It’s Bud Kaeding At Stockton

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Bud Kaeding was a winner Friday at the Stockton Dirt Track. (Joe Shivak photo)
Bud Kaeding was a winner Friday at the Stockton Dirt Track. (Joe Shivak photo)

STOCKTON, Calif. — Bud Kaeding led flag to flag to win the 30-lap NARC-King of the West Series presented by Fujitsu 410 sprint car feature at the Stockton Dirt Track on Friday night.

Driving the famed Morrie Williams white No. 0, Kaeding picked up $5,000 for his efforts besting Willie Croft and brother Tim Kaeding. The event was the third of four nights of racing tabbed as the California Speedweeks which concludes on the same track on Saturday night.

Kaeding started his night off at the Ocean Speedway in Watsonville where he is in a tight battle for the weekly sprint car title. The resourceful driver only had to take a green flag before jumping into a helicopter for the 20-minute flight to Stockton. Father Brent Kaeding took over the driving duties at Ocean where he finished third.

Kaeding started from the pole by virtue of winning the Dash which put him alongside of Croft in the 20-car field.  It was Chase Johnson who was the first to find bad luck when he jumped the first turn cushion on the opening lap, forcing him to give up his seventh place starting spot and falling very close to the back of the pack.

But it was Kenny Allen who was the first car to retire lasting only four laps. Allen’s car failed to fire off for his heat race and was forced to start at the tail of the field.

With Kaeding leading, it didn’t take the front runners very long to catch the back of the field. Soon after lapping started, a caution flag flew for Sean Watts who stopped on the back stretch.  Watts, a winner already this season, would retire but only lasted 10 laps when he pulled off the track for good.

On lap 14, Tim Kaeding moved in the second spot when Croft bobbled coming out of turn 4.  As the top three cars worked lapped traffic, it was Croft who would gain the second spot back.

The race would remain green until the checkered producing some great battles in the mid pack.  NASCAR star Kyle Larson found himself battling D.J. Netto and Shane Golobic for fifth.

Cole Macedo would be the next retiree, when he pulled off the backstretch pit entrance on lap 22.  Next to drop out was the race’s only female driver, Jenna Frazier, who parked her car in the infield on lap 25.

It was Netto and Larson who would put on the best duel with each driver claiming the fourth spot at different ends of the track with just six laps remaining.  Back up front, Croft would only get to the back bummer of Kaeding before the wile veteran would pull away again. The margin at the checkered flag was just over one second.

Netto would hold off Larson for the fourth spot. It was Larson who turned the fastest qualifying lap.

The finish:

Bud Kaeding, Willie Croft, Tim Kaeding, D.J. Netto, Kyle Larson, Shane Golobic, Rico Abreu, Geoff Ensign, Mitchell Faccinto, Dominic Scelzi, Colby Copeland, Ryan Bernal, Chase Johnson, Jason Statler, Nathan Rolfe, Tim Estenson, Jenna Frazier, Cole Macedo, Sean Watts, Kenny Allen