By Lance Jennings
MAY 4, 2017… Racing past Stevie Sussex on lap six, R.J. Johnson (Laveen, Arizona) led the rest of the way to claim last Saturday’s feature at Arizona Speedway. By earning the $1,500 Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Car triumph, Johnson became the sixth different winner in seven races. Sussex, “Chargin” Charles Davis Jr., Shon Deskins, and Nick Aiuto followed the four-time champion to the finish line.
Piloting Bobby Martin’s #51 Martin Family Auto Museum / Pecon Builders Sherman, R.J. Johnson earned his series leading forty-fifth triumph after starting sixth. After winning the night’s first 8-lap heat race, R.J. claimed his second Beaver Stripes Passing Master Award of the year. Johnson left San Tan Valley with an eight point lead on the strength of three heat race victories, one semi-main win, one hard charger award, six top-10 finishes, and 40 feature laps led.
After leading the first five laps, Stevie Sussex (Tempe, Arizona) had to settle for second at San Tan Valley. Racing Jack Yeley’s #2 Oshweken Speedway / CDI entry, Sussex won the night’s third 8-lap heat race and ranked fifth in passing points. The hard charger is fourth in points with one feature win, two heat race victories, one hard charger award, five top-10 finishes, and 32 feature laps led to his credit.
“Chargin” Charles Davis Jr. (Buckeye, Arizona) scored third at Arizona Speedway after starting fifth. Driving the Massey Motorsports’ #50 RSS Industries / Rod End Supply RSS, Davis ran third in his heat race and placed second in passing points. The five-time Arizona champion is currently second in the point standings with one feature win, three heat race victories, six top-10 finishes, and 30 feature laps led in the campaign.
Shon Deskins (Phoenix, Arizona) raced from ninth to claim fourth in the San Tan Valley main event. Piloting his #20 Spike Chassis / Mesilla Valley Transportation entry, Deskins took third in his heat race and ranked ninth in passing points. At press time, Shon is third in the point chase with six top-10 finishes on the season.
Nick Aiuto (Gilbert, Arizona) had a solid night at Arizona Speedway with a fifth place finish. Racing his #27 Hughey & Phillips / Bob Bondurant Racing Eagle, Aiuto won the night’s third 8-lap heat race and placed third in passing points. The veteran driver left the ranked sixth in points with one Beaver Stipes Passing Master Award and four top-10 finishes on the year.
Making his first start, Ronnie Gardner (Corona, California) earned the program’s hard charger award / “best passing job” by taking seventh from seventeenth. Driving Robbie & Gaye Allen’s #12 ABC Body Shop / PPG Automotive Finishes machine, Gardner took sixth in his heat race and placed seventeenth in passing points. The four-time USAC Western States Midget Champion is thirty-seventh in points.
The Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Cars will return to San Tan Valley’s Arizona Speedway on May 20th. The event will also feature Sport Mods, Modlites, and Bomber Stocks. For more event and ticket information, visit www.arizonaspeedway.net or call 480.926.6688.
The Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series thanks AMSOIL, Hoosier Tire, and Beaver Stripes, for their support.
For more information on the Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series, visit www.southwestsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, or follow the series on Facebook.
SANDS CHEVROLET USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS:
April 29, 2017 – San Tan Valley, Arizona – Arizona Speedway
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps)
- R.J. Johnson (#51 Martin), 2. Andy Reinbold (#19 Reinbold/Underwood), 3. Charles Davis Jr. (#50 Massey), 4. Tye Mihocko (#5 Mihocko), 5. Bruce St. James (#7K St. James), 6. Michael Curtis (#11C Turner/Wheeler), 7. Cody Sickles (#14 Sickles), 8. Ricky Thornton Jr. (#5M Madrid). NT
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps)
- Nick Aiuto (#27 Aiuto), 2. Jeff Lowery (#45 Lowery), 3. Shon Deskins (#20 Deskins), 4. Landon Cling (#54 Cling), 5. Mike Martin (#16 Martin), 6. Ronnie Gardner (#12 Allen), 7. Leland Fuller (#3 Fuller), 8. Brent Yarnal (#29B Yarnal). NT
- Stevie Sussex (#2 Yeley), 2. Matt Lundy (#98 Lundy), 3. Justin Grant (#34 Team AZ), 4. Chris Bonneau (#78 Bonneau), 5. Bobby Marcum (#80 Marcum), 6. Larry Kesterson (#F2 Kesterson), 7. Jonas Reynolds (#0 Harland). NT
FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions)
- R.J. Johnson (6th), 2. Stevie Sussex (2nd), 3. Charles Davis Jr. (5th), 4. Shon Deskins (9th), 5. Nick Aiuto (4th), 6. Andy Reinbold (7th), 7. Ronnie Gardner (17th), 8. Landon Cling (11th), 9. Mike Martin (12th), 10. Tye Mihocko (13th), 11. Bruce St. James (15th), 12. Cody Sickles (21st), 13. Michael Curtis (16th), 14. Justin Grant (3rd), 15. Matt Lundy (1st), 16. Chris Bonneau (14th), 17. Jeff Lowery (8th), 18. Bobby Marcum (10th), 19. Jonas Reynolds (20th), 20. Leland Fuller (18th), 21. Larry Kesterson (19th), 22. Brent Yarnal (22nd). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-5 Sussex, Laps 6-30 Johnson.
HARD CHARGER: Ronnie Gardner (17th to 7th)
BEAVER STRIPES PASSING MASTER: R.J. Johnson
SANDS CHEVROLET USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS:
- R.J. Johnson-474, 2. Charles Davis Jr.-466, 3. Shon Deskins-415, 4. Stevie Sussex-355, 5. Landon Cling-339, 6. Nick Aiuto-320, 7. Mike Martin-309, 8. Chris Bonneau-273, 9. Andy Reinbold-270, 10. Tye Mihocko-265, 11. Matt Lundy-256, 12. Bruce St. James-202, 13. Jeff Lowery-193, 14. Michael Curtis-190, 15. Cody Sickles-175, 16. Brent Yarnal-170, 17. Dave Darland-169, 18. Matt Rossi-168, 19. Ryan Bernal-160, 20. Brian Hosford-151.