Silver Dollar Speedway
Becker gambles on tires to win 18th Annual Fall Nationals in Chico
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="420"] HRP Photo of Steve Cox[/caption]
"This is a really special win for me," said Becker. "It's one of those races I have wanted to do well at every single year and it has eluded me for one reason or another. Tonight it could have got away from us again with the tire issues but I knew we would have a good car at the end and we did. I'm really excited for this win."
The waving of the green flag saw pole sitter Tyler Walker outrun Becker into the first set of turns. Before completion of the first lap, sixth place starter Wayne Johnson of Knoxville, Iowa worked his way up to the second position around Becker to set his sights on Walker for the lead. One lap later a caution paused the event and gathered the field for the restart.
Fighting the heavy wind and extremely dry slick track conditions, Walker set the pace when the green flag waved again and distanced himself from the field. With eight laps down Jonathan Allard and Roger Crockett tangled in the first turn to draw another yellow flag and put Johnson back on the rear bumper of Walker for the restart while Becker lurked in the third position followed by Kyle Hirst and Brent Kaeding.
Walker used the safe middle groove of the track to stretch his lead to half a dozen car lengths by the 10th lap over Johnson. Becker was feeling pressure from Hirst for his third position. With 12 laps down the leaders worked their way into lapped traffic until the 15th lap with Billy Wallace and Zach Zimmerly tangled on the backstretch to draw a caution flag. During the caution period Hirst went to the work area when he suffered a tire loss, forfeiting his fourth position to Kaeding for the restart.
When the green flag waved again Walker pulled three to four car lengths ahead of Johnson and the two battled in lapped traffic until lap 23 when the right rear tire on Johnson's car exploded to draw a caution flag. At this point the race underwent a red flag to allow drivers to fuel and assess their tire conditions for the remainder of the 40-lap affair.
All but 10 drivers chose to change tires during the break Walker chose to forfeit his lead for new rubber to hand the lead to Becker who took the risk of worn treads for the remaining seventeen laps. When the race restarted, Becker assumed the lead position while Walker restarted the race he once led from the 12th position. Brent Kaeding started second behind Becker ahead of track champion Bobby McMahan.
"During the red flag they looked at my tire and looked at some others," said Becker. "Mine wasn't in great shape but it was better than a lot of them so we felt we would take a gamble and take it easy to the finish. Brent told me he wasn't going to do anything crazy and push the issue because his tire was looking bad too. We worked together to the end for this one."
When the race restarted Becker pulled several car lengths ahead of Kaeding and McMahan and the top three leaders were visibly attempting to nurse their tires. Walker was making good use of his new rubber, working into the top ten once again by the 26th lap.
Becker continued to nurse his worn tire to the end of the race to capture the checkered flag where he was followed by Kaeding. Kyle Larson made the biggest late race charge and took the third position in the final laps where he was followed by Walker who recovered to the fourth position followed by Bobby McMahan.
"I knew we couldn't win the race if we changed a tire and I knew we couldn't push the issue and win it with the way it was," said Kaeding. "So I told Sean (Becker) I wasn't going to push him to win this and I don't think we got this motor above 7000 rpm in those final laps, we just babied it around to get a top three. Now Kyle Larson, that kid was moving up fast and he would have got us with a couple more laps."
Larson agreed with Kaeding. "I wished we would have had about five more laps in this race because I knew I had more tire then they did," said Larson. "We made a good choice making the tire change during that red flag and all I needed was a couple of more laps but I really want to congratulate Sean on the win, he has had a great season."
The 20-lap B-main event saw Chad Compton take the lead at the waving of the green flag. By lap three Compton had worked his way to a healthy lead before a caution flag gathered the field before the fourth lap. On the restart Willie Croft took the lead from Compton along with Scott Russell. On the seventh lap Compton resumed the bridesmaid position.
With 10-laps complete, C-main winner Andy Forsberg overtook Russell for the third position. Forsberg then overtook Compton for second place before Compton answered back and began to battle for the lead with Croft. With 15 laps complete both Compton and Croft would drift out of the racing line in turn two and Forsberg took over the lead position. Croft pulled to the pits with mechanical woes so Compton resumed the second position ahead of Russell just prior to a caution period on lap 16.
With 18 laps complete Compton retired from the race. Forsberg went on to win the event two laps later over Russell, Brett Miller, Zach Zimmerly and Richard Brace Jr.
Saturday's C-main featured a four way battle for the lead between Justyn Cox, Jimmy Trulli, Andy Forsberg and Brett Miller. Trulli fell out of contention when he drifted off the second turn. In the closing laps Forsberg took Cox for the lead. At the finish line the hardcharging duo was followed by Mason Moore who transferred from the E main into the D and then the C to make another charge to the B-main. Brett Miller, who started his night in the D main finished in fourth followed by R.C Smith.
The D Main event saw Brett Miller pick up the win followed by Chad Grove, Mason Moore, Brent Dothage and Joe Perry.Nick Boxwell drew a red flag in this event on the seventh lap with a damaging crash that sent him upside down into the pit side catch fence. Boxwell was injured but unable to continue.
In Saturday's E-main event Matt Sherman picked up the win over Mason Moore. Jimmy Steward finished in third followed by Craig Swim, Cody Gaeney and Rich Crumley.
Silver Dollar Speedway will now go dark for the remainder of 2009. The management team of Handy Racing Promotions Inc. thanks all of the teams, sponsors, fans and employees who contributed to the 18th Annual Fall Nationals as well as the entire Feather Falls Casino Championship Season. It is the dedicated support of all of these individuals that made the recent season a success.
The 2009 Awards Banquet for Silver Dollar, Placerville Speedway and the Civil War Series is scheduled for Saturday, November 28 at Feather Falls Casino. The 2010 racing season will open with the World of Outlaws Annual Mini Gold Cup in March. Complete results from Saturday's event can be found at www.silverdollarspeedway.com.