By Lance Jennings
MAY 17, 2017… The USAC West Coast Sprint Cars are back in action this Saturday, May 20th, at Tulare, California’s Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway. Promoted by Steve Faria, the “Chris and Brian Faria Memorial” will be the last appearance of the year for the traditional 360 sprints at the lightning fast 1/3-mile oval. The King of the West / NARC Sprints, Western RaceSaver Sprints, and the Legends of Kearney Bowl Vintage Cars will join the action packed card. The front gates will open at 4:00pm, time trials at 6:00pm, with racing scheduled for 7:00pm. For more information, visit the track’s website at www.tularethunderbowl.com or call 559.688.0909.
NOTICE TO RACERS: The Hoosier 105/16 Medium is the ONLY legal right rear tire and all four corners must be Hoosier. Cockpit adjustable shocks are NOT allowed and engine restrictor rules are 1-7/8″ with open heads and 2-3/16″ with ASCS cylinder heads. The weight rule is 1,475 lbs. with driver and the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Rule Book can be found online at www.westcoastsprintcars.com and www.usacracing.com. USAC MEMBERSHIPS ARE MANDATORY AT THE FIRST RACE and can be purchased at the track or online at https://usacracing.redpodium.com/2017-usac-sprint-midget-sc.
The “Chris and Brian Faria Memorial” is one of the most prestigious dates on the USAC West Coast schedule. While this year’s event marks the twenty-fourth running of the race, Peter Murphy won the inaugural 360 non-winged memorial in 2009. Since then, Craig Stidham, Bud Kaeding, Kyle Larson, and Ryan Bernal, “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr., and Austin Liggett have joined Murphy on the winner’s list.
Since March 6, 2010, the Tulare County Fairgrounds has hosted thirty-six USAC West Coast Sprint Car races. Ryan Bernal leads all drivers with twelve victories and Jake Swanson holds the 1-lap qualifying record of 14.984, set on March 17th. In the previous three Tulare races of 2017, Swanson, Bernal, and Kyle Hirst took the checkered flags. The series win list at the Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is at the bottom of this release.
Heading to the eighth point race, Jace Vander Weerd (Visalia, California) sits atop the point standings. Racing the family owned #88 Vander Weerd Construction / Stone Gate Development Maxim, Jace charged from eighth to score third at Hanford on April 29th. To date, the 2010 USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year has two heat race victories, five top-10 finishes, and 2 feature laps led on the season. Vander Weerd is tied with Peter Murphy for sixth on the series win list and will be looking to claim his ninth victory this Saturday night.
Ranked second in the standings and five points behind his twin brother is Richard Vander Weerd (Visalia, California). Piloting the family owned #10 Vander Weerd Construction / Stone Gate Development Maxim, Richard placed sixteenth at Hanford after an early flip ended his night. At press time, the 2011 Champion has one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award and five top-10 finishes in the campaign. Vander Weerd is second overall with nineteen career wins and will have his sights adding the “Faria Memorial” to his resume.
Ryan Bernal (Hollister, California) is third in the chase for the championship. Splitting time between Mike Phulps’ #56 Metal Works ART and Keith Ford’s #73 Naturipe XXX, Bernal did not compete at the Hanford April 29th show. To date, the two-time USAC Western Classic Champion has posted three feature wins, one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, two heat race victories, one BR Motorsports / King Racing Products Hard Charger Award, five top-10 finishes, and 57 feature laps led. Ryan leads all drivers with thirty USAC West Coast wins and is a fan favorite.
Jake Swanson (Anaheim, California) sits fourth in the USAC West Coast point standings. Starting the year in Tom and Laurie Sertich’s #92 Huntington Beach Glass & Mirror XXX, Swanson scored eighteenth at Hanford in the Tony Jones / Larry Henry #41 CBI Equipment DRC. At press time, the 2012 USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year has one feature win, two Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, one heat race victory, one BR Motorsports / King Racing Products Hard Charger Award, five top-10 finishes, and 17 feature laps led. Jake has two career USAC West Coast feature wins and it is unknown if he will be in action at Tulare.
Austin Liggett (Tracy, California) is fifth in the championship point chase. Racing the family owned #83 Excel Environmental / Lucas Oil entry, Liggett ran second to “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. at Hanford. As this writing goes to press, the 2012 Rookie of the Year has one feature win, one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, two heat race victories, five top-10 finishes, and 7 feature laps led on the season. Austin is tied for twelfth on the series win list and will be looking to earn his fourth victory at the “Faria Memorial.”
Currently eleventh in points, Brandon Wiley (Santa Maria, California) leads the chase for Rookie of the Year honors. Steven Garris (Escalon, California) and Steve Hix (Ventura, California) are also in contention.
Among the other drivers expected to be in action are “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr., Cody Majors, Tristan Guardino, Ryan Timmons, Jeff Sibley, “The Milkman” Joe Stornetta Jr., Shannon McQueen, Ryan Stolz, Max Adams, Gary Nelson Jr., “The G-Man” Geoffrey Strole, and more.
Tulare, California’s Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds at the corner of Bardsley and K Streets. Bleacher seats are $20 and Grandstands seats are $25. Advance tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling the track office at 559.688.0909. For more event information, visit the track’s website at www.tularethunderbowl.com.
The USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series thanks AMSOIL, Hoosier Tire, BR Motorsports, Brown and Miller Racing Solutions, Chris Kearns Presents, Competition Suspension Incorporated, Extreme Mufflers, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, King Racing Products, Pyrotect Racing Cells, Rod End Supply, Saldana Racing Products, 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 email@example.com.
For more information, visit www.westcoastsprintcars.com and www.usacracing.com. You can also find exclusive content on the USAC West Coast Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.
Loudpedal Productions has USAC West Coast Sprint Car DVDs and videos on demand available for purchase at www.loudpedal.tv and 805.407.7229.
USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONS:
2009-Justyne Hamblin, 2010-Craig Stidham, 2011-Richard Vander Weerd, 2012-Bud Kaeding, 2013-Danny Faria Jr., 2014-Matt Mitchell, 2015-Danny Faria Jr., 2016- Brody Roa.
CHRIS & BRIAN FARIA MEMORIAL NON-WING 360 WINNERS:
2009-Peter Murphy, 2010-Craig Stidham, 2011-Bud Kaeding, 2012-Kyle Larson, 2013-Not Held, 2014-Ryan Bernal, 2015-Danny Faria Jr., 2016-Austin Liggett.
2017 USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR WINS:
3-Ryan Bernal, 1-Danny Faria Jr., 1-Kyle Hirst, 1-Austin Liggett, 1-Jake Swanson
TULARE USAC WEST COAST SPRINT WINS:
12-Ryan Bernal, 5-Bud Kaeding, 3-Richard Vander Weerd, 2-D.J. Johnson, 2-Kyle Larson, 2-Craig Stidham, 1-Dean Alexander, 1-Danny Faria Jr., 1-Kyle Hirst, 1-Dennis Howell, 1-Austin Liggett, 1-Matt Mitchell, 1-Peter Murphy, 1-Troy Rutherford, 1-Jake Swanson, 1-Jace Vander Weerd.
USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS:
- Jace Vander Weerd-403, 2. Richard Vander Weerd-398, 3. Ryan Bernal-395, 4. Jake Swanson-377, 5. Austin Liggett-363, 6. Danny Faria Jr.-358, 7. Cody Majors-310, 8. Tristan Guardino-301, 9. Ryan Timmons-249, 10. Geoff Ensign-244, 11. Brandon Wiley-240, 12. Jeff Sibley-233, 13. Joe Stornetta Jr.-222, 14. Steven Garris-217, 15. Steve Hix-213, 16. Tye Mihocko-158, 17. Shannon McQueen-156, 18. Brady Bacon-148, 19. Ryan Stolz-143, 20. Stevie Sussex-132.