By Gary Thomas
Placerville, CA – April 23, 2016…Willie Croft’s misfortune was Bud Kaeding’s gain on Saturday night when the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series officially kicked-off the 2016 season at the always action packed Placerville Speedway.
After winning the six-lap Dash to earn the pole position in the feature, Croft was able to hold command out front, all the while racing through heavy traffic on the tight quarter-mile. Kaeding would keep him honest in traffic however, stalking the rear bumper of the familiar Holy Smokes BBQ No. 29 mount.
The pair raced closely together for the majority of the race, weaving in & out of the slower traffic, until the complexion of the main event changed on lap 25. As the leaders charged into turn one, lapped cars ahead of them came together, leaving Croft no place to go and resulting in him making contact and coming to a stop.
After inheriting the lead it was clear sailing out front for Kaeding, who took the Ed Entz checkered flag by 1.135 seconds over Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan. For Kaeding it marked his first series win at the track and the 13th of his KWS career, which gives him sole possession of ninth all-time. It was a solid way for the Campbell, CA driver to start out the season after missing out on the title by just 12-markers last year.
“It feels great to start out the season in victory lane and for it to be in Placerville is pretty cool,” Kaeding commented. “This hasn’t always been my best track, but to win championships you have to be good everywhere. That was a tough break for Willie Croft because he was good all night. I can’t thank Morrie & Katie Williams enough for the opportunity to drive this car. We’ll now go and try to win the Bradway again next week in Chico.”
The runner up effort for McMahan was his best King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series finish since the 2014 season. The veteran began his Sprint Car career at the Placerville bullring way back in 1982. Chico’s Jonathan Allard charged from 14th to third in the feature. The three-time King of the West champ looked strong in the 30-lapper.
Penngrove’s Chase Johnson earned his career best KWS finish by running fourth. It was an impressive effort put together by the 20-year-old second year series competitor. The top-five was rounded out by 16th starter Dominic Scelzi of Fresno. The 18-year-old made a nice rebound in the feature to earn the solid finish.
The remainder of the top-10 was filled out by 20th starter Shane Golobic of Fremont, Grass Valley’s Jason Statler, Roseville’s Colby Copeland, Fresno’s Cory Eliason and Hanford’s DJ Netto. It was also a nice recovery by Netto, who had gotten into a spin following a chain reaction in front of him while running third early on.
Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto captured the LCQ, with Croft claiming the Dash as noted. The three 10-lap heats were picked off by DJ Netto, Bobby McMahan and Willie Croft. Cory Eliason opened the night by setting fast time with a lap of 10.726 around the quarter-mile. Full results will be available at www.placervillespeedway.com.
In the companion BCRA Midget Lite Feature, Kyle Offill took advantage of a lap 9 restart to take the lead away from pole sitter Scott Kinney in turns 1 & 2. Kinney returned the favor in turn 3, but Offill came across the stripe on lap 10 as the new leader. Despite a challenge from veteran Craig Dillard of Oakdale over the course of the final few laps, Offill held on for the win. Dillard finished second with Scotty Males, Dakota Albright and Greg DeCaires V rounding out the top five.
In victory lane, Offill was almost speechless when describing his first victory at Placerville. “The car was fast all night. It really was digging”, he said. “It feels good to get a win.”
Racing action returns to the El Dorado County Fairgrounds next Saturday, April 30th, with a four division program consisting of the Thompson’s Auto Group 360 Sprint Cars, Domco Plumbing Limited Late Models, Jay’s Mobile Welding and Fabricating Pure Stocks, as well as the first appearance of the season for the Sport Mods. Pit gates will open at 2PM with the front gates opening at 3PM. Racing begins at 7PM.
Placerville Speedway is located on the El Dorado County Fairgrounds at 100 Placerville Drive in Placerville. The racing facility is operated by Russell Motorsports Incorporated, which can be reached at the track business office at 530-344-7592.