Keading Winner At Calistoga
Eleven suddenly became Tim Kaeding’s lucky number Saturday night, when he was handed a victory in the curfew-shortened sprint car feature at Calistoga Speedway as time and air in his left rear tire were both running out.
The state-mandated curfew of 11 pm for fairgrounds racetracks was a reprieve for Kaeding, who had been steadily losing ground to a fast-closing Kyle Larsen and was within a lap or two of being shot down as the race leader. The race was red-flagged to a stop at lap 13 to clear the wreckage after Brad Furr crashed and flipped in turn two. Minutes later, the checkered flag waved over the field that sat silently on the front straightaway as the clock struck eleven.
In victory circle, Kaeding, who started on the pole after winning the dash for the eight fastest cars, sounded like a man who knew had been spared. “I knew Kyle was coming,” he said, and he acknowledged “I had a tire going flat and I might not have made it to the end” of the scheduled 25 laps on the half mile oval.
Larson, who had flown overnight after racing in Indianapolis the night before, was as confident as a gunfighter in sizing up Kaeding’s problem and knowing that he would have taken advantage of it within a lap or so. “I could see he had a tire going down,” said Larson. “Because of that, he couldn’t keep the car down on the low groove and that is where I was going to take him and I knew I could get him in a lap or two.”
Third place went to Sydney, Australia’s Ian Madsen, 2010 New South Wales sprint car champion, who started on the outside of the front row and who dueled wheel to wheel with Kaeding for the lead over the first five laps of green flag racing, in addition to four restarts before a single lap was scored.
The red flag for Furr’s crash was one of five that stopped the race, including one that took out three cars on the front straightaway at the drop of the green flag. Those stops, plus delays for numerous yellow flag cautions, pushed a ragged race up against the curfew time limit.
Earlier, Nick DeCarlo of Martinez, led from start to finish to win the 20 lap main event for dirt modifieds, coming out on top of a two man duel with former Silver Dollar Speedway champion Rich Papenhausen, who found himself chasing the engine he had loaned DeCarlo for the race. The switch was made after DeCarlo’s engine failed to meet the rules for the event.
The pair often pulled out to half a straightaway lead from the rest of the field, with DeCarlo gaining more traction to stay ahead of Papenhausen, who could race close but not enough to get by for the lead. “My motor had more horsepower, but the track was slick and we couldn’t hook up as well as (the smaller motor) we loaned to Nick,” said Papenhausen.
As for volunteering an engine to someone who ultimately beat him with it, Papenhausen, reflecting a high degree of sportsmanship, simply said, “I’ve raced with these guys for a long time and I didn’t want to see them just load up and go home.”
For his part, DeCarlo repaid the favor. “I gave him half of the winning purse,” said DeCarlo. “It seemed only fair because without his motor, I would have gone home.”
Calistoga Speedway, King of the West sprint cars (sat): Fast time qualifier, Jonathan Allard, Chico (17.469 sec). Heat 1 (8 laps): Kyle Larson, Elk Grove; Allard; Andy Gregg, Placerville; Jeff Griffin, St. Helena; Doug Gandy, Oakley; Matthew Davis, Vacaville. Heat 2: Tim Kaeding, Campbell; Jason Stattler, Grass Valley; Danielle Simpson, Rio Vista; Nick Rescino, San Francisco; Eli DeChais, Novato; Brad Furr, Stockton; Jamie Barnes, Elma, Wash. Heat 3: Evan Suggs, San Jose; Bobby McMahon, Elk Grove; Willie Croft, Sacramento; Rico Abreau, St. Helena; Tony Lutar, Whitehorse, British Columbia; Art Moroso, Merced. Heat 4: Ian Maden, Sydney, Aus.; Brent Kaeding, Campbell; Dan Simpson, Rio Vista; Kenny Allen, Chico; Bjorn Bork; Chad Hawkins, Calistoga. Dash (8 laps): T. Kaeding; Madesn; B. Kaeding; Suggs; Allard; Bud Kaeding; Abreau; Lutor. Semi-main (12 laps): Furr; Croft; Barnes; Bjork; Simpson; Moroso. MAIN EVENT (13 laps; curfew): T. Kaeding; Larson; Madsen; Suggs; Lutar; B. Kaeding; McMahon; Furr; Croft; Stattler; Barnes, Bud Kaeding; Moroso; Denise Simpson; Allen; Davies; Allard; Abreau; Gregg; Rescino; Griffin.
Calistoga Speedway, Dirt Modified Invitational. Heat 1 (8 laps): Richard Papenhausen, Chico; Randy McDaniel, Marysville; Nick DeCarlo, Martinez; Paul Stone, Atwater; Ryan McDaniel, Marysville. Heat 2: Keith Brown, Jr. Pittsburg; Jeremy Newberry, Antioch; Dan Gonderman, Antioch; Ryan Porter, Atwater; Scott Busby, Martinez. Heat 3: Robby Jeppeson, Atwater; Brian Cass, Livermore; Art Azevedo, Petaluma; Brian Azevedo, Petaluma; Freddie Plourde. Semi-main (12 laps): Mike Salazar, Antioch; Kevin Fitzgerald, Brentwood; Michael Shepherd, Merced; Danny Dozier, Oakley; Jeff Thomas; Duane Cleveland, Marysville; Paul Anderson, Santa Rosa. Main Event: DeCarlo; Papenhausen; Stone; Cass