USAC West Coast 360's
by Lance JenningsUSAC West Coast 360's
SANTA MARIA, CA – SEPTEMBER 17, 2013… The cars and stars of the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series are getting ready to battle in a special Central Valley doubleheader. This Friday, September 20th, Scott Woodhouse’s Kings Speedway in Hanford will host the “6th Annual Jim Turner Memorial.” The following night, the traditional sprints will tackle Steve Faria’s Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare for the inaugural “Harry Talbot Memorial.”
Friday’s point race honors Jim Turner, a veteran driver from Fresno that succumbed to injuries from a racing accident in late September 2007. Turner, who started racing motorcycles at age 10, won many main events and graduated to Sprint Cars in 1970. Racing with and without a wing from the Central Valley until 1985, Jim returned to motorcycle racing for twenty years. In 2005, Turner purchased another Sprint Car and enjoyed his time at the clay ovals until that fateful day. Scott Woodhouse, Kings Speedway, and the USAC West Coat Sprint Car Series are proud to honor his memory with the annual event.
The “Jim Turner Memorial” will mark the fifth USAC West Coast appearance of the year at the Kings County Fairgrounds. Ryan Bernal won the May 11th “Billet Cup” feature and Richard Vander Weerd scored the victory on June 8th. Troy Rutherford claimed his first series win on July 20th and “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. won the August 3rd “Jim Evett Memorial.” The action packed card will also feature the winged Rebel Cup Sprint Cars, IMCA Sport Mods, Mini Stocks, and Vintage Cars. The Spectator Gates will open at 5:30pm and Racing is set to begin at 6:30pm.
Saturday’s show at Tulare pays respect to Harry Talbot, who worked alongside promoter Steve Faria at the Thunderbowl Raceway. Harry was a vital part of the track’s operation until his passing earlier this year after battling an illness. Steve Faria, Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway, and the USAC West Coat Sprint Car Series will honor his memory at the inaugural race.
The “Harry Talbot Memorial” is the last USAC West Coast Sprint Car show of the season at Tulare. Ryan Bernal scored three main event wins, claiming victory on March 15th, March 16th, and April 20th. Richard Vander Weerd snapped Bernal’s hot streak by taking the checkered flags on April 13th. Saturday’s “Talbot Memorial” will also showcase the winged King of the West Sprint Cars and Vintage Hard Tops. The Spectator Gates will open at 4:00pm, Time Trials is scheduled at 6:30pm, and Racing is will begin at 7:00pm.
After winning back-to-back shows at Hanford and Bakersfield, Tipton’s “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. has a 44 point lead over the competition. Piloting his #17V Johnston Calf Pens / DeBoer & Sons Trucking Spike, Faria has one Weld Racing Fast Time Award, seven heat race victories, three Woodland Auto Display Dash wins, one BR Motorsports / Racing Optics Hard Charger Award, thirteen top-10 finishes, and 84 feature laps led to his credit. “Hollywood” and Crew Chief Vinnie Lattner will be looking to continue their championship bid with wins at Hanford and Tulare.
Bud Kaeding of Campbell has climbed to second in the point standings. Racing Junior Bowman’s #29 Buster & Ziggy Enterprises / Kaeding Performance Bullet, the defending champion finished second at Bakersfield on September 7th. To date, Kaeding has yet to win a West Coast feature, but has three heat race victories, two Woodland Auto Display Dash wins, fourteen top-10 finishes, and 7 feature laps led on the season. Bud will be looking to gain valuable points with victories at Hanford and Tulare.
Sitting third in USAC West Coast points is Visalia’s Richard Vander Weerd. At Bakersfield, the driver of the family owned #10 Vander Weerd Construction / Stone Gate Development Maxim scored third in the main event after starting seventh. Currently, the 2011 champion has four main event wins, four Weld Racing Fast Time Awards, four heat race victories, two Woodland Auto Display Dash wins, one Competition Suspension Inc. / Rod End Supply Semi-Main win, two BR Motorsports / Racing Optics Hard Charger Awards, fourteen top-10 finishes, and 101 feature laps led in 2013. Vander Weerd will have his sights on adding the billet trophies from Hanford and Tulare to his collection.
Ryan Bernal of Hollister is fourth in the point chase. The 2-time Santa Maria track champion did not compete at Bakersfield and has parted ways with the Josh Ford Motorsports team. To date, Bernal has five main event wins, one Weld Racing Fast Time Award, four heat race victories, one Woodland Auto Display Dash win, two BR Motorsports / Racing Optics Hard Charger Awards, thirteen top-10 finishes, and 85 feature laps led. At press time, it is unknown if Ryan has secured another ride for the Central Valley doubleheader and USAC/CRA standout Matt Mitchell will pilot the JFM #73.
Running fifth in the USAC West Coast standings is Rauma, Finland’s Markus Niemela. The pilot of Steve Watt’s #81 Christian Stover Foundation / Lost Reality Maxim did not compete in the September 7th event at Bakersfield. Currently, the hard charging driver has yet to win a feature, but has two Weld Racing Fast Time Awards, three heat race victories, one Woodland Auto Display Dash win, eight top-10 finishes, and 25 feature laps led. Niemela has returned to his native Finland and may miss the Hanford and Tulare events.
Currently tenth in the point standings, Landon Hurst of Riverdale leads the chase for Rookie of the Year honors. Oakdale’s Jeff Sibley, Terra Bella’s Trent Carter, Springville’s Seth Hancock, and Garrett Long of Springville are also in contention.
Among the other drivers expected to be in action are “The Bakersfield Bullet” Rusty Carlile, Jace Vander Weerd, 2012 Rookie of the Year Austin Liggett, Kevin Barnes, Matt Day, “The Wild Child” Chris Ennis, Andy Ferris, Kolby Araki, Jonathan Logan, Troy Rutherford, D.J. Netto, Max Adams, “Mr. Excitement” Andy Forsberg and more.
Kings Speedway is located on the Kings County Fairgrounds in Hanford, California at 801 South 10th Avenue. Adult 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 or call (559) 584-RACE (7223).
Tulare’s Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds at the corner of Bardsley and K Streets. Reserved Grandstand Tickets are $20 and $18 for General Admission tickets. Advance tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling the track office at (559) 688-0909. For more event information, visit the track’s website at
The USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series would like to thank Southwest Contractors, Hoosier Tire, Amsoil, BR Motorsports, Chris Kearns Presents, Competition Suspension Inc., DJ Safety, Extreme Mufflers, Five Star Grafix, Kaeding Performance, Keizer Wheels, King Racing Products, Racing Optics, Rod End Supply, Rugged Radios, SBI Fuel Systems, Saldana Racing Products, Weld Racing, and Woodland Auto Display for their support. If you or your company would like to become part of the series, email PR Director Lance Jennings at
For more information on the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series, visit,, follow the series on Facebook (!/pages/USAC-West-Coast-Sprint-Car-Series/369549755817) or Twitter (!/USACwc360).
2008-Justin Grant, 2009-Richard Vander Weerd, 2010-T.J. Smith, 2011-Wes Gutierrez, 2012-Bud Kaeding.
1-Danny Faria Jr.-750, 2-Bud Kaeding-706, 3-Richard Vander Weerd-695, 4-Ryan Bernal-661, 5-Markus Niemela-559, 6-Rusty Carlile-531, 7-Jace Vander Weerd-495, 8-Austin Liggett-404, 9-Ricky Kirkbride-377, 10-Landon Hurst-363, 11-Kevin Barnes-354, 12-Jeff Sibley-349, 13-Marty Hawkins-335, 14-Matt Day-269, 15-Chris Ennis-257, 16-Dennis Howell-250, 17-Andy Ferris-226, 18-Kolby Araki-199, 19-Brody Roa-187, 20-Jonathan Logan-183.