PEORIA, Ariz. — Oklahoma native Brady Bacon kicked off Canyon Speedway Park’s third annual Winter Challenge in style by racing from deep in the pack to take the $2,000 USAC Southwest vs. USAC West Coast sprint cars winner’s share in Friday night’s 30-lap feature.
Bacon needed just 13 laps to race from 13th starting position into the lead atop the third-mile clay oval aboard his Fatheadz Eyewear No. 99 Triple-X Chassis Non-Wing sprint car. He held off Josh Pelkey over the closing circuits for the victory.
“It feels good to finally get the monkey off our back after so many second-place finishes at the Western World last November,” Bacon said.
While Bacon took top sprint car honors, Jason Noll bested the IMCA Modified ranks with Matt Martinez victorious in pure stock action, Tony Martin best in mod lites and Kenny Hilton topping the micro sprints.
While Bacon gridded the sprint car feature inside the seventh row, Pelkey and Casey Shuman led the way to the green flag from the front row with the initial pair of starts waved off for separate turn two incidents involving Dave Darland and Mike Rux Jr. Darland retired pitside while Rux Jr., continued.
With the false starts out of the way, Pelkey gunned into the lead ahead of Shuman and Dalten Gabbard with Bacon quickly working his way up to fourth by the sixth round.
While Gabbard worked past Shuman for second soon after, Bacon disposed of Shuman for third on the ninth lap and then took second from Gabbard on the 12th round before taking command from Pelkey for keeps one lap later.
After Gabbard and Colby Copeland were eliminated from competition following a tangle exiting turn four with 10 laps to go, Pelkey kept the pressure on Bacon over the final rounds before a slight bobble with the white flag in sight secured the triumph for Bacon.
Bacon took the checkered flag a half-dozen car lengths ahead of Pelkey in the ABC Motorsports No. 12, with reigning USAC Southwest Sprint Car champion R.J. Johnson rallying from 14th to finish third.
Shuman was fourth with Ryan Bernal racing from 15th to round out the top five.
Jason Noll led all the way in the 25-lap IMCA modified feature, holding off teammate Lance Mari for the win with Jesse Williamson, Stephen Pfeifer and Tim Ward in the top five. Thirty-five modifieds vied for top honors in the Winter Challenge opener.
Matt Martinez emerged from a four-car battle for pure stock honors ahead of Ty Warner, Jeremy Eatherton and Mike Goodwin, Tony Martin beat teammates J.C. Gilleland and Ryan Gilleland to the stripe in mod lite competition and Kenny Hilton led Jacob Hawkins and Garrett Guilkey to the line in micro sprint action.
Brady Bacon, Josh Pelkey, R.J. Johnson, Casey Shuman, Ryan Bernal, Josh Hodges, Aaron Reutzel, Shon Deskins, Nic Faas, Charles Davis Jr., Stevie Sussex, Mike Martin, Jason Grady, Mitch Mack, Josh Grady, Dalten Gabbard, Colby Copeland, Tye Mihocko, Michael Curtis, Jimmy Crawford, Mike Rux Jr., Dave Darland.