By Lance Jennings
SANTA MARIA, CA – JUNE 27, 2011… This Saturday night, July 2nd, the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series will compete in the “Firecracker 30” at Perris Auto Speedway. The annual event at Don Kazarian’s 1/2-mile facility is not only a fan favorite, but one of the most anticipated events on the calendar. The traditional 410 cubic-inch powered machines will be joined by the popular winged California Lightning Sprints. In addition, the track will host a special “Sky Concert” / Fireworks show and the Centennial Celebration for the City of Perris. The spectator gates will open at 3:00pm, with games, rides, a dunk tank, and autograph / photo session planned for those in attendance. Racing is set begin at “America’s Premier Dirt Track” at 7:00pm.
Heading into Saturday’s event, Yorba Linda’s Matt Mitchell holds a five point lead over the competition. Piloting the J.W. Mitchell Motorsports’ #37 Mancha Realtors / Sierra Springs Maxim, Matt won the last show at Perris on May 28th’s “Salute To Indy.” During USAC/CRA’s match races with the Western Racing Classic Series, Mitchell finished fourth at Watsonville and scored nineteenth at Santa Maria. To date, the USAC Western Midget Series graduate has two heat race victories, six top-10 finishes, and led twenty-six main event laps. The point leader will have his sights set on another feature win at USAC/CRA’s “home track.”
Temecula’s Mike Spencer will be looking to return to Perris’ victory lane at the Firecracker 30. Driving Ron Chaffin’s famed #50 Madera Produce / Circle C Marketing Maxim, the 3-time defending series champion was red hot out of the gate winning the first three features of the 2011 campaign. Now second in the points, Mike was third at Watsonville and scored eighteenth at Santa Maria after leading the first twenty-two laps. Spencer has earned three Sander Engineering Fast Time Awards on the season, to go with two heat race victories, one semi-main win, four top-10 finishes, and led sixty-four main event laps.
Nic Faas of Huntington Beach climbed to third in the point standings behind the wheel of Mark Alexander’s #4 Scott Sales Company / VP Racing Fuels Spike. Nic was fifth at Watsonville, won Santa Maria’s $1000 Last Man Standing Dash, and claimed second in the feature. The former USAC Western States Midget Champion has one fast time award, four heat race victories, one hard charger award, and five top-10 finishes on the year. This Saturday, Faas will be looking to add the “Firecracker 30” to his resume.
Visalia’s Greg Bragg is fourth in the championship points. Driving Tom and Laurie Sertich’s #92 Huntington Beach Glass & Mirror / Pacific Business Machine Buckley, the team did not travel to Watsonville, but Greg took third at Santa Maria. To date, the 3-Time California Lightning Sprint Champion has one heat race victory, six top-10 finishes, and earned two Keizer Wheels Hard Charger Awards on the season. Bragg will have Casey Shuman as a teammate and both drivers will be motivated to put the Moose Racing entries in victory circle.
After finishing fifth at Santa Maria, Torrance’s “Super” Rickie Gaunt is fifth in the point chase. Piloting David Miller’s #66 Tom Roberts Design / Barnes Systems Inc. Eagle, the team did not travel to Watsonville but Gaunt has one semi-main victory, four top-10 finishes, and led nine main event laps in 2011. The former SCRA Sprint Car Champion won the 2002 “Firecracker 30” from the seventeenth starting spot and wants to add another to his career win list.
Among the other top USAC/CRA contenders expected to be in action are Yorba Linda’s Austin, Cody, and “The Ripper” Rip Williams, Riverside’s “Dynamite” David Cardey, “The Kruser” Cory Kruseman of Ventura, Visalia’s Jace and Richard VanderWeerd, Norco’s Ronnie Gardner, Greg Alexander of Gardena, and many more. “Wide Open” Wes Gutierrez of San Martin and Norwalk’s Brandon Thomson will join the list of visiting drivers looking to claim the “Firecracker 30.”
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.
Perris Auto Speedway is located on the Lake Perris Fairgrounds in Perris, California. Adult tickets are $30 Reserved and $20 General. Kid’s tickets are $10 Reserved and $5 General. Children 5 and under are FREE in General Admission. For more information or to order advance tickets, please visit www.perrisautospeedway.com or call (951) 940-0134.
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, Rod End Supply, 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-371, 2-Mike Spencer-366, 3-Nic Faas-348, 4-Greg Bragg-303, 5-Rickie Gaunt-281, 6-Austin Williams-280, 7-Blake Miller-277, 8-David Cardey-273, 9-Cory Kruseman-246, 10-Cody Williams-231.
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT SCHEDULE:
July 2: Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA
July 30: Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA
August 13: Santa Maria Speedway – Santa Maria, CA
August 20: Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA
September 3: **Calistoga Speedway – Calistoga, CA
September 4: **Calistoga Speedway – Calistoga, CA
September 8: **Silver Dollar Speedway – Chico, CA
September 24: Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA
October 8: Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA
October 28: Canyon Speedway Park – Peoria, AZ
October 29: Canyon Speedway Park – Peoria, AZ
November 3: *Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA
November 4: *Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA
November 5: *Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA
November 12: *Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway – Hanford, CA
* = Co-Sanctioned Event With USAC National Sprints.
** = Co-Sanctioned Event With USAC Western Classic Racing Series.
This schedule is subject to change.