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Dominic Scelzi in action earlier this year. (Joe Shivak photo)

Cali Notes: Kings of Keller Auto Speedway

HANFORD, Calif. — After a quiet weekend in Kings County last weekend, Keller Auto Speedway comes to life again with a heavy slate of winged sprint car action on Friday and Saturday.

Keller Auto Speedway will host 410 and 360 sprint cars to compose a pair of special events, the 36th annual Cotton Classic and Morrie Williams Legends Tribute Race.

Friday‘s Cotton Classic will be headlined by the Sprint Car Challenge Tour 360 Sprint Cars with the Kings of Thunder 410 sprint cars accompanying them.

For the SCCT it‘ll mark the 11th of 14 events this season. Ryan Robinson leads the series standings over Colby Copeland and Justyn Cox.

Saturday‘s Morrie Williams Legends Tribute Race will showcase the NARC-King of the West Fujitsu 410 Sprint Cars and the Kings of Thunder 360 sprint cars.

The Morrie Williams Legends Tribute Race features a unique format with a pair of NARC-King of the West 20-lap features scheduled to close out the night. The second feature will be lined up using a complete inversion of all cars that finished on the lead lap in the opening main event.

• Dominic Scelzi stands atop the NARC-King of the West points with four races remaining and leads the West Coast with six 410 sprint car wins in the Golden State this year. His lone 410 win that wasn‘t a part of NARC-King of the West competition came at Keller Auto Speedway in May. 

Scelzi plans to compete in a 410 and 360 on both nights, creating the possibility of five feature victories counting the Saturday double features.

• Two-time NARC-King of the West titlist Tim Kaeding will look to add to his strong record at Keller Auto Speedway. Kaeding‘s 10 series victories at the three-eighths mile are the second most he‘s scored at any one track. 

• Aside from Scelzi, only two drivers own 410 victories at Keller Auto Speedway this year — D.J. Netto and 15-year-old Corey Day.

Netto claimed April‘s Dave Helm Classic and is coming off a sixth-place finish during the Sept. 25 Jim Turner Memorial. The reigning series champion is looking to shake off a recent slump and get back in the top five for the first time since August‘s race at Stockton Dirt Track.

Day continued his rise to sprint car prominence by winning the Jim Turner Memorial. The second-generation driver‘s win came in his 10th series start.

• Another rising talent who may back up Day‘s feat is Joel Myers Jr. The fellow 15-year-old finished second in a 360 event in Hanford earlier this year and seemed poised to stand on the podium with Day until an accident ended those hopes on Sept. 25.

• Running a limited schedule in the Morrie Williams No. 0, Kyle Hirst has been impressive this season and eyes his first series victory this year in the event honoring his late car owner. 

The four-time series champ owns four top-five finishes in six starts this year, including a season best second-place run in the Louie Vermeil Classic at Silver Dollar Speedway. 

Last year, Hirst won the first of the two Morrie Williams Legends Tribute features with a last-lap, last corner pass. The four-time NARC champion added a Kings of Thunder 410 win in Hanford last year as well.

• The battle for runner-up in the NARC-King of the West standings continues to be a tight one with a mere eight points separating Tim Kaeding, D.J. Netto and Bud Kaeding. The talented trio has combined for four series championships.

Behind the battle for second, 2005 series titlist Sean Becker is a distant fifth. Becker is 14 markers ahead of Billy Aton, who is looking to crack the top five to cap his strong rookie campaign.

• Silver Dollar Speedway hosted the 28th Pacific 360 Sprint Fall Nationals this past weekend.

Friday saw 19-year-old Tanner Carrick earn his fourth career Chico checkered flag and first as a part of the Fall Nationals. The race was his first at the Butte County bullring since his misfortune in the Gold Cup Race of Champions a few weeks ago.

Behind Carrick, Kyle Hirst scored his ninth Fall Nationals podium while Kalib Henry completed the top three.

Henry followed his first Fall Nationals podium finish with a victory the following night. After starting ninth on the grid, Henry survived a chaotic feature and led the final 16 circuits to claim one of his biggest career victories.

Justin Sanders and Corey Day chased Henry to the checkered flag to round out the podium.


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