Cotton Classic On Tap Out West

Kyle Hirst will attempt to secure the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series championship this weekend. (Chuck Fry Photo)
Kyle Hirst leads the King of the West Sprint Car Series to Kings Speedway for the Cotton Classic this weekend. (Chuck Fry Photo)
Kyle Hirst leads the King of the West Sprint Car Series to Kings Speedway for the Cotton Classic this weekend. (Chuck Fry Photo)

HANFORD, Calif. – The King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series will venture back to the Central Valley this Saturday night for the penultimate event in the 2013 season, which takes place at the Kings Speedway.

It marks the 28th annual Cotton Classic and is sure to be great double header program with the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series also on hand.

Winners of the Cotton Classic in Hanford since the year 2000 have been Blake Robertson, Tim Shaffer; two-time winner Tim Kaeding, Jason Meyers, Stephen Allard, Kyle Larson and Jonathan Allard, who has captured it three-times. The event will also be the one & only appearance of the year for the KWS 410’s at the blazing fast three-eighths-mile.

Reigning Cotton Classic winner Tim Kaeding will look to keep up his outstanding season that has seen him claim nine World of Outlaws victories during the year. Driving for Fresno based Roth Enterprises the San Jose wheel-man scored a win in his first KWS start of the year on Sept. 14 in Fernley and is always one of the drivers to beat whenever he signs in at the Kings Speedway. Kaeding claimed a World of Outlaws victory at the track back in 2003 and also won the Trophy Cup in 2002 when the prestigious event was still held at Kings Speedway.

They always say consistency wins championships and Kaeding’s teammate Kyle Hirst has certainly put together championship style consistency in 2013. Hirst has raced to 11 podium finishes in the 16 King of the West Sprint Car Series events held and it has catapulted him to a 45-point lead with only two races left in the season. The Sacramento driver has also scored three wins on the year and will be looking for another at the Cotton Classic on Saturday in the Roth Enterprises No. 83jr.

Two-time World of Outlaws champion & ’06 Cotton Classic victor Jason Meyers is set to make his fourth start of the KWS season aboard the Tartlon & Son Inc. No. 21m machine on Saturday. The Clovis native has scored a pair of wins so far this year with the series and was leading the most recent event until a flat tire cost him a shot at number three. Meyers recently claimed his second career Gold Cup victory at the Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico when he topped a stout World of Outlaws field in September.

Three-time Cotton Classic winner Jonathan Allard goes into the night ranking second in the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series standings and will be in search of a strong night to gain some points on leader Kyle Hirst. The Chico driver leads KWS this year with four wins on the season, but hasn’t visited victory lane since July 20 in Antioch. The three-time King of the West champion is another one that always runs strong at the Kings Speedway and has captured a number of wins at the track since joining Williams Motorsports in 2005.

The always exciting Rico Abreu is expected to make his first King of the West Sprint Car start since Memorial Day weekend behind the wheel of his Abreu Vineyards No. 24 mount on Saturday. The 21-year-old competed in the first eight events of the KWS season and charged to a pair of victories along with top-five finishes each night. He actually led the series standings until heading back to the Midwest where he has had a strong year in both Sprints and Midgets. Abreu recently captured the USAC Midget portion of the 4-Crown Nationals at the famed Eldora Speedway.

Sacramento’s Willie Croft, Fresno’s Craig Stidham & Grass Valley’s Jason Statler rank third through fifth in the KWS points. At the most recent event in Tulare Croft brought home his career best 10th top-five finish of the KWS season and sits 30-markers back of Allard for second. Stidham has had a very solid year and recently brought home a third place finish at Kings Speedway in Rebel Cup action. Statler has heated up as the season has gone on and sits 14-markers up on sixth place Brent Kaeding going into the “Cotton Classic” on Saturday.

Rounding out the top-10 in the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series standings coming into this Saturday include the previously mentioned Brent Kaeding of Campbell, who is coming off his first victory of the season recently at Ocean Speedway, Fair Oaks Chad Compton, Oakhurst’s Doug Gandy, Grass Valley’s Carl Droivold and Fresno’s Dominic Scelzi. The 16-year-old Scelzi earned his first career King of the West 410 win at the Stockton Dirt Track on August 3.