Dominant Gio Scelzi Conquers Thunderbowl

Gio Scelzi takes the checkered flag at Thuderbowl Raceway. (Joe Shivak photo)

TULARE, Calif. — Gio Scelzi won the 30-lap Sprint Car Challenge Tour Series feature that opened the Peter Murphy Classic weekend at the famed Thunderbowl Raceway.

The 16-year-old Fresno native lead the entire distance from his pole driving the family owned No. 41 Scelzi Motorsports mount.

Kyle Hirst would pressure the young fen am but would settle for the runner up spot ahead of Shane Golobic. The race produced a number of caution flags and a red flag stoppage for a serious looking wreck on the front stretch which involved several cars but damaging and delimiting D.J. Netto and Buddy Kofoid.

The accident occurred on the fifth lap when Netto spun in front of pack of cars right before the start-finish line.

The race’s final caution waved with just three laps remaining when Tim Kaeding slowed on the frontstretch with a flat right-rear tire. He pitted and had the tire replaced but the caution also produced two more flats when the cars of both Willie Croft and Craig Stidham.

The flat proved costly for Croft who entered the race as the series points leader over Hirst. Scelzi proved he was a master of the Thunderbowl restarts, as he once again pulled away from Hirst as he had done on all the previous restarts.

Scelzi only threat came on the sixth circuit when Hirst got by him going down the back stretch. But a caution saved the leader and Hirst was put back into the second spot before the restart. By lap 27, Scelzi had built up a full straightaway led only to see the race’s final caution flag wave for the series of flat tires.

Fifty-two cars signed into the pit area.

Danny Faria Jr. won the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series feature.

The finish:

Gio Scelzi, Kyle Hirst, Shane Golobic, Steven Tiner, Tanner Thorsen, Bud Kaeding, Matt Peterson, Sean Becker, Jason Statler, Colby Copeland, Tim Kaeding, Cody Lamar, Willie Croft, Tony Gulda, Justin Sanders, Craig Stidham, Cole Macedo, Justyn Cox, D.J. Netto, Mitchell Faccinto, Buddy Kofoid, Matt Dumsny, Andy Forsberg, Jason Solwold