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USAC / CRA Sprints Return to Perris for the Oval Nationals

From Lance Jennings

PERRIS, Calif. (November 9, 2016) — After an exciting Western World Championships in Queen Creek, Arizona, the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series return to Don Kazarian’s Perris Auto Speedway for the “21st Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals, presented by All Coast Construction.” Opening with a special practice session later today, close to fifty racers from across the country have entered the three-day event. Co-sanctioned with the USAC National Sprints, Saturday’s 40-lap main event will pay $25,000 to the winner, second will earn $15,000, third will pay $10,000, and $1,000 to start. Thursday and Friday’s 30-lap features will pay $5,000-to-win and $500 to start. In all, over $130,000 in purse money will be awarded for three nights of action. For more event information, visit the track’s website at www.perrisautospeedway.com or call 951.940.0134.

The festivities will begin on Wednesday, November 9th with a special practice session for cars that are only entered in the Oval Nationals. Admission to the grandstands is FREE and cars will be on the track between 5:00pm and 6:00pm. The concession stand will be open with $2 pizza and $2 beers for sale. Spectator gates will open at 4:00pm on Thursday & Friday with Racing at 7:00pm. On Saturday, the front gates will open and 3:00pm, an autograph session on the front straightaway will be at 3:00pm, and Racing is set for 6:30pm. The current Oval Nationals pre-entry list is at the end of this release.

This year, “Super” Rickie Gaunt will serve as Grand Marshall of the prestigious race. The popular driver made his sprint car debut in 1988 with the original California Racing Association at the legendary Ascot Park. Among his career highlights are winning the Oval Nationals in 1999, claiming both the SCRA and Non-Wing World Championship in 2004, and scoring a winged Golden State Challenge victory at Santa Maria in 1991. Gaunt is currently tied for tenth in USAC/CRA Feature Wins (8) with Ryan Bernal and Danny Sheridan and tied for fifth in Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards (12) with Nic Faas. In addition, “Super Rickie” has won some of the most the prominent races on the West Coast such as the Doug Fort Memorial (2015), Firecracker (2002), Jack Kindoll Classic (2004) and the Sokola Classic (2009)

Since March 6, 2004, the half-mile clay oval at the Lake Perris Fairgrounds has held 190 USAC/CRA Sprint Car events. “The Demon” Damion Gardner leads all drivers with 39 victories and Nic Faas set the 1-lap qualifying record of 15.833 on February 25, 2012. To date, there have been nine “home track” shows in 2016 and seven different drivers have taken the checkered flags. California’s Austin Williams and Damion Gardner have two victories and other wins have been scored by Indiana’s Bryan Clauson, New Mexico’s Josh Hodges, and California’s Richard Vander Weerd, “Showtime” Danny Sheridan, and Matt Mitchell have stood atop the podium. A complete series win list at Perris Auto Speedway is at the end of this release.

After running second to Chris Windom in the “Western World Championships,” “The Demon” Damion Gardner (Concord, California) has a 158-point advantage over the competition. Racing Mark Alexander’s #4 Scott Sales Company / Weld Racing Spike, Gardner has four feature wins, three Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, eleven heat race victories, one Brown & Miller Racing Solutions Semi-Main win, one BR Motorsports / King Racing Products Hard Charger Award, eighteen top-10 finishes, and 104 feature laps led to his credit. “The Demon” won the Oval Nationals in 2011 and will be looking to claim another eagle trophy and celebrate his fifth USAC/CRA championship.

Richard Vander Weerd (Visalia, California) is second in the championship point standings. Piloting the family owned #10 Vander Weerd Construction / Stone Gate Development Maxim, Richard scored sixth in Western World Championships.” As this writing goes to press, the 2011 USAC West Coast Champion has one feature win, two Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, three heat race victories, sixteen top-10 finishes, and 61 feature laps led on the year. Vander Weerd is tied with Robert Ballou, Levi Jones, Bud Kaeding, and Blake Miller for fifteenth on the USAC/CRA win list (7) and will have his sights on the $25,000 victory.

Jake Swanson (Anaheim, California) ranks third in the USAC/CRA point chase. Driving Tom and Laurie Sertich’s #92 Huntington Beach Glass & Mirror / Clackamas Rigging and Transfer XXX, Swanson placed eighteenth at Queen Creek’s Arizona Speedway. To date, the 2012 Rookie of the Year has one feature win, three Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, two heat race victories, two Brown & Miller Racing Solutions Semi-Main wins, fifteen top-10 finishes, and 7 feature laps led on the season. Jake will be looking for the second USAC/CRA main event win of his career at the Oval Nationals.

Brody Roa (Garden Grove, California) sits fourth in the chase for the championship. Piloting the BR Performance #91R HD Industries / Lee & Norma Leonard Maxim, Roa scored sixteenth at the Western World Championships. At press time, the USAC West Coast Champion has one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, six heat race victories, thirteen top-10 finishes, and 52 feature laps led in the campaign. Brody has one career USAC/CRA triumph and will have his sights adding the Oval Nationals to his resume.

“The Big Game Hunter” Austin Williams (Yorba Linda, California) is currently fifth in the USAC/CRA point standings. Racing Jack Jory’s #2 John Jory Corporation / AMA Plastics Spike, Williams scored twenty-fourth at Queen Creek after an early exit. To date, the 2009 Rookie of the Year has posted two feature wins, one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, one heat race victory, one Brown & Miller Racing Solutions Semi-Main win, two BR Motorsports / King Racing Products Hard Charger Awards, thirteen top-10 finishes, and 55 feature laps led in the campaign. Austin is tied with Garrett Hansen for twentieth on the USAC/CRA win list (5) and will be looking to score the biggest win of his career.

Currently ranked seventh in points, Max Adams (Loomis, California) leads the chase for Rookie of the Year honors. Andrew Sweeney (Lomita, California), Trent Williams (Victorville, California), and Mikey Lovas (Wildomar, California) are also in contention.

Local 360 iron-block powered Sprint Cars are welcome to enter the Oval Nationals. Per USAC rules, all fuel-injected 410 and 360 powered sprint cars must run the Hoosier 105/16 Medium Right Rear Tire, cars must pass a tech inspection, and one-way radios are mandatory.

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s “The Macho Man” Brady Bacon leads the Amsoil USAC National Sprint Car point standings. Chase Stockon, “T-Mez” Thomas Meseraull, “The People’s Champion” Dave Darland, “The Bear” Chris Windom, “The Hanford Hornet” Chad Boespflug, “The Madman” Robert Ballou, C.J. Leary, Aaron Farney, and Kevin Thomas Jr. round out the top-10 drivers.

Perris Auto Speedway is located on the Lake Perris Fairgrounds at 18700 Lake Perris Drive in Perris, California. Advance tickets are available and for more information, visit the track’s website at www.perrisautospeedway.com or call 951.940.0134.

The Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series thanks Hoosier Tire, All Coast Construction, BR Motorsports, Brown and Miller Racing Solutions, Circle Track Performance, Competition Suspension Incorporated, DJ Safety, Diversified Machine Incorporated, Extreme Mufflers, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, King Racing Products, Rod End Supply, Stand 21 Racer Goes Safer Foundation, surfnsprint.com, Ultra Shield Race Products, and Woodland Auto Display for their support. If you or your company would like to become part of the series, email PR Director Lance Jennings at lwjennings@earthlink.net.

For more information on USAC/CRA, visit the United States Auto Club (USAC) website at www.usacracing.com. You can also find exclusive content on the USAC/CRA Facebook and Twitter pages.

Loudpedal Productions has USAC/CRA DVDs and videos on demand available for purchase at www.loudpedal.tv and 805.407.7229.