Meeting up with the USAC National Series to take part in the Western World Championships at Arizona Speedway, Richard Vander Weerd would have a good showing during the Saturday night feature event that saw him score a sixth place finish.
“The track was kind of polar opposite during both nights,” Vander Weerd said. “Friday night after some rain Thursday it was hooked up and right around the bottom, and on Saturday it was really fast around the top so it made it hard to catch guys.”
The two-day event got underway on Friday night and a lightning fast surface would greet competitors. Timing in 18th quickest during time trials, the Visalia, CA driver would finish second in his heat race and move into the feature event.
Finding himself in the 16th starting spot, Vander Weerd would have his work cut out for him on the hammer down surface. When the race got underway, Vander Weerd would lose a couple of spots initially but he would soon get going in the right direction.
Working his way toward the Top-10, Vander Weerd would find himself in the 11th spot when the white flag flew. Chasing after Jake Swanson and Brody Roa in the final laps, Vander Weerd could not find a way around either driver and settled with an 11th place finish.
On a surface that was a bit more wide at times on Saturday night, Vander Weerd would get off to a much better start as he was able to time in 11th fastest on this night.
Lining up in the second row of his heat race, Vander Weerd would finish in the third spot and punch his ticket into the Western World feature event.
Gridding the field from the sixth row, Vander Weerd would quickly go to the top of the speedway and start to work his way forward. With much of the field using the high side of the speedway, passing would prove tough at times but Vander Weerd stayed poised to move forward.
Able to gain a hard fought five positions during the course of the A-Main, Vander Weerd would pocket a sixth place finish.
“Overall it was a decent weekend for our team,” Vander Weerd said. “We had some good speed and we were able to move forward in a tough field. This week we have the Oval Nationals and it would be a very cool race to win.”
Richard and his Vander Weerd Racing team would like to thank Vander Weerd Construction, Stonegate Development, Battery Worx, Mid-Valley Pipe, Basic Industries, Factory Kahne Shocks, Steve Watt Enterprises, FK Rod Ends, PXP Racewear and K&N for their support in 2016.