HANFORD, Calif. – With the season nearing its conclusion, the Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards will venture south to Keller Auto Speedway for the 34th annual Penny Newman Grain Cotton Classic this Saturday.
The event has been one of the long-standing and prestigious showcases in the Central Valley over the years. Apart from 2014, the Cotton Classic has been held at Keller Auto Speedway, located at the Kings County Fairgrounds, every season since the mid-1980’s.
This Saturday’s event also features the King of the West-NARC 410 Sprint Car Series and the POWRi-BCRA Midgets.
The Penny Newman Grain Cotton Classic is the start of a big two weekends in Central California, with the Abreu Vineyards 26th annual Trophy Cup presented by Rudeen Racing taking place on Oct. 17-19 at nearby Thunderbowl Raceway. Over the years numerous fans have come down a week early to take advantage of catching the final tune-up for teams prior to the Trophy Cup. The Kings County Fairgrounds offers plenty of great camping options for those that want to stay the weekend in Hanford for the Cotton Classic.
This Saturday is the first Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards event that has been contested since Aug. 3. With a pair of races remaining in the season, two-time and defending Sprint Car Challenge Tour champion Kyle Hirst holds a 17-point lead over recent Fall Nationals winner Tim Kaeding. Hirst utilized a podium finish at the most recent event to overtake Kaeding for the lead, as he attempts to make it a three-peat in 2019.
The Sprint Car Challenge Tour campaign has kept both Hirst and Kaeding winless through the first 10 events, but both have been consistent front runners at many events. Overall there have been seven different winners throughout the season, with Roseville’s Jodie Robinson the most recent victor. During the visit to Keller Auto Speedway in June it was D.J. Netto who picked up his second career tour triumph.
Recent Adobe Cup winner Sean Becker, Kyle Offill and Tony Gualda round out the top-five in points heading into Saturday’s 34th Cotton Classic. Completing the top-10 are Cole Macedo, Shane Golobic, Colby Copeland, Justyn Cox and Andy Forsberg. The top-15 drivers and teams at season’s end will share in the $60,000 cash point fund.
Other possibilities on Saturday include Ryan Bernal, Kalib Henry, Blake Carrick, Zane Blanchard and Michael Faccinto, Grant Duinkerken and Landon Hurst, Tucker Worth, Danny Faria Jr., Steven Kent, Joey Ancona and more. The Sprint Car Challenge Tour portion of the night will be the final co-sanctioned outing of the year with the locally based Kings of Thunder Winged 360 sprint cars.