ANTIOCH, Calif. — On Friday at Antioch Speedway, Shane Golobic’s dreams were nothing like reality.
Golobic passed polesitter Jonathan Allard in thick traffic on lap 10 and held off Joey Saldana — Golobic’s favorite World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series driver — to capture his first career victory, which left him talking almost as fast as he drove after an emotional celebration on the frontstretch.
“It doesn’t compare,” Golobic said as a smile engulfed his face. “I always knew it’d be pretty awesome to win one. I didn’t know if I was ever going to get the chance. There’s some guys who win a lot of races and don’t ever get to win an Outlaws race, so to be able to do it is awesome.
“I couldn’t be happier right now. We beat the best. The Outlaws are the best and we beat them. It’s just surreal to even think that we did it.”
Allard took the early advantage at the start of the 30-lap feature with Golobic in tow. Golobic twice pulled side by side with Allard in turns one and two only to see Allard’s momentum help him maintain the lead.
The duo reached traffic on lap seven and Golobic nearly made it three wide exiting turn two as he and Allard lapped Chad Kemenah, who had to start at the back of the field after going to the work area to change an MSD box before the green flag.
However, Golobic thought better and backed off. Three laps later, Golobic powered around Allard in turns three and four to gain the lead amidst a handful of cars in traffic.
“In traffic it’s almost better to be running second,” Golobic said. “He just kinda got hung up behind a lapped car and I kinda saw that and went to the top and got him. We got out front and started working traffic.”
Allard dropped to fifth in two laps with Saldana picking up the pressure on Golobic. With about 10 laps remaining, Golobic struggled to lap Dominic Scelzi, who started the feature as the alternate when Kerry Madsen was unable to take the green flag because of a broken roll pin in the magneto.
“I knew Saldana was coming pretty hard toward the end,” Golobic said. “He’s been my favorite Outlaw for a lot of years, so for him to run second to me, it’s crazy.”
Saldana closed to within two car lengths, but Golobic was effective enough at picking his way through traffic and after clearing Scelzi with a handful of laps remaining, Golobic pulled away.
“I thought we had a shot there, but lapped traffic was tough,” Saldana said. “I screwed up on one of them lapped cars and it cost me a shot at winning.
“(Golobic’s) been running extremely strong. This is the style of racing that he likes and he did a great job tonight. He stayed focused with his car the whole night and ran a great race.”
Cody Darrah passed Californian Tim Kaeding, who won the last World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series event at Antioch Speedway, for third place with three laps remaining.
“We were a little free when we were out in the open, but in lapped traffic I felt like we really had an advantage,” Darrah said. “I love this race track. It’s aggressive, especially tonight. It’s one of those race tracks where you do the opposite that you do at every other place.”
Kaeding finished fourth and NASCAR sensation Kyle Larson ended fifth.