Sprint Car Insider – Driver Exclusive. FRESNO, Calif. (September 10, 2018) —>She did it again Saturday Night at Lemoore Raceway.
Raio Salmon picked up her sixth victory of the 2018 season and this time she took home the coveted Aluminum state of California trophy by picking up the King of California series victory.
Another doubleheader weekend saw the Salmon Motorsports team head to Keller Auto Raceway at Plaza Park Friday night for Round 13 of the King of California Series. Being the final weekend at the south tracks rounds 13 and 14 served as the final opportunity to pick up KofC victories in front of the home crowd in 2018.
Friday night at Keller started off decently for Salmon. She qualified 4th quick but was only a few tenths off of QuickTime. Being just two weekends ahead of the big 5k to win, Mark Hagopian Memorial on the 21-22, there was a bit more excitement in the atmosphere. Like everyone else, Salmon has hopes of taking home the Macguver trophy and possibly 7 grand if you include the pole shuffle. But no one had forgotten the task at hand.
During the heat race, Salmon battled intensely with Salmon Motorsports teammate Tyler Smith as he piloted Harry Boudakians number 18 in a rare wing class bout in preparation for the Mhm as well. Salmon would finish 3rd in her heat race and as the inversion would land she would start the 30 lap feature from the pole.
As the green flag waved on the Joe W. Lewis snap-on super 600 main events the driver to her outside, Cody Christensen would take the early advantage. As he leads the first lap Salmon’s King of California title combatant would find trouble for the first time in the series. Joey Ancona, who came into the night just 45 points ahead of Salmon, came to a stop on the front stretch at the end of lap one. This spelled trouble for the points leader and the possible bout of luck Salmon needed to get back into contention.
However, as the race continues leader Christensen marched away from the field while Salmon got locked into a battle with her teammate. As they battled on the track Ben Worth aboard the 10j took advantage of their battle and pushed them both up the race track to make the pads stick. Salmon would receive the short end of that stick and wind up 5th when it was all said and done.
Onto night two of the doubleheader, KofC weekend, at Lemoore Raceway for Round 14 things didn’t go quite as well in qualifying but it would be no indication of what was yet to come. Salmon went out in her heat race and brought home fourth but yet again wound up with the luck of the inversion to start on the pole.
Coming into the night Salmon had two victories on the 7th mile at Lemoore. Once back in early June and Night one of the Jet Bowl Classic, but she had yet to earn the state of California trophy. As the green flag waved it was apparent that was about to change.
Salmon drove away from the field en route to a wire to wire victory over title rival and both the series and track points leader Joey Ancona. With six wins at Lemoore alone this year Ancona has been tough to beat, but she held her composure and handed him a runner-up finish in dominating fashion.
“I know I’m not usually good around the top,” said Salmon in victory lane. “But this time that’s where I had to go and it feels great to finally get one of these trophies, I can’t believe it.”
Ancona, who is poised to wrap up the Lemoore championship, as he has been the dominant force there In super 600 all year long, said he had nothing for her on this night. He complimented her race and admitted, no one was beating her on Saturday.
“It feels really good to beat Joey here,” said Salmon. “He has been so good here all year long, to beat him here you really have to have your stuff together, I can’t thank my team enough for giving me this opportunity, and giving me equipment to win, I really can’t believe this.”
Saturday’s visit to victory lane marked Raio Salmon’s 6th victory on the year. Adding to her win total, her run to achieve her single-season win record is not over. She still has numerous opportunities to get into victory lane and a chance at a championship.
Next weekend Salmon Motorsports returns to Delta Speedway where Salmon sits just 16 points out of the lead. With three wins to her credit at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds, she has what it takes to win there as well. Salmon was atop the points standing for the better part of the entire season until she recently gave up the lead to Nikko Panella. Salmon and Panella have battled all year and now with two races remaining, Panella rides the confidence of his first win and now has to maintain a 16 point margin to earn the Super 600 title.
“After leading the points all year I think it may have gotten to me,” said Salmon. “I know I can do it, now I’m just focused on going out there and picking up wins, that’s what got me in that position, to begin with.”
Going and adding to her season win total is the goal at hand for Raio Salmon as the season comes to a close. If she goes out and wins the chips will fall as they may and she could wind up a champion.
Find out by following all of her racing developments right here on Sprint Car Insider driver exclusives. Salmon Motorsports takes on the 1/7th Mike oval on the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds this Saturday in the penultimate round of Delta speedway’s track championship.
King of California Series, Round 13 – 9/7/18
Keller Auto Raceway Plaza Park
Raio Salmon – Super 600
Heat Race: 3rd
Main Event: 5th
King of California Series, Round 14 – 9/8/18
Raio Salmon – Super 600
Heat Race: 4th
Main Event: 1st
Win number 6 of 2018.
On the radar:
9/15/18 – Delta Speedway
9/21-9/22 2018 – Mark Hagopian Memorial
Keller Auto Raceway Plaza Park
9/29/18 – Budweiser Grand Prix
Lemoore Raceway points finale
In the distance:
10/5 King of California – Dixon Speedway
10/6 King of California/ Delta Finale
10/12-10/13 California Cup
Don’t miss any of the updates on Raio’s season as it goes down to the wire.
Be sure to follow along to Sprintcarinsider.co -Driver Exclusives – for all the latest news, results and information on your favorite drivers all season long.
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