By Lance Jennings
AUGUST 26, 2019… Starting this Saturday, August 31st, the AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars will battle at the “6th Annual California Sprint Week.” The five-race mini-series at four different tracks over eight days will open with Calistoga’s two-day “12th Annual Louie Vermeil Classic.” From there, the traditional 410 sprints will tackle the Petaluma, Merced, and Santa Maria clay ovals. As this writing goes to press, the Calistoga events will pay a minimum of $6,000-to-win ($600-to-start, with bonuses) and the other shows will pay $3,000-to-win ($400-to-start). All five “California Sprint Week” races will have a $200 bonus to the highest finishing 360 from USAC. With valuable points up for grabs, the “California Sprint Week” will play a major role in the chase for the championship.
NOTICE TO RACERS:
– 2019 APPROVED/LEGAL MUFFLERS: (Calistoga, Merced, Santa Maria Legal) EXTREME: 6014-3535, 3615-3535, BILLY BOAT: FRAC-0375S, COAST FABRICATION: 350x625x17-2S, FLOWMASTER: 53545-10, 13516100, 13516101, SCHOENFELD: 14272535, 14272735-78, SPINTECH: 1545P SUPER STOCK. *Failure to comply with the muffler rule will risk disqualification from the event.
– PETALUMA LEGAL MUFFLERS: The Flowmaster “Suitcase” 53545-10 and the Spin Tech 1545P Super Stock ARE THE ONLY MUFFLERS ALLOWED AT PETALUMA SPEEDWAY.
– FRONT AXLE TETHER SYSTEMS (2-Chassis, 1-King Pin to King Pin) ARE MANDATORY.
– DRIVER FULL CONTAINMENT SEATS ARE MANDATORY.
– TIRE RULE: Hoosier Tires are required on all four corners with the 105/16 Medium, 105/18 Hard, and 105/18 F85A as the only approved right rear tires. The “Medium” is also legal with the USAC National, USAC SouthWest, USAC West Coast, and VRA Sprint Cars.
– Cockpit adjustable shocks ARE ALLOWED.
– USAC/CRA charges a $25 entry fee to all competitors and the series rule book can be found online at usacracing.com.
– USAC MEMBERSHIPS can be purchased at the track or online at usaclicense.com.
– 360 SPRINT WEEK BONUS: There is a $200 bonus to the highest finishing 360 from USAC at all five “Sprint Week” races.
– PETALUMA PITS TARP RULE: Tarps are mandatory at Petaluma under all race cars in the pit area. Tarps must stick out at least one foot on each side.
– MERCED OPEN PRACTICE: There will be an OPEN PRACTICE on Thursday, September 5th from 6-9PM. Pit Passes are $20 and the Pits will open at 4pm.
– USAC BONUS / Any racer who enters every event for both the AMSOIL USAC/CRA and Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Car schedules will have their entry fees reimbursed at the end of the year.
Heading to the “Louie Vermeil Classic,” there have been seven different winners and four drivers have claimed fast time honors. The point chase is heating up as “The Demon” Damion Gardner (Concord, CA) holds 20-point advantage over the competition. 2018 California Sprint Week Champion Brody Roa, “The Big Game Hunter” Austin Williams, Jake Swanson, “Thunder” Tommy Malcolm, Chris Gansen, R.J. Johnson, Matt McCarthy, “The Cadillac” Cody Williams, and Richard Vander Weerd round out the top-10 drivers.
Currently ranked sixteenth in points, Eddie Tafoya Jr. (Chino Hills, CA) leads the chase for Rookie of the Year honors. Steve Hix (Ventura, CA), and Jeff Dyer (Bermuda Dunes, CA) are also in contention.
On August 31st and September 2nd, Calistoga Speedway will host the “12th Annual Louie Vermeil Classic.” Promoted by HMC Promotions, the highly anticipated event honors the former NARC director and will also have a vintage car show, driver autograph session, raffle, wine tasting, silent auction, and a beer garden for fans to enjoy. Since August 30, 2008, twenty-two USAC/CRA races have been held at the Napa County Fairgrounds with Rico Abreu, Ryan Bernal, and Damion Gardner leading all drivers with 3 wins. On September 3, 2017, Ryan Bernal broke the 19-second barrier (18.869) for non-winged sprints and set the 1-lap track record at the scenic half-mile. The winged King of the West NARC 410 Sprint Cars and Vintage Cars will share the spotlight. Calistoga Speedway is located at 1435 North Oak Street in Calistoga, California and for more information, visit calistogaspeedway.org or call 916.773.7225.
LOUIE VERMEIL CLASSIC SPRINT CAR WINNERS: 2008-Kevin Swindell; 2009-Mike Spencer; 2010-Damion Gardner; 2011-Mike Spencer; 2012-Kyle Hirst, 2013-Kyle Larson, 2014-Rico Abreu, 2015-Rico Abreu, 2016-Thomas Meseraull, 2017-Rico Abreu, 2018-Colby Copeland.
CALISTOGA AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR WINS: 3-Rico Abreu, 3-Ryan Bernal, 3-Damion Gardner, 2-Mike Spencer, 2-Kevin Swindell, 1-Robert Ballou, 1-Christopher Bell, 1-Colby Copeland, 1-Kyle Hirst, 1-Bud Kaeding, 1-Tim Kaeding, 1-Kyle Larson, 1-Thomas Meseraull, 1-Kevin Thomas Jr.
On Monday, September 2nd, the “California Sprint Week” will shift to Rick Faeth’s Petaluma Speedway. Located on the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, the “The Fastest 3/8-Mile Dirt Oval in Northern California” has showcased seven USAC/CRA events. Mike Spencer leads all drivers with two victories and Jake Swanson set the 1-lap qualifying track record of 13.457 on September 7, 2015. The action packed card will also feature Modifieds and Super Stocks. The front gates will open at 4:00pm and Racing is set for 6:00pm. Petaluma Speedway is located at 100 Fairgrounds Drive in Petaluma, California and for more details, visit petaluma-speedway.com or call 707.763.7223.
PETALUMA AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR WINS: 2-Mike Spencer, 1-Ryan Bernal, 1-David Cardey, 1-Tyler Courtney, 1-Damion Gardner, 1-Austin Williams.
After a break, the USAC/CRA Sprints will make their debut at Merced Speedway on Friday, September 6th. Promoted by Chris Shannon and Paul Stone, the 1/3-mile oval at the Merced County Fairgrounds will also feature Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, and Mini Late Models. There will be an OPEN PRACTICE on Thursday, September 5th from 6-9PM. Pit Passes are $20 and the Pits will open at 4pm. On raceday, the Spectator Gates will open at 5:00pm and Racing is scheduled for 7:00pm. Merced Speedway is located at 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Merced, California and for more information, visit mercedspeedway.net or call 209.600.8382.
The following night, Saturday, September 7th, Santa Maria Raceway will host the fifth and final round of the tour. Promoted by Nick Duggan, “The West’s Best Short Track” oval has held twenty-six USAC/CRA events with Ryan Bernal and Brody Roa leading all drivers with three triumphs. “The Bullet” Blake Miller set the 1-lap qualifying record of 13.230 on June 14, 2008. American Stocks, Mini Stocks, Dwarf Cars, and the NMRA TQ Midgets will join the action as qualifying starts at 5:00pm and Racing at 5:30pm. Santa Maria Raceway is located 1/4-mile north of the 101/166 interchange at 1900 Hutton Road in Nipomo, California and for more details, visit santamariaraceway.com or call 805.710.4407.
SANTA MARIA AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR WINS: 3-Ryan Bernal, 3-Brody Roa, 2-Max Adams, 2-Damion Gardner, 2-Rickie Gaunt, 2-Cory Kruseman, 2-Mike Spencer, 2-Austin Williams, 1-Tyler Brown, 1-Nic Faas, 1-Garrett Hansen, 1-Mike Kirby, 1-Blake Miller, 1-Danny Sheridan, 1-Cody Williams, 1-Rip Williams.
The AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series thanks All Coast Construction, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, ButlerBuilt Professional Seat Systems, Circle Track Performance, Competition Suspension Incorporated, Extreme Mufflers, Five Star Grafix, Flowdynamics, Hoosier Racing Tire, Loudpedal Productions, Pyrotect Racing Cells, Saldana Racing Products, Specialty Fasteners, surfNsprint.com, Ultra Shield Race Products, Wilwood Disc Brakes, and Woodland Auto Display for their support. If you or your company would like to become part of the series, contact PR Director Lance Jennings at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the series, visit usacracing.com and the social media for USAC Racing. You can also find exclusive content on the USAC/CRA Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.
FloSports has USAC/CRA Sprint Car live videos and on demand coverage available for purchase at floracing.com.
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONS: 2004-Rip Williams, 2005-Damion Gardner, 2006-Cory Kruseman, 2007-Tony Jones, 2008-Mike Spencer, 2009-Mike Spencer, 2010-Mike Spencer, 2011-Mike Spencer, 2012-Mike Spencer, 2013-Damion Gardner, 2014-Damion Gardner, 2015-Damion Gardner, 2016-Damion Gardner, 2017-Damion Gardner, 2018-Damion Gardner.
CALIFORNIA SPRINT WEEK CHAMPIONS: 2014-Damion Gardner, 2015-Ryan Bernal, 2016-Damion Gardner, 2017-Damion Gardner, 2018-Brody Roa.
2019 AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR WINS: 2-Damion Gardner, 2-Brody Roa, 2-Hunter Schuerenberg, 2-Richard Vander Weerd, 1-Josh Hodges, 1-Troy Rutherford, 1-Jake Swanson.
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS: 1. Damion Gardner-736, 2. Brody Roa-716, 3. Austin Williams-679, 4. Jake Swanson-594, 5. Tommy Malcolm-509, 6. Chris Gansen-480, 7. R.J. Johnson-458, 8. Matt McCarthy-415, 9. Cody Williams-405, 10. Richard Vander Weerd-397, 11. Stevie Sussex-350, 12. Charles Davis Jr.-325, 13. A.J. Bender-307, 14. Verne Sweeney-305, 15. Mike Martin-297, 16. Eddie Tafoya Jr. ®-289, 17. Danny Faria Jr.-277, 18. Steve Hix ®-270, 19. Jace Vander Weerd- 254, 20. Joel Rayborne-238.