By Lance Jennings
VENTURA, CA – NOVEMBER 28, 2021… Using a borrowed engine, A.J. Bender (San Diego, CA) raced to victory in Saturday’s USAC West Coast Sprint Car portion of the “80th Turkey Night Grand Prix” at Ventura Raceway. Racing the family owned #21B K&R Motorsports / Schweitzer Racing DRC, the regular competitor with the USAC/CRA 410s and California Lightning Sprints earned $3,000 for his efforts. Ryan Bernal, Carson Macedo, top qualifier Troy Rutherford, and Chase Randall rounded out the top-five drivers.
While constant winds were taking their toll on the racing surface, the eighth starting Bender steadily made his way to fourth and within striking distance of the leaders. As Rutherford and Bernal had a torrid battle for the top spot, the changing track conditions worked into Bender’s favor. As most of the racers chose the outside groove, Bender found traction on the bottom and within two laps had taken over the lead on lap 26. Still facing the challenge from Bernal, Bender escaped from the leader in series wins to score the biggest victory of his career.
Before winning his first USAC West Coast 360 main event, A.J. Bender was fourth in his heat race, finished second in his qualifying race, ran eighth in the dash, and ranked eighth out of the 28 racers in event points after Friday’s action.
Using a passing points format, Troy Rutherford (Ojai, CA) emerged as Friday’s Woodland Auto Display Top Qualifier. Driving his Trench Shoring / Grimes Rock entry with a Roush-Yates Ford powerplant, Rutherford dominated the opening night by winning the Extreme Mufflers First Heat Race, Ultra Shield Products First Qualifier, and the $1,200 Rod End Supply Dash. The former Ventura track champion led 22 laps of the feature before scoring fourth at the checkered flags.
T.J. Smith (Fresno, CA) returned to USAC West Coast action and won the Sway-A-Way Torsion Bars Second Heat Race as well as the Saldana Racing Products Second Qualifier. Piloting Caden Sarale’s #32 Tel-Tac / SB Properties CS9, the former Santa Maria track champion placed second in the dash, was second in event points, and finished twenty-first in the main event after an early exit.
Chase Randall (Waco, TX) made his first series start and won the Competition Suspension Incorporated Third Heat Race. Driving the family owned #9 Competition Suspension Incorporated / Eagle Chassis entry, Randall placed third in his qualifier, ranked fourth in event points, and scored fourth in the 30-lap main event.
Chase Johnson (Penngrove, CA) won Saturday’s 12-lap Rod End Supply Semi-Main Event. Racing the May Motorsports’ #8M Fastenal / Coopers Propane Maxim, Johnson ran fifth in his heat race, scored sixth in his qualifier, ranked twelfth in event points, and finished sixth in the feature after starting tenth.
After having mechanical issues on Friday, Max Adams (Loomis, CA) rebounded to earn Saturday’s Rod End Supply Hard Charger Award with a twenty-first to seventh place run in the feature. Piloting Keith Ford’s #73 Sun Valley AG Transport Triple X, Adams was twenty-eighth in event points and finished twelfth in the Semi-main to earn a starting spot in the main event.
By virtue of his thirteenth place finish, James Herrera (New Cuyama, CA) earned the event’s Wilwood Disc Brakes Lucky 13 Award. Driving his #5J Cuyama Buckhorn / The Buck Stop Coffee Shop Maxim, Herrera was eighth in his heat race, ran eleventh in his qualifier, ranked twenty-fourth in passing points, and scored fourteenth in the semi-main.
The USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series thanks Competition Suspension Incorporated, Extreme Mufflers, Hoosier Racing Tires, Loudpedal Productions, Rod End Supply, Saldana Racing Products, Sway-A-Way Torsion Bars, Ultra Shield Race Products, Wilwood Disc Brakes, and Woodland Auto Display for their support.
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USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR SERIES SPECIAL EVENT RESULTS: November 26 & 27, 2021 – Ventura Raceway – Ventura, California – “ARP 80th Running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix”
EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps – Held Nov. 26) 1. Troy Rutherford (#11 Rutherford), 2. Kyle Edwards (#39 Edwards), 3. Ryan Bernal (#57 Silva), 4. Brody Roa (#8O May), 5. Bradley Terrell (#43 Terrell), 6. Jason McDougal (#21K Kruseman), 7. Ricky Lewis (#3F Finkenbinder), 8. Ryan Timmons (#29T Timmons), 9. Joey Bishop (#45 Bishop), 10. Gage Cheek (#22 Cheek). NT.
SWAY-A-WAY TORSION BARS SECOND HEAT: (10 laps – Held Nov. 26) 1. T.J. Smith (#32 Sarale), 2. Carson Macedo (#21 Tarlton), 3. Tanner Boul (#99T Boul), 4. Jarrett Soares (#12 Soares), 5. Tristan Guardino (#15T Guardino), 6. Kaleb Montgomery (#73X Ford), 7. Nate Robinson (#0K Perkins), 8. Camie Bell (#29 Bell), 9. Colby Johnson (#38 Johnson). NT.
COMPETITION SUSPENSION INCORPORATED THIRD HEAT: (10 laps – Held Nov. 26) 1. Chase Randall (#9 Randall), 2. Jacob Tuttle (#87P Tuttle), 3. Nick Robfogel (#3 Matterii), 4. A.J. Bender (#21B Bender), 5. Chase Johnson (#8M May), 6. Rick Hendrix (#15 Hendrix), 7. Jake Hodges (#4 Hodges), 8. James Herrera (#5J Herrera), 9. Max Adams (#73 Ford). NT.
ULTRA SHIELD RACE PRODUCTS FIRST QUALIFIER: (12 laps – Held Nov. 26) 1. Rutherford, 2. Macedo, 3. Randall, 4. Guardino, 5. Edwards, 6. Ch.Johnson, 7. Soares, 8. Montgomery, 9. Timmons, 10. Hendrix, 11. Herrera, 12. Boul, 13. Cheek, 14. Bell. NT.
SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS SECOND QUALIFIER: (12 laps – Held Nov. 26) 1. Smith, 2. Bernal, 3. Bender, 4. Lewis, 5. McDougal, 6. Robfogel, 7. Co.Johnson, 8. Terrell, 9. Hodges, 10. Robinson, 11. Tuttle, 12. Bishop.13. Roa. NT.
ROD END SUPPLY DASH: (15 laps – Held Nov. 26) 1. Troy Rutherford, 2. T.J. Smith, 3. Ryan Bernal, 4. Carson Macedo, 5. Chase Randall, 6. Ricky Lewis, 7. Tristan Guardino, 8. A.J. Bender, 9. Nick Robfogel, 10. Jason McDougal. NT.
ROD END SUPPLY SEMI: (12 laps – Held Nov. 27) 1. Ch.Johnson, 2. Edwards, 3. Terrell, 4. Montgomery, 5. Soares, 6. Boul, 7. Roa, 8. Tuttle, 9. Timmons, 10. Hodges, 11. Hendrix, 12. Adams, 13. Bishop, 14. Herrera, 15. Cheek, 16. Robinson, 17. Bell, 18. Co.Johnson. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps, with starting positions – Held Nov. 27) 1. A.J. Bender (8), 2. Ryan Bernal (3), 3. Carson Macedo (5), 4. Troy Rutherford (1), 5. Chase Randall (4), 6. Chase Johnson (10), 7. Max Adams (21), 8. Jacob Tuttle (17), 9. Brody Roa (16), 10. Kyle Edwards (11), 11. Tanner Boul (15), 12. Rick Hendrix (20), 13. James Herrera (24), 14. Joey Bishop (22), 15. Cory Eliason (24, #21K Kruseman), 16. Tristan Guardino (7), 17. Bradley Terrell (12), 18. Ricky Lewis (6), 19. Kaleb Montgomery (13), 20. Jake Hodges (19), 21. T.J. Smith (2), 22. Ryan Timmons (18), 23. Nick Robfogel (9), 24. Jarrett Soares (14). NT.
**Lewis and Hodges flipped on lap 19 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-13 Rutherford, Lap 14 Bernal, Laps 15-23 Rutherford, Laps 24-30 Bender.
WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY TOP QUALIFIER: Troy Rutherford
ROD END SUPPLY HARD CHARGER: Max Adams (21st to 7th)
WILWOOD DISC BRAKES LUCKY 13 AWARD: James Herrera