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June 2, 2012

By Ken Wagner

I always love a first time winner and when it’s a Wagsdash graduate, it’s even better. Brody Roa, who has won two Wags events in recent years, has climbed the mountain this week after running just a handful of 410 races. He started out with a 360 to get acclimated for a couple of years and ran with the big dogs. He switched to a 410 late last season, now look at him! Brody has quietly gotten more seat time and worked to improve each race, until he finally got a shot at the brass ring, and he grabbed it with his big win.

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

This race was the first in Yuma since 1998, so some racers told me, and things look pretty much the same to me around the Cocopah Raceway. A lot of sand and little else, but the track looked pretty good, except for the rooster tails that made following a bit of an adventure in the main event. With 17 cars in the house, it was up to the racers to put on a show and the 14 traveling CRA boys did that. We have always considered car count as the requirement for great raving, but when the car counts are low, the racers meet the challenge. On the road, it is even more important that our boys do their stuff well. So the mighty 17 gave the nice crowd a show to remember and the next road trip is June 15.

Brody Roawas 5th in his heat and started on the pole of the main next to the Ripper Rip Williams. On the start Cory Kruseman slipped by him, but Brody stayed on the bottom and took back the lead before the first lap ended. Brody never wavered on the very bottom of the track as the rest of the field flailed away up on top trying to chase him down. He was way ahead at the end as he methodically maintained the bottom groove for 30 non-stop laps. This is a family affair so it was great that grandma and grandpa were there to see this one and were thrilled with it. His dad Brett, a former CRA driver himself, must be beside himself as he and his son have come a long way together. Brett knows about setting up winning cars as he was Mike Kirby’s crew chief for years and that run included a CRA championship and 61 CRA victories. Brody was thrilled with his success! And thanks for the ride to my car later up that sandy path to the parking area, as that was a special ending for me!

I didn’t think my nearby Las Vegas driver Seth Wilson would make this trip, but there he was and he too stayed on the bottom and rolled up his best CRA finish ever with a 2nd place run. He was sixth in his heat after qualifying 3rd on the night. A good run for the young driver formally from So Cal. Cory Kruseman started third and finished third after a 7th in qualifying and 3rd in his heat.

Mike Spencer started in the “Spencer spot” (8th to you all) and looked like a salmon going up stream as he fought the rooster tails in front of him like everyone else. He settled for 4th on a good drive. Nic Faas didn’t have the best of all times this week after setting fast time in qualifying. He got upside down on the last corner of his heat and started in the back of the main. The fact that he finished 5th was a great accomplishment and a hard charger award for him for his strong effort.

Austin Williams won the Williams war this week as he got 7th ahead of his bro Cody in 9th and dad The Ripper in 10th. They all had the lead in their little war before the finish was over. The track was pretty smooth and it must have looked like the top would eventually come in, but it never did and most stayed up there all 30 laps.

I finally met the Bender brothers A J and Bobby and got a good feel for two nice young men and their father Rich. Last year, these two youngsters shared a 360 motored car taking turns each race. Over the winter they got a boost from one Randy Shiosaki, crew chief of the famous # 18 little blue bugger, who helped them get into a second car and they now have a 360 car and a 410 car. They still share, swapping from car to car and obviously having fun. Dad says they are looking for a trailer they can afford, so they can carry both cars in one, but for now two trailers and two gas bills for every trip, ouch! At this new track for them, Bobby won the “Bender bro battle” this week with 12th and AJ had a problem and came in the rear.

We had 3 cars come from the Phoenix area, and they were Stevie Sussex in Jack Yeley’s # 2 car, Jorden Stetson and Mike Martin. A big thanks to them as a Phoenix track chose to “F” up the chance of a good car count by suddenly having a point’s race at the ET phone home track. Imagine all these promoters working together???? OK, I get it, same old story! Big thanks to the three for the support!

Imagine my surprise when Tony Everhart showed up to race after spending the week with a very sore back and other pains from his crash at the PAS last week. His comment when asked why? We needed the car count! He said they didn’t get to do much set up, and it was a 360 motored car, and can you beat that? He said as the race went on and the heat from the car seeped up to him, his back actually felt a lot better, but he was whooped when I saw him after the race.

Matt Mitchell is so focused on driving his sprint car, he can’t think of anything else. He really wants to win and more. He might be thinking about going back to Indiana next year so he can run 4 times a week instead of once a month! He came out early in qualifying and was only 13th quick as the track wasn’t quite ready yet. He won his heat and got a hard fought 5th at the end. David Bezio’s smile is always evident when you see him as his strong improvement continues. He was 11th quick and had the lead in his heat until Matt rolled under him on the last lap. He finished 8th in the main and continues to look good.

It was good to go back to Yuma, and the racing seemed to be fun with a fairly smooth track, but the dust is a problem and I hope they can work it out. It’s more of a problem for the fans who can’t see thru it as the racers seemed to be able to sift their way thru, yet it was interesting. The grandstands are nice and the parking is fine and the casino hotel was apparently OK. We need these other locations to get our racing back on track with more races and hopefully more racers coming to join us.

It was another long turnaround for me as the nearly 600 mile roundtrip started at 7:30 in the morning at home and ended when I hit the door at 5 am Sunday. Wow, that was a long one! My GPS bitch sent me on highway 78 towards Brawley when it was clear I wanted to go down 95 from the get go, as it was a straight shot south from Las Vegas for me. I was too far gone on that directional change before I noticed and it included one of those “S” highways that have no lights, no gas stations, and no places to pull over and “featured” a very rough road. It even tried to send me back the same way after the race, but noooooooooooo, I turned her off and followed the 95 signs! There are so few lights on the long route home, it was really kinda weird without hardly any traffic either direction. I’ll bet I didn’t pass a car on the way home, that’s how few cars were on the road. I went thru 3 checkpoint stops somehow on my late night trip and they asked some interesting questions. What year is the Vette? Why are you out this late? Are you a citizen? Wow, they looked bored! I told them I escaped from Yuma and that started the questions! I didn’t think much about what trouble I might find along the road until I got home and my right rear was nearly flat!!!! But I made it!

I got $150 in the mail for WAG$CA$H, this week so we are over $800 and climbing. I am challenging all you who have supported the Wagsdash purses of the past to meet my $500 challenge if you can. So the purse is now up to $1300! Only 2 months left until race day, get with it and accept the challenge. I really need the help! We should have some good items for the auction as Ed Lauderdale has another antique bell for us and I haven’t won the bid yet on the several he has given us. Collect change for the Lafond Jar of Change for the hard charger, send or give me money, find something that would be a valuable auction item or just attend at Santa Maria on August 11, it’ll be fun.

No race this coming weekend for me, but a two day, two location show up in Watsonville then Santa Maria happens the next week on June 15/16, so it must be time for another road trip. Chris Kearns says he will have a $1000 winner take all wheelie contest on the Saturday night at Santa Maria. That should be interesting. Bruce Bromme Jr already told me the secret on how to make this cars pull their wheels, but I can’t tell you or I’d have to…………….! Don’t you want to see who can win the $$$$$? Then get on the road and support your guys, I’ll be there! TA TA!

AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE RESULTS: June 2, 2012 Yuma, Arizona Cocopah Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Nic Faas, 4, Alexander-16.734; 2. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-17.094; 3. Seth Wilson, 1X, Wilson-17.184; 4. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-17.225; 5. Austin Williams, 44, Jory-17.746; 6. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-17.783; 7. Cory Kruseman, 7, 17.795; 8. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-17.834; 9. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-17.953; 10. Stevie Sussex, 2Y, Yeley-17.965; 11. David Bezio, 37X, Bezio-17.981; 12. A.J. Bender, 12, Bender-18.091; 13. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-18.093; 14. Bobby Bender, 11, Bender-18.150; 15. Tony Everhart, 55, Everhart-19.058; 16. Jim Donley, 71K, Kruseman-19.414; 17. Jordan Stetson, 8AZ, Stetson-19.483.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Mitchell, 2. Bezio, 3. Kruseman, 4. C. Williams, 5. Roa, 6. Wilson, 7. Faas, 8. Everhart, 9. Stetson. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. A. Williams, 2. Spencer, 3. B. Bender, 4. R. Williams, 5. Martin, 6. Sussex, 7. A.J. Bender, 8. Donley. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Brody Roa, 2. Seth Wilson, 3. Cory Kruseman, 4. Mike Spencer, 5. Matt Mitchell, 6. Nic Faas, 7. Austin Williams, 8. David Bezio, 9. Cody Williams, 10. Rip Williams, 11. Stevie Sussex, 12. Bobby Bender, 13. Tony Everhart, 14. Jordan Stetson, 15. Jim Donley, 16. Mike Martin, 17. A.J. Bender. NT

**Faas flipped during the first heat.


AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR DRIVER POINTS: (Prior to 6/15 Watsonville) 1. Mike Spencer-407; 2. Nic Faas-375; 3. Matt Mitchell-314; 4. Austin Williams-297; 5. Brody Roa-280; 6. Ryan Bernal-278; 7. Rip Williams-249; 8. Seth Wilson-238; 9. Cory Kruseman-227; 10. Cody Williams-227; 11. Richard Vander Weerd-195; 12. David Cardey-177; 13. David Bezio-173; 14. Jace Vander Weerd-163; 15. Greg Alexander-104; 16. Josh Ford-99; 17. Jake Swanson-86; 18. Tony Everhart-68; 19. Josh Pelkey-51; 20. Billy Blinn-31; 21. Casey Shuman-24; 22. Bud Kaeding-21; 23. Cory Ballard-18; 24. Austin Smith-16; 25. Jerry Welton-3; ---. Cal Smith-3; 27. Jon Kairot-2; ---. Gary Potter-2; 29. Johnny McCall-1; ---. Mike Collins-1.

NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: June 15 Watsonville, CA Ocean Speedway, Then Santa Maria June 16

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