Hirst Wins the Tribute to Stephen Allardadmin
Press Release-For Immediate Release
Kyle Hirst Wins His First Fall Nationals in Tribute to Stephen Allard
(Chico, CA 9-29-18) Paradise resident Kyle Hirst won the 40-lap, $5,000 to win Fall Nationals in Tribute to Stephen Allard on Saturday night. The win capped off an amazing night of racing. The Speedway hosted 86 drivers, 56 of them winged sprint car competitors on this night. The NW Focus Midgets travelled to Chico with 30 drivers. Over 1,000 die hard fans were treated to close racing and tons of passing. In fact, the main event produced five different leaders and a driver who started 21st and finished second.
Mitchell Faccinto led the first nine laps of the main event. Early in the race Tony Gualda ran in the second spot. Both drivers were solid up front in fact, on numerous occasions, Gualda raced side by side with Faccinto. On lap nine it was Gualda’s turn to lead. Faccinto held the second spot until lap 13 when Kyle Hirst was able to pass him. A lap later, seventh place starting Sean Becker moved into the third spot. On lap 16, the best move of the night occurred when Hirst and Becker split leader Gualda going into turn three. Becker was able to take the lead. Hirst moved into second. On the following lap Faccinto came to a stop in turn two and the yellow was needed. Up to that point, the race went 17 laps nonstop.
The race restarted with Becker and Hirst up front. Laps 20 through 25 saw Justyn Cox and Gualda swap spots back and forth. Cox ultimately would grab the third spot. On lap 29, 14th place starting Andy Forsberg methodically picked his way up through the field and passed Gualda for fourth. Also charging through the field was 21st starting Dominic Scelzi. Scelzi had won the B main event, thus, making him start near the rear of the A main. By lap 30 he had climbed into the seventh spot. Yet, it was his last 10 laps that were the highlight of the night.
The climax of the event took place on lap 37. Becker hustled the No. 75 through the top of the track in turns one and two as he had done in previous laps. Yet, exiting turn two he hit the curb, and this offset his car. Behind him, Hirst had found the middle of turns one and two to his liking. Hirst had found this line numerous laps ago. As Becker’s momentum had slowed just a bit, Hirst raced through the middle of the track. Both were going around a slower car. As the two exited out of turn two they banged wheels. The contact sent Becker around sideways down the back stretch. Unfortunately, D.J. Freitas had nowhere to go and clobbered Becker. The contact caused Becker’s car to catch on fire. The motor and frame had been badly damaged. Once the car stopped, it was great to see Becker emerge uninjured. It was a bummer to see the night end this way for Becker.
Hirst resumed the race as the leader. Cox was right on his bumper in second. Also, at this point, Scelzi had slid his way to third. The final yellow was needed when defending Fall Nationals champion Shane Golobic spun. On the restart, Cox slid up and around Hirst for the lead on the next to last lap, but Hirst drove back by him as Cox got loose. As Cox lost his momentum, here came Scelzi. Going through turn three, Scelzi slid past Cox for second. The final lap saw Scelzi close in on Hirst and he made a valiant effort to try and pass Hirst, but Hirst had too big of a lead and won the race by a car length. Cox held on to finish an impressive third. Forsberg came home fourth. Tanner Thorson rounded out the top five.
Willie Croft had a consistent weekend of racing. Tonight, he won the six-lap dash that earned him the right to start on the pole position of the main event. For most of the race he ran in the top five before drifting back to tenth on lap 25. Croft regrouped and charged back up to a sixth-place finish when the checkered flag was waived. If it wasn’t for Scelzi’s incredible run, the hard charger of the night would have been Michael Kofoid. After a problem in his heat race earlier in the night, Kofoid had to run the C main. During the C main he crashed. He had to restart at the rear of the field and without his nose wing. Kofoid charged back through and transferred. He then started deep in the B Main event and charged up to a second-place finish. He would start 22nd in the feature and roared up to a seventh-place finish.
Brad Furr was the fastest qualifier in flight one. His lap time was 12.365. Sean Becker was the quickest in flight two with a 12.471.
Third place starting Jonathan Jorgenson took the early lead of the 25- lap NW Focus Midget main event and never looked back. Eleventh-place starting Chane Crum moved into second on lap four and chased Jorgenson the rest of the way. Evan Margenson started seventh and finished third. Margenson passed Ross Rankine near the end of the race. Rankine started ninth and finished fourth. Nick Evens put on a show. He started seventeenth and finished fifth.
The NW Focus Midgets were a joy to watch. The group is organized, filled with great drivers and produce a wonderful product for the fans. The series ran four individual eight lap heat races, a 15-lap B main and a 25-lap A main event. During all that racing, there was only one yellow flag needed. I repeat, one yellow flag. The 25-lap main event went non-stop. It took under 8 minutes from green to checkered. Announcer Andrew Kunas was solid on the microphone all weekend giving the fans knowledge about this series.
It was a great post-race celebration as not only did Jorgenson win the race he also wrapped up the Northwest Focus Midget Championship. He was presented with the big trophy on the front stretch.
Full results are located at https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/1599220