Shane Golobic of Fremont put on a late-race rush to win his second straight Trophy Cup on Saturday night at Tulare’s Thunderbowl Raceway.
The richest sports event in the central San Joaquin Valley has a unique format that pays the bulk of its $165,000 purse based on points accumulated during the three-day sprint car event.
Golobic benefitted from a first-lap crash that damaged the car of Fresno’s Dominic Scelzi, who started the 50-lap main event with the points lead. Scelzi made a heroic late-race rush but hit the fence on the 48th lap and pulled off with suspension damage on the next lap.
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Golobic was riding in mid-pack for much of the race before finishing fourth, giving him enough points to edge Willie Croft of Roseville for the overall title.
Ryan Bernal of Hollister got past Bud Kaeding of Campbell in the Oakhurst-based Williams Motorsports car to win the main event.
Tim Kaeding of San Jose in an Easton-based Roth Motorsports car was fifth in points, the best finish by a Valley car or driver. Bud Kaeding was sixth, Tanner Thorsen was eighth in the Netto family car out of Hanford and Kingsburg’s Cory Eliason was 10th.
The Trophy Cup is a fundraiser for Make-a-Wish and has raised about $1.5 million in 24 years, including $150,000 this year. Saturday, Scelzi pledged all of the $20,000 winner’s purse before the main if he won. Still, the Scelzi family pitched in with father Gary Scelzi donating $4,500 in an auction, a figure matched by Visalia’s Gary Thomas. Easton’s Tom Tarlton also made a significant donation, $11,000 in the auction for a set of collector racing suits including one signed by Kyle Larson.