Herrera & Ballou Take Top Honors in Friday’s Western World Qualifiers!

From Lonnie Wheatley

TUCSON, Ariz. (November 19, 2010) – Johnny Herrera and Robert Ballou both reached victory lane as qualifying action for the 43rd Annual Kronik Energy Drink Western World Championships atop the racy 3/8-mile USA Raceway clay oval concluded on Friday night.

“Hollywood” Herrera escaped a torrid mid-race duel with Jason Johnson and Danny Lasoski to win the 25-lap Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National feature event, earning a front row outside starting slot for Saturday night’s $15,000-to-win winged WWC main event.

Ballou, “The Rocklin Rocket”, blasted by Chris Bonneau on the eleventh lap en route to winning the 25-lap ASCS Canyon Region main event for a front row starting berth in Saturday night’s $5,000-to-win wingless WWC finale.

A total of 119 competitors tackled the USA Raceway oval over the course of the two qualifying nights, including 64 winged Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Cars and 55 wingless ASCS Canyon Region campaigners.

Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters (Winged)

Albuquerque’s Johnny Herrera has enjoyed a stranglehold on ASCS Regional racing throughout the west and southwest in recent times, racking up 21 feature wins in 29 Regional starts over the past six seasons.

But, it had been since November of 1996 since “Hollywood” had graced victory lane in the ASCS National spotlight.

Herrera changed that on Friday night, prevailing in a hotly-contested 25-lapper at the 43rd Annual Kronik Energy Drink Western World Championships for his second career Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National triumph and first since a Devil’s Bowl Speedway win over 14 years ago.

Following a red flag stoppage after two laps for Danny Wood’s turn three tangle with the retaining wall, Herrera continued chasing Lucas Oil ASCS points leader Jason Johnson and Danny Lasoski, with traffic coming into play in short order.

The trio of Johnson, Lasoski and Herrera began dicing for the point as they slid through traffic, with Lasoski surging ahead to lead the ninth round before Herrera made a big slide into the lead a lap later as Joey Saldana briefly joined in the lead chase.

“It was crazy there for a few laps, we were all sliding each other back and forth,” Herrera explained afterward. “I thought Johnson would be the one to beat, but then it was like a switch flipped and he just backed up.”

Some slick moves through traffic in the JHR No. 45x Maxim soon gave Herrera some breathing room past the midway point, leaving Lasoski to fend off Johnson and Saldana until a caution flew just three laps shy of the checkered flag for Wayne Johnson, who turned on his side in turn two while running among the top ten.

After Kyle Hirst slipped too high exiting turn two and flipped on the ensuing restart, Herrera broke free and raced to the checkered flag with a 0.732-second advantage over Lasoski’s Kistler-powered Michael Ross Foundation No. 33 Eagle.

Saldana claimed the show position in the Kasey Kahne Racing Budweiser No. 9, with Johnson settling for fourth in the Don Ott-powered Haynes No. 41 Maxim.

Saldana explained of just his fifth career Lucas Oil ASCS National feature start, “I feel like I’m runnin’ the Chili Bowl, I’m out of my element. I kinda figured it out in the feature, I felt like I was good as those guys, just lapped traffic.”

Defending Lucas Oil ASCS National champion Shane Stewart rounded out the top five in Paul Silva’s Wesmar-powered Rock Star Energy Drink No. 57 A.R.T., with 12th-starter Tim Kaeding, “King of California” Kyle Larson and ASCS Northwest ace Roger Crockett earning lock-in positions to Saturday night’s Western World Championships finale by finishing sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.

Brian Brown missed a lock-in by one position by crossing the stripe in ninth, with Lucas Wolfe completing the top ten.

Lasoski, Herrera, Stewart and Larson topped Friday night’s heat race action, with Brown winning the 12-lap “B” Main.

Ricky Logan flipped in the night’s first winged heat race, but was able to return for “B” Main action. Joshua Williams flipped early in the “B” Main, escaping injury as well.

ASCS Canyon Region (Wingless)

Two-time Sprint Bandits TNT champion Robert Ballou captured his first career win under the ASCS banner by racing to victory lane in Friday night’s 25-lap ASCS Canyon Region main event to put the caps on wingless qualifying action at the 43rd Annual Kronik Energy Drink Western World Championships at USA Raceway.

Working forward from the eighth starting position, Ballou slid past Chris Bonneau to take the lead on the 11th round and then weathered a pair of red flag stoppages over the final ten circuits to secure the win aboard a mount that just came together in recent days.

“Wednesday night was the first night this racecar has ever hit a racetrack, Ryan Linder built it himself in his garage and John Dewell gave us the motor for the weekend and bought all the tires,” Ballou explained. “I was about over it today, but Jimmy Jones and me aint quitters.”

While Ballou started outside the fourth row, pole starter Brandon Lane paced the initial half-dozen circuits before Bonneau took command on the seventh round with Stevie Sussex and Jeremy Sherman in tow.

Up to fifth by the seventh lap, Ballou picked off one position per lap on successive laps to take over by the eleventh circuit. Lane fell first, Sherman was next, Sussex gave up second on the tenth lap and then Bonneau was forced to surrender the point.

Ballou’s work wasn’t done yet though, as past WWC champion Sherman climbed to second by the midway point and offered up several challenges for the top spot before a red flag flew after 17 laps when both Josh Pelkey and Mike Colegrove flipped exiting turn two.

Sherman tried to continue pressuring for the point, but the next red flag flew for him when he caught the turn three wall and flipped on the 22nd lap.

Set for a four-lap dash to the stripe, Ballou broke free and took the checkered flag with a comfy 2.524-second advantage over Oval Nationals champion Chris Windom, who had worked up to third by the 15th lap and then assumed the runner-up slot when Sherman ran out of real estate.

“After I got rolling, we got a lot better and I had to slide a few guys to get back up front,” Windom explained after slipping back a few positions in the early going. “I don’t think we had enough gear to catch Robert, he was throwing some iffy slide jobs at everybody but he won the race.”

Sussex claimed a solid show position behind Ballou and Windom, with Jerry Coons, Jr., fending off a last-lap slider from Levi Jones for fourth.

After missing his heat race, Jones rallied from the scratch position to win the “B” Main and then charged from 17th to round out the top five in the main event.

Borrowing an engine from the Joe Zierolf team, defending wingless Western World champ Brady Bacon was sixth, while Bonneau held on for the seventh and final lock-in to Saturday night’s $5,000-to-win wingless WWC finale.

Bryan Swinehart was eighth, with 16th-starter Casey Shuman and 18th-starter Thomas Ogle completing the top ten.

Sussex, Sherman, Coons and Lane won Friday’s wingless heat races before Jones won the “B” Main.

The night got off to an inauspicious start when Brandon Schure and Bob Ream, Jr., tangled and flipped entering turn one on the second lap of the first heat, with Kurt Stults taking unsuccessful evasive action to make it a triple-flip.

Running second in the fourth heat race, David Cardey biked it and flipped over the turn two barrier and was done for the night. Johnny Shelton added to the turnover club with a spectacular tumble in turn three a handful of laps into the “B” Main.

43rd Annual Kronik Energy Drink Western World Championships
Friday Qualifying Results
USA Raceway – Tucson, AZ

Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters (Winged Cars):

Heat Races (Top 16 in Passing Points to “A” Main; Balance to “B” Main):

Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 33-Danny Lasoski, 2. 77x-Wayne Johnson, 3. 41-Jason Johnson, 4. 83-Tim Kaeding, 5. 21-Brian Brown, 6. 41w-Joshua Williams, 7. 3g-Darren Long, 8. 77T-Colt Treharn, 9. 10a-Ricky Logan.

Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 45x-Johnny Herrera, 2. 9-Joey Saldana, 3. 20z-Rick Ziehl, 4. 45-Martin Edwards, 5. 94-Danny Wood, 6. 20s-Kyle Sager, 7. 88-Tim Crawley, 8. 2b-Ben Gregg, 9. 11x-Chad Corken.

Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 57-Shane Stewart, 2. 11-Roger Crockett, 3. 74x-Joshua Hodges, 4. 6-Kyle Hirst, 5. 3s-John Carney II, 6. 1s-Sean McClelland, 7. 20az-George Suprick, 8. 90-Lance Norick.

Heat Four (8 Laps): 1. 75-Kyle Larson, 2. 57w-Lucas Wolfe, 3. 93-Dustin Morgan, 4. 94T-Steven Tiner, 5. 35g-Shane Golobic, 6. 35-Paul McMahan, 7. 78-Jody Williams, 8. 44k-Koty McGullam.

“B” Main (Top 6 Advance to “A” Main):

“B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 21-Brian Brown, 2. 93-Dustin Morgan, 3. 2b-Ben Gregg, 4. 35-Paul McMahan, 5. 3g-Darren Long, 6. 94T-Steven Tiner, 7. 88-Tim Crawley, 8. 10a-Ricky Logan, 9. 90-Lance Norick, 10. 78-Jody Williams, 11. 1s-Sean McClelland, 12. 41w-Joshua Williams, 13. 45-Martin Edwards, 14. 11c-Chad Corken, 15. 44k-Koty McGullam, 16. 20s-Kyle Sager. DNS: 20az-George Suprick, 77t-Colt Treharn.

Lucas Oil ASCS Western World Friday Preliminary Feature (Top 8 Lock into Saturday’s “A” Main):

“A” Feature (25 Laps): 1. 45x-Johnny Herrera, 2. 33-Danny Lasoski, 3. 9-Joey Saldana, 4. 41-Jason Johnson, 5. 57-Shane Stewart, 6. 83-Tim Kaeding, 7. 75-Kyle Larson, 8. 11-Roger Crockett, 9. 21-Brian Brown, 10. 57w-Lucas Wolfe, 11. 35-Paul McMahan, 12. 3s-John Carney II, 13. 2b-Ben Gregg, 14. 74x-Joshua Hodges, 15. 88-Tim Crawley, 16. 35g-Shane Golobic, 17. 93-Dustin Morgan, 18. 94T-Steven Tiner, 19. 3g-Darren Long, 20. 20z-Rick Ziehl, 21. 77x-Wayne Johnson, 22. 6-Kyle Hirst, 23. 94-Danny Wood.

Lap Leaders: Jason Johnson 1-8, Danny Lasoski 9, Johnny Herrera 10-25.

Note: Tim Crawley utilized his mid-season bonus full-point provisional to start the main event. Crawley has two partial-point provisionals remaining.

ASCS Canyon Region (Non-Wing Cars):

Heat Races (Top 16 in Passing Points to “A” Main; Balance to “B” Main):

Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 62-Stevie Sussex, 2. 11x-Chris Windom, 3. 78-Chris Bonneau, 4. 77-Dalten Gabbard, 5. 5x-Jody Wirth, 6. 21tx-Brandon Schure, 7. 8-Bob Ream, Jr., 8. 79-Kurt Stults.

Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 21-Jeremy Sherman, 2. 77mx-Bryan Swinehart, 3. 9b-Robert Ballou, 4. 11w-Tim West, 5. 16-Mike Martin, 6. 7k-Bruce St. James, 7. 96-Carson Ditsch, 8. 38z-Fritz Croy.

Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 66-Jerry Coons, Jr., 2. 99-Brady Bacon, 3. 12-Josh Pelkey, 4. 48T-Thomas Ogle, 5. 20s-Casey Shuman, 6. 6s-Tim Beal, 7. 9x-Johnny Shelton. DNS: 20-Levi Jones.

Heat Four (8 Laps): 1. 9-Brandon Lane, 2. 21az-Jon Stanbrough, 3. 21p-Mike Colegrove, 4. 44-Kevin Swindell, 5. 7b-Nathan High, 6. 2-David Cardey. DNS: 55-Trey Starks.

“B” Main (Top 4 Advance to “A” Main):

“B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 20-Levi Jones, 2. 48T-Thomas Ogle, 3. 7k-Bruce St. James, 4. 96-Carson Ditsch, 5. 6s-Tim Beal, 6. 38z-Fritz Croy, 7. 11w-Tim West, 8. 5x-Jody Wirth, 9. 9x-Johnny Shelton. DNS: 7b-Nathan High, 2-David Cardey, 21tx-Brandon Schure, 8-Bob Ream, Jr., 79-Kurt Stults, 55-Trey Starks.

ASCS Canyon Region Western World Friday Preliminary Feature (Top 7 Lock into Saturday’s “A” Main):

“A” Feature (25 Laps): 1. 9b-Robert Ballou, 2. 11x-Chris Windom, 3. 62-Stevie Sussex, 4. 66-Jerry Coons, Jr., 5. 20-Levi Jones, 6. 99-Brady Bacon, 7. 78-Chris Bonneau, 8. 77mx-Bryan Swinehart, 9. 20s-Casey Shuman, 10. 48T-Thomas Ogle, 11. 16-Mike Martin, 12. 21az-Jon Stanbrough, 13. 77-Dalten Gabbard, 14. 9-Brandon Lane, 15. 7k-Bruce St. James, 16. 96-Carson Ditsch, 17. 21-Jeremy Sherman, 18. 12-Josh Pelkey, 19. 21p-Mike Colegrove, 20. 44-Kevin Swindell.

Lap Leaders: Brandon Lane 1-6, Chris Bonneau 7-10, Robert Ballou 11-25.

Current Points:

Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Cars presented by K&N Filters Points (Top 20): 1. Jason Johnson 3,379, 2. Brady Bacon 3,265, 3. Shane Stewart 3,222, 4. Jack Dover 3,149, 5. Tim Crawley 3,074, 6. Tony Bruce, Jr. 2,919, 7. Zach Chappell 2,883, 8. Kyle Hirst 2,804, 9. Danny Wood 2,789, 10. Ricky Logan 2,724, 11. Matt Covington 2,674, 12. Darren Long 2,501, 13. Dustin Morgan 2,448, 14. Channin Tankersley 2,416, 15. Gary Wright 2,102, 16. Brian Brown 1,656, 17. Justyn Cox 1,609, 18. Austen Wheatley 1,344, 19. Johnny Herrera 1,275, 20. Travis Rilat 1,152.

ASCS Southwest Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Rick Ziehl 1,977, 2. Calvin Landis 1,925, 3. John Gaston 1,834, 4. Joshua Hodges 1,735, 5. Joshua Williams 1,671, 6. Steve Stone 1,634, 7. Koty McGullam 1,529, 8. Lance Norick 1,309, 9. J.T. Imperial 1,213, 10. Johnny Herrera 1,158.

ASCS Canyon Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Charles Davis, Jr. 2,230, 2. R.J. Johnson 2,054, 3. Mike Martin 1,945, 4. Josh Pelkey 1,934, 5. Andrew Reinbold 1,855, 6. Jeremy Sherman 1,782, 7. Ronnie Clark 1,756, 8. Dalten Gabbard 1,599, 9. Stevie Sussex 1,568, 10. Brian Hosford 1,536.