By Lance Jennings
SANTA MARIA, CA – OCTOBER 7, 2010… Last Saturday night, Tulare’s Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway hosted the final point race for the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series. With Fresno’s Craig Stidham and Davey Pombo of Kerman locked in a tight battle for supremacy, the title would be decided after the night’s final checkered flag.
A few weeks earlier at Hanford, the same two drivers battled for the $2500 Southwest Contractors 360 Clash title. Craig and Davey had suffered mechanical failures during the program and in the end, Pombo won the mini-series championship.
Heading into the Tulare’s “Sprinting For The Cure” event, Stidham held a twenty-six point advantage over Pombo. Driving the #3 Junior Bowman / Buster & Ziggy Bullet, Davey was second quick in time trials. Stidham responded by taking the #3S Brad Johnson Trucking / KRC Safety Maxim to third fast on the night.
In heat race action, Craig finished second to Pombo’s teammate Bud Kaeding in the Extreme Mufflers / Keizer Wheels 10-lapper. Davey had a sixth place run in the second heat, sponsored by BR Motorsports and Saldana Racing Products. Now, the series championship would be decided in the 30-lap main event. Craig had padded his lead, but Davey still had a shot at the crown.
Stidham lined up in the eighth spot, while Pombo would have to mount a charge from twelfth. In the early going, the duo diced back and forth for position. As the laps counted down and rain threatened the race, Pombo had spun his machine, collecting Danny Faria Jr. and Jeff Gardner. All three drivers restarted at the back and Pombo scored an eighth place finish at the checkered flag while Stidham claimed fourth.
Visalia’s Richard VanderWeerd had won the race, followed by Bud Kaeding and Jace VanderWeerd. By virtue of his fourth place finish, Craig Stidham had won the series championship. On Tulare’s front straightaway, Stidham remarked “This is our first full season running non-wing. We tried every combination that you can think of this year. It is stressful to run for points and I think this division is pretty tough. These guys can go anywhere and win races.”
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.
On Saturday, October 16th, the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series will compete at the Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford, California. Located on the Kings County Fairgrounds, the “Cotton Classic” is a non-points race that will also feature Winged 410 Sprint Cars. The Front Gates will open at 5:30pm, Qualifying is scheduled for 6:30pm, 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.
FINAL USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT POINT STANDINGS:
1. Craig Stidham 1158; 2. Davey Pombo 1117; 3. T.J. Smith 1025; 4. Justyne Hamblin 959; 5. Danny Faria Jr. 841; 6. Peter Murphy 840; 7. Richard VanderWeerd 823; 8. Rusty Carlile 758; 9. Jace VanderWeerd 735; 10. Wes Gutierrez 624; 11. Chris Ennis 574; 12. Ricky Kirkbride 515; 13. Geoffrey Strole 492; 14. Jonathan Logan 424; 15. Andy Ferris 404; 16. Jared Little 370; 17. Jesse Mack 340; 18. Koen Shaw 328; 19. Jimmy Thompson 318; 20. Bud Kaeding 245.
NEXT USAC WEST COAST 360 “SPECIAL EVENT” SPRINT RACE:
October 16 – Hanford, CA – Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway – “Cotton Classic”