57th Gold Cup could prove to be a successful homecoming for Outlaws' Paul McMahan Local favorite returns stronger then ever, sixth place in World of Outlaws standings CHICO, CA (9-9-10) Ã¢^a" One of the most unique aspects of the annual Gold...
57th Gold Cup could prove to be a successful homecoming for Outlaws' Paul McMahan
Local favorite returns stronger then ever, sixth place in World of Outlaws standings
CHICO, CA (9-9-10) â^a" One of the most unique aspects of the annual Gold Cup Race of Champions is that the event draws competitors and race fans from all different parts of the world to compete in California's richest race of season. While many drivers will be thousands of miles from home there is a select few that look upon this fall classic as a homecoming after spending endless months touring the nation.
One such driver with the World of Outlaws is former Oroville resident Paul McMahan. Now a resident of Memphis, Tennesee, McMahan began his sprint car racing career on the banks of Silver Dollar Speedway back in 1987. Tonight, the 39-year-old Elk Grove native returns to where it all started for the first of three big nights of racing with the World of Outlaws at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds. For McMahan, the 57th Gold Cup may very well be the best one of his racing career, for a couple of different reasons.
McMahan was called to duty this season by Kasey Kahne Racing to fill the driving position for Cody Darrah. Darrah was sidelined for the majority of the season due to a serious leg injury. Taking the quality ride and knowing it was a temporary situation, McMahan has made 2010 one of the most successful years of his racing career. As he returns to Silver Dollar Speedway tonight for the first of three full nights of racing, McMahan is sixth in the World of Outlaw standings with 23 top five finishes thus far in the season. He claimed his first feature win of the season at Eldora back in May and is poised to have a stellar performance at the track he will always consider home.
"I've always run well at Chico but I think this race will give me the best opportunity I have ever had to have a shot at the Gold Cup," said McMahan, driver of the Sport Clips #91 Sprint Car. "It was an unfortunate situation that gave me the opportunity to drive for this team this year but at the same time it's been a blessing for me. Getting the call to drive this car was the best thing that has ever happened to me since the day Clyde Lamar put me behind the wheel of his car."
McMahan is the second of three generations that are active in the sport of sprint car racing. His older brother, Bobby claimed the 2009 track championship at Silver Dollar Speedway and recently finished in the top ten of the Golden State Challenge Series. McMahan's 16-year-old nephew, Sean, is now an up and coming driver in the local sprint car court. Tonight the McMahan family has the unique opportunity to race together.
"That's one of the greatest things about coming back to California, spending time with my family," said McMahan. "My brother and I grew up together racing and it's not too often we get to do it together with all the traveling we do now.
In the past, the McMahan brothers have raced wheel to wheel in many memorable races with the Northern Auto Racing Club and the Golden State Challenge Series. However, tonight will be the first time that the newest member of the racing family, Sean, will have the opportunity to race with both his father and his uncle.
"I'm ready to see what my nephew's got for me," joked McMahan. "For years he was always telling me how much better he was going to drive then us and now we get the chance to see what he can do. It's really special to be able to come back here like this and hopefully we can bring home a top finish."
The Thursday night venue includes the first of two preliminary nights of competition everyone begins their journey towards Saturday's finale. Friday night will host the second preliminary night of competition. This year all competitors race on all three nights of the Gold Cup. The Thursday and Friday programs will pay $8000 to win and Saturday will be a series of feature events all leading up to the big $50,000 to win Gold Cup Race of Champions.
Joining McMahan in the line up tonight will be his Kasey Kahne racing teammate and World of Outlaw's current point leader and defending two time Gold Cup Champion Joey Saldana of Brownsburg, Indiana. Saldana has captured 12 feature wins this season and enters the Chico event with a mere six point lead over Steve Kinser.
Jason Myers, a native of Clovis who also began his career on the banks of Silver Dollar Speedway, is third in the standings with nine feature wins to his name in 2010. Myers has won the annual Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway and a preliminary feature event but has yet to capture the gold. The last California driver to win the Gold Cup was Darrell Hanestad back in 1989.
Defending World of Outlaws' Champion Donny Schatz of Fargo, ND sits fourth in the series standings with Jason Sides of Bartlett, TN rounding out the top five. McMahan is sixth overall ahead of the crowd pleaser Craig Dollansky, Lucas Wolfe, Danny "The Dude" Lasoski. Kraig Kinser rounds out the top ten in the competitive standings.
As it has in the past, the Gold Cup Race of Champions will utilize an accumulative point system to determine the line ups for Saturday's program that will climax with the 40-lap $50,000 to win Gold Cup Race of Champions feature event.
Throughout the week on the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds a variety of entertainment venues and activities will be taking place beginning tonight as Kronik Energy Drink presents the electrifying band known as "Double Funk Crunch" in the Silver Dollar Pavilion after the races. This event will be free and will feature discount tacos, beer and beverages as well as video footage on the big screen of Gold Cup's most fantastic moments during the affair that combines family fun with a happy hour environment.
On Friday night the Hunt Magnetos Miss Gold Cup Bikini Contest and Chili Feed returns. Entries are now available for this event that will pay $1000 to the winner. This year, Chico's flammable rock and roll band "Hot Flash!" will perform during the Chili Feed and following the Miss Gold Cup Bikini Contest. For just $7 admission, race fans can enjoy all you can eat chili, salad and cornbread. Discount beer and soda will be on tap. The event culminates with the crowning of Miss Gold Cup 2010 who will pick up $1000 for her efforts. A limited number of entries for the Miss Gold Cup Bikini Contest remain available and may be obtained at the Silver Dollar Speedway novelty booth or by calling (916) 969-7484.
It's all happening at the one and only Silver Dollar Speedway tonight in Chico, Don't be left out of the action, tickets are still available. For further information visit www.silverdollarspeedway.com or call the track business office at (916) 969-7484.