This Saturday night’s “Sokola Shootout” at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway salutes the memory of the Sokola family, whose impact on Sprint Car racing in Southern California was profound. Gary Sokola piloted the CRA Sprint Series for 13 years before becoming the USAC National Sprint Car Supervisor, a post he held for 10 years prior to his passing in 2000.
Saturday’s race marks the 150th for AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars at the half-mile dirt oval and drivers Mike Spencer and Damion Gardner will square off for the all-time lead in terms of feature victories in the series.
Spencer, who became the first driver in USAC history to win five straight series titles with last year’s USAC/CRA crown, has 24 Perris wins, while Gardner, who has switched back to USAC/CRA full-time this year, owns 25.
Spencer and Gardner met with mediocre success in last weekend’s “Copper on Dirt” events at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Ariz. Spencer had a fifth and a 23rd, while Gardner was fourth and sixth in the two races. Spencer was Saturday’s fastest qualifier.
R.J Johnson of Phoenix, Ariz. wheeled the Weiler Farms/Pecon Builders Maxim to victory in Saturday night’s 30-lapper at Peoria. Johnson passed Bruce St. James on the second lap and led the rest of the way for the win over Nic Faas, Bryan Clauson, Gardner and Ryan Bernal. The win stopped Clauson’s “sweep” of the weekend races after he had won both Friday and Saturday’s Midgets and Friday’s Sprint. Spencer was forced out of the feature early with a tire issue.
Clauson, of Noblesville, Ind., completed a clean sweep of Friday night’s “Copper on Dirt” USAC features as he won the 30-lap AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint main event after winning the 25-lap USAC Western Midget race. In the Sprints he passed Faas on lap 15 and led the final 16 laps in his Mike Martin Ultimate Offroad/Naquin Precision Earth Moving Maxim. Faas took second ahead of Bud Kaeding, Gardner and Spencer. Hunter Schuerenberg led the first nine laps and Faas led the next five before Clauson, who was also the fastest qualifier, took over.
Clauson’s three USAC victories over the weekend have tied him for the all-time Arizona USAC lead matching the eight wins by A.J. Foyt and Dave Steele.
2013 AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-Bryan Clauson-138, 2-Nic Faas-124, 3-Damion Gardner-119, 4-Bud Kaeding-110, 5-Ryan Bernal-98, 6-Hunter Schuerenberg-91, 7-Mike Spencer-80, 8-Brody Roa-71, 9-Matt Mitchell-63, 10-David Cardey-60.