By Dick Jordan
Thursday night’s “Sin City Showdown” at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Dirt Track will feature stars of USAC’s West Coast Sprint Series and the ASCS “360 Grudge Series.” The two groups will stage three races this season with a $5,000 bonus to driver posting the best performance. The other dates are July 7 at Santa Maria (Calif.) Speedway and September 22 at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Ariz.
Defending four-time AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Champion Mike Spencer is expected to be among competitors Thursday, along with USAC/CRA stars Cory Kruseman, Ryan Bernal, Bud Kaeding and Brody Roa.
Rick Ziehl, USAC’s 2003 Southwest Sprint Car Champ, is also among drivers expected at Las Vegas, as well as Arizona regulars Bruce St. James, R.J. Johnson, Charles Davis Jr., Josh Pelkey, Stevie Sussex, Mike Martin and Jeremy Sherman.
Greg Taylor, last year’s Ventura Sprint king, and Oklahoma vet Dustin Morgan are also projected participants.
The Las Vegas dirt oval has hosted several USAC events in recent years. Damion Gardner was the last to win in the USAC Sprints there in 2010. Cole Whitt, Levi Jones Blake Miller, Darren Hagen, Josh Wise, Tony Jones, Tony Elliott, Jeff Gardner, Monte Faccinto, Ray Evans, Bobby McMahan and Ronnie Day also own USAC Sprint wins at the half-mile.
Thursday’s race is considered a “special event” and therefore offers no West Coast Sprint points. The 2012 USAC West Coast Sprint campaign officially opens March 17 at the Tulare (Calif.) Thunderbowl Raceway.
2011 USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS
1-Richard VanderWeerd-866; 2-Ryan Bernal-827; 3-Wes Gutierrez-750; 4-Jace VanderWeerd-715; 5-Dennis Howell-655; 6-Danny Faria Jr.-600; 7-Greg Alexander-570; 8-T.J. Smith, Fresno-548; 9-Justyne Hamblin-540; 10-Bud Kaeding-504.