Sprint cars are returning to speedway

By: Jeannie Broussal, Special to The Press Tribune
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The sprint cars are returning to All American Speedway for the first time this race season. Get ready for a thrilling weekend of racing Saturday, headlined by the USAC Sprint Cars, and long-time Sprint Car driver Tony Hunt is anxious to go racing. Hunt will be driving the No. 56 Oroville Metal Works car, and will also be fielding another car (56jr) driven by Martin Hansen from Sweden. "Everything is good about this season compared to 2008 and 2009,” Hunt said. “First we had the new Toyota motor in 2008, and then in 2009 the new Chevy motor. We've worked out the bugs and will start the year with a solid foundation. We're trying everything we can to attract more attention to the series.” Hunt also talked about one of the team's projects over the winter, a driver development program. "It's still in growing phase,” Hunt said. “We've tested a few drivers for it. We feel like we have another car with another spec motor, where in years past we've not been in a position to run the program. A lot of guys wanted to drive our second car, and with my experience with teaching and coaching we feel we can provide a race winning program. You'll probably see six or seven drivers in the car this year." Hunt said he is happy to have the season opener at All American Speedway, which is his home track. "We have access to the large fan base who follow us in our home town," he said. Hunt will be facing fierce competitors Kody and Tanner Swanson on Saturday. Tanner won three Western Sprint Car races and a Midget race at Roseville last year and claimed his second consecutive championship. The Western States Sprint Car Series runs 360 and restricted 410-cubic-inch engines. The California Super Modifieds will be running an exhibition race and they are expecting 18 cars to participate. The California Super Modifieds normally race once a year at AAS in September. Some of the old West Capitol Raceway crowd will be participating with cars from the late 1960s and 1970s, which have custom frames. Also racing will be the Vintage Hardtop cars. These cars have steel bodies that have been upgraded to meet current safety standards. The cars portray early 1950s cars. Mike McClure got the idea for Hardtop cars while he was in high school. At that time he pitted for Phil Pedler, a racer in the old Hardtop Series at Vallejo Speedway. In 2007, McClure gave Conrad Cavallero an old Chevy Coupe. Cavallero built a tribute car to Johnny Franklin, who drove the number two hardtop at Santa Rosa Speedway and other northern California tracks. Cavallero presented the tribute car to Franklin in September 2008, celebrating 60 years of the Johnson family's involvement in racing. He began racing in the 1970s with sponsorship help from Johnny Franklin Mufflers, Torvick Datsun and Santa Rosa Nissan. He raced all over northern California. In those days Johnny Franklin and Leroy Gevings were fierce competitors. Today McClure and Cavallero are fierce competitors. McClure will be driving John Bockover's No. 21 car. Also driving will be Everett Edlund in the No. 1 car. Legends cars are also on the menu and they are exciting to watch. Expect a high car count in this division.