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California natives Logan Seavey, Justin Grant and Buddy Kofoid swept the podium on the final night of the Hangtown 100 at their native track, Placerville Speedway. (Devin Mayo Photo)

CALI NOTES: Natives Rule Hangtown

PLACERVILLE, Calif. – After an Oklahoman invaded and stole the opening night, the Californians conquered the remainder of the Hangtown 100 at Placerville Speedway this past weekend.

Night one saw Ryan Timms continue his rapid rise through the dirt racing ranks with his first USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget win in a Chad Boat Industries entry.

This year alone, the 15-year-old Timms had already padded his resumé with a Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series victory, a triumph in California’s Trophy Cup finale and a Lucas Oil POWRi National Midget League win.

Interestingly, Thursday night marked the second consecutive Hangtown 100 to feature a first-time series winner on the opening night. Gio Scelzi, also driving for Chad Boat, was the first in 2019.

Fellow Oklahoma native, Cannon McIntosh, claimed the runner-up spot while Justin Grant earned his second straight third-place finish to complete the podium.

— On the second night, Kyle Larson, fresh off his NASCAR Cup Series title, delivered a signature performance at his home race track to pick up the win.

Larson started from the eighth position and used a blend of timely aggression and tactical patience to take the checkered flag. 

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Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson talk things over during Hangtown 100 weekend at California’s Placerville Speedway. (Joe Shivak Photo)

As Larson moved forward, he made his own groove above the cushion on many laps to climb into the top three.

Once he got to second, he pressured Emerson Axsom, showing him a nose multiple times in turns three and four before finally pulling the trigger with a slide job and cruising to the victory.

Axsom held on to second while Bryant Wiedeman notched his best series result in third.

— On Saturday, Justin Grant, exercising patience and skills learned from his USAC Silver Crown experience, used a unique line through turns one and two to drive by Buddy Kofoid for the $20,000 check.

“A lot of that was having a really good race car, and a lot of that, too, comes from my Silver Crown racing,” Grant said of the groove he raced. “In Silver Crown racing we run 100-lap, 100-mile races, and it kind of gets how (turns) one and two got. 

“It doesn’t have a lot of moisture, but it starts getting clean and abrasive, and you’ve got to follow in that lane, but you’re always keeping an eye on that dust line,” Grant continued. “When the dust line moves up, you can start moving up, and the more you can open your entry up the more you can get straight and drive it forward a little sooner, and we were able to do that.”

Kofoid settled for the runner-up spot, enough to extend his points lead with just three races remaining this year.

Driving from 11th to third was another Californian, Logan Seavey, which gave him enough accumulated points to earn him the overall Hangtown 100 championship and $12,000 title prize. 

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Logan Seavey (Devin Mayo Photo)

The title was especially rewarding considering misfortune plagued Seavey in the event’s inaugural edition.

“Two years ago, we were highest in points going in [to the finale] and kind of got racing for the lead and ended up crashing, so that was not my plan this time,” Seavey said through a laugh. “Going in second in points I knew I had to beat Kyle [Larson] by a couple spots and had actually just passed him and then he crashed, and I knew that was kind of my window and I had to get going.

“At the end of the race when it finally kind of cleaned up, I could really make speed right through the middle in [turns] one and two where I was finally able to really pass some cars there in the last 20 laps or so,” he added. “I think I was eighth or ninth with 20 to go, and we drove up there to third.”

On top of claiming both Saturday’s main event and the overall points, California drivers occupied six of the top 10 spots in the final standings and seven of the top 10 positions in Saturday’s 100-lap finale.

— Looking ahead, two more nights of USAC Midget racing begins tomorrow at Merced Speedway, marking the second-straight year the Central Valley bullring will host a pair of dates with the nation’s top midget drivers.

Both shows will also feature 360 sprint cars, with Chase Elliott intending to make his sprint car debut aboard the notorious Tarlton Racing machine.

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