HANFORD, Calif. — As has become the trend this Autumn, Keller Auto Speedway hosted a handful of sprint car races this past weekend.
Friday featured the Cotton Classic showcasing the Kings of Thunder 410 sprint cars and the Sprint Car Challenge Tour 360 sprint cars.
The two shows produced a familiar sight with Dominic Scelzi standing in victory lane at the conclusion of each main event, marking his 19th and 20th victories of the year.
The 410 feature appeared as if it would be decided between Justin Sanders and D.J. Netto. The two traded slide jobs until they got a little too close and made contact in turn four. Netto nursed his car from the scene with a flat right-rear tire, while Sanders had fell to fourth by the time the yellow flag for Netto flew.
Bud Kaeding and Scelzi inherited the top two spots. Scelzi snatched the lead from Kaeding with less than 10 laps remaining and nearly gave it back on the final circuit but ultimately held on to win.
Kaeding‘s runner-up result was an encouraging one despite not earning the victory. The finish marked his first 410 podium since early July at Petaluma Speedway.
A noteworthy name in the rundown was seventh-place finisher Ryan Bernal. After piloting the Tarlton Racing No. 21 during the 2019 NARC-King of the West campaign, Bernal and the team reunited to finish out this season. Friday was their first race back together.
The finish marked Bernal‘s third consecutive seventh-place result at Hanford in a 410-winged sprint car.
• The SCCT race didn‘t have quite as much drama. Scelzi started from the front row and dominated the 30-lap main event.
The battle for the SCCT championship tightened slightly. Point leader Ryan Robinson finished eighth while his closest competitors, Colby Copeland and Justyn Cox, notched fifth- and sixth-place results.
• Saturday welcomed the Morrie Williams Memorial, headlined by a pair of NARC-King of the West 20-lap features.
Scelzi made it three wins in a row in the opening 20-lapper, starting on the pole and never looking back.
The victory gave Scelzi both his 15th career NARC win, 30th career podium and widened his already healthy point lead.
With his 21st triumph of 2021 Scelzi took sole possession of first place in the category of most combined sprint car wins in the nation this year.
Scelzi‘s eight 410 victories, tie him for 11th in the nation this season in only 32 races. Only three of the drivers who have won more 410 races than Scelzi have fewer than 70 starts in the division.
• After spinning on the opening lap of the previous feature, Mitchel Moles charged to his first NARC-King of the West victory in the finale.
Following his first-lap mishap during the opener, Moles rallied to finish 10th. The invert used to line up the second race positioned his Roth Motorsports No. 83 in 11th, marking the farthest someone has come to win a NARC-King of the West feature this season.
The Raisin City, Calif., native‘s win made him the third first time NARC-King of the West winner of the year, following Billy Aton and Corey Day.
• Justin Sanders continued to impress in the Paul Silva-prepared Works Limited No. 57. He scored a pair of top-five finishes, enough to earn him the Morrie Williams Memorial points championship and the $2,000 prize with it. Sanders has seven top-five efforts in nine starts aboard the No. 57.
• Blake Carrick‘s pair of seventh-place results gave him five consecutive top 10s with NARC at Keller Auto Speedway. Half of Carrick‘s 10 career top 10s with the series have come at the three-eighths mile track.
• Iowa‘s Austin McCarl wound up with another strong Hanford run in the Country Builders‘ Construction No. 88 that his father, Terry, helped make famous. The former Knoxville Raceway track champion came home fourth in the final feature, his third top-five finish in five NARC starts at the Kings County facility.
• In the second main event, Shane Hopkins earned his first NARC top-10 finish, coming home sixth.
• The Golden State is set for a somewhat quiet weekend before the Trophy Cup takes center stage next week.
The SCCT will hold their penultimate points event of the season at Petaluma Speedway this Saturday.
The most recent series race at the historic facility saw Kaleb Montgomery become a first-time series winner.
Down in Southern California the USAC West Coast 360 Sprints and the USAC Western States Midgets will battle beachside at Ventura Raceway.