Author

Joseph Terrell
Posted:
Short Track Racing Junkie (Sprints or Stock Car, Dirt or Pavement - I enjoy it all). Went to the first Trophy Cup at San Jose Speedway. Check out Joseph's website: www.wcsprintscene.com Currently lives in Olympia, Washington -- Home Track: Skagit/Grays Harbor; make at least two trips to California each year including Trophy Cup - A weekly contributor to hoseheads.com (West Coast Sprint Car Scene).
Connect Online
View all posts by

by Joseph TerrellWest Coast Sprint Car Scene

(Roseburg, Oregon – Oct 17, 2023) – It’s late Tuesday night as this is written and the Trophy Cup is set to kick off in less than 48 hours. The actual start will be some time early Thursday evening when the first of two groups begin qualifying.
 
And make no mistake about it, Qualifying at the Trophy Cup might be the most important laps a driver takes all weekend. Thursday night is especially important because if a driver can qualify well, it starts their weekend ahead. Let me explain.

Trophy Cup Qualifying

In the Trophy Cup format qualifying is worth 150 points and then drops by one. With qualifying split into two groups it means two drivers will get 150. Last year Shane Golobic won with 451 points. Get those 150 points first thing Thursday, and a driver already has a third of the total points that won the year before.
 
Now to be clear this doesn’t guarantee anything. A good qualifying lap followed up by lackluster rest of the weekend will obviously not work. But start with a bad qualifying lap Thursday and the pressure is on. Every lap around the Thunderbowl will become that much more important.
 
Yes, drivers still have Friday night to get a lot of qualifying points and get right due to the fact the best preliminary is chosen going into Saturday. However the pressure only ratchets up if you struggle on Thursday.
 
No driver wants to go into Friday knowing they have to have a good night. They would rather score those points Thursday and be in a good spot points wise, which is usually 270 or above. Friday is when desperation rises and carnage usually follows. A good Thursday is key to avoiding this.

Friday is when desperation rises and carnage usually follows

Now, the way the Trophy Cup format is laid out, qualifying and the Saturday Main Event are huge. Saturday’s Main Event gives out 150 to the winner and then down by three. If a driver can qualify in the top five and finish in the top five on Saturday night that in itself would net at least 285 points.
 
But it all starts with qualifying. Unlike any other race the winner is not necessarily, and usually isn’t, the driver who crosses the finish line first on Saturday. The winner is the driver that has the most points. Qualifying 20th in your group would be a lot to overcome.
 
Unlike the Dirt Cup, where qualifying is huge but winning races can get you out of that hole sometimes, the Trophy Cup doesn’t work that way. With points added up through Saturday’s Main Event, getting a good lap the first time out Thursday is a way to feel confident and get ahead of the game.
 
A driver never knows what will happen the second night with qualifying and what the track may be like when they come out, even with the split groups. A really good driver cannot just race himself into contention like they could at the Dirt Cup.
 
This is what Zeb Wise tried to do last year when he scored a perfect 186 points Saturday night. The result, though, was still only a fourth place finish overall. It wasn’t enough. He had given up too many points on the preliminary nights.
 
The extra pressure of points being awarded every time out makes Thursday qualifying one of the most important and exciting qualifying sessions all year and a must watch.
 
Furthermore Thursday is when the field is finally set. All year summer drivers and entries are added to the Trophy Cup list and subtracted. The driver roster is moving piece all the way until load in day on Thursday. That is when the field is finally set and the cream can start to rise.
 
For the cream to rise, it all starts with a good qualifying lap Thursday and the huge amount of points that come with it.
 

Author

Joseph Terrell
Posted
Short Track Racing Junkie (Sprints or Stock Car, Dirt or Pavement - I enjoy it all). Went to the first Trophy Cup at San Jose Speedway. Check out Joseph's website: www.wcsprintscene.com Currently lives in Olympia, Washington -- Home Track: Skagit/Grays Harbor; make at least two trips to California each year including Trophy Cup - A weekly contributor to hoseheads.com (West Coast Sprint Car Scene).
Connect Online
View all posts by

Author

Gary Thomas
Posted:
Motorsports Public Relations Director/ Announcer from the Golden State of California. Business Manager of the The Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford & Abreu Vineyards competes in California. A premier Winged 360 Sprint Car series on the West Coast.
Connect Online
View all posts by

Abreu Vineyards Trophy Cup 29
presented by Rudeen Racing
Fast Approaching at Thunderbowl Raceway

By Gary Thomas

(Tulare, CA – September 20, 2023) The most anticipated period of the season at Thunderbowl Raceway is fast approaching with the Abreu Vineyards Trophy Cup 29 presented by Rudeen Racing ready to invade Tulare on October 19th, 20th and 21st.

Something sure to add intrigue once again this year will be the “Trophy Cup Tune-Up” featuring the Kings of Thunder Winged 360 Sprint Cars on Saturday October 14th. The event held on the weekend before Trophy Cup is guaranteed to fill the pit area as drivers get one final stab at the track prior to the big show.

It’s sure to be a classic lead-in for the Trophy Cup, as teams and fans get to enjoy back-to-back weeks of racing at the Thunderbowl.

The Trophy Cup continues to be one of the premier Winged Sprint Car showcases in the country and the 2023 version is sure to be one of the biggest and best yet. The 29th edition of the Trophy Cup boasts a record $225,000 overall purse for the three nights, with 90 cars entered for competition.

The event originally started at San Jose Speedway in 1994 and was held at the track until its closing in ‘99. It then moved to Ocean Speedway for one year, before heading to the Kings Speedway in Hanford from 2001-2004. In ‘05 the Trophy Cup was moved to Thunderbowl Raceway, where it has been held ever since.

With its unique format the Trophy Cup regularly produces some of the best Winged Sprint Car racing fans will witness all season. Each time a driver hits the speedway for competitive racing there are points on the line. It’s all a lead-up to the 50-lap feature on Saturday night, which features the top-20 in overall points inverted, plus the four transfers out of the B-main comprising the final four spots.

All cars that start the Saturday A-main are guaranteed at least $6,000 in weekend winnings and the overall champion is guaranteed a record $29,000 in weekend winnings. The Trophy Cup is always an all-star showcase in California, with champions and winners from all over the state and beyond in action.

Tickets and Details:

Adult grandstand tickets for the 29th Trophy Cup cost $50 on Thursday and Friday and $55 on Saturday. Bleacher tickets are $45 on Thursday and Friday and $50 on Saturday. Kids pricing and senior pricing is also available.

Tickets can be acquired by calling 559-688-0909 or at the gate. Pre-sale tickets will be available until two weeks prior to the event, as all track staff will be at the raceway daily and not in the office, in preparation to make sure everything goes as well as possible. The event has never sold out and tickets will be available if you choose to purchase at the gate.

If you are unable to buy pre-sale tickets please do not worry, as you’ll be able to purchase them at the gate. We are aware of the kinks with the new phone system and are still attempting to get them sorted out.

Something new this year as well, on Wednesday October 18th (day before the race) Thunderbowl GM Josh Miller will be around the campground if you’d like to obtain your Will Call Tickets, or if you need to purchase additional tickets. By handing out will call tickets on Wednesday, this will help alleviate the line at the box office on race day.

The pit gate opens at 10am on Thursday October 19th, with the drivers meeting around 3:20pm. Wheel packing, hot laps, qualifying and heat races will follow.

The special events that have become so popular are also returning. Following the races on Thursday will be BBQ Night sponsored by High 5 Pizza and Catering, while Friday after the races will be Taco Bravo Fiesta Night featuring Tacos. On Saturday afternoon from 11am-2pm Steve Faria and Thunderbowl Raceway will present the annual Spaghetti Feed.

The post-race parties start 20 minutes after the checkered flag with beer, water and soft drinks also available for purchase inside. A donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation at the door during all these events is appreciated.

Over the last 28-years Dave Pusateri and the Trophy Cup team have helped gather more than 2.5 million dollars in donations for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Fans and teams are all encouraged to attend the special eating events. More info on the Trophy Cup, as well as an entry list can be found at www.trophycup.org

Special thanks to Promoter Steve Faria with System 1 and System 1 Pro Ignition, General Manager Josh Miller, along with all our partners for making things happen at Thunderbowl Raceway including Stone Chevrolet Buick GMC, Budweiser, Roth Motorsports, KRC Safety, General Manager Craig Borba at Garton Tractor, Double “D” Towing and JD Heiskel & Company.

For more info on the Stone Chevrolet Buick GMC Thunderbowl Raceway visit www.ThunderbowlRaceway.com and like our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com.

The Stone Chevrolet Buick GMC Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds on the corner of Bardsley and K Streets at 620 South K Street Tulare, California 93274. From the junction of SR 99 and SR 137, go west on SR 137. At South K go south one-half mile to the Fairgrounds. Camping is available for fans off turns three and four.

Stone Chevrolet Buick GMC Thunderbowl Raceway Remaining Schedule

Saturday October 14th: Kings of Thunder Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Western RaceSaver Sprints, West Coast Sport Compacts and Legends of Kearney Bowl (Trophy Cup Tune-Up)

  • Thursday October 19th: Abreu Vineyards Trophy Cup 29 presented by Rudeen Racing
  • Friday October 20th: Abreu Vineyards Trophy Cup 29 presented by Rudeen Racing
  • Saturday October 21st: Abreu Vineyards Trophy Cup 29 presented by Rudeen Racing

Author

Gary Thomas
Posted
Motorsports Public Relations Director/ Announcer from the Golden State of California. Business Manager of the The Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford & Abreu Vineyards competes in California. A premier Winged 360 Sprint Car series on the West Coast.
Connect Online
View all posts by

Author

Ron Rodda
Posted:
Ron Rodda is a contributor to Hoseheads Sprint Car News and Speed Sport News.
Connect Online
View all posts by

Devin Mayo Photo of Shane Golobic crossing the finish line to score the Trophy Cup 28 title in 2022.

Trophy Cup 29 has 90 Entries

The Abreu Vineyards 29th Annual Trophy Cup Presented By Rudeen Racing has it’s usual lengthy entry list for October’s record purse at Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway. 

The 90 entered cars have 14 showing TBA for driver name, which makes it interesting with the usual speculation of who will fill those seats.

This being the 29th year of the unique event, the champion will be earn $29,000 for accumulating the most points over the three-day period.  A record purse of $225,000 will be paid out this year over the three days of racing. 

The Saturday main event pays $6,000 guaranteed to start. The $6,000 guarantee is the total over the three-day event.

Last year, $25,200 was added to the payout for the Saturday main event to reach the 2022 guarantee of $5,000 as 15 of 24 teams had not reached $5,000 total.

Also increased this year is the payout for both B and C mains on Saturday.

Entry List Highlights

Entered this year are six prior Trophy Cup champions with TIm Kaeding being the veteran of the group. Kaeding’s wins came in 2002, 2006 and 2009 and one more would tie his father, Brent Kaeding, with his wins coming in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2005. 

Another driver that could reach the four championship level is Shane Golobic. The wins for the Fremont, Calif. driver scored wins in 2016, 2017 and last year. One-time champions entered this year include Jonathan Allard, Willie Croft, Bud Kaeding and 2019 winner, Rico Abreu. 

Four years ago Abreu accomplished something that was considered impossible when he won all three main events. One feat that will never be matched was champion Tim Kaeding winning the Saturday main event from 24th position. Now the Saturday main event inverts the top 20 in points, so matching Kaeding’s stellar drive is not possible.

One driver who is not yet entered but likely will be on hand owns two Trophy Cup records which are the most difficult to match. Buddy Kofoid is the youngest to win a Trophy Cup main event, accomplishing the remarkable win at age 14. 

Then five years later he became the youngest Trophy Cup champion, winning the point battle at age 19. Kofoid may wind up driving one of the TBA cars.

See the Complete list: Trophy Cup Car Entries

Author

Ron Rodda
Posted
Ron Rodda is a contributor to Hoseheads Sprint Car News and Speed Sport News.
Connect Online
View all posts by

Author

Ron Rodda
Posted:
Ron Rodda is a contributor to Hoseheads Sprint Car News and Speed Sport News.
Connect Online
View all posts by

Trophy Cup 2019
(TULARE, Calif.- July 10) – Joining an increasing list of postponed major events, the Abreu Vineyards Trophy Cup 27 presented by Rudeen Racing will not take place in October of 2020.

The decision comes as a result of continued limitations in California due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Trophy Cup’s host track, Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway, has been unable to put a car on its three-eighths-mile oval this year, with no improvement in sight. That made it apparent the event would not be able to take place this October with fans in the stands.

Dave Pusateri, the founder of the Trophy Cup in 1994, does not want to run the event without fans.

“The race is for the fans. Yes, we are doing the race for the drivers also,
but without fans, that’s not what the race was designed for.
Without the fans it’s not a race.”
David Pusateri – Trophy Cup Promoter

As of now, the Trophy Cup is aiming towards Oct. 14-16, 2021, when the next chapter of the unique event will unfold at Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway. Winged 360 sprint car teams will race for a total purse of $200,000 – with the event champion guaranteed $27,000.

When the Trophy Cup resumes with the 27th annual race, the event’s support of Make-A-Wish will continue.

More than $2 million has been given to Make-A-Wish by the Trophy Cup event

Author

Ron Rodda
Posted
Ron Rodda is a contributor to Hoseheads Sprint Car News and Speed Sport News.
Connect Online
View all posts by

Author

Ron Rodda
Posted:
Ron Rodda is a contributor to Hoseheads Sprint Car News and Speed Sport News.
Connect Online
View all posts by

Trophy Cup 2019 Winners Circle

by Ron Rodda

(Tulare, CA – 19 Oct) Rico Abreu did it all at the Trophy Cup when he won the Saturday night 50 lap main event along with the event championship, earning $26,000 for the three days of dominating sprint car racing.
 
The final night of the Abreu Vineyards 26th Annual Trophy Cup Presented by Rudeen Racing assigns the top 48 point cars to a heat race.  These very tough 10 lap races feature a complete inversion by points.  The standard 36 points to win with a 3 point drop is used.
 
The Saturday payout is listed at $109,505 but it will be considerably more.  The Cup champion is guaranteed $26,000 and money will be added to the amount won to reach that level..
 
Each A main Saturday starter is automatically part of the point fund and will receive a minimum of $5000 for the three days of racing.  About half of the A main field will be paid additionally above the standard purse amount to reach the $5000 total earned.
 
Between the normal payout and the thousands of dollars in added payout, the total paid is approximately $200,000.
 
After the 6 heats, the top 20 in points go directly to the main event regardless of finishing position.  The next 20 in points earn a B main starting spot, and the final 8 go to the C main, joined by transfers from D main racing.
 
With the top 48 in points assigned to a heat, the remainder of the 78 cars on hand were split into a trio of D mains.  The evening started with these mains, moving the top 4 from each to the C main.
 
Six heats followed offering an opportunity to earn more points to improve main event positioning.  Rico Abreu had a larger than usual point lead starting the evening, 6 points over Shane Golobic and 7 ahead of Jac Haudenschild.
 
Abreu’s lead evaporated after 2 heats when Golobic finished 4th to Abreu’s 6th to tie in points at 304.
 
Third in points, Jac Haudenschild, was caught up in a nowhere to go situation in his heat and lost ground with a DNF and fewer points.
 
Kyle Hirst was high point car in heat 4 and finished 2nd from 8th to take the point lead at 305.  Willie Croft’s win from 7th put him near the top at 300.
 
Heat 5 was Jonathan Allard’ s heat and he helped himself with a 4th leaving him 6 points behind Hirst.
 
The final heat continued the trend when Cory Eliason won from 8th to tie Hirst for the point lead, creating a cluster of drivers at or very near the top.
 
With only one B main the field was even stronger.  When Bud Kaeding blew on lap 24, Tim Shaffer and D. J. Netto got caught in the smoke and oil.  Shaffer had a flat and Netto hit the wall hard and 3-5 in the order lost their transfer chance.
 
Finishing the last 2 laps sent Mitch Moles, Buddy Kofoid, RAndy Hannagan, and Jason Statler to the A main.  Statler transferred out of the C main and ran the entire 50 lap finale to finish 16th after 95 laps of main event racing.
 
With a 20 invert by points, Kyle Hirst and Cory Eliason filled row 10 while Abreu and Shane Golobic started in row 9.  With one point separating the two rows, the champion would likely be one of these four.  The A main pays 150 points with a three point drop.
 
Aaron Reutzel led from his pole start with Jason Solwold and Chase Johnson in pursuit.  Johnson took 2nd on lap 3 with a low line drive into turn 1 and contender Willie Croft got spun and hit, ending his night.
 
Tim Kaeding moved into 3rd on lap 11 driving the high side out of turn 4 on the same lap that Rico Abreu used the low line into turn 1 to pass Shane Golobic and take the point lead.
 
The last 39 laps had Abreu in front of his three main challengers and he was in the point lead during that period.  Abreu kept 2 cars between himself and Golobic and a yellow on lap 32 led to the planned fuel stop.
 
Lap 35 was tough for Johnson when he flipped in turn 2 after running 33 laps in 2nd.  The restart had Reutzel continuing to lead with Solwold now 2nd and Jac Haudenschild 3rd.
 
The question became would Abreu collect his 3rd win and after some slider trading, Abreu was up to 2nd on lap 39 with T. Kaeding 3rd.  Abreu closed on Reutzel, eliminating a substantial lead in 6 laps, and Reutzel bounced off of the turn 2 wall on lap 44 to open the door for Abreu.
 
Reutzel recovered in time to hold onto 2nd but Abreu was gone and led the last 7 laps for the sweep.  Reutzel finished 2nd, T. Kaeding was 3rd, Solwold took 4th, and Haudenschild completed the top 5.
 
Abreu’s history making Trophy Cup performance had never been accomplished before. He won main events from starting 5th, 10th, and 17th.
 
The 2020 Trophy Cup will take place at Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway on October 15-17.
 
A main–Rico Abrue, Aaron Reutzel, Tim Kaeding, Jason Solwold, Jac Haudenschild, Shane Golobic, Mitchell Faccinto, Kyle Hirst, Cory Eliason, Justin Sanders, Ryan Bernal, Jonathan Allard, Buddy Kofoid, Colby Copeland, Randy Hannagan, Jason Statler, Mitch Moles, Chase Johnson, Justyn Cox, Dominic Scelzi, Kalib Henry, Willie Croft, Colton Heath, Paul McMahan
 
Points results to follow.
 

Author

Ron Rodda
Posted
Ron Rodda is a contributor to Hoseheads Sprint Car News and Speed Sport News.
Connect Online
View all posts by

Author

Ron Rodda
Posted:
Ron Rodda is a contributor to Hoseheads Sprint Car News and Speed Sport News.
Connect Online
View all posts by

by Ron Rodda

(Tulare, CA 18-Oct)  Night two of the Abreu Vineyards 26th Annual Trophy Cup Presented by Rudeen Racing offered a 2nd $29,630 purse with $4000 to the winner. Friday’s 30 lap main was won by Rico Abreu, becoming the first to win two preliminary mains.

The format was the same as Thursday’s except group B qualified first and the order within the 2 groups was reversed. An 86 car field returned, losing 3 from opening night.

Heat racing was frantic as usual since the first two rows must win to transfer directly to the A main since row 3 almost always provides the top point car after 8 laps.

Six out of 8 fastest time cars in the heats took high point transfer, very unusual to have two miss. Willie Croft and Justin Sanders accomplished the unlikely high point finish from 5th starting.

Very tough B mains moved four from each to the finale. The 12 inverted cars in the pair of B mains have claimed numerous wins but the very strong field and demanding format means loaded B mains.

The first B main had sliders galore with Cole Macedo winning over Colton Heath, 18th starting Bud Kaeding, and J.J. Ringo survived a last turn slider from  micro sprint star Mitch Moles for the final transfer.

The second B main went to Buddy Kofoid ahead of two time Cup champion Shane Golobic. Chase Johnson with wing and nonwing wins this year, and veteran Randy Hannagan.

Inverting 12 by points put Cole Macedo and Golobic on the front row while the top 2 point cars of Justyn Cox and Tim Kaeding filled row 6.

Golobic quickly established a lead while Cory Eliason and Cole Macedo chased. Justin Sanders took 3rd on lap 10 with Thursday winner Rico Abreu closing.

Abreu took 3rd on lap 14 as Golobic successfully maneuvered through traffic. Two laps a red flew for a tangle involving Dominic Scelzi, D. J. Netto and Chase Johnson.

As the green reappeared, it was let the sliders begin. Eliason and Abreu traded lap 17 sliders before Abreu made a turn 4 slid work on lap 18 for 2nd.

Another red was needed after Tim Crawley found how treacherous Tulare’s turn 4 wall can be.

The top 3 ran the cushion in turns 1 and 2 and the wall in 3 and 4. Neither line is forgiving of any mistake.

A lap 20 restart led to a battle of sliders between Golobic and Abreu until Golobic established a larger lead.

Lap 26 had Abreu right behind Golobic and when the leader went up the track a bit in turn 2, Abreu drove underneath and won the race down the backstretch. Abreu led the final 4 laps for the $4000 win over Golobic, Eliason, Jonathan Allard, and Justin Sanders.

Points…Rico Abreu 283. Shane Golobic 277, Jac Haudenschild 276, Kyle Hirst 272, Jonathan Allard 269, Cory Eliason 267, Colby Copeland 265, Justyn Sanders 265

Author

Ron Rodda
Posted
Ron Rodda is a contributor to Hoseheads Sprint Car News and Speed Sport News.
Connect Online
View all posts by

Author

Ron Rodda
Posted:
Ron Rodda is a contributor to Hoseheads Sprint Car News and Speed Sport News.
Connect Online
View all posts by

by: Ron Rodda
Tulare, CA…The Abreu Vineyards 26thth Annual Trophy Cup Presented by Rudeen Racing opened the 3 day event at Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway on Thursday and Rico Abreu captured the 30 lap main event for winged 360 sprints.
 
Abreu took the lead on the last corner to earn the $4000 winner’s pay as well as 100 points. The purse for Thursday night was $29,630.
 
A 89 car field jammed the pit area and was split into two groups for qualifying.  Each group had a fast time, therefore two drivers earned 150 points in qualifying with a one point drop per position.
 
Four invert 6 heats for the fastest 40 qualifiers in each group were held sending the heat winner plus the highest point car directly to the night’s A main.  Winning a heat earned 36 points with a 3 point drop per position.
 
After the 8 heats moved 16 cars to the A main grid, all remaining cars were assigned to a main event with the top 40 in points filling the front 10 rows of two B mains.  The pair of B mains inverted 6 by points and moved the top 4 to the night’s 30 lap A main.
 
The A main lineup inverted 12  by points with 100 points going to the winner with a two point drop per position.
 
Justyn Cox led group A qualifiers with a 13.672 to edge Aaron Reutzel’s 13.694.
 
Willie Croft, Colby Copeland and Kyle Hirst completed the top 5.
 
Group B qualifying fastest was two time event champion, Shane Golobic, with a 13.789 lap.  Jonathan Allard was .014 behind followed by Cory Eliason, Cole Macedo, and Jason Solwold.
 
Heat race action was frantic at times as drivers dueled for the win and A main transfer.  The fastest qualifier was the high point transfer from each heat and Rico Abreu won his heat plus was high point.
 
C main racing put 2 drivers at the rear of each B main creating tough 22 car fields.  Each B main transfer lines up in the A main based on point totals.
 
Invert 6 B mains moved 4 onward and Justin Sanders won the first B followed by Chase Johnson, Paul McMahan, and Kyle Hirst.
 
The 2nd B completed the 24 car A main field with Colton Hardy taking the win with a smooth drive.  Jason Solwold, Mitchell Faccinto from 16th starting and Dominic Scelzi with a last turn pass finished the transfer list.
 
The top 12 in points were inverted to fill the first 6 rows with just 10 points separating those dozen drivers.
 
The 30 lapper started with a narrow track but as laps were scored a racier surface developed.
 
Paul McMahan led from outside front row  with Kyle Hirst and Ryan Bernal in pursuit.  Freddie Rahmer found the turn 1 wall as did Justin Sanders 3 laps later.
 
Cox  dropped out by lap 11 and McMahan’s lead ended on lap 15 when Hirst used a topside drive out of turn 4 to take over.
 
A furious 3 car race for the win made for a few exciting laps before Jac Haudenschild used turn 4 sliders to move from 4th to the lead on lap 24.  When Rico Abreu took 2nd from Hirst with a low line drive into turn 1, team cars were set to duel for the win.
 
It came down the last corner when Abreu slid Haudenschild in turn 4 and won the race to the finish line by 3 feet.  Hirst was 3rd ahead of Shane Golobic and Cory Eliason.
 
Abreu added 100 points to his total to take the lead in the race for the Cup title.
 
Top 10 in points:  Rico Abreu 283, Shane Golobic  277, Jac Haudenschild 276, Kyle Hirst  272, Cory Eliason  267, Colby Copeland  265, Willie Croft 264, Paul McMahan 264, Ryan Bernal 257, Tim Kaeding 254
 

Author

Ron Rodda
Posted
Ron Rodda is a contributor to Hoseheads Sprint Car News and Speed Sport News.
Connect Online
View all posts by

Author

Gary Thomas
Posted:
Motorsports Public Relations Director/ Announcer from the Golden State of California. Business Manager of the The Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford & Abreu Vineyards competes in California. A premier Winged 360 Sprint Car series on the West Coast.
Connect Online
View all posts by

Friday Night Trophy Cup Finish
 
 

Author

Gary Thomas
Posted
Motorsports Public Relations Director/ Announcer from the Golden State of California. Business Manager of the The Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford & Abreu Vineyards competes in California. A premier Winged 360 Sprint Car series on the West Coast.
Connect Online
View all posts by

Author

Ron Rodda
Posted:
Ron Rodda is a contributor to Hoseheads Sprint Car News and Speed Sport News.
Connect Online
View all posts by

by Ron Rodda

(Lincoln, CA – October 16) The post-season series of winged 360 sprint specials reached the 4-weekend stage with this week climbing the pinnacle with the 26th Annual Trophy Cup.
 
A record 110 entrants, the maximum allowed, will see some not make it to Tulare, but likely 90 or so will jam the pit area for 3 nights.  A $200,000 purse coupled with a demanding format on an unforgiving track plus the support the event gives to Make-A-Wish makes the Cup very special.
 
But specials have been going on for four weeks, starting with the NorCal Posse Shootout at Placerville Speedway the 3rd weekend in September.  Over 40 sprints plus 20+ midget lites put on two entertaining nights of racing with Justyn Cox and Rico Abreu taking the wins.  As most of the year has been, track conditions were very good at the foothill quarter.
 
The next weekend Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico offered a two day Fall Nationals with 50 car fields for the one division special.  Again Justyn Cox won the opening night and Tim Kaeding took the finale, with track conditions that were conducive to good action.
 
One day shows took care of the next two weekends when Petaluma Speedway paying $5000 to win with a tick under 30 cars making the tow.  The format was different with a pair of heats using passing/finishing points to form the top 6 in combined heat points.  These top 6 then qualified in the traditional way to set the first 3 rows of the main, and it was Sean Becker winning and collecting the big check.
 
That brings the calendar to October 12 when a can’t miss doubleheader drew a large crowd to Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds in Hanford, or simply Kings Speedway to those of us still tied to the old name.
 
The King of the West-NARC series brought 21 winged 410s while the Sprint Car Challenge Tour had 33 winged 360s for a pit full of open wheel stars.  There were some drivers in both camps and the two Abreu Vineyards entries did not disappoint.
 
Jac Haudenschild, in California for the Trophy Cup, did his thing in the SCCT main on the top shelf while racing from 14th to 3rd and Rico Abreu used the same area of clay to win the 410 main in dominant fashion.
 
While Abreu sailed, Cory Eliason, Bud Kaeding, Chase Johnson, and Dominic Scelzi made it interesting in their position trading action for the other two podium spots.  It was Kaeding then Eliason at the checkers to join Abreu on the Kings podium.
 
The SCCT main had its ugly moments with two reds and six yellows, but the intense battle for the lead never stopped.  Justyn Cox led the first 14 before, on a lap 15 restart, Cole Macedo won the race to turn 1 and used the bottom for what became the winning pass.
 
Cox faded to 3rd but charged back as the lap count reached 30 to pressure Macedo.  A yellow with 2 left led to a jumbled restart that saw Cox loose ground, but he closed the gap by the end of that lap when another yellow flew.  The checkers were thrown also and the race was complete one lap early with Macedo, Cox, and Haudenschild forming the podium.
 
How can the time not be taken to restart and run the final lap to complete the intense battle for the win after everyone waited an additional 5 minutes before the start of the race to give 1 car more time than the legal 8 minutes to get to staging?
 
Later this week it is a guarantee that all rules will be followed to the letter when $200,000 is on the line at Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway.  The number of people who make the Trophy Cup possible is huge and the vast majority are volunteers.  Then there are people like Kevin Rudeen and David Abreu without whose support the event would not be the same.
 
The crew of track officials will be on their A game, the push trucks and safety crew will professionally handle their part, and one person who most everyone in the stands will not even be aware of will perform a critical job.  That would be Lisa Becker, the scorer.
 
Lisa’s husband, Sean, has raced for years and when they started dating she had never been to a race.  Lisa lived in Chico and did not even know there was a track in town.  Sean’s sister was doing the points and lineups just for fun at the outlaw kart races and became Lisa’s tutor.
 
Taught how to hand score, Lisa then would score the races for herself to help calm her nerves when Sean was racing, by this time in sprint cars.  She started this activity in 2002 but it was 2013 before a call from Chico promoter, Dennis Gage, led to her first job, scoring an enduro fair race.
 
Chico scorer, Aron Jones, taught her how to use computer scoring prior to the debut but then her 2nd time as head scorer technical issues led to a hand scoring night.  It was at Calistoga and now she was serving as the scorer for a race that Sean was entered.
 
With stopwatch scoring used for qualifying, Lisa did not want to handle that task with Sean also racing, so other officials handled that chore while Lisa hand scored all the racing action for her first open wheel night.
 
As to her first sprint car scoring, Lisa notes that, “I was scared to death, no computer I have to hand score this, I remember they went out there and I wasn’t thinking how Calistoga is a half mile track.  I thought there is so much pressure, this is my first time, and I don’t know what I’m doing.  But when they got strung out pretty quickly, I thought I can hand score this track.”
 
From there she was called upon occasion to substitute score until her first full time deal came at Placerville Speedway when Scott Russell and Kami Arnold took over the promotional duties in 2016.  Lisa recalls how the first race of the season the track had a new scorer, new announcer and new promoters.
 
Lisa has also served as a backup hand scorer for World Of Outlaw events and calls the outlaws “probably the best people in the world to work with.  They are very trusting and accepting of any help I can provide.  Eloy, the Outlaws scorer, has been a huge support for me.”
 
After scoring at Placerville 2 years she is now working when a track needs someone to score as well as being the scorer for the biggest winged 360 race in the world, the Abreu Vineyards 26th Annual Trophy Cup Presented by Rudeen Racing.  This will be her 3rd year of the pressure of scoring a $200,000 race.
 
Preparation for the Trophy Cup consumes time and if there was a format change it would take 3 weeks to rebuild all the spreadsheets.  There is no change this year so preparation takes less time but still around 15-20 hours of checking and rechecking and entering this year’s data.
 
Lisa’s workday on Thursday and Friday of Trophy Cup lasts from noon until about 3 am but Saturday takes less time. If the system crashes, then hand scoring can still handle the show, but it is certainly nice to have Lisa and Stephanie up in the scoring booth providing professional scoring for such a major event.
 

Author

Ron Rodda
Posted
Ron Rodda is a contributor to Hoseheads Sprint Car News and Speed Sport News.
Connect Online
View all posts by

Author

Gary Thomas
Posted:
Motorsports Public Relations Director/ Announcer from the Golden State of California. Business Manager of the The Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford & Abreu Vineyards competes in California. A premier Winged 360 Sprint Car series on the West Coast.
Connect Online
View all posts by

Trophy Cup 2018
 

Abreu Vineyards 26th Annual Trophy Cup presented by Rudeen Racing fires-off Thursday at Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway

By Gary Thomas
(Tulare, CA – October 15, 2019) Excitement and buzz is floating through the air as one of the biggest weeks in California Sprint Car racing has arrived, which means only one thing, it’s time for the 26th annual Trophy Cup at Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare.

The Abreu Vineyards Trophy Cup presented by Rudeen Racing is not only known for featuring some of the best racing seen all year long, but it’s also well regarded for being held to benefit one of the truly great organizations around, the Make-A-Wish Foundation. With the Trophy Cup donating $200,000 at last year’s event it brought the total amount of donations up to a staggering $1,770,000 since the event was created back in 1994.

This weekend marks the 15th occasion that the Trophy Cup will be held at Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare. All cars that start the Saturday A-main are guaranteed at least $5,000 in weekend winnings and the overall champion is guaranteed a stout $26,000 in winnings. The three-day extravaganza features a $200,000 overall purse.

Past Trophy Cup winners entered for this weekend include three-time and defending champion Jac Haudenschild of Wooster, Ohio; three-time titlist Tim Kaeding of San Jose; two-time champion Shane Golobic of Fremont, along with single-time winners Bud Kaeding from Campbell, Willie Croft of Roseville and Fresno’s Craig Stidham.

Driver’s looking to take home the Abreu Vineyards Trophy Cup presented by Rudeen Racing for the first time will include Paradise, California’s Kyle Hirst; Fresno’s Dominic Scelzi; Clute, Texas’ Aaron Reutzel; Rutherford’s Rico Abreu; Aliquippa, Pennsylvania’s Tim Shaffer; Hanford’s DJ Netto; Penngrove’s Buddy Kofoid; Clarksburg’s Justyn Cox; Watsonville’s Justin Sanders; Roseville’s Colby Copeland; Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto; Hollister’s Ryan Bernal; Mount Vernon, Washington’s Jason Solwold; Benton, Arkansas’ Tim Crawley; Knoxville, Iowa’s Wayne Johnson and many many more.

“It’s been great to see the fan support continue to grow at the Trophy Cup year after year, which has simply been amazing to watch,” said Thunderbowl Raceway promoter Steve Faria. “The extra functions on the fairgrounds have definitely created a happening at the event and one that people mark down on their calendar every season. I know we are looking forward to it and hope everyone else is too. Dave Pusateri and his entire team do an outstanding job with everything and I know we’re honored to host the Trophy Cup for the 15th straight year.”

Tickets continue to be on sale for the Abreu Vineyards 26th annual Trophy Cup presented by Rudeen Racing with all seating in the house reserved during the weekend. Adult grandstand tickets cost $50 on Thursday and Friday and $55 on Saturday. Bleacher tickets are $45 on Thursday and Friday and $50 on Saturday. Kids pricing and senior pricing is also available.

A seating chart is online at www.thunderbowlraceway.com and tickets can be acquired by calling 559-688-0909. The pit gate opens at 10am on Thursday October 17, with the drivers meeting at 3:30pm sharp. Qualifying is scheduled for 4:45pm, with first race at 6:15pm.

All the special events that have become so popular are returning once again, with a slight change up this year. Thursday night will now showcase the Spaghetti Feed sponsored by La Villa Delicatessen featuring spaghetti, meat balls, salad, bread and desert. Friday post-race will be the annual Taco Bravo Fiesta Night featuring tacos and burritos.

Driver and fan razor bike racing also returns after the races this year on both Thursday and Friday with tickets to compete available at the T-shirt booth or pit sign in booth. The cost is $20 a night to compete with all proceeds going to Make-A-Wish and is open to the first 60 people to sign up.

The post-race parties start 20 minutes after the checkered flag with beer, water and soft drinks also available for purchase inside.

The annual Breakfast/ Brunch sponsored by the Tulare County Fairgrounds and KRC Safety Company will now move to Saturday from 11am-1:30pm.

The Bean Bag/ Cornhole Tournament will begin at approximately 10am on Saturday with sign ups taking place at the T-shirt booth or by seeing Kim Offill in the pit area. Sponsors of this year’s tournament include HRP, Maxwell Industries, Tarlton Motorsports, Tiner-Hirst Enterprises, Offill Family Farms, Fire Protection Management, Hoosier Tire Midwest, Ancona Motorsports, A.R.T. Speed Equipment, Maxim Chassis, Capital Renegade, Scelzi Enterprises Inc., Smith Precision Products and Soares Racing.

A donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation at the door during all these events is appreciated. Fans and teams are all encouraged to attend the special eating events. More info on the Trophy Cup, as well as an entry list can be found at www.trophycup.org

Special thanks to Steve Faria with System 1 Filters and all our partners for making things happen at Thunderbowl Raceway including Merle Stone Chevrolet, Budweiser, Roth Motorsports, KRC Safety, Western Metal Company, Double “D” Towing and JD Heiskel & Company.

For more info on Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway visit www.thunderbowlraceway.com and like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Tulare-Thunderbowl-Raceway-392991907541396

 

The Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds on the corner of Bardsley and K Streets at 620 South K Street Tulare, California 93274. From the junction of SR 99 and SR 137, go west on SR 137. At South K go south one-half mile to the Fairgrounds. Camping is available for fans off turns three and four.

Image courtesy of Chuck Fry

Author

Gary Thomas
Posted
Motorsports Public Relations Director/ Announcer from the Golden State of California. Business Manager of the The Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford & Abreu Vineyards competes in California. A premier Winged 360 Sprint Car series on the West Coast.
Connect Online
View all posts by