Bernal Wins Sprint Car Feature at Calistoga

Ryan Bernal in victory lane. - Chuck Fry Photo

Ryan Bernal in victory lane. - Chuck Fry Photo
From Lance Jennings

Calistoga, CA — (September 1, 2012) — Starting seventh, Hollister’s Ryan Bernal took the lead from Chad Boespflug on lap thirteen and led the rest of the way to claim the Saturday feature of the Louie Vermeil Classic. The $3,000 triumph at Calistoga Speedway was Bernal’s second Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series victory in a row as the young driver was followed by Boespflug, USAC/CRA point leader Mike Spencer, “Showtime” Danny Sheridan, and Brody Roa.

Preferring to run against a thick and treacherous cushion, Bernal powered Keith Ford’s #73 King Racing Products / A&A Precision Machine Spike to the front. While others struggled to run a similar line on the famed half-mile track, the Santa Maria track champion managed to catch and overtake the early leader. From there, Ryan worked his way through slower traffic and built a comfortable lead. After fast time qualifier Kyle Hirst flipped his machine on lap twenty-two, Bernal’s huge advantage was erased. With lapped cars going to the rear of the field, this gave Boespflug an opportunity to make his move.
On the restart, the duo raced each other hard for the top spot, but Bernal was too strong on this night and sailed to victory. This effort gave the Josh Ford Motorsports Team their fourth career USAC/CRA win and second opening night of the Vermeil Classic (2011-Robert Ballou). Earlier in the program, Ryan qualified fourth and placed fourth in his heat race. This performance moved Bernal to third in the point chase with two heat race victories, one Keizer Wheels / Ringers Gloves Hard Charger Award, 94 feature laps led, and eight top-5 finishes to his credit.
Chad Boespflug flew in from his North Vernon, Indiana home and claimed second at Calistoga. Leading the first twelve laps behind the wheel of  Dustin Baxter’s #25B General Hydroponics / Wescon Motorsports Maxim, the former SCRA 360 Champion was thirteenth fast on the night and second in his heat race. Starting on the outside of the front row, the “Hanford Hornet” looked to claim his first USAC/CRA Sprint Car victory, but it was not to be. The young driver will be a favorite to watch in Sunday’s Vermeil Classic finale.
Piloting Ron Chaffin’s famed #50 Madera Produce / Grubstake Mini Storage Maxim, Mike Spencer of Temecula raced to third from his eighth starting spot. The night’s LRB Inc. Race Products Award winner qualified second and ran third in his heat race. Leaving the night’s action with a commanding 253 point advantage, last year’s Vermeil Classic winner has seven feature wins, nine Sander Engineering / Rod End Supply Fast Time Awards, four heat race victories, one Keizer Wheels / Ringers Gloves Hard Charger Award, fifteen top-5 finishes, and 139 feature laps led.
Santa Maria’s “Showtime” Danny Sheridan scored fourth at the checkered flags. Briefly holding third in Keith Ford’s #73X King Racing Products / A&A Precision Machine Spike, the former Bandit Sprint Car Champion was third quick, fifth in his heat race, and won the 10-lap Competition Suspension Inc. / Diversified Machine Inc. Semi-Main. Sheridan enters the Vermeil Classic finale with one feature win, two heat race victories, three top-5 finishes, and 30 feature laps led on the season.
Claiming fifth in his first Calistoga appearance was Brody Roa of Buena Park. Driving the BR Performance #91R HD Industries / Burris Racing Spike, the former Wagsdash Champion was eighth fast in time trials and fourth in his heat race. Now fourth in the standings, Roa has one feature win, two heat race victories, one Competition Suspension Inc. / Diversified Machine Inc. Semi-Main win, 47 feature laps led, and five top-five finishes on the year.
Winton’s Gordon Rodgers earned the night’s Ringers Gloves / Keizer Wheels “Hard Charger / Best Passing Job” honors with a thirteenth place finish after starting twenty-second. Using a provisional to start the feature, the pilot of Gary Dusin’s #94 Atwater Tire / 360 powered Dynamite qualified twenty-sixth, ran ninth in his heat race, and finished thirteenth in the semi-main. The veteran driver is currently fifth in the USAC Western Classic point chase.
Tony Hunt of Lincoln won the night’s Extreme Mufflers Heat Race #1. Driving the Mike Phulps owned #56 Metal Works / Ebay Motors Maxim, the USAC Western Classic point leader qualified nineteenth and finished tenth in the feature after starting seventeenth. In this year’s co-sanctioned events with USAC/CRA, the multi-time USAC Western Champion has two heat race victories and two top-10 finishes.

St. Helena’s Jeff Griffin raced his #50M Layer Cake Wines / Harold Smith Contractors ART to victory in the Saldana Racing Products / Circle Track Performance Heat Race #2. After starting on the pole position of the main event, Griffin scored twenty-first after an early exit. Earlier in the program, the  hard charging driver qualified fourteenth out of the twenty-seven cars in attendance.

Tom Baker of Carmichael claimed his first USAC/CRA checkered flag by winning the DJ Safety Heat Race #3. Piloting his #3T Baker Fabrication / Christensen Heating & Air Triple X, Baker was twenty-fourth quick and scored twenty-second in the feature after an early exit. The Western Classic regular enters the Sunday Calistoga finale third in series points.
The Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series will return to the famed Calistoga Speedway for Sunday’s conclusion of the 5th Annual Louie Vermeil Classic. Located at the Napa County Fairgrounds, more event information can be found at or calling (916) 773-7223.
To catch the action of the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series, Mike Truex’s Loudpedal Productions has DVD videos available for purchase. For more information, call (805) 407-7229 or visit
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 on the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series, visit or follow the series on Facebook ( or Twitter (!/USAC_CRA).

USAC AMSOIL USAC/CRA/WESTERN CLASSIC SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: September 1, 2011 – Calistoga, California – Calistoga Speedway – “Louie Vermeil Classic”

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Kyle Hirst, 83, Tiner-19.580; 2. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-19.944; 3. Danny Sheridan, 73x, Ford-19.994; 4, Ryan Bernal, 73, Ford-20.187; 5. Shane Golobic, 14, Pierson/Vertullo-20.235; 6. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-20.247; 7. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-20.264; 8. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-20.426; 9. Matt Streeter, 14jr, Streeter-20.468; 10. Marty Hawkins, 3m, Hawkins-20.636; 11. Klint Simpson, 84, Simpson-20.679; 12. Ronnie Gardner, 18, Kittle-20.752; 13. Chad Boespflug, 25B, Baxter-20.752; 14. Jeff Griffin, 50m, Griffin-21.052; 15. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-21.119; 16. Taylor Simas, 7T, Simas-21.264; 17. Jonathan Henry, 88, Graunstadt-21.382; 18. Shauna Hogg, 5, Hogg-21.485; 19. Tony Hunt, 56, Hunt-21.731; 20. Jimmy Richardson, 8, Richardson-21.776; 21. Jeremy Hawes, 7, Hawes-22.099; 22. Dusty Green, 52, Green-22.115; 23. Sparky Howard, 6, Howard-22.187; 24. Tom Baker, 3T, Baker-22.460; 25. Jerry Cisco, 4D, Baisden-22.726; 26. Gordon Rodgers, 94, Rodgers-22.755; 27. Marvi n
Mitchell, 68, Mitchell-22.957.

FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Hunt, 2. Boespflug, 3. R.Williams, 4. Bernal, 5. Hirst, 6. Simas, 7. Hawkins, 8. Cisco, 9. Green. NT

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Griffin, 2. Henry, 3. Spencer, 4. Roa, 5. Golobic, 6. Richardson, 7. Simpson, 8. Howard, 9. Rodgers. NT

THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Baker, 2. Streeter, 3. Gardner, 4. C.Williams, 5. Sheridan, 6. Hogg, 7. Hawes, 8. Mitchell, 9. A.Williams. NT

SEMI: (10 laps) 1. Sheridan, 2. Hirst, 3. Golobic, 4. Simas, 5. Simpson, 6. Hogg, 7. Richardson, 8. Hawes, 9. Howard, 10. C.Williams, 11. Green, 12. Mitchell, 13. Rodgers, 14. A.Willaims, 15. Hawkins. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Ryan Bernal, 2. Chad Boespflug, 3. Mike Spencer, 4. Danny Sheridan, 5. Brody Roa, 6. Matt Streeter, 7. Cody Williams, 8. Shauna Hogg, 9. Klint Simpson, 10. Tony Hunt, 11. Jeremy Hawes, 12. Shane Golobic, 13. Gordon Rodgers, 14. Kyle Hirst, 15. Taylor Simas, 16. Marty Hawkins, 17. Rip Williams, 18. Johnathon Henry, 19. Ronnie Gardner, 20. Austin Williams, 21. Jeff Griffin, 22. Tom Baker, 23. Jimmy Richardson. NT
**Hogg flipped on lap 6 of the feature. Hirst flipped on lap 22 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-12 Boespflug, Laps 13-30 Bernal.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Spencer-1,020, 2-Nic Faas-767, 3-Bernal-735, 4-Roa-727, 5-A.Williams-679, 6-R.Williams-650, 7-Cory Kruseman-613, 8-C.Williams-497, 9-Matt Mitchell-461, 10-Seth Wilson-431.
NEW USAC WESTERN CLASSIC SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Hunt-630, 2-Hogg-609, 3-Baker-395, 4-Scott Pierovich-388, 5-Rodgers-381, 6-Hawkins-293, 7-Simas-219, 8-Brian McClish-209, 9-Tim Skoglund-179, 10-Cody Gerhardt-174.
NEW USAC WESTERN CLASSIC DIRT SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Hunt-471, 2-Hogg-440, 3-Baker-307, 4-Hawkins-293, 5-Rodgers-226, 6-Simas-219, 7-Scott Pierovich-214, 8-Cisco-92, 9-Geoff Ensign-49, 10-Mitchell-6.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL USAC/CRA/WESTERN CLASSIC SPRINT CAR RACE: September 2 – Calistoga (CA) Speedway – “Louie Vermeil Classic”