By Dick Jordan
This weekend’s 6th Annual “Louie Vermeil Classic” at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway showcases the AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint, Western Classic Sprint and Honda Western Midget Series in Saturday and Sunday night “doubleheaders” on the half-mile dirt oval which has produced memorable races in its five previous runnings.
Accelerated prize money will find Sunday night’s Sprint winner claiming $10,000 and Saturday night Sprint winner taking home a check for $7,500!
Damion Gardner and Ryan Bernal enter the Calistoga races as the respective Sprint Car point leaders. Gardner enjoys a 131-point CRA lead over teammate Nic Faas, while Bernal stands 30 points ahead of D.J. Johnson in the Western Classics.
The Calistoga events include a wine pouring event, an autograph session featuring Calistoga Speedway Hall of Famers, vintage race car displays and live music.
Last year’s “Louie Vermeil Classic” featured victories by Bernal and Kyle Hirst (Sprints) and Evan Margeson and Rico Abreu (Midgets).
Gardner, who just completed a world’s record run of 194-plus mph. at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, has 10 CRA podium finishes so far this year, including five wins, four seconds and a third.
2013 AMSOIL USAC CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-Damion Gardner-957, 2-Nic Faas-826, 3-Mike Spencer-766, 4-Matt Mitchell-645, 5-Cody Williams-591, 6-Bud Kaeding-564, 7-Austin Williams-564, 8-Brody Roa-530, 9-Ryan Bernal-491, 10-Richard Vander Weerd-415.
2013 USAC WESTERN CLASSIC SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-Ryan Bernal-410, 2-D.J. Johnson-380, 3-Tony Hunt-355, 4-Shauna Hogg-321, 5-Landon Hurst-113. 6-Gordon Rodgers-94, 7-Marty Hawkins-86, 8-Bud Kaeding-73, 9-Geoff Ensign-71, 10-Richard Vander Weerd-68.