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King of the West Sprints roar into Chico's Silver Dollar Speedway for the third and final time this season on Saturday night
By Gary Thomas
Photo by Bob Tarvin
CHICO, CA (8-14-12) - The Cancen Oil King of the West Sprint Car Series presented by Goodyear is eagerly set to return to action this Saturday night, with the "Prelude to Gold Cup" on tap at the Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California.
This Saturday will mark the 16th round of competition in the fight for the King of the West crown and the third appearance of the year at the quarter-mile clay oval located on the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds. It also gives KWS drivers the opportunity to get tuned up for the fast approaching "Gold Cup Race of Champions," which takes place on September 5-8.
Leading the way into the "Prelude to Gold Cup" on Saturday and in search of his third state 410 title is Chico's very own Jonathan Allard, who has driven the familiar Williams Motorsports No. 0 to wins in both of the previous visits to Silver Dollar Speedway this season.
The veteran began his sprint car career at SDS and captured the track title in 2002. Allard also ran second to four-time Outlaw champ Donny Schatz at this year's "Mini Gold Cup" in March and made the A-main at the prestigious Knoxville Nationals last week for the second time in his career.
A couple drivers certain to be contenders on Saturday will include San Jose's Tim Kaeding and Elk Grove's Kyle Larson. Kaeding will return to the series for the first time since early-June and is fresh off a strong ninth place finish at the Knoxville Nationals last weekend in Iowa. "TK" charged from deep in the field to come home second during the most recent KWS event at SDS in June.
Larson also had an impressive outing last week at "Iowa Speedweek" and captured the overall "Mr. Sprint Car" title, in addition to the Knoxville Nationals Rookie of the Year Award. The 20-year-old claimed victories during the Ultimate Challenge prelim night & finale in Oskaloosa, along with winning opening night of the Knoxville Nationals. Larson will be aboard the Finley Farms No. 77 this Saturday at Silver Dollar Speedway.
The battle for second in KWS points is a close one between last year's runner up Evan Suggs of Scotts Valley and National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Brent Kaeding from Campbell. After losing the second spot a month ago, Suggs has reclaimed the position following the Antioch event on July 21 and holds an 11-point advantage over Kaeding. Suggs is looking for his first win of the season, while Kaeding claimed victory on June 30 in Placerville.
Another extremely close race in the standings is the fight for fourth, which sees three drivers separated by just eight-digits as the season comes down to the wire. Former Silver Dollar Speedway champion Bobby McMahan currently holds down the fourth spot going into Saturday. The Elk Grove veteran brought home a third place finish at the most recent KWS event in Antioch last month and will look to jump two more spots on Saturday.
Hot on McMahan's heels and currently tied for fifth in the KWS standings are Clovis, CA's Peter Murphy and Sacramento's Willie Croft. Last season Murphy charged to victory with the King of the West Series at Silver Dollar Speedway and Croft is also a past winner of the "Mini Gold Cup" at SDS. Croft has been one of the hottest drivers as of late and is tied with Tim Kaeding for the most BR Motorsports fast time awards this season.
Past Golden State 410 champion Jason Statler of Grass Valley is just 14-points back of the tie for sixth between Murphy and Croft. "The Big Guy" is coming off a runner up effort at the most recent King of the West event at Antioch Speedway on July 21 and will be gunning for season win number one on Saturday. Other top-10 drivers geared up for Saturday include Placerville's Andy Gregg and Fresno's Craig Stidham.
Stidham in fact is the most recent winner in King of the West competition and will be searching to go back-to-back on Saturday.
More drivers expected for this weekend will include Fair Oaks Chad Compton, Rio Linda's Cody Lamar, Oroville's Sean Becker, Elk Grove's Sean McMahan, Redding's Tyler Wolf, St Helena's Jeff Griffin, Chico's Brad Bumgarner and Michael Tarter, Fresno's Dominic Scelzi, Auburn's Richard Brace, Rio Vista's Dan & Danielle Simpson, Oakhurst's Doug Gandy, Grass Valley's Pat Harvey and others.
On Saturday August 18 the front gate of the Silver Dollar Speedway will open at 5pm, with qualifying at 6:30pm and racing scheduled to begin around 7pm. Adult tickets on Friday night at Silver Dollar Speedway will cost $20, juniors will be $15 and children $6.
The Silver Dollar Speedway is located at 2357 Fair Street on the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico, California. The office number is (530) 350-7275. More info at http://www.silverdollarspeedway.com
Don't forget to "like" the Cancen Oil King of the West Series on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/kingofthewestsprints and follow us on Twitter @kwssprintracing for the most timely and up to date information on the series.Also check out our official website at http://www.kwssprints.com for the latest news, results, history and more on the Cancen Oil King of the West 410 Sprint Cars presented by Goodyear.