This Week In Motorsports
Motor Sports News by David Vodden
Tyler Reddick of Corning, Ca. and grandson of Corning Ford founder Benny Brown, signed to race in the Xfinity Series with Dale Earnhardt [Junior]. Racing for 2018. The Red Bluff Outlaw Kart graduate spent time in the NASCAR truck series racing for Brad Keselowski and has a part time program with Chip Gannasi racing with Xfinity this season. Earnhardt Jr’s business model for his Xfinity team includes: Elliot Sadler [One Main Financial], Justin Allgaier [Brandt Agriculture Engineering] and Michael Annett [Pilot Fuel Stops]. The pattern here is drivers who bring money to the deal. Reddick seems committed to make NASCAR racing a career. We wish him well. Auburn born, Alexander Rossi won his second Verizon Indy car race last weekend at Watkins Glenn. His other win was the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. Rossi has signed for more seasons of Indy car racing with the Honda powered Michael Andretti racing team. The Indy cars conclude their 2017 racing season this weekend at nearby Sonoma Raceway. This should be a “must see” event for real open wheel racers and everyone else. The Championship will be decided between Penske drivers Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden versus Ganassi driver Scott Dixon. It is a “double-point race”! I am rooting for Castroneves whose friendly personality and resume do not include an Indy car season title. Go Helio! The more famous Rossi, Valentino, broke his leg in a moto-cross accident recently and will sit out most of the rest of the Moto G.P. season. The legendary 38-year old two-wheel racer, who competes in the most dangerous road racing in the world, was at Thunderhill last year for a Yamaha program that had him scheduled to return. That return to Willows for Valentino Rossi is less likely now. Too bad.
The NASCAR playoff field has been set with 16 drivers ready for a ten-race contest that ends November in Homestead Florida. Those drivers include: Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larsen for nearby Elk Grove, Kyle Busch of Las Vegas Nevada, Brad Keselowski, Jimmy Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Austin Dillon and Jamie McMurray. Four of these 16 drivers will face off in the final race where finishing position, not accumulated points, will decide who among them will be the multi-million-dollar 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Champion! Make your picks for the final four and bet heavily. In other NASCAR news Danica Patrick has announce that she will not be racing with Stewart/Haas next year. The very talented and accomplished racer may be done. I hope not. Richard Petty Racing lost driver Aric Almirola and sponsor Smithfield Foods last week. Petty expressed angst over the way the deal went down while Stewart/Haas Racing is happy that they got the big pork-processing company on their balance sheets. No word yet on where Almirola is going although replacing Patrick is what everyone thinks. This may mean the end of Richard Petty Racing? I hope not. Paul Menard, of his dad’s home building company sponsorship, will leave Richard Childress Racing and move to the Wood Brothers team replacing Ryan Blaney who is going to pilot a third car for Roger Penske. The loss of Menard, a rent-a-ride driver, and the major dollars from the family retail store chain can be attributed to interactions between Paul and Childress grandson Austin Dillon on track. Race Hub on-track audio reports captured a heated exchange between Menard and his crew chief about how much Paul Menard hated having Dillon as his team mate. Good bye Menards money.
This year’s Chico Gold Cup World of Outlaw winged sprint car final was won by Kyle Larsen/Justin Marks race team driver - Shane Stewart. On Friday night, local racer Kyle Hirst beat Stewart in a thrilling race. The Thursday night non-wing race was won by Concord driver Damion Gardner. One again, the non-wing race was as good if not better than the winged sprint car races. Plan to attend this race for sure when the USAC/CRA cars return for Gold Cup weekend in 2018. The Wednesday “360” winged sprint car feature event – [refers to the cubic inch displacement of the engines in the cars], went to Michael Kofoid. All the racing this year at the local dirt oval were very good. A huge crowd awarded promoter Dennis Gage and consummate helper Troy Heming for a lota-lota work!
Kyle Larsen’s Big Outlaw Kart races held at Cycle Land near Oroville earlier that same week were a success. The $25,000 show saw close, fast and smashing racing on the 1/5th mile dirt circuit. Larsen himself won the big feature on Monday night. He elected to start last in the 35-car main event field on Tuesday night. He had tire problems before the post-midnight checkered flag preventing him from winning again. He did go to Richmond, Virginia and win the final regular season NASCAR Monster Energy feature event tying him with Martin Trues Jr., for the most wins in the season – 4. Logan Seavey took top honors for the second year in a row in the Outlaw Kart “Open Class” feature.
Thunderhill Park will be the scene of the Western US Championships for the National Auto Sport Association [NASA] October 6-7-8 on the three-mile course. Mark your calendars as this is a real race with real racers coming from all over the United States for a shot at the coveted title in their respective classes. For the rest of the Thunderhill schedule on the three-mile, two-mile and fun-loving skid pads, check out www.thunderhill.com or just come by and pick up a schedule or apply for a job. We have both.