By Lance Jennings
TULARE, CA – APRIL 19, 2011… Last Saturday night, Campbell’s Bud Kaeding claimed victory in the wingless Faria Memorial at Tulare’s Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway. Kaeding bested Ryan Bernal of Hollister to win the time shortened feature with the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series.
With the green flag waving in the main event, Bernal charged to the lead over fellow front row starter Dennis Howell of Rancho Palos Verdes. Behind the lead duo, Buster & Ziggy Enterprise teammates Kaeding and fast qualifier “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. of Tipton battled hard for third. A determined Faria was on the move, but close contact with another car flipped his machine. Danny walked away uninjured and the incident claimed Fresno’s T.J. Smith. Howell, who was also involved in the tangle restarted at the back.
With four laps down, Bernal maintained command followed by Kaeding, Visalia’s Jace and Richard VanderWeerd, and Jonathan Logan of Hanford. Kaeding was on the attack for the top spot, but Bernal held strong. The leader looked to stretch his advantage until a turn two bobble allowed Bud to close in. Bernal gathered up his car and it was a drag race for the lead. Kaeding slipped past the young driver and took the lead on lap seven.
Bernal tried to battle back and found the bottom groove to his liking in the south turns. With Kaeding choosing the outside line of the Tulare clay oval, the fight for the lead was shaping up. The two drivers swapped the lead back and forth, as Kaeding officially kept control of the event. As the laps counted down, several yellow flags for spinning cars interrupted the action. Nonetheless, the lead battle continued to rage as drivers fought for position throughout the field. After a spin on lap nineteen, track officials checkered the event for time constraints and Bud Kaeding was declared the winner. Bud was followed by Ryan Bernal, Jace VanderWeerd, Peter Murphy of Clovis, and Richard VanderWeerd.
Driving Junior Bowman’s #29 Buster & Ziggy Enterprises / Kaeding Performance Maxim, Bud Kaeding won his second main event of the year. The third generation driver was second quick on the night and finished second in his heat race. In limited action, Kaeding has four career victories with the USAC West Coast 360 Sprints and currently sits fourth in the point standings.
With a four pill drawn for the main event inversion, Ryan Bernal inherited the pole position and led six laps before falling to Kaeding. The young driver fought hard on this night, but had to settle for second. Piloting Danny Olmstead’s #11D Steve Watt Enterprises / S&S Automotive Maxim, Bernal was fourth fast in time trials and second in his heat race. The multi-time Wingless Spec Sprint Champion sits atop the point standings with a fifteen point advantage heading to Tulare on April 30th.
Jace VanderWeerd came home third after starting ninth in the family owned #88 Maxim sponsored by VanderWeerd Construction and Battery Worx. The previous week’s Santa Maria winner was eleventh fast in qualifications and finished third in his heat race. On the strength of three top-10 finishes on the year, VanderWeerd is second in the point standings.
In his first start of the 2011 campaign, Peter Murphy scored a fourth place finish after starting eighth. Driving the Eberhardt Motorsports #4 Maxim backed by Ridgeline Framing and Pro Signs, Murphy was tenth fast in time trials and finished third in his heat race. The veteran driver is a threat to win when he signs in for action.
Richard VanderWeerd scored a fifth place finish in the feature after starting seventh. Piloting the family owned #10 VanderWeerd Construction / Battery Worx Maxim, Richard was ninth fast in qualifications and won the night’s DJ Safety Heat Race #3. With two top-10 finishes on the season, VanderWeerd is seventh in the point chase.
“Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. earned his first Sander Engineering Fast Time Award over the twenty-three car field. Driving Junior Bowman’s #2 Buster & Ziggy Enterprises / Kaeding Performance Bullet, Faria also won the Extreme Mufflers Heat Race #1. The veteran driver had an early exit in the feature after flipping his machine, scoring a nineteenth place finish. Danny is ninth in the points as the series will return to Tulare on April 30th.
“Wide Open” Wes Gutierrez of San Martin won the Saldana Racing Products / Keizer Wheels Heat Race #2. Piloting the WG Motorsports #007 DRC backed by Competition Suspension Inc. and ButlerBuilt, Gutierrez was fourteenth quick in time trials and claimed sixth in the feature after starting twelfth. Wes has three top-10 finishes on the year and is third in the standings.
Making his first appearance of the season, Kolby Araki of Clovis earned the Keizer Wheels “Hard Charger / Best Passing Job” honors on the night. Driving Garrett Ishii’s #71G MKI Designs / GKI Farms Maxim, Araki finished ninth after starting twenty-second. The 3-time Sprint Kart champion was sixteenth fast in qualifications and seventh in his heat race.
The USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series would like to thank Southwest Contractors, Hoosier Tire, Amsoil, BR Motorsports, ButlerBuilt, Competition Suspension Inc., 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, Port City Racing, Saferacer.com, Saldana Racing Products, and Sander Engineering for their support.
The USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series will return to action on Saturday, April 30th, at Tulare’s Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway. Joining the action will the Taco Bravo Ocean Sprints vs. ASCS Southern California Sprint Cars, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Stocks, and Vintage Super Modifieds. Located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds at the corner of Bardsley and K Streets in Tulare, the Front Gates will open at 5:00pm, with time Trials at 6:00pm, and Racing at 7:00pm. Advance Reserved Grandstand Tickets and Bleacher Tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling the track office at (559) 688-0909. For more event information, visit the track’s website at www.tularethunderbowl.com.
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:
April 16, 2011 – Tulare, California – Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway
“Chris & Brian Faria Memorial”
SANDER ENGINEERING TIME TRIALS:
1. Danny Faria Jr., 2, Bowman-16.265; 2. Bud Kaeding, 29, Bowman-16.334; 3. Dennis Howell, 62, Howell-16.381; 4. Ryan Bernal, 11D, Olmstead-16.414; 5. T.J. Smith, 14, LeGras-16.456; 6. Jonathan Logan, 32, Evett/Logan-16.604; 7. Steven Tiner, 94, Tiner-16.749; 8. Rusty Carlile, 51, Carlile-16.764; 9. Richard VanderWeerd, 10, VanderWeerd-16.884; 10. Peter Murphy, 4, Eberhardt-16.888; 11. Jace VanderWeerd, 88, VanderWeerd-16.918; 12. Greg Alexander, 72, Tyler-16.986; 13. Justyne Hamblin, 8, JH-16.997; 14. Wes Gutierrez, 007, WG-17.154; 15. Cole Peard, 58, Peard-17.242; 16. Kolby Araki, 71G, Ishii-17.307; 17. Ricky Kirkbride, 87, Van Meter-17.346; 18. Andrew Murray, 18, Murray-17.775; 19. Matt Day, 97, Day-17.885; 20. Jeff Miller, 5X, Swaim-17.909; 21. Dave Knott, 28, Knott-18.810; 22. Nico Russo, 3N, Russo-NT; 23. Kevin Barnes, 36B, Barnes-NT.
EXTREME MUFFLERS HEAT RACE 1: (10 laps)
1. Danny Faria Jr., 2. Ryan Bernal, 3. Peter Murphy, 4. Justyne Hamblin, 5. Ricky Kirkbride, 6. Steven Tiner, 7. Kolby Araki, 8. Jeff Miller. NT.
SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS / KEIZER WHEELS HEAT RACE 2: (10 laps)
1. Wes Gutierrez, 2. Bud Kaeding, 3. Jace VanderWeerd, 4. T.J. Smith, 5. Dave Knott, 6. Rusty Carlile, 7. Andrew Murray. NT.
DJ SAFETY HEAT RACE 3: (10 laps)
1. Richard VanderWeerd, 2. Greg Alexander, 3. Dennis Howell, 4. Jonathan Logan, 5. Cole Peard, 6. Matt Day, 7. Nico Russo. NT.
FEATURE: (19 laps – With Starting Positions)
1. Bud Kaeding (3rd), 2. Ryan Bernal (1st), 3. Jace VanderWeerd (9th), 4. Peter Murphy (8th), 5. Richard VanderWeerd (7th), 6. Wes Gutierrez (12th), 7. Ricky Kirkbride (14th), 8. Justyne Hamblin (11th), 9. Kolby Araki (22nd), 10. Dennis Howell (2nd), 11. Nico Russo (21st), 12. Dave Knott (15th), 13. Rusty Carlile (17th), 14. Steven Tiner (16th), 15. Jeff Miller (20th), 16. Greg Alexander (10th), 17. Cole Peard (13th), 18. Jonathan Logan (6th), 19. Danny Faria Jr. (4th), 20. T.J. Smith (5th), 21. Matt Day (19th). NT.
**Danny Faria Jr. flipped during the feature.
**Andrew Murray did not start feature, slated to start 18th.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-6 Ryan Bernal, Laps 7-19 Bud Kaeding.
KEIZER WHEELS HARD CHARGER: Kolby Araki (22nd to 9th)
NEW USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT POINTS:
1-Ryan Bernal-185; 2-Jace VanderWeerd-170; 3-Wes Gutierrez-161; 4-Bud Kaeding-148; 5-Greg Alexander-141; 6-Justyne Hamblin-136; 7-Richard VanderWeerd-133; 8-T.J. Smith-121; 9-Danny Faria Jr.-114; 10-Jonathan Logan-93.
NEXT USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT RACE:
April 30 – Groppetti Automotive Tulare (CA) Thunderbowl Raceway