Justin Sanders and Kyle Hirst claim first career Sprint Car Challenge Tour wins over Placerville/ Petaluma weekend
By Gary Thomas
Petaluma, CA – July 2, 2018…The Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards featured a pair of first time winners this past weekend, with Aromas, CA’s Justin Sanders opening the weekend in victory lane at Placerville Speedway and defending champion Kyle Hirst finally getting his first SCCT triumph on Sunday at Petaluma Speedway.
Sanders’ win on Saturday at the Placerville Speedway marked his third straight victory overall and came aboard the Mike Phulps owned Metal Works No. 56 machine. With extra money from Elk Grove Ford and the Kyle Larson Racing Bonus in play, Sanders walked away with $4,500 for the night.
“It feels great to continue this momentum and get my first Sprint Car Challenge Tour win tonight in Placerville,” Sanders commented on the front stretch. “We had an awesome car in the main event and I just focused on hitting my marks through traffic. This series is so competitive that you know someone is going to be coming after you sooner or later. I can’t thank Mike Phulps, Ryan Riley, Kerry Fasig and this whole 56 team enough.”
Paradise, CA’s Kyle Hirst, Auburn’s Andy Forsberg, Roseville’s Sean Becker, Campbell’s Bud Kaeding, Hanford’s DJ Netto, Minden, Nevada’s Tanner Thorson, Princeton’s Mason Moore, Visalia’s Steven Tiner and Lemoore’s Cole Macedo rounded out the top-10.
Tiner earned the Pit Stop USA Hard Charger Award coming from 24th to ninth in the feature, while Moore claimed the Metal Works Fastest Lap Award. The Finley Farms B-main was picked off by Michael “Buddy” Kofoid and the Race Punk Dash was won by Andy Forsberg. Tracy’s Kyle Offill captured the All-Star Performance heat race, with Justin Sanders winning the A.R.T. Speed Equipment heat, Sean Becker claimed the Auto Meter Inc. heat and Andy Forsberg won the Winters Performance heat.
Bud Kaeding started the evening by earning the QuickTime Mortgage/ ADCO Driveline & Custom Exhaust overall fast time award. A total of 37-cars signed into the pit area on Saturday.
On Sunday the Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards ventured to the Petaluma Speedway and saw defending champion Kyle Hirst earn that long-awaited first victory with the tour. Last season he won the title by earning 10 podium finishes in 13 races but was shut out of victory lane.
Hirst was determined to change that on Sunday and he did just that by picking up the $2,500 win on the sticky adobe. Adding in the Kyle Larson Racing Bonus and the Metal Works Fastest Lap Award he and Roth Motorsports went home with a total of $3,100 for the night.
“This has definitely been a long time coming for myself and the whole Roth Motorsports team,” said Hirst following the race. “We’ve been close before with the Sprint Car Challenge Tour, so to finally get that first win is awesome. Thank you to Petaluma Speedway for having us on a Sunday and all you fans that came out tonight. The track was hooked up and at my age now I’m starting to like them a bit slicker, but it was fun tonight and I hope everyone got a good show. Rick Faeth and everyone here does a great job.”
Hirst battled hard with brother in law Willie Croft over the first few laps of the feature. Three-time track champ Bradley Terrell looked like he would have something to say early on as he charged into second, but his hopes came to an end one lap later when he suffered a hard crash in turn one. He emerged okay but was done for the night and went home with the CRV Carbon Solutions Hard Luck Award for the evening.
The racing continued to be hot and heavy, but each time lapped traffic came into the play a stoppage would occur, giving the leaders an open track. San Jose’s Tim Kaeding had charged into second and hounded Hirst’s tail tank for numerous laps hoping for traffic, but the opportunity for an extended green flag period never came. Hirst went on to take the checkered flag by just under a second back to runner up Kaeding after 35-laps of action. Tanner Thorson, Sean Becker and Justin Sanders completed the top-five.
Hollister’s Tony Gualda came from 18th to sixth in the feature, while Fremont’s Shane Golobic, Sydney, Australia’s Matt Dumesny, Steven Tiner and Lincoln’s Tanner Carrick rounded out the top-10. Carrick earned the Pit Stop USA Hard Charger Award coming from 23rd to 10th.
The Finley Farms B-main was captured by Kalib Henry, while the Race Punk Dash went to Willie Croft. Croft had battled among the top-five in the feature until getting upside late in the going. Rio Linda’s Cody Lamer captured the All-Star Performance heat race, with Justin Sanders winning the A.R.T. Speed Equipment heat, Matt Dumesny claimed the Auto Meter Inc. heat and Bradley Terrell won the Winters Performance heat. Kalib Henry became the eighth different driver in eight races to earn a Quick Time Mortgage/ ADCO Driveline and Custom Exhaust Fast Time Award at the start of the night. The Mather, CA driver toured the 3/8-mile clay oval in 12.612 seconds.
The Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards is right back in action this Saturday July 7 at the Stockton Dirt Track for the annual “Salute to LeRoy Van Conett.”
Photos courtesy of Action Captured Images and M&M Racing Photos