Faccinto Rules Hanford Sprint

Mitchell Faccinto (37) races past Keith Day Jr. at California's Keller Auto Speedway. (Joe Shivak photo)
Mitchell Faccinto (37) races past Keith Day Jr. at California's Keller Auto Speedway. (Joe Shivak photo)

HANFORD, Calif. — Mitchell Faccinto, Brendan Warmerdam and Robby Sawyer won their respective features at the newly reopened Keller Auto Speedway at the King’s County Fairgrounds on Saturday night.

Faccinto drove his familiar Western Metal Company blue No. 37 to victory in the 30-ap King of Thunder 360 sprint car main. He bested Gio Scelzi and D.J. Netto around the newly configured three-eighths-mile clay oval.

The local native led only two laps in the contest which was totally dominated by new comer Keith Day Jr., who started from the pole in the 22-car field. The young Day, who is only his second season of sprint car racing, held off numerous challenges from Faccinto during the late stages of the race.

It was only with two laps to go, when Day bobbled in the second turn of the notorious Hanford track, giving the lead up to Faccinto and also losing two more positions before he could recover.  It was Faccinto and Day who traded the lead back and forth several times a lap who put on a show on the opening night of the 2020 season. Unfortunately, Day’s miscue proved costly and pretty much gave the win to Faccinto.

In the Van De Pol Western Racesaver event, Warmerdam survived a wild green-white-checkered finish for the 305 sprint cars.

A two-lap shootout was a result of a red flag stoppage for a Kyle Rasmussen flip very late in the 25-lap affair. Rasmussen had just been passed for the third position when the nose of his car dove into the track surface resulting in a headstand and slow rollover.

The resulting restart bunched the field and allowed for several position changes.  Albert Pombo was forced from third, back to the finish eighth.

Polesitter and early leader Rob Soloman was able to finish second despite driving the last half of the race with a mangled small front wing. But it was Grant Champlin who charged from fifth to finish third in the final two laps.

Washington State invader, Colby Thornhill only 13 years old and making his first Hanford visit, would come home in the fourth spot after starting ninth.

The 20-lap IMCA Modified race was won by Robby Sawyer.

This evening races were under the direction of new promoter Peter Murphy. The former sprint car driving legend spent the last several weeks making major improvements to the historic track and his efforts were rewarded with a very large opening-night crowd.

The finish:

Mitchell Faccinto, Gio Scelzi, D.J. Netto, Keith Day Jr., Michael Faccinto, Kaleb Montgomery, Steven Kent, Grant Duinkerken, Mitchel Moles, Jace Vander Weed, Landon Hurst, Tanner Boul, Tim Estenson, Ben Worth, Vaughn Schott, Dominic Scelzi, Jared Faria, Tucker Worth, Craig Stidham, Joey Ancona, Zane Blanchard, Travis Coelho