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May 1, 2012

By Ken Wagner On a near perfect day, some slick racing appeared at the PAS and Mike Spencer once again dominated the field as he set fast time and won the 30 lap feature from his 8th starting position. Mike took the lead from 18 year old Ryan Bernal on lap 9 and almost cruised home for this one. Late in the race Matt Mitchell put a slider on the winner getting by in turn two of the last lap, but couldn’t hold on as the little red sucker motored back under him and claimed his 26th lifetime win with the club.

For my pics Click here to view! For Doug Allen's great pic's Click here to view.

It looked to all like Mike was just playing with the field as he smoothly moved by his fellow competitors and went right to the front. When he got the lead, it was a walk in the park this week until Matt made his move at the end. Mike drove like he is the 4 time champion and the year should be very interesting as the Bruce Bromme Jr wrenched car is hitting on all cylinders. Gives the rest of them something to shoot for.

Matt Mitchell was 9th quick this week as he ran 3rd in his heat to start on the pole for the main event. When Seth Wilson didn’t transfer, that put him on the pole. When Spencer got by Bernal, Matt rode buy on his coattails and zeroed in on the red # 50 car till the very end. Matt’s good shot at the end just barely missed as he continues to look like a winner.

David Cardey had his best run since last October with a podium pleasing third place finish. He was third quick in qualifying and ran second to Jake Swanson’s first heat race win to start in the second row of the main. David drove his family sponsored # 59 hard all night to come up well in the end. He also had a big announcement that the SCRAFAN message board had been having fun with.

It is no secret that the Cardey team has been running a limited schedule in recent years due to lack of funds like many other racers. This year they only had a few planned appearances, so the outlook was glum unless someone came up with some big sponsorship. When Tom and Laurie Sertich announced that due to MONEY, they were closing down their operation of the # 92 car that graced the track for many years with a number of noted drivers including Rusty McClure from Ohio. But, before they closed the garage door on the Moose shop, they had a test session with Cardey at Perris. Unfortunately that left them sad when David was too tall for their Buckley chassis, ouch! They announced that effort was done, but behind the scenes they worked on a fix. It was all a secret until this week when both teams met and later Laurie apologized for misleading me when I asked for news as to when they would be back! The good news is they were surprised by Ron Williams of Victory Chassis, and it should be noted, a few others who have stepped up to help. Ron is putting together two new Victory Chassis cars and the Cardey/Sertich team will debut their new car at the July 4th Perris CRA race. David will be in the NEW Moosemobile and the two teams will become one! Thanks to Ron and all who made this happen!

The Williams clan barbeque on the track this week was a race long battle between Ripper and his son Austin Williams after they started in the third row side by side. Ripper had the family lead until late in the race when Austin got by for 4th and his dad 5th. Other brother Cody wasn’t in sight to mess with them as he finished 11th and the black cars all ran good and finished well this week. It looked like there might have been a new car or two among the three, but I didn’t verify that.

The screaming yellow yonker, also known as Mark Priestley’s beautiful # 7, came from the 7th row to capture 6th with veteran Cory Kruseman in the seat this week. After getting parked on the “other” side of the pits from where they have been forever, The Alexander Silver bullet # 4 didn’t have a particularly good night. It didn’t have anything to do with the parking spot. Even though Nic Faas was 2nd quick in qualifying and won his heat, he finished where he started in 7th without giving us his usual barnstorming ride to the front. Nevertheless, he still is second in points and has the best shot, in my opinion, to unseat the champion in the point’s battle this year.

Richard VanderWeerd won his family battle with brother Jace this week as he was 8th ahead of the 14th garnered by his bro. Richard, the defending West Coast 360 Champion looked real smooth this week. Speaking of smooth, Brody Roa grabbed 9th this week as he qualified 12th and ran 2nd in his heat. Brody was racy and as usual stayed out of all trouble and continues to improve under his dad, Brett’s tutorage as the family car looks great week after week.

Ryan Bernal finished 10th this week, but it wasn’t without woes of the internal kind and unknown by the fans. He came to the track suffering from food poisoning and wasn’t feeling well at all. Nevertheless he qualified 7th and grabbed third in his heat to get a front row spot next to Mitchell in the main. He immediately took and held a strong lead thru several restarts and gave up the lead to the eventual winner on lap 9. He later jumped the cushion and banged the turn four wall and rearranged some chassis parts on the front end that made it more difficult than it should be to keep the blue # 18 moving forward. Still he finished 10th and they rolled it into the trailer and look forward to next time.

Jake Swanson gets kudos for his already mentioned first heat race win and then his 15th place finish in the main. He ran better than his rookie experience gives him as Larry Henry and Tony Jones are having fun with his driving their # 41 “Frankenstein” car that is a collection of perfectly aged parts and a former Bubby Jones used motor from the 80’s. Jake doesn’t look very green, but he really is and we’ll see a lot out of this young man in the future as he improves.

A number of bad breaks happened this week as some crashes and some equipment problems reared its ugly head for several teams. Ronnie Gardner driving Dwight Cheney’s # 42 again this week, looked strong as he qualified 4th and transferred to the main in the front 8 to start the 30 lap event. He stopped on the back stretch during the race with a little fire under the car and that ended his night in 20th. The Bender Brothers A J and Bobby put one of their two cars in the main. A J finished 18th while Bobby had a problem in his heat and never returned. Jerry Welton Jr lost a muffler in his heat and we didn’t see him again. This very low buck team makes all the Perris races and haves plans to make a trip to Santa Maria twice this year to be eligible to compete for the WAG$CA$H money later in the year. They are one of those race teams that slip me money for my event and I thank them for that.

The day started out with a little more care than usual for getting the haulers into the pits and parked within the cone requirements. What was feared to be a problem for most who “owned” the pit spot they have used forever because of a mandate to park em’ first come in consecutive order to overcome the last race squabble that had some at the other end due to space, or lack of, to get them where they normally park. Not to worry only one rig missed his familiar slot and all went on as normal.

WAG$CA$H collections was good this week as I received $110 putting $485 in the WAG$CA$H purse for Santa Maria on August 11. Every race several CRA (low buck) racers are handing me cash for this event and now rival the Wagtimer fans for the most in collections. Don’t you Wagtimer’s feel ashamed? Hah, it’s nice to know that many haven’t forgotten what we are doing. I hope all are looking forward to our event at Santa Maia in only THREE months from now! I will start to be more aggressive, as I want to get all involved that want to be this year.

My friend, and former CRA driver Dan Hillberg, won the 20 lap Lightning Sprint main tonight as he leads that club in points. Both father and son Bobby and Kevin Michnowicz had the lead in their main at one time, but both gave it up and rolled back into the pits with a problem. Bruce Douglas won the senior main making it two in a row at the PAS for the over 45 group. Hub Cap Mike put on a show and almost stole that one.

It was a really nice day for the desert track and with no wind or water in the air; we had a racy track and some good action this week. Hard charger was the winner for an 8th to 1 run, so not many made big moves forward, but the battles for 2 thru 7 were highly fought over. Some great passes and position swapping went on to give the fans plenty to watch, so it was for me another long 20 hour trip well worth the effort. I just love this dirt track sprint stuff!

Next race for the CRA faithful is at Hanford, CA on May 19, so it’s on the road once before the holiday race on May 26 at the PAS. For the gaps in between the CRA scheduled races, this year the West Coast 360 races are in those gaps so there is no conflicts for racer or fan thanks to Chris Kearns efforts. So, you can go to Santa Maria this coming week and on to Tulare for a two day show the next weekend and see many of our CRA boys keeping busy between the 410 shows. You’ll see Ryan Bernal, Danny Sheridan, the Vander Weerd twins, Josh Ford and a number of familiar drivers on that trail! It’s good to get to go racing when CRA is dark, if you have the time or the gas money required.

Still no new lens for my now repaired “good” camera, but soon! I still got a small handful of track pics I have fun with, but don’t ever compare my work with Doug Allen, Steve Lafond or any of my pro photog friends, but I do have fun with it, so I get points for effort if not style!

Hey send me some WAG$CA$H!


April 28 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Mike Spencer, 2. Matt Mitchell, 3. David Cardey, 4. Austin Williams, 5. Rip Williams, 6. Cory Kruseman, 7. Nic Faas, 8. Richard Vander Weerd, 9. Brody Roa, 10. Ryan Bernal, 11. Cody Williams, 12. Seth Wilson, 13. Josh Ford, 14. Jace Vander Weerd, 15. Jake Swanson, 16. Verne Sweeney, 17. David Bezio, 18. A.J. Bender, 19. Tony Everharrt, 20. Ronnie Gardner, 21. Austin Smith, 22. Greg Alexander. NT

**Perkins & C.Smith flipped during the semi.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-8 Bernal, Laps 9-30 Spencer.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-Spencer-207, 2-Faas-196, 3-Mitchell-194, 4-Bernal-160, 5-Cardey-142, 6-A.Williams-140; 7-Roa-136; 8-R.Williams-121; 9-R.Vander Weerd-107, 10-Kruseman-106.

NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: May 19 – Hanford, CA - Kings Speedway

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