By Lance Jennings
PERRIS, CA – APRIL 1, 2012… Last Saturday night, Mike Spencer of Temecula took the lead from R.J. Johnson and held off Nic Faas to win the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car feature at Perris Auto Speedway. Spencer swept the show, earning the “Dean Thompson Award” for setting fast time, winning his heat race, and claiming the 30-lap main event. However, there is much more to this story.
In perhaps the most dramatic and closest finish in the seventeen year history of race track, Spencer won by inches over the surging Faas. The pair had swapped the lead back and fourth during the closing laps, while slicing through heavy lapped traffic. Heading into the final corners, Mike had put a buffer of two lapped cars between himself and Nic. Looking for a repeat win, Faas mounted a determined charge off the final turn that just fell short in a photo finish.
Driving Ron Chaffin’s #50 Madera Produce / Grubstake Mini Storage Maxim, Mike Spencer claimed the victory from the eighth starting spot. The 4-time series champion made some bold moves in the early laps by moving from sixth to second in one circuit. Spencer had an excellent restart after lap seven yellow flag and took the lead from R.J. Johnson of Phoenix. Mike had stretched out to a comfortable lead over the field until Faas chased him down, setting up the dramatic conclusion. Earlier in the program, Spencer earned his first Sander Engineering / Rod End Supply Fast Time Award, turning the third fifteen second lap in the track’s history for a traditional sprint car with a 15.871. After out-qualifying the 34 car field and winning the Extreme Muffler’s Heat Race #1, Spencer is currently second in the point chase.
Huntington Beach’s Nic Faas had to settle for second after a hard fought battle with Spencer. Piloting Mark Alexander’s #4 Scott Sales Company / Competition Suspension Inc. Spike, Faas was second fast in time trials and scored fourth in his heat race. Starting in seventh, the 2008 Rookie of the Year made his way forward and chased down the leader. Swapping the lead several times with Spencer and not officially leading a lap, the 2008 Rookie of the Year maintains the point lead heading into the April 28th return to Perris.
Scoring third for the second straight main event is Matt Mitchell of Yorba Linda. Driving the J.W. Mitchell Motorsports’ #37 J.M. Mancha Realtors / Sierra Springs Water Maxim, Matt started fifth in the feature and battled hard for position. The former USAC Western Midget Series Rookie of the Year qualified fourth quick on the night and won the fourth heat race, sponsored by SBI Fuel Systems and Integra Racing Shocks. Mitchell earned the program’s LRB Inc. Race Products Award for his third place finish and currently sits third in the championship hunt.
Hollister’s Ryan Bernal claimed fourth in his debut behind the wheel of the Kittle Motorsports’ #18 Pace Lighting / PJ1 Lubricants Sherman. Last season’s USAC West Coast 360 Rookie of the Year started fourth in the main event and battled back after falling to seventh. Earlier in the night, the young driver was fifth fast in time trials and scored third in his heat race. As this writing goes to press, Bernal is fourth in the point standings.
Austin Williams of Yorba Linda earned the night’s Ringers Gloves / Keizer Wheels “Hard Charger / Best Passing Job” honors with a fifth place run after starting eighteenth. Piloting Jack Jory’s #2 John Jory Corporation / AMA Plastics Viper, the 2009 Rookie of the Year qualified nineteenth and won the Saldana Racing Products / Circle Track Performance Heat Race #2. The son of Hall of Fame driver Rip Williams is currently sixth in the chase for the USAC/CRA crown.
“Dynamite” David Cardey of Riverside won the night’s DJ Safety Heat Race #3. Driving his #59 Circle Track Performance / Victory Race Cars Viper, the former California Lightning Sprint Champion was third quick in time trials and running up front in the main event, before an early exit resulted in a twentieth place finish. Cardey sits seventh in the USAC/CRA point standings.
Yorba Linda’s “The Ripper” Rip Williams won the 12-lap Competition Suspension Inc. / Diversified Machine Inc. Semi Main. Piloting Jack Jory’s #3 John Jory Corporation / AMA Plastics Viper, the 2004 Champion was tenth fast on the night, fifth in his heat, and scored seventeenth in the feature. The veteran driver currently sits eleventh in the hunt for the championship.
The Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series would like to thank Hoosier Tire, Circle Track Performance, Competition Suspension Inc., DJ Safety, Diversified Machine Inc., Extreme Mufflers, Hilborn Fuel Injection, Integra Racing Shocks, Keizer Wheels, LRB Inc. Race Products, Ringers Gloves, Rod End Supply, SBI Fuel Systems, Saldana Racing Products, and Sander Engineering for their support. For more information, visit www.usacracing.com/cra or follow the series on facebook. If you or your company would like to become part of the series, please email PR Director Lance Jennings at email@example.com.
The Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series will be back in action on Saturday, April 28th, at Perris Auto Speedway. Located on the Lake Perris Fairgrounds, more event information can be found at www.perrisautospeedway.com or calling (951) 940-0134.
To catch all of the action of the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series at Perris Auto Speedway, Mike Truex’s Loudpedal Productions has DVD videos available for purchase. For more information, call (805) 407-7229 or visit www.loudpedalvideo.com. In addition, Perris Auto Speedway offers a live pay per view feed of every event at www.3widenetworks.com and www.pasvideo.com. The live feed is scheduled to begin at 5:30pm PST.
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS:
March 31, 2012 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway
SANDER ENGINEERING / ROD END SUPPLY TIME TRIALS:
1. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-15.871; 2. Nic Faas, 4, Alexander-16.137; 3. David Cardey, 59, Cardey-16.419; 4. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-16.547; 5. Ryan Bernal, 18, Kittle-16.548; 6. Rickie Gaunt, 66, Miller-16.613; 7. R.J. Johnson, 51x, Johnson-16.650; 8. Ronnie Gardner, 42, Cheney-16.658; 9. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-16.692; 10. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-16.694; 11. Brody Roa, 91R, Roa-16.722;12. Greg Alexander, 72, Tyler-16.760; 13. Seth Wilson, 1x, Wilson-16.849; 14. Bill Rose, 6, Rose-16.857; 15. Richard VanderWeerd, 10, VanderWeerd-16.869; 16. Josh Pelkey, 12a, Allen-16.894; 17. Verne Sweeney, 98, Tracy-16.974; 18. Jace VanderWeerd, 88, VanderWeerd-17.008; 19. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-17.021; 20. David Bezio Jr., 37x, Bezio-17.025; 21. Josh Ford, 73, Ford-17.032; 22. Jake Swanson, 41, Jones-17.044; 23. Kenny Perkins, 0k, Perkins-17.212; 24. Royal Adderson, 40, Adderson-17.345; 25. Tony Everhart, 55, Everhart-17.446; 26. Austin Smith, 14, Springstead-17.512; 27. Corey Ballard, 20, Ballard-17.534; 28. Cal Smith, 39, CalSun-17.581; 29. Billy Blinn, 26, Blinn-17.827; 30. Jerry Welton Jr., 62, Welton-17.922; 31. Jon Kairot, 0, Perkins-18.536; 32. Mike Collins, 04, Collins-NT; 33. A.J. Bender, 11, Bender-NT.
EXTREME MUFFLERS HEAT RACE 1: (10 laps)
1. Mike Spencer, 2. Jake Swanson, 3. Ryan Bernal, 4. Bill Rose, 5. Rip Williams, 6. Jace VanderWeerd, 7. Austin Smith, 8. Jerry Welton. 2:48.95
SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS / CIRCLE TRACK PERFORMANCE HEAT RACE 2: (10 laps)
1. Austin Williams, 2. Richard VanderWeerd, 3. R.J. Johnson, 4. Nic Faas, 5. Brody Roa, 6. Kenny Perkins, 7. Corey Ballard, 8. Jon Kairot. 2:51.14
DJ SAFETY HEAT RACE 3: (10 laps)
1. David Cardey, 2. David Bezio, 3. Greg Alexander, 4. Ronnie Gardner, 5. Josh Pelkey, 6. Royal Adderson, 7. Cal Smith, 8. Mike Collins. 2:50.64
SBI FUEL SYSTEMS / INTEGRA RACING SHOCKS HEAT RACE 4: (10 laps)
1. Matt Mitchell, 2. Josh Ford, 3. Seth Wilson, 4. Cody Williams, 5. Verne Sweeney, 6. Tony Everhart, 7. Billy Blinn. 2:52.64
COMPETITION SUSPENSION INC. / DIVERSIFIED MACHINE INC. SEMI-MAIN: (12 laps)
1. Rip Williams, 2. Brody Roa, 3. Josh Pelkey, 4. Jace VanderWeerd, 5. Verne Sweeney, 6. Tony Everhart, 7. Kenny Perkins, 8. Cal Smith, 9. Billy Blinn, 10. Corey Ballard, 11. Jon Kairot, 12. Jerry Welton, 13. Austin Smith, 14. Royal Adderson, 15. A.J. Bender. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions)
1. Mike Spencer (8th), 2. Nic Faas (7th), 3. Matt Mitchell (5th), 4. Ryan Bernal (4th), 5. Austin Williams (18th), 6. R.J. Johnson (3rd), 7. Greg Alexander (11th), 8. Brody Roa (10th), 9. David Bezio (19th), 10. Josh Ford (20th), 11. Seth Wilson (12th), 12. Jace VanderWeerd (17th), 13. Bill Rose (13th), 14. Verne Sweeney (16th), 15. Tony Everhart (22nd), 16. Jake Swanson (21st), 17. Rip Williams (9th), 18. Richard VanderWeerd (14th), 19. Ronnie Gardner (2nd), 20. David Cardey (6th), 21. Josh Pelkey (15th), 22. Cody Williams (1st). NT
**A.J. Bender flipped during practice.
**Cody Williams flipped on lap 1 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-7 R.J. Johnson, Laps 8-30 Mike Spencer.
RINGERS GLOVES / KEIZER WHEELS HARD CHARGER: Austin Williams (18th to 5th)
LRB INC. RACE PRODUCTS AWARD: Matt Mitchell
NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS:
1-Nic Faas-141, 2-Mike Spencer-134, 3-Matt Mitchell-131, 4-Ryan Bernal-121, 5-Brody Roa-93, 6-Austin Williams-82, 7-David Cardey-77, 8-Greg Alexander-69, 9-David Bezio-69, 10-Josh Ford-68, 11-Rip Williams- 65, 12- Richard VanderWeerd- 63, 13- Seth Wilson- 63, 14- Jace VanderWeerd- 59, 15-Cory Kruseman-53, 16-Jake Swanson-47, 17-Cody Williams-42, 18-Tony Everhart-25, 19-Casey Shuman-24, 20-Bud Kaeding-21.
2012 AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES SCHEDULE
DATE – TRACK – LOCATION
April 28: Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA
May 19: Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway – Hanford, CA
May 26: Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA (Salute To Indy)
June 2: Cocopah Speedway – Yuma, AZ
June 15: **Ocean Speedway – Watsonville, CA
June 16: **Santa Maria Speedway – Santa Maria, CA
July 4: Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA (Firecracker 30)
July 28: Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA (California Racers Hall of Fame Night)
August 10: **Ocean Speedway – Watsonville, CA
August 11: **Santa Maria Speedway – Santa Maria, CA (Wagscash)
August 18: Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA
September 1: **Calistoga Speedway – Calistoga, CA (Louie Vermeil Classic)
September 2: **Calistoga Speedway – Calistoga, CA (Louie Vermeil Classic)
September 5: **Silver Dollar Speedway – Chico, CA (Non-Points)
September 15: Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA
October 6: Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA (Southern California Fair)
October 26: *Canyon Speedway Park – Peoria, AZ (Hall of Fame Classic)
October 27: *Canyon Speedway Park – Peoria, AZ (Hall of Fame Classic)
November 2: *Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA (Budweiser Oval Nationals)
November 3: *Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA (Budweiser Oval Nationals)
* = Co-Sanctioned Event With USAC National Sprints.
** = Co-Sanctioned Event With USAC Western Classic Racing Series.
This schedule is subject to change.