By Lance Jennings
SANTA MARIA, CA – JUNE 13, 2011… On June 17th, the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series will travel to John Prentice’s Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, California. The showcase at the popular 1/4-mile facility is a rare Friday night show for the traditional 410 sprints and a co-sanctioned event with the new USAC Western Racing Classic Sprint Cars. Last season, 2006 USAC/CRA Champion Cory Kruseman of Ventura claimed the action packed 30-lap feature.
The following night, both series will compete at Chris Kearns’ famed Santa Maria Speedway. Yorba Linda’s “The Bullet” Blake Miller will look for a repeat win over a talented roster of drivers at the 1/3-mile oval. In addition to the regular program, Kearns has produced a special “Last Man Standing Trophy Dash.” The $1000 winner-take-all event will feature the top 4 qualifiers that transfer out of the heat races. Starting with a 4 car / 4-lap dash, the last place finisher is eliminated. The next round will have the 3 remaining cars battle in a 3-lap shootout. The process is continued until there is one driver remaining- winner take all.
By virtue of his feature win at Perris Auto Speedway’s “Salute to Indy” on May 28th, Yorba Linda’s Matt Mitchell holds an eleven point lead over the competition. Driving the J.W. Mitchell Motorsports’ #37 Mancha Realtors / Sierra Springs Maxim, Mitchell has one heat race victory, five top-10 finishes, and led twenty-six feature laps. The USAC Western Midget Series graduate will be looking to extend his point lead with victories at both tracks.
Temecula’s Mike Spencer is second in the chase for the championship. Piloting Ron Chaffin’s famed #50 Madera Produce / Circle C Marketing Maxim, Spencer had engine problems and scored fifteenth at Perris. To date, the 3-time defending champion has three main event wins, two fast time awards, two heat race victories, three top-10 finishes, and led forty-two feature laps. Mike has his sights set on another title and feature wins at Watsonville and Santa Maria.
“The Bullet” Blake Miller of Yorba Linda is third in the point standings. Driving Mark Priestley’s #7 Roy Miller Freightlines / Sander Engineering Maxim, Miller led early before claiming fifth at Perris. The 2006 Rookie of the Year has four top-10 finishes and led eleven feature laps on the season. Blake will be looking to add a Watsonville victory to resume and a repeat win at Santa Maria.
Riverside’s “Dynamite” David Cardey is fourth in the point chase. Piloting his own #59 Circle Track Performance / Pick’s Racing Engines Viper, Cardey had problems and scored twentieth at Perris. The former California Lightning Sprint Champion has one fast time award, two heat race victories, four top-10 finishes, and one hard charger award on the year. David will be in the mix for feature wins at both tracks.
Greg Bragg of Visalia is fifth in the standings. Driving Tom and Laurie Sertich’s #92 Huntington Beach Glass & Mirror / Pacific Business Machine Buckley, Bragg earned his second hard charger award with a second place run after starting thirteenth. The 3-Time California Lightning Sprint Champion has one heat victory, five top-10 finishes, and led two feature laps in 2011. Greg will be looking to put the Moose Racing entry in victory circle at Watsonville and Santa Maria.
Among the other top USAC/CRA contenders expected to be in action are “Super” Rickie Gaunt of Torrance, Huntington Beach’s Nic Faas, Yorba Linda’s Austin, Cody, and “The Ripper” Rip Williams, Jace and Richard VanderWeerd of Visalia, Santa Maria’s “Showtime” Danny Sheridan, and many more.
The USAC Western Racing Classic Series is led by Lincoln’s Tony Hunt who scored the “Al Pombo Classic” victory last Saturday night at Madera Speedway. Hunt is followed by Scott Pierovich of Alamo, Fresno’s Audra Sasselli, Clovis’ Luis Ramos III, Fair Oaks’ Shauna Hogg, and Sebastapol’s Geoff Ensign in the point chase.
Local 360 iron-block powered Sprint Cars are welcome to race with USAC/CRA. The 360s can run their local approved tires (all four corners must be Hoosier), but must meet series tech standards and race track muffler rules. The Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series does not have an entry fee or charge for transponders, but drivers must have one-way radios. In addition, the series is offering a bonus to the highest finishing 360 team. To be eligible for the $200 cash award from USAC and 20 gallons of methanol from So-Cal Performance, the owner or driver must have a current USAC membership.
Ocean Speedway is located on the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville, California at 2601 E. Lake Avenue. The track has a strict muffler rule and asks competitors to run the FlowMaster Suitcase, Spintech Suitcase, or 180 degree mufflers. The USAC Sprints will be joined by Ford Focus Midgets, Wingless Spec Sprints, Micro 600s, and a Destruction Derby. The Pit Gate will open at 1:00pm, Front Gates open at 4:30pm, with Racing to begin at 6:00pm. For more information, please visit www.oceanspeedway.com or call (831) 662-9466.
Santa Maria Speedway is located 1/4-mile north of the 101/166 interchange at 1900 Hutton Road in Nipomo, California. Also on the Saturday card will be the Toste Construction Mini Stocks, American/Enduro Stocks, and USAC Ford Focus Midgets. Adult tickets are $20, Senior, Military, and Student tickets (13-17) are $18, Kids tickets (6-12) are $6, and Children’s tickets (5 and under) are FREE. The Pit Gate will open at 8:00am, Front Gates open at 4:00pm, Time Trials at 5:00pm, with Racing to begin at 6:00pm. For more event information, visit the track’s website at www.racesantamariaspeedway.com or call (805) 922-2232.
The Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series would like to thank Hoosier Tire, Circle Track Performance, Competition Suspension Inc., DJ Safety, Donovan Engineering, Electro Tech Powder Coating, Extreme Mufflers, Hilborn Fuel Injection, Huntington Beach Glass & Mirror, Keizer Wheels, Saldana Racing Products, Sander Engineering, and So-Cal Performance for their support. For more information, visit usacracing.com/cra or follow the series on facebook.
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS:
1. Matt Mitchell 290; 2. Mike Spencer 279; 3. Blake Miller 277; 4. David Cardey 259; 5. Greg Bragg 244; 6. Rickie Gaunt 223; -. Nic Faas 223; 8. Austin Williams 191; 9. Cody Williams 154; 10. Rip Williams 153; 11. Jace VanderWeerd 147; 12. Richard VanderWeerd 135; 13. David Bezio 131; 14. Cory Kruseman 112; 15. Greg Alexander 107; –. Ronnie Gardner 107; 17. Danny Sheridan 94; 18. Rodney Argo 90; 19. Cody Kershaw 77; 20. Bud Keading 68.
USAC WESTERN RACING CLASSIC SPRINT POINTS:
1. Tony Hunt 229; 2. Scott Pierovich 216; 3. Audra Sasselli 182; 4. Luis Ramos III 160; -. Shauna Hogg 160; -. Geoff Ensign 160; -. Brian McClish 160; 8. Jerry Kobza 153; -. Tim Barber 153; 10. Cody Gerhardt 151; 11. Tim Skoglund 138; 12. Gordon Rodgers 114; 13. Andy Forsberg 94; 14. Don Emory 73; 15. Kyle Hirst 65; 16. Colby Copeland 59; 17. Brent Keading 56; –. Marvin Mitchell 56; 19. Bill Logan 51; –. Scott Hall 51.
NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACES:
June 17th – Watsonville, CA – Ocean Speedway
June 18th – Santa Maria, CA – Santa Maria Speedway