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Saturday’s “Steve Stroud Memorial” at Canyon Opens USAC Southwest Sprint Car Season

By Lance Jennings

PERORIA, Az. (January 30, 2018) — This Saturday, February 3rd, the Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series will open their sixth season at Peoria, Arizona’s Canyon Speedway Park. Promoted by Doug Gabbard, the second annual “Steve Stroud Memorial” will also feature IMCA Stock Cars, 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 www.canyonspeedwaypark.com or call 602.258.RACE (7223).

Saturday’s event honors Steve Stroud, a respected sponsor and friend of the racing community. Known for owning Parker Store, Hose Advantage Store, and the Racers Advantage Store, the avid race fan 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.

Starting eleventh, “The People’s Champion” Dave Darland (Lincoln, Indiana) raced Charlotte Aragon’s #99 Yelp / Beaver Stripes J&J to victory at the inaugural “Steve Stroud Memorial.” Taking the lead from polesitter Stevie Sussex on the twenty-first lap, the veteran driver took the checkered flags in honor of his friend and sponsor, Steve Stroud.

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

Coming off his fifth consecutive Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest championship, R.J. Johnson (Laveen, Arizona) leads all drivers with 51 series wins. Primarily racing Bobby Martin’s #51 Martin Family Auto Museum / Pecon Builders Sherman, Johnson posted seven feature wins, twelve heat race victories, five passing master awards, one semi-main win, three hard charger awards, twenty-two top-10 finishes, and 220 feature laps led in 2017. The second generation driver will be looking to add the “Steve Stroud Memorial” to his resume and earn another title.

“Chargin” Charles Davis Jr. (Buckeye, Arizona) ran second in last year’s point standings. Driving the Massey Motorsports’ #50 RSS Industries / Rod End Supply RSS, Davis had seven feature wins, ten heat race victories, six passing master awards, two hard charger awards, twenty-one top-10 finishes, and 165 feature laps led on the year. The five-time Arizona sprint car champion has 21 career SouthWest wins and will have his sights on another victory at Canyon Speedway Park.

Shon Deskins (Waddell, Arizona) finished third in the championship point chase. Mainly piloting his #20 Spike Chassis / Simpson Racing entry, the veteran racer had two heat race victories, one passing master award, two hard charger awards, nineteen top-10 finishes, and 26 feature laps led to his credit. The newly crowned NMMRA Sprint Car Champion has 1 career SouthWest win and may miss Saturday’s event as he prepares for the upcoming season.

“The Bull” Tye Mihocko (Peoria, Arizona) ranked fourth in the chase for the championship. Driving the family owned #5 Property Solutions by Dave Wilson / Futuristic Designs Spike, Mihocko claimed six heat race victories, two passing master awards, one semi-main win, two hard charger awards, fifteen top-10 finishes, and 19 feature laps led in 2017. The young driver will be looking to earn his first USAC SouthWest win at the “Steve Stroud Memorial.”

“The Magic Man” Mike Martin (Yuma, Arizona) placed fifth in the USAC SouthWest point chase. Racing his #16 Sherwin-Williams / Boulevard Truck Maxim, Martin posted four heat race victories, seventeen top-10 finishes, and 3 feature laps led on the season. “The Magic Man” is tied with Josh Pelkey and Brady Bacon for sixth on the series win list and will have his sights on making the “Steve Stroud Memorial” his sixth victory.

Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Chris Bonneau, Nick Aiuto, Michael Curtis, Landon Cling, Stevie Sussex, Matt Lundy, Jeff Lowery, Andy Reinbold, “The Radio Flyer” Bruce St. James, Brent Yarnal, Cody Sickles, “The Real American” Matt Rossi, Dennis Gile, 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 (11 and under) are FREE. For more event information, visit www.canyonspeedwaypark.com or call 602.258.RACE (7223).

The Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series thanks AMSOIL, Hoosier Tire, and Beaver Stripes for their support. For more information on the series, visit www.southwestsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, or follow the series on Facebook.