Traveling to Arizona over the weekend to battle with the USAC National Sprint Car Series and the USAC Southwest Sprints, Ryan Bernal would do his fair share of passing as he earned hard charger honors in three of four feature events.
“We seemed to struggle early in the night in both cars on Friday and Saturday, but the guys worked hard and really gave me a car that raced really well in the features,” Ryan Bernal said.
Kicking things off on Friday night in the 360ci class, Bernal would pick up a fifth place finish during his heat race, which placed him in the seventh row for the feature event.
On a surface that was extremely hooked due to overnight rain, Bernal was able to flex his muscle, as he was able to keep his vision, a feat a few drivers admittedly failed to do, and carve his way through the field.
Able to manhandle his machine around the hammer down surface, Bernal would show patience as he worked his way up to finish in the fifth spot.
Saturday night’s 360ci event would see the Hollister, CA driver pick up a second place finish in his heat race and move him to the front row of the feature event. When the race came to life, Bernal would lead the first three circuits until Brady Bacon was able to get by him.
With Bacon now out in front, Bernal would not go away as he stalked him for the next seven laps until reclaiming the lead on the 11th lap. As the duo continued to battle, Bacon was able to answer the call and officially lead lap 12 as Bernal slipped to second.
Over the final 18 laps, Bernal would battle with RJ Johnson and Chris Windom as he slipped back to finish in the fourth spot.
In USAC National Sprint Car action, Bernal opened the weekend up by timing in 22nd fastest in qualifying time trials. Picking up the heat race win, Bernal would find himself in the 10th row of the feature event on that extremely hooked up Arizona Speedway surface.
Earning hard charger in the 360ci car on this night, Bernal would match that effort in the 410ci machine as he would charge from 20th to finish 14th.
Saturday nights’ USAC National finale would see Bernal get things underway by timing in 20th quickest in time trials before again picking up the heat race win.
On a track that saw most use the high side of the speedway in the feature event, Bernal too would take a liking to it from his 18th starting spot. Able to move around a little more than he was on Friday night, Bernal again was able to pass cars at will.
Working his way forward during the 30-lap feature event, Bernal would again earn hard charger honors as he closed his weekend out with a fifth place finish.
“We passed some cars, and that is always good,” Bernal said. “We have a big weekend ahead and hopefully we can be really strong each time we hit the track.”
Bernal and the Mike Phulps Motorsports team would like to thank Keizer Wheels, DMI, S&S Automotive, King Racing Products, Metal Works, Hoosier Racing Tires, Core Power, ART Chassis, Tri-L Mandarin Ranch, Tel-Tac, Willwood, Joe Hunt Magnetos, Permatex, Alan Kaiser Construction, Outlaw Graphics, BR Motorsports, FK Rod Ends, STIDA, Rockwell Security, ButlerBuilt, GoScope, 4 Alarm Promotions, and Dean Dealy Motorsports for their support during the 2016 season.