Thunder On The Hill #5
Next Saturday night Northern Californian’s will have a rare opportunity to see a first-rate automobile race at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico in the form of the World of Outlaws sprint car series. There are so many dramas and stories imbedded into the racing program that make the entertainment value over the top.
The appearance of the legendary Steven Kinser, multi-time champion and 500 + time feature winner, is just like seeing Babe Ruth at the peak of his career as a legend of baseball. He is that great and has the statistics to prove it.
Add Sammy Swindell, the
second of the legendary outlaws, and you are seeing the Mickey Mantle of sprint car racing. The list goes on at the top but there is more. This series, based originally out of Texas, has a host of California drivers that add to the drama.
Topping the list at the moment is Rico Abreu of St. Helena. Rico is a dwarf. Under four feet tall, Rico drives a specially built 900 horsepower giant of a racecar capable of amazing maneuvers often leading to incredible racing drama and horrific accidents. A common reference to sprint car drivers is the amount of their testosterone. For Rico, winner last week against the best in Tulare California, what he lacks in height he more than makes up in courage. He is a thrill to watch.
A host of other Californians makes the battle between the national driving legends and the local boys an added attraction. San Jose driver Tim Kaeding has many wins in Chico. He will be a fan favorite. Mason Moore of Princeton has a host of friends that will be on site rooting him on. Paul McMahon tops the World of Outlaw points entering Saturday’s contest. He is from Elk Grove.
The list goes on making the battle lines clear and worthy of watching. There should be 40 fire-breathing sprint cars on the 1/3 mile banked dirt oval for practice at 6 p.m. and again for qualifying at 7 p.m. Racing will begin at around 8 p.m. Action is supposed to end at 11 p.m. and often does.
Don’t miss this event. It is for people who take their entertainment with a lot of imagination, energy and in-your-face-enthusiasm! Tickets are available at the gate. Think $25 or more per person, a fraction of what a sports event at this level commands in every other form of sports entertainment.
NASCAR now has four winners after four races with Carl Edwards adding his name to Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Brad Kesolowski. Four races, four winners. The season play-offs will have up to 16 winners in the final 10 races.
No one thought that there would be 16 different winners. It has never happened. I think that it may, especially when you make a list of what top NASCAR drivers have not won yet. This includes 6-time champion Jimmy Johnson, multi-time winner Kyle Busch, veteran Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, 2013 series runner-up Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Marcus Ambrose, Clint Boyer, Ryan Truex and any number of others that can clearly win in the Sprint Cup series in 2014. Rookies Kyle Larsen and Austin Dillon come to mind. Stay tuned.
Thunderhill Park will host a National Porsche Club event next weekend. German car enthusiasts from all over the country will converge on the three-mile road course for two days of national series racing. The cars, the drivers, the Porsche Club organizers offer top-notch road racing that you can come see for a pittance. $10 for the whole weekend and you can be among the elite of the Porsche car-racing world.
The grand opening of the new track at Thunderhill has been set for June 21 and 22. Everyone is invited including service clubs, local fans, dignitaries and celebrities. Admission is $10 for the entire weekend. Mark the date down – June 21-22, 2014 – and plan to be a part of this historic event in Glenn County and Willows.
Formula One racing, the global version of the sport for the very rich and famous, got off to an interesting start last weekend in Australia. Top driver and four-time F-1 champion Sebastian Vettle was the second driver out of the race, completing only a few laps. Race favorite Lewis Hamilton was the first car out leaving the race to his teammate Nico Rossburg in the other V-6 Mercedes.
Super Cross enigma James Stewart came from the dungeon to the podium in two ways last weekend starting with a win in the Monster Energy series for the best in hill-jumping, tight and twisty motocross riders. He then signed a new multi-year contract with his motorcycle provider and sponsors.
Stewart, an African American, has moments of brilliance and too many moments on his face in the dirt. We wish him well as he takes on the best riders in this very aggressive series.
Plan to drop by Thunderhill Park sometime soon as the local raceway seeks part-time employees and others who can become a part of the Thunderhill family.
I went to Sonoma Raceway last weekend and won my class race in PTE at the NASA sell-out. Both events at Thunderhill last weekend, Hooked on Driving and Pacific Track Time were sell-outs with full-fields of drivers and riders enjoying the incredible rewards of motor sports recreation.