The season-opener in Hanford and the Pombo/Sargent Classic in Madera highlight this week’s motor sports in the central San Joaquin Valley.
The U.S. Auto Club West Coast Sprint Cars headline the season-opener on the third-mile clay oval at Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds in Hanford. Western RaceSaver sprints, IMCA modifieds and IMCA stock cars are also in action.
Four different drivers have won in 2016 USAC West Coast Sprint Car action. Points leader Brody Roa of Buena Park isn’t one of them, but consistency has pushed him to a 20-point lead over Stockton’s D.J. Johnson.
Last year’s four races at Hanford produced four winners: defending series champion Danny Faria Jr. of Tipton, Ryan Bernal of Hollister and the Vander Weerd brothers, Richard and Jace, of Visalia.
At Madera Speedway, the annual Pombo/Sargent Classic on the third-mile paved oval pays homage to two California racing greats, the late Al Pombo of Fresno and the late Marshall Sargent of San Jose. (Pombo and Sargent are also honored annually with a June dirt race in Watsonville.)
Madera has nine open-wheel divisions in action: Bay Cities Racing Association midgets, USAC HPD midgets, California Super Modified Series 360s, Northern California Modified Association sprint cars and five classes of vintage/senior racers.
Hanford drivers lead way
DJ Netto of Hanford was 17th to lead Valley finishers March 23 in the World of Outlaws feature at Placerville Speedway. Indiana driver Joey Saldana in the Fresno-based Roth Motorsports car was 21st and Bud Kaeding of Campbell in the Oakhurst-based Williams Motorsports car was 23rd. The Outlaws’ California swing continues Friday in Watsonville.