(Bill W) May 25, 2011 – Kaley Gharst found the going tough in “Round 2” of the Monster Energy™ Sprint Car Series last Friday night at the Jacksonville Speedway in Jacksonville, Illinois. The final result was an eleventh place finish. This weekend, he and the Plath Motorsports #14P team will pull out their 360 car for the first time in 2011 as they embark on a pair of events with the Ideal Ready Mix Sprint Invaders.
On a track showing plenty of early speed, Kaley drew outside of row two in his heat race. When row one starter Justin Springer flipped in turns three and four before a lap could be completed, Kaley got a break. “The passing point format really helped when Justin had problems and we got to move up a row in the heat race,” he says. “The car handled pretty well in the heat. John (Plath) and Lucas (Glasgow) work really hard so I have a good car to drive every time I hit the track.”
The Decatur, Illinois driver’s second place finish earned him enough points to get into the six-car dash. He would draw in the third row and finish sixth. “We tried a little something for the dash,” he says. “It felt alright, but we weren’t real great at that point.”
The banked ¼-mile oval was uncharacteristically rough on the bottom and Kaley struggled from his sixth starting spot in the main event. “We made a couple of shock changes for the feature,” he says. “We put a front shock on the right rear accidentally, and we didn’t catch it until after the race. That hurt us a bit.”
Kaley maintained his running order for a while, but was unable to get in a rhythm, somewhat due to a number of cautions. “The track was pretty rough,” he admits. “There wasn’t a whole lot up top to get a hold of. It came in a little bit late in the race when the bottom went away and got rougher.”
He would checker eleventh. “We aren’t to used to going out and backing up in the feature, so it wasn’t too good of a night,” says the driver who went from 18th to 2nd in the Monster series’ opener in West Burlington, Iowa. “We were just out there trying to get to a checkered flag.”
He hopes to get back on track with the Sprint Invaders. “I think the plan is Columbus Junction on Friday and Quincy on Sunday,” he says. “We just need to race a little more, so it will be good to get a couple of shows in.”
The all-time leading feature winner and two-time and defending champion with the Sprint Invaders has yet to visit Victory Lane at the CJ Speedway in Columbus Junction, Iowa, but will give it another try on Friday. He swept both features at the Quincy Raceways in Illinois with the Invaders in 2009. That event will be on Sunday.
Keep an eye on Kaley's progress this week and beyond at www.KaleyGharst.com!
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Kaley and car owners Randy and Lori Plath would like to thank Sebastian Powder Coating and Sandblasting, Holtkamp Truck and Trailer Repair, Nelson’s Catering, Pieper Inc., Lange Chiropractic, Rockstar Graphics, Scott Performance, Midland Performance, Winters Performance Products and GPC Race Products.