The sparks flew late in the George Snider Classic King of the Wings Sprint Car race Sunday night at Kern County Raceway.
JoJo Helberg looked like he was headed to a runaway victory, then Johnny Giesler closed the gap and the two headed into turn one of the final lap side-by-side.
Neither made it through.
The two made contact and ended up in the outside wall between turns one and two, setting the stage for Bryan Warf of Meridian, Idaho, to drive to victory.
With the caution, the race went back to the 38th lap, setting up a two-lap dash to the checkered flag and it was no contest. Warf hammered the throttle and at the end of 40 laps he was 3.49 seconds ahead of Eric Humphries. Jason Conn was third.
“We weren’t the fastest car,” Warf said. “It looked like JoJo was checked out, then Johnny came on late.
“I didn’t see what happened. It was unfortunate for those guys. But you have to finish to win. We let one get away here a couple of years ago and this feels good.”
Humphries, who won on Saturday night in Irwindale, suffered a flat tire early and had to work his way back through the field. He was third on the final restart and took second on the last lap.
“I just mashed on the gas and hoped for the best,” Humphries said of the two-lap dash.
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Humphries was the Western champ while Giesler won the National title.
“Not the kind of night we wanted to finish the season on,” said Giesler, who was able to get his car restarted and finished fourth.
For Conn, who made the long trip from British Columbia, finishing third was like a win.
“We just battled all day,” Conn said. “We had a broken push rod early then brake problems. For what we went through, this was a great finish.”
Davey Hamilton Jr., injured in a hard crash Saturday night at Irwindale, was released from a hospital on Sunday. Hamilton reported on his Twitter feed that he had a compound fracture of his back, a wide assortment of bruises and will be “in a back brace and on crutches for a while.”
Hamilton won the National championship last year.
Also competing in the final race of the season were Super Stocks, where there was no stopping track champion Roger Holder in the Brown and Reich Super Stock Shootout.
Holder broke his own track record in qualifying with a lap of 20.481 seconds (his old mark was 20.693) and wasted little time getting to the front in the feature after starting seventh due to the invert.
Holder was second after four laps and took the lead from Anthony Mainella on the eighth lap. Holder opened up a seven-second lead but Mainella was just a car length back at the finish of the 40-lapper.
The win capped a busy week-plus of racing for Holder, which started last week in a dirt race in Las Vegas. He came back last Sunday, got his new Pro Mod drag car ready and headed back to Vegas for a race. When he lost in the first round on Friday, he decided to race at KCRP on Saturday night.
“I think he went into cruise mode and just let me get close," Mainella said.
Gene Fife was third, followed by Greg Puskarich and Michael Nicks.