Flat Tires Hinder Hillier in Harvest Classic Finale CALISTOGA, CA (September 2) -- Calistoga Speedway's rigid racing surface hampered Chad Hillier's progress in Sunday's 15th Annual Harvest Classic finale, forcing the ...
Flat Tires Hinder Hillier in Harvest Classic Finale
CALISTOGA, CA (September 2) -- Calistoga Speedway's rigid racing surface hampered Chad Hillier's progress in Sunday's 15th Annual Harvest Classic finale, forcing the #5c DIRT Inc. off the track early in the "A" Feature as his tires lost air pressure.
The World of Outlaws Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contender was credited with a 22nd-place finish after he completed 12 laps in the 25-lap main event.
Hillier's 18.587-second lap was the 29th-fastest around the semi-banked, ½-mile oval. He finished seventh in the Fourth Heat Race, .302 seconds behind Roger Crockett.
"We missed a little bit of the racetrack in qualifying," Chad said. "We were a little free, and there was a little bit of rubber I might have been able to get a hold of. That hurt us, because we started seventh in the heat race. We got close, but couldn't make up much ground in the heat race."
Hillier finished fifth, right behind perennial King of California Brent Kaeding, in the "B" Feature, then received a break when fellow rookie Tony Bruce Jr. was unable to start the main event. The only driver to win championships in all three sprint car divisions at Skagit Speedway passed Californians Tim Kaeding and Ronnie Day in the main event before coasting into the pit area on flat tires.
"We came close to qualifying for the feature in the 'B,'" Chad said. "We were 'close-but-no-cigar' again, but we were fortunate that Bruce couldn't start and we were the alternate. Our tires were going flat in the feature, so we pulled off. The track was taking rubber all the way around, and our soft tires just couldn't make it. We were pretty good in the rubber, but there was no passing when you got out of the rubber."
Hillier and his DIRT Inc. teammates are eagerly anticipating this weekend's 54th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway. Chad ran 15th in the second preliminary feature and 20th in the 40-lap main event last year.
"Last year, we made the show at the Gold Cup, so we're looking forward to it," Chad said. "We have some experience in Chico so, hopefully, we can capitalize on it. We're hoping for the best. We want to get a good qualifying night in and make the most of it Saturday night.
"We've been better on bullrings for whatever reason this year. We have more experience on that style of racetrack, and they're more forgiving. A little mistake on a small track like that doesn't hurt you as much as it does on a bigger track. You don't lose as much ground, and you can catch up quicker. Of course, we want to have a good run at every racetrack."