Ballou and Pierovich Score Opening Night Victories at the Vermeil Classic

From Lance Jennings

Calistoga, CA — (September 3, 2011) — After thirty nonstop laps at the famed Calistoga Speedway, Rocklin’s Robert Ballou won his first career feature with the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series. It was not an easy victory for Ballou as he battled with “Showtime” Danny Sheridan to claim the opening night of the 4th Annual Louie Vermeil Classic.

Driving Keith Ford’s #72 Berry Pack / A&A Precision Machining Ellis, Ballou paced the field from his pole position starting spot. As twenty-two cars took the green flag and roared through the first turn, Sheridan took command. Looking to score his first victory of 2011, Danny fought off Robert’s early challenge as the veteran drivers sailed around the big ½-mile clay oval.

Slicing his way through the slower traffic with ease, Sheridan began to stretch out his lead. Ballou powered his way through as well and began to close in. Heading into turn three on the outside groove, Robert shot for the lead. With Danny charging on the low line, the two determined drivers raced 3-wide with a slower car in the middle. Sheridan emerged from the “sandwich” with the lead, but Ballou continued to apply heavy pressure. Still racing hard through the slower cars, Ballou managed to slip by Sheridan on lap sixteen.

Fifth starting Mike Spencer hunted down the lead duo and was able to drop Sheridan to third. Danny battled back and retook the position. The Sheridan-Spencer battle for second was furious as they were still in striking distance for the lead. Ballou began to extend his advantage and Sheridan was able to shake free from Spencer. In the closing laps, seventh starting Matt Mitchell grabbed third from the 3-time champion and Robert Ballou took the victory followed by Sheridan, Mitchell, Spencer, and Damion Gardner.

In addition to scoring the $3000 feature victory, Robert Ballou won the night’s 8-lap first heat race, sponsored by Extreme Mufflers and Huntington Beach Glass & Mirror. Last year’s Sprint Bandits TnT Champion qualified tenth quick out of the twenty-five cars in attendance and will be a favorite in tonight’s finale of the Louie Vermeil Classic.

Piloting the Kittle Motorsports’ #18 Pace Lightning / PIPE Sherman, Danny Sheridan finished second in the nonstop main event. The former Bandit Sprint Car Champion was ninth fast on the night and took second in his heat race. As the writing goes to press, “Showtime” is seventh in the point chase with one feature victory, one Competition Suspension Inc. Semi-Main win, and six top-10 finishes on the year. Sheridan will have his eyes set on Sunday’s $5000 payday.

Yorba Linda’s Matt Mitchell took the J.W. Mitchell Motorsports’ #37 Mancha Realtors / Sierra Springs Maxim to a third place finish. The former USAC Western Midget Series Rookie of the Year qualified second quick on the night and scored fourth in his heat race. Currently third in the standings, Mitchell has two feature wins, five heat race victories, one Keizer Wheels Hard Charger Award, and ten top-10 finishes on the year. Matt will be looking to add tonight’s Louie Vermeil Classic finale to his resume.

Scoring fourth in the Calistoga opening round was Mike Spencer of Temecula. Driving Ron Chaffin’s #50 Madera Produce / Grubstake Mini Storage Maxim, Spencer was fifth fast on the night and won the Saldana Racing Products / Circle Track Performance Heat Race #2. The 3-time series champion holds a forty point advantage heading into tonight’s action and leads the series with five feature wins. In addition, Mike has
four Sander Engineering Fast Time Awards, five heat race victories, one Competition Suspension Inc. Semi-Main win, and nine top-10 finishes. The Bruce Bromme Jr. wrenched car will be in the hunt for another Louie Vermeil Classic victory.

Concord’s “The Demon” Damion Gardner raced to fifth in the main event after starting eighth. Earlier in the program, the pilot of the DG Racing #71 Pace Lighting Eagle earned the Sander Engineering Fast Time Qualifier honors and finished second to Ballou his heat race. In limited action on the West Coast, “The Demon” has three top-10 performances and twenty-three feature laps led to his credit. Gardner swept both nights of last season’s Louie Vermeil Classic and will be looking for the top spot tonight.

Greg Bragg of Visalia drove to victory in the 8-lap DJ Safety Heat Race #3. Driving Tom and Laurie Sertich’s #92 Huntington Beach Glass and Mirror / Pacific Business Machine Buckley, Bragg qualified fifteenth and scored a tenth place finish in the main event. The 3-time California Lightning Sprint Champion is fifth in the point standings with three heat race victories, two Keizer Wheels Hard Charger Awards, and eight top-10 finishes on the season.

Hollister’s Ryan Bernal won the Competition Suspension Inc. Semi-Main in his debut with a 410 cubic inch engine. Driving Danny Olmstead’s #11D S&S Automotive / Moeller Bros. Maxim, the USAC West Coast 360 standout was sixth quick, fifth in his heat race, and eighth in the main event. In limited action with USAC/CRA, Bernal has also led four main event laps in the 2011 campaign.

Lincoln’s Tony Hunt earned the night’s Keizer Wheels Hard Charger / Best Passing Job Honors with a sixteenth place run after starting twenty-third. Piloting Mike Phulp’s #56 Metal Works / Ebay Motors Maxim, the USAC Western Racing Classic point leader missed time trials with engine troubles, recording twenty-fifth. Hunt then scored sixth in his heat race and finished tenth in the 10-lap semi-main. In the three co-sanctioned events with the USAC Western Racing Classic Series, Tony has one semi-main win and one top-10 finish.

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 or follow the series on facebook.

The Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series will battle once again at the famed Calistoga Speedway for tonight’s finale of the 4th Annual Louie Vermeil Classic. Located at the Napa County Fairgrounds, more event information can be found at or calling (916) 863-7223.

After Calistoga, the USAC/CRA Sprint Cars will make their first appearance at Chico’s Silver Dollar Speedway on Thursday, September 8th, during the famed Gold Cup Race of Champions. Located at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds, more event information can be found at or calling (530) 891-6535.

USAC AMSOIL USAC/CRA/WESTERN CLASSIC SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: September 3, 2011 – Calistoga, California – Calistoga Speedway – “Louie Vermeil Classic”

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Damion Gardner, 71, DG-20.011; 2. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-20.298; 3. Nic Faas, 4, Alexander-20.375; 4. Jason York, 25N, York-20.448; 5. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-20.450; 6. Ryan Bernal, 11D, Olmstead-20.530; 7. Colby Copeland, 24, Copeland-20.612; 8. Scott Pierovich, 14, Pierson-20.615; 9. Danny Sheridan, 18, Kittle-20.643; 10. Robert Ballou, 72, Ford-20.660; 11. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-20.766; 12. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-20.809; 13. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-20.878; 14. Geoff Ensign, 3F, Finkenbinder-20.941; 15. Greg Bragg, 92, Sertich-21.084; 16. Jeff Griffin, 50x, Griffin-21.234; 17. Scott Hall, 56x, Hall-21.465; 18. Tim Sherman, 1x, Sherman-21.694; 19. Marty Hawkins, 3m, Hawkins-21.708; 20. Shauna Hogg, 5, Hogg-22.156; 21. Tim Barber, 3T, Finkenbinder-22.330; 22. Jim Richardson, 8, Richardson-22.771; 23. Jerry Cisco, 4B, Basden-23.079; 24. Todd Miller Jr., 96, Miller-NT; 25. Tony Hunt, 56, Phulps-NT.

FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Ballou, D.Gardner, 2. A.Williams, 4. Copeland, 5. Richardson, 6. Hunt, 7. York, 8. Griffin. NT

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Spencer, 2. Ensign, 3. Pierovich, 4. Mitchell, 5. C.Williams, 6. Hall, 7. Hogg, 8. Cisco. NT

THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Bragg, 2. Sheridan, 3. Faas, 4. R.Williams, 5. Bernal, 6. Barber, 7. T,Sherman, 8. Miller. NT

SEMI: (10 laps) 1. Bernal, 2. C.Williams, 3. York, 4. Hall, 5. Barber, 6. T.Sherman, 7. Hogg, 8. Miller, 9. Cisco, 10. Hunt, 11. Richardson. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Robert Ballou, 2. Danny Sheridan, 3. Matt Mitchell, 4. Mike Spencer, 5. Damion Gardner, 6. Nic Faas, 7. Geoff Ensign, 8. Ryan Bernal, 9. Colby Copeland, 10. Greg Bragg, 11. Scott Pierovich, 12. Jason York, 13. Tim Barber, 14. Austin Williams, 15. Scott Hall, 16. Tony Hunt, 17. Tim Sherman, 18. Shauna Hogg, 19. Jerry Cisco, 20. Cody Williams (#3), 21. Todd Miller Jr., 22. Jim Richardson, 23. Rip Williams (#44). NT
**Griffin flipped during the first heat.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-15 Sheridan, Laps 16-30 Ballou.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Spencer-683; 2-Faas-643; 3-Mitchell-641; 4-A.Williams-528; 5-Bragg-445; 6-C.Williams-414; 7-Sheridan-397; 8-R.Williams-387; 9-David Cardey-380; 10-Ronnie Gardner-370.
NEW USAC WESTERN CLASSIC SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Hunt-621; 2-Ensign-603; 3-Hogg-522; 4-Pierovich-506; 5-Barber-466; 6-Audra Sasselli-314; 7-Jerry Kobza-286; 8-Cody Gerhardt-281; 9-Tim Skoglund-263; 10-T.Sherman-244.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL USAC/CRA/WESTERN CLASSIC SPRINT CAR RACE: September 4 – Calistoga (CA) Speedway – “Louie Vermeil Classic”

USAC MOPAR WESTERN MIDGET CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: September 3, 2011 – Calistoga, California – Calistoga Speedway – “Louie Vermeil Classic”

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Josh Ford, 73, Ford-21.250; 2. Johnathon Henry, 88, Graunstadt-21.457; 3. Alex Schuitte, 25, Rodela-21.539; 4. Randi Pankratz, 8, Pankratz-21.547; 5. Shane Golobic, 26, Bock-21.569; 6. Scott Pierovich, 35, Pierovich-21.687; 7. Cody Swanson, 71, Swanson-21.730; 8. Matt Streeter, 14jr., Streeter-21.791; 9. David Prickett, 15, Neverlift-22.174; 10. Jake Swanson, 05, Swanson-22.232; 11. Cory Kruseman, 21k, Kruseman-22.274; 12. Pete Davis, 00, Davis-22.665; 13. Britton Bock, 67, Bock-22.766; 14. Connor Kassik, 15x, Neverlift-22.817; 25. Ronnie Gardner, 35x, Pierovich-NT.

FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Scott Pierovich, 2. Alex Schutte, 3. Cory Kruseman, 4. Johnathon Henry, 5. Cody Swanson, 6. Josh Ford, 7. David Prickett, 8. Matt Streeter, 9. Jake Swanson, 10. Pete Davis, 11. Shane Golobic, 12. Randi Pankratz, 13. Britton Bock, 14. Connor Kassik, 15. Ronnie Gardner. NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-25 Pierovich.

NEW MOPAR WESTERN MIDGET POINTS: 1-Kruseman-369; 2-Prickett-350; 3-Henry-322; 4-J.Swanson-319; 5-C.Swanson-309; 6-Pierovich-252; 7-Chris Ennis-202; 8-Kassik-143; 9-Pankratz-118; 10-Austin Smith-100.

NEXT USAC MOPAR WESTERN MIDGET RACE: September 4 – Calistoga, CA – Calistoga Speedway – “Louie Vermeil Classic”