From Lance Jennings
Phoenix, AZ — (February 28, 2015) — On Saturday, March 7th, the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series will open their twelfth season at Perris Auto Speedway with the annual “Sokola Shootout.” Joining the traditional 410 cubic-inch powered sprints will be the PAS Senior Sprint Cars and Young Gun Sprint Cars. The spectator gates will open at 5:00pm, with racing at “America’s Premier Dirt Track” scheduled to begin at 7:00pm. For more event information, visit the track’s website at www.perrisautospeedway.com or call 951.940.0134.
The “Sokola Shootout” has been a popular event on the West Coast since March 17, 2001 when “The Cowboy” Tony Jones won the inaugural race at Manzanita Speedway. Originally called the “Sokola Classic” to honor past CRA President and USAC Sprint Supervisor Gary Sokola, the race has grown to also recognize his family and their contributions to racing. Last year, “The Demon” Damion Gardner earned his second Sokola victory on March 15th after passing Mike Spencer on lap fourteen. This Saturday night, “The Kruser” Cory Kruseman, “Super” Rickie Gaunt, and Spencer will be looking to join Gardner, “The Shermanator” Jeremy Sherman and Mike Kirby as the only two-time winners of the prestigious event.
After scoring eleven wins in twenty-two races, “The Demon” Damion Gardner of Concord, California claimed his third Amsoil USAC/CRA Championship in 2014. Driving Mark Alexander’s #4 Scott Sales Company / J&D Performance Spike, Gardner also earned ten Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, fifteen heat race victories, twenty-one top-10 finishes and 205 feature laps led. After recording those stats, Alexander Racing was named the 2014 non-winged sprint car “Team of the Year” by a panel voting with the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. This Saturday, “The Demon” will be looking for his series leading 58th triumph and 33rd USAC/CRA “home track” feature win.
Temecula, California’s Mike Spencer finished second in the Amsoil USAC/CRA point standings. Racing Ron Chaffin’s #50 Grubstake Mini Storage / Madera Produce Maxim, Spencer won at Watsonville’s Ocean Speedway on June 27th. In addition, the five-time champion had five Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, two heat race victories, one semi-main win, one hard charger award, seventeen top-10 finishes, and 108 feature laps led to his credit. Mike will have his eyes on his second “Sokola Shootout” victory and his 36th USAC/CRA triumph.
Claiming his sixth career USAC/CRA victory at Perris on June 14th, Matt Mitchell of Yorba Linda, California took third in the championship point standings. Driving his #37 Campbell Bros. Storage / Pit Boss Jacks Maxim, Mitchell also had one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, three heat race victories, one semi-main win, one hard charger award, ten top-10 finishes, and 35 feature laps led on the season. The 2014 USAC West Coast Champion will be looking to add the “Sokola Shootout” to his resume.
Corona, California’s “The Cadillac” Cody Williams ranked fourth in the Amsoil USAC/CRA point chase. Piloting Jack Jory’s #44 John Jory Corporation / AMA Plastics Spike, Williams earned his first USAC/CRA main event win at Santa Maria on July 5th. The former National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Rookie of the Year ended his season with one heat race victory, one semi-main win, one hard charger award, ten top-10 finishes, and 29 feature laps led on the year. “The Cadillac” will have his sights on earning his first “home track” win at Perris Auto Speedway.
Austin Williams of Yorba Linda, California placed fifth in the final point standings. Racing Jack Jory’s #2 John Jory Corporation / AMA Plastics Spike, Williams earned a dramatic victory at Petaluma on June 28th. The 2009 USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year closed out his campaign with two heat race victories, one semi-main win, eight top-10 finishes, and 51 feature laps led. Austin will be looking to score his fourth career USAC/CRA feature win on Saturday.
Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Brody Roa, Jake Swanson, Richard Vander Weerd, Logan Williams, “The Kruser” Cory Kruseman, Chris Gansen, Jace Vander Weerd, R.J. Johnson, Ronnie Gardner, “Super” Rickie Gaunt, and more.
Perris Auto Speedway is located on the Lake Perris Fairgrounds at 18700 Lake Perris Drive in Perris, California. Adult tickets are $20, Senior tickets are $20, Active Military, Students (13-18), and Kids tickets (6-12) are $5. Children’s tickets (5 and under) are FREE. For more event information, visit the track’s website at www.perrisautospeedway.com or call (951) 940-0134.