By Lance Jennings
SANTA MARIA, CA – APRIL 12, 2011… This Saturday night, April 16th, the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series will compete at Steve Faria’s Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare. Joining the traditional 360s will be the Golden State King of the West Sprint Cars, IMCA Modifieds, and Vintage Super Modifieds. The Front Gates will open at 5:00pm, Time Trials will start at 6:00pm, with Racing at the lightning fast 1/3-mile facility to begin at 7:00pm.
Hollister’s Ryan Bernal leads the point chase heading into Saturday’s event. Piloting Danny Olmstead’s #11D Steve Watt Enterprises / S&S Automotive Maxim, Bernal claimed fifth last Saturday at Santa Maria. The multi-time Wingless Spec Sprint Champion finished second in his Tulare debut on March 19th and currently holds a nine point advantage. Ryan will be looking for his first career series win on Saturday.
Gardena’s Greg Alexander is second in the championship points. Driving Chuck Tyler’s #72 Trench Shoring / Barnes Systems Maxim, Alexander placed tenth at Santa Maria and finished third in a photo finish at Tulare. Greg has one heat race win to his credit and will be in the mix for Saturday’s Faria Memorial victory.
Sitting third in the point chase is Jace VanderWeerd of Visalia. Piloting Ron VanderWeerd’s #88 VanderWeerd Construction / Battery Worx Maxim, Jace won the Santa Maria 30-lap feature. VanderWeerd finished eighth at Tulare on March 19th and will look to make it two-in-a-row on Saturday.
“Wide Open” Wes Gutierrez of San Martin is fourth in the standings. Driving the WG Motorsports #007 DRC backed by Competition Suspension Inc. and ButlerBuilt, Gutierrez scored sixth at Santa Maria and Tulare. The hard charging driver will put on a show at the Faria Memorial.
Fresno’s T.J. Smith is currently fifth in the points. Piloting Steve LeGras’ #14 UHL Rubber / S&S Automotive Maxim, Smith was second at Santa Maria after leading sixteen laps. At Tulare, the Santa Maria track champion recorded a twelfth place finish and will among the favorites this Saturday.
Among the other top contenders expected to be in action are Campbell’s Bud Kaeding, defending champion Craig Stidham of Fresno, Hanford’s Justyne Hamblin, “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. of Tipton, Kerman’s Davey Pombo, Visalia’s Richard VanderWeerd, Jonathan Logan of Hanford, Bakersfield’s Rusty Carlile, and many more.
The USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series would like to thank Southwest Contractors, Hoosier Tire, Amsoil, BR Motorsports, ButlerBuilt, Competition Suspension Inc., 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, Port City Racing, Saferacer.com, Saldana Racing Products, and Sander Engineering for their support.
Tulare’s Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds at the corner of Bardsley and K Streets. Reserved Grandstand Tickets are $20 and Bleacher Tickets are $17. Advance tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling the track office at (559) 688-0909. For more event information, visit the track’s website at www.tularethunderbowl.com.
For more information on the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series, visit www.westcoastsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, www.racesantamariaspeedway.com, or follow the series on facebook.
USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS:
1. Ryan Bernal 122; 2. Greg Alexander 113; 3. Jace VanderWeerd 110; 4. Wes Gutierrez 108; 5. T.J. Smith 101; 6. Justyne Hamblin 88; 7. Danny Faria Jr. 85; 8. Davey Pombo 84; 9. Richard VanderWeerd 77; 10. Bud Kaeding 76; 11. Johnathon Logan 70; 12. Andy Forsberg 57; 13. Craig Stidham 55; 14. Rusty Carlile 54; 15. Marcus Niemela 49; –. Troy Rutherford 49; 17. Kevin Barnes 48; 18. Dennis Howell 43; 19. Garrett Ishii 39; 20. Marty Hawkins 37.
NEXT USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT RACE:
April 16th – Tulare, CA – Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway – “Chris & Brian Faria Memorial”