Saturday, March 23, 2013

Kyle Larson takes the checkered flag at Stockton 99 Speedway

Photo Credit: David Carter
It was a brand new track. It was an old school concept. Some mastered it quickly. Some remembered how, twelve which included some of the brightest stars of the Outlaws, to plow the field with the top wing literally.

The Stockton 99 Speedway is a brand new facility built in the center of a horse track. Well, sort of brand new. The facility itself was built in 1947 - the 1/5 mile dirt track for the Karts. The 3/8th-mile semi-banked facility is brand new. Last night's Outlaws show was the first race to run on it. The track was built and based on an old-school concept, one that seems to make sense in the wake of the fence disaster in Daytona. The track has no walls except on the front stretch where there is a track width of dirt between the race surface, the wall and fence. To protect spectators on the other side there is an extra fence, about 20 feet back, to keep them off the grandstands fence closer to the track.

The facility is beautiful and the track surface impeccably groomed. The lack of walls is a throwback to the early days when sprint drivers ran with a leather helmet and shirt sleeves. But it was that lack of walls that seemed to be the problem. Of course not for old school guys like Kinser or Swindell, although Jac Haudenschild did get caught up in a wreck and rolled his car over the bank to the field between Turns 1 and 2, but for the young stars of the series the lack of walls and a green surface seemed to wreak havoc.

When Earl Baltes added to walls to Eldora in the early 60s there were many that said he ruined the racing but Baltes knew what he was doing. Although the wall created more impact for the drivers when they struck the wall, it kept them confined to the track surface for the most part rather than send them sprawling into a high speed run off field.

Qualifying was long with a season-best 45 cars in the field. Quick Time was set by points leader Daryn Pittman with the new track record of 13.278 seconds or 101.672 mph. Rounding out the top five were Sammy Swindell, Kyle Larson, Austen Wheatley and Brian Brown.

Tim Kaeding claimed his series-leading fifth heat race win with Steve Kinser, Kyle Larson and Chad Kemenah each winning their first.

The fourth heat race was most notable with one of the scariest crashes of the night when Jac Haudenschild flipped wildly after trying to avoid a crash between Turns 1 and 2. Haudenschild limped from the car and was helped to an ambulance. He was reported to be okay and released. It was “a helluva rough ride,” said Haudenschild.

The C Main would go off without three of its competitors scheduled to start due to them being involved in some flips and crashes. Transferring to the B main would be Brad Furr and Bobby McMahan.

The LCS was a crash fest that looked more like synchronized towing than it did racing. As the entry to Turn 1 slicked up, the cars began flipping off the track between Turns 1 and 2. The LCS was so long that the leader at the white flag, Craig Dollansky, ran out of gas coming to the checkers as did the fourth place car, Kraig Kinser. Running out of gas would damage the engine in the No. 11K machine of Kinser and force them to do an engine change so that he could take a provisional starting position in the A Main. The four transfer cars were Sammy Swindell, Kerry Madsen, Jason Meyers and Jason Statler. Taking provisional starts to get into the A Main were Craig Dollansky and Kraig Kinser.

The A Main was more of the same, with the sanctioning body declaring that all restarts would be single file. According to Johnny Gibson, announcer & broadcaster for the World of Outlaws, the top of the track was too much further around than the bottom and it was unfair to competitors starting on the outside. The A Main was a battle royal between Tim Kaeding and Kyle Larson, two California boys who were trying to make good yet again in front of home-state crowds. They put on an incredible show for the lead with slide jobs and battles in traffic, trading the lead back and forth four times, until finally Kyle Larson prevailed, taking home the win.

"I've got to start off by thanking Tony for letting me fly on his jet here to the races," Larson said. "Without him, I wouldn't be here." In regards to racing with Kaeding, Larson was all smiles, "It's cool to get to race with Tim because he's by far the best out here in California and he can contend for Outlaws wins no matter where he goes in the country. It's a lot of fun to get to race with Tim and it's fun to beat him for a win because he's beat me so many times for wins. It's good to steal some back from him."

Ultimately, Tim Kaeding lost the race because of lap traffic and in post-race statements he proved very aware of that fact. "I think the biggest thing was lapped traffic," Kaeding said. "That kind of cost us the race I think. You've got guys that want to just keep racing and not go a lap down, (but) I'll take a second any night."

Third place would go to defending series champion Donny Schatz who came from 13th to finish third. "We had a good car," he said. "The thing would go around the top and the bottom in (turns) three and four and the top in (turns) one and two. I just had to go where other guys weren't. It was pretty treacherous up there; the cushion would hook you and grab you. We made a lot of spots up, but would have liked to been there racing for the win."

The lack of walls on a brand new surface that slicked off at the entry of turn one perhaps dealt the Outlaws a card they weren’t expecting. It certainly dealt a financial card that their car owners weren’t expecting with 11 flips and destroyed cars. It can’t be blamed completely on the lack of walls because many tracks have no walls. But they are mature surfaces not a green one. The return trip to Stockton will be an interesting trip that is for sure, because you can fool the Outlaws once but you are not likely to fool them the second time.

Qualifying - 1. 9-Daryn Pittman, 13.278; 2. 1-Sammy Swindell, 13.385; 3. 57-Kyle Larson, 13.386; 4. 44W-Austen Wheatley, 13.435; 5. 21-Brian Brown, 13.449; 6. 15-Donny Schatz, 13.500; 7. 88-Terry McCarl, 13.546; 8. 7S-Jason Sides, 13.581; 9. 83-Tim Kaeding, 13.593; 10. 14-Tony Stewart, 13.658; 11. 6-David Gravel, 13.694; 12. 51-Paul McMahan, 13.706; 13. 24A-Rico Abreu, 13.719; 14. 11-Steve Kinser, 13.723; 15. 21X-Carson Macedo, 13.767; 16. 63-Chad Kemenah, 13.768; 17. 83JR-Kyle Hirst, 13.775; 18. O-Jonathan Allard, 13.789; 19. 26-Sam Hafertepe Jr, 13.835; 20. 3C-Willie Croft, 13.848; 21. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 13.862; 22. 71M-Joey Saldana, 13.863; 23. 77-Jac Haudenschild, 13.864; 24. 4-Cody Darrah, 13.864; 25. OOX-Cory Eliason, 13.866; 26. 21M-Jason Meyers, 13.952; 27. OO-Jason Statler, 13.969; 28. 41-Dominic Scelzi, 13.975; 29. 77X-Wayne Johnson, 14.014; 30. W20-Greg Wilson, 14.057; 31. 44-Chris Martin, 14.068; 32. 88N-D.J. Netto, 14.079; 33. 29-Kerry Madsen, 14.086; 34. 7-Craig Dollansky, 14.133; 35. 99D-Shawn Wright, 14.138; 36. 37-Matt Mitchell, 14.180; 37. 121-Shane Golobic, 14.262; 38. 25-Bobby McMahan, 14.397; 39. 26M-Sean McMahan, 14.461; 40. 2-Brad Furr, 14.652; 41. 22D-Nick Davis, 14.707; 42. 11X-Nick Rescino, 14.825; 43. 52-Dusty Green, 15.174; 44. 7Y-Clayton Snow, 15.196.

Heat 1 - (8 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 83-Tim Kaeding [2]; 2. 24A-Rico Abreu [1]; 3. 9-Daryn Pittman [4]; 4. 21-Brian Brown [3]; 5. 83JR-Kyle Hirst [5]; 6. 11K-Kraig Kinser [6]; 7. 29-Kerry Madsen [9]; 8. 77X-Wayne Johnson [8]; 9. OOX-Cory Eliason [7]; 10. 121-Shane Golobic [10]; 11. 22D-Nick Davis [11].

Heat 2 - (8 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 11-Steve Kinser [1]; 2. 14-Tony Stewart [2]; 3. O-Jonathan Allard [5]; 4. 15-Donny Schatz [3]; 5. 71M-Joey Saldana [6]; 6. 1-Sammy Swindell [4]; 7. 21M-Jason Meyers [7]; 8. 25-Bobby McMahan [10]; 9. 7-Craig Dollansky [9]; 10. W20-Greg Wilson [8]; 11. 11X-Nick Rescino [11].

Heat 3 - (8 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 57-Kyle Larson [4]; 2. 21X-Carson Macedo [1]; 3. 6-David Gravel [2]; 4. 88-Terry McCarl [3]; 5. 26-Sam Hafertepe Jr [5]; 6. 26M-Sean McMahan [10]; 7. 52-Dusty Green [11]; 8. 77-Jac Haudenschild [6]; 9. 99D-Shawn Wright [9]; 10. OO-Jason Statler [7]; 11. 44-Chris Martin [8].

Heat 4 - (8 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 63-Chad Kemenah [1]; 2. 51-Paul McMahan [2]; 3. 44W-Austen Wheatley [4]; 4. 3C-Willie Croft [5]; 5. 4-Cody Darrah [6]; 6. 88N-D.J. Netto [8]; 7. 41-Dominic Scelzi [7]; 8. 2-Brad Furr [10]; 9. 37-Matt Mitchell [9]; 10. 7Y-Clayton Snow [11]; 11. 7S-Jason Sides [3].

Dash - (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature) - 1. 51-Paul McMahan [1]; 2. 83-Tim Kaeding [3]; 3. 57-Kyle Larson [5]; 4. 14-Tony Stewart [2]; 5. 44W-Austen Wheatley [4]; 6. 9-Daryn Pittman [6]; 7. 11-Steve Kinser [8]; 8. 24A-Rico Abreu [7]; 9. 63-Chad Kemenah [10]; 10. 21X-Carson Macedo [9].

C-Main - (10 Laps - Top 2 finishers transfer to the B-feature) - 1. 2-Brad Furr [3] [-]; 2. 25-Bobby McMahan [1] [-]; 3. 26M-Sean McMahan [2] [$125]; 4. 7Y-Clayton Snow [7] [$125]; 5. 22D-Nick Davis [4] [$125]; 6. 11X-Nick Rescino [5] [$100]; 7. 52-Dusty Green [6] [$100]; 8. 77-Jac Haudenschild [8] [$100]; 9. 44-Chris Martin [9] [$100]; 10. 99D-Shawn Wright [10] [$100].

B-Main - (12 Laps - Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 1-Sammy Swindell [1] [-]; 2. 29-Kerry Madsen [11] [-]; 3. 21M-Jason Meyers [5] [-]; 4. OO-Jason Statler [6] [-]; 5. 7S-Jason Sides [2] [$200]; 6. 25-Bobby McMahan [16] [$180]; 7. 2-Brad Furr [15] [$175]; 8. 37-Matt Mitchell [13] [$160]; 9. 7-Craig Dollansky [12] [$150]; 10. 11K-Kraig Kinser [3] [$150]; 11. 41-Dominic Scelzi [7] [$150]; 12. OOX-Cory Eliason [4] [$150]; 13. W20-Greg Wilson [9] [$150]; 14. 88N-D.J. Netto [10] [$150]; 15. 77X-Wayne Johnson [8] [$150]; 16. 121-Shane Golobic [14] [$150].

A-Main - (30 Laps) - 1. 57-Kyle Larson [3] [$10,000]; 2. 83-Tim Kaeding [2] [$5,500]; 3. 15-Donny Schatz [13] [$3,200]; 4. 9-Daryn Pittman [6] [$2,800]; 5. 51-Paul McMahan [1] [$2,500]; 6. 63-Chad Kemenah [9] [$2,300]; 7. 29-Kerry Madsen [24] [$2,200]; 8. 11-Steve Kinser [7] [$2,100]; 9. 14-Tony Stewart [4] [$2,050]; 10. 1-Sammy Swindell [11] [$2,000]; 11. 71M-Joey Saldana [20] [$1,500]; 12. 4-Cody Darrah [21] [$1,200]; 13. 6-David Gravel [15] [$1,100]; 14. 83JR-Kyle Hirst [16] [$1,050]; 15. 21X-Carson Macedo [10] [$1,000]; 16. 7-Craig Dollansky [25] [$100]; 17. OO-Jason Statler [23] [$800]; 18. 24A-Rico Abreu [8] [$800]; 19. 21-Brian Brown [12] [$800]; 20. 26-Sam Hafertepe Jr [18] [$800]; 21. 44W-Austen Wheatley [5] [$800]; 22. 88-Terry McCarl [14] [$800]; 23. 21M-Jason Meyers [22] [$800]; 24. O-Jonathan Allard [17] [$800]; 25. 3C-Willie Croft [19] [$800]; 26. 11K-Kraig Kinser [26] [$0]

Lap Leaders: Paul McMahan 1-2; Kyle Larson 3-9, 28-30; Tim Kaeding 10-27.

KSE Hard Charger Award: 29-Kerry Madsen [+17].

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