by Lance Jennings
SANTA MARIA, CA – JUNE 5, 2012… After a break in the schedule, the cars and stars of the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series will return to action this Saturday, June 9th, at Scott Woodhouse’s Kings Speedway. Joining the action at Hanford will be the winged 360 Rebel Sprints, IMCA Modifieds, and IMCA Sport Mods. The Front Gates will open at 5:00pm with Time Trials slated for 6:00pm.
Saturday’s event will mark the 26th appearance of the West Coast 360 Sprints at Kings Speedway. Visalia’s Jace Vander Weerd won the series debut on March 14, 2009 and fourteen other drivers have claimed victory at Hanford. Hollister’s Ryan Bernal and Richard Vander Weerd of Visalia are tied for the series lead with three feature wins at the 3/8-mile facility.
Heading into the seventh point race of the 2012 campaign, Campbell’s Bud Kaeding sits atop the point standings. Piloting Junior Bowman’s #29 Buster & Ziggy Enterprises / Kaeding Performance Bullet, Bud scored back-to-back runner-up finishes to Kyle Larson at Tulare on May 11th and 12th. The veteran driver has two feature wins, three heat race victories, one hard charger award, six top-5 finishes, and eleven feature laps led on the season. Kaeding won last week’s King of the West “Pombo/Sargent Classic” at Hanford and will be looking to overtake Peter Murphy as the series leader in career feature wins.
Matt Mitchell of Yorba Linda has climbed to second in the point chase. Driving Steve Watt’s #18 Christian Stover Foundation / Steve Watt Enterprises Maxim, Mitchell had two fourth place finishes in the “Faria Memorial Weekend” at Tulare. To date, the USAC/CRA standout has one fast time award, three heat race victories, three top-5 finishes, and nineteen feature laps led. Matt will have his eyes set on his first career series triumph at Kings Speedway.
Rauma, Finland’s Markus Niemela is currently third in the championship hunt. Piloting Steve Watt’s #81 Lost Reality / Steve Watt Enterprises Maxim, Niemela scored an eighth and twelfth place finish in the Tulare doubleheader. The star of his own reality show has two heat race victories and three top-5 finishes on the year and will be looking to claim his first USAC West Coast 360 win at Hanford.
“Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. of Tipton is fourth in the point standings. Driving his #17V Johnston Calf Pens / Buster & Ziggy Enterprises Bullet, Faria placed sixth on May 11th and finished nineteenth the following night. During the 2012 campaign, “Hollywood” has one fast time award, two heat race victories, and two top-5 finishes. On May 19th, the veteran driver won his first USAC/CRA feature at Hanford after starting twelfth and will be looking for another victory this Saturday night.
After missing the May 12th point race at Tulare to attend his prom, Ryan Bernal sits fifth in points. On the previous night, the pilot of Keith Ford’s #73 King Racing Products / A&A Precision Machine Spike scored fifteenth in the 30-lap feature. At the finale of the “Faria Memorial,” Kyle Larson drove the Ford #73 entry to victory after starting twentieth. Last year’s Rookie of the Year has two feature wins on the season, including the last Hanford show on April 7th. In addition, Bernal has one heat race victory, one semi-main win, one hard charger award, four top-5 finishes, and forty-three feature laps led. Ryan will be one of the favorites to watch at Hanford.
Among the other top contenders expected to be in action are Richard Vander Weerd, Steve Conrad, Ricky Kirkbride, “Showtime” Danny Sheridan, Kevin Barnes, Chris Ennis, Justyne Hamblin, Jace Vander Weerd, Chris Gansen, Marty Hawkins, Don Gansen, and many more.
Kings Speedway is located on the Kings County Fairgrounds at 801 South 10th Avenue in Hanford, California. Reserved Grandstand tickets are $15 with discounts available for Seniors (55+), Military (with I.D.), and Children 7-12. Kids 6 and under are FREE at all non-special events. Advance tickets are on sale now and camping is available on the fairgrounds. For more event information, visit www.kingsspeedway.net or call (559) 584-RACE (7223).
The USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series would like to thank Southwest Contractors, Hoosier Tire, Amsoil, ButlerBuilt, Competition Suspension Inc., Cory Kruseman’s Sprint Car & Midget Driving School, Crow Enterprizes, DJ Safety, Diversified Machine Inc., Extreme Mufflers, Hilborn Fuel Injection, Hinchman-Indy Racing Uniforms, Integra Shocks, Kaeding Performance, Keizer Wheels, LRB Inc. Race Products, ParkerStore of Phoenix, Ringers Gloves, Rod End Supply, SBI Fuel Systems, Saferacer.com, Saldana Racing Products, Sander Engineering, and Weld Racing for their support.
For more information on the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series, visit www.westcoastsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, www.racesantamariaspeedway.com, or follow the series on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/USAC-WEST-COAST-360S/369549755817).
USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT POINTS:
1. Bud Kaeding-317; 2. Matt Mitchell-266; 3. Markus Niemela-263; 4. Danny Faria Jr.-251; 5. Ryan Bernal-234; 6. Richard Vander Weerd-224; 7. Rusty Carlile-181; 8. Steve Conrad-181; 9. Ricky Kirkbride-163; 10. Danny Sheridan-156; 11. Kevin Barnes-153; 12. Chris Ennis-150; 13. Justyne Hamblin-149; 14. Kyle Larson-135; 15. Jace Vander Weerd-130; 16. Chris Gansen-128; 17. Austin Liggett-108; 18. Marty Hawkins-108; 19. Don Gansen-101; 20. Peter Murphy-92.
2012 USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT CAR SERIES SCHEDULE
DATE – TRACK – LOCATION
June 9: Kings Speedway – Hanford, CA
June 23: Santa Maria Speedway – Santa Maria, CA (Bud Stanfield Memorial)
July 7: *Santa Maria Speedway – Santa Maria, CA (War At The Shore / Doug Fort Memorial)
July 14: Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway – Tulare, CA (John Anthony Sharp Memorial)
August 4: Kings Speedway – Hanford, CA (Jim Evett Memorial)
September 8: Kings Speedway – Hanford, CA (Jim Turner Memorial)
September 22: *Canyon Speedway Park – Peoria, AZ (Brawl For It All / Non-Points)
September 29: Santa Maria Speedway – Santa Maria, CA (Billet Cup / John Jewett Memorial / Non-Points)
October 13: Kings Speedway – Hanford, CA (Cotton Classic)
* = Co-Sanctioned Event With ASCS Canyon Region Sprints.
This schedule is subject to change.