Aumen Surprises Salt City 200 Field with Victory

Story and Photo by Dave Sink

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (September 15, 2013) – Duncan, British Columbia, Canada driver, Scott Aumen, definitely wasn’t on anybody’s radar prior to Saturday’s running of the inaugural “Salt City 200”. But when the dust settled, Aumen was headed back to Canada $7,500 richer thanks to his “Salt City 200” victory at Rocky Mountain Raceways in West Valley City, Utah just outside Salt Lake City. The win was the biggest of Aumen’s career.

Saturday’s 200-lap event was the first long distance winged sprint car race of the modern era. In addition, a total purse of nearly $57,000 made this the second richest pavement sprint car race in the nation.

The race featured several story lines heading into the event including four drivers from the Midwest who regularly compete with the TruFuel Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series. It also marked the first time that the entire Hamilton family competed in the same event. Ken Hamilton, son Davey, and grandson DJ, all three competed in the event together. The Hamilton family has roots in the area and the Hamilton name is legendary to many fans in the region.

Johnny Giesler entered the event leading the Western Winged Sprintcar Series by a mere 15 points over Andy Alberding heading into the 11th and final event of the year. This was yet another side bar story surrounding the event.

The 200-lap event was broke down into four 50-lalp segments due to the expected consumption of fuel and tire wear.

Mike Murgoitio was leading after the first 50 lap segment in dominating fashion. Jo Jo Helberg quickly grabbed the lead on lap 52, once the second segment started, and lead the event without being pressured by anyone until his motor expired on lap 85. Murgoitio then resumed the lead and held that lead to complete the second segment at lap 100.

Murgoitio surrendered the lead on lap 111 to a faster Sierra Jackson. Her lead would quickly come to an end on lap 123 when her engine also expired. Murgoitio once again resumed the lead and held it at the 150 lap break. Things got interesting quickly in the final segment when Aumen took the lead on lap 152 and began to add space with his torrid pace.

Aumen was running third at the final segment stop and his bid for the lead was a surprise to most since he had not lead a lap all night until his lap 152 pass for the lead. Aumen would lead the rest of the way but was challenged heavily the final 10 circuits. The duo made hair racing passes of lapped cars the final ten laps with fans on their feet.

Aumen explained in victory lane his reasoning for be aggressive with lapped cars the final ten circuits.

”The worst scenario in my eyes would have been to loose race over a lapped car. Sometimes lapped cars help you and sometimes they hurt you. I think they must have helped me here tonight,” explained Aumen. “This is the biggest win of my pavement career. Our strategy was to get on the lead lap by lap 150. We saved three tires for the last 50. It worked out perfect for us,” concluded Aumen.

Johnny Giesler, by virtue of his 5th place finish, secured the 2013 Western Winged Sprintcar Series championship.

The event was a success on all accounts and talk about the second annual “Salt City 200” is already underway.

Scott Aumen (44s) 2. Mike Murgoitio (80) 3. Aaron Pierce (26) 4. Bryan Warf (91) 5. Johnny Giesler (23) 6. Ryan Burdett (36) 7. Matt Mansell (14) 8. Jimmy Waters (24) 9. DJ Hamilton (60) 10. Wade Bland (14w) 11. Mike Straub (11) 12. Sierra Jackson (25) 13. Ron Larson (12) 14. Kyle Bergener (43) 15. Jo Jo Helberg (7) 16. Andy Alberding (76) 17. Dave Hamilton (91h) 18. Mel Andrus (2) 19. Nicholas Pepe (24p) 20. Kenny Hamilton (50)