by Ron Rodda
(TULARE, California) — The Abreu Vineyards 28th Trophy Cup presented By Rudeen Racing had 75 cars return to Thunderbowl Raceway for the final night with Shane Golobic crowned champion for the third time.
One driver was to be named champion and earn a guaranteed $28,000 for accumulating the most points.
But four drivers had a chance for a bonus ranging from $22,000 to $2,000 dependent on starting in rows nine or 10 for the 50-lap finale. If any of those four won the race and title, the bonus earned was based on starting position.
No qualifying was needed as the better of the two preliminary race nights points determined lineups. A trio of D mains moved a dozen to the straight up C main. Four from the C moved to the invert six B main which added four to the invert 20 A main.
After the D mains the top 48 in points competed in six heat races fully inverted by points. These heats were 36 points to win with a three point drop per position.
With heats adding points to the preliminary night points, the top 20 in points moved directly to the A main, 21 through 40 went to the B main, and 41 to 48 were C main bound.
Starting in the A main guarantees $5,000 minimum payout for all three nights.
Shane Golobic had the best heat race with a third-place finish moving him from third to first in points, making him the driver eligible for a $50,000 payout to win. Tyler Courtney finished fourth in his heat to maintain second in points and eligible for a $40,000 check to win the main and title.
Kyle Hirst dropped to third in points by finishing sixth in a heat and would collect $35,000 for winning the main and championship. Corey Day and Ryan Timms remained in fourth and fifth.
The big finale had Tony Gomes and Zeb Wise on the front row for the 150 points main with a three point drop per position.
Wise led initially with Gomes and Kalib Henry in pursuit. Henry passed Wise on the front stretch on lap 14 and led five laps before Wise used a turn two slider to regain the lead. Chase Randall got third with a low line turn one pass on lap 26.
The planned fuel stop came after 29 non-stop laps and Golobic was 10th and Courtney 14th but the point battle doesn’t become clear until the lap count gets into the final 10. If the title battle came down to those two whoever was ahead of the other would win.
Wise continued leading while Henry held off pressure from Randall for second until Gomes took third back before a red flew for a Tim Kaeding and Kyle Hirst tangle that eliminated both.
As the lap count approached 50, Wise clicked off the laps smoothly and kept a late-charging Rico Abreu in second at the finish.
The drama centered around Golobic as he was in control of the championship but needed to pass four cars in six laps to collect the bonus.
Golobic got past two on a restart but Wise and Abreu were too far ahead to catch and no yellow to help saw Golobic finish third 20th starting spot.
Golobic became a three-time Trophy Cup champion. Corey Day was fourth in points, Courtney third. Wise fourth and Abreu was fifth.
The Trophy Cup continues to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation with a $321,000 donation to raise the total to $2,671,000. This is made possible by many contributors and activities as well as all entry fees going to support the Foundation.
Feature (50 laps): 1. 26-Zeb Wise; 2. 24-Rico Abreu; 3. 17W-Shane Golobic; 4. 5J-Kalib Henry; 5. 14-Corey Day; 6. 83T-Tanner Carrick; 7. 18-Cole Macedo; 8. 57W-Tyler Courtney; 9. 2X-Justin Sanders; 10. 94TH-Landon Brooks; 11. 5T-Ryan Timms; 12. 18T-Tanner Holmes; 13. 9R-Chase Randall; 14. 88-Austin McCarl; 15. 5V-Colby Copeland; 16. 7B-Sean Becker; 17. 41X-Colton Hardy; 18. 7C-Tony Gomes; 19. 94-Kyle Hirst; 20. 83-Tim Kaeding; 21. 22-Ryan Bernal; 22. 41-Dominic Scelzi; 23. 73-Hunter Schuerenberg; 24. 21-Mitchell Faccinto