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November 18, 2017
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Kyle Hirst Wins Opening Night of The 60th Gold Cup
By: Elijah Jones
CHICO, CA (9-4-13) - Kyle Hirst put himself in the right place at the right time to win the California Sprint Civil War Series portion of the opening night of The 60th Gold Cup Race of Champions. "It feels great to get a win during Gold Cup. The crew did a great job and hopefully we can keep this up the rest of the week." stated an elated Kyle Hirst in Victory Lane.
At the start of the race it was Dominic Scelzi with the early advantage starting from the pole position. Scelzi would lead the first six laps of the race until the caution would fly for third place running Matt Peterson who had spun in turn four. On the restart Justin Sanders would dive to the inside of Scelzi in turn one and pull off a perfect slide job to take the lead. Sanders would lead the race until another caution came out on lap 17 for Brett Rollag who had spun in turn two. During this caution it became evident that Sanders right rear tire was losing air. Not wanting to give up the race lead he decided to risk it and stay on the track. On the restart Sanders was actually able to pull away from Hirst a bit, due to Justyn Cox putting up a major battle for the 2nd slot. Heartbreak would soon follow for Cox though as he would lose a motor just as they had caught the 18 of Sanders. Justin Sanders drove the wheels off his car but the tire just wouldn't hold on as he came to a stop on the back straightaway on lap 27. Thus relinquishing the lead to Kyle Hirst with only a handful of laps remaining. On the restart Kyle Hirst would drive away from the rest of the field to pick up the win. Hirst started the race in the 8th position and was able to drive up to the victory. Hirst was joined on the front straightaway by 2nd place finisher Andy Gregg driving the Thompson's Toyota #14r tonight, and Mason Moore in the Moore Insurance #22 car rounding out the podium. Sean Becker and Andy Forsberg finished fourth and fifth respectively. The drive of the night though goes to young Chase Johnson. After originally starting the race in the 12th position, Johnson would spin on the start in turn two and was hit by two other cars ripping the nose wing off the car. Johnson went to the work area for repairs and restarted in the 22nd position. Chase drove from 22nd to a 7th place finish with no front nose wing on the car. An impressive feat for the young driver here at Gold Cup.
The B-Main was won by Willie Croft who led all 12 laps non-stop. Chase Johnson, Brett Rollag, Bradley Terrell, Herman Klein, and Steven Tiner would round out the top 6 and all transfer to the A-Main. Heat Race victories were taken by Tyler Spath, Dominic Scelzi, Justyn Cox, and Billy Aton. The heats were all very exciting to watch. As the track was racy and the drivers were up on the wheel. Willie Croft had a scary moment on his first lap of qualifying when he caught the cushion just wrong coming out of turn two. He nearly got into the back straight wall. But on his second lap he surprised the crowd by turning the fastest lap of qualifying with a time of 12.442. Thirty-Eight 360 Sprint Cars timed in tonight.
The Joe Hunt Magneto Wingless Sprint Car Series returned to Silver Dollar Speedway to accompany the Civil War Sprint Cars. Geoff Ensign would lead every lap after starting on the pole position. Ensign was followed across the line by Scott Hall and Tony Richards would round out the top three. Heat Race Victories were claimed by Colton Slack, Geoff Ensign, and Jeremy Hawes. The series employs a group qualifying method in which three cars are on the track qualifying at the same time. Austin Liggett was the fastest driver in qualifying with a time of 13.918. Twenty-Three cars signed in to the pit area tonight.With Night One of the 60th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions in the books we now look forward to tomorrow night. When the USAC Sprint Cars and Midgets invade the Silver Dollar Speedway, along with the Dwarf Cars and an exhibition by the vintage cars. Front Grandstand gates open at 5pm with racing slated to start at 7pm. See you all again tomorrow night at The Silver Dollar Speedway!