From Dick Jordan
Two USAC western sprint car series compete in California this weekend as the West Coast Sprints return to the Tulare Thunderbowl Saturday and the Western Classics open their 2013 series Friday at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville.
Ryan Bernal continues to pace the West Coast Sprint standings while Tony Hunt is the defending king of the Western Classics.
Bernal finished second in Saturday night’s 30-lap race at Tulare, trailing fast qualifier Richard Vander Weerd, the Visalia, Calif. driver who posted his second straight series win.
Vander Weerd led all 30 laps in his Vander Weerd Construction/Battery Worx Maxim/Shark. Jace Vander Weerd followed Bernal in third, ahead of Markus Niemela and Bud Kaeding.
Bernal, who recovered from a qualifying flip, holds a 21-point lead over Kaeding in the new standings going into this Saturday’s race at Tulare.
Bernal won last year’s Watsonville opener and other 2012 Ocean Speedway winners were Mike Spencer (twice) and Brent Kaeding.
2013 USAC West Coast Sprint Car Standings: 1-Ryan Bernal-263, 2-Bud Kaeding-242, 3-Richard Vander Weerd-238, 4-Jace Vander Weerd-232, 5-Danny Faria Jr.-216, 6-Markus Niemela-177, 7-Rusty Carlile-164, 8-Ricky Kirkbride-152, 9-Austin Liggett-139, 10-Chris Ennis-130.