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  • By Gary Thomas

Sprint Car Challenge Tour returns to competition this Saturday with inaugural event at Keller Auto S

Hanford, CA – After a few weeks off the Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards is set for a return to action with its first ever visit to the Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford this Saturday June 16.

The evening of racing will be the first of two season appearances at the Kings County Fairgrounds based venue, with the other coming on October 13 as part of the annual Cotton Classic.

The Keller Auto Speedway has long been one of California’s top dirt tracks and in the off-season underwent a massive transformation, with numerous loads of clay being brought in. The track was also widened immensely, making this Saturday’s show one of the best tests yet on the new configuration.

Following the most recent event on May 18 a new driver stands atop the Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards standings. Defending champions Kyle Hirst and Roth Motorsports go into Keller Auto Speedway with a slim four-point advantage over Shane Golobic and Keith Day Racing. For Hirst he will look to snag his first career SCCT victory in what is a home-game for his Fresno car owners’ Dennis and Teresa Roth.

Last season saw the 30-year-old from Paradise pick up a King of the West-NARC victory at the track.

“We’re looking forward to Hanford with the Sprint Car Challenge Tour,” Hirst commented. “I’ve had success at the Keller Auto Speedway in the past and it’s always a fun place to run. I’m excited to see how the new configuration races on Saturday. I can’t thank Dennis and Teresa Roth and my whole team enough for giving me the opportunity to drive such a great race car. Hopefully all the fans will come out and support the show this weekend.”

Behind the Hirst/Golobic battle sit San Jose’s Tim Kaeding and Roseville’s Willie Croft within striking distance. The duo had been first and second going into the previous event, but issues for both during the night have now forced them to play catch up. Kaeding has claimed numerous wins at the Keller Auto Speedway in his career, including three triumphs in the Cotton Classic and a World of Outlaws score in 2003. Croft has continued to be one of the stronger drivers in California this season and another win would certainly help in the points chase.

Rounding out the top-five in the standings is Auburn’s Andy Forsberg, who has earned Keller Auto Speedway victories with and without the wing. Forsberg hopes to bag another to give Friends and Family Racing their first Sprint Car Challenge Tour win on Saturday. Last weekend the team earned a victory in weekly action at the Placerville Speedway.

Completing the top-10 in the Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards standings going into round six are Roseville’s Colby Copeland, who sits only one-point back of Forsberg, Hollister’s Tony Gualda, Watsonville’s Justin Sanders, Roseville’s Sean Becker and Clarksburg’s Justyn Cox.

More drivers ready to take on the Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford will include Penngrove’s Michael “Buddy” Kofoid, Chase Johnson and Colby Johnson, Cottonwood’s Lucas Ashe, Cameron Park’s Shane Hopkins, Foresthill’s Jodie Robinson, Fairfield’s Zack Lynskey, Wilton’s Matt Peterson, Rio Linda’s Cody Lamar, Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto and DJ Netto, Fresno’s Craig Stidham, Steven Kent and Matthew Moles, Lemoore’s Cole Macedo, Tracy’s Kyle Offill, Santa Rosa’s Klint Simpson, Riverdale’s Landon Hurst and others.

Adult tickets will cost $20 this Saturday June 16, while juniors 6-18 will be $10, seniors 55 and over will be $17, kids five and under are free. All seating is general admission. The front gate will open at 4pm and heat races will get underway around 7. Live music will occur from 4-6 with $1 hot dogs, $2 hamburgers and $3 Bud and Bud Light during that time.

The Keller Auto Speedway is a 3/8-mile clay oval and is located on the Kings County Fairgrounds in Hanford, California. The physical address is 801 S. 10th Ave. Hanford, Ca 93230. More info can be found at

The Sprint Car Challenge Tour is proudly sponsored by Elk Grove Ford, Abreu Vineyards, Hoosier Racing Tires, Bianchi Farms, Kyle Larson Racing, All Star Performance, A.R.T. Speed Equipment, Pit Stop USA, Auto Meter, ADCO Driveline & Exhaust, Bullard Construction, BR Motorsports, Chris Kenner Racing Specialties/ Security Race Products, CLT Logging, CRV Carbon Solutions, D&D Roofing, Driven2SaveLives, Dynachrome, Finley Farms, Garner Heat Treat Inc., Garth Moore Insurance and Financial Services, Jockos Sprint Parts, Keizer Wheels, Kevin Sharrah Designs, King Racing Products, Light Up the World Beverages, Moto Wear, Metal Works, Naake Suspension, PT Shocks, Pyrotect Racing Cells, Quick Time Mortgage, Race Punk, R&R Racewear, Saldana Racing Products, Team Ford of Woodland, Walker Performance Filtration and Winters Performance.

The Sprint Car Challenge Tour is operated under the Russell Motorsports Inc. banner, which also manages the Placerville Speedway in Placerville, California. For sponsorship opportunities and inquiries, RMI can be reached at 530-344-7592 or

More information on the Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards can be found at our official website– Be sure to also like us on Facebook and follow on Twitter for the latest breaking news regarding SCCT.

Upcoming Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards events: Saturday June 16: Keller Auto Speedway - Hanford, CA Saturday June 30: Placerville Speedway (with KWS-NARC) Sunday July 1: Petaluma Speedway Saturday July 7: Stockton Dirt Track (Salute to LeRoy Van Conett)

Photo courtesy of Julia Stead

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