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May 25, 2013

By Ken Wagner

On a surprisingly nice day in the desert at Perris Auto Speedway, 23 cars checked in and when it was all over and done, Matt Mitchell was the crowd favorite winner after holding off Damion Gardner at the flag. The lead was swapped a few times as the Demon surged by him, only to have Mighty Matt return the favor running the high groove. Once it got so exciting when lap traffic allowed Damion to take the right road and put Matt behind him, but up jumped the red flag and he had to go back. On the last lap the Demon rolled by Matt and took his car high into turn three, but Mighty Matt was saving his ultimate weapon for this move, the last slide job, and it worked for his 5th all time CRA win and boy was he pumped!

For my pics from Perris click here to view. For Doug Allens quality photo's Click here to see.

There is something magical about a race when it goes down to the wire and the crowd stands to cheer the wild ending! Forget that the winner officially led every lap, because that is not nearly the story!! Forget the point leader chased the winner furiously for nearly the whole race and passed him several times, but it didn’t stick. Matt Mitchell was a former winner of the Salute to Indy when he arrived and qualified 5th early on. He started on the front row next to Bud Kaeding, a formidable competitor who is getting closer to his first win this season, after winning his heat. Matt took the lead immediately and set off towards the checkered flag, but it was not easy. Damion was on his tail very quickly and took many shots at the eventual winner on the low side right up until the end. What a great race it was.

With 23 cars in the house, and then one who didn’t make the call, three heats were fun and a feature that kept the fans on the edge of their seats. It doesn’t take big car counts to make for good racing, it just takes the usual fast sprint cars and you turn them loose. Anyone that doesn’t see the speed and beauty of these 410 monsters, doesn’t get it, nor will they. On a weekend that the major big money racing organizations presented their product on TV, the best of their lot was an Indy lights four wide finish. The Indy 500 was dicey with 68 lead passes, but had a crash with 3 laps to go and it was over before the end. Up until that point it was enjoyable to watch, but yellow/checkers don’t work for me. The popular winner cruised slowly around the track to the end to get his milk bath. In our race, it was balls to the wall until the checkers flew, big difference, and it was live!

Damion Gardner was 4th quick in qualifying and won the first heat with a flourish in his # 4A Alexander silver bullet. He was quick to jump behind the streaking # 37 with Matt doing the hard work, and chased hard for most of the race. He was just a tad behind at the finish, but until they crossed the line, the race was very much up for grabs. Damion still leads the points deal ahead of his teammate Nic Faas by 31 points. David Cardey started 9th and worked his way onto the podium after winning the third heat in his Victory Chassied Moosemobile.

Bud Kaeding continues to run up front this week after qualifying 6th and running 4th in his heat. He battled Mitchell on the start and ended up 4th with another good solid run. Nic Faas was quick time and ended up 5th in his silver bullet Alexander # 4 car. Mike Spencer’s night started out horrible when the bullet in his # 50 Ron Chaffin car went up in smoke in qualifying before he got in a time. The crew swapped the motor out and he started last on the main event grid. Mike said it was interesting going thru the pack, but he ended up 6th with the best passing job for the week.

Jake Swanson got a chance to run this week in a second Brody Roa car. He was 11th quick and led his heat until an untimely spin put him back. He ended up running 9th, one ahead of his team car. Ronnie Gardner has been killing them jn his USAC midget ride winning a bunch of races in the little Eslinger motored # 68. The Kittle Motorsports # 18 made a rare appearance with Ronnie in the seat and they were having fun. Ronnie was 10th quick, but had a spark plug break in his heat. He started in the 6th row of the main and worked his way up to 7th until the last lap where a car in front of him slowed into the wall and sent him back to 12th. The little blue bugger will only make occasional appearances unless some new sponsorship shows up.

Ryan Bernal took a break from dominating the USAC 360 series, but had little luck this week. He was 3rd quick, ran 3rd in his heat and was dicing it up late in the race when he got upside down to end his night. The Williams boys had their problems finishing last in the 30 lap main as Rip had a problem that needed the shop to fix and he didn’t turn a wheel on the night. On separate incidents, both Cody and Austin were interrupted by other cars wanting their space.

The URA will present the 1st annual Don Blair Cup at the newly sponsored Macro Air Orange Show Stadium in San Bernardino this Saturday June 1st. URA point leader David Cardey will be there to defend his position against the recent May 11 URA winner, Matt Mitchell, a race run at Victorville’s RT 66 Motorplex. URA Unlimited Sprints will be joined by the URA Limited (Focus) Midgets, IMCA Super Stocks, and the CDCRA Dwarfs. It will be fair night at the track and the gates opens at 3:30 PM. Fun for all and great racing too!

I am looking for a sponsor for the Don Blair Cup and it is a nice one. Call me.

Coming up will be the annual Watsonville/Santa Maria double for CRA June 14/15 and I’m looking into an easy way to do this. We shall see! It’s always fun to go up there. See ya at the races!

AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: May 25, 2013 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway – “Salute to Indy”

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Nic Faas, 4, Alexander-16.331; 2. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.440 ;3. Ryan Bernal, 73, Ford-16.448; 4. Damion Gardner, 4a, Alexander-16.467; 5. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-16.523; 6. Bud Kaeding, 29, Bowman-16.542; 7. Rickie Gaunt, 66, Miller-16.587; 8. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-16.599; 9. David Cardey, 92, Sertich-16.612; 10. Ronnie Gardner, 18, Kittle-16.700; 11. Jake Swanson, 9, BR-16.762; 12. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-16.815; 13. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-16.894; 14. Kenny Perkins, 0k, Perkins-16.982; 15. Seth Wilson, 1x, Wilson-17.040; 16. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-17.130; 17. Johnny Bluntach, 58, Bluntach-17.214; 18. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-17.320; 19. Jesse Denome, 81, Watt-17.668; 20. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-17.842; 21. Mike Collins, 04, Collins-18.080; 22. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-26.136; 23. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-NT.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. D.Gardner, 2. R.Vander Weerd, 3. Gaunt, 4. Spencer, 5. Faas, 6. J.Vander Weerd, 7. Denome, 8. R.Gardner. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Mitchell, 2. Perkins, 3. A.Williams, 4. C.Williams, 5. Swanson, 6. Bluntach, 7. Gansen. NT

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Cardey, 2. Wilson, 3. Bernal, 4. Kaeding, 5. Roa, 6. Bender. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Matt Mitchell, 2. Damion Gardner, 3. David Cardey, 4. Bud Kaeding, 5. Nic Faas, 6, Mike Spencer, 7. Rickie Gaunt, 8. Seth Wilson, 9. Jake Swanson, 10. Brody Roa, 11. Jace Vander Weerd, 12. Ronnie Gardner, 13. Richard Vander Weerd, 14. Kenny Perkins, 15. Johnny Bluntach, 16. Chris Gansen, 17. A.J. Bender, 18. Jesse Denome, 19. Ryan Bernal, 20. Cody Williams, 21. Austin Williams. NT

**Bernal flipped on lap 27 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Mitchell.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-D.Gardner-596, 2-Faas-565, 3-Spencer-484, 4-Kaeding-472, 5-Mitchell-357, 6-C.Williams-349, 7-A.Williams-347, 8-Roa-324, 9-R.J. Johnson-300, 10-Bernal-267.

NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: June 14, 2013 – Watsonville, CA – Ocean Speedway

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