By Lance Jennings
PERRIS, CALIFORNIA – MAY 31, 2022… After winning at Bakersfield on May 14th, “The Cadillac” Cody Williams (Corona, California) added last Saturday’s “71st Running of the Salute to Indy” at Perris Auto Speedway to his resume. Starting fifth, Williams took control from multi-time Arizona Champion R.J. Johnson on lap twenty-five and powered to the third AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car triumph of his career. Johnson, “The Pride of Garden Grove” Brody Roa, A.J. Bender, and “The Big Game Hunter” Austin Williams rounded out the top-five.
With five official lead changes, the “Salute to Indy” was one of the most intense main events of the season. While most of the drivers preferred the outside line, Johnson used the low groove to lead the opening seven laps. Austin Williams powered to the top spot using extra momentum but yielded the lead to “The Demon” Damion Gardner on the fourteenth circuit. Johnson regained the lead eight laps later and was running strong until Cody Williams chased him down and sailed to the checkered flags.
With a brand new sponsor, “The Cadillac” raced his #44 South Bay Mazda / W.C. Friend Company DRC to second overall in time trials and second to Matt McCarthy in his heat race. Now ranked seventh in points, Cody joins his father Rip (1983) and brother Austin (2016 & 2018) as winners of the prestigious event.
“The Demon” Damion Gardner (Concord, California) debuted a new “blackout” paint scheme on Mark Alexander’s #1 PerformanceOnline.com / Carman Trucking Spike and earned the 102nd Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award of his career. The nine-time champion posted at a time of 16.285 over the 24-car roster and ran second to Austin Grabowski in his heat race. Starting sixth, Gardner led laps 14 to 21 before contact with another car resulted in a spin. The point leader restarted at the back and finished tenth in the feature.
Austin Grabowski (Riverside, California) won the second heat race of his career at Perris Auto Speedway. Driving his #72 Grabowski Speed Shop / Mustang Motel Eagle, Grabowski qualified thirteenth overall, won the 10-lap Flowdynamics Incorporated / Laserworx Manufacturing / Factory Wraps First Heat Race, and placed eleventh in the main event. The 2021 Rookie of the Year left the Lake Perris Fairgrounds sitting fifteenth in the point standings.
Matt McCarthy (Riverside, California) won the 10-lap Billsjerky.net / Laserworx Manufacturing / Factory Wraps Second Heat Race. Piloting the family owned #28M Flowdynamics Incorporated / Drinkpak DRC, McCarthy was seventeenth quick in time trials and ran fifteenth in the main event. The 2017 Rookie of the Year heads to Ventura ranked ninth in the point chase.
“The Pride of Garden Grove” Brody Roa (Garden Grove, California) returned to USAC/CRA action and won the 10-lap In Memory of Jim and Chet Gardner Third Heat Race. Racing the BR Performance #91R HD Industries / Burris Racing Eagle, Roa qualified third overall and placed third in the “Salute to Indy.” In limited appearances, the 2019 USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Champion has climbed to fourteenth in USAC/CRA points.
“T-Dub” Trent Williams (Apple Valley, California) earned the night’s In Memory of Jim and Chet Gardner Hard Charger Award / Best Passing Job honors with a ninth place run from eighteenth. Driving the family owned #52V Victory Boys Performance / Sorrento Homes Maxim, Williams was eighteenth fast in time trials and placed third in his heat race. The 2014 Perris Young Guns Sprint Car Champion left Perris ranked thirteenth in the standings.
Veteran driver Verne Sweeney (Lomita, California) earned the Wilwood Disc Brakes Lucky 13 Award at Perris Auto Speedway. Piloting Ken Tracy’s #98 Bill’s ‘Ol Fashion Jerky / Faas Cores DRC, Sweeney qualified sixteenth overall and finished fourth in his heat race. At press time, the 1991 CRA winner at Manzanita Speedway is eleventh in the point chase.
Logan Williams (Yorba Linda, California) took home the Shawn McDonald Memorial Qualifying Award by qualifying sixth and the Shawn McDonald Memorial Feature Award by finishing sixth. Racing John McCarthy’s #5W Flowdynamics Incorporated / Drinkpak DRC, the 2014 Rookie of the Year ran third in his heat race and is currently fifth in the standings.
On Saturday, June 11th, the AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars will make their only appearance of the year at Ventura Raceway (Ventura, California). For more event information, visit venturaraceway.com.
The AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series thanks Billsjerky.net, Factory Wraps, Flowdynamics Incorporated, The Gardner Family (In Memory of Jim & Chet Gardner), Hoosier Racing Tires, Laserworx Manufacturing, Woodland Auto Display, BR Motorsports, Competition Suspension Incorporated, Extreme Mufflers, FloRacing, In Memory of Shawn McDonald, Rod End Supply, Saldana Racing Products, Vahlco Wheels, and Wilwood Disc Brakes for their support.
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AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: May 28, 2022 – Perris Auto Speedway– Perris, California – “71st Running of the Salute to Indy”
WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Damion Gardner, 1, Alexander-16.285; 2. Cody Williams, 44, Williams-16.435; 3. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-16.477; 4. R.J. Johnson, 51A, Martin-16.562; 5. Austin Williams, 2, Williams-16.563; 6. Logan Williams, 5W, McCarthy-16.626; 7. Kyle Edwards, 39E, Edwards-16.631; 8. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-16.642; 9. Tommy Malcolm, 5X, Napier-16.725; 10. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-16.753; 11. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-16.797; 12. Eddie Tafoya Jr., 51T, Tafoya-16.825; 13. Austin Grabowski, 72, Grabowski-16.849; 14. Chris Bonneau, 15, Bonneau-16.850; 15. Nate Schank, 1$, Schank-16.860; 16. Verne Sweeney, 98, Tracy-16.878; 17. Matt McCarthy, 28M, McCarthy-16.929; 18. Trent Williams, 52V, Williams-16.935; 19. Brody Fuson, 51, Van Meter-17.086; 20. Jeff Dyer, 39, Cal-Sun-17.249; 21. Grant Sexton, 3, Sexton-17.503; 22. Joel Rayborne, 12B, Blair-17.554; 23. Dan Taylor, T5, Taylor-17.742; 24. Tony Everhart, 55, Everhart-18.181.
FLOWDYNAMICS INCORPORATED / LASERWORX MANUFACTURING / FACTORY WRAPS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Grabowski, 2. Gardner, 3. Johnson, 4. Sweeney, 5. Edwards, 6. Fuson, 7. Rayborne, 8. Mitchell. 2:53.21
BILLSJERKY.NET / LASERWORX MANUFACTURING / FACTORY WRAPS SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. McCarthy, 2. C.Williams, 3. A.Williams, 4. Bender, 5. Bonneau, 6. Gansen, 7. Taylor, 8. Dyer. 2:55.83.
IN MEMORY OF JIM & CHET GARDNER THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Roa, 2. Malcolm, 3. T.Williams, 4. L.Williams, 5. Tafoya, 6. Everhart, 7. Schank, 8. Sexton. NT.
FEATURE: (30 laps, With Starting Positions) 1. Cody Williams (5), 2. R.J. Johnson (3), 3. Brody Roa (4), 4. A.J. Bender (8), 5. Austin Williams (2), 6. Logan Williams (1), 7. Matt Mitchell (10), 8. Eddie Tafoya Jr. (12), 9. Trent Williams (18), 10. Damion Gardner (6), 11. Austin Grabowski (13), 12. Nate Schank (15), 13. Verne Sweeney (16), 14. Chris Bonneau (14), 15. Matt McCarthy (17), 16. Brody Fuson (19), 17. Kyle Edwards (7), 18. Joel Rayborne (20), 19. Dan Taylor (21), 20. Tommy Malcolm (9), 21. Tony Everhart (22), 22. Chris Gansen (11), NT.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-7 Johnson, Laps 8-13 A.Williams, Laps 14-21 Gardner, Laps 22-24 Johnson, Laps 25-30 C.Williams.
IN MEMORY OF JIM & CHET GARDNER HARD CHARGER: Trent Williams (18th to 9th)
WILWOOD DISC BRAKES LUCKY 13 AWARD: Verne Sweeney
IN MEMORY OF SHAWN MCDONALD QUALIFYING AWARD: Logan Williams
IN MEMORY OF SHAWN MCDONALD FEATURE AWARD: Logan Williams
NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Damion Gardner-729, 2-Austin Williams-611, 3-Matt Mitchell-597, 4-Eddie Tafoya Jr.-527, 5-Logan Williams-526, 6-Charles Davis Jr.-497, 7-Cody Williams-492, 8-Tommy Malcolm-424, 9-Matt McCarthy-376, 10-Chris Gansen-371.
NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: June 11 – Ventura Raceway – Ventura, California