VISALIA, CALIFORNIA (June 30, 2023) – Stockton’s Caden Sarale, Madera’s Jake Smith, and Rancho Murieta’s Lucas Mauldin prevailed in Friday night’s thrilling opener for the 2023 Hoosier Tire California Speedweek at the Keller Auto Raceway at Visalia’s Plaza Park. 110 drivers from around the world braved triple-digit temperatures as they opened the four races in five nights Micro Sprints spectacular. Photo by Angela Ward
The 110-car field was highlighted by 50 Non-Wing entries in the pits. 13-year-old Eric Botelho of Kerman led Hyper Racing time trials before five heat races and three B-Mains narrowed the field to 22 starters. Heat race action included a photo finish between Arizona’s Austin Torgerson and Mattix Salmon of Fresno.
Bakersfield’s Jett Yantis was high points driver for the night and drew a two invert, lining up alongside Salmon for the 30-lap grind worth $1,000 and the coveted carved wooden bear trophies.
Sarale marched from fourth on the grid, driving around the outside of Salmon to lead lap three. A caution flew on lap nine. Ashton Torgerson had advanced from 18th to ninth by that stage of the race while Yantis had backpedaled from second to eighth.
Salmon and Sarale traded slide jobs with Salmon officially leading lap 11. Taylor Mayhew of Bakersfield and Yantis collided for the next caution.
Sarale seized the lead back from Salmon on lap 26 with a slider in turn four and brought a hard-charging Cash Lovenburg of Visalia with him. Torgerson slid past Lovenburg for second on lap 28 but his luck ran out. Torgerson dove inside Sarale for the win coming to the checkered flag, bouncing off Sarale’s left rear wheel to spin out in turn four.
Sarale grabbed his fifth career Speedweek win and second in Non-Wing, followed by Lovenburg, Salmon, Austin Torgerson, and 2022 Delta champion Nikko Panella of Stockton. Ashton Torgerson was scored 14th.
Yantis led the Hyper Racing qualifying for Super 600, with 41 entries competing across five heat races and two B-Mains. Caden Sarale drew a four invert after leading points, placing Madera’s Jake Smith and Raio Salmon of Fresno on the front row for 30-laps of winged action.
Smith ran the top side to hold the lead while Raio Salmon made her bid on the bottom. The caution flew on lap 12 for Austin Wood of Sacramento stopped on the backstretch. On the restart, Mattix Salmon and Texas’ Brecken Reese, the 11th row starters, clashed in turn two for another caution.
Raio Salmon battled with Yantis for the second position before Arizona’s Jayden Huppert flipped in the second turn. He was able to rejoin the race however. Salmon’s night ended on lap 28 when she flipped from second position. Smith soared ahead on the final restart for a 1.280 second victory followed by Sarale, Austin Torgerson, 2015 Super 600 Speedweek champion Michael Faccinto, and Ripon’s Brandon Carey. Smith’s victory is his second career win in Speedweek to go with a Lemoore Restricted win in 2017.
Restricted’s qualifying was also paced by a young driver when 11-year-old Brody Rubio of Manteca was the top-qualifier. Bakersfield’s Nathan Ward was high point driver after the heat races and pulled a four invert for the feature.
Lucas Mauldin of Rancho Murieta took advantage of his pole starting position while Ward battled into second place on lap five. 14th starting Dash Duinkerken of Laton made his way towards the top-five quickly.
Lapped traffic slowed Mauldin’s progress and erased his lead. Ward drove underneath of him with three laps to go but couldn’t complete the pass. Mauldin scored a narrow .192 second win for the $1000 victory and the carved wooden bear trophy. Ward settled for second over Blayden Graham of Bakersfield, Landon Jones of Hanford, and Duinkerken.
The Hoosier Tire California Speedweek resumes on Saturday night from Lemoore Raceway. Pit gates open at noon with the drivers meeting at 5:30pm Race fans can grab tickets at the gate or check out the racing live on The Cushion.
The Hoosier Tire California Speedweek is presented by: Southern Pacific Farms, Elk Grove Ford, Dillon Risk Management, F&M Bank, and Keizer Wheels.
Contingency partners include Hyper Racing, Wilwood Brakes, CSI Shocks, Driven Performance, Topline Titanium, and Kaeding Performance. The Speedweek also thanks MyRacePass, Bullet Impressions, The Cushion, and Creative Vision Printing for their support.
All four nights will feature on site merchandise sales from Bullet Impressions. Hoosier Racing Tires and race fuel will be available each night as well.
HOOSIER TIRE CALIFORNIA SPEEDWEEK RESULTS – JUNE 30, 2023 KELLER AUTO RACEWAY (VISALIA, CALIF.)
Super 600 – 41 entries
A Feature 1 (30 Laps): 1. 28-Jake Smith; 2. 24-Caden Sarale; 3. 88-Austin Torgerson; 4. 65-Michael Faccinto; 5. 27S-Brandon Carey; 6. 44X-Jeffery Pahule; 7. 73-Nikko Panella; 8. 56-Cody Key; 9. 02-Ashton Torgerson; 10. 21B-Caden Stoll; 11. 51-Dalton Parreira; 12. 2E-Eric Botelho; 13. 7T-Logan Trevino; 14. 2K-Landyn Snider; 15. 15L-Michael Laughton; 16. 55J-Jayden Huppert; 17. 21-Raio Salmon; 18. 4-Jett Yantis; 19. 3-Cole Schroeder; 20. 20Q-Brecken Reese; 21. 5-Mattix Salmon; 22. 2A-Austin Wood
Non-Wing – 50 entries
A Feature 1 (30 Laps): 1. 32-Caden Sarale; 2. 21-Cash Lovenburg; 3. 5X-Mattix Salmon; 4. 88-Austin Torgerson; 5. 73-Nikko Panella; 6. 55B-Jett Barnes; 7. 2-Caden Stoll; 8. 3-Cole Schroeder; 9. 3AZ-Drake Edwards; 10. 24S-Izaak Sharp; 11. 55-Brandon Carey; 12. 2T-Taylor Mayhew; 13. 4K-Khloe Cotton; 14. 02-Ashton Torgerson; 15. 20Q-Brecken Reese; 16. 4-Garrett Twitty; 17. 2B-Eric Botelho; 18. 4J-Jett Yantis; 19. 69-Cameron Paul; 20. 2A-Austin Wood; 21. 73KK-Katey Syra; 22. (DNS) 4B-Brandt Twitty
Restricted – 19 entries
A Feature 1 (25 Laps): 1. 55X-Lucas Mauldin; 2. 95-Nathan Ward; 3. 66B-Blayden Graham; 4. 77L-Landon Jones; 5. 79-Dash Duinkerken; 6. 29V-Vito Celli `; 7. 10J-Aubri Huckleberry; 8. 76-TK OBrien; 9. 25R-Brody Rubio; 10. 3C-Connor Jacobs; 11. 17B-Brycen Roush; 12. 29-Jaydon Barnes; 13. 5-Jace Thurein; 14. 38JT-Jackson Tardiff; 15. 21G-Greyson Henry; 16. 21-Brayton Roberts; 17. 16S-Bryson Sozinho; 18. 67Z-Clayton Wilson; 19. 58C-Clay Mibach