By Dick Jordan
Jace VanderWeerd has a five-point lead over Ryan Bernal and is eight points ahead of Wes Gutierrez as the series preps for a May 14 return to the Gropetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif.
Peter Murphy of Clovis, Calif. led the final four laps in his Eberhardt Special to win Saturday night’s 30-lap USAC West Coast 360 Sprint race at Tulare. Dennis Howell finished second ahead of Richard VanderWeerd, Greg Alexander and Jace VanderWeerd.
Former point leader Ryan Bernal led laps 2-26 but dropped to 15th in the official finish. T.J. Smith was Saturday’s fastest qualifier.
Saturday’s race is the third of six scheduled at Tulare. Jace VanderWeerd has been third, fifth and eighth in this year’s Tulare races, while Bernal has a pair of seconds and Gutierrez has two sixths and a seventh.
USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS
1-Jace VanderWeerd-224; 2-Ryan Bernal-219; 3-Wes Gutierrez-216; 4-Greg Alexander-198; 5-Richard VanderWeerd-197; 6-Justyne Hamblin-173; 7-Dennis Howell-151; 8-T.J. Smith-149; 9-Bud Kaeding-148; 10-Danny Faria Jr.-138.