Kaeding Defends California Turf
TULARE, Calif. — Tim Kaeding successfully defended his California turf from the invading Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National forces, winning Wednesday night’s season-opening 30-lap event at Thunderbowl Raceway.
The San Jose shoe battled past four-time series champion Gary Wright for the lead on the 13th round and held off a late charge from past ASCS Northwest titlist Roger Crockett to secure his second career ASCS National victory aboard the Roth Motorsports No. 83 entry.
“It’s great racing with Gary (Wright) and these guys,” Kaeding said after the inaugural Lucas Oil ASCS National event in California. “When we go to their territory, they beat up on us. When they come out here, we’re gonna beat up on them.”
And, doing so at one of his favorite tracks made the $6,000 victory that much sweeter.
“This is my playground and if anybody’s gonna beat me, they better get up on the fence and do it,” Kaeding said.
Gridding third, Kaeding battled past fellow second row starter Steven Tiner for second on the fifth round and reeled in front row starter Wright to race into the lead entering turn one on the 13th circuit.
After Tiner spun from contention on the 14th round, clipping a charging Shane Stewart in the process, Crockett was third and made quick work of Wright for second.
With Kaeding railing about the topside of the oval, Crockett stayed within a couple of car lengths as traffic played a factor until a final caution waved after 21 laps for Dustin Morgan’s spin.
“We were faster than him, we were real close but I think we were a little bit better,” Crockett explained. “A lapped car spun, I let off the gas and that put a lapped car between us on the restart and I lost a half straightaway at that point.”
Oregon’s Crockett closed the gap as Kaeding reached the tail of the field two laps shy of the checkered flag. But, with Kaeding flawless in traffic, Crockett ran out of laps and settled for runner-up honors.
Behind the lead duo, Shane Stewart [16th] and Kyle Larson [21st] completed dazzling drives from deep in the field to finish third and fourth, respectively, with Tommy Tarlton fifth.