by Lance Jennings
FEBRUARY 18, 2019… Last Saturday afternoon, the United States Auto Club (USAC) honored their 2018 western racers at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Competitors with the Speed 2 Western Midgets, Western States Midgets, SouthWest Sprints, West Coast Sprints, and USAC/CRA Sprints were celebrated at the annual Western Awards Banquet.
USAC Western Director Chris Kearns served as master of ceremonies and announced that the Woodland Auto Display will return as the Fast Time Award sponsor for the Western States Midgets, West Coast Sprints, and USAC/CRA Sprint Cars in 2019.
While racing in Florida, “The Demon” Damion Gardner was recognized for his sixth consecutive (seventh overall) USAC/CRA championship. Austin Liggett became the first USAC West Coast driver to earn Rookie of the Year honors (2012) and claim the title. “Chargin” Charles Davis Jr. dedicated his first USAC SouthWest championship to his late father, Jim Massey, and Joe Conroy. Scheduled for a micro sprint race, Michael Faccinto was recognized for earning his first USAC Western States Midget crown. USAC Speed 2 Western Midget Champions Taylor Slay (Dirt) and Adam Lemke (Pavement and Overall) were also honored for their accomplishments. These champions were also celebrated at the December 7th “USAC Night of Champions” in Indianapolis, Indiana.
After earning his sixth consecutive (seventh overall) USAC/CRA Entrant crown, Mark Alexander was recognized with the first “Jack Jory Car Owner Championship Trophy.” The remaining top-10 USAC/CRA car owners were honored and Brody Roa received his second place trophy for BR Performance.
The other top-10 drivers in Western States Midget, SouthWest Sprint, West Coast Sprint, and USAC/CRA Sprint points were recognized for their efforts. David Prickett, C.J. Sarna, Brody Roa, Koen Shaw, Steve Hix claimed their trophies along with Speed 2 Western Midget racers Joey Iest and Johnny Nichols.
Rookie of the Year honors were awarded to Joel Rayborne (USAC/CRA Sprint), Britton Bock (West Coast Sprint), Tyler Most (SouthWest Sprint), Kyle Beilman (Western States Midget), and Elvis Rankin (Speed 2 Western Midget).
Zac Bozanich was honored with the “Bruce Bromme Jr. Mechanic of the Year Award” and Rich and Sylvia Watkins were presented with the “Evelyn Pratt Award” for their contributions to racing.
The USAC Western staff thanks Mike and Tim Truex of Loudpedal Productions for supplying their great videos for the event. Each division was spotlighted with highlights from the 2018 campaign.
The 2019 Western season opens on February 27th and 28th with the “FVP Platinum Battery Showdown” featuring the USAC West Coast Sprint Cars at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Las Vegas, Nevada).
The following Saturday, March 2nd, the Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Cars will open with the “Cotton Classic” at Central Arizona Speedway (Casa Grande, Arizona).
On March 8th and 9th, the AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars will clash at Canyon Speedway Park (Peoria, Arizona) for the “Spring Showcase.”
Earlier today, it was announced that the Wednesday, March 20th “49er Gold Rush Classic” at Placerville Speedway has been cancelled for the Light Up The World Beverages USAC Western States Midgets. The World of Outlaws have moved that race to the following Saturday and the midgets are not racing with them. The season opener for the series is now April 6th at Bakersfield Speedway with the Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA).
For more information on any of the USAC racing divisions, visit the United States Auto Club (USAC) website at www.usacracing.com. You can also find exclusive content for several of the groups on their respective Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.