By Scott Daloisio
(Cypress, CA, October 26, 2023) In the continuing saga of what has been the best season in his career, Brody Roa drove a brand new Shaver-powered DRC to a convincing win last Saturday night in the 20-lap Southern California Open Competition Non-Wing Sprint Car main event at the Imperial Valley Raceway. Unfortunately, his Inland Rigging teammate Tommy Dunkel got tangled up with a car doing a 360 in his heat. The result was a flip that brought a premature end to Dunkel’s night.
Brody Roa on his to the So Cal Open Comp. win last Saturday at Imperial Valley Raceway. AJ Johnson photo.
The two-night affair at Imperial kicked off on Friday night, October 20th with practice and a special $1,000.00 Dash For Cash. The dash matched the fastest six cars from practice who drew for their starting positions. Roa had the quickest time on Friday. Things looked promising until he pulled a six for the invert in the brief six-car dash. That meant he would start last in the field. The USAC/CRA point leader passed three cars and was running down the first and second-place drivers before the laps ran out and he ended up placing third.
The meat of the program was on Saturday night which saw qualifying, heats, and a $4,000.00 to win 20-lap main event. Sixteen cars showed for the final night and Roa, who lives in Garden Grove, California, qualified second quickest. Dunkel, who is completing his first full season of sprint car racing, ended up being the seventh fastest qualifier of the night.
After his impressive qualifying time, Dunkel was the first of the Inland Rigging drivers to take to the track for heat race action. The Murrieta, California-based racer started in the fourth position. Things looked good until a car spun in turn three. Dunkel was passing a car that made a sudden movement to avoid the spinner. Being directly behind the car he was trying to pass, Dunkel did not see the spinner, which by that time had stopped. He had no time to react and slammed into the stopped car and flipped. The crash caused heavy damage and ended Dunkel’s night.
“I felt really good in the car on Saturday and had a lot of speed,” the friendly Dunkel said. “I started outside row two in my heat race and unfortunately all weekend, it (the track) was locked down on the bottom. Little or no top, it was just around the tractor tires. Going down the back straight on lap one, we (all the guys who started on the outside) just went straight to the back. I passed a few cars but then missed my mark and damn near slid off the track. Everybody got back by me. Unfortunately, a guy ahead of me spun out. Instead of locking it down and playing it safe for everybody, he tried to keep the car lit and did some brodies down the track. The car ahead of me, who I was trying to pass, missed him. I just had nowhere to go. I ended up hitting him like a freight train and it ended up sending me for a flip. The flip was not too bad but the hit was massive. It destroyed everything from the motor plate back.”
While Dunkel had no luck, everything went Roa’s way on the night. He started on the pole for his heat race and got the lead going into the first corner. That was all she wrote for the competition. On a weekend when it was hard to pass, he just motored away.
Roa started in the third spot in the 20-lap finale. Taking the track conditions into consideration, he drove a perfect race for his ninth triumph of the year.
“The inside was a big plus for the track conditions,” Roa said. “Got up to second in one and two on the start. Had a restart a few laps later and took the lead. Got in front and managed the tires as it was laying rubber down. I just made sure I did not slip up off the bottom.
“It is pretty incredible to have nine wins in 19 starts,” Roa stated on his first year driving for Tommy and Christy Dunkel. “One DNF, nine wins, and a bunch of second-place finishes. It has been pretty incredible.”
In addition to Dunkel and Roa, there was a third Inland Rigging car in the pit area on Saturday. Subbing for his son Blake who was nursing an injury, two-time Perris Auto Speedway Modified champion Randy Thornell was contesting the IMCA Modified portion of the program. The longtime veteran ended up with a fourth-place finish in his heat and fifth in the main.
The Inland Rigging team will be taking this weekend off at the track, but they will be hard at it preparing for next week’s Western World Championship at Arizona’s Cocopah Speedway. The following week they will be at Perris Auto Speedway for the final USAC/CRA race of the 2023 campaign.
Fans can pick up a 2023 Inland Rigging Racing Team shirt from the crew after the races or online brodyroa.com.
As always, Brody Roa would be more than happy to jump in a race car on his weekends off from the #17R. His entire schedule is printed below. If anybody wishes to contact him about open dates, they can do so at 714-932-7994 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
The team wants to thank the following sponsors for making the 2023 season possible. Inland Rigging, Dunkel Farms, United Asset Sales, Osborne Speed & Machine, “Biker” Bruce Fischer, ALR Virtual Services, Burris Racing, Caltrol, Jambo Barbeque Pits, Competition Suspension, K-1 Race Gear, Molecule, Rod End Supply, Driven Racing Oil, Baldwin Filters, and NGK Spark Plugs.