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by Lance Jennings

SANTA MARIA, CA OCTOBER 10, 2012... This Saturday, October 13th, the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series will return to Kings Speedway in Hanford for the "27th Annual Cotton Classic." Also featuring the winged King of the West Sprint Cars and Vintage Racers, the popular event is the final point race of the season and a champion will be crowned. The Spectator Gates will open at 5:00pm with racing scheduled for 6:30pm.

Campbell's Bud Kaeding leads the point chase and has a lock on the championship. On September 29th, the pilot of Junior Bowman's #29 Buster & Ziggy Enterprises / Kaeding Performance Maxim ran fourth in Santa Maria's "Billet Cup" after starting eighteenth. To date, the 3-time USAC Silver Crown Champion has four main event wins, seven heat race victories, two Ringers Gloves / Kaeding Performance Hard Charger Awards, eleven top-5 finishes, and 47 feature laps led. Kaeding will be looking for the $1,500 Cotton Classic feature win on Saturday.

Ryan Bernal of Hollister is second in the point chase. Driving Keith Ford's #73 King Racing Products / A&A Precision Machine Spike, the 2-time Santa Maria track champion ran third at Santa Maria after starting thirteenth. In 2012, Bernal has three feature wins, two Sander Engineering / Rod End Supply Fast Time Awards, four heat race victories, two Competition Suspension Inc. / Diversified Machine Inc. Semi-Main wins, two Ringers Gloves / Kaeding Performance Hard Charger Awards, nine top-5 finishes, and 81 feature laps led. As this writing goes to press, Ryan is looking for a ride at the Cotton Classic.

Sitting third in the point standings is Rauma, Finland's Markus Niemela. The pilot of Steve Watt's #81 Lost Reality / Steve Watt Enterprises Maxim missed the "Billet Cup" and has yet to win a main event. The hard charging driver has one Sander Engineering / Rod End Supply Fast Time Award, three heat race victories, four top-5 finishes, and 17 feature laps led. Niemela will miss Saturday's Cotton Classic to compete with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.

Tipton's "Hollywood" Danny Faria Jr. is fourth in the championship points. Driving his #17V Johnston Calf Pens / Buster & Ziggy Enterprises Bullet, Faria was fifth in the "Billet Cup" after starting sixteenth. "Hollywood" has yet to score a series win but has one Sander Engineering / Rod End Supply Fast Time Award, four heat race victories, one Ringers Gloves / Kaeding Performance Hard Charger Award, and five top-5 finishes. The veteran driver has had a tough season and will be looking to score the main event win on Saturday.

"Showtime" Danny Sheridan of Santa Maria is currently fifth in points. The pilot of Keith Ford's #73X King Racing Products / A&A Precision Machine Spike ran sixth in the "Billet Cup" after starting fifteenth. To date, the former Bandit Sprint Car Champion has yet to claim a series feature in 2012 but has one Sander Engineering / Rod End Supply Fast Time Award, five heat race victories, one Ringers Gloves / Kaeding Performance Hard Charger Award, six top-5 finishes, and 10 feature laps led. Sheridan will be looking for Saturday's $1,500 victory.

Among the other top contenders expected to be in action are 2011 Champion Richard Vander Weerd, "The Rickster" Ricky Kirkbride, "The Bakersfield Bullet" Rusty Carlile, 2009 Champion Justyne Hamblin, Austin Liggett, Chris Gansen, Don Gansen, Jace Vander Weerd, and many more.

Kings Speedway is located on the Kings County Fairgrounds at 801 South 10th Avenue in Hanford, California. Reserved Grandstand tickets are $25, General Admission tickets are $23, Children 7-12 are $15, and Kids 6 and under are FREE. Advance tickets are on sale now and camping is available on the fairgrounds. For more event information, visit www.kingsspeedway.net or call (559) 584-RACE (7223). 

The USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series would like to thank Southwest Contractors, Hoosier Tire, Amsoil, ButlerBuilt, Competition Suspension Inc., Cory Kruseman's Sprint Car & Midget Driving School, Crow Enterprizes, DJ Safety, Diversified Machine Inc., Extreme Mufflers, Hilborn Fuel Injection, Hinchman-Indy Racing Uniforms, Integra Shocks, Kaeding Performance, Keizer Wheels, LRB Inc. Race Products, ParkerStore of Phoenix, Ringers Gloves, Rod End Supply, SBI Fuel Systems, Saferacer.com, Saldana Racing Products, Sander Engineering, and Weld Racing for their support.

For more information on the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series, visit westcoastsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, www.racesantamariaspeedway.com, or follow the series on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/USAC-WEST-COAST-360S/369549755817).

2009-Rusty Carlile; 2010-Terry Schank Jr.; 2011- Peter Murphy.

1. Bud Kaeding 615; 2. Ryan Bernal 489; 3. Markus Niemela 484; 4. Danny Faria Jr. 464; 5. Danny Sheridan 398; 6. Matt Mitchell 391; 7. Richard Vander Weerd 391; 8. Ricky Kirkbride 362; 9. Rusty Carlile 351; 10. Justyne Hamblin 317; 11. Austin Liggett 299; 12. Chris Gansen 279; 13. Kevin Barnes 272; 14. Chris Ennis 198; 15. Don Gansen 183; 16. Steve Conrad 181; 17. Jace Vander Weerd 176; 18. Tyler Dolacki 165; 19. Jared Little 158; 20. Jonathon Logan 154.

October 13: Kings Speedway - Hanford, CA (Cotton Classic)