TULARE, Calif. — official series release — Matt Hill photo —
It was fitting Friday night’s World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series and King of the West Series feature at Thunderbowl Raceway took place on Friday the 13th.
The unusual A-main saw a first half plagued by flipping race cars and red flags, and a tail end car end the night for the leader. Ultimately though, it was Tim Kaeding who avoided the on-track disorder and battled past a hard charging Terry McCarl to become the seventh different winner in seven Outlaws events this season.
“I’ve got to thank (Owners) Dennis and Teresa Roth, (Crew Chief Todd Ventura) and all these guys with the Roth Enterprises team,” an emotional Kaeding said in victory lane. “One year ago I definitely screwed up bad and this is one way to repay them for the ten years of hard work that they put in and I put into this deal. To keep the winning streak going here at Tulare with Dennis and them is a dream come true.”
Kaeding, who started the feature in fourth, hung around in that spot for the first half of Friday night’s A main. After a wreck on lap 12 took out both the leader, Joey Saldana, and third place Brad Sweet, Kaeding moved onto the front row.
Through the last ten laps, Kaeding closed on then leader Terry McCarl as the two worked their way through lapped traffic. With five to go, Kaeding finally found the momentum he needed, running the high side of the track and clearing McCarl out of turn four as they raced to the start/finish line.
“I thought we were going to be a fourth place car there for a while,” Kaeding said. “That red came out and I finally took a drink of water and got calmed down and got my head out of my butt, and did what I know how to do at this place. I ran the fence and I ran the living crap out of this Roth Motorsports car.”
Tonight’s win was the fourth for Kaeding at Thunderbowl, tying him with Joey Saldana as the winningest Outlaws driver at the track. Kaeding now has 20 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series feature wins in his career. It was the first Outlaws win of the season for Roth Motorsports.
Saldana led the 35-lap feature to the green flag with Sweet in second and Carson Macedo in third. Before the field could complete the first lap, Macedo brought out the night’s first red flag after getting caught in the cushion in the middle of turns three and four, flipping and snagging Donny Schatz. Schatz was able to return to the track.
Saldana again led the field to the green flag with Sweet in second. On the restart, McCarl took over the second position as Kaeding held steady in fourth. By lap 10, Sweet was challenging McCarl for the position and briefly took it back over. McCarl ran back though and held on to second.
Just two laps later McCarl narrowly avoided Ian Madsen who flipped in turn four and caught up Joey Saldana. Sweet was not so lucky – he hit the then leader after Saldana spun to the bottom of the track. After leading the first 12 laps, Saldana’s night was ended. Sweet managed to eventually get back out, finishing the night in 15th.
Green flag racing returned with McCarl in the lead and Kaeding in second, but not for long. On lap 15, David Gravel, Daryn Pittman, Willie Croft and Bud Kaeding all wrecked, again in turns three and four. An open red was called as the track was cleared. Heavy damage ended Bud Kaeding’s and Croft’s nights. Pittman and Gravel were able to return to the track after time in the work area.
McCarl built up a strong lead in his No. 88 Country Builders car after the field returned to green — Kaeding was in second and Kerry Madsen in third. McCarl hit lapped traffic on lap 21 and began working his way through. Meanwhile, Shane Stewart, who started the night in ninth, had worked his way up to fourth and began battling Madsen for the third spot. After a battle that lasted several laps, Stewart cleared Madsen to take over the third position on the bottom of the track as the two drivers exited turn two.
Through the last ten laps, McCarl and Kaeding waged a fierce battle for the lead. Kaeding worked the top of the track right on the cushion while McCarl ran the bottom. Lap after lap, Kaeding looked to get a run, only to have McCarl shut the door. He finally got his chance as the two exited turn four, side-by-side, Kaeding took over the lead.
Stewart battled McCarl in the closing laps, taking over the second spot, as the two raced to the checkered flag.
“That was a crazy race,” Stewart said. “Obviously with Joey and Brad and those guys crashing out, it helped us. Just have to thank Terry (McCarl) for racing me clean. It’s always fun to race clean like that and not crash. And it was very easy to crash tonight as everybody could see. Definitely a good run for us, we’re on a little bit of a high so hopefully we can keep it rolling.”
Stewart exits the night with a 16 point lead over reigning World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz. The Larson Marks Racing driver has one win on the season, and just one finish outside the top-ten.
McCarl, who ultimately led 18 laps Friday night, said he was disappointed in where he finished.
“We had a strong middle race, got a little loose there at the end,” said McCarl, an Altoona, Iowa-native. “I drove my butt off and kept pulling the wing back and then the wing got jammed and wouldn’t move on me. I just got loose there and couldn’t run with Tim off of the corners there as I was earlier. He’s the best in the business around Tulare, so if you can run with him here, it’s a testament to this team.”
Earlier in the night, Brad Sweet became the fifth different driver of the season to take home a quick time after he put down a track record-breaking lap of 12.582 in qualifying. The night’s winner, Tim Kaeding, was the old record holder with a lap of 12.651 from 2010.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series and King of the West Series return to action at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif. on Saturday night.
World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Thunderbowl Raceway; Tulare, Calif.; March 13, 2015
A-Main – (35 Laps) – 1. 83JR-Tim Kaeding  [$10,000]; 2. 2-Shane Stewart  [$5,000]; 3. 88-Terry McCarl  [$3,000]; 4. 29-Kerry Madsen  [$2,700]; 5. 24-Rico Abreu  [$2,500]; 6. 51-Paul McMahan  [$2,200]; 7. 26-Taylor Malsam  [$2,000]; 8. 15-Donny Schatz  [$1,800]; 9. 7-Craig Dollansky  [$1,600]; 10. 35M-Kyle Hirst  [$1,450]; 11. 11K-Kraig Kinser  [$1,300]; 12. 7S-Jason Sides  [$500]; 13. 9-Daryn Pittman  [$1,100]; 14. 83-David Gravel  [$1,000]; 15. 49-Brad Sweet  [$950]; 16. 18-Ian Madsen  [$900]; 17. OOJR-Cory Eliason  [$850]; 18. 41-Jason Johnson  [$50]; 19. 55-Trey Starks  [$725]; 20. 37-Mitchell Faccinto  [$700]; 21. O-Bud Kaeding  [$700]; 22. 29W-Willie Croft  [$700]; 23. 71M-Joey Saldana  [$700]; 24. 1s-Logan Schuchart  [$700]; 25. 21X-Carson Macedo  [$700]; 26. 21-Brian Brown  [$700].
Lap Leaders: Joey Saldana 1-12, Terry McCarl 13-30, Tim Kaeding 31-35.
KSE Hard Charger Award: 7S-Jason Sides [+13]
Qualifying – 1. 49-Brad Sweet, 12.582; 2. 71M-Joey Saldana, 12.620; 3. 83JR-Tim Kaeding, 12.800; 4. 21X-Carson Macedo, 12.800; 5. 29-Kerry Madsen, 12.810
CREDIT: World of Outlaw Sprint Car Series