By Lance Jennings
PERRIS, CA – JULY 2, 2011… In front of a large enthusiastic crowd, Mike Spencer passed former USAC/CRA Champion Rip Williams on lap seven and led the rest of the way to win the “Firecracker 30” at Don Kazarian’s Perris Auto Speedway. With the victory, the 3-time defending series champion not only scored his fourth main event of the year, but also reclaimed the point lead from Matt Mitchell.
It was a father-son front row of the twenty-two car feature, with young Austin Williams on the pole position alongside National Sprint Car Hall of Fame driver Rip Williams. At the drop of the starter’s green flag, Austin took command, but it was “The Ripper” that found extra traction in turn four to officially lead the first lap. Fourth starting Mike Spencer sat in third, while fourth was a three-way battle between Casey Shuman, Nic Faas, and Ronnie Gardner.
By lap five, Spencer took second away from Austin and gave chase after Rip. Using the outside line of the 1/2-mile clay oval, Spencer quickly closed the gap and raced side by side with the veteran driver. As the pair raced into turn three, Rip slid in front of the challenger. Mike crossed over to the bottom lane and motored past the veteran, taking the lead before the start-finish line. With seven laps in the books, Spencer was out front, Rip held second, Faas took third from Austin, with Gardner close behind in fifth.
As the laps counted down, Spencer steadily made his way through the back markers and extended his lead by a half straightaway. Faas took second place from Rip with a turn one “slide job” and looked to catch the leader. Now, there was a tight three-way battle for third between Rip Williams, Matt Mitchell, and Ronnie Gardner. Action came to a halt on lap twenty-three for Greg Alexander, who spun to a stop in turn four.
At the back straightaway restart cone, Spencer led the field in single file formation. Faas chose the outside line for his attack and banged his car off the turn four cushion. That left the inside line open and Rip Williams took advantage, reclaiming second. As Spencer began to put some distance between himself and the pack, fourth running Mitchell had problems and lost positions. At the checkered flags, it was all Mike Spencer, followed by Rip Williams, Nic Faas, Ronnie Gardner, and Danny Sheridan.
Piloting Ron Chaffin’s red #50 Maxim backed by Madera Produce and Grubstake Mini Storage, Temecula’s Mike Spencer won his series leading fourth main event of 2011. Now with a ten point lead over the competition, the second generation driver was fifth quick in time trials and fourth in his heat race. To date, Spencer has three fast time awards, two heat race victories, one semi-main win, five top-10 finishes, and eighty-seven feature laps led to his credit.
Yorba Linda’s “The Ripper” Rip Williams had his best finish of the year with a second place run. Driving Jack & Sharon Jory’s black #3 Viper sponsored by the John Jory Corporation and AMA Plastics, Williams led the first six laps before falling to Spencer. Earlier in the program, the 2004 USAC/CRA Champion was seventh fast in qualifications and third in his heat race. As this writing goes to press, Rip is tenth in the point chase with two heat race victories and two top-10 finishes on the year.
Nic Faas of Huntington Beach drove Mark Alexander’s silver #4 Spike backed by the Scott Sales Company and VP Racing Fuels to a third place finish. Currently third in the point standings, Faas was third quick in time trials and fourth in his heat race. The former USAC Western Midget Series Champion has one fast time award, four heat race victories, one hard charger award, and six top-10 finishes to his credit.
Norco’s Ronnie Gardner had one of his best nights in the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series with a fourth place finish in the “Firecracker 30.” In addition, Ronnie took Jeff Gardner’s #93 Sled backed by Jamison Engineering and DWT Wheels to his first Sander Engineering Fast Time Award over the thirty-two entries and was third in his heat race. To date, the young driver has three top-10 finishes and one heat race victory in the 2011 campaign.
“Showtime” Danny Sheridan of Santa Maria raced the Kittle Motorsports #18 Sherman sponsored by Pace Lightning and PIPE to fifth after starting eleventh in the feature. The former Bandit Sprint Car Champion was twelfth fast in qualifications and third in his heat race. Now splitting time with the USAC West Coast 360 Sprints, Sheridan has one heat race victory and three top-10 finishes on the year.
“The Cadillac” Cody Williams of Yorba Linda earned the night’s Keizer Wheels “Hard Charger / Best Passing Job” honors with a seventh place finish after starting eighteenth. Driving Jack & Sharon Jory’s black #44 Viper backed by the John Jory Corporation and AMA Plastics, Cody was twentieth quick in time trials and won his third heat race of the year by taking the Electro Tech Powder Coating / Rod End Supply event. The 2008 National Non-Wing Sprint Car Rookie of the Year is currently eighth in series points with four top-10 finishes in 2011.
“Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. of Tipton won the Extreme Mufflers / Huntington Beach Glass and Mirror Heat Race #1. Piloting Junior Bowman’s #2X Bullet sponsored by Buster & Ziggy Enterprises and Barcellos Farms, Faria was seventeenth quick on the night and tenth in the “Firecracker 30.” A regular with the USAC West Coast 360 Sprints, Danny has one semi-main victory, two top-10 finishes, and led thirteen feature laps on the season.
Matt Mitchell of Yorba Linda drove the J.W. Mitchell Motorsports’ #37 Maxim backed by Mancha Realtors and Sierra Springs to victory in the Saldana Racing Products / Circle Track Performance Heat Race #2. Mitchell was second quick on the night and scored eighth in the 30-lap feature. Now second in the points, Matt has one feature win, three heat race victories, seven top-10 finishes, and led twenty-six main event laps on the year.
“The Wildman” Rodney Argo of Gardena raced the only Ford powered car in the field to victory in the DJ Safety Heat Race #3. Piloting Don Argo’s #19 Stinger sponsored by Decore Plating, Rodney was twenty-third fast in qualifications and finished sixteenth in the main event. In limited action, the 1998 Oval Nationals Champion has two-heat race wins and one top-10 finish to his credit.
Gardena’s Greg Alexander piloted John Bellegante’s #23 Beast backed by Scotts Headers & Mufflers and Amsoil to his second 12-lap Competition Suspension Inc. Semi-Main victory of the year. Alexander was sixteenth quick on the night, seventh in his heat race, and fourteenth in the main event. Splitting time with the USAC West Coast 360 Sprints, Greg has one fast time award, two heat race victories, one top-10 finish, and led two feature laps in 2011.
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 www.usacracing.com/cra or follow the series on facebook.
The ninth round of competition for the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series will be held Saturday, July 30th, at Perris Auto Speedway’s “Kindoll Classic.” Located on the Lake Perris Fairgrounds, more event information can be found at www.perrisautospeedway.com or calling (951) 940-0134.
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE RESULTS:
July 2, 2011 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway – “Firecracker 30”
SANDER ENGINEERING TIME TRIALS:
1. Ronnie Gardner, 93, Gardner-16.591; 2. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-16.611; 3. Nic Faas, 4, Alexander-16.750; 4. Rickie Gaunt, 66, Miller-16.842; 5. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-16.923; 6. Casey Shuman, 92M, Sertich-16.927; 7. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-16.976; 8. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-17.126; 9. Jace VanderWeerd, 88, VanderWeerd-17.143; 10. Wes Gutierrez, 007, WG-17.182; 11. Richard VanderWeerd, 10, VanderWeerd-17.251; 12. Danny Sheridan, 18, Kittle-17.272; 13. David Cardey, 59, Cardey-17.272; 14. Kenny Perkins, 0K, Perkins- 17.272; 15. Greg Bragg, 92, Sertich-17.324; 16. Greg Alexander, 23, Bellegante-17.360; 17. Danny Faria Jr., 2X, Bowman-17.362; 18. Josh Pelkey, 12A, Allen-17.432; 19. A.J. Bender, 12, Bender-17.469; 20. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-17.586; 21. Tony Everhart, 55, Everhart-17.663; 22. Corey Ballard, 20, Ballard-17.872; 23. Rodney Argo, 19, Argo-17.886; 24. Johnny McCall, 77, McCall-17.961; 25. David Bezio, 37X, Bezio-18.069; 26. Gary Potter, 6, Potter-18.288; 27. Brandon Thomson, 36, Springstead-18.448; 28. Ray Potter, 33X, Potter-18.460; 29. Jerry Welton, 62, Welton-18.551; 30. Mike Collins, 50X, Perkins-19.122; 31. Johnny Bluntach, 58, Bluntach-NT.; 32. Royal Adderson, 40, Adderson-NT.
EXTREME MUFFLERS / HUNTINGTON BEACH GLASS & MIRROR HEAT RACE 1: (10 laps)
1. Danny Faria Jr., 2. David Cardey, 3. Ronnie Gardner, 4. Mike Spencer, 5. Tony Everhart, 6. David Bezio, 7. Jace VanderWeerd, 8. Jerry Welton. NT.
SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS / CIRCLE TRACK PERFORMANCE HEAT RACE 2: (10 laps)
1. Matt Mitchell, 2. Josh Pelkey, 3. Casey Shuman, 4. Corey Ballard, 5. Mike Collins, 6. Gary Potter, 7. Wes Gutierrez, 8. Kenny Perkins. NT.
DJ SAFETY HEAT RACE 3: (10 laps)
1. Rodney Argo, 2. Greg Bragg, 3. Rip Williams, 4. Nic Faas, 5. Richard VanderWeerd, 6. A.J. Bender, 7. Brandon Thomson. NT.
ELECTRO TECH POWDER COATING / ROD END SUPPLY HEAT RACE 4: (10 laps)
1. Cody Williams, 2. Rickie Gaunt, 3. Danny Sheridan, 4. Austin Williams, 5. Johnny McCall, 6. Ray Potter, 7. Greg Alexander. NT.
COMPETITION SUSPENSION INC. SEMI-MAIN: (12 laps)
1. Greg Alexander, 2. Richard VanderWeerd, 3. Jace VanderWeerd, 4. Tony Everhart, 5. David Bezio, 6. A.J. Bender, 7. Mike Collins, 8. Gary Potter, 9. Jerry Welton, 10. Brandon Thomson, 11. Ray Potter, 12. Johnny McCall. NT.
FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions)
1. Mike Spencer (4th), 2. Rip Williams (2nd), 3. Nic Faas (6th), 4. Ronnie Gardner (8th), 5. Danny Sheridan (11th), 6. Austin Williams (1st), 7. Cody Williams (18th), 8. Matt Mitchell (7th), 9. Casey Shuman (3rd), 10. Danny Faria Jr. (15th), 11. Greg Bragg (13th), 12. Richard VanderWeerd (10th), 13. Josh Pelkey (16th), 14. Greg Alexander (14th), 15. Jace VanderWeerd (9th), 16. Rodney Argo (21st), 17. David Bezio (22nd), 18. Corey Ballard (20th), 19. A.J. Bender (17th), 20. Rickie Gaunt (5th), 21. Tony Everhart (19th), 22. David Cardey (12th). NT.
**Johnny Bluntach flipped during qualifications.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-6 Rip Williams, Laps 7-30 Mike Spencer.
KEIZER WHEELS HARD CHARGER: Cody Williams (18th to 7th)
NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS:
1-Mike Spencer-433; 2-Matt Mitchell-423; 3-Nic Faas-411; 4-Greg Bragg-341; 5-Austin Williams-330; 6-Rickie Gaunt-304; 7-David Cardey-293; 8-Cody Williams-281; 9-Blake Miller-277; 10-Rip Williams-272.
NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE:
July 30 – Perris (CA) Auto Speedway – “Kindoll Classic”