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45th Career Win at Chico for Allard
By Troy Hennig
CHICO, CA (5-3-13) - It was an emotional victory lane Friday night at the Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico. Jonathan Allard had just captured his 45th career sprint car main event win at his home track but his thoughts were somewhere else. "This one is for my brother," a tearful Allard said in victory lane. "My parents are here, my brother Kenny and my daughter Payten and it means so much for me to win in front of them and you great fans." The loss of his brother Stephen has been well documented over the winter, but it was Jonathan's first California win since his brother had passed.
The 20-car starting feature event was led to the green flag by 16-year-old Dominic Scelzi of Fresno. Scelzi made his first career start at Chico and seemed right at home on the slicked off quarter-mile speedway. Scelzi led the first nine laps of the race until he was slid for the lead by Allard. "I had an amazing time here tonight," said Scelzi. "I am hoping to get back up here on a few more Friday nights this year." Allard's climb to the top started from outside of row two. On lap six he moved into the third spot. On lap nine he passed Shane Stewart for the second spot. The next lap he slid Scelzi for the lead going into turn four. The two battled for the top spot coming out of turn four but Allard eventually held the spot.
As usual Kyle Hirst was putting on a passing clinic from his 14th place starting spot. In 12 laps he moved from 14th to fourth. However, that was as far as he could muster. Another driver putting on an impressive race was Peter Murphy. The friendly driver started 12th and finished fifth. One of the more spirited battles included teammates for the weekend Shane Stewart and Rico Abreu. Both drivers had a wheel banging session on lap six when Stewart passed Rico for third. Rico passed Stewart on the top of the track in turn two on lap nine, only to have Stewart slid under him in turn three to take the spot back.
Once Allard assumed the lead it was all over. He led the rest of the feature. Stewart held on for the second spot and was followed by Rico Abreu. Sean Becker started ninth and finished sixth. Eleventh place starting Justyn Cox was seventh. Scelzi did a great job and managed to hold on to the eighth spot. Keith Bloom and Andy Forsberg rounded out the top ten.
Placerville's Andy Gregg won the nine lap B main event. Following Gregg to the main event were Brad Bumgarner, Kevin Sharrah, Chris Martin and Robbie Whitchurch. Michael Tarter gave it all he could coming down to the checkered but contact between himself and Whitchurch sent Tarter up and over. Tarter finished sixth.