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June 16, 2012

By Ken Wagner

Mike Spencer and Austin Williams held the local cars at bay, both winning on the road with some good driving. Spencer had to chase down and destroy Ryan Bernal’s hopes for his first win with the club, and did that 2/3rd’s of the way into the 30 lapper at Ocean Speedway to claim his 28th lifetime win. The next night Austin won the shuffle for the front when leader Nic Faas pogo-sticked his # 4 silver bullet trying to come out of turn two. Austin and Danny Sheridan looked like they were going for a loose basketball, and Austin won the scrum which was the key to his victory.

For my pics of Ocean Speedway click here to view. For Santa Maria Click here to view. Steve Lafond's Santa Maria pics click here to view. For Doug Allen's great pic's Click here to view those.

Quiet Mike Spencer qualified 6th this week on a tricky Ocean Speedway track and ran second to Showtime in his heat. After a bad start melee that sent Showtime to the pit area to change a tire, but not quick enough for “the line-up is correct” edict and a restart happened. In the main the young recent high school grad Ryan Bernalhad jumped to the front ahead of the last CRA race winnerBrody Roawith a strong move on the second lap. He was moving smoothly, if you can call the bouncy maneuvers all the cars made on a couple of rough spots on the track, smooth? Ryan looked strong yet the little red sucker hadn’t been heard from yet! Spencer jumped to 2nd and began the chase. Ryan ran mostly on the bottom knowing the top wasn’t working for most. Spencer still was trying the top and a bunch of measured moves had managed to pull somewhat even on the backstretch a couple of times without passing the youngster. After Spencer began running a middle groove and finding it was working better, he looked ready to challenge. After a yellow flag restart, Mike smoothly set him up and bolted underneath him for the lead and took off. It was a great race and no touching amongst the two whatsoever. Qualifying was interesting with half the field getting done before a mechanical break and some track prep made the surface about 2 seconds slower than before the break??????

Matt Mitchell hung on to third on a wild ride by the “slidemaster” as he wandered the track looking for a smooth launching pad to catch the leaders. Running 4th was the Ripper, Rip Williams who won the Williams War this week beating his boys Austin and Cody, who followed right behind him in the finishing order at the end. Cody came from 17th to get the hard charger this race unofficially. Rip was the fast timer on the night. Brent Kaeding showed he had a little fuel left in his tank as he ran 8th and was the first non-CRA finisher.

The 2-1/2 hour trip down to Santa Maria made it a quick get ready to race again day. Reports of a dusty slick track had reached us about the last sprint race here, but we were told it wasn’t going to happen tonight. The track was pretty wet and adventuresome as Richard Vander Weerd set fast time against the 24 car field. On the start of the main, Nic got the jump from his outside front row position over Danny Sheridan. He led the first lap, but had an almost flying experience on the second lap, and when he landed, Austin Williams had claimed the lead ahead of Showtime’s efforts. Danny chased for the remainder of the 30 lap race, but had nothing for the youngster who won his second ever CRA race, both at Santa Maria. Mike Spencer got by Nic Faas late in the race for the last podium spot. Shane Golobic drove the Josh Ford team car to 5th, one spot ahead of Ryan Bernal in his Ford entry. Ryan came up from 15th to grab the hard charger award this week, unofficially.

Some notable things that happened and were worth mentioning started with J J Ercse using a 360 motored # 36 car to time in 4th quick and running 10th on the night at Santa Maria! There were 7 more So Cal cars at Santa Maria, so the closer tow was better for them. Shauna Hogg had a battered car at Ocean and managed to get the broken bolt-ons replaced even though she said she didn’t have any, and make the trip south. Good for her because she was “taken out” by an aggressive driver at Ocean and things didn’t look well after that race. Scott Pierovich unloaded at Ocean and ran hot laps, but loaded and left before he got a qualifying time. He showed up at Santa Maria and ran 16th, so he must have been wanting some non-wing stuff. Bill Jones must be a crusty old bugger as he nailed the wall and spun to a stop in his heat, then took a hard rollover a few laps later. He returned to run the main getting 21st! Jerry Welton Jr made the long tow to Santa Maria so he could qualify for the WAG$CA$H event! Unfortunately, he broke a brake something or other, he showed me but you know me, so didn’t get to run. He has a new one back at his shop.

At Ocean there were several flips with Dustin Baxter’s the longest looking as he went end over end over the fence on that one in qualifications. Word was the chassis took a beating when the cage landed on the K-rail on one of his bangs. Tom Baker flipped hard in his heat probably ending the life of that chassis, it was mean looking. Also Taylor Simas took a wild ride in the feature in what looked like up until then, a very fast car. After a couple of years off for school, Tyler Schmidt came back and struggled to get the powerplant cooking on all eight cylinders at first. Then he ran 15th in the main after the long layoff. Shane Golobic had a strong looking car at Ocean, but the wheel flew off on the main event line-up. He caught a ride with the Josh Ford racing team the next night and was 5th.

This little two day trip was fast paced and aggressive as the CRA made the first of two Watsonville to Santa Maria excursions. At the first stop, 27 cars checked in with 11 CRA travelers on the road, then 18 of the 24 at Santa Maria were up from So Cal. There were good car counts on the road at both race tracks and plenty of fans in the seats, especially at Santa Maria which seemed to be overflowing. Perhaps Chris Kearns should consider opening up the old above the walkway and beside the grandstands “dirt” seats some of us use to enjoy. Back in the day we took our beach chairs in the dirt areas and dug a trench, planted the chair and enjoyed the races in comfort! But things change!

As the WAG$CA$H event approaches, it was nice to see faces greeting me on the road with green in their hands as I collected over $300 this week in our efforts to create the purse for the August event to be held at Santa Maria. Longtime friend and Wagtimer Val Brose put a $100 bill in the pot and I wish there were more like him! Oh yeah there arer. Darleen and Stubby Dils did the same thing by check in the main! Last week I challenged all to a $500 donation last week and got one back this week in Don Flanders who has helped us out every year. He also helps the racers directly! $500 is a lot of money, but some of you can do it and some can do only $100. Whatever, $5, $10, $20, $50 or more, it’s all needed and welcome, so do what you can.

My zany friend and pro photographer Steve Lafond hit me again this week, twice. He always doles out the “Wags” cash in particular amounts that match a famous car and driver and challenges me to guess who he means. The two challenges this week were $91.87 and $63.12. In secret code those mean Lealand McSpadden (# 91) and Tony Jones (#87) plus Mike English (# 63) and in honor of Evelyn Pratt (# 12). Awesome, thanks Steve, it’s a game all can play for sure! The total collected so far is $1642.12 including my $500. Less than two months, so get going. I’ll see all of you at the 4th of July midweek race. Bring your change jar as mine is over $75 now. Come early and find me.

It was another travel with the little blue bugger experience for me this week as climbing in the Kittle Hauler with Randy, Julie, Paul and Gary means I don’t have to drive alone, which I normally do these days, and I can watch TV, read, play on the computer or whatever while Paul does the driving. It was sad on Friday night when Danny didn’t get to run the main with his flat tire, but Saturdays runner-up finish was one the whole crew took joy in.

I took nearly 2500 pics during the two days and had to get rescued by Kittle Krewman Jimbo who shagged me a card that was in the hauler when I filled up my big card. It’s going to take a while to go thru these but Santa Maria is one of my favorite places to play with my camera and Ocean turned out some good ones, unlike my sad Yuma stuff! Happy 70th b-day to Larry Henry as he was in the crowd watching his # 41 car driven by Jake Swanson and wrenched by Tony Jones. Jake was 14th in the Saturday night main event. Sorry there is no race the 30th at Victorville, but we’ll get there!

AMSOIL USAC/CRA & WESTERN CLASSIC SPRINT RACE RESULTS: June 15, 2012 Watsonville, California Ocean Speedway.

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-13.280; 2. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-13.665; 3. Ryan Bernal, 73, Ford-13.921; 4. Cory Kruseman, 7, Priestley-13.939; 5. Brent Kaeding, 69, Kaeding-14.066; 6. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-14.273; 7. Tony Hunt, 56, Phulps-14.273; 8. Tommy Laliberte, 20X, Laliberte-14.369; 9. Shauna Hogg, 5, Hogg-14.375; 10. Marty Hawkins, 3M, Hawkins-14.431; 11. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-14.432; 12. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-14.525; 13. Nic Faas, 4, Alexander-14.534; 14. Nathan Washam, 33, Hood-14.568; 15. Evan Bonnema, 58, Bonnema-14.693; 16. Geoff Ensign, 3F, Finkenbinder-14.718; 17. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-14.772; 18. Danny Sheridan, 18, Kittle-14.934; 19. Taylor Simas, 7T, Simas-14.981; 20. Shane Golobic, 46, Von Schriltz-15.009; 21. Nick Green, 14X, Green-15.016; 22. Kyle Evans, 84, Evans-15.196; 23. Tyler Schmidt, 49, Schmidt-15.382; 24. Seth Wilson, 1X, Wilson-15.793; 25. Tom Baker, 3T, Baker-15.995; 26. Dustin Baxter, 25B, Baxter-NT; 27. Scott Pierovich, 14, Vertullo/Pierson-NT.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Faas, 2. Simas, 3. Kruseman, 4. Ensign, 5. R. Williams, 6. Hunt, 7. Hawkins, 8. Evans, 9. Baker. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Golobic, 2. Mitchell, 3. A. Williams, 4. C. Williams, 5. Kaeding, 6. Laliberte, 7. Schmidt, 8. Washam. NT

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Sheridan, 2. Spencer, 3. Roa, 4. Bernal, 5. Green, 6. Wilson, 7. Bonnema, 8. Hogg. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Mike Spencer, 2. Ryan Bernal, 3. Matt Mitchell, 4. Rip Williams, 5. Austin Williams, 6. Cody Williams, 7. Cory Kruseman, 8. Brent Kaeding, 9. Brody Roa, 10. Nic Faas, 11. Tommy Laliberte, 12. Seth Wilson, 13. Evan Bonnema, 14. Marty Hawkins, 15. Tyler Schmidt, 16. Kyle Evans, 17. Tony Hunt, 18. Shauna Hogg, 19. Nick Green, 20. Geoff Ensign, 21. Taylor Simas, 22. Danny Sheridan, 23. Shane Golobic. NT

**Baxter flipped during qualifications. Baker flipped during the first heat. Simas and Hogg flipped during the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Roa, Laps 2-20 Bernal, Laps 21-30 Spencer.

USAC/CRA-WESTERN CLASSIC SPRINT RACE RESULTS: June 16, 2012 Santa Maria, California Santa Maria Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-14.950; 2. Cory Kruseman, 7, Priestley-15.124; 3. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-15.175; 4. J.J. Ercse, 36, Springstead-15.182; 5. Shane Golobic, 73x, Ford-15,334; 6. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-15.337; 7. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-15.350; 8. Seth Wilson, 1X, Wilson-15.375; 9. Nic Faas, 4, Alexander-15.389; 10. Danny Sheridan, 18, Kittle-15.459; 11. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-15.466; 12. Danny Faria Jr., 17v, Faria-15.484; 13. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-15.617; 14. Ricky Kirkbride, 87, Van Meter-15.644; 15. Ryan Bernal, 73, Ford-15.691; 16. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-15.692; 17. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-15.749; 18. Jake Swanson, 41, Jones-15.770; 19. Bill Jones, 16, Jones-15.949; 20. Scott Pierovich, 14, Vertullo/Pierson-15.965; 21. Shauna Hogg, 5, Hogg-16.253; 22. Gary Potter, 6, Potter-NT; 23. Cal Smith, 39, CalSun-16.539; 24. Jerry Welton, 62, Welton-NT.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Roa, 2. Spencer, 3. Sheridan, 4. R.Vander Weerd, 5. Ercse, 6. Potter, 7. R.Williams, 8. Jones. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. C.Williams, 2. Pierovich, 3. Kruseman, 4. Golobic, 5. J.Vander Weerd, 6. Wilson, 7. Kirkbride, 8. Smith. NT

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bernal, 2. A.Williams, 3. Swanson, 4. Faria, 5. Faas, 6. Mitchell, 7. Hogg. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Austin Williams, 2. Danny Sheridan, 3. Mike Spencer, 4. Nic Faas, 5. Shane Golobic, 6. Ryan Bernal, 7. Danny Faria Jr., 8. Cory Kruseman, 9. Rip Williams, 10. J.J. Ercse, 11. Brody Roa, 12. Cody Williams, 13. Matt Mitchell, 14. Jake Swanson, 15. Ricky Kirkbride, 16. Scott Pierovich, 17. Seth Wilson, 18. Cal Smith, 19. Richard Vander Weerd, 20. Jace Vander Weerd, 21. Bill Jones, 22. Shauna Hogg, 23. Gary Potter. NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Faas, Laps 2-30 A.Williams.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT STANDINGS: 1-Spencer-536, 2-Faas-471, 3-A.Williams-424, 4-Matt Mitchell-409, 5-Bernal-397, 6-Roa-361, 7-R.Williams-346, 8-Kruseman-328, 9-Wilson-292, 10-C.Williams-287.

NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: July 4 Perris (CA) Auto Speedway

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