By Lance Jennings
SANTA MARIA, CA – JULY 27, 2010… Fresno’s T.J. Smith led wire-to-wire to score his first win of the season at the Santa Maria Speedway. The Bud Stanfield Memorial victory made Smith the tenth different winner in fourteen events with the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series. “This is awesome. This group is so fun to run with,” remarked Smith. “It has been really competitive lately.”
While the score sheet reads that Smith led all 30 laps, it was far from an easy victory. Driving Steve LeGras’ UHL Rubber #14 Maxim, the former Plaza Park track champion was seventh quick in time trials and won the Extreme Mufflers Heat Race #1. Starting on the outside of the front row of the feature, Smith got the jump on pole sitter Rusty Carlile. While T.J. stretched out his lead, there was an absolute war behind him between Carlile, Ricky Kirkbride, Craig Stidham, Davey Pombo, Danny Faria Jr., Jared Little, Richard VanderWeerd, and Peter Murphy.
While yellow flags came out for Kirkbride and Jonathan Logan, Smith continued to shake away from the field and keep his lead. Faria battled his way forward to the second spot and was chasing the leader down during the closing laps. Smith was too strong on this night and took the win ahead of Faria, Stidham, Pombo, and VanderWeerd. With the victory, Smith is third in the series point standings. To date, he has two fast time awards, two heat race wins, and eleven top-10 finishes. “We hit it just right tonight,” said Smith. “We have been chasing it hard.”
“Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. of Tipton drove to his fifth top-10 performance of the year with a runner-up finish. Returning behind the wheel of his Louie DeGroot & Sons Dairy #17V Maxim, Faria earned his series leading fifth Sander Engineering Fast Time Award. The veteran driver was second in his heat race and started eighth in the main event. “Hollywood” lived up to his nickname with an inspired drive, sometimes racing on two wheels while trying to catch Smith. Currently seventh in the point chase, Faria has one feature victory, five heat race wins, and one hard charger award on the season.
Fresno’s Craig Stidham turned in another solid performance with his third place finish. The series point leader took the #3S Brad Johnson Trucking / KRC Safety TCR to second quick in time trials and the BR Motorsports / Saldana Racing Products Heat Race #2 win. The 8-lap heat race victory was Craig’s series leading seventh heat race triumph of the year. The former California Rebel Cup Sprint Car champion has four feature wins, one fast time award, thirteen top-10 finishes, and one hard charger award. Stidham maintains a sixty-two point advantage over Davey Pombo.
Davey Pombo of Kerman scored his thirteenth top-10 finish of the season with his fourth place drive. Driving Junior Bowman’s #3 Bullet sponsored by Buster & Ziggy Enterprises, Pombo was sixth quick in qualifications and won the Competition Suspension Incorporated Heat Race #3. Sitting second in the point standings, the former Bandit Sprint Car champion has one feature victory, two fast time awards, four heat race wins, and one hard charger award.
Visalia’s Richard VanderWeerd took the family’s #10 VanderWeerd Construction / Mid Valley Pipe & Supply Maxim to the fifth place finish. VanderWeerd was third quick in time trials and fourth in his heat race. Currently ninth in the point chase, Richard has one fast time award, two heat race victories, one semi-main win, nine top-10 finishes, and one hard charger award.
Justyne Hamblin of Hanford drove to her third King Racing Products Hard Charger Award of the season. Starting twenty-first, the defending series champion raced to an eleventh place finish in the main event. Earlier in the evening, Hamblin flipped the #8 JH Motorsports / Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino Speed Tech entry in practice. Justyne was uninjured and finished fifth in her heat race. Currently fourth in the point standings, Hamblin has one feature victory, two heat race wins, and ten top-10 finishes on the season.
The USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series would like to thank Southwest Contractors, Hoosier Tire, Amsoil, BR Motorsports, Competition Suspension, Cory Kruseman’s Sprint Car & Midget Driving School, Crow Enterprizes, DJ Safety, Extreme Mufflers, Hilborn Fuel Injection, Hinchman-Indy Racing Uniforms, Integra Shocks, Kaeding Performance, Keizer Wheels, King Racing Products, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Port City Racing, Saferacer.com, Saldana Racing Products, and Sander Engineering for their support.
Round 15 for the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series will be Saturday, August 7th, at Giant Chevrolet Speedway in Hanford, California. Located on the Kings County Fairgrounds, the event will also showcase the Central California Modifieds, IMCA Stock Cars, Bud Light Mini-Stocks, and Enduro. The Driver’s Meeting will be at 5:00pm with Hot Laps at 5:30pm. Qualifying is scheduled for 6:30, with racing to follow. For event information, please visit www.giantchevroletspeedway.com or call (559) 584-RACE (7223).
For more information on the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series, please visit westcoastsprintcars.com, usacracing.com, racesantamariaspeedway.com, or follow the series on facebook.
USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT RACE RESULTS:
Santa Maria Speedway – Santa Maria, California
July 24, 2010 – “Bud Stanfield Memorial”
SANDER ENGINEERING TIME TRIALS:
1. Danny Faria Jr., 17V, Faria-14.731; 2. Craig Stidham, 3S, Stidham-14.732; 3. Richard VanderWeerd, 10, VanderWeerd-14.806; 4. Jared Little, 25, Little-14.867; 5. Ricky Kirkbride, 87, Van Meter-14.899; 6. Davey Pombo, 3, Bowman-14.909; 7. T.J. Smith, 14, LeGras-14.930; 8. Rusty Carlile, 51, Carlile-15.040; 9. Chris Ennis, 86, Ennis-15.065; 10. Mike Knopf, 5K, Knopf-15.085; 11. Jace VanderWeerd, 88, VanderWeerd-15.118; 12. Peter Murphy, 11, Bowman-15.235; 13. Wes Gutierrez, 007, WG-15.252; 14. Eric Rossi, 4R, Team RCR-15.428; 15. Jonathan Logan, 32, Evett/Logan-15.440; 16. Jimmy Thompson, 71R, Earnes-15.537; 17. Koen Shaw, 88K, Shaw-15.545; 18. Jesse Mack, 71M, Gilbert/Mack-15.560; 19. Bill Jones, 16J, Jones-15.562; 20. Geoffrey Strole, 09S, Strole-15.614; 21. Justyne Hamblin, 8, JH-NT.
EXTREME MUFFLERS HEAT RACE 1: (8 laps)
1. T.J. Smith, 2. Danny Faria Jr., 3. Mike Knopf, 4. Jared Little, 5. Jimmy Thompson, 6. Wes Gutierrez, 7. Bill Jones. NT.
BR MOTORSPORTS / SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS HEAT RACE 2: (8 laps)
1. Craig Stidham, 2. Rusty Carlile, 3. Ricky Kirkbride, 4. Koen Shaw, 5. Jace VanderWeerd, 6. Eric Rossi, 7. Geoffrey Strole. NT.
COMPETITION SUSPENSION INC. HEAT RACE 3: (8 laps)
1. Davey Pombo, 2. Peter Murphy, 3. Jesse Mack, 4. Richard VanderWeerd, 5. Justyne Hamblin, 6. Chris Ennis, 7. Jonathan Logan. NT.
FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions)
1. T.J. Smith (2nd) , 2. Danny Faria Jr. (8th), 3. Craig Stidham (7th), 4. Davey Pombo (3rd), 5. Richard VanderWeerd (6th), 6. Peter Murphy (10th), 7. Jared Little (5th), 8. Rusty Carlile (1st), 9. Jesse Mack (12th), 10. Eric Rossi (16th), 11. Justyne Hamblin (21st), 12. Jimmy Thompson (18th), 13. Koen Shaw (11th), 14. Chris Ennis (13th), 15. Bill Jones (19th), 16. Geoffrey Strole (20th), 17. Jace VanderWeerd (14th), 18. Jonathan Logan (17th), 19. Wes Gutierrez (15th), 20. Mike Knopf (9th), 21. Ricky Kirkbride (4th). NT.
**Hamblin flipped during practice.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 T.J. Smith.
KING RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Justyne Hamblin (21st to 11th)
USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT POINT STANDINGS:
1. Craig Stidham 842; 2. Davey Pombo 780; 3. T.J. Smith 680; 4. Justyne Hamblin 640; 5. Peter Murphy 610; 6. Rusty Carlile 568; 7. Danny Faria Jr. 539; 8. Jace VanderWeerd 515; 9. Richard VanderWeerd 504; 10. Chris Ennis 446; 11. Ricky Kirkbride 359; 12. Andy Ferris 354; 13. Geoffrey Strole 309; 14. Jonathan Logan 305; 15. Jesse Mack 303; 16. Wes Gutierrez 298; 17. Jimmy Thompson 269; 18. Koen Shaw 234; 19. Jared Little 231; 20. Danny Sheridan 226.
NEXT USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT RACE:
August 7 – Hanford, CA – Giant Chevrolet Speedway