Moody, S. Johnson, Ennis & Liggett claim Opening Night wins

The Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Farigrounds opened their 2017 season this past Saturday night. After heavy Central Valley rains dropped about a 1/2 inch of rain on the facility the night before, track crews scrambled all day to provide the fans and racers what they all wanted, opening night at the races. By the end of the evening, Craig Moody (Mini Stocks), Steven Johnson (IMCA Stock), Chris Ennis (Western Racesavers) and Austin Liggett (USAC WC 360’s) would all claim hard earned victories.
A healthy car count of 12 minis would open the nights festivities. The #313 car of Craig Moody had been fast all night but due to the draw would have to come from about mid pack if he wanted to claim the victory. Early on #32x of Jason Cook would take advantage of the pole car not getting a great start and rocket himself up to the 2nd position on lap 2. Cook would use the high side of the facility to claim the top spot away from #15.5 of Travis Vickers, who began to fade in the middle part of the race. Cook would lead till the 18th circuit when Moody would go up top to pass for the lead. Moody would ever so slightly stretch out his lead and take the checkered flag ahead of, Cook, #88 Clinton Massey and the #15 of Shawn Schwartzenberger.
Another dozen cars were ready in staging for the IMCA Stock feature event. The race would get off to a scary start as the #2 of James Elliott would go on a wild multiple flip ride in turn 1 after the initial start. He would be ok. ( Once racing resumed #111 of Chad Johnson looked like the driver to beat. The top 4 were never more than a half second apart as they sliced and diced through the ultra-fast 3/8th mile clay oval. C. Johnson would go into turn 3 on lap 18 still with the lead. The #22 of Steven Johnson must have sensed this might be his last chance as he powered by C. Johnson out of turn 4 and would go onto win ahead of C. Johnson. This race might have been the best of the night.

17 IMCA Western Racesaver 305’s roared to life for their 25 lap feature. Pole sitter #86 of Chris Ennis would lead the field to the green. The red flag would come out on Lap 1 for a vicious incident involving the #67 of Vaughn Schott in turns 1 and 2. He would be ok. The second initial start went much better as Ennis would not really be challenged as he led wire to wire for a three second victory over young gassers Cole Danell, Zane Blanchard and Jared Faria.
20 of the 21 checked in USAC West Coast 360’s would roll off for 30 green flag laps. “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. would jump out to the lead on lap 1. Faria Jr., with many laps on this facilities clay would expertly pick the right line until a caution on lap 28 would bunch up the field for one last restart. After the green flag flew again, Faria. Jr, would shoot off like a cannon into turns 1 and 2. He would move down a lane headed into turn 3 and that would be all that the #83 of Austin Liggett would need as Liggett, who started 9th, would power past Hollywood with a nice move out of 4. Liggett would go on to to take the double checkered flags ahead of Faria Jr, Geoff Ensign and Cody Majors.

WHAT’S NEXT: Racing resumes this Friday March 31st with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series returning to the track for the first time since 2015. In 2015, Outlaw driver Shane Stewart bested the 35+ car field. Can he do it again? The California boys are itching to send the Outlaw drivers back east and get a win on their home turf. Ticket prices are $40 for Reserved Main Grandstand tickets and $35 for General Admission bleacher seats. is your source for advanced ticket needs. The on-site ticket gate will open at the track at 12pm on Friday. The Western Racesaver 305’s will be racing this Friday night as well. Qualifying is expected to start at 6:15, with the first race around 7:00.
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