Cotton Classic goes to Elk Grove's Kyle Larson at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway
Kyle Larson finishes off Winged 410 Sprint Car year in California by winning $5,000 Cotton Classic at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway on Saturday night
By Gary Thomas
Hanford, CA – October 17, 2010…With the California Winged 410 Sprint Car season coming to a close on Saturday it was only fitting that the “King of California” ended the night in victory lane, as Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson made the move by Jonathan Allard just after the halfway point in the feature and held off a closing Tim Kaeding to score his first career Cotton Classic win at the Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway.
The victory for Larson came in just his fourth career start at the Hanford, California based track and marked his ninth overall triumph of 2010 aboard the Stadelhofer Construction, Peppermill Casino-Reno, Kaeding Performance No. 99 sprint car.
“This is awesome to come out here and win the Cotton Classic and to finally beat Tim Kaeding feels like winning the Daytona 500, because he’s always tough and has won so much out here this year,” said the 18-year-old Larson. “I really have to give hats off to my guys for giving me such a great car once again and want to thank Rich Stadelhofer and all of our sponsors as well.”
Always one of the most prestigious late-season events in California, the Cotton Classic returned as a Winged 410 Sprint Car event this season and the 40-lap feature came to the line with 2010 King of California Kyle Larson and ’05 King of California Sean Becker of Oroville sharing the front row. The two Outlaw Kart aces turned sprint car stars brought the field down to green with Becker slicing his way into the lead and Larson following along in second.
Former two-time King of California Jonathan Allard of Chico made his presence known quickly, as he charged past Larson for second on lap-four and then blasted around Becker to claim the lead on the following lap aboard his Williams Motorsports, K&N Filters No. 0 machine. Once in front “JA” built up a very sizeable advantage over the rest of the field, as he immediately checked out from the pack and looked to be the driver to beat.
The fight for second then started to heat up and on lap-eight Larson would shoot by Becker to move back into the runner up spot and just after that San Jose’s Tim Kaeding also came along to take third. Allard had remained large and in charge up front, but just prior to a caution period on lap 19 both Larson and T. Kaeding seemed to be closing in with the track surface changing more and more.
With very slick and treacherous conditions becoming more prevalent, drivers had their hands full on the challenging 3/8 mile clay oval and when the green lights came back on Allard led the field, but soon had company in the form of Larson. The first half of the race had seen Allard dominate up front, but things changed as the race went on and with 23-laps down Larson finessed his way to the inside off turn two and charged past Allard to claim the top-spot. After taking the lead the youngster impressively pulled away from the rest of the competitors and like Allard earlier in the race built up a large advantage.
As Larson was “hooked up and hauling” out front T. Kaeding came after Allard in the battle for second and would make the pass on lap 27 to grab the position and try to give chase after the lead. A caution would appear with only seven-laps remaining in the race and it put “TK” right on the bumper of Larson for what would be the final restart of the night.
Earlier in the year at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway T. Kaeding and Larson went toe-to-toe for lead in the feature until the 18-year-old suffered engine problems, which knocked him out of contention with just a couple laps left. Looking to change up his luck on this night Larson led the field back down to green and showed no hesitation with California’s winningest winged sprint car driver in 2010 on his tail. “TK” gave it hard run after Larson, but the Elk Grove driver ran a near perfect final handful of laps and crossed the checkered flag for his first ever Hanford win.
T. Kaeding came home in second for yet another strong finish aboard the Roth Motorsports, DTR Transport Inc. No. 83 and will now look to defend his thrilling Trophy Cup win from a year ago at the event this coming weekend. The San Jose driver goes into the Trophy Cup with 14 main event wins under his belt on the West Coast this season and will be in search of his fourth career Cup title.
Completing the podium was row five starter Tommy Tarlton of Easton in the Corporate America Lending, Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino No. 21, who also wrapped up his second straight Ocean Sprints title on Friday night at Ocean Speedway. Tarlton has had a fantastic year in California and will also be considered one of the favorites at the Trophy Cup next weekend, an event he captured in the year 2000.
Completing the top-five in the main event were Allard and Becker at the helm of his Brian Sperry Racing, Cherry St. Mini Storage No. 51 sprinter. The remainder of the top-10 was comprised of Grass Valley’s Jason Statler, Placerville’s Andy Gregg, Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs, Campbell’s Brent Kaeding and Caruther’s Garrett Ishii.
Winning the evening’s last chance showdown was Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan with Jonathan Allard, Visalia’s Blake Robertson and Jason Statler capturing the three 10-lap heat races held during the night. A total of 27-cars signed into the back gate at the Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway for the Cotton Classic and Jonathan Allard opened the night by setting fast time with a clocking of 13.019 around the 3/8 mile clay oval.
California drivers and teams will now prepare for the 17th annual Southwest Contractors Trophy Cup this coming Friday and Saturday at the Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare. The prestigious event will award the high-points driver over the two-nights of racing with a guaranteed payday of $20,000. For ticket information visit http://www.thunderbowlraceway.com and for all your Trophy Cup info log onto http://www.trophycup.org
Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson tallied his first career Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway victory on Saturday night at the Cotton Classic, in what just his fourth career start at the track. The $5,000 triumph marked the 18-year-old’s ninth sprint car win of the season to go along with his King of California title in 2010.
Photo's by Paul Trevino of http://www.paultrevinoracingphotos.com
Submitted By: Gary Thomas