HANFORD MARCH 28 NEXT FOR WEST COAST SPRINTS
KAEDING, BERNAL SHARE TULARE HONORS
Ryan Bernal of Hollister, Calif. will lead the USAC West Coast Sprint cars to Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds in Hanford, Calif. March 28, the next stop for the series.
Bernal emerged from a seven-point lead over Danny Faria Jr. after a pair of races last weekend at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif. Bernal finished a disappointing 15th Friday but came back Saturday to take Saturday night's 30-lap feature at the 3/8-mile dirt oval.
Bernal passed Richard Vander Weerd on lap 14 and led the final 17 laps for the win. Colby Copeland took second ahead of Danny Faria Jr., Bud Kaeding and Vander Weerd, the 2015 USAC/CRA Sprint point leader. Trey Marcham led the first four laps and Vander Weerd led the next nine before yielding to Bernal.
Kaeding, of Campbell, Calif., won Friday night's 30-lapper. He passed Danny Faria Jr. on lap 14 and led the final 17 laps for the win. Faria took second at the checkered flag ahead of Landon Hurst, Copeland and Austin Liggett.
2015 USAC West Coast Sprint Car Standings: 1-Ryan Bernal-178, 2-Danny Faria Jr.-171, 3-Colby Copeland-166, 4-Richard Vander Weerd-145. 5-Jace Vander Weerd-136, 6-Austin Liggett-133, 7-Bud Kaeding-122, 8-Landon Hurst-117, 9-Trey Marcham-110, 10-D.J. Johnson-105.
GARDNER SEEKS 3RD STRAIGHT TITLE AS WESTERN MIDGETS OPEN AT BAKERSFIELD SATURDAY
Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway hosts the 2015 Honda USAC Western Midget Series opener Saturday night as defending two-time champion Ronnie Gardner seeks a third consecutive series title.
Gardner hopes to be the first driver to claim a third consecutive championship since Sleepy Tripp achieved the feat in 1990-1991-1992.
Trey Marcham, who finished second in last year's standings, has won the last two features at Bakersfield, taking both races in 2014. Gardner won one of the two races there in 2013.
The race is the first of two for the Western Midgets at the one-third mile Bakersfield dirt. The series returns there September 19.
8th "COPPER ON DIRT" FOR CRA SPRINTS AT TUCSON FRI-SAT
This week's 8th Annual "Copper on Dirt" showcases the AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars on the exciting 3/8-mile dirt USA Raceway in Tucson, Ariz.
The "Southwest Center of Speed" hosts the second and third rounds of the 2015 series, with races both Friday and Saturday nights. Up for grabs will be the point lead as the 2015 series gets into full swing.
Richard Vander Weerd of Visalia, Calif. holds a six-point lead over five-time champion Mike Spencer as a result of his victory at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway March 7. The win was only Vander Weerd's second in USAC/CRA competition, compared with Spencer's 35, who is tied with Cory Kruseman for second in the all-time listing.
Three-time defending USAC/CRA champion Damion Gardner stands atop the all-time winners list with 57 total wins as he tries for a third consecutive title. Gardner won last year's "Copper on Dirt" prelim, while the scheduled main event at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Ariz. was rained out.
The races are the first for USAC Sprint cars at USA Raceway since Levi Jones' victory in 2010. Former "Copper on Dirt" Sprint champions in Arizona include R.J. Johnson (2013 in Peoria), Shane Stewart (2011 in Tucson), Levi Jones (2010 in Tucson), Darren Hagen (2009 in Phoenix), Shane Cottle (2008 in Phoenix) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2007 in Phoenix).
2015 AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Standings: 1-Richard Vander Weerd-73, 2-Mike Spencer-67, 3-Austin Williams-66, 4-Damion Gardner-59, 5-Matt Mitchell-55, 6-Jake Swanson-51, 7-Hunter Schuerenberg-50, 8-Ronnie Gardner-48, 9-Cody Williams-42, 10-Brody Roa-38.
USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: March 14, 2015 - Tulare, California - Thunderbowl Raceway
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Danny Faria Jr. (#17V Bowman), 2. Jace Vander Weerd (#88 Vander Weerd), 3. Ryan Bernal (#56 Phulps), 4. Colby Copeland (#74 Williams), 5. Ryan Timmons (#29T Timmons), 6. Shannon McQueen (#87 Van Meter), 7. Chris Ennis (#86 Ennis), 8. Jonathan Logan (#32 Evett/Logan). NT
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Richard Vander Weerd (#10 Vander Weerd), 2. D.J. Johnson (#33 Johnson), 3. Jim Richardson (#8 Richardson), 4. Tristan Guardino (#81 Watt), 5. Kevin Barnes (#36B Barnes), 6. Matt Day (#97 Day), 7. Tye Mihocko (#5 Mihocko). NT
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Austin Liggett (#83 Liggett), 2. Landon Hurst (#179 Hurst), 3. Trey Marcham (#73 Ford), 4. Brody Roa (#48 Leonard), 5. Bud Kaeding (#29 Bowman), 6. Jeff Sibley (#42N Sibley). NT
ALSO AT TRACK: Nathan Washam (#17 Shanoian)
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Ryan Bernal, 2. Colby Copeland, 3. Danny Faria Jr., 4. Bud Kaeding, 5. Richard Vander Weerd, 6. Trey Marcham, 7. D.J. Johnson, 8. Jace Vander Weerd, 9. Ryan Timmons, 10. Austin Liggett, 11. Landon Hurst, 12. Jim Richardson, 13. Tristan Guardino, 14. Brody Roa, 15. Tye Mihocko, 16. Jeff Sibley, 17. Chris Ennis, 18. Kevin Barnes, 19. Matt Day. NT
**Mihocko flipped during the second heat.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-4 Marcham, Laps 5-13 R.Vander Weerd, Laps 14-30 Bernal.
NEW USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Ryan Bernal-178, 2-Danny Faria Jr.-171, 3-Colby Copeland-166, 4-Richard Vander Weerd-145. 5-Jace Vander Weerd-136, 6-Austin Liggett-133, 7-Bud Kaeding-122, 8-Landon Hurst-117, 9-Trey Marcham-110, 10-D.J. Johnson-105.
NEXT USAC WEST COAST SPRINT RACE: March 28 - Hanford, CA - Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds
USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: March 13, 2015 - Tulare, California - Thunderbowl Raceway
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Ryan Bernal, 56, Phulps-15.133; 2. Austin Liggett, 83, Liggett-15.454; 3. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-15.466, 4. Danny Faria Jr., 17V, Bowman-15.682; 5. Bud Kaeding, 29, Bowman-15.699; 6. Chris Ennis, 86, Ennis-15.718; 7. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-15.764; 8. Landon Hurst, 179, Hurst-15.772; 9. Trey Marcham, 73, Ford-15.783; 10. Colby Copeland, 74, Williams-15.878; 11. D.J. Johnson, 33, Johnson-15.978; 12. Tristan Guardino, 81, Watt-16.328; 13. Jeff Sibley, 42N, Sibley-16.385; 14. Shannon McQueen, 87, Van Meter-16.423; 15. Tye Mihocko, 5, Mihocko-16.435; 16. Ryan Timmons, 29T, Timmons-16.726; 17. Jim Richardson, 8, Richardson-17.080; 18. Nathan Washam, 17, Shanoian-17.801; 19. Kevin Barnes, 36B, Barnes-NT; 20. Dennis Howell, 62, Howell-NT.
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bernal, 2. Faria, 3. Sibley, 4. Copeland, 5. Timmons, 6. Barnes, 7. R.VanderWeerd. NT
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Liggett, 2. Hurst, 3. Johnson, 4. Kaeding, 5. Richardson, 6. McQueen. NT
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Marcham, 2. Mihocko, 3. J.Vander Weerd, 4. Guardino, 5. Ennis, 6. Washam. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Bud Kaeding, 2. Danny Faria Jr., 3. Landon Hurst, 4. Colby Copeland, 5. Austin Liggett, 6. D.J. Johnson, 7. Jace Vander Weerd, 8. Richard Vander Weerd, 9. Tye Mihocko, 10. Tristan Guardino, 11. Jeff Sibley, 12. Kevin Barnes, 13. Ryan Timmons, 14. Jim Richardson, 15. Ryan Bernal, 16. Trey Marcham, 17. Chris Ennis, 18. Shannon McQueen, 19. Dennis Howell. NT
**McQueen flipped during the second heat. Ennis flipped during the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-5 Hurst, Laps 6-13 Faria, Laps 14-30 Kaeding.
NEW WEST COAST SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Bernal-108, 2-Copeland-104, 3-Faria-103, 4-Liggett-91, 5-J.Vander Weerd-90, 6-R.Vander Weerd-86, 7-Hurst-79, 8-Stevie Sussex-72, 9-B.Kaeding-67, 10-Charles Davis Jr.-63.
NEXT WEST COAST SPRINT RACE: March 14 - Tulare, CA - Thunderbowl Raceway
USAC Racing Announces Major Organizational Changes
Davey Hamilton Named Executive Director of USAC Racing
March 9, 2015
The United States Auto Club (USAC) announced today the appointment of Davey Hamilton in the newly created role as Executive Director of USAC Racing. The role will report to USAC President and CEO Kevin Miller and is effective immediately.
USAC's business structure will now encompass three main business segments for reporting and management purposes; USAC Racing, USAC Sanctioning, and USAC Properties & Promotions.
"Our business has experienced tremendous growth over the past seven years as we have diversified our motorsports portfolio to include off-road, rally and other motorsport segments such as snowmobile racing"stated Miller. "We are committed to growing each business area which requires additional focus and attention. As we enter our 60th year as a motorsports leader in 2015, we want to ensure that we are well positioned for growth and new opportunities in a challenging motorsports environment. The appointment today of Davey reaffirms our commitment to enhancing the core of USAC and we are excited to start a new era with such a passionate racing leader".
The pillar of the Club is USAC's circle track division for Silver Crown, Sprint Car and Midget Racing. Davey Hamilton, a former USAC pavement standout and Indycar driver, will lead the Club's future efforts in strengthening USAC's leadership position in sprint car and midget racing across the USA.
"USAC is a storied brand in motorsports and my roots were greatly influenced from the short tracks of America. I am excited to be part of a team that is so passionate and dedicated to taking our motorsport program to the next generation of racing fans" stated Davey. "I've been a driver, car owner, promoter and series owner, which has offered me a great perspective for this new challenge."
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: March 7, 2015 - Perris, California - Perris Auto Speedway - "Sokola Shootout"
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-16.393; 2. Richard Vander Weerd, 10 Vander Weerd-16.486; 3. Ronnie Gardner, 93, Gardner-16.502; 4. Hunter Schuerenberg, 73, Ford-16.582; 5. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.595; 6. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-16.634; 7. Jake Swanson, 92, Sertich-16.679; 8. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-16.679; 9. Damion Gardner, 4, Alexander-16.713; 10. Rickie Gaunt, 9, McDonald-16.779; 11. Geoff Ensign, 3F, Finkenbinder-16.866; 12. David Bezio, 37X, Bezio-16.879; 13. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-16.995; 14. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-17.020; 15. Parker Colston, 64, Colston-17.198; 16. Logan Williams, 5, Jory-17.262; 17. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-17.308; 18. Johnny Bluntach, 58, Bluntach-17.339; 19. Tommy Malcolm, 5X, Napier-17.344; 20. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-17.362; 21. Terry Schank Jr., 1, Gleeson-17.375; 22. Cal Smith, 39, Cal-Sun-17.414; 23. Michael Curtis, 45C, Turner/Wheeler-17.423; 24. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-17.536; 25. Jeremy Ellertson, 98X, Ellertson-17.567; 26. Anthony Lopiccolo, 36, Springstead-17.657; 27. Tobey Sampson, 12B, Blair-18.442; 28. Tony Everhart, 55, Everhart-NT.
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Johnson, 2. Spencer, 3. Swanson, 4. Schuerenberg, 5. Gaunt, 6. L.Williams, 7. Malcolm, 8. Ellertson, 9. Smith. 2:52.99
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. R.Vander Weerd, 2. A.Williams, 3. C.Williams, 4. Roa, 5. J.Vander Weerd, 6. Ensign, 7. Gansen, 8. Lopiccolo, 9. Curtis. 2:53.39
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. D.Gardner, 2. Mitchell, 3. Bezio, 4. R.Gardner, 5. Martin, 6. Schank, 7. Colston, 8. Bluntach, 9. Sampson. 2:54.90
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Ensign, 2. Schank, 3. Gaunt, 4. J.Vander Weerd, 5. Colston, 6. Gansen, 7. L.Williams, 8. Bluntach, 9. Curtis, 10. Martin, 11. Lopiccolo, 12. Malcolm, 13. Ellertson, 14. Sampson, 15. Smith. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Richard Vander Weerd, 2. Austin Williams, 3. Mike Spencer, 4. Damion Gardner, 5. Matt Mitchell, 6. Jake Swanson, 7. Hunter Schuerenberg, 8. Ronnie Gardner, 9. Cody Williams, 10. Brody Roa, 11. Geoff Ensign, 12. Rickie Gaunt, 13. David Bezio, 14. Terry Schank Jr., 15. Mike Martin, 16. Michael Curtis, 17. Parker Colston, 18. Chris Gansen, 19. R.J. Johnson, 20. Jace Vander Weerd, 21. Logan Williams, 22. Johnny Bluntach. NT
**L.Williams flipped during the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-7 Mitchell, Laps 8-30 R.Vander Weerd,
NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-R.Vander Weerd-73, 2-Spencer-67, 3-A.Williams-66, 4-D.Gardner-59, 5-Mitchell-55, 6-Swanson-51, 7-Schuerenberg-50, 8-R.Gardner-48, 9-C.Williams-42, 10-Roa-38,
NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: March 20 - Tucson, AZ - USA Raceway Park - 8th "Copper on Dirt"
USAC WEST COAST/SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: March 5, 2015 - Las Vegas, Nevada - Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track - 4th FVP "Sin City Showdown"/Grudge Series
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Hunter Schuerenberg (#73X Ford), 2. Danny Faria Jr. (#17V Bowman), 3. Richard Vander Weerd (#10 Vander Weerd), 4. Josh Pelkey (#12 Allen), 5. Colby Copeland (#74 Williams), 6. Dennis Gile (#13 Gile), 7. Shannon McQueen (#87 Van Meter), 8. Tye Mihocko (#5 Mihocko). NT
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. R.J. Johnson (#77M Michaels), 2. Stevie Sussex (#21AZ Burkhart), 3. Matt Mitchell (#37 Mitchell), 4. Brody Roa (#48 Leonard), 5. Trey Marcham (#73 Ford), 6. Shon Deskins (#20 Deskins), 7. Tristan Guardino (#81 Watt), 8. Landon Hurst (#179 Hurst). NT
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Ryan Bernal (#56 Phulps), 2. Austin Liggett (#83 Liggett), 3. Bruce St. James (#7K St. James), 4. Jace Vander Weerd (#88 Vander Weerd), 5. Max Adams (#5X Adams), 6. Matt Rossi (#02 Rossi), 7. Jeff Sibley (#42N Sibley), 8. Andy Reinbold (#19 Underwood). NT
FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Charles Davis Jr. (#50 Massey), 2. Troy Rutherford (#11 Rutherford), 3. Chris Windom (#22B Weber), 4. Mike Martin (#16 Martin), 5. Dustin Cormany (#20X Deskins), 6. Brian Hosford (#32B Weber), 7. A.J. Bender (#21B Bender). NT
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. J.Vander Weerd, 2. Copeland, 3. Rossi, 4. Deskins, 5. Marcham, 6. Hurst, 7. Cormany, 8. Reinbold, 9. Sibley, 10. Guardino, 11. McQueen, 12. Bender, 13. Gile, 14. Hosford. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Stevie Sussex, 2. Ryan Bernal, 3. Matt Mitchell, 4. Charles Davis Jr., 5. Hunter Schuerenberg, 6. Colby Copeland, 7. Chris Windom, 8. Richard Vander Weerd, 9. Max Adams, 10. Jace Vander Weerd, 11. R.J. Johnson, 12. Danny Faria Jr., 13. Trey Marcham, 14. Matt Rossi, 15. Austin Liggett, 16. Mike Martin, 17. Troy Rutherford, 18. Landon Hurst, 19. Shon Deskins, 20. Josh Pelkey, 21. Brody Roa, 22. Bruce St. James. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-21 Schuerenberg, Laps 22-30 Sussex.
NEW WEST COAST SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Sussex-72, 2-Bernal-71, 3-Davis-63, 4-Mitchell-62, 5-Schuerenberg-57, 6-Copeland-48, 7-Wndom-48, 8-R.Vander Weerd-45, 9-Adams-40, 10-Johnson-39.
NEW SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Sussex-72, 2-Bernal-71, 3-Davis-63, 4-Mitchell-62, 5-Schuerenberg-57, 6-Copeland-48, 7-Wndom-48, 8-R.Vander Weerd-45, 9-Adams-40, 10-Johnson-39.
NEXT WEST COAST SPRINT RACE: March 13 - Tulare, CA - Thunderbowl Raceway
NEXT SOUTHWEST SPRINT RACE: March 28 - Peoria, AZ - Canyon Speedway Park - "Hank Arnold Memorial"
SPRINTS RESUME APRIL 4 AT LAWRENCEBURG
STOCKON TAKES "WINTER DIRT GAMES VI" TITLE; THOMAS, BALLOU & RAIN PREVAIL AT EAST BAY
The AMSOIL USAC Sprint Car National Championship resumes April 4 at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway following cancellation of last Saturday night's race at East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla. due to rain.
Chase Stockon of Elizabethtown, Ind., with a pair of seconds, a pair of fifths and a ninth, emerged as the series point leader and "Winter Dirt Games VI" champion after the five races held in Florida the past two weeks. He leads Kevin Thomas Jr. and Robert Ballou by 14 and 18 points respectively entering the race at Lawrenceburg
Thomas, of Cullman, Ala., led all 30 laps to win Thursday night's race at East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla. driving the Michael Dutcher Motorsports Bakken Concrete/Griffin's Propane Maxim/Fisher. Dave Darland finished second ahead of Brady Bacon, C.J. Leary and Tracy Hines.
Ballou, of Rocklin, Calif., caught Thomas on lap 15 and led the final 16 laps of Friday night's East Bay feature in his MPHG Promotions/Blakesley's Auto Maxim/Ott. Darland was again second ahead of Thomas, Justin Grant and Stockon.
Stockon swept ProSource fast qualifying awards both Thursday and Friday nights.
2015 AMSOIL USAC Sprint Car National Championship Points: 1-Chase Stockon-298; 2-Kevin Thomas Jr.-284; 3-Robert Ballou-280; 4-Dave Darland-271; 5-Brady Bacon-257; 6-Jon Stanbrough-229; 7-Chris Windom & Justin Grant-223; 9-C.J. Leary-221; 10-Chad Boespflug-205.
"SOKOLA SHOOTOUT" USAC/CRA DEBUT AT PERRIS SATURDAY
Damion Gardner of Concord, Calif. opens defense of his AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car title this Saturday in the "Sokola Shootout" at the Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway.
Gardner leads the all-time USAC/CRA winners' list with 57 career victories and will aim for a third consecutive championship this year.
Saturday's events also include the PAS Senior Sprints and Young Gun Sprints with racing expected to begin at 7 pm.
The "Sokola Shootout" has been a popular event on the West Coast since March 17, 2001 when "The Cowboy" Tony Jones won the inaugural race at Manzanita Speedway. Originally called the "Sokola Classic" to honor past CRA President and USAC Sprint Supervisor Gary Sokola, the race has grown to also recognize his family and their contributions to racing. Last year, "The Demon" Damion Gardner earned his second Sokola victory after passing Mike Spencer on lap 14. This Saturday night, "The Kruser" Cory Kruseman, "Super" Rickie Gaunt, and Spencer will be looking to join Gardner, "The Shermanator" Jeremy Sherman and Mike Kirby as the only two-time winners of the prestigious event.
After scoring 11 wins in twenty-two races, Gardner claimed his third AMSOIL USAC/CRA Championship in 2014. Driving Mark Alexander's No. 4, Gardner also earned 10 Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, 15 heat race victories, 21 top-10 finishes and 205 feature laps led. After recording those stats, Alexander Racing was named the 2014 non-winged sprint car "Team of the Year" by a panel voting with the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. This Saturday, Gardner will be looking for his series leading 58th triumph and 33rd USAC/CRA "home track" feature win.
Five-time USAC/CRA Sprint Champion Mike Spencer and 2014 USAC West Coast Sprint Car king Matt Mitchell are also expected to be among the favorites Saturday, along with brothers Cody, Austin and Logan Williams, Brody Roa, Jake Swanson, Richard and Jace Vander Weerd, Cory Kruseman, Chris Gansen, 2014 USAC Southwest Sprint Champ R.J. Johnson, defending Honda USAC Western Midget Champ Ronnie Gardner and Rickie Gaunt.
4TH "SIN CITY SHOWDOWN" SPRINT AT LVMS THURSDAY
This Thursday night's 4th "Sin City Showdown" figures to be just that as USAC's West Coast and Southwest Sprint Car veterans convene at the Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway Dirt Track for the opening point-paying rounds of each 2015 series and the first "Grudge Series" event. The World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and IMCA Modifieds share Thursday's bill.
Matt Mitchell of Yorba Linda, Calif. (West Coast) and R.J. Johnson of Phoenix, Ariz. (Southwest) are the defending series champions entering the Las Vegas event.
Last year's Las Vegas race produced a surprise winner - Austin Liggett, while pre-race favorites Bud Kaeding and Bryan Clauson scored 2012 and 2013 Las Vegas wins respectively.
USAC, NASCAR and Indy 500 veteran J.J. Yeley finished second to Liggett in last year's race, ahead of five-time AMSOIL USAC/CRA Champion Mike Spencer.
After winning his second Grudge Series championship, Mike Spencer of Temecula, California leads a strong contingent from the Golden State. The five-time USAC/CRA champion leads all drivers with two Grudge Series wins. Defending USAC West Coast Champion Matt Mitchell, Richard Vander Weerd, "Hollywood" Danny Faria Jr., USAC Western Classic Champion Ryan Bernal, Jace Vander Weerd, Troy Rutherford, Austin Liggett, "Shifter" Landon Hurst, Colby Copeland, and more are expected as racing gets under way at 7 pm.
Phoenix, Arizona's R.J. Johnson had a stellar 2014 campaign and earned his second USAC Southwest title. Johnson heads a tough Copper State roster including "Chargin" Charles Davis Jr., Josh Pelkey, Matt Rossi, Shon Deskins, "The Magic Man" Mike Martin, "The Kid" Tye Mihocko, Brian Hosford, Michael Curtis, Nick Aiuto, and more.
At press time, Missouri's Hunter Schuerenberg, "The Bear" Chris Windom of Illinois, and Oklahoma's Trey Marcham will also race in the "Sin City Showdown."
DAMION GARDNER READY FOR ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP RUN IN 2015!
(Perris, CA, March 1, 2015) When Perris Auto Speedway kicks off its 20th anniversary season this Saturday night, March 7th, with the Sokola Shooutout for the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, most eyes will be on two-time defending series champion Damion Gardner of Concord, California. The slender driver dominated the prestigious series and 2014 and he will be ready to rumble when the first green flag of the season flies on Saturday night. What could be bad news for the remainder of the competition is the fact that Gardner thinks he can be more dominant in 2015 than he was last year.
On Friday, the racing star took some time from his always busy schedule to talk about a multitude of topics including his off season, off track work, the Mark Alexander team he drives for, Bonneville, his 2014 success and his expectations for 2015.
Q: What have you been doing all winter? Have you been getting ready to race?
Gardner: Did the family stuff around the holidays and then the Chili Bowl. Been doing some side work for All Coast Construction and some other guys I know down in L.A.
Q: Sounds like you are down this way quite a lot now rather than being home in Concord?
Gardner: Yeah. That was not my intent, but it just kind of worked out that way because that is where the work has been. Plus I hang out at Shavers (Shave Racing Engines) doing some stuff for him. My big plan to move home (home to Concord two years ago) has not quite worked out.
Q: You had one job that was very interesting and got some television coverage on the news here. Refurbishing some neon light art. What was that all about?
Gardner: A guy named Michael Haden, a neon artist back in the 80’s, had put up some neon artwork in the International Jewelry Center in downtown Los Angeles. Mike Grosswendt from All Coast Construction helped Mike Haden put it up originally. So, he had some interest in it from the beginning. So Mike Haden, Mike Grosswendt and the building got together and wanted it restored to bring it back to life. Mike (Grosswendt) had seen what I could do with the Bonneville car (fabricating) and asked if I could to do it and wanted to do it. I had done some other work for him and thought this would be something different. I spent three or four months restoring it.
Q: So, you spent a lot of time down there. It was not a two week job.
Gardner: No! It is about 300-feet long and 50 something neon tubes. It was quite a project.
Q: Earlier you mentioned the Chili Bowl. You came from the back of the pack all the way to finish third this year. With a few more laps, do you think you could have caught the top two?
Gardner: I don’t know. I pretty much would have needed a yellow. The car could be good at the race and be good in the middle, but it is kind of hard to have a car be good for 50-laps and be good at the end. I think you saw with me and Kevin and everybody, we were good, but in the last five or seven laps we just kind of went flat. It gets where nobody is really gaining on anybody else. But with a yellow, who knows. I am sure we all would have mixed it up and it would have got interesting, but I probably would not have gotten there. You never know.
Q: How much do you like the Chili Bowl?
Gardner: Every year I hate going there. It is the wrong time of year. The holidays are fun, but you do not relax because you are running around here and there with your family. Just about the time January comes around you can start to relax, but you have to run off to the Chili Bowl. I usually dread going and people know I am complaining, but once I get there I enjoy it. It is a lot of fun. It is a lot of standing around and not racing and that part kind of bothers me. When you are actually driving the car and racing, I like that a lot. I have had some decent success there and have been fortunate to have driven some good cars there.
Q: Talking about good cars, you drive a good car out here for Mark Alexander. You guys were named National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Team of the Year last season. Anything new going on with that car for 2015?
Gardner: Not really. Just more of the same. It is a sweet blend of me and them. They kind of let me mess with the shocks and do some stuff there. I have some new stuff we are going to do with the shocks that we are going to try out this year. We tested the other night and things went pretty well. We have some new Willwood brake stuff. Nothing major. I have been fortunate to be with some real good manufacturers who work with me on making things better or just faster. We are going to just keep doing what we have been doing.
Q: Same people making up that crew this year?
Gardner: Yeah, the same people. We have a great crew. Between Mark and Steve Alexander (brothers), Mark does most of the work at home during the week and Steve does the work at the track. We have a great bunch of guys and we have a lot of them, but it is works out good. The work always gets done. I really have to thank Mark and Steve along with Ken from Scott Sales. They have a car for me that is always ready to win.
Q: Tony Jones raved about those guys when he drove for them and actually won their first USAC/CRA championship in 2007. What makes them so special?
Gardner: It is kind of crazy, because with that many guys, things tend to not get done. There are too many guys and things can get overlooked. Anytime you have guys shifting and one guy doing the work during the week and another doing the work on the weekends, you would think things would get lost in translation. But, they somehow put it all together. Like I said, Mark does all the work during the week and he does a great job. He loves that car. Then Steve comes in and does it on the weekends. Somehow they hand it off to each other really well. Then you have Rick, he is always around and there are a lot of fill in guys and they are all real good and have all been around each other for a long time. I think that is what makes it work. And, they really love the racing. They have a passion for it.
Q: How long did it take for you to click with those guys?
Gardner: Actually right away. They wanted to know what I wanted and what I wanted to do. I told them let’s not do anything. Just do what you guys normally do and if we have to change anything we will change it. They were all about it and that is another thing that makes them really good. Whatever they need to do to win, they are willing to do it. They are all about winning. Pride never gets in the way of anything. So I think we clicked right away. There were just some small things. Change this thing and go a little bit faster. Change that and go a little bit faster. Me and Steve bounce stuff off each other. Steve is kind of like a Bromme (Bruce Bromme Jr.) or kind of like when I was with Vinny (Vince Latner). He kind of keeps me grounded. I will kind of come up with some good ideas or kind of step out of the box and he kind of knows how to reel me back in some times.
Q: You had a great year in 2014. Were you totally satisfied with it?
Gardner: Yeah. It was kind of whirlwindish with the work I did for Bonneville and just racing. There was a lot of work, but it was great. I just wanted to do have a way better year than I did the year before. I just wanted to separate myself from the rest of the people and just clearly be faster. I hope we did that. I think we did. It was just a fun ride. Winning so many times and winning a few in a row. It is just fun to work on the car with the guys and seeing the progress and see it all help.
Q: You had more fast times, more heat races win, more main event wins than anyone else and you won the championship for the second year in a row. Can you do better this year?
Damion Gardner on the throttle at Perris Auto Speedway in 2014. Photo by Doug Allen.
Gardner: Oh, I think so. Obviously you have to have luck on your side. When luck is not going your way you have to weather the storm. Sometimes and someday it is just going to snowball and it will try to beat you down. But, you just have to weather the storm, keep on doing what you are doing and work through it. You will come out on the other side and get on a roll. It is definitely possible that we will have a better year and that is what we are aiming for.
Q: At this point in your career, what is more important, winning races or winning a championship?
Gardner: I don’t know. Championships are something people always asked me about. I feel different about them than I did when I was younger. We care about them whether we say do or don’t. At the end of the day you just want to be the faster guy out there. At the end of the day when people leave you want them to be talking that you are the guy who won or ought to have one. You want to be the guy they are talking about. I believe if you do that, you will win championships and a lot of races. I have learned to win championships compared to when I was younger. I did not quite understand how to do it. Guys used to tell me that I had to know when I had to finish third. I had no idea what they were talking about. I did not have any clue. I have a little more of a clue now.
Q: The one race of yours I remember most from 2014 you did not win. It was if I remember correctly in May at Perris Auto Speedway. Early in the race you got into a tangle with two other cars going into turn three. You did not flip, but you were in the wall and another car flipped and landed on top of you. You jumped out and had a look and as soon as your guys got it back to the work area they went to work on it and did the best they could, but the car was bent bad. You amazed a lot of people that night when you restarted at the back and drove all the way through the pack to finish second in a trashed car. Most guys would have parked it. What makes you different?
Gardner: As far as the car being bent and broke and me coming back out, I have always had a never give up attitude. When I had my own team with the #20 car (when he first came to run without a wing), we did not quit no matter whether we were a lap down or whatever it was. We just did not quit working. I drive the same way and expect my crew to work the same way. I ask the same thing out of my guys that I ask of myself. It is just easy when you do that. At the end of the day when we are all done and sitting at the table, I don’t ever want to look back and say, ‘what if we had done this?’ I want to know we got every best finish we could, got every point we could and did all we could do. At the end of the day if you can say that, that is all there is. You never quit whether you are trying to come from the back or you are racing for the lead. When you start at the back, you just cannot slow down to race everybody else. You just have to race through them (to get to the front).
Q: You had a wild flip at the Oval Nationals. A lot of altitude and your car ended up stuck on top of the billboards and had to be cut down. Any injuries that nobody knew about?
Gardner: No, no injuries. There was a lot of flipping and probably the fence (billboards) took all the shock. If I had landed on the ground or flipped out of the park and landed on the dirt behind, it would have hurt a lot more. The fence took most of it.
Q: You are the “World’s Fastest Sprint Car Driver” at over 211 MPH. You told me last year you would not be back at Bonneville this year. Have you changed your mind?
Gardner: No, we are not going back. Maybe someday if I get some sponsors who want me to go back. I am pretty happy with going 211 and being the first guy over 200. The whole experience was just phenomenal. I cannot thank all of the guys who made it happen enough. The whole experience was tremendous, but I am okay with it now. We could probably squeeze a few more miles per hour out of the car. We would probably have to go and redesign some things. I am okay with leaving it where it is for now.
Q: What are the racing plans this year? Just the USAC/CRA Series or do you have anything else lined up?
Gardner: Same. Do the USAC/CRA thing. I may go do some midget stuff with Bob East and Terry Klatt. We flirt every year with going back east for Sprint Week, but that will be up to the Alexander’s to see what they want to do. Just kind of weighing it and just going along. I don’t mind doing that other stuff, but if we just decide to do the USAC/CRA thing I am fine with that and we will just keep the hammer down there.
Q: You just mentioned possibly going back east. You stayed back there and raced several seasons. Do you miss racing back there?
Gardner: No, not really. Our schedule is twenty some races out here and needs to get up a little more. You need to be pushing 30 or so races. I think the economy is coming back and cars are back. Guys went and played around with the 360 deal they saw it is same deal. Not real profitable. Those guys are coming back. We just do not have anyone really guiding the 410 deal (out here) and giving it direction. I think you could get some more races if you had a little more focus on it. You could get some more cars and some more fans coming out. Hopefully we can get the fans to come out and they will enjoy the show.
Spectator gates will open at 5:00 PM on March 7th and racing will begin at 7:00. The PAS Senior and Young Gun Sprint Cars will join the USAC/CRA stars on the triple header card.
RAINS FORCES SATURDAY EAST BAY CANCELLATION
STOCKON EMERGES AS TOP "WINTER DIRT GAMES VI" POINT SCORER
Chase Stockon has been proclaimed "Winter Dirt Games VI" Champion after rains forced cancellation of Saturday night's sixth and final series race at East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla.
A steady rain in the Tampa area today, expected to continue tonight, has created extremely wet conditions at the track. The AMSOIL USAC Sprint Car National Championship now gears up for its next race, April 4, at the Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway.
Stockon posted a pair of seconds, a pair of fifths and a ninth in the five races held at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala and East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton to edge Kevin Thomas Jr. and Robert Ballou by 14 and 18 points respectively in the standings.
Thomas won Thursday's East Bay feature and Ballou, who also won last week's Ocala opener, won Friday at East Bay. Other Florida winners were Brady Bacon and Dave Darland (both at Ocala).
2015 AMSOIL/USAC Sprint Car Naional Championship Standings: 1-Chase Stockon-298; 2-Kevin Thomas Jr.-284; 3-Robert Ballou-280; 4-Dave Darland-271; 5-Brady Bacon-257; 6-Jon Stanbrough-229; 7-Chris Windom & JustinGrant-223; 9-C.J. Leary-221; 10-Chad Boespflug-205.
AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: February 26, 2015 - Gibsonton, Florida - East Bay Raceway Park - "Winter Dirt Games VI"
QUALIFYING: 1. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-14.762 (New Track Record); 2. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-14.931; 3. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips/Curb-Agajanian-15.238; 4. Scotty Weir, 12x, Wolters-15.289; 5. Justin Grant, 40, Hery-15.291; 6. Carson Short, 21, Short-15.315; 7. Brady Short, 11P, Pottorff-15.367; 8. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17RW, Dutcher-15.368; 9. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-15.416; 10. Jon Stanbrough, 81, JSR-15.454; 11. Trevor Kobylarz, 14, RT-15.468; 12. Shane Cockrum, 66, Wade-15.470; 13. Kyle Cummins, 21x, Pollock-15.481; 14. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-15.502; 15. Chris Windom, 2, Lein-15.536; 16. Tracy Hines, 4, THR-15.543; 17. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-15.564; 18. Logan Jarrett, 29, Jarrett-15.613; 19. Bryan Clauson, 41, SST-15.624; 20. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-15.669; 21. Chad Boespflug, 5, Baldwin-15.673; 22. Casey Shuman, 2x, Barnhill/Dodd-15.717; 23. Aaron Farney, 15F, Farney-15.739; 24. Bret Mellenberndt, 97, Mellenberndt-15.792; 25. Chris Gurley, 11, Walker-15.817; 26. Isaac Chapple, 7G, Goacher-15.868; 27. Kyle Robbins, 17R, Robbins-15.871; 28. Travis Hery, 21H, Hery-15.906; 29. Landon Simon, 24, LSR-15.914; 30. Justin Hoffman, M16, Hoffman-16.468; 31. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-17.381.
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. Stockon, 3. Bacon, 4. Cummins, 5. Boespflug, 6. Grant, 7. Simon, 8. Gurley. 2:06.81
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Stanbrough, 2. C.Short, 3. Jarrett, 4. Shuman, 5. Leary, 6. Swanson, 7. Hoffman, 8. Chapple. NT
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Darland, 3. B.Short, 4. Kobylarz, 5. Windom, 6. Robbins, 7. Farney, 8. Bell. 2:13.34
FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Hines, 2. Andretti, 3. Thomas, 4. Mellenberndt, 5. Cockrum, 6. Hery, 7. Weir. 2:15.14
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Leary, 2. Boespflug, 3. Cockrum, 4. Grant, 5. Windom, 6. Swanson, 7. Farney, 8. Gurley, 9. Simon, 10. Chapple, 11. Robbins, 12. Hery, 13. Bell, 14. Weir. 3:24.94
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 2. Dave Darland, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. C.J. Leary, 5. Tracy Hines, 6. Robert Ballou, 7. Chad Boespflug, 8. Kyle Cummins, 9. Chase Stockon, 10. Chris Windom, 11. Jon Stanbrough, 12. Brady Short, 13. Bryan Clauson, 14. Jarett Andretti, 15. Casey Shuman, 16. Carson Short, 17. Aaron Farney, 18. Logan Jarrett, 19. Bret Mellenberndt, 20. Trevor Kobylarz, 21. Shane Cockrum, 22. Justin Grant, 23. Kody Swanson, 24. Kyle Robbins. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Thomas.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Stockon-236; 2-Thomas-222; 3-Bacon-220; 4-Ballou-211; 5-Darland-204; 6-Windom-196; 7-Stanbrough-189; 8-Leary-176; 9-Boespflug-164; 10-Grant-162.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: February 27 - Gibsonton, FL - East Bay Raceway Park - "Winter Dirt Games VI"
EAST BAY "SWEEP" NEXT TARGET FOR AMSOIL SPRINT STARS;BALLOU, BACON, DARLAND (#23) POST OCALA VICTORIES
Rounds four, five and six of the 2015 AMSOIL USAC Sprint Car National Championship unfold this week at East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla. with races Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the 1/3-mile dirt oval.
The final three events in the "Winter Dirt Games VI" mark USAC's first appearance at East Bay since Damion Gardner's two-race "sweep" in 2010. A "sweep" of this year's three races will be worth a $5,000 "Triple Crown Challenge" bonus posted by the East Bay race organizers. A driver who can win two of the three would earn a $500 bonus.
Early favorites include defending AMSOIL Sprint Car National Champion Brady Bacon, Dave Darland and Robert Ballou, winners of last week's trio of series-opening races at Ocala, Fla. Darland, the all-time leader in terms of USAC Sprint car feature wins with 54, was second to Gardner in the last 2010 East Bay feature and extended his all-time USAC National feature victory streak to 23 consecutive years with his record 54th career AMSOIL National Sprint win Sunday.
East Bay has hosted a total of five USAC races, which included three Ford Focus Midget Series events in 2006. Bryan Clauson posted a second and a seventh behind Gardner in the 2010 races, while 2014 Hoosier Auto Racing Fans Driver of the Year Brady Short had a third and fourth in the two 2010 races.
Bacon, of Broken Arrow, Okla., who won Friday's 30-lap race at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, trails Chase Stockon by 27 points and Chris Windom by two in the 2015 series standings entering the East Bay races. He led all 30 laps of Friday's race. Stockon finished second ahead of Windom, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Kyle Cummins.
Ballou, of Rocklin, Calif., led all but one lap of Friday's Ocala opener. Stockon was second while Bacon, who led lap 12, took third ahead of Jon Stanbrough and Justin Grant.
Darland, of Lincoln, Ind., led all 30 laps Sunday trailed by Windom, Stanbrough, Thomas and Stockon.
2015 AMSOIL USAC Sprint Car National Championship Points: 1-Chase Stockon-187; 2-Chris Windom-162; 3-Brady Bacon-160; 4-Robert Ballou-158; 5-Kevin Thomas Jr.-156; 6-Jon Stanbrough-150; 7-Justin Grant-146; 8-Dave Darland-136; 9-Chad Boespflug-119; 10-C.J. Leary-116.
DARLAND STRETCHES USAC NATIONAL WIN STREAK TO 23 YEARS WITH OCALA WIN
(Ocala, Florida)...Dave Darland added to the most impressive streak in USAC history on Sunday night at Bubba Raceway Park, as he added another AMSOIL National Sprint Car win to his list to make it 23 consecutive seasons with at least one win in a USAC National series. The Lincoln, Indiana veteran scored the victory on the third of three consecutive nights at the 3/8-mile "D"-shaped dirt track in Ocala, Fla. as part of "Winter Dirt Games VI" which resumes this week on Feb. 26-27-28 at East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla.
Darland's all-time record 54th National Sprint Car win came in flag-to-flag fashion.
"My crew had to work their (tails) off just to get the car ready for the feature after some issues in the heat race and then gave me a great car even without having much chance to keep up with the track. We have just had some bad luck out of the gate, but tonight was a great way to rebound. It's good to be down here while it's snowing at home, and I can drink a beer to celebrate while it's warm outside. And it's good to get my first win in the state of Florida!" Darland said.
Darland led at the start over polesitter Chris Windom, while Robert Ballou was the early man on the move, jumping into the top-five in just a few laps after starting tenth. A red flag on lap six brought things to a screeching halt as Brady Short flipped hard into turn three and collected Landon Simon. Neither driver was hurt.
After a tangle on the ensuing restart, Ballou found himself bringing out the next caution as he slid to a stop in turn-three, giving up the fifth spot but restarting at the tail. Under that caution, defending champion and current point leader Brady Bacon pulled to the infield. He started the night as the ProSource "Fast Time" winner, but registered a DNF in the feature.
From there, the race went green and, despite losing brakes on lap-five,Darland was able to pull away from the field. He encountered very little lapped traffic, but handled it with ease en route to a 2.482-second victory over Windom, who found the podium for the second night in a row aboard the Lein Acres - Mid-State Equipment #2 DRC/Speedway Mopar.
"You always want to win, but I can't be much happier with the weekend we put together. To get two podium finishes with a brand new deal and guys new to sprint car racing - I'm just fortunate Hans (Lein) gave me a ride down here. I had to get in below the hole in one, but I dropped down a little in three and four which seemed to help. Dave was just too far out at that point," Windom said.
Jon Stanbrough also planted his brand new operation on the podium to end the weekend, as well, as he ran third.
"To come out of here with two top-fives with a brand new team is pretty good, and we have things going in the right direction. It's nice to have all the people supporting us, and commenting about how much they like the car,even. We have a good group of people working on this and supporting us.Daryl (Tate) is really easy to work with for me, and hopefully we can keep improving and knock some wins down. It's been a lot of work in a very short amount of time to get this together, and it's been stressful to get it all together and there's still much more to do when we get home, but I'm very grateful for all the support," Stanbrough said.
Kevin Thomas, Jr. found himself back in the top-five on Saturday night and new point leader Chase Stockon rounded out the top-five.
AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: February 22, 2015 - Ocala, Florida - Bubba Raceway Park - "Winter Dirt Games VI"
QUALIFYING: 1. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-14.088; 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17RW, Dutcher-14.206; 3. Justin Grant, 40, Hery-14.209; 4. Jon Stanbrough, 81, JSR-14.256; 5. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips-14.313; 6. Chris Windom, 2, Lein-14.342; 7. Casey Shuman, 2x, Barnhill/Dodd-14.368; 8. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-14.384; 9. Tracy Hines, 4, THR-14.397; 10. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-14.458; 11. Kyle Cummins, 21x, Pollock-14.477; 12. Shane Cockrum, 66, Wade-14.485; 13. Kyle Robbins, 17R, Robbins-14.496; 14. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-14.532; 15. Carson Short, 21, Short-14.595; 16. Brady Short, 11P, Pottorff-14.606; 17. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-14.632; 18. Landon Simon, 24, LSR-14.673; 19. Aaron Farney, 15F, Farney-14.726; 20. Chad Boespflug, 5, Baldwin-14.765; 21. Isaac Chapple, 7G, Goacher-14.778; 22. Chris Gurley, 11, Walker-14.839; 23. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-14.904; 24. Brandon Spithaler, 57B, Burkey-14.933; 25. Bret Mellenberndt, 97, Mellenberndt-15.258; 26. Logan Jarrett, 29, Jarrett-15.618; 27. Kent Wolters, 12x, Wolters-15.961; 28. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-16.135; 29. Bryan Clauson, 41, SST-NT.
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Darland, 2. Bacon, 3. Hines, 4. Robbins, 5. Leary, 6. Mellenberndt, 7. Chapple. 2:01.19
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. Thomas, 3. Windom, 4. Gurley, 5. Andretti, 6. Jarrett, 7. Simon. NT
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Cummins, 2. C.Short, 3. Grant, 4. Farney, 5. Shuman, 6. Swanson, 7. Wolters. 2:02.91
FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. B.Short, 2. Stockon, 3. Boespflug, 4. Stanbrough, 5. Cockrum, 6. Bell, 7. Spithaler. NT
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Cockrum, 2. Shuman, 3. Leary, 4. Andretti, 5. Simon, 6. Swanson, 7. Jarrett, 8. Chapple, 9. Mellenberndt, 10. Wolters, 11. Bell. 3:06.20
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Dave Darland, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Jon Stanbrough, 4. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 5. Chase Stockon, 6. Justin Grant, 7. C.J. Leary, 8. Tracy Hines, 9. Jarett Andretti, 10. Kyle Robbins, 11. Robert Ballou, 12. Carson Short, 13. Chad Boespflug, 14. Kyle Cummins, 15. Aaron Farney, 16. Kody Swanson, 17. Casey Shuman, 18. Chris Gurley, 19. Shane Cockrum, 20. Brady Bacon, 21. Brady Short, 22. Landon Simon, 23. Logan Jarrett. NT
**Brady Short & Landon Simon flipped on Lap 6 of the Feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Darland.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Stockon-187; 2-Windom-162; 3-Bacon-160; 4-Ballou-158; 5-Thomas-156; 6-Stanbrough-150; 7-Grant-146; 8-Darland-136; 9-Boespflug-119; 10-Leary-116.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: February 26 - Gibsonton, FL - East Bay Raceway - "Winter Dirt Games VI"
AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: February 21, 2015 - Ocala, Florida - Bubba Raceway Park - "Winter Dirt Games VI"
QUALIFYING: 1. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-14.475; 2. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-14.593; 3. Carson Short, 21, Short-14.637; 4. Zach Daum, 5D, Daum-14.698; 5. Shane Cockrum, 66, Wade-14.706; 6. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17RW, Dutcher-14.768; 7. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-14.882; 8. Bryan Clauson, 41, SST-14.882; 9. Chris Windom, 2, Lein-14.911; 10. Kyle Cummins, 14.927; 11. Aaron Farney, 14.936; 12. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips-14.938; 13. Justin Grant, 40, Hery-14.984; 14. Chad Boespflug, 5, Baldwin-15.106; 15. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-15.118; 16. Casey Shuman, 2x, Barnhill/Dodd-15.136; 17. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-15.160; 18. Brady Short, 11P, Pottorff-15.185; 19. Chris Gurley, 11, Walker-15.296; 20. Kyle Robbins, 17R, Robbins-15.335; 21. Brandon Spithaler, 57B, Burkey-15.340; 22. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-15.404; 23. Jon Stanbrough, 81, JSR-15.569; 24. Logan Jarrett, 29, Jarrett-15.649; 25. Bret Mellenberndt, 97, Mellenberndt-15.779; 26. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-15.846; 27. Kent Wolters, 12x, Wolters-15.939; 28. Landon Simon, 24, LSR-15.958; 29. Isaac Chapple, 7G, Goacher-16.425; 30. Thomas McCance, 22JR, McCance-16.880; 31. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-16.948.
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Windom, 2. Hines, 3. Grant, 4. Stockon, 5. Cockrum, 6. Spithaler, 7. Chapple, 8. Mellenberndt. 1:59.76
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. B.Short, 2. Ballou, 3. Thomas, 4. Boespflug, 5. Swanson, 6. Cummins, 7. Andretti, 8. McCance. NT
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Bacon, 2. Gurley, 3. Stanbrough, 4. Farney, 5. Leary, 6. C.Short, 7. Bell, 8. Wolters. 1:57.31
FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Jarrett, 2. Shuman, 3. Darland, 4. Daum, 5. Clauson, 6. Robbins, 7. Simon. 1:58.16
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. C.Short, 2. Clauson, 3. Cummins, 4. Robbins, 5. Leary, 6. Swanson, 7. Chapple, 8. Spithaler, 9. Mellenberndt, 10. Bell, 11. Andretti, 12. Simon, 13. Cockrum, 14. Wolters, 15. McCance. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Brady Bacon, 2. Chase Stockon, 3. Chris Windom, 4. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 5. Kyle Cummins, 6. Carson Short, 7. Zach Daum, 8. Robert Ballou, 9. Dave Darland, 10. C.J. Leary, 11. Chad Boespflug, 12. Justin Grant, 13. Tracy Hines, 14. Jon Stanbrough, 15. Logan Jarrett, 16. Aaron Farney, 17. Bryan Clauson, 18. Chris Gurley, 19. Kyle Robbins, 20. Shane Cockrum, 21. Brady Short, 22. Kody Swanson, 23. Casey Shuman. NT
**Andretti flipped during the Semi.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Bacon.
1. Brady Bacon 134
2. Chase Stockon 132
3. Robert Ballou 119
4. Chris Windom 98
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. 93
6. Justin Grant 91
7. Jon Stanbrough 88
8. Chad Boespflug 86
9. Carson Short 79
10. Brady Short 73
Ballou gets one back
February 20, 2015 (Ocala, Florida).......Robert Ballou opened the 2015 AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship much the way he ended last season as he fended off 2014 series champion Brady Bacon and drove away for the opening night win in "Winter Dirt Games VI" at Bubba Raceway Park.
The Rocklin, California driver hit double-digits in career wins as he took a 2.165-second victory in round one of the six-race tour of Florida that continues the next two nights at Bubba Raceway Park on Saturday, February 21 and Sunday, February 22 before the series heads to East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla. for three more races on February 26-27-28.
"I felt like this place owed me one after losing one with a flat tire a couple years back. We kept our deal together, and Derrick Bye kept working hard to keep this momentum rolling. We're working with the same car that won Oval Nationals to end last year. I knew we were in a tough spot as we hit traffic, and Bacon can get off the bottom so well here. But we battled back and got by him, and that's a great feeling," Ballou said.
Ballou began from the pole and led early over Justin Grant and Jon Stanbrough, as Bacon battled from row three after setting the fast time of the night to open the night. Bacon tracked down Ballou as he encountered slower cars on lap ten, and Bacon snuck past him to the lead on lap 12.
Ballou countered, though, and swept back past Bacon down the backstretch, holding him off as they came to complete lap 14. A lap later, Kyle Cummins stopped to bring the race's only caution.
Ballou was unmatched after the restart, as Chase Stockon, who had just entered the top-five after falling back early in the race, began to march up on the high side. He caught Bacon and slid past into turn-one to take the second spot. In the final laps, Ballou again caught traffic but Stockon could only bite a small chunk out of his margin.
Stockon came home a strong second.
"We have changed a lot of things since this time last year, and it felt good to get rolling on the top and go by some really good guys. Our program doesn't get much credit when the track goes slick, so it's satisfying to get rolling so well when the track got black. We have seen a lot of different conditions now on this track, and seem to do pretty well with all of them," Stockon said.
Defending champion Bacon came home third.
"This is exactly the type of track we've struggled with the most, so tonight was good to get ourselves closer and be in contention for the win. I was better than Robert early in the race and got to him, but he was way better than us at the end. I finally moved up high after Chase got by me, and I was better up there, but it was too late to get anything going. We're happy with the progress we've made," Bacon said.
Jon Stanbrough opened up his venture of starting his own team with a strong fourth-place finish while Grant rounded out the top-five.
Bryan Clauson overcame obstacles in the heat to transfer from the Semi-Feature in a back-up car before going from 21st to 9th in the feature.
AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: February 20, 2015 - Ocala, Florida - Bubba Raceway Park - "Winter Dirt Games VI"
QUALIFYING: 1. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-14.454; 2. Bryan Clauson, 41, SST-14.620; 3. Shane Cockrum, 66, Wade-14.788; 4. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips-14.835; 5. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17RW, Dutcher-14.865; 6. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-14.917; 7. Jon Stanbrough, 81, JSR-14.923; 8. Justin Grant, 40, Hery-14.974; 9. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-15.069; 10. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-15.108; 11. Kyle Cummins, 21x, Pollock-15.122; 12. Kyle Robbins, 17R, Robbins-15.191; 13. Chris Windom, 2, Lein-15.203; 14. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-15.204; 15. Carson Short, 21, Short-15.308; 16. Logan Jarrett, 29, Jarrett-15.327; 17. Brady Short, 11P, Pottorff-15.422; 18. Landon Simon, 24, LSR-15.491; 19. Chad Boespflug, 5, Baldwin-15.537; 20. Aaron Farney, 15F, Farney-15.570; 21. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-15.675; 22. Casey Shuman, 21x, Barnhill/Dodd-15.702; 23. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-15.885; 24. Zach Daum, 5D, Daum-15.963; 25. Brandon Spithaler, 57B, Burkey-16.151; 26. Isaac Chapple, 7G, Goacher-16.165; 27. Chris Gurley, 11, Walker-16.231; 28. Bret Mellenberndt, 97, Mellenberndt-16.250; 29. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-16.604; 30. Kent Wolters, 12x, Wolters-16.614; 31. Frank Carlsson, 20, Carlsson-NT.
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. B.Short, 3. Bacon, 4. Windom, 5. Thomas, 6. Andretti, 7. Spithaler, 8. Bell. 2:07.88
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Hines, 2. Shuman, 3. Stockon, 4. Leary, 5. Clauson, 6. Simon, 7. Wolters. 2:11.94
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Boespflug, 2. Cummins, 3. Stanbrough, 4. Cockrum, 5. Swanson, 6. Gurley, 7. Carlsson, 8. C.Short. NT
FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Grant, 2. Daum, 3. Jarrett, 4. Farney, 5. Robbins, 6. Mellenberndt, 7. Darland. NT
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Thomas, 2. C.Short, 3. Simon, 4. Swanson, 5. Robbins, 6. Clauson, 7. Andretti, 8. Spithaler, 9. Gurley, 10. Mellenberndt, 11. Wolters, 12. Darland, 13. Carlsson, 14. Bell. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Robert Ballou, 2. Chase Stockon, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Jon Stanbrough, 5. Justin Grant, 6. Brady Short, 7. Chad Boespflug, 8. Shane Cockrum, 9. Bryan Clauson, 10. C.J. Leary, 11. Chris Windom, 12. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 13. Logan Jarrett, 14. Aaron Farney, 15. Carson Short, 16. Dave Darland, 17. Casey Shuman, 18. Kody Swanson, 19. Zach Daum, 20. Kyle Robbins, 21. Chris Gurley, 22. Landon Simon, 23. Kyle Cummins, 24. Tracy Hines. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-11 Ballou, Lap 12 Bacon, Laps 13-30 Ballou.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Ballou-68; 2-Bacon-66; 3-Stockon-64; 4-Stanbrough-57; 5-Grant-56; 6-B.Short-52; 7-Boespflug-50; 8-Cockrum-48; 9-Leary-38; 10-Windom-36.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: February 21 - Ocala, FL - Bubba Raceway Park - "Winter Dirt Games VI"
OCALA SPRINT TIMETABLE MOVED BACK ONE DAY
"Winter Dirt Games VI" is moving back one day as a result of the cold temperatures and rain moving into Florida today and tomorrow. This week's AMSOIL USAC Sprint Car National Championship schedule at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida now opens with an open practice Thursday night, followed by racing Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Times remain the same for Friday and Saturday, while warmups on Sunday night will begin at 6 pm.
Defending AMSOIL USAC Sprint Car National Champion Brady Bacon leads the series into the 2015 openers, which will be followed the next week by races Thursday-Saturday (Feb. 26-27-28) at East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla.
BACON, HOFFMAN OPEN TITLE DEFENSE AT OCALA THIS WEEK
Brady Bacon of Broken Arrow, Okla. and Dynamics, Inc. open defense of their 2014 AMSOIL USAC Sprint Car National Championship this week as the "Winter Dirt Games VI" begins Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla.
The team will try to add to Hoffman Auto Racing's all-time series record of 86 feature wins as the six-race "Winter Dirt Games VI" follows the Ocala openers with a trio of races Feb. 26-27-28 at East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla.
Bacon, who won last year's opener at Ocala and has eight career wins, posted 14 podium finishes on his way to the 2014 title. He will pilot the Mean Green/Lykins Oil Triple X/Williams Mopar in the Florida tour.
The Hoffman team, who also won in 2012 at Ocala with driver Darren Hagen, earned their initial USAC National victory with driver Jim Hemmings at Salem, Ind. in 1961. In addition to Hemmings, Bacon and Hagen, other drivers who found victory lane in Hoffman cars include Rich Vogler, Steve Butler, Robbie Stanley, Larry Cannon, Cary Faas, Kenny Irwin Jr., Andy Michner, Dave Darland, Brian Tyler, Tracy Hines, Jon Stanbrough, Jerry Coons Jr., Daron Clayton and Kyle Larson.
"Florida played a major part of our season last year," says Bacon. "Getting off to a great start is always good and the team appears ready to make another title charge. It's nice to have six races there to kick-start the year. I've never raced at East Bay but I like the challenge of new tracks. Ocala is one of the most unique tracks we race at all year. It's like a half-mile in turns one and two, the like a quarter-mile in turns three and four. Turns three and four are critical and it seems like we are pretty good in that part of the track so that helps. It seems like the competition steps up more and more each year so putting together a sweep will be difficult but we will certainly try. I'm ready to get out of the Midwest for a couple of weeks!"
Bryan Clauson is the Ocala track record holder and won last year's Saturday night feature there. He joins the competition for Bacon this week, along with others like 2014 USAC Sprint winners Justin Grant, Dave Darland, Tracy Hines, Chase Stockon, Jon Stanbrough and Robert Ballou.
Defending USAC Silver Crown Champion Kody Swanson is also among expected participants, along with 2014 series Rookie of the Year Jarett Andretti and 2014 USAC Most Improved National Driver Shane Cockrum.
1. Chase Stockon 236
2. Kevin Thomas Jr. 222
3. Brady Bacon 220
4. Robert Ballou 211
5. Dave Darland 204
6. Chris Windom 196
7. Jon Stanbrough 189
8. C.J. Leary 176
9. Chad Boespflug 164
10. Justin Grant 162
1. Rico Abreu 1045
2. Christopher Bell 1035
3. Tracy Hines 999
4. Bryan Clauson 954
5. Zach Daum 865
6. Tanner Thorson 792
7. Chris Windom 594
8. Michael Pickens 499
9. Dave Darland 452
10. Tyler Thomas 408
1. Kody Swanson 582
2. Tracy Hines 555
3. Bobby East 537
4. Chris Windom 469
5. Jerry Coons Jr. 408
6. A.J Fike 320
7. Jacob Wilson 306
8. Shane Cockrum 286
9. Caleb Armstron 259
10. Patrick Lawson 145
1. R.Vander Weerd 73
2. Mike Spencer 67
3. A.Williams 66
4. Damion Gardner 59
5. Matt Mitchell 55
6. Jake Swanson 51
7. H. Schuerenberg 50
8. Ronnie Gardner 48
9. C.Williams 42
10. Brody Roa 38