The King of the West sprint car series makes the first of six points-race visits to the central San Joaquin Valley on Saturday night for the Chris & Brian Faria Memorial at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare.
The event honors two members of the track’s founding family who died at young ages. Chris Faria was 21 and an up-and-coming racer when he died in a 1993 farming accident; Brian Faria, the oldest of five sons, died in a 2006 highway traffic accident.
Hanford 20-year-old DJ Netto won last year’s Faria Memorial, one of two 2015 victories in California’s top sprint car series. He’s off to a slow start in 2015 with two 10th-place finishes. Last week’s date in Petaluma was rained out.
Bud Kaeding of Campbell, in the Oakhurst-based Williams Motorsports car, won last year’s 22nd annual, $20,000-to-win Trophy Cup at Tulare.
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And two-time King of the West champion Kyle Hirst of Paradise won the last series outing, April 30 in Chico, aboard the Easton-based Tarlton Racing car. The 28-year-old captured the Faria Memorial in 2014.
Three other divisions are in action Saturday night at Tulare: U.S. Auto Club West Coast Wingless 360 Sprint Car Series, Western RaceSaver Sprints and the new All Star Modified Tour that’s hitting California dirt tracks once a month and pays $1,000 to win the main event.
The Hanford dirt track is in action Friday with its featured King of Kings Winged 360 sprint car division plus IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Mods. Many of the IMCA modified drivers figure to make it a doubleheader weekend with the All Star race Saturday in Tulare.
The paved track is closed this weekend for a motorcycle show at the fairgrounds, has monster trucks on May 21 and returns to stock car racing on May 28.
Last week’s Vukovich Classic drew 46 main-event cars in six open-wheel classes. Winners were Cody Gerhardt (BCRA midgets, at 16 cars the best field of the night), Eric Humphries (Winged Sprints), Justin Tuey (360 Super Modifieds), Denny Burell (NCMA Sprints), Robbie Knittel (Open Modifieds) and DJ Hamilton (USAC HPD Midgets).
World of Outlaws: The Fresno-based Roth Motorsports team with Indiana driver Joey Saldana was fast qualifier both nights last weekend at Eldora Speedway in Ohio, but Saldana had finishes of 16th and 24th in the main events. Saldana was a winner May 4 at Jacksonville, Illinois, and is fifth in the points standings heading into races Friday and Saturday at Indiana tracks.
Carson Macedo: The young driver from Lemoore, last year’s King of the West champion who’s now racing mostly in the Midwest, was second in a midget race May 7 at Lucas Oil Speedway in Missouri.
USAC Silver Crown: Rain washed out the April 30 date in Toledo, Ohio, and the next races are May 26-27 in Indiana, part of the traditional Memorial Day weekend walkup to the Indianapolis 500. Kody Swanson of Kingsburg, trying for an unprecedented third straight series title, was third in the only race run this season.