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May 19, 2012

By Ken Wagner

Okay, after another brutal 22 hour turnaround for me and my racing travels, it was all worth it. Hanford is such a long and expensive tow for most CRA regulars, so with only seventeen 410’s in the house, they once again proved you don’t need numbers to entertain, just keep on racing hard and it all works out! Danny Faria has been jousting with the CRA for several years and up until now, always came up a little short. Not tonight Josephine! Danny qualified 12th and won his heat but ended up starting 12th on the main event grid. It didn’t take him long to move up behind Nic Faas and slip under him for the lead on lap 18. From there he just had to worry about the "Little Rascal "Ryan Bernal, as Ryan had already won the midget feature and was trying to add the 410 to his list of accomplishments. The nerve of that high school kid! Danny wasn’t bothered much with his big lead when Ryan closed on him near the end, but the checkers flew in his favor and he got his first ever CRA win! He is the lucky 313th different driver to win with CRA, SCRA, and or USAC in history starting in 1946!!! That is 66 years with 2434 total main event wins from those 313 drivers. WOW!

For my pics Click here to view! For outstanding Steve and Korie Lafond's work Click here to view. For Doug Allen's great pic's Click here to view those.

Speaking of the ”Little Rascal” Ryan Bernal, and how could you not, especially after his double duty efforts in the two Josh Ford midget and sprint cars. In his midget efforts, he got crashed out of his heat only to come back and start in the 4th row of the main event. He was quickly chasing toward the front when he pulled off the track and stopped? He restarted and jumped right by about 7 cars on the restart coming to the green flag. He then quickly worked his way up to 2nd behind the leader Richard VanderWeerd and was closing fast, but with one lap to go, the leader’s motor flashed a little fire mkaboom! Then we had a "green, white, checkered" one lap to go restart. Ryan looked gold until the 4th turn when Troy Rutherford stormed inside and underneath him coming to the checkers and took an ever so slight lead. Undaunted, Ryan came back by Troy in the last few feet and then hit the wall, passed under the checkers, spun backwards and ended up stopped in turn one, but on all four wheels. He said it was one of those “win it or wear it” deals in victory circle!!! What a rush to watch that one as this little rascal is seasoned beyond his years and highly entertaining! I can’t wait for the next race this coming Saturday, how about you?

OK, now about the 410 feature. The little Rascal was to start behind Matt "sliderman" Mitchell in the second row of the main event with Faas and Matt on the front row. On the original start, Matt started a spin coming into turn two as he collected Ryan, Seth and Cody in a small pile and that knocked out his front end so he was wreckered to the pits. Ryan moved up to the front row with Faas after three of the four cars who were banded together in that melee returned to get their original starting spot. Immediately, on the restart, Ryan started dropping back to 5th running the high groove all around the Hanford oval. He was going nowhere as Quick Nic Faas was pulling away early. Suddenly the little rascal found the bottom in turns one and two, and bingo, he was on the move going forward. He jumped to second late in the race, but couldn’t catch the winner at the stripe and settled for his third podium in four CRA races and second runner-up. Don’t take away anything from the winner, “Hollywood” Danny, as he fought a hole in the turn two cushion every lap and delicately shuttled his car around that corner until 30 laps were done and he was the last man standing.

Defending 4 time champ Mike Spencer set fast time at 15.421 on his way to his 8th starting spot in the main, a spot that has been his 3 out of the 4 races this year. In the feature he moved up thru the pack to grab 3rd at the end as the little red sucker continues to run in the front. Of the four races this year, he has won two and had 3rd and 4th in the other races. I think they call that consistency, and that is what wins championships. They used to say anyone but Kinser in the WOO world and some CRA fans might be thinking the same about Spencer. Who’s going to challenge him this year? Mitchell, Faas, Bernal and the Williams clan all have the best chance, so we’ll just wait and see, THAT’S WHY THEY RACE AND WE GET TO WATCH, if you show up!

It is sad that only 13 teams towed to Hanford this week leaving us with 17 cars, two heats and a 30 lap feature. It was still a highly entertaining night and well worth the trip in my mind. I drove 720 miles in about 11 total hours and one wonders how many would do that and waste all that precious expensive gas? Answer, only a chosen few! The crowd was definitely more local with few faces I recognized and a medium crowd in the stands. Many of them were there for the colorful modifieds, but the promoter has to have fans in the seats to make any money and I wonder if he did. It is still a good place to race and I thought the track was in good shape with no dust and a lot of racing out there, but remember I don’t drive on the track! When one of their Modifieds crash into the wall, he had a little help as he was leading that feature, they started a “rollover” fund. Nearly $300 was collected, $200 by the promoter himself, and it reminds me of another collection that once went on in the old days called Wagsbucks!

My overall view of the day was great. I enjoyed the friendly greetings of many and did what I do best, hang out and watch some great racing. Good to see the Lafond’s, Scott Baker, and assorted other familiar friends. Meeting Pat Grant was special as we all know his work with Open Wheel.org. The track looked in good shape and the racing was multiple grooves and side by side action. The midget feature was the bomb! Watching the little rascal start mid pack, go to the front and stop off the track, then come back and do a Kinser rush from the back to get the win! Hitting the wall and spinning out practically with the checkered flag in his hand, it was unreal. The CRA main saw the winner come from 12th and pass the CRA heroes to get his first with the boys of summer south.

WAG$CA$H collections were jump started this week when Steve Lafond dumped $121.27 into the pot to bring it up to $606.27 and we need more. Steve is a long time Wagtimer supporter and his Lafond Jar of Change is always a welcome addition to the hard charger of the annual Wagtimes event. I already have over $60 in my jar of change for the Lafond award, where is yours?

Next stop the annual PAS Salute to Indy event this coming weekend May 26. The holiday always brings good racing, so let’s all get out there and support the best racing in the land, WINGLESS dirt track sprint car racing with your USAC/CRA warriors! Do I need to put down the polka dots, let me know? It will be another quick turnaround for this wag as Mrs Wags chose this time to go visiting with family in Oklahoma and there is no one home to watch the dogs. Our usual dog sitter, Jordan, is on that trip too! They might get a bit testy if I don’t get home fast! So, bring me your change, bring me some green, come see me and talk about Santa Maria August 11th WAG$CA$H event, it will be fun and it’ll help the racers who need more than that to keep racing. I still have no good new lens for my pic taking fun, but I have high hopes for a resolution soon! Do you think the little rascal can beat the little red sucker this week, or the silver bullet, or the yellow yonker, or the Mitchell slider? Well you won’t see unless you go. See you there, or else!

AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE RESULTS: May 19, 2012 Hanford, California Kings Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-15.421; 2. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-15.614; 3. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-15.617; 4. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-15.626; 5. Ryan Bernal, 73, Ford-15.756; 6. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-15.845; 7. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-15.930; 8. Nic Faas, 4, Alexander-15.946; 9. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-15.973; 10. Seth Wilson, 1, Wilson-15.994; 11. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-16.060; 12. Danny Faria Jr., 17V, Faria-16.089; 13. Rusty Carlile, 51, Carlile-16.122; 14. Marty Hawkins, 3M, Hawkins-16.389; 15. Corey Ballard, 20, Ballard-16.750; 16. Austin Liggett, 83, Liggett-16.755; 17. Billy Blinn, 26, Blinn-17.244.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bernal, 2. J. Vander Weerd, 3. Roa, 4. Spencer, 5. C. Williams, 6. Mitchell, 7. Carlile, 8. Ballard, 9. Blinn. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Faria, 2. Faas, 3. R. Williams, 4. R. Vander Weerd, 5. A. Williams, 6. Hawkins, 7. Liggett, 8. Wilson. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) Winner Danny Faria Jr., 2. Ryan Bernal, 3. Mike Spencer, 4. Nic Faas, 5. Cody Williams, 6. Rip Williams, 7. Austin Williams, 8. Brody Roa, 9. Jace Vander Weerd, 10. Rusty Carlile, 11. Marty Hawkins, 12. Billy Blinn, 13. Seth Wilson, 14. Corey Ballard, 15. Austin Liggett, 16. Richard Vander Weerd, 17. Matt Mitchell. NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-17 Faas, Laps 18-30 Faria.

CRA Drver points: 1 Mike Spencer 272, Nic Faas 254, Ryan Bernal 227, Matt Mitchell 216, Austin Williams 19, Brody Roa 181, Rip Williams 173, David Cardey 142, Richard Vander Weerd 136, Jace Vander Weerd 133, Cody Williams 129 and Seth Wilson 121.

NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: May 26, Perris (CA) Auto Speedway, Salute To Indy!

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