World of Outlaws Wrap-up: Gold Cup Race of Champions Concord, NC-September 13, 2010- A golden triumph: Jason Meyers had been trying for 15 years to win the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in his home state of California and...
World of Outlaws Wrap-up: Gold Cup Race of Champions
Concord, NC-September 13, 2010- A golden triumph: Jason Meyers had been trying for 15 years to win the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in his home state of California and had come close a couple of times to accomplishing that in the last few years, including leading a majority of the laps in 2008 only to get tangled up with a lapped car. The native of Clovis broke through this past weekend to score the $50,000 triumph, which was the largest of his career. Meyers won his first ever sprint car race at Silver Dollar Speedway in the Mini Gold Cup in 1999. He had won a preliminary feature during the Gold Cup in each of the last two seasons and also was victorious again in the Mini Gold Cup in 2009. With the win in the Gold Cup this past weekend, Meyers has eight overall wins in his career at Silver Dollar Speedway.
"We finally have the Gold Cup," said Meyers on Saturday night. "We have been trying to win this race for a number of years and it means quite a bit to us and everyone on this team contributed and helped us win it. This is pretty special."
What a charge: Steve Kinser had nothing but bad luck on the first two nights of the Gold Cup and persevered from that in the finale to race his way into the main event through the first Last Chance Showdown to line up 18th in the 40-lapper. He quickly worked his way to the front, entering the Top-10 just 10 laps into the race. He found himself among the Top-Five by the 27th circuit. On the final double file restart with three laps to go, he lined up in the third position and shot by Paul McMahan for second and set his sights on Jason Meyers who was leading. For Kinser, the runner-up finish was his series leading 51st Top-10 of the season as he chases his record 21st title. The 20-time series champion also earned the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award for the effort, which marked the fourth time this season he has picked up that honor.
"I had tore up the car and the guys worked hard to give me a good car," said Kinser following his runner-up finish on Saturday night. "We had a good run. I could get close to him (Jason Meyers) but that was it."
Another hard charge: Jac Haudenschild also endured his fair share of bad luck on the first two nights of the Gold Cup. He was leading the opener with four laps to go when he hooked a rut in turn four to get upside. The following night he got upside down in the Last Chance Showdown, forcing him to use a Provisional to start the feature that night. He rebounded in the finale to transfer from the second Last Chance Showdown into the main event. He would charge from the 15th starting spot to finish fourth.
A career weekend: Kyle Larson wrapped up the Gold Cup Race of Champions with the best finish of his career with the World of Outlaws, coming home sixth. The reigning "King of California" finished 10th in the opener of the Gold Cup to earn his first career Top-10 finish with the World of Outlaws. He bettered that by one spot the following night to ninth and scored the 10th most event points to lock him into the finale, starting in the fifth row. At one point on Saturday night he was running in the third spot as had a spirited battled with four-time and defending World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz late in the race.
"We ran well here (at Silver Dollar Speedway) all year and we had a lot of confidence coming into the weekend," shared Larson on Saturday before the finale of the Gold Cup. "You have to be patient early in the race and then about lap-20 or so drop the hammer and try to get to the front as quick as you can."
Well represented: Drivers that hail from the state of California claimed five spots in the Top-10 of the finale of the Gold Cup. Jason Meyers from Clovis, led the way winning, with Paul McMahan, who is from Elk Grove finishing third, while Kyle Larson who also is from Elk Grove was sixth, with Bud Kaeding from Campbell eighth and Jonathan Allard from Chico ninth. A total of 12 drivers from California qualified for the finale of the Gold Cup, which was half of the starting field. Of the 30 Top-10 finishing positions on the line during the three nights of the Gold Cup, 14 were earned by California natives.
Not making any changes: Sammy Swindell felt so good with the car he started the opener of the Gold Cup with, that he and his team did not make any changes during the couple of red flags during the 30-lap contest. The three-time World of Outlaws champion would lead a total of 17 laps en route to scoring his sixth career win at Silver Dollar Speedway and his first since 1996. Swindell has won four preliminary features at the Gold Cup and now two A-Features during his legendary career. He won his only Gold Cup in 1981 and ended up 10th in the finale.
"That's the tough part when you have a good car," explained Swindell after his win last Friday night. "We didn't want to make any changes (under the red flag). It was good enough, but you never know if someone is going to pull something out. That gives them a chance to work on their car and I thought our car was as good as we could make it. I didn't know anything we could do to make it better under a red, so sometimes when you are in that position you are at a disadvantage. I think we were able to be in the right spots for the restarts and controlled the race pretty much until we got to the traffic."
Another fast time: Jason Meyers set fast time in the opener of the Gold Cup to earn five bonus points in the World of Outlaws championship standings. It was the 10 th time this season that the California native has been quickest in qualifying and the sixth time in the last 11 races that he has stopped the clocks first. Meyers leads all drivers in qualifying bonus points earned this season, which are awarded to the Top-Five in time trials each night. He is currently second in points, just two markers behind Joey Saldana as he chases his first career World of Outlaws title and looks to become the first driver ever from the state of California to earn the series title.
Yet another hard charge: Sam Hafertepe Jr. came all the way from the 22nd starting spot to finish fifth in the opener of the Gold Cup last Thursday night to earn the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award scoring his best career finish at the high-banked ¼-mile bullring. The 24-year old Texas finished eighth the following night to earn the ninth most event points which locked him into the finale starting in the fifth row. The fast time honor was his fifth of the season on Friday night, besting the 48 cars that took to the track. Giving him an added boost, Hafertepe recently welcomes longtime sprint car crew chief Guy Forbrook to his team to turn the wrenches.
"We were a little rusty when we started out on Thursday night," explained Hafertepe of working with Forbrook. "The more feedback I give him the more he tries to teach me. We are learning each other and it really only took a night to learn each other. I really see a lot of good things happening for us."
Hometown hero: Jonathan Allard opened the Gold Cup with a runner-up finish at his home track of Silver Dollar Speedway, where he has won nearly 40 times in his career including in a preliminary feature during the 2007 Gold Cup with the World of Outlaws. The runner-up finish marked Allard's best career World of Outlaws finish in an A-Feature event. He would follow that up with a ninth-place finish on the second night and again in the finale of three-day event. He was one of six drivers that finished in the Top-10 all three nights.
"I know the race track and what is coming up so it's a little easier to stay focused at a place like that," said Allard after a caution filled opener at the ¼-mile bullring. "I was able to think about some things and the double file restarts definitely helped me tonight. It's always great to race here and do well, especially against these guys."
Showing his versatility: Bud Kaeding, who began his career racing winged sprint cars on the tight, tacky tracks of Northern California, and has returned to run a number of shows in his home state this season, in addition to running some USAC Non-wing Sprint Car races and USAC Silver Crown shows, showed his versatility over the weekend, finishing eighth in the finale of the Gold Cup. For the third generation driver, it was his best World of Outlaws finish since a sixth-place effort in the 2006 Gold Cup. Bud was joined in the starting lineup by his father Brent who finished 12th.
A coincidence? The three drivers that finished on the podium in the opener of the Gold Cup last Thursday night all finished on the podium in 2007 in the opener of the famed event as well. In 2007 it was Jonathan Allard picking up the preliminary feature win with Sammy Swindell second and Brad Sweet third. This year in the opener it was Swindell winning with Allard second and Sweet third.
Up next: A trip to the Upper Midwest for an event at Clay County Fair Speedway in Spencer, Iowa on Friday, September 17 and a visit to Deer Creek Speedway in Minnesota on Saturday, September 18.