From Lance Jennings
TULARE, CA – SEPTEMBER 27, 2010… The battle for the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series championship will be settled this Saturday night, October 2nd, at the Groppetti Automotive Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway. The special event called “Sprinting For The Cure” will raise funds and awareness for Breast Cancer Research. Joining the traditional 360 Sprint Cars will be the IMCA Modifieds and Vintage Super-Modifieds. The Front Gates will open at 5:00pm, with Time Trials at 6:00pm, and Racing at 7:00pm.
Heading into Saturday’s race, Craig Stidham holds a twenty-six point advantage over Davey Pombo. Stidham is looking for his first non-wing sprint car title, while Pombo wants to add the championship to his resume. With a minimum of $5000 guaranteed to the series champion and $2000 up for grabs to the winner of the 35-lap feature, anything can happen.
In the previous four starts at Tulare, Stidham won back-to-back victories in April, while Dean “Kiwi” Alexander won the March 6th opener and Bud Kaeding claimed victory on May 15th. The Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino and Southwest Contractors, in partnership with the Groppetti Automotive Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway, will make a major donation to Breast Cancer Research. In recognition of the event, Peter Murphy will drive the pink #21 Tarlton & Son Inc. “Breast Cancer Awareness Car.”
Fresno’s Craig Stidham has led the point standings since March 27th at Bakersfield. Driving the #3S Brad Johnson Trucking / KRC Safety Maxim, Stidham has four main event wins on the season. At Santa Maria on September 18th, the former California Rebel Cup Sprint Car champion was tenth quick in time trials, won the BR Motorsports / Saldana Racing Products Heat Race #2, and was fifth in the feature. Craig has two fast time awards, nine heat race wins, seventeen top-10 finishes, and one hard charger award on the season.
Kerman’s Davey Pombo has a shot at the championship on Saturday. Piloting the #3 Junior Bowman / Buster & Ziggy Bullet, Pombo has two feature wins in the 2010 campaign. At Santa Maria, the former Bandit Sprint Car champion earned his fourth Sander Engineering Fast Time Award of the year. Davey was third in his heat race and finished tenth in the main event. To date, Pombo has four heat race wins, eighteen top-10 finishes, and two hard charger awards.
Fresno’s T.J. Smith is third in the point standings. Driving the #14 UHL Rubber / K&N Filters Maxim, Smith has won four of the last six main events. At Santa Maria, The Jim Turner Memorial winner was sixth quick in time trials, second in his heat race, and finished third in the feature. T.J. has three fast time awards, three heat race wins, and sixteen top-10 finishes on the season.
Hanford’s Justyne Hamblin is fourth in the point chase. Piloting the #8 JH Motorsports / Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino Speed Tech, Hamblin won at her hometown track on June 5th. At Santa Maria, the defending series champion was eighth quick in time trials, fourth in her heat race, and fourth in the feature. Justyne has three heat race wins, fourteen top-10 finishes, and three hard charger awards in 2010.
Tipton’s “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. is fifth in the point standings. Driving the #17V Louie De Groot & Sons Dairy / Borges Farms Maxim, Faria won at Hanford on March 13th. At Santa Maria, “Hollywood” was fifth quick in time trials, fourth in his heat race, and thirteenth in the main event. Danny has six fast time awards, eight heat race wins, eight top-10 finishes, and one hard charger award on the year.
Among the other top contenders expected to be in action are Clovis’ Peter Murphy, Visalia’s Jace and Richard VanderWeerd, Bakersfield’s Rusty Carlile, Chris Ennis of Bakersfield, San Martin’s Wes Gutierrez, Bakersfield’s Ricky Kirkbride, Mariposa’s Andy Ferris, 2006 SCRA champion Jonathan Logan of Hanford, and Visalia’s Jesse Mack.
For competitors with the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series, there is a $75 entry fee which includes the car and driver. Pit passes are $40 for USAC members and $45 for non-members.
The Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway is located on the Tulare County Fairgrounds at the corner of Bardsley and K Streets in Tulare. Reserved Grandstand Tickets are $25 and General Bleacher Tickets are $20. Advance tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling the track office at (559) 688-0909.
For more event information, please visit the track’s website at www.tularethunderbowl.com.
For more information on the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series, please visit www.westcoastsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, www.racesantamariaspeedway.com, or follow the series on facebook.
USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT POINT STANDINGS:
1. Craig Stidham 1096; 2. Davey Pombo 1070; 3. T.J. Smith 1019; 4. Justyne Hamblin 908; 5. Danny Faria Jr. 801; 6. Peter Murphy 784; 7. Richard VanderWeerd 758; 8. Rusty Carlile 724; 9. Jace VanderWeerd 675; 10. Wes Gutierrez 575; 11. Chris Ennis 574; 12. Ricky Kirkbride 515; 13. Geoffrey Strole 463; 14. Andy Ferris 404; 15. Jonathan Logan 388; 16. Jared Little 370; 17. Jesse Mack 340; 18. Koen Shaw 328; 19. Jimmy Thompson 318; 20. Danny Sheridan 226.
“SPRINTING FOR THE CURE” USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT CAR PURSE:
1st – 2000; 2nd – 1500; 3rd – 1300; 4th – 1100; 5th – 900; 6th – 700; 7th – 600; 8th – 500; 9th – 450; 10th – 400; 11th – 400; 12th – 400; 13th – 350; 14th – 350; 15th – 350; 16th – 300; 17th – 300; 18th – 300; 19th – 300;
20th – 300; 21st – 300; 22nd – 300. Total Purse = $13,400.