USAC Southwest Sprint Cars Rumble at Canyon’s “Steve Stroud Memorial”

R.J. Johnson. 4-Time Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Champion. (Photo by Patrick Shaw / Backed In Photography)
From Lance Jennings

PEORIA, Az. (February 6, 2017) — This Saturday, February 11th, the Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Cars will open their fifth season at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Arizona. Promoted by Doug Gabbard, the first annual “Steve Stroud Memorial” will also showcase the IMCA Hobby Stocks, Modlites, and Dwarf Cars. The spectator gates will open at 5:00pm with racing scheduled to begin at 7:00pm. For more event and ticket information, visit or call 602.258.RACE (7223).

Saturday’s event honors Steve Stroud, a respected sponsor and friend of the racing community. The Stroud owned Parker Store, Hose Advantage Store, and the Racers Advantage Store backed several racers in Arizona and the Midwest. In addition, he supported the USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series, Canyon Speedway Park, and special events in Arizona. To share his love for racing, Stroud founded the Arizona Open Wheel Racing Museum in Phoenix and it has become a popular destination for racers and fans alike. Steve’s passing was a great loss and Gabbard, Canyon Speedway Park, and the Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series are proud to honor his memory with the annual event.

Since January 26, 2013, Canyon Speedway Park has hosted fifty USAC SouthWest Sprint Car events. R.J. Johnson leads all drivers with fifteen “home track” victories followed by Bryan Clauson (8), Ryan Bernal (4), “Chargin” Charles Davis Jr. (4), and Stevie Sussex (4). A complete series win list at Canyon is at the end of this release.

Coming off his fourth consecutive USAC SouthWest championship, R.J. Johnson (Laveen, Arizona) leads all drivers with 44 series wins. Racing Bill Michael’s #77M Kodiak Products / Beal’s Auto Body Sherman, Johnson posted twelve feature wins, two fast time awards, eleven heat race victories, six top qualifier awards, twenty-seven top-10 finishes, and 281 feature laps led in 2016. R.J. will pilot Bobby Martin’s #51 Weiler Farms entry as he looks to add the “Steve Stroud Memorial” to his resume and claim another title.

“Chargin” Charles Davis Jr. (Buckeye, Arizona) ran second in last year’s point chase. Driving the Massey Motorsports’ #50 RSS Industries / Rod End Supply RSS, Davis earned one feature win, thirteen heat race victories, four top-qualifier awards, one hard charger award, twenty-eight top-10 finishes, and 47 feature laps led on the year. The five-time Arizona sprint car champion has 14 career SouthWest wins and will have his sights on the Canyon Speedway Park victory.

“The Real American” Matt Rossi (Glendale, Arizona) scored third in the championship point chase. Piloting the family owned #02 Apache Scapes / IWR Spike, Rossi had four heat race victories, one top-qualifier award, one semi-main win, fourteen top-10 finishes, and 13 feature laps led in the campaign. Tied with Brady Bacon, Dave Darland, and Rick Ziehl for tenth on the series win list, Matt will be looking to claim his fourth triumph.

“The Magic Man” Mike Martin (Yuma, Arizona) finished fourth in the USAC SouthWest point standings. Racing his #16 Sherwin-Williams / Boulevard Truck Maxim, Martin posted six heat race victories, one top-qualifier award, three hard charger awards, eighteen top-10 finishes, and 39 feature laps led on the year. “The Magic Man” is tied with Josh Pelkey for fifth on the series win list and will have his sights on taking the “Steve Stroud Memorial” victory.

“The Bull” Tye Mihocko (Peoria, Arizona) ranked fifth in the chase for the championship. Piloting the family owned #5 Property Solutions / Michael Most Trucking Spike, Mihocko claimed one top-qualifier award, one hard charger award, and sixteen top-10 finishes in 2016. The young driver will be looking to earn his first USAC SouthWest win this Saturday night.

Among the other drivers expected to be in action are “The People’s Champion” Dave Darland, Dennis Gile, Stevie Sussex, Brian Hosford, Chris Bonneau, Andy Reinbold, Landon Cling, Nick Aiuto, Josh Pelkey, “The Radio Flyer” Bruce St. James, Shon Deskins, Matt Lundy, Michael Curtis, Tom Ogle, and more and more.

Canyon Speedway Park is located at 9777 West Carefree Highway in Peoria, Arizona. To get to the track, take Lake Pleasant Parkway, then 1.3 miles west on Carefree Highway. Adult Tickets are $20, Seniors (60 and over) and Military Tickets are $15, and Children (12 and under) are FREE. For more event information, visit or call 602.258.RACE (7223).

The Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series thanks Amsoil and Hoosier Tire for their support. For more information on the series, visit,, or follow the series on Facebook.

R.J. Johnson. 4-Time Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Champion. Photo by Patrick Shaw / Backed In Photography.