USAC West Coast 360's

By Dick Jordan
USAC West Coast 360's

Charles Davis Jr. of Buckeye, Ariz. continues to chase A.J. Foyt and Dave Steele for the all-time lead in terms of USAC feature victories in the state of Arizona. He’ll have a great chance to do that the next two weeks as Canyon Raceway Park in Peoria hosts the “Winter Challenge” for the USAC Southwest Sprint Cars. The January 25-27 and January 30, February 1-2 races also are considered “special events” for USAC’s West Coast Sprint cars.

Davis has six career USAC wins in the Grand Canyon State, two behind Foyt and Steele, who have eight each. Drivers Jerry Coons Jr. and Mel Kenyon each have seven, while Damion Gardner, Sleepy Tripp and Bobby East also have six.

Davis, though, triumphed just last September at Canyon and could be among top threats in the upcoming races. Davis earned his initial USAC wins at Show Low and Phoenix in 2002, followed by wins at Canyon in 2003 and in Phoenix and Tucson in 2007.

In all, 80 total USAC Sprint races have been contested in Arizona, dating back to the twin-50s posted by Don Branson and Foyt at the Arizona State Fair mile in Phoenix in 1964.

For history’s sake, Foyt’s wins came at the Arizona State Fairgrounds (1960 Champ Cars and 1964 Sprints), Phoenix International Raceway 1965, 1971 and 1975 Champ and 1970 Stock) and Manzanita Park Speedway (1965). Steele scored all eight of his wins at Phoenix International Raceway (Midgets in 2002, 2006 and 2007 and Silver Crown in 2002-03-04-05-06).

“Kevin Montgomery has created a more racey oval for us this year and I’m excited about going back there,” says Davis, who won twice and had two seconds in last year’s Winter Challenge. “To join the list with Foyt and Steele would be huge for all of us here,” adds the Arizona native. “I finished second to Tracy Hines in last year’s Challenge and would like to move up one spot this time around.”