This Saturday, October 8th, the USAC Western States Midgets are back in action at Tulare’s Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway. Promoted by Steve Faria, the “KRC Safety Fall Shootout” will also feature the winged King of the West 410 Sprints, Winged Western RaceSaver 305 Sprints, and the “Legends of Kearney Bowl” Vintage Cars. The front gates will open at 4:00pm, time trials at 6:00pm, with racing scheduled for 7:00pm. For more information, visit the track’s website at www.tularethunderbowl.com or call 559.688.0909.
Saturday’s event marks the eighth appearance of the “mighty midgets” at the Tulare County Fairgrounds. P.J. Jones won the September 7, 1988 Tulare debut and Bryan Clauson holds the 1-lap qualifying record of 15.628, set on November 13, 2010. Other Tulare winners are Brady Bacon, Michael Faccinto, Robby Flock, Tracy Hines, Trey Marcham, and Sleepy Tripp.
Entering the eleventh point race, Ronnie Gardner (Corona, California) has an 82-point lead over the competition. Driving the Six8 Motorsports’ #68 Baldozier Racing / Esslinger Engineering Stewart, Gardner ran second to Cody Swanson at Santa Maria on September 17th. To date, the three-time champion has posted four feature wins, three Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, eight heat race victories, one Keizer Aluminum Wheels / Rod End Supply Hard Charger Award, ten top-10 finishes, and 104 feature laps led. Ronnie is currently ranked sixth overall with seventeen career victories and will be looking to add Tulare to his win list.
Michael Faccinto (Hanford, California) is second in the championship point chase. Piloting the MF Motorsports’ #35F OSV / Lucas Oil Spike, Faccinto ran sixth in the Santa Maria feature. At press time, this year’s “Louie Vermeil Classic” champion has two feature wins, two Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, one heat race victory, nine top-10 finishes, and 67 feature laps led to his credit. This Saturday, Michael will have his sights on his fifth career USAC Western Midget triumph.
Frankie Guerrini (San Rafael, California) ranks third in the USAC Western Midget point standings.
Racing the family owned #63 F&F Racing / Davis Motorsports Spike, Guerrini scored fourth at the September 17th main event. To date, last year’s BCRA Champion has one heat race victory, one Competition Suspension Inc. / Rod End Supply Semi-Main win, and nine top-10 finishes in the campaign. Frankie will be looking to gain valuable points at Tulare with his second career USAC win.
Cory Elliott (Bakersfield, California) sits fourth in the chase for the championship. Driving the family owned #11E FK Indy / Oilwize Spike, Elliott led the first twenty-four laps at Santa Maria before scoring third at the checkered flags. At press time, last season’s Rookie of the Year has posted four heat race victories and eight top-10 finishes to his credit. At Tulare, Cory will have his sights on earning his second career USAC Western States Midget victory.
Courtney Crone (Corona, California) is fifth in the championship point standings. Piloting Jerome Rodela’s #25 Trench Shoring / Ed Pink Racing Engines Breka, Crone scored eighth at Santa Maria Raceway. To date, the leading rookie contender has earned two Keizer Aluminum Wheels / Rod End Supply Hard Charger Awards and five top-10 finishes on the season. This Saturday, Courtney will be looking to score her first series win at the Tulare County Fairgrounds.
Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Randi Pankratz, Cody Swanson, Robert Dalby, Maria Cofer, Tyler Dolacki, Shannon McQueen, Alex Schutte, Dylan Ito, Ashley Hazelton, Nate Waite, and more.
Tulare, California’s Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds at the corner of Bardsley and K Streets. Reserved Grandstand Tickets are $20 and General Admission Seats are $18. Advance tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling the track office at 559.688.0909. For more event information, visit the track’s website at www.tularethunderbowl.com.