By Lance Jennings
OCTOBER 30, 2023… Starting this Friday, the battle for the AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Championship resumes at Cocopah Speedway’s “56th Western World Championships presented by Avanti Windows & Doors and Yuma Insurance.” Promoted by Brad Whitfield, the prestigious event will have two nights (November 3&4) of intense racing that also features the non-winged ASCS 360 Sprint Cars. Located at 3450 West County 15th Street in Somerton, Arizona at the intersection of US Highway 95 and County 15th Street, the pit gates at “The Diamond in The Desert” will open at 2:00pm (Mountain Time), spectator gates will open at 4:00pm, and racing at 6:00pm. Advance tickets are on sale and for more information, visit the track’s website at racecocopahspeedway.com or call 602.292.7607.
For those that cannot be at the races, speedsport.tv will broadcast a live stream of the night’s action over the internet.
NOTICE TO RACERS:
– ALL RACERS MUST PURCHASE THEIR USAC LICENSE / MEMBERSHIPS ONLINE PRIOR TO THE EVENT AT USACRACING.COM OR USACLICENSE.COM. (If racers have a membership question, contact Julie Tanaka at email@example.com.)
– APPROVED/LEGAL TIRES: Due to the current tire shortages, ANY Hoosier Right Rear Tire is legal for competition until further notice. All four corners must be Hoosier.
– APPROVED/LEGAL MUFFLERS: MUFFLERS ARE NOT REQUIRED at Cocopah Speedway.
– ENTRY FEE: There is an entry fee due at registration / pill pick.
– TRANSPONDERS: Transponders ARE MANDATORY and will be available to rent.
– ONE WAY RADIOS / RACECEIVERS: One way radios ARE MANDATORY.
– FRONT AXLE TETHER SYSTEMS: Front axle tether systems (2-Chassis, 1-King Pin to King Pin) ARE MANDATORY.
– FULL CONTAINMENT SEATS: Full containment seats ARE MANDATORY.
– COCKPIT ADJUSTABLE SHOCKS: Cockpit adjustable shocks ARE ALLOWED.
Noted as an Arizona tradition since 1968 when Bob Cleberg took the checkered flags at the Manzanita Speedway, the “Western World Championships” has been a premier event for sprint car racing. While the headline divisions and host tracks may have changed, some of the most notable names in the sport have claimed victory at the Western World. Hall of Fame racers like Jan Opperman, Rick Ferkel, Ron Shuman, Bubby Jones, Lealand McSpadden, Sammy Swindell, and Steve Kinser have stood atop the podium. Last year, Jake Swanson claimed his first Western World Championship and the winner’s list is at the end of this release.
Friday’s event marks the eleventh race in USAC/CRA history at the fast 3/8-mile clay oval. “The Demon” Damion Gardner leads all drivers with five Cocopah Speedway wins, while “The Pride of Garden Grove” Brody Roa won the series’ first Yuma main event on June 2, 2012. Roa also claimed the two January season openers as Jake Swanson established the track record of 16.127 seconds on October 29, 2022.
Heading to the Cocopah Speedway, “The Pride of Garden Grove” Brody Roa (Garden Grove, California) leads the USAC/CRA standings with a stout 127 point lead. Driving the Tom & Christy Dunkel / BR Performance owned #17R Inland Rigging / Dunkel Farms DRC, Roa scored eighth at Mohave Valley Raceway on October 14th. At press time, Brody has eight feature wins, one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, five heat race victories, one In Memory of Jim and Chet Gardner Hard Charger Award, fourteen top-10 finishes, and 177 feature laps led to his credit. The 2019 USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Champion ranks fourth with 21 career USAC/CRA triumphs and will be looking to add the Western World Championships to his resume.
Tommy “Thunder” Malcolm (Corona, California) ranks second in the USAC/CRA point standings. Racing Dino Napier’s #5X Indiana Truck Salvage / B&B Powder Coating Maxim, Malcolm charged from sixteenth to second at the Mohave Valley return. To date, the veteran driver has three feature wins, one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, five heat race victories, two Wilwood Disc Brakes Lucky 13 Awards, one In Memory of Jim & Chet Gardner Hard Charger Award, twelve top-10 finishes, and 95 feature laps led on the year. Tommy “Thunder” will have his sights on gaining valuable points with a win at Cocopah Speedway.
“The Big Game Hunter” Austin Williams (Yorba Linda, California) is third in the USAC/CRA championship standings. Piloting the family owned #2 Digalert / Ramona Duck Club DRC, Williams raced from eleventh to seventh on October 14th. At press time, the 2009 Co-Rookie of the Year has one heat race victory, one In Memory of Jim & Chet Gardner Hard Charger Award, eleven top-10 finishes, and 32 feature laps led to his credit. With eleven career triumphs, Austin will be looking to earn his first win of the season at “The Diamond in The Desert.”
“The Cadillac” Cody Williams (Corona, California) sits fourth in the chase for the championship. The owner/driver of the #44 WC Friend Company / Trench Shoring DRC scored seventeenth in the Mohave Valley feature. To date, the former National Non-Wing Sprint Car Rookie of the Year has six Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, two heat race victories, nine top-10 finishes, and three feature laps led on the season. “The Cadillac” has three career wins and will have his sights on his first victory of the season.
A.J. Bender (San Diego, California) ranks fifth in the USAC/CRA championship points. Racing the family owned #21 Bender Pool & Spa / GAS Chassis entry, Bender finished twelfth at Mohave Valley. At press time, the 2022 USAC Western States Midget Rookie of the Year has six heat race victories, one In Memory of Jim & Chet Gardner Hard Charger Award, and ten top-10 finishes in the campaign. A.J. will be looking to claim the first USAC/CRA victory at the “Western World Championships.”
Grant Sexton (Lakeside, California) leads the chase for Rookie of the Year honors and ranks eighth in the point standings. The driver of the family owned #22 Sexton Fire Protection / East County Electric Works Triple X is followed by James Turnbull II (Indio, California), Jake Andreotti (Castro Valley, California), Tom Dunkel (Menifee, California), Brody Fuson (Bakersfield, California), Dawson Faria (Tipton, California), and Jim Vanzant (Prescott, Arizona).
Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Logan Calderwood, “Chargin” Charles Davis Jr., Verne Sweeney, R.J. Johnson, Logan Williams, Ricky Lewis, Chris Gansen, Matt McCarthy, Brent Owens, “The Gunslinger” Austin Grabowski, Eddie Tafoya Jr., Andrew Sweeney, Matt Mitchell, Chris Bonneau, Kyle Edwards, “Shugah” Shane Sexton, “The Magic Man” Mike Martin, and more.
Cocopah Speedway is located at 3450 West County 15th Street in Somerton, Arizona at the intersection of US Highway 95 and County 15th Street. Advance tickets are available. Adult tickets are $25, Reserved tickets are $35, Student tickets are $15, and Pit Passes are $40 for members. Camping is available and for more information, visit racecocopahspeedway.com or call 602.292.7607.
The AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series thanks BillsJerky.net, Factory Wraps, Flowdynamics Incorporated, The Gardner Family (In Memory of Jim and Chet Gardner), Hoosier Racing Tires, WC Friend Company, Woodland Auto Display, BR Motorsports, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Competition Suspension Incorporated, Extreme Mufflers, Rod End Supply, Saldana Racing Products, and Wilwood Disc Brakes for their support.
For more information on the AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series, visit the United States Auto Club (USAC) website at usacracing.com and the social media for USAC Racing. You can also find exclusive content on the USAC/CRA Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONS: 2004-Rip Williams, 2005-Damion Gardner, 2006-Cory Kruseman, 2007-Tony Jones, 2008-Mike Spencer, 2009-Mike Spencer, 2010-Mike Spencer, 2011-Mike Spencer, 2012-Mike Spencer, 2013-Damion Gardner, 2014-Damion Gardner, 2015-Damion Gardner, 2016-Damion Gardner, 2017-Damion Gardner, 2018-Damion Gardner, 2019-Damion Gardner, 2020-NO AWARD, 2021-Damion Gardner, 2022-Damion Gardner.
WESTERN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS SPRINT CAR WINNERS: 1968-Bob Cleberg; 1969-Bob Huebner; 1970-Jerry McClung; 1971-Jan Opperman; 1972-Jan Opperman; 1973-Earl Wagner; 1974-Rick Ferkel; 1975-Ron Shuman; 1976-Bubby Jones; 1977-Ron Shuman; 1978-Lealand McSpadden; 1979-Tim Green; 1980-Sammy Swindell; 1981-Ron Shuman; 1982-Steve Kinser; 1983-Steve Kinser; 1984-Ron Shuman; 1985-Steve Kinser; 1986-Bobby Davis Jr.; 1987-Steve Kinser; 1988-Mark Kinser; 1989-Sammy Swindell; 1990-Steve Kinser; 1991-Danny Lasoski; 1992-Steve Kinser; 1993-Lealand McSpadden; 1994-Ron Shuman; 1995-Lealand McSpadden; 1996-Steve Kinser; 1997-Mark Kinser; 1998-Tyler Walker; 1999-Donny Schatz; 2000-Jay Drake; 2001-Jeremy Sherman; 2002- Bud Kaeding; 2003-Tony Elliott; 2004-Bud Kaeding; 2005-Dave Darland; 2006-Josh Wise; 2007-Jerry Coons Jr.; 2008-Kevin Swindell; 2009-Sammy Swindell; 2010-Donny Schatz; 2011-Donny Schatz; 2012-Wayne Johnson; 2013-Bryan Clauson; 2014-Matt Rossi, 2015-Bryan Clauson, 2016-Chris Windom, 2017-Chase Stockon, 2018-Tyler Courtney, 2019-Tyler Courtney, 2020-Tyler Courtney, 2021-Logan Seavey, 2022-Jake Swanson.
2023 AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR WINS: 8-Brody Roa, 3-Tommy Malcolm, 1-Justin Grant, 1-Chase Johnson, 1-Ricky Lewis, 1-Matt Mitchell.
COCOPAH AMSOIL USAC/CRA 1-LAP TRACK RECORD: Jake Swanson – 16.127 (10/29/22)
COCOPAH AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR WINS: 5-Damion Gardner, 3-Brody Roa, 1-Emerson Axsom, 1-Jake Swanson.
2023 AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS: 1. Brody Roa-1122, 2. Tommy Malcolm-995, 3. Austin Williams-869, 4. Cody Williams-814, 5. A.J. Bender-789, 6. Logan Calderwood-691, 7. Charles Davis Jr.-612, 8. Grant Sexton (R)-570, 9. Verne Sweeney-492, 10. R.J. Johnson-44.