By Lance Jennings
SANTA MARIA, CA – MAY 23, 2012… This Saturday, May 26th, the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series will return to Don Kazarian’s Perris Auto Speedway for the annual “Salute To Indy.” “The Power of Purple: Relay for Life Fundraiser benefiting the American Cancer Society” showcase will also feature the PAS Senior 360 Sprint Cars, California Lightning Sprints, and WRA Vintage Cars. The spectator gates will open at 5:00pm, a special on-track autograph session will follow time trials, and racing at “America’s Premier Dirt Track” will start at 7:00pm.
The annual “Salute To Indy” race has been a Southern California tradition going back to the legendary Ascot Park in Gardena. When Perris Auto Speedway opened their doors in 1996, the Riverside County facility kept the tradition alive and current NASCAR competitor J.J. Yeley took the checkered flags. Since then, some of the brightest stars in sprint car racing have added the prestigious race to their resume. Last year’s winner Matt Mitchell will look to join the likes of Cory Kruseman, Damion Gardner, Blake Miller, and Mike Kirby as multiple winners of the Memorial Day Classic. Kruseman, the 2006 USAC/CRA Champion, will have his sights on driving Mark Priestley’s #7 Maxim to victory and joining Kirby as a 3-time event winner.
Heading into the fifth race of the campaign, Mike Spencer of Temecula holds an eighteen point advantage over the competition. Last Saturday at Hanford, the pilot of Ron Chaffin’s #50 Madera Produce / Grubstake Mini Storage Maxim scored third in the feature and earned his third Sander Engineering / Rod End Supply Fast Time Award of 2012. With one heat race victory, one Ringers Gloves / Keizer Wheels Hard Charger Award, forty-five feature laps led, and four top-5 finishes to his credit, the 4-time USAC/CRA Champion will be going for his third straight victory at Perris.
Huntington Beach’s Nic Faas is second in the chase for the championship. Driving Mark Alexander’s #4 Scott Sales Company / Competition Suspension Inc. Spike, last year’s points runner-up led the first seventeen laps at Hanford before scoring fourth. The 2008 USAC Western Midget Series Champion has one Sander Engineering / Rod End Supply Fast Time Award, two heat race victories, twenty-five feature laps led, and three top-5 finishes on the year. Faas won the Perris “Sokola Shootout” on February 25th and will be among the favorites to watch on Saturday.
Splitting time between Keith Ford’s #73 King Racing Products Spike and the Kittle Motorsports’ #18 Pace Lighting Sherman, Ryan Bernal of Hollister has climbed to third in the point standings. Last Saturday at Hanford, Bernal claimed second with USAC/CRA and won the USAC Western Midget Series feature in dramatic fashion. The 2011 USAC West Coast 360 Rookie of the Year has one heat race victory, thirty feature laps led, and three top-5 finishes on the season. Ryan will be looking to add Saturday’s “Salute To Indy” to his list of accomplishments.
Yorba Linda’s Matt Mitchell is fourth in the point chase. Piloting the J.W. Mitchell Motorsports’ #37 J.M. Mancha Realtors / Sierra Springs Water Maxim, Mitchell scored a seventeenth place finish at Hanford after an early tangle ended his night. To date, the former USAC Western Midget Series Rookie of the Year has one heat race victory and three top-5 finishes on the season. This Saturday night, Matt will have his sights set on winning another “Salute To Indy” main event.
Austin Williams of Yorba Linda has climbed to fifth in the championship points. Driving Jack Jory’s #2 John Jory Corporation / AMA Plastics Spike, Williams placed seventh in the Hanford 30-lap feature. The 2009 Rookie of the Year has two heat race victories, one Ringers Gloves / Keizer Wheels Hard Charger Award, and two top-five finishes on the season. The son of Hall of Fame driver “The Ripper” Rip Williams won at Santa Maria last year and will be looking to claim his first USAC/CRA victory at Perris Auto Speedway
Among the other top contenders expected to be in action are Buena Park’s Brody Roa, “The Ripper” Rip Williams of Yorba Linda, Riverside’s “Dynamite” David Cardey, Visalia’s Richard and Jace Vander Weerd, Yorba Linda’s Cody Williams, Seth Wilson of Las Vegas, Ventura’s “The Kruser” Cory Kruseman, Camarillo’s Josh Ford, “Super” Rickie Gaunt of Torrance, and many more.
Perris Auto Speedway is located on the Lake Perris Fairgrounds at 18700 Lake Perris Drive in Perris, California. Adult tickets are $25, Senior tickets (65 and over) are $20, and $5 for Children (6-12). For more information, please visit www.perrisautospeedway.com or call (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 at www.circletracknetwork.com. The live feed is scheduled to begin at 5:30pm PST.
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 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 on the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series, visit usacracing.com/cra or follow the series on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/USAC-CRA-Sprint-Car-Series/167535183297971) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/#!/USAC_CRA).
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS:
1. Mike Spencer 272; 2. Nic Faas 254; 3. Ryan Bernal 227; 4. Matt Mitchell 216; 5. Austin Williams 191; 6. Brody Roa 181; 7. Rip Williams 173; 8. David Cardey 142; 9. Richard Vander Weerd 136; 10. Jace Vander Weerd 133; 11. Cody Williams 129; 12. Seth Wilson 121; 13. Cory Kruseman 106; 14. Josh Ford 99; 15. David Bezio 93; 16. Jake Swanson 86; 17. Greg Alexander 85; 18. Tony Everhart 54; 19. Josh Pelkey 51; 20. Rusty Carlile 34.
PERRIS “SALUTE TO INDY” WINNERS:
1996-J.J. Yeley; 1997-Cory Kruseman; 1998-Mike Kirby; 1999-Troy Rutherford; 2000-Richard Griffin; 2001-Mike Kirby; 2002-Mike Kirby; 2003-Damion Gardner; 2004-Damion Gardner; 2005-Cory Kruseman; 2006-Tony Jones; 2007-Blake Miller; 2008-RAIN; 2009-Blake Miller; 2010-David Cardey; 2011-Matt Mitchell.
2012 AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES SCHEDULE
DATE – TRACK – LOCATION
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.