rico Abreu, Chase Johnson, Bobby McMahan and Cory Eliason. Abreu kicked-off the night by setting his third King of the West fast time of the year, topping the 30-car field with a lap 14.376 around the Stockton Dirt Track.
A-main finish: 1. 83 Tim Kaeding, 2. 24 Rico Abreu, 3. 18 Jason Solwold, 4. 00jr Cory Eliason, 5. 0 Bud Kaeding, 6. 22 Shane Golobic, 7. 37 Mitchell Faccinto, 8. 21x Kyle Hirst, 9. 4s Buddy Kofoid, 10. 31c Justyn Cox, 11. 00 Jason Statler, 12. 69 Brent Kaeding, 13. 5v Dominic Scelzi, 14. 98 Sean Watts, 15. 2 Brad Furr, 16. 29 Willie Croft, 17. 3c DJ Netto, 18. 12p Scott Parker, 19. 25 Bobby McMahan, 20. 20 Copeland, 21. 68 Chase Johnson, 22. 75 Sean Becker
The King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series would like to thank all of the teams & fans that came out to support us this season. We want to wish everyone the best of holiday seasons. For schedule updates in the off-season stay glued to www.racepmg.com