Austin Liggett. - Chuck Fry Photo

Austin Liggett. - Chuck Fry Photo
Austin Liggett. – Chuck Fry Photo
From Lance Jennings

Santa Maria, CA — (March 10, 2014) — This Friday, March 14th, the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series will invade Tulare’s Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway. The event will mark the second point race of the campaign and the first of five appearances at the lightning fast 1/3-mile oval. The action packed card will also showcase the famed World of Outlaw Sprints as the front gates will open at 4:00pm and racing is scheduled for 7:00pm.

Since March 2010, seventeen USAC West Coast Sprint Car races have been held at the Tulare County Fairgrounds. Ryan Bernal and Bud Kaeding are tied for the series lead with four main event wins and Richard Vander Weerd has three victories. Other Tulare winners are NASCAR driver Kyle Larson (2), 2010 Champion Craig Stidham (2), Dean Alexander (1), and Peter Murphy (1).

After claiming his first win last Thursday at Las Vegas, Tracy’s Austin Liggett sits atop the USAC West Coast and “Grudge Series” point standings. Racing the family owned #83 Excel Environmental Services / Home Connections Inc. Maxim, Liggett took the lead from NASCAR driver J.J. Yeley on lap three and stormed to the 25-lap victory. The 2012 Rookie of the Year and Crew Chief Vinnie Lattner will be looking to extend their point lead with a Tulare feature win.

J.J. Yeley of Phoenix’ Arizona is second in the USAC West Coast point chase. Piloting Tom Lee’s #53 Farrier Services Company Spike, Yeley led the first two laps at Las Vegas and fell back to fourth before a late race surge claimed the runner-up finish. The former USAC Triple Crown Champion is back on the NASCAR circuit and will not be in action at Thunderbowl Raceway.

Mike Spencer of Temecula ranks third in the championship point standings. Driving Mark Priestley’s #7 Roy Miller Freight Lines / Sander Engineering Maxim, last year’s “Grudge Series” Champion scored third at Las Vegas after Richard Vander Weerd missed the post-race inspection. At press time, it is unknown if the five-time USAC/CRA Champion will compete this Friday night at Tulare.

Huntington Beach’s Nic Faas sits fourth in the chase for the championship. Racing Keith Ford’s #73X Berry Pack / Kings Racing Products Spike, Faas charged to a fourth place finish at Las Vegas after starting seventeenth. The former USAC Western Midget Champion will have his sights on his first USAC West Coast victory this Friday night.

Troy Rutherford of Ojai is fifth in the USAC West Coast standings. Piloting Steve Watt’s #81 JD Machine Tech / AAA Propane Maxim, Rutherford won the third heat race and claimed sixth last Thursday at Las Vegas. The former VRA Champion is getting settled in his new ride and will be looking for his second West Coast triumph at Thunderbowl Raceway.

Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Markus Niemela, Matt Mitchell, “Shifter” Landon Hurst, Jace Vander Weerd, Dennis Howell, “The Bakersfield Bullet” Rusty Carlile, Richard Vander Weerd, “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr., Kevin Barnes, “The Rickster” Ricky Kirkbride, Marty Hawkins, “The Wild Child” Chris Ennis, Matt Day, and more.

Tulare’s Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds at the corner of Bardsley and K Streets. Grandstand Tickets are $45, Bleacher Seats are $40, and all seats are RESERVED. 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 Amsoil, Hoosier Tire, Chris Kearns Presents, Competition Suspension Inc., Deist Safety, Engler Machine & Tool, Extreme Mufflers, Five Star Grafix, Keizer Wheels, Pyrotect Racing Cells, Racing Optics, Rod End Supply, Rugged Radios, Saldana Racing Products, SouthWest Contractors, VanLare Steering Repair, and Woodland Auto Display for their support.

For more information, visit,, follow the series on Facebook (!/pages/USAC-West-Coast-Sprint-Car-Series/369549755817), or Twitter (
1. Austin Liggett-66, 2. J.J. Yeley-64, 3. Mike Spencer-60, 4. Nic Faas-54, 5. Troy Rutherford-53, 6. Josh Pelkey-52, 7. Markus Niemela-49, 8. Charles Davis Jr.-44, 9. Matt Mitchell-39, 10. Mike Martin-37, 11. Brody Roa-36, 12. Jimmy Crawford-34, 13. Landon Hurst-30, 14. Jace Vander Weerd-27, –. Dennis Howell-27, 16. Michael Faccinto-24, –. A.J. Bender-24, –. Rusty Carlile-24, 19. Richard Vander Weerd-21, 20. Danny Faria Jr.-19

March 14: Thunderbowl Raceway – Tulare, CA
March 22: Bakersfield Speedway – Bakersfield, CA
March 29: Kings Speedway – Hanford, CA (Gary Jacob Memorial)
April 25: #Kings Speedway – Hanford, CA (Verne Brasel Classic)
April 26: #Thunderbowl Raceway – Tulare, CA
May 16: #Ocean Speedway – Watsonville, CA
May 17: #Thunderbowl Raceway – Tulare, CA (Chris & Brian Faria Memorial)
May 31: #Thunderbowl Raceway – Tulare, CA
June 7: Kings Speedway – Hanford, CA
June 21: Thunderbowl Raceway – Tulare, CA
July 19: Kings Speedway – Hanford, CA
August 2: Kings Speedway – Hanford, CA (Billet Cup / $2,500-to-Win)
August 8: #Ocean Speedway – Watsonville, CA
August 9: #Chowchilla Speedway – Chowchilla, CA
September 27: *Canyon Speedway – Peoria, AZ (Brawl For It All / $2,500-to-Win / Grudge Series / Non-Points)
November 6: *Perris Auto Speedway – Perris, CA (Oval Nationals / $2,500-to-Win / Grudge Series)
November 20: *Canyon Speedway – Peoria, AZ (Western World Championships / Non-Points)
November 21: *Canyon Speedway – Peoria, AZ (Western World Championships / Non-Points)
November 22: *Canyon Speedway – Peoria, AZ (Western World Championships / $7,500-to-Win / Non-Points)
* = Co-Sanctioned Event with USAC Southwest Sprints.
# = Co-Sanctioned Event with USAC Western Classic Sprints.
This schedule is subject to change.