By Lance Jennings
APRIL 20, 2016… This Saturday, April 23rd, the USAC West Coast Sprint Cars will make their second stop at Tulare, California’s Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway. Promoted by Steve Faria, the “J.D. Heiskell & Company Appreciation Day” will also showcase the Western RaceSaver Sprints and Legends of Kearney Bowl Vintage Cars. The front gates at the lightning fast 1/3-mile oval will open at 4:00pm, time trials at 6:00pm, with racing scheduled for 7:00pm. For more information, visit the track’s website at www.tularethunderbowl.com or call 559.688.0909.
NOTICE TO RACERS: Saturday’s race at Tulare will be run under the USAC West Coast Rule Book and a $35 entry fee will be collected. The Hoosier 105/16 Medium is the ONLY legal right rear tire and all four corners must be Hoosier. Cockpit adjustable shocks are NOT allowed and engine restrictor rules are 1-7/8″ with open heads and 2-3/16″ with ASCS cylinder heads. The weight rule is 1,475 lbs. with driver and the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Rule Book can be found online at www.westcoastsprintcars.com and www.usacracing.com.
Entering the fifth point race, the Tulare County Fairgrounds has hosted twenty-nine USAC West Coast Sprint Car races. Ryan Bernal leads all drivers with ten victories and set the 1-lap qualifying record of 15.133 on March 13, 2015. When the series last visited Tulare on March 12th, D.J. Johnson lead all 30 laps to earn his first main event win.
After rain washed away the April 9th date, D.J. Johnson (Stockton, California) heads to Saturday’s event with a slim one point lead. Racing the family owned #33 Proplant Farm Services / J. Milano Company Eagle, Johnson has one feature win, one heat race victory, one BR Motorsports / King Racing Products Hard Charger Award, four top-10 finishes, and 30 feature laps led to his credit. The former USAC Western Classic Rookie of the Year will be looking to extend his lead with another $1,500 payday at Tulare.
Brody Roa (Garden Grove, California) is currently second in the USAC West Coast point chase. Driving the BR Performance owned #91R HD Industries / Lee & Norma Leonard Maxim, Roa has two Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, three top-10 finishes, and 3 feature laps led on the season. Last year’s 360 Western World Champion will have his sights on claiming his first Tulare victory.
Jace Vander Weerd (Visalia, California) sits third in the chase for the championship. Piloting the family owned #88 Vander Weerd Construction / Stone Gate Development Maxim, Jace has one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, one Keizer Wheels / Competition Suspension Inc. Semi-Main win, three top-10 finishes, and 28 feature laps led on the year. The 2010 USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year will be looking to claim his seventh career West Coast victory on Saturday.
Trey Marcham (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) is ranked fourth in the point standings. Racing Steve Watt’s #81 Maxwell Industries / Steve Watt Enterprises Maxim, Marcham has posted three top-10 finishes in the campaign. Last season’s Rookie of the Year will have his sights on his first win at the Tulare County Fairgrounds.
Troy Rutherford (Ojai, California) sits fifth in the championship points. Driving his #11 AAA Propane Service / Trench Shoring Spike, Rutherford has one feature win, one heat race victory, two top-10 finishes, and 29 feature laps led to his credit. The former Ventura champion will be looking to score his fourth West Coast win at Thunderbowl Raceway.
Currently eleventh in points, Ryan Timmons (Pleasant Hill, California) leads the chase for Rookie of the Year honors. Colton Slack (Brentwood, California) and “Chainsaw” Johnny White (Bakersfield, California) are also in contention.
Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Richard Vander Weerd, Max Adams, Tristan Guardino, Austin Liggett, Jeff Sibley, Kevin Barnes, “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr., Kyle Smith, “The Rickster” Ricky Kirkbride, Cody Majors, and more.
Tulare, California’s Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds at the corner of Bardsley and K Streets. 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 www.tularethunderbowl.com.
The USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series thanks Amsoil, Hoosier Tire, BR Motorsports, Brown and Miller Racing Solutions, Chris Kearns Presents, Competition Suspension Incorporated, DJ Safety, Extreme Mufflers, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, King Racing Products, Rod End Supply, Stand 21 Racer Goes Safer Foundation, Ultra Shield Race Products, and Woodland Auto Display for their support. For more information, visit www.westcoastsprintcars.com, and www.usacracing.com. You can also find exclusive content on the USAC West Coast Facebook and Twitter pages.
Loudpedal Productions has USAC West Coast Sprint Car DVDs and videos on demand available for purchase at www.loudpedal.tv and 805.407.7229.
USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONS:
2009-Justyne Hamblin, 2010-Craig Stidham, 2011-Richard Vander Weerd, 2012-Bud Kaeding, 2013-Danny Faria Jr., 2014-Matt Mitchell, 2015-Danny Faria Jr.
2016 USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR WINS:
4-Bryan Clauson, 2-Josh Hodges, 1-D.J. Johnson, 1-Troy Rutherford, 1-Richard Vander Weerd.
TULARE USAC WEST COAST SPRINT WINS:
10-Ryan Bernal, 5-Bud Kaeding, 3-Richard Vander Weerd, 2-Kyle Larson, 2-Craig Stidham, 1-Dean Alexander, 1-Danny Faria Jr., 1-Dennis Howell, 1-D.J. Johnson, 1-Matt Mitchell, 1-Peter Murphy, 1-Jace Vander Weerd.
USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS:
- D.J. Johnson-264, 2. Brody Roa-263, 3. Jace Vander Weerd-260, 4. Trey Marcham-219, 5. Troy Rutherford-216, 6. Richard Vander Weerd-203, 7. Max Adams-185, 8. Tristan Guardino-173, 9. Austin Liggett-169, 10. Jeff Sibley-147, 11. Ryan Timmons-139, 12. Bryan Clauson-137, 13. Brady Bacon-119, 14. Kevin Barnes-116, 15. Danny Faria Jr.-114, 16. Kyle Smith-93, 17. Ricky Kirkbride-87, 18. Cody Majors-84, 19. Stevie Sussex-78, 20. Shannon McQueen-76.