- By Gary Thomas
DJ Netto scores first Sprint Car Challenge Tour victory Saturday in Hanford
Hanford’s own DJ Netto claims first Sprint Car Challenge Tour win during entertaining feature at Keller Auto Speedway
Hanford, CA – Hanford, California’s DJ Netto had been picking up steam in recent weeks and knocking on the door of victory lane. This past Saturday night those knocks were finally answered at the Keller Auto Speedway, as the driver of the Netto Agriculture No. 88N raced to his first career triumph with the Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards.
The event on Saturday was the inaugural race for the tour at the Kings County Fairgrounds venue and provided excitement all night long with drivers attacking the ultra-wide racing surface. Netto’s victory came after a great back and forth race-long battle with Roseville’s Colby Copeland.
“It feels great to get a win in front of my hometown crowd tonight with the Sprint Car Challenge Tour,” Netto commented to promoter Bubby Morse on the victory podium. “That was a fun race with Colby Copeland and I’m glad to come out on top of it. My new crew chief Brad Goebel and I have been working together the past few weeks and have definitely found speed. I can’t thank my whole team enough for all their support. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going next week.”
The 30-lap contest began with Willie Croft getting the jump on the field, but Netto soon made the move by to grab the top-spot. Sprint Car Challenge Tour point leader going into the night Kyle Hirst found trouble on lap-two when he got upside down just after taking over the third spot. The Roth Motorsports crew made repairs and got him back out, but a late-race spin would result in his first DNF with the tour. With Netto out front Copeland gave chase and when the duo reached traffic the fight was on.
Just after lap 10 Copeland battled his way under Netto through traffic to claim the lead of the race. Netto didn’t give up however and stayed glued to the rear bumper of Copeland’s Canales Racing No. 5C machine. As the five to go signal approached Netto got the opportunity he needed and pounced on it to re-take the point. He then survived three more stoppages and raced away to take the checkered flag.
Clarksburg’s Justyn Cox had a fine run and was able to slice under Copeland with three-laps left to earn the runner up spot and his best career Sprint Car Challenge Tour finish. It was great to see the Berco Redwood No. 31C team have a strong night.
Copeland crossed the stripe in third to cap a solid outing and continue the speed that he has shown recently. Hollister’s Ryan Bernal made a cameo in the Keith Day Trucking No. 22 and put together a good night finishing fourth, while Penngrove’s Buddy Kofoid rounded out the top-five aboard the Dan Simpson Racing No. 4S.
The top-10 was completed by Roseville’s Sean Becker, Hanford’s Collin Markle and Mitchell Faccinto, Tracy’s Kyle Offill and San Jose’s Tim Kaeding. Lemoore’s Cole Macedo earned the Pit Stop USA Hard Charger Award by coming from 23rd to 13th in the feature. Copeland scored the Metal Works Fastest Lap Award.
A-main finish: 1. 88N DJ Netto, 2. 31C Justyn Cox, 3. 5C Colby Copeland, 4. 22 Ryan Bernal, 5. 4S Buddy Kofoid, 6. 75 Sean Becker, 7. 5X Collin Markle, 8. 37 Mitchell Faccinto, 9. 2K Kyle Offill, 10. 42X Tim Kaeding, 11. 88V Jace Vanderweerd, 12. 56 Justin Sanders, 13. 21X Cole Macedo, 14. 7 Steven Kent, 15. 3 Craig Stidham, 16. 97 Shane Hopkins, 17. 9S Landon Hurst, 18. 21 Tommy Tarlton, 19. 5V Chase Johnson, 20. 67 Vaughn Schott, 21. 83 Kyle Hirst, 22. 83SA Matt Dumesny, 23. 29 Willie Croft, 24. X1 Andy Forsberg.
The Finley Farms B-main was picked off by Watsonville’s Justin Sanders, while the C-main was won by Andy Gregg. The Race Punk Dash went to DJ Netto, with the Allstar Performance heat race going to Ryan Bernal, the A.R.T. Speed Equipment heat went to Willie Croft, the Autometer Inc. heat was snagged by Kyle Hirst and the Winters Performance heat went to Netto. Sydney, Australia’s Matt Dumesny started the night by outpacing the 43-car field in qualifying to earn the Quick Time Mortgage/ ADCO Driveline and Custom Exhaust Fast Time Award. Dumesny toured the 3/8-mile clay oval in 14.086 seconds.
The Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards will return to action with a double-header weekend on Saturday June 29 and Sunday July 1. Opening night will see the tour compete at the Placerville Speedway alongside the King of the West-NARC Sprint Cars in the “Salute to the Fans.” The following will find SCCT in action at the Petaluma Speedway for the final time this season. More info can be found at www.sprintcarchallengetour.com
Brian Ratchford and Joe Shivak Imagery