MIKE SPENCER SHINES AT PETALUMA AND GETS 4TH FEATURE WIN OF THE YEAR.
CORY KRUSEMAN WINS AT WATSONVILLE FOR A RETURN TO THE WINNERS CIRCLE.
June 20, 2010
By Ken Wagner
The traveling USAC/CRA mini-circus took but 10 cars to Northern California for a Father’s day weekend at Watsonville and Petaluma. In a road trip similar to what the outlaws have done forever, the mighty band of travelers were joined by locals to provide a good show. Both little quarter mile bowls gave us exciting racing and some cool weather besides. Cory Kruseman a and Mike Spencer came away with the big bucks after all the smoke had cleared from some great racing at the two fairground tracks.
For my Ocean Speedway pics Click here. For my Petaluma pics Click here.For Doug Allen's work Click here. For Steve Lafond's Petaluma work Click here . For Steve Lombardo's Ocean Speedway work Click here.
On Friday night the action started with Danny Sheridan’s new track record at Ocean Speedway. His 12.913 was the only 12 second pass from the field. He started 8th in his heat and moved swiftly to a win sorting swiftly thru traffic. The main started off with Nic Faas taking the early lead from the green flag start and moving out for 6 laps. Cory Kruseman came on by to pass him on lap 7 and disappeared until “Showtime” Sheridan appeared on his bumper late in the race. A yellow flag flew with 5 laps to go with Danny pulling up on the leader looking for his first win of the year. On the last restart, Danny couldn’t make the pass and dropped back to be nipped by Mike Spencer at the checkered flag while Cory grabbed a win.
For Cory Kruseman it was his first win since the 4th of July race last year. His new Maxim chassis seems to be a rejuvenating deal for him and his team as he was fast. He was 5th in qualifying and ran 4th in his heat to get the fifth starting spot in the third row of the feature. It didn’t take long for him to get in position to take the lead, and when he got it, he never looked back as he stayed up top and motored away. His challenge from Showtime late in the race was from the low groove, but he hung on to the top and garnered the win, his 93rd lifetime putting him alone in 4th place on the all time CRA bragging list.
Mike Spencer had a solid weekend with a 2nd the opening night and a big win on Saturday. His late push at Ocean Speedway pulled him from 4th to 2nd in the last 5 laps as he was charging all night. At Petaluma he came from the 4th row to get into second behind Kruseman as they put a brief show on for the fans until Cory spun and was done for the night. Mike then motored to the checkers for his 4th win of the year. as a three car battle with Cody, Blake and Danny tried to reel him in to no avail. Mike had fast time, won his heat and the feature for his 2nd Dean Thompson Award if we have a road award?
The local cars supported the CRA at both tracks and after they were all sorted out, a young 16 year old in a two barrel carb, 1700 pound 360 spec sprinter showed he is ready to move up to the big 410’s. Look for Ryan Bernal in the years to come as his 13th and 5th place finishes in his heavy # 87 car was pretty impressive. The first night finish was after running right behind Sheridan for many laps then pulling off with a problem.
Cody Williams made his first ever podium appearance with a strong showing on Saturday night with no mistakes and Blake Miller on his bumper the last two thirds of the 30 lapper. He ran a strong 2nd and came home with something to crow about. Good job for the youngster who does his own work on the car just like his brother Austin does. Cody was 15th the opening night. He is the first Williams on the podium this season.
Both nights were cool with jackets a priority, but the racing was well worth it. The crowds looked good and the shows ran smoothly. Too many “companion” cars for my needs at Ocean, but it’s the way it is and at least they were open wheel. Petaluma only had a 9 car modified field extra, so it was mostly sprints and the crowd appreciated the fast paced night.
Showtime Sheridan had another great weekend scoring his 7th straight top 5 finish, with five of them on the podium. He looked like he had a win coming on Friday when he was reeling in the leader running a fast low groove and a yellow flew with 5 laps to go. On the restart, he suddenly wasn’t quite as fast, and dropped back instead of challenging for the win like everyone expected. On Saturday he followed Bullet Blake Miller most of the race as they played follow the leader behind Cody, and neither could mount a charge forward any further, and they finished 3rd and 4th. The little blue bugger is still in dire need for some more sponsorship bucks to finish the season out with. It’s surprising they have made it this far on their depleted budget.
At Ocean Speedway on Friday, a number of the “Spec Sprints” came to play and a few 410’s of note showed up. With 26 cars in the pits, there were 3 heats and a semi before they started the main with 22 cars. Locals Alec Rossi and Shane Golobic ran 4th and 6th for the best of the locals with Shane a strong 2nd at one point. Even Floyd Alvis, long time racer and former BCRA champion, came with his own Spec Sprint and ran 17th. He’s no youngster, but appeared to have some fun with the young guns. Most of the night they used the top groove, but when Danny went down low, that was the fastest way around to the end.
Saturday at Petaluma there were 23 cars and a different format was used. They ran 3 heats and then two dashes. The first dash ran 6 laps and had the top 8 that transferred thru the heats plus the 2 fastest cars that didn’t transfer in the back behind them. Their finish was the way they lined up in the main as Matt Mitchell earned the pole with the win. Then the rest of the field ran a separate 8 lap dash straight up with their finish becoming their starting spots behind the first ten. This was to give the fans more racing with the shorter field. It worked out good as it was competitive all night with some racy action. It’s all good as even though they weren’t all 410’s, sprint cars look like sprint cars to the average fan and that’s always great.
For the locals, Ryan Bernel in his sled was the best of the lot in 5th. Tyler Schmidt was 9th both nights with Local lady driver Alissa Geving 14th and 10th without a wing. Matt Streeter was 10th and 11th as he travels around and runs with us occasionally. The Soares owned house car with Brian Azevedo driving was 12th.
Only five of the traveling CRA finished the Saturday race with various maladies taking the others out. Cory Krusemanwas leading when he spun up next to the wall and I suspect equipment failure was the cause. Matt Mitchell charged into another car giving him a right front flat tire and he limped off done for the night. Nic Faas was the first car out with another brake problem I heard, Austin Williams dropped out as did Jay Waugh in one of Kruseman’s school cars. One car who didn't drop out was the Moosemobile with Greg Bragg driving. They ran 8th the first night and 6th on Saturday for a sucessful venture up North.
I sat in the grandstands both nights with my Petaluma Posse friends and their leader Don “The” Barber and enjoyed the action. It was a tad cool near the end both nights, but it was a welcome change from my 100 degree home now. Both grandstands looked full to my eyes and most stayed to the end, so it was another success up North. One hopes more cars will make the trek, IF we get to go again next year. The economy has to improve, doesn’t it?
I enjoyed another “trip with the Kittles” this weekend traveling in the hauler and doing nothing whatsoever to help other than encouraging them. It is pretty tiring for the Kittle Motorsports Team, or any race team for that matter, to make these trips, what with the long tow, racing two nights, doing the maintenance, trying to get back to the hotel in a timely manner and getting back home to rest up when it was all over. I was worn out and did nothing more than hang out and take a few pictures, but had a ball. The Thursday night trip North featured watching the Lakers win their second World Championship in a row while tooling down the highway, although it was a nervous time watching, that was a kick! Thanks again to the Kittle Motorsports Team for allowing this Wag to do the trip in style. I don’t think I want to be a racer type when I grow up, it’s too hard a life.
My son Kevin went to the Lucas Oil Speedway this past week in Wheatland, Mo and saw Robert Ballou win the feature and was once again impressed with the facility. He mentioned Jesse Hockett’s brother Rob drove his car in his honor at the race. He was 17th in the main.
I collected nearly $200 on the trip for the Wagsdash and spread the word about the event on September 25th. Thanks to all the donors, it is appreciated! I got a look at the real Lafond Jar of Change as I visited with Steve Lafond and his lovely bride Kim in Petaluma. The jar is full, but there is plenty of room for more, so start collecting your change!
The next race is the annual 4th of July Firecracker event at Perris Auto Speedway. The place is pretty packed every year, so get your reserved seats now! It should be a hot one! Keep Kenzo Okubo in your prayers as he recovers from his 4 way bypass surgery recently. Also a note to Don Blair to get back on his feet so he can go racing!
Watsonville 06/18/10 - Feature: (30 laps) 1.Cory Kruseman, 2. Mike Spencer, 3. Danny Sheridan, 4. Eric Rossi, 5. Nic Faas, 6. Shane Golobic, 7. Matt Mitchell, 8. Greg Bragg, 9. Tyler Schmidt, 10. Matt Streeter, 11. Blake Miller, 12. Mark Chaves Jr, 13. Ryan Bernal, 14. Alissa Geving, 15. Cody Williams, 16. Daniel Hood, 17. Floyd Alvis, 18. Carter Train, 19. Danny Faria Jr, 20. Howard Ferguson Jr., 21. Jim Christian, 22. Austin Williams. NT
Petaluma 6/19/10 – Feature (30 laps) 1. Mike Spencer, 2. Cody Williams, 3. Blake Miller, 4. Danny Sheridan, 5. Ryan Bernal, 6. Greg Bragg, 7. Eric Rossi, 8. Geoff Ensign, 9. Tyler Schmidt, 10. Allissa Geving, 11. Matt Streeter, 12. Brian Azevedo, 13. Jason McIntosh, 14. Matt Mitchell, 15. Cory Kruseman, 16. Austin Williams 17. Scotty Dupont, 18. Jay Waugh, 19. David Press, 20. Mike Mossi, 21. Marty Hawkins, 22. Dustin Baxter, 23. Nic Faas. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-3 Kruseman, Laps 4-30 Spencer.
NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-Spencer-543; 2-Sheridan-503; 3-Kruseman-399; 4-Miller-392; 5-Mitchell-368; 6-Bragg-321; 7-Jimmy Crawford-291; 8-Tony Jones-264; 9-C.Williams-253; 10-David Cardey-240.
NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: July 3 - Perris (CA) Auto Speedway
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