THE BUDWEISER GOLDEN STATE CHALLENGE "KING OF CALIFORNIA" SPRINT CAR SERIES 1998 SEASON IN REVIEW By Jim Allen Randy Hannagan broke Brent Kaeding's stranglehold on the "King of California" sprint car crown in 1998, claiming top honors...
THE BUDWEISER GOLDEN STATE CHALLENGE "KING OF CALIFORNIA" SPRINT CAR SERIES 1998 SEASON IN REVIEW By Jim Allen
Randy Hannagan broke Brent Kaeding's stranglehold on the "King of California" sprint car crown in 1998, claiming top honors in the El-Nino shortened 11-race Budweiser Golden State Challenge series.
Hannagan put together a stellar effort aboard his brother Terry Hannagan's Gaerte-powered Hurricane. The team posted three victories and a total of eight top five feature finishes. Overall, their average finishing position was fourth place, four full positions better than any other team in California.
As a result of the championship march, Hannagan joins an elite club of only four drivers who have captured the state crown in the series 13-year history. He joins Steve Kent (1986-87), Tim Green (1992), and Kaeding (nine-times). After dominating the series the past five seasons, Kaeding had to settle for the runner-up position, by a 576-541 point margin.
Randy Tiner, who finished third in the final tally, was red hot as the series dodged April rain storms at the first two events. Tiner had no peer as he crushed the competition at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, and again at San Jose Speedway to earn the points lead.
Bobby McMahan threw his name into the title hunt on May 9, stealing a Bakersfield Speedway win from Tommy Tarlton in the waning laps. McMahan's victory was posted in Roy Bumgarner's TCR.
Bad weather created havoc with the original 13-race schedule, forcing the cancellation of both Golden State Challenge events at Doug Fort's Santa Maria Speedway. It also washed out a May 2 program at Calistoga Speedway.
The Calistoga show was rescheduled over the Memorial Day weekend, and was worth the wait as Hannagan posted an impressive clean sweep at the highspeed half-mile oval. He cleaned house again at San Jose Speedway three weekends later to take over the top spot in the points chase.
At the halfway point in the season, Hannagan maintained a slim four-point lead over Kaeding. The defending champion had trouble keeping up with Hannagan's blistering pace, but managed to stay close by utilizing the Tailgater Challenge. Kaeding used the entertaining and risky program to gain additional passing points in his quest to overtake the leader.
Steve Kent and third generation ace Bud Kaeding earned headline status at the Pombo-Sargent Classic at King Speedway. However, Hannagan and Kaeding officially made it a two-horse race for California's coveted crown, picking up bonus points with the Tailgater program. The duo started at the back of the pack at Kings and charged to a second and third place finish behind Kent.
Kevin Pylant and car owner Don Pylant broke a 67-race NARC/GSC winless string at the opener of the July 24-25 Golden State Challenge doubleheader at Chico. Tiner scored his third victory of the series the following night, pocketing a $4,500 payday at the Dave Bradway Memorial. He was driving a car owned and manufactured by his brother Rod Tiner.
The "King of California" championship was still on the line at round 10 at San Jose (August 8). Hannagan made his intentions clear by setting quick time, winning the semi, and outgunning Bud Kaeding to secure the win. Brent Kaeding suffered mechanical problems, finishing 23rd and dropping 40-points off the leaders pace with only one event remaining.
Kaeding, the series all-time feature win leader, became the seventh different winner of the year at the Spanky Matthews Memorial finale at Kings Speedway. However, it wasn't enough to catch the Hannagan team.
McMahan and Kent (McMillen & Mitchell 10) rounded out the top five in the Budweiser Golden State Challenge points' parade.
The second five included Tarlton (Tarlton & Son 21), Pylant, Jason Meyers (Don Carter 14), Graydon Cross (Dale Cross 8C), and Greg DeCaires (Dale Orth 24). It marked the first ever appearance in the series top ten by Tarlton, Meyers, and Cross. DeCaires skated into the top ten at the final event.
The top ten teams will split shares of the $26,000 Anheuser-Busch Company-sponsored point fund. The championship team earned $5,500.
THE BUDWEISER GOLDEN STATE CHALLENGE "KING OF CALIFORNIA" SPRINT CAR SERIES 1998 RACE RESULTS
DATE TRACK WINNER-CAR OWNER SEMI WINNER FAST TIME
4/11 Chico* Randy Tiner/Tiner 83 PaulMcMahan Brent Kaeding - 12.188
4/25 San Jose * Randy Tiner/Tiner 83 Jim Taves Brent Kaeding - 13.822
5/9 Bakersfield* Bobby McMahan/Bumgarner 88 Roger Crockett Randy Tiner - 11.147
5/24 Calistoga * Randy Hannagan/Hannagan 1X Paul McMahan R. Hannagan-16.304 NNR
6/13 San Jose* Randy Hannagan/Hannagan 1X Jason Lund Randy Hannagan - 14.171
7/17 Hanford * Steve Kent/McMillen&Mitchell10 Tommy Tarlton Randy Hannagan - 13.853
7/18 Hanford * Bud Kaeding/Maciel 29 Bud Kaeding Randy Hannagan - 14.448
7/24 Chico * Kevin Pylant/Don Pylant 14P Peter Murphy Peter Murphy - 12.140
7/25 Chico * Randy Tiner/Tiner 83 Brad Furr Brent Kaeding - 12.511
8/8 San Jose * Randy Hannagan/Hannagan 1X Randy Hannagan Randy Hannagan-14.261
8/22 Hanford * Brent Kaeding/Peterson 2M NONE Randy Tiner - 13.125 NTR
THE 1998 BUDWEISER GOLDEN STATE CHALLENGE FINAL "KING OF CALIFORIA" CHAMPIONSHIP PONTS (AFTER 11 RACES IN THE 11 RACE SERIES) 1. Randy Hanngan 576 2. Brent Kaeding 541 3. Randy Tiner 510 4. Bobby McMahan 493 5. Steve Kent 467 6. Tommy Tarlton 442 7. Kevin Pylant 434 8. Jason Meyers 431 9. Graydon Cross 410 10. Greg DeCaires IV 393 11. Jim Taves 390 12. Peter Murphy (R) 349 13. Jason Statler 341 14. Brian Coelho 325 15. Todd Bammer 279 16. Jason York 266 17. Lee Brewer Jr. 264 18. Brandon Kaeding 263 19. Daniel Hood (R) 260 20. Paul McMahan 222 21. Brad Furr 216 22. David Fowler (R) 209 23. Ronnie Day 207 Jason Lund 207 25. Ryan Riley 193