HANFORD, Calif. — Bud Kaeding has earned many accolades during his roughly 20-year driving career. On Saturday night at Keller Auto Speedway he added another one when he picked up his first King of Thunder 360 Series sprint car feature win.
The Campbell, Calif., veteran drove the Williams Roofing sponsored No. 69 to the win in a 30-lap contest.
Consistency helped Blake Carrick pick up the second spot while Hanford native and local favorite D.J. Netto rounded out the podium. Justin Sanders in his yellow No. 17x and local Zane Blanchard completed the top five.
Polesitter Mitchell Faccinto and Kaeding brought the 24-car field to the start on the King’s County Fairgrounds clay oval. There was a three wide mad scramble between the two front row starters and Sean Becker for the front spot exiting turn two.
Faccinto’s wheel stand slowed his bite off the turn allowing both Kaeding and Becker a shot at the lead. But it would be Faccinto who would quickly recover and lead the first lap.
The race would go seven circuits before a single-car spin in the fourth turn would slow the field. After a restart and three laps later, the track would go yellow for a Ben Worth spin the fourth turn. With Faccinto maintaining the lead, there was a great battle for the next three positions. Netto would take over the third spot after starting fifth.
The yellow track lights would come on again on lap 13 for a single-car spin in the first turn. It was under yellow that leader Faccinto had an issue and was sent spinning. There was enough damage to his car that he had to be towed back to the pit work area, giving up the lead and eventually ending his race.
Kaeding would inherit the lead followed by Becker, Netto, Carrick and Sanders. The caution flag flew once again on lap 17 when Max Mittry would slow and stop on the pit entrance ramp.
On the restart, Netto would make a dive bomb move going into the first turn passing both cars ahead of him. The bold move left Becker spinning and bringing out yet another caution. Kaeding was moved back to the top spot due to the last completed lap rule while Becker was sent to the rear of the field.
The race’s only red flag stoppage occurred on lap 21 when John Clark flipped over the spun car of Brendan Warmerdam in the first turn. The last nine laps would incident free but not without a few close calls. With the track beginning to slick off, handling and control became an issue. Netto had his car completely sideways in the second turn with six laps remaining. He was able to avoid a spin but gave up two positions. He would regain one of them before the checkered to salvage a podium finish.
Kaeding would find the fastest way around the track was the high groove which he used the last few laps.
Bud Kaeding, Blake Carrick, D.J. Netto, Justin Sanders, Zane Blanchard, Chase Majdic, Tucker Worth, Grant Duinkerken, Craig Stidham, Sean Becker, Kalib Henry, Jace Vander Weed, Jake Hagopian, Jodie Robinson, J.J. Ringo, Jake Andreotti, Grant Champlin, Ben Worth, Brooklyn Holland, John Clark, Brendan Warmerdam, Jared Faria, Max Mittry, Mitchell Faccinto