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T.J. SMITH STAYS HOT AT HANFORD

By Lance Jennings

HANFORD, CA – AUGUST 23, 2010… On another hot August night at Hanford’s Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway, Fresno’s T.J. Smith charged to the 30-lap feature win. While the race had some controversy, the victory marked Smith’s second triumph of the year with the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series.

Clovis’ Peter Murphy and Rusty Carlile of Bakersfield shared the front row of the main event. Murphy, who was looking for his first feature win of the year, got the jump on Carlile and was in command over the twenty-one car field. T.J. Smith, who started fourth, worked his way to the front and challenged Peter for the lead in the early going. Heading for the bottom line of the first turn, contact between the two drivers knocked Murphy out of the race with front end damage. “After those first two laps, me and Peter got together. We race good every week and that was really accidental. I feel horrible,” remarked Smith.

As action resumed, Smith took control and held off the challenges from defending series champion Justyne Hamblin, “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr., and point leader Craig Stidham. Setting a blistering pace on the Hanford clay, Smith was followed across the finish line by Faria, Stidham, Hamblin, and Davey Pombo.

With the victory, T.J. Smith is third in the series point standings. Driving Steve LeGras’ UHL Rubber #14 Maxim, the Fresno driver was sixth quick in time trials and won the Competition Suspension Incorporated Heat Race #3. To date, Smith has two feature victories, three fast time awards, three heat race wins, and thirteen top-10 finishes on the season.

“Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. of Tipton scored his third straight runner-up finish after starting fifth in the main event. Sitting sixth in the point standings, the pilot of the Louie DeGroot & Sons Dairy #17V Maxim was fifth quick in time trials and finished fourth in his heat race. Faria has one feature victory, five fast time awards, six heat race wins, seven top-10 finishes, and one hard charger award in the 2010 campaign.

With his third place finish, Fresno’s Craig Stidham holds a forty-nine point advantage over Davey Pombo. Driving the Brad Johnson Trucking / KRC Safety #3S Maxim, Stidham was second quick in time trials and finished second in his heat race to Rusty Carlile. The former California Rebel Cup Sprint Car champion has four feature victories, one fast time award, eight heat race wins, fifteen top-10 finishes, and one hard charger award on the year.

Hanford’s Justyne Hamblin took the JH Motorsports / Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino #8 Speed Tech to a fourth place finish. Currently fourth in the point standings, the defending series champion was seventh quick in time trials and won the Extreme Mufflers Heat Race #1. Hamblin has one feature victory, three heat race wins, eleven top-10 finishes, and three hard charger awards on the season.

Davey Pombo of Kerman earned his third Sander Engineering Fast Time Award of the season. The veteran driver finished second in his heat race to Justyne Hamblin and was fifth in the main event. Piloting Junior Bowman’s #3 Buster & Ziggy sponsored Bullet, Pombo is second in the point chase with two feature victories, four heat race wins, fifteen top-10 finishes, and one hard charger award in 2010.

Mariposa’s Andy Ferris earned his first King Racing Products Hard Charger Award with his fourteenth place run. Earlier in the night, Ferris drove the Matt & Glass Race Bodies / Frontier Fasteners #4J Jon Boy in the companion 360 Winged Sprint Car division. After finishing seventh in the feature, the veteran driver and crew removed the wings to start at the back of the non-wing event. Andy made the best of the opportunity and rebounded from a lap 4 tangle with three other cars. Ferris is currently twelfth in the point standings with five top-10 finishes to his credit

Rusty Carlile of Bakersfield won his fourth heat race of the year by winning the BR Motorsports / Saldana Racing Products Heat Race #2. Last year’s Cotton Classic winner was eighth quick in time trials and finished sixth in the main event. Currently seventh in the point standings, Carlile has one fast time award, eleven top-10 finishes, and one hard charger award on the season.

The USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series would like to thank Southwest Contractors, Hoosier Tire, Amsoil, BR Motorsports, Competition Suspension, Cory Kruseman’s Sprint Car & Midget Driving School, Crow Enterprizes, DJ Safety, Extreme Mufflers, Hilborn Fuel Injection, Hinchman-Indy Racing Uniforms, Integra Shocks, Kaeding Performance, Keizer Wheels, King Racing Products, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Port City Racing, Saferacer.com, Saldana Racing Products, and Sander Engineering for their support.

Round 17 for the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series will be this Saturday, August 28th, at the Santa Maria Speedway. The “Ron Otto Memorial” is also the third round of the Southwest Contractors 360 Clash. The four race mini-series will carry it’s own $5000 point fund, with $2500 to the series winner, $1500 for second, and $1000 for third. As this writing goes to press, the main events will pay $1200 to win and $200 to start.

Santa Maria Speedway is located at 1900 Hutton Road in Nipomo, California. Also on the card will be Powder Puff Mini Stocks, NMRA TQ Midgets, and Outlaw Sprint Karts on the mini-oval. The Front Gates will open at 5:00pm, Time Trials will start at 6:00pm, with Racing at 7:00pm. Adult tickets are $16, Senior, Military, and Student tickets are $14, Kids tickets (6-12) are $5, and Children’s tickets (5 and under) are FREE. For event information, please visit www.racesantamariaspeedway.com or call (805) 922-2232.

For more information on the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series, please visit westcoastsprintcars.com, usacracing.com, racesantamariaspeedway.com, or follow the series on facebook.

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USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT RACE RESULTS:
Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway – Hanford, California
August 21, 2010 – Race #16

SANDER ENGINEERING TIME TRIALS:
1. Davey Pombo, 3, Bowman-15.412; 2. Craig Stidham, 3S, Stidham-15.474; 3. Richard VanderWeerd, 10, VanderWeerd-15.602; 4. Jonathan Logan, 32, Evett/Logan-15.621; 5. Danny Faria Jr., 17V, Faria-15.627; 6. T.J. Smith, 14, LeGras-15.645; 7. Justyne Hamblin, 14, JH-15.750; 8. Rusty Carlile, 51, Carlile-15.765; 9. Peter Murphy, 11, Bowman-15.891; 10. Ricky Kirkbride, 87, Van Meter-15.905; 11. Jeff Gardner, 51T, Revcon-15.918; 12. Jace VanderWeerd, 88, VanderWeerd-16.008; 13. Jesse Mack, 71M, Gilbert/Mack-16.062; 14. Koen Shaw, 88K, Shaw-16.228; 15. Chris Ennis, 86, Ennis-16.489; 16. Dave Knott, 28, Knott-16.549; 17. Jerry Wise Jr., 23, Wise-16.930; 18. Ray Knight, 99K, Knight-18.206; 19. Jason Swaim, 52, Swaim-18.225; 20. Wes Gutierrez, 007, WG-NT, 21. Geoffrey Strole, 09S, Strole-NT.

EXTREME MUFFLERS HEAT RACE 1: (10 laps)
1. Justyne Hamblin, 2. Davey Pombo, 3. Jesse Mack, 4. Ricky Kirkbride, 5. Dave Knott, 6. Jason Swaim, 7. Jonathan Logan. NT.

BR MOTORSPORTS / SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS HEAT RACE 2: (10 laps)
1. Rusty Carlile, 2. Craig Stidham, 3. Wes Gutierrez, 4. Danny Faria Jr., 5. Jeff Gardner, 6. Koen Shaw, 7. Jerry Wise Jr. NT.

COMPETITION SUSPENSION INC. HEAT RACE 3: (10 laps)
1. T.J. Smith, 2. Peter Murphy, 3. Chris Ennis, 4. Richard VanderWeerd, 5. Geoffrey Strole, 6. Ray Knight. NT.

FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions)
1. T.J. Smith (4th), 2. Danny Faria Jr. (5th), 3. Craig Stidham (7th), 4. Justyne Hamblin (3rd), 5. Davey Pombo (8th), 6. Rusty Carlile (2nd), 7. Richard VanderWeerd (6th), 8. Chris Ennis (11th), 9. Wes Gutierrez (12th), 10. Ricky Kirkbride (9th), 11. Jesse Mack (10th), 12. Koen Shaw (16th), 13. Dave Knott (17th), 14. Andy Ferris (22nd), 15. Geoffrey Strole (21st), 16. Jerry Wise Jr. (18th), 17. Jason Swaim (20th), 18. Jonathan Logan (13th), 19. Jeff Gardner (14th), 20. Ray Knight (19th), 21. Peter Murphy (1st). NT.
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**Jonathan Logan flipped during qualifications.
**Jace VanderWeerd did not start the feature, was scheduled to start 15th.
**Andy Ferris tagged back of field in feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS:
Laps 1-2 Peter Murphy, Laps 3-30 T.J. Smith.

USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT POINT STANDINGS:
1-Craig Stidham-961; 2-Davey Pombo-912; 3-T.J. Smith-816; 4-Justyne Hamblin-737; 5-Peter Murphy-685; 6-Danny Faria Jr.-671; 7-Rusty Carlile-646; 8-Richard VanderWeerd-585; 9-Jace VanderWeerd-562; 10-Chris Ennis-491.

NEXT USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT RACE:
August 28 – Santa Maria Speedway – Santa Maria, California – “Ron Otto Memorial” – “Southwest Contractors 360 Clash”