By Scott Daloisio
(Perris, CA, July 12, 2021) When the popular USAC/CRA Sprint Cars and PAS Senior Sprint Cars return to Perris Auto Speedway this Saturday night, July 17th, fans will not only be greeted by the best in short track racing, but by one old and one relatively new tradition that will return to the track located on the Lake Perris Fairgrounds. Camping will return to the grassy area outside of turn four and there will be an on-track autograph and photo session where drivers will be passing out free candy to children in attendance. Spectator gates for the night of racing and clean family fun will open at 5:00 p.m. with racing at 7:00.
The candy giveaway started at the track on Halloween four or five years ago and it proved to be an immediate success. It was made a regular part of the PASSCAR Stock Car and IMCA Modified events at intermissions and LKQ Pick Your Part Night of Destructions in 2018. In 2019, promoter Don Kazarian then introduced the candy giveaway at the USAC/CRA Sprint Car programs. Needless to say it was a hit with the open wheel fans as well.
“When we were allowed to reopen in April, we still did not have the giveaways due to social distancing,” Kazarian said. “One thing we have noticed since reopening is the age of the fans in the grandstands. In particular our sprint car crowd. A lot more younger adults are coming to the races and many of them are bringing children. With all the young faces in the stands it is important that they get to meet their heroes. Hopefully meeting them will make them fans for life. I think it is incredibly special that a kid can walk up to a driver, get an autograph, take a photo, get a piece of candy, shake hands with the driver and then 10 minutes later watch him race in a main event. The value of that interaction is priceless for our sport.”
“It goes both ways,” Kazarian continued. “The drivers enjoy meeting the fans, especially the children, just as much as the kids enjoy meeting them. We are going to keep making these personal interactions possible so the fans can become more familiar with the drivers and the drivers with the fans. It can also help with sponsorships. Current sponsors enjoy the increased exposure they get from the interactions. Over the decades, many sponsorships have been born when people came down to meet drivers in the pits after the races. This may increase that possibility as some people leave the races as soon as the event is over. This way they can meet the teams and still leave at their normal time.”
Veteran driver Verne Sweeney takes time to meet a couple young fans at a candy giveaway at The PAS in 2019. Charles Fawcett photo.
Fans coming to the races and camping on the fairgrounds began over 20-years ago. For the most part, they were on the grassy area outside of turn four, but that changed a couple of years ago when they were moved to another part of the fairgrounds that was paved. This weekend, they return to the popular grassy area for the first time.
“Big thank you to the fair board for allowing our campers to go back to the spot they like the best,” Kazarian stated. “Many of our campers come out on Friday and stay through Sunday. It is a tradition for them. Like always, the campgrounds will open at noon on Friday. Trash cans will be placed in the area, and we ask all the campers to please put all their refuse in them. All of the campers have to leave by noon on Sunday.”
The cost to camp is $25.00 per night. The fairgrounds asks that no one park under the agricultural structures as they have vehicles parked there. The fairgrounds also reminds that there is no tailgating in the spectator parking lot before the races.
Saturday’s race will be the fourth for the USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series at The PAS in 2021. The first three races have been won by archrivals Damion Gardner of Concord, California, and Brody Roa of Garden Grove. Gardner won the first race in April and Roa followed that up by winning the prestigious “Salute to Indy” on May 22nd. Last month, Gardner, who currently leads the series championship point standings, returned to victory circle again. The two drivers are ranked first and second in points. Gardner carries a two-race win streak into Saturday’s show. Roa has finished second and third in those events. In victory circle after the race at Santa Maria two weeks ago, tensions between the two teams nearly reached the boiling point. That makes things a little more interesting coming into Saturday’s showdown at The PAS.
In addition to the USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, The PAS Senior Sprints, for drivers 40 and over, will also be in action. El Segundo’s Tyler Hatzikian, who drives a car that is a tribute to the famous Morales Brothers Tamale Wagon, is the current Senior point leader. Ed Schwarz of Santa Fe Springs is second and trails Hatzikian by 18-points. Anaheim’s Dale Gamer is third with restaurateur Greg Badgwell of Orange fourth. Ageless Hall of Famer Wally Pankratz of Orange rounds out the top five.
There will be plenty of tickets for everyone at the track ticket window on Saturday. For those who wish, online tickets for this Saturday night and all other 2021 Perris Auto Speedway races are on sale at tix.com/ticket-sales/pas/7. Adult tickets are $30.00. Seniors 65 and over get in for $25.00. Kids aged 6-12 get in for $5.00 and children 5 and under are free. The fairgrounds charges $10.00 for parking.
Fans can stay up to date on track and driver news on The PAS social media efforts at the links below.
Twitter: Perris Auto Speedway on Twitter.
Perris Auto Speedway is conveniently located on the SoCal Fair and Event Center (home of October’s Southern California Fair), approximately one-hour east of Los Angeles and one-hour North of San Diego. To get to the track, take the 215 freeway, on the Ramona Expressway and go three miles east to the fairgrounds. For directions on online, the address to enter is: 18700 Lake Perris Drive and the zip code is 92571.
Perris Auto Speedway wants to thank the following corporate partners. Ahern Equipment Rentals, All Coast Construction, Anderson Chevrolet, Battery Systems, Bud’s Tire Pro, Chris’ Hauling, City of Perris, Communication Innovations, Daytona Boat & RV Storage, Ed Moore Bullet Proof Driveshaft, Flowdynamics, HD Industries, Heimark/Anheuser Busch, Hoosier Tires, Inland Rigging, Living Water’s Hospice, LKQ Pick Your Part, Luke’s Transmission, Moose Racing, Pepsi-Cola, Performance Online, Pole Position, PrintItNow.com, Rainbow Bolt & Supply, Rugged Radios, Shaver Specialties, Square H, Sunoco Race Fuels, Trench Shoring, Upland Rock, Varner Construction and Vista Paint.
Video and DVD productions of all racing sprint cars events at Perris Auto Speedway are available from Loudpedal Productions. For more information on these productions you can contact them by calling (805) 844-3854, E-mailing mailto:email@example.com or you can visit the website LoudPedal Productions.
DVDs of all the PASSCAR/IMCA racing and Nights of Destruction at The PAS are available from Fourvideos. For more information call (714) 225-9500.