Rico Abreu wins Tribute to Gary Patterson/ Kyle Hirst claims first King of the West crown
Rico Abreu charges to second straight “Tribute to Gary Patterson” victory & Kyle Hirst brings home first King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series championship in Stockton Saturday
By Gary Thomas
Stockton, CA - November 2, 2013…A large & enthusiastic crowd at the Stockton Dirt Track witnessed a bit of history on Saturday night, as Rutherford’s Rico Abreu continued his stellar season by scoring his second consecutive victory in the “Tribute to Gary Patterson,” along with Sacramento’s Kyle Hirst locking up his first career King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series title.
Abreu, in just his third year of Sprint Car racing, became the very first driver to ever win the “Tribute to Gary Patterson,” the “Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial” and the “Johnny Key Classic” all in the same year. The immensely talented 21-year-old was thrilling to watch aboard the Paul Silva prepared Abreu Vineyards No. 24 during the night at the lightning fast 3/8 mile clay oval. It was Abreu’s third KWS victory of the year and the fifth of his young career.
“This is awesome to come out here and win the Tribute to Gary Patterson for the second straight year,” said Abreu, who ends the season with an impressive 10 top-five finishes in his 10 King of the West Series starts this season. “I can’t say enough about Paul Silva, Trevor Canales and all my guys. They have given me great cars all year and it has been a lot of fun. I also want to congratulate Kyle Hirst on the championship this year and thank everyone for coming out to support us.”
Abreu captured the main event after battling with Kyle Hirst and Chico’s Jonathan Allard for much of the 30-lap contest. Hirst got the jump on the field when the green flag waved for the final time in 2013, as Allard hopped into second and Abreu into third. Racing through traffic Hirst attempted to keep Allard and Abreu at bay, as the fight for second went back and forth until Abreu locked himself into the runner up spot just prior to the halfway point.
The youngster would charge after Hirst and actually make the pass for the lead on three separate occasions, only to have the caution lights flash on each time. Abreu kept after it however, and continued to come hard for the lead, which he would finally get on lap-17 with a beautiful move to the inside in turns and two. Allard would follow along on lap-21, as he got around Hirst and began to track down Abreu up front. Allard motored up to his rear in traffic, but over the final couple laps issues on the right side of Allard’s car would allow Abreu to escape and take the checkered by a margin of 3.845 seconds for victory.
Allard limped across the line to narrowly score second over Hirst to cap another strong season driving for Morrie & Katie Williams in the ZERO Sprint Car. It should be noted that Allard flew all the way back from New Zealand just to compete at Stockton on Saturday, which shows the kind of dedication the three-time KWS champ has. The King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series would like to wish him the best of luck as he heads back down to New Zealand for his annual tour down under. Allard ended the year with four series wins, which led all drivers during the season.
Hirst’s third place finish marked his 13th podium effort of the KWS 410 season and allowed him to wrap up his very first King of the West Series championship. When going back through the archives of the Northern Auto Racing Club and the Golden State Challenge/ King of the West Series, Kyle & Rick Hirst have become just the second father/son tandem to win the Nor Cal 410 title, joining Brent & Tim Kaeding. It also marked the third consecutive owners’ championship with the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series for Fresno, CA based Roth Motorsports. Hirst ended the year with three series victories aboard the famed HR Livestock Transportation No. 83jr machine.
“It’s a great feeling to finally lock up this King of the West championship here in Stockton,” Hirst commented. “I can’t thank Dennis & Teresa Roth, Todd Ventura and this whole Roth Motorsports team for the opportunity they have given me this year. I also want to thank all my family for always believing in me and all the fans for their support all year long. It’s pretty unbelievable getting my name on that list of champions for this series. My dad won the NARC title back in ’86, so it means the world to me that I’m able to get a KWS championship under my belt. It’s been a great season out here and I definitely need to thank everyone involved for making it happen.”
Visalia’s Cory Eliason finished the main event in fourth to cap one of the best nights of his King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series career at the helm of his Eliason Racing Composites No. 00x mount. The youngster began the night by setting fast time and then brought home third place finishes in both his heat race and the dash. It was nice to see Eliason finish the year on a strong note. San Jose’s Tim Kaeding, who won the 360 Sprint Car portion of the night, charged forward to round out the top-five in the feature aboard the Roth Enterprises No. 83. The remainder of the top-10 was completed by Sean Becker, Brent Kaeding, DJ Netto, Jason Statler and Willie Croft.
The 12-lap Last Chance Qualifier was captured by Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan and the six-lap Dash presented by Panella Racing Engines during the night was claimed by Fresno’s Craig Stidham, who earned an extra $500 for his efforts. Kyle Hirst finished second in the dash and will receive $300, while third place Cory Eliason will get $200. We’d like to thank Panella Racing Engines for their gracious support of the KWS dash at the “Tribute to GP” in Stockton. The four 10-lap Kaeding Performance Heat Races were brought home by Willie Croft, Kyle Hirst, Andy Gregg and Rico Abreu. As noted Cory Eliason began the evening by setting the BR Motorsports Fast Time with a lap of 13.414 around the Stockton Dirt Track.
On behalf of the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series we’d like to thank all of the teams, fans, sponsors and everyone that made the 2013 season possible. We hope you all have a great off-season and can’t wait to see everybody in 2014. The championship awards banquet will occur on Saturday December 14 at the Cocoanut Grove Ballroom in Santa Cruz. More details will be released this coming week. For updates during the off-season stay glued to our website www.kwssprints.com as well as Facebook and Twitter for the latest breaking news.
Rico Abreu shown in victory lane at the 30th "Tribute to Gary Patterson" on Saturday at the Stockton Dirt Track. Photo by Paul Trevino.
Kyle Hirst looks to join father Rick as a Northern California 410 Sprint Car Champion on Saturday in Stockton
King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series season wraps up on this Saturday November 2 at the Stockton Dirt Track as Kyle Hirst looks for first title
By Gary Thomas
Stockton, CA – October 29, 2013…What started in late-April will come to an exciting conclusion this Saturday November 2, as the King of the West 410 Sprint Cars Series rolls into the new Stockton Dirt Track for championship night and the 30th running of the “Tribute to Gary Patterson” at the lightning fast 3/8 mile clay oval.
It will be the 18th and final KWS 410 event of 2013 and the second appearance of the season for the series at the beautiful San Joaquin County Fairgrounds based facility. It also marks the first ever “Tribute to GP” in Stockton, as it becomes the third track to host the event, joining Calistoga Speedway and Silver Dollar Speedway. Going into the evening Sacramento’s Kyle Hirst holds a 45-point advantage over Chico’s Jonathan Allard, as he looks to join his father Rick Hirst as a Northern California 410 Sprint Car champion and bring home his initial King of the West title.
“It’s been a really consistent and solid season for us and we’re looking forward to the KWS finale this weekend in Stockton,” said Hirst, whose father captured the 1986 Northern Auto Racing Club championship while driving for DuWayne Starr. “It would really mean a lot to win the King of the West title. Out here on the west coast in Winged Sprint Car racing it’s hard to find a more prestigious list of series champions to be a part of when you look at all the past Golden State/ KWS title winners.”
So far this season Hirst has claimed 12 podium finishes in the 17 events held and has also picked up three KWS victories on the year, which has been his first full-time campaign driving the famed Roth Enterprises No. 83jr for owners’ Dennis & Teresa Roth. The 25-year-old began driving the car in June of last year and captured victory during his very first night in the 83jr at Antioch Speedway with the King of the West Series. That night coupled with other success during the year parlayed him into becoming the full-time driver of the car on the west coast.
“I can’t thank Dennis & Teresa Roth and the whole Roth Motorsports team enough for the opportunity they have given me this season,” commented Hirst, who won the Tribute to Gary Patterson in 2009 when the event was being held at Silver Dollar Speedway and also finished fifth during the recent Trophy Cup in Tulare. “Being able to drive one car on a consistent basis this year has been really nice and for it to be in the Roth 83jr has made it pretty special. Dennis & Teresa have had some amazing drivers in their stable throughout the years and it’s just a first class operation all around.”
Jonathan Allard, the three-time and defending King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series champion will look for a strong night and a little help to try and retain the title at Stockton this weekend. The Chico veteran has captured four main event wins with the series this season, which is tops amongst all drivers and was dominating the August event in Stockton, until suffering a blown engine late in the race. With a perfect points night being worth 164-markers the championship isn’t over by any means and Allard has shown in the past that he can strive through adversity when it comes to winning championships and big races.
Hirst’s Roth Enterprises teammate Tim Kaeding will be gunning to keep up his hot streak, which has seen him claim victories in all three of his King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series starts this season. The former two-time series champion will make his second career start at the Stockton Dirt Track, after battling it out and finishing runner up to Kyle Larson in March with the World of Outlaws during the inaugural event at the speedway. Kaeding scored a clean sweep at the “Tribute to GP” in 2008 and is coming off a fourth place finish in the final points tally at the “Trophy Cup” in Tulare.
Rutherford’s Rico Abreu will be looking to defend his “Tribute to Gary Patterson” victory from last season in Calistoga and is coming off a strong showing at the recent “Trophy Cup” where he finished third in the overall standings at the event. The 21-year-old throttle-masher has raced to a pair of wins with the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series this season and finished fifth a couple weeks back in Hanford. With November 2 at Stockton also featuring a Winged 360 Sprint Car show during the night, Abreu will be pulling double duty with a pair of Paul Silva wrenched Abreu Vineyards No. 24 machines on hand.
The top-15 in the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series standings going into the season finale at Stockton is rounded out by Sacramento’s Willie Croft, Fresno’s Craig Stidham, Grass Valley’s Jason Statler, Campbell’s Brent Kaeding, Fair Oaks Chad Compton, Oakhurst’s Doug Gandy, Grass Valley’s Carl Droivold, Fresno’s Dominic Scelzi, Auburn’s Richard Brace Jr, Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs, Grass Valley’s Pat Harvey, Laton’s Geoffrey Strole and Clovis’ Peter Murphy. The KWS event in August was captured by Scelzi, who earned his first career series win that night over Suggs and Lemoore’s Carson Macedo.
Both the KWS 410 & 360 Dash will feature bonus money on the line as well this Saturday. The King of the West 410 Dash is being backed by Panella Racing Engines and features a total of $1000 on the line, which will be broken up as follows: $500 to the winner, $300 to second place and $200 to third place. The Winged 360 Sprint Car Dash is being sponsored by Chase Chevrolet and features a total of $750 on the line, which will be broken up as follows: $400 to the winner, $200 to second place and $150 to third place.
A car show from noon to 4pm on November 2 will also take place behind the grandstands featuring Classic Hot Rods, Restored Classics, Race Cars, Motorcycles, Custom Hot Rod Trucks and more. Registration is free at the event and will be located through the front gate of the fairgrounds off Airport Way. Two GA tickets will be given per car owner who participates. The Central Valley Cruisers are the host car club for the event and live music will be performed by the Robert Flores Band. The concession stand will be open during the car show for food and refreshments.
The evening will also be capped with a huge 4th of July style fireworks show to finish off the season in grand fashion.
To purchase your tickets for November 2 contact (916) 370-9417 and to view a seating chart log onto http://stocktondirttrack.com/grandstands.pdf to find the seats you want. Ticket office hours are 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday.
Premium reserved grandstand seats cost $30, with general admission bleachers being $20. Kids 6-12 in the bleachers cost $10 with children five and under free. Box seats in sets of six will be sold for $180 and sets of eight for $240. There will also be a $5 convenience fee for each ticket purchased. Tickets will be left at will call on November 2 and can be picked up at 2pm that day.
With two classes of Winged Sprint Cars and a large field expected there will also be a slightly earlier than usual start time with things beginning just about an hour earlier than normal. The pit meeting will be held at 3:30pm with plans for wheel packing at 4pm, qualifying at 5pm and the first heat will be scheduled to push off at 6pm. The front gate will open at 3:30pm with the ticket booth opening at 2pm.
Known as the "Dancing Phantom from Stockton," the "Preacher," the "Hostile Hippie" or just simply "GP," Gary Patterson was one of the most colorful characters of his time and captured a number of lucrative wins in his career, including the Gold Cup Race of Champions when it was held at West Capital Raceway in Sacramento, the Super Dirt Cup in Washington at Skagit Speedway and the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Ascot Park in Gardena among others.
Patterson unfortunately lost his life in a Sprint Car crash at Calistoga Speedway on Memorial Day weekend 1983 and an event in his memory has been held every year since. The event began at Calistoga Speedway, before moving to Silver Dollar Speedway in 2008-2011, prior to going back to Calistoga last year. “GP” moved to Stockton, California in 1957 and actually began his career at the Stockton 99 Speedway, which makes for a perfect tie-in to pay tribute on the 30th anniversary of the event. More info on the late great “GP” can be found at http://garypattersonracing.com/
The Stockton Dirt Track is located on the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton, California and is built inside a one-mile horse track. The physical address is 1658 S Airport Way, Stockton, CA 95206.