HANFORD — The green flag waves on a new chapter of dirt-track racing legacy in the Central Valley Saturday night at Keller Auto Speedway.

For the first time, two of the Central Valley's most iconic, and enduring, dirt tracks, have teamed up to host a lucrative, conjoined, championship series. The all new Kings of Thunder Winged 360 Sprint Car series spans 14 races, between Keller Auto Speedway and The Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl.

Round one of the inaugural King of Thunder campaign kicks off Saturday night at Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford.

Eight events are scheduled to take place at Keller Auto Speedway starting with Saturday's opening round. From there the series shifts to Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway running alongside the World of Outlaws Saturday, March 9.

“We are really excited to form this two-track series for the upcoming 2019 season,” Brandon “Bubby” Morse, promoter of Keller Auto Speedway, said. “We have a great group of racers down here in the Central Valley and definitely believe this will add a boost to the Winged 360 Sprint Car programs at both Keller Auto Speedway and Thunderbowl Raceway.”

The new series will be contesting for a $10,000 championship prize and to be crowned the inaugural “King of Thunder.” The series allows two throwaway races to accommodate local racers competing in traveling series. In all, there are only three total conflicts with other California series all year.

For Thunderbowl Raceway, a standalone series is something it's never needed to rely on with the immense popularity of the events that do visit the track. However recent growth and popularity of upstart 360 series and the level of weekly competition at other California tracks, the move was best to take the Central Valley back to racing prominence.

“This is certainly a positive step for all involved by tying in a Winged 360 Sprint Car point series for both Hanford and Tulare,” Scott Woodhouse, Thunderbowl Raceway Director of Events, said. “The teams we have spoken with already are very enthused about the Kings of Thunder Series and we hope to see it grow.”

Central Valley standouts are expected to be out in full force, including multi-time Keller Auto Speedway winners DJ Netto and Dominic Scelzi,. Also expected is last year’s Kings Speedway track champion, Mathew Moles, and series runner-up Cole Macedo, who will be driving the infamous, Easton based, Tarlton 21. The series is also expected to be contested by the next generation — sons of former track champions as well. Of them are such as the likes of Tucker Worth, the son of former champ, Tim Worth. Steven Kent, son of four-time Kings Speedway Champion, Steve Kent. Mitchell Faccinto, the two-time defending Cotton Classic Champion, and son of eight-time champion, Monte Faccinto.

It all begins Saturday night with round one of the inaugural Kings of Thunder Winged 360 series from Kings Speedway. In addition to the 360 Sprints will be IMCA sport mod Division, and the Western Race Saver 305 class. Pit gates open at 1 p.m., the ticket booth opens at 4 p.m. with hot laps on track by 5 p.m. and race action following at 6 p.m. For more information on tickets and all other updates visit racekingsspeedway.com.

Kings of Thunder Winged 360 Sprint Car Series 2019 schedule

1. Saturday February 23: Keller Auto Speedway

2. Saturday March 9: Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway (alongside World of Outlaws)

3. Saturday April 20: Keller Auto Speedway

4. Saturday April 27: Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway

5. Saturday May 4: Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway

6. Saturday May 11: Keller Auto Speedway

7. Friday May 17: Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway (Peter Murphy Classic with SCCT)

8. Saturday May 18: Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway (Peter Murphy Classic with SCCT)

9. Saturday June 15: Keller Auto Speedway (with Sprint Car Challenge Tour)

10. Saturday June 22: Keller Auto Speedway

11. Saturday August 10: Keller Auto Speedway

12. Saturday September 7: Keller Auto Speedway

13. Saturday September 28: Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway

14. Saturday October 12: Keller Auto Speedway (Cotton Classic with SCCT)

Saturday November 16: Keller Auto Speedway (Winged 360 Turkey Night non-points)

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