KAEDING, McDANIEL SCORE WINS AT CALISTOGA SPEEDWAY
Bud Kaeding came out on top of a friendly family feud Sunday night, beating his brother Tim in a wheel to wheel duel that was all speed and part strategy to win the feature race for the Golden State Challenge sprint cars at Calistoga Speedway.
From the outside front row starting spot, Tim Kaeding, the night’s fastest qualifier, initially set a blistering pace on the half mile oval, reaching backmarkers in just four laps, while Bud Kaeding ran fifth. But a critical restart on lap 18 set the stage for what would be a duel between brothers. Third-place Jonathan Allard, the series’ championship points leader, banged wheels with Kyle Larson, who had challenged Tim Kaeding throughout the race. As Larson spun in front of most of the field, Bud Kaeding slipped through the traffic scramble to grab second.
As the green flag flew again, Bud Kaeding, who finished second on the one-mile Indiana Fairgrounds oval Friday night, showed his big track finesse, running right up against the fence through turns one and two to claim the lead after the pair drag-raced wheel to wheel down the backstretch.
On a subsequent restart with only three laps to go, Tim Kaeding, taking a break from the national World of Outlaws sprint car tour to race in California, fought back. He dove under his older brother through turn one to temporarily re-take the lead. But Bud used his momentum on the high groove to draw alongside Tim as the pair raced down the backstretch side by side, allowing Bud to claim the high groove through turns three and four to pin his brother on the slower, low side of the racing line.
The move sealed the win, a first-ever victory at Calistoga for the veteran driver, who is a three time and defending champion of the national Silver Crown series, which runs most of its races on high-speed one mile ovals.
“I’ve been coming here since I was a kid and been racing here since 1999 and haven’t finished any further back than fifth, but I’ve never won here,” said an excited Bud Kaeding, minutes after a fist-pumping celebration of the victory with a Spiderman-like climb up the straightaway fence to acknowledge the cheers from the crowd.
“I knew the top of the race track was fast and I gained on everybody by running up there,” said Kaeding. Strategically, he said he had to keep Tim on the lower groove. “His car was no good on the bottom, said Kaeding. “It was too tight down there and wouldn’t turn.”
Ryan McDaniel moved to the lead from this third starting spot at the halfway point to win the companion event, the 20 lap Calistoga Modified Invitational. The veteran driver was clearly the fastest car on the track, opening up almost a straightaway lead on the field, only to see it evaporate with a caution flag with two laps to go.
Over those two laps, McDaniel drove a flawless line to hold off a hard-charging Paul Stone, who chased the leader as they pair ran nose to tail on a racing groove that was just off the fence. “I knew I could run up on him, but he would have needed to make a mistake for me to capitalize on it,” Stone conceded.
Calistoga Speedway, Golden State Challenge Series sprint cars (Sun): Fast Time Qualifier; Tim Kaeding, Campbell (17.296 sec). Heat 1 (8 laps): T. Kaeding; Zach Zimmerly, Vancouver, Wa.; Bobby McMahon, Elk Grove; Mitch Hawkins, Calistoga; Brian Speery, Sacramento, Jason Statler, Nevada City. Heat 2: Jonathan Allard, Chico; Brent Kaeding, Campbell; Colby Copeland, Roseville; Pat Henry, Nevada City. Heat 3: Alissa Geving, Penngrove; Kyle Larson, Elk Grove; Bud Kaeding; Campbell; Mike Bensen, Calistoga; Dan Simpson, Rio Vista. Dash (8 laps): Larson; Tim Kaeding; Allard; McMahon; Brent Kaeding; Bud Kaeding; Zimmerly; Copeland. Main Event (25 laps): Bud Kaeding; Tim Kaeding; Allard; Evan Suggs, San Jose; Statler; McMahon; Larson; Brent Kaeding; Zimmerly; Copeland; Bensen; Simpson; Matthew Davis, American Canyon; Speery; Hawkins.
-by Bill Sessa