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King of the West series resumes with weekend doubleheader
RAC--Stockton Dirt Track pic
Defending King of the West 410 champion and current leader Kyle Hirst will be part of a special weekend doubleheader at Keller Auto Speedway and Stockton Dirt Track. - photo by Photo courtesy of TIM HOLLAND

HANFORD — One of the most exciting stretches of the season for the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series fires off with a big doubleheader of action starting this Saturday at the Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford, followed by the Stockton Dirt Track’s rescheduled Salute to LeRoy Van Conett on Sunday. 

The event this Saturday marks the first of two season appearances at the Keller Auto Speedway 3/8 mile clay oval, located on the Kings County Fairgrounds. The series has a rich history competing at the “King of the Dirt Tracks” in the month of July, which dates back to the days of the Pombo/Sargent Classic that was held every summer in Hanford. Following this weekend’s outing the King of the West 410’s will also return on Oct. 15 for the prestigious Cotton Classic. 

The special showcase honoring LeRoy Van Conett at the Stockton Dirt Track then gives fans something they’ve always asked for in California — Sunday racing! 

The event came about following a rainout on May 21 of the previously scheduled attempt of the show. Instead of canceling the night all together, track and series officials decided to give Sunday, July 10 a try. It will certainly be a trial run to see if Sunday racing is a viable part of the landscape in Northern California. 

Things will begin one-hour early on Sunday in Stockton, with drivers meeting at 3:45 p.m. and opening ceremonies/heat races at 6.

Van Conett was born in Stockton and would go on to become one of the very best to ever sit behind the wheel of a Sprint Car in California. The driver simply known as the “Dragon from Galt” is the all-time leader in wins at the famed Calistoga Speedway half-mile, with 31 total victories to his name. He also ranks second in all-time Northern Auto Racing Club wins and championships. T-shirts will be available and Van Conett will be on hand during the night for autographs, plus a meet and greet. 

Going into the weekend, two-time King of the West 410 champion Kyle Hirst sits atop the series standings by nine-markers over Bud Kaeding of Campbell. Hirst has two victories to his credit so far this year and has been a mark of consistency, finishing on the podium in four of the seven events held thus far aboard his Roth Motorsports/Tarlton & Son No. 21x machine. After another solid tour of Australia in the off-season the 28-year-old has been ultra sharp since the start of the U.S. campaign. 

Kaeding is fresh off his King of the West leading third win of the season on June 25 in Calistoga at the helm of the familiar Williams Motorsports/ Alviso Rock 0 Sprinter. The three-time USAC Silver Crown champ also captured the recent series event at the Stockton Dirt Track on June 18. Kaeding will look for a strong weekend to try and close even further on the point lead. Last season’s King of the West championship battle was also between the Tarlton & Williams Motorsports teams and looks to be the same again.

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