From Lance Jennings
SANTA MARIA, CA – JUNE 12, 2012… The cars and stars of the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series are gearing up for a special Friday-Saturday doubleheader with the USAC Western Classic Racing Series. Starting June 15th at John Prentice’s Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, both groups will race the following night at Chris Kearns’ Santa Maria Speedway. With valuable championship points available for both series, a talented roster of drivers are expected at both tracks.
Friday’s event will mark the third appearance of USAC/CRA at the popular Watsonville 1/4-mile facility. Over the past two seasons, Ventura’s “The Kruser” Cory Kruseman has driven his #21K Sander Engineering machine to victory. Now driving Mark Priestley’s #7 Roy Miller Freight Lines Maxim, the 2006 Champion will be among the favorites to watch. Joining the action packed card will be Ford Focus Midgets, Junior Ford Focus Midgets, Micro 600s, and Modifieds. The pit gates will open at 1:00pm, spectator gates will open at 4:30pm, and racing will begin at 6:00pm.
Santa Maria Speedway will showcase the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Cars for the thirteenth time in series history. Debuting on June 18, 2005, “Super” Rickie Gaunt of Torrance won the 30-lap feature in Tony Smiley’s #2A Extreme. Last season, Kruseman followed up his Watsonville triumph by scoring the Santa Maria main event on June 18th. On August 13th, Yorba Linda’s Austin Williams led wire-to-wire in Jack Jory’s #2 John Jory Corporation Viper to earn his first career USAC/CRA victory. Saturday’s card will also feature a $1,000 Winner-Take-All Sprint Car Wheelie Contest, the Richie McGowan Hobby Stocks, Toste Construction Mini Stocks, and Okie Bowl Hardtops The pit gate will open at 2:00pm, spectator gates will open at 4:00pm, time trials will begin at 5:00pm, and racing is slated for 6:00pm.
Several bonuses have been announced to encourage more local participation and a larger fan base to the Watsonville and Santa Maria point races. The United States Auto Club (USAC) will award a bonus to the three highest finishing drivers that register with the Western Classic Series. $500 will go to the top finishing driver, with $300 to second, and $200 awarded to third. In addition, Kearns has announced a $200 bonus to the highest finishing entry from the USAC West Coast 360s. Local cars are also eligible to participate in USAC/CRA’s contingency program that awards sponsor certificates to fast time, heat race winners, semi-main winner, hard charger, and more. The incentives will be paid in addition to the regular USAC/CRA purse of $2500-to-win and $300-to-start the main event.
Heading into the seventh race of the season, Temecula’s Mike Spencer holds a thirty-two point advantage over the competition. At Yuma’s Cocopah Speedway on June 2nd, the pilot of Ron Chaffin’s #50 Madera Produce / Grubstake Mini Storage Maxim scored fourth in the main event after starting eighth. The 4-time USAC/CRA Champion has three feature wins, four Sander Engineering / Rod End Supply Fast Time Awards, one heat race victory, one Ringers Gloves / Keizer Wheels Hard Charger Award, seventy feature laps led, and six top-5 finishes to his credit. Spencer has his sights set on another crown and claiming victories at Watsonville and Santa Maria.
Nic Faas of Huntington Beach is second in the chase for the championship. Piloting Mark Alexander’s #4 Scott Sales Company / Competition Suspension Inc. Spike, Faas earned the Ringers Gloves / Keizer Wheels Hard Charger Award at Yuma with a seventeenth to sixth place run. The 2008 USAC Western Midget Series Champion won the Perris “Sokola Shootout” on February 25th and has two Sander Engineering / Rod End Supply Fast Time Awards, three heat race victories, twenty-five feature laps led, and four top-5 finishes on the year. Nic will be looking to close the gap in the title chase with feature wins at Ocean and Santa Maria.
Matt Mitchell of Yorba Linda has climbed to third in championship points. Driving the J.W. Mitchell Motorsports’ #37 J.M. Mancha Realtors / Sierra Springs Water Maxim, Matt raced to fifth at Yuma after starting twelfth. To date, the former USAC Western Midget Series Rookie of the Year has two heat race victories and four top-5 finishes in the campaign. During this doubleheader, Mitchell will be looking to claim his first Watsonville and Santa Maria USAC/CRA features.
Yorba Linda’s Austin Williams has moved to fourth in the point chase. Piloting Jack Jory’s #2 John Jory Corporation / AMA Plastics Spike, Williams claimed seventh at Yuma’s Cocopah Speedway. The 2009 Rookie of the Year enters the doubleheader with three heat race victories, one Competition Suspension Inc. / Diversified Machine Inc. Semi-Main, one Ringers Gloves / Keizer Wheels Hard Charger Award, and three top-five finishes on the season. Austin will have his sights on adding Watsonville and another Santa Maria 30-lap feature to his resume.
Brody Roa of Buena Park is currently fifth in the point standings. Driving the BR Performance #91R HD Industries / Burris Racing Spike, the 2010 Wagsdash Champion led all 30-laps to claim his first USAC/CRA feature at Yuma. To date, Roa has six top-10 finishes in the campaign and may be looking to continue his winning ways at Watsonville and Santa Maria
Among the other top contenders expected to be in action are Hollister’s Ryan Bernal, “The Ripper” Rip Williams of Yorba Linda, Seth Wilson of Las Vegas, Ventura’s “The Kruser” Cory Kruseman, Yorba Linda’s Cody Williams, and many more.
Heading into Friday’s show, Shauna Hogg leads the point chase with the USAC Western Classic Racing Series. The veteran driver is followed by Tony Hunt, Brian McClish, Gordon Rodgers, Tom Baker, Cody Gerhardt, Tim Skoglund, Scott Pierovich, Marvin Mitchell, and Ryan Bernal. McClish won last Saturday’s “Pombo Classic” at Madera and other features have gone to Bernal and Hunt.
All competitors must run mufflers at the Watsonville and Santa Maria events. Ocean Speedway has a strict muffler rule and asks competitors to run the Extreme Ventura Legal (4615-3535-8), FlowMaster Suitcase, Spintech Suitcase, or Extreme (6014-3530) & Spin Tech 180 degree mufflers. Santa Maria Speedway has a standard track rule (95dB at 100 feet), similar to those used at California Fairgrounds based facilities. Local track sound standards must be met in order to compete.
Per USAC/CRA rules, 360 iron-block powered Sprint Cars can run their local track or series approved Hoosier tires on all four corners. Cars must pass a tech inspection and one-way radios are mandatory for drivers. USAC/CRA charges a $25 entry fee to all competitors, which includes a transponder rental. Aluminum block 410 powered cars must run either a Hoosier HT2, HTW (105x18x15), DT3, or F55 Right Rear tire. USAC Western Classic Racing entries must follow series rules to earn championship points.
Ocean Speedway is located on the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville, California at 2601 E. Lake Avenue. For more information, visit the track’s website at www.oceanspeedway.com or call (831) 662-9466.
Santa Maria Speedway is located 1/4-mile north of the 101/166 interchange at 1900 Hutton Road in Nipomo, California. For more event information, visit the track’s website at www.racesantamariaspeedway.com or call (805) 922-2232.
The Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series would like to thank Hoosier Tire, Circle Track Performance, Competition Suspension Inc., DJ Safety, Diversified Machine Inc., Extreme Mufflers, Hilborn Fuel Injection, Integra Shocks, Keizer Wheels, LRB Inc. Race Products, Ringers Gloves, Rod End Supply, SBI Fuel Systems, Saldana Racing Products, and Sander Engineering for their support.
For more information on the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series, visit www.usacracing.com/cra or follow the series on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/USAC-CRA-Sprint-Car-Series/167535183297971) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/#!/USAC_CRA).
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS:
1. Mike Spencer-407; 2. Nic Faas-375; 3. Matt Mitchell-314; 4. Austin Williams-297; 5. Brody Roa-280; 6. Ryan Bernal-278; 7. Rip Williams-249; 8. Seth Wilson-238; 9. Cory Kruseman-227; 10. Cody Williams-200; 11. Richard Vander Weerd-195; 12. David Cardey-177; 13. David Bezio-173; 14. Jace Vander Weerd-163; 15. Greg Alexander-104; 16. Josh Ford-99; 17. Jake Swanson-86; 18. Tony Everhart-68; 19. Josh Pelkey-51; 20. Billy Blinn-31.
USAC WESTERN CLASSIC SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS:
1. Shauna Hogg-165; 2. Tony Hunt-153; 3. Brian McClish-138; 4. Gordon Rodgers-132; 5. Tom Baker-127; 6. Cody Gerhardt-117; 7. Tim Skoglund-117; 8. Scott Pierovich-115; 9. Marvin Mitchell-78; 10. Ryan Bernal-74.
WATSONVILLE USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR FEATURE WINNERS:
06/18/10: Cory Kruseman – Kruseman Motorsports #21K
06/17/11: Cory Kruseman – Kruseman Motorsports #21K
SANTA MARIA USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR FEATURE WINNERS:
06/18/05: Rickie Gaunt – Tony Smiley #2A
08/27/05: Mike Kirby – Mark Alexander #4
06/17/06: Cory Kruseman – Glenn & Carol Crossno #38
08/26/06: Rip Williams – Jack & Sharon Jory #3
06/16/07: Mike Spencer – Ron Chaffin #50
08/11/07: Mike Spencer – Ron Chaffin #50
07/14/08: Tyler Brown – Nadine Gardner #96
08/16/08: Nic Faas – Nic Faas #17F
07/13/09: Garrett Hansen – Mark Priestley #7
08/14/10: Blake Miller – Mark Priestley #7
06/18/11: Cory Kruseman – Kruseman Motorsports #21K
08/13/11: Austin Williams – Jack Jory #2
NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACES:
June 15: **Ocean Speedway – Watsonville, CA
June 16: **Santa Maria Speedway – Santa Maria, CA
** = Co-Sanctioned Event With USAC Western Classic Racing Series.