Finland driver Markus Niemela is the new point leader in the USAC West Coast Sprint Car series which continues this Saturday night in the “Gary Jacob Memorial” at Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif.
Niemela finished third in last Saturday’s race at Bakersfield, Calif. and enters the Hanford race seven points ahead of Troy Rutherford, who won Saturday’s race at Bakersfield.
Rutherford, of Ojai Calif., scored a spectacular last-lap victory at Bakersfield in the Steve Watt JD Machine Tech/AAA Propane Maxim/Chevy. He fought off the late-race challenge of Nic Faas, who finished second after leading at the white-flag! Four drivers led the race, with Austin Liggett taking the first five laps and Niemela the next 12. Faas led for nine laps and Rutherford two before they swapped the final two laps. Niemela took third at the checkered flag ahead of Danny Faria Jr. and fast qualifier Jace Vander Weerd
Niemela scored a second and a third in five Hanford starts last year. Rutherford was among the 2013 Hanford winners, as were Richard Vander Weerd and Danny Faria Jr. (twice each) and Ryan Bernal.
2014 USAC West Coast Sprint Car Standings: 1-Markus Niemela-167, 2-Troy Rutherford-160, 3-Jace Vander Weerd-147, 4-Danny Faria Jr.-137, 5-Dennis Howell-134, 6-Richard Vander Weerd-134, 7-Matt Mitchell-131, 8-Austin Liggett-130, 9-Nic Faas-122, 10-Landon Hurst-114.