By Lance Jennings & surfnsprint.com
VENTURA, CA – APRIL 20, 2011… Series point leader Troy Rutherford of Ojai continued his winning ways last Saturday night at Ventura Raceway. The defending track champion powered by Quartz Hill’s Steve Conrad on lap thirteen en route to his fourth VRA Sprint Car Series triumph of the year.
Sharing the front row with Camarillo’s Brent Camarillo, Steve Conrad shot to the lead at the drop of the green flag. The March 12th main event winner set the pace, trailed by Camarillo, Santa Clarita’s Guy Woodward, and a furious battle for fourth between Johnathon Henry of Stockton and Troy Rutherford. Woodward pressured Camarillo for second and momentarily fell back, finding himself in a three-wide battle with Henry and Rutherford. Rutherford got the better of the exchange and secured the third spot.
Conrad looked to put some distance between himself and the rest of the field. Rutherford was continuing his march forward and set his sights on Camarillo for second. Behind Rutherford, veteran drivers Cory Kruseman of Ventura and Camarillo’s Josh Ford joined the fight for fourth with Woodward and Henry.
A few laps later, Rutherford executed a “slide job” pass on Camarillo for second. Now, with a clear path to the leader, Troy flew around the Ventura clay oval to close the gap. As Conrad stuck to the bottom groove, Rutherford carried extra momentum on the high side to secure the lead on lap thirteen. The duo began to approach slower traffic and missed a spinning Woodward, who ducked into the infield. Steve was back to challenge for the lead as Henry, now in third, was on the charge and closing in fast.
With fifteen laps down, Rutherford maintained the lead with Henry on his rear bumper. Conrad looked to challenge Henry, but fell back as the leaders weaved their way through the back markers. A yellow flag briefly stopped the action, as a car knocked down a piece of track wall on the racing surface. The track crew made a quick repair and racing resumed.
On the restart, Rutherford was in control and Henry made quick work of lapped car. Conrad charged after Henry and took second as Johnathon bounced his car off the cushion and lost valuable ground. From there, Troy Rutherford took the 30-lap victory, followed by Steve Conrad, Johnathon Henry, Brent Camarillo, and Josh Ford.
On the strength of four wins in five starts, Troy Rutherford now holds 120 point advantage heading into this Saturday’s race. Driving the #11 Trench Shoring / State Ready Mix car, Rutherford won his third 10-lap heat race of the year and has led forty-eight feature laps. The defending champion is in “the zone” and will be looking to add another win to his resume.
Piloting the #56 Roy Miller Freightlines / SC Grafix entry, Steve Conrad had another strong outing with a second place run. Currently third in the point chase, Conrad was second in his heat race and has four top-10 finishes to his credit. The USAC TQ Midget graduate led the first twelve laps of the main event before falling to Rutherford and has one feature win on the year.
Johnathon Henry pressured Rutherford for the top spot before scoring third. Driving Kevin Kierce’s #3 machine, Johnathon was second in his heat race and is now nineteenth in the point standings. The young driver has two top-10 finishes on the year and will look for the Ventura win on Saturday.
Brent Camarillo had his best finish of the season with a fourth place performance. The pilot of the #51 Agromin Soil / Waste Management special was second in heat race and battled for second early in the feature. The hard charger is currently sixth in the championship standings.
Driving the #73 King Racing Products / A&A Precision Machining entry, Josh Ford came home fifth in the 30-lap feature. Earlier in the night’s program, Ford claimed his first heat race win of 2011 and is now fourth in the points. Last year’s All Coast 360 Challenge Champion will be in the mix for Saturday’s win.
“The Kruser” Cory Kruseman scored the victory in the night’s second heat race. Piloting the #21K Lucas Oil / Sander Engineering car, Kruseman was sixth in the main event and has three top-10 finishes to his credit. The 2-Time Chili Bowl Nationals Champion is eighth in the point chase heading into Saturday’s action.
Ojai’s Derek Buckley won his fourth heat race of the 2011 campaign and scored nineteenth in the feature. The driver of the #76 Fatheadz Eyewear / Competition Suspension Inc. entry has two top-10 finishes and is currently ninth in the points. The hard charger will be looking for Saturday’s win at Ventura.
Brandon Thomson of Norwalk won the 12-lap Semi-Main. Also earning transfer spots to the feature were Dakota Kershaw, Cody Kershaw, and Clark Templeman III. Thomson earned the night’s “Hard Charger / Best Passing Job” honors with a ninth place run after starting seventeenth. Dakota scored fifteenth, Cody claimed twelfth, and Templeman recorded a thirteenth place finish.
Ventura Raceway had five other companion classes scheduled on the night. Rob Kershaw won the VRA Senior Sprint Car main event and Jack Parker claimed victory in IMCA Modified action. Ray Estrada scored the Pro Dwarf Car triumph and, Dan Hillberg won the California Lightning Sprint feature after Jarrett Kramer’s car failed a post race tech inspection. Richard Renken won in the VRA Go Kart division.
To catch all of the action of the VRA Sprint Car Series and Ventura Raceway, Mike Truex’s Loudpedal Productions has DVD videos available for purchase. For more information, call (805) 407-7229 or visit www.loudpedalvideo.com. In addition, Ventura Raceway offers a live feed of every event at www.venturaraceway.com/live.html. The live feed will begin at 5:00pm PST.
This Saturday, April 23rd, Ventura Raceway is back in action with the VRA Sprint Cars, VRA Midgets, IMCA Modifieds, Focus Midgets, Junior Focus Midgets, and Go Karts. The Front Gates will open at 3:00pm with Racing to start at 5:30pm. For more event information, please visit www.venturaraceway.com or call (805) 985-5433.
VRA SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS:
Ventura Raceway – Ventura, California
April 16, 2011
ENTRIES: ( Car / Driver Name / Points)
2 Robby Josett 20; 3 Johnathon Henry 220; 3M Jake McVey 10; 4 Chris Gansen 10; 7 Greg Taylor 170; 11 Troy Rutherford 260; 11B AJ Bender 15; 14 Tom Hendricks 115; 16 Tom Harper 140; 17 Jimmy Crawford 155; 18T Clark Templeman III 130; 21K Cory Kruseman 195; 22 Brian Camarillo 175; 24 Guy Woodward 115; 26 Cody Kershaw 135; 28 Dakota Kershaw 125; 51 Brent Camarillo 210; 55s Kyle Smith 125; 56 Steve Conrad 235; 57 Steve Hix 10; 67K Taylor Price 20; 69 Marcus Niemela 155; 71K Don Gansen 120; 73 Josh Ford 205; 76 Derek Buckley 125; 83 John Nock 15; 92 Brandon Thomson 155; 96k Charlie Butcher 10.
HEAT RACE 1: (10 laps)
1. Josh Ford, 2. Guy Woodward, 3. Marcus Niemela, 4. Tom Hendricks, 5. Dakota Kershaw, 6. Cody Kershaw, 7. Charlie Butcher.
HEAT RACE 2: (10 laps)
1. Cory Kruseman, 2. Steve Conrad, 3. Brian Camarillo, 4. Kyle Smith, 5. Robby Josett, 6. Clark Templeman III, 7. Jake McVey.
HEAT RACE 3: (10 laps)
1. Troy Rutherford, 2. Johnathon Henry, 3. Greg Taylor, 4. Jimmy Crawford, 5. Brandon Thomson, 6. A.J. Bender, 7. Steve Hix.
HEAT RACE 4: (10 laps)
1. Derek Buckley, 2. Brent Camarillo, 3. Tom Harper, 4. Don Gansen, 5. Taylor Price, 6. John Nock, 7. Chris Gansen.
SEMI-MAIN: (12 laps)
1. Brandon Thomson, 2. Dakota Kershaw, 3. Cody Kershaw, 4. Clark Templeman III, 5. Charlie Butcher, 6. John Nock, 7. Chris Gansen, 8. Robby Josett, 9. Taylor Price, 10. Jake McVey, 11. Steve Hix, 12. A.J. Bender.
FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions)
1. Troy Rutherford (5th), 2. Steve Conrad (1st), 3. Johnathon Henry (4th), 4. Brent Camarillo (2nd), 5. Josh Ford (6th), 6. Cory Kruseman (7th), 7. Brian Camarillo (11th), 8. Greg Taylor (12th), 9. Brandon Thomson (17th), 10. Jimmy Crawford (14th), 11. Marcus Niemela (9th), 12. Cody Kershaw (19th), 13. Clark Templeman III (20th), 14. Tom Harper (10th), 15. Dakota Kershaw (18th), 16. Kyle Smith (13th), 17. Don Gansen (16th), 18. Tom Hendricks (15th), 19. Derek Buckley (8th), 20. Guy Woodward (3rd).
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-12 Steve Conrad, 13-30 Troy Rutherford.
HARD CHARGER: Brandon Thomson (17th to 9th)
VRA SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS:
1. Troy Rutherford 1135; 2. Greg Taylor 1015; 3. Steve Conrad 960; 4. Josh Ford 895; 5. Don Gansen 825; 6. Brent Camarillo 765; -. Brandon Thomson 765; 8. Cory Kruseman 725; 9. Derek Buckley 705; 10. Brian Camarillo 660; 11. Marcus Niemela 610; 12. Justin Kierce 605; 13. Dakota Kershaw 585; 14. Kyle Smith 545; 15. John Nock 485; 16. Clark Templeman III 480; 17. Guy Woodward 470; 18. Jimmy Crawford 460; 19. Johnathon Henry 445; 20. Tom Hendricks 415.
NEXT VRA SPRINT CAR RACE:
April 23rd – Ventura Raceway – Ventura, California