Bud Kaeding Tops Mopar Sprint Car Nationals
The 25-year-old Kaeding started outside the front row and chased NASCAR Busch Series competitor and former USAC sprint car champion J.J. Yeley for five laps before taking command in the 30-lap event.
Once in front, Kaeding held on through five caution periods for minor incidents to claim the $5,000 first-place prize. The No. 29 Kaeding drove to victory is owned by NASCAR Busch Series competitor and former USAC racer Jason Leffler.
"I can't say enough about my team," said Kaeding who is fourth in series points despite struggling during the summer months. "I wish we had a lot more of these. We have seven races left this year so maybe this is a good sign for the end of the season."
Kaeding's only challenge during the final half of the race came when Jay Drake of Val Verde, Calif., drove up beside him on a restart.
"I kind of fell asleep there for a little bit," Kaeding explained. "I didn't know who was on the outside of me, so I had to turn it up and get back out front.
The two Mopar-sponsored cars owned by 2002 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Tony Stewart finished second and third with Josh Wise of Riverside, Calif., claiming runner-up honors while Drake settled for the show money.
Yeley slipped back to fourth with Jon Stanbrough completing the top five.
Series point leader Levi Jones, chasing his fourth consecutive feature victory, suffered mechanical woes and ended up 11th after making two visits to the pit area. Despite the problems, Jones held his ground in the title fight as his closest rival, Dave Darland, exited early with smoke pouring from his No. 11.
Jerry Coons Jr. topped the 21-car field in time trials with a track record lap of 14.323 seconds around the four-tenths-mile clay oval while Coons Jr., Darren Hagen and Darland topped the eight-lap heat races.
Daron Clayton and Tom Hessert flipped during hot laps and Jesse Hockett rode out a tumble after hitting the Turn 2 wall during time trials. None of the drivers were injured.
Ricky Weeks of Rutherfordton, N.C., charged from the 11th starting spot to win the 25-lap finale for the late model stock cars of the Dixie Thunder Series.
Dennis Franklin started from the pole and led the early laps as Weeks methodically worked through the pack. Weeks made his winning move on lap 13, forcing Franklin to settle for second. Furman Parton ended up third.
The eight-lap late model heat races were won by Franklin, Wayne Dellinger, Robbie Bailey and Ray Dockery.
The Mopar Sprint Car Nationals kicked off UAW-GM Quality 500 Week which concludes Saturday night with round five of the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The next event at The Dirt Track @ Charlotte Motor Speedway is the Bank of America presents the World Short-Track Championships Oct. 28-29. Tickets can be purchased online here or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.
USAC Valvoline National Sprint Cars Qualifying: 1. Jerry Coons Jr., 14.323 seconds (track record); 2. Josh Wise, 14.627; 3. Tracy Hines, 14.652; 4. Jay Drake, 14.695; 5. Bud Kaeding, 14.766; 6. J.J. Yeley, 14.826; 7. Bryan Clauson, 14.828; 8. Jon Stanbrough, 14.829; 9. Dave Darland, 14.830; 10. Brady Short, 14.840; 11. Darren Hagen, 14.929; 12. Levi Jones, 14.953; 13. Mat Neely, 14.987; 14. Dickie Gaines, 15.151; 15. Casey Shuman, 15.195; 16. Damion Gardner, 15.457; 17. Al Thomas, 16.128; 18. Steve Thomas, 16.678; 19. John Heydenreich, 25.612; 20. Jesse Hockett, no time; 21. Tom Hessert III, no time. First Heat (8 laps): 1. Jerry Coons, Jr.; 2. Brady Short; 3. Bryan Clauson; 4. Jay Drake; 5. Damion Gardner; 6. Mat Neely; 7. John Heydenreich. Second Heat (8 laps): 1. Darren Hagen; 2. Dickie Gaines; 3. Josh Wise; 4. Bud Kaeding; 5. Al Thomas; 6. Jon Stanbrough; 7. Jesse Hockett. Third Heat (8 laps: 1. Dave Darland; 2. Levi Jones; 3. J.J. Yeley; 4. Casey Shuman; 5. Tom Hessert III; 6. Steve Thomas; 7. Tracy Hines. Feature (30 laps): 1. Bud Kaeding; 2. Josh Wise; 3. Jay Drake; 4. J.J. Yeley; 5. Jon Stanbrough; 6. Tracy Hines; 7. Darren Hagen; 8. Tom Hessert; 9. Brady Short; 10. Jesse Hockett; 11. Levi Jones; 12. Jerry Coons Jr.; 13. Bryan Clauson; 14. Mat Neely; 15. Dave Darland; 16. Steve Thomas; 17. Casey Shuman; 18. Al Thomas; 19. Dickie Gaines; 20. Johnny Heydenreich; 21. Damion Gardner.
Dixie Thunder Series Late Models
Feature (25 laps): 1. Ricky Weeks; 2. Dennis Franklin; 3. Furman Parton; 4. Tim Allen; 5. Doug Sanders; 6. Lance Moss; 7. Tim Christie; 8. Jamie Fallen; 9. Brian Thompson; 10. David Lindsay; 11. Jim Blackwell; 12. Bubba McGee; 13. Dane Burns; 14. Robbie Bailey; 15. Brian Ledbetter; 16. Roger Nance; 17. Cliff Houser; 18. Ken Ronmanger Jr.; 19. Wayne Dellinger; 20. Brandon Russell; 21. Mike Huey; 22. Kelly Thacker; 23. Everette Dunlop; 24. Ray Dockery; 25. Pete Miles; 26. Buddy Smith; 27. Brandon O'Neil; 28. Ken Schrader; 29. Ron Parker; 30. David Dick.