HANFORD, Calif. — It was all about Spencer Bayston at Keller Auto Speedway on Saturday night.
The Indiana driver made an impressive NARC King of the West Fujitsu Sprint Car Series debut by completing a clean sweep of the racing program and leading all 30 laps of the season-opening headliner.
Driving the potent Tarlton Motorsports KPC wrenched by Paul Baines, Bayston set quick time, won his heat, captured the dash and held off an aggressive Bud Kaeding to score his first ever series victory.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions in California, his performance took place in front of an empty grandstands at the Peter Murphy-promoted three-eighths-mile dirt oval track.
Starting on the pole, Bayston ran at a torrid pace in front of the field, only to have his efforts slowed by a caution flag for Willie Croft and a race stoppage for Brendan Warmerdam, who launched over the first turn berm on lap 11. He was unhurt.
By that time, the fifth-starting Kaeding had driven the BK Racing Al’s Roofing Supply/Alviso Rock Maxim into second, chased by 10th starter Tim Kaeding.
Two-wide lapped traffic began to present a major challenge for Bayston with 10 laps remaining, allowing Bud Kaeding to quickly reel him in. The pair played cat and mouse as they zigged and zagged in and out of traffic with the duo racing side-by-side with just five laps to go.
However, Bayton answered the call and beat Kaeding to the checkered by .757 seconds to score the $3,000 payday for car owner Tom Tarlton.
“This team has been working very hard to give me a car that I was comfortable in,” said Bayston, who immediately left the track to catch a flight back to Indiana to race a midget. “I can’t say enough about Paul and the crew tonight.”
Two-time series champ Tim Kaeding finished third aboard the Bates-Hamilton A&B Company-sponsored Maxim.
Defending champion DJ Netto was fourth, piloting the Netto Ag KPC. Mitchell Faccinto rounded out the top five in Stan Greenberg’s Western Metal Company KPC.
Feature (30 laps): Spencer Bayston, Bud Kaeding, Tim Kaeding, D.J. Netto, Mitchell Faccinto, Kyle Hirst, Dominic Scelzi, Colby Copeland, Michael Faccinto, Blake Carrick, Jake Hagopian, Zane Blanchard, Kurt Nelson, Jace Vander Weerd, Grant Duinkerken, Jodie Robinson, Sean Watts, Kyle Offill, Tucker Worth, Travis Coelho, AJ Bender, Willie Croft, Brendan Warmerdam, Craig Stidham.