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July 28, 2012

By Ken Wagner

This was an interesting week for me as I saw 25 high school b-ball games before hitting the road to the PAS on Saturday morning. The weather was really cool, mid 80’s when I arrived, so that was good! There were 24 cars that signed in with Matt Mitchell notably missing after his nasty crash at Terre Haute that was highlighted on Speed over and over. I wasn’t surprised that Mike Spencer set fast time, won his heat and eventually won the feature as he is on a roll and nobody seems to be able to step up and challenge him. The perennial Dean Thompson Award winner can’t look any better as the well prepared little red sucker makes his job easy every week.

For my pics of Perris click here to view. For Doug Allen's great pic's Click here to view those.

Without a K-rail on the track like normal, I wasn’t going to get any close up action shots I like to take in turn four. Instead I took the opportunity to go outside the track and shoot from turn two for a bit before qualifying. I have a lot of fun with my camera, but even though I take a lot of clicks during a night, the pros are better at getting the action shots the fans want to see. I watched qualifying from the stands and we lost one car when Cal Smith crashed and was done for the night.

This event was called the “California Racers Hall of Fame Night” with Chris Holt raising special money for a Last Man Standing event for the 4 quickest cars on the night. After a lot of mike time about CRA history, the four cars started inverted with Austin Williams and Rickie Gaunt on the front row and Nic Faas and Mike Spencer behind them. Rickie jumped to the lead and they followed nicely behind him. With no passing Faas was done. The second go had Austin grab the lead and with no passing again, Spencer was out. Rickie got his choice of starting position on the last two lap part, and no surprise here, he chose outside! That was the obvious fastest line as it was with no racing to “Cure” the track yet, and it was a done deal before it started. Rickie won the $1000 and an envelope drawing put $300 in the hands of Faas I think. If run after the feature or even in the intermission, I expect a different winner would have happened, but Super Rickie was pleased!

The three heat races gave some good action as Spencer caught up to early leader Ronnie Gardner and got by for his win. Danny Sheridan ran Ryan Bernal’s former ride in the Josh Ford # 73 to a fast win in the second heat. Danny looked good in the car as he surprised many in being here. Rip Williams did a fast number in the third heat and since we had no semi, I headed for the pits to see what was going on down there.

J J Ercse had taken quite a snap roll in the 2nd heat when a shock tower mount broke, sending him high in the air to the fence in turn one. As he came down off the wall, he almost landed on Sheridan, but luckily didn’t, but the last Buckley Chassis ever made might be history. At least some major rebuild is due if they run this car again. J J appeared fine, but like Cal Smith both would be sore the next day from their experiences.

Rip Williams was pretty racy this week as he was 6th quick, won his heat and led the first lap of the feature before finishing 3rd. He looked young out there as he gave no quarter to anyone. His son Austin was 4th quick and runner-up in the last man standing event before challenging for the lead in the main. Since I was in the pits and in the 4th turn, I missed whatever tipped him over. The car was looked at on the X, but pushed back to the pit before that restart. Cody was 9th quick and ran 8th in the feature.

Danny Sheridan ran strong with the # 73 car and after winning his heat he started on the pole of the main. He led laps 2 thru 11 before Spencer got by, then passed him and led until a yellow appeared after lap 15. I don’t know what happened, but he was pushed back to the pits and Spencer assumed the lead which he never gave up.

David Cardey started in the 6th row of the main event and rolled up to second in the Moosemobile before it ended the 30 lap affair. He looked good in the second appearance of the new Victory Chassied car and smiles all around for the team. They had very shiny tires, too!

Ronnie Gardner had his second ride in the Kittle Kar this week and did very well. He was 7th quick in qualifying and ran second in his heat before starting outside the front row of the main. He was running strong when a yellow happened and he was on the X. The crew looked it over and pushed him back to his pit. My guess was brakes, but I have no clue.

I missed the Lightning sprint feature as I was yakking in the pits, but I did look up early and saw the two Michnowicz cars going at it for the lead. I later got a report on what happened. Kevin had the lead and Bobby took it away after some close side by side father/son action, then the motor soured on the youngster’s car and Bobby later followed him to the pits with his own problems.

The next month will be a monster traveling effort for this wag, but what’s new, I love my 4120 racing. After a week off, the CRA heads to Watsonville and then Santa Maria for the first weekend double. The next week is the “Freeway” series (?) of Perris and Victorville as Scott Burns grand opening is on a Sunday and all of you will be there, right? Then I am off to Kokomo, Indiana for a three day USAC adventure that pays $5,000, $5,000 and $10,000 on Saturday night. Then it’s back home only to get back on the travelin’ horse and head to Calistoga for a two day deal there. The Chico race before the Gold Cup is not a CRA sanctioned points race, so I don’t know if I will stay around to watch as I doubt many CRA racers will spend the money to hang around up there. Wow, I guess it will be a fun month as I always get to see a lot of friends on the road!

I am looking into a way to get my Mule on the road and studying if Mrs Wags Morano can tow the thing? It has the horsepower, just don’t know if I want to do add a tow package to make it happen. Calistoga is the real long walking place where I really need it, but we shall see.

AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE RESULTS: July 28, 2012 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-16.320; 2. Nic Faas, 4, Alexander-16.647; 3. Rickie Gaunt, 66, Miller-16.669; 4. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.775; 5. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-16.844; 6. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-16.855; 7. Ronnie Gardner, 18, Kittle-16.867; 8. Danny Sheridan, 73, Ford-16.895; 9. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-17.038; 10. Cory Kruseman, 7, Priestley-17.069; 11. David Cardey, 92, Sertich-17.090; 12. Verne Sweeney, 98, Tracy-17.246; 13. Greg Alexander, 72, Tyler-17.302; 14. J.J. Ercse, 36, Springstead-17.581; 15. David Bezio, 37X, Bezio-17.589; 16. Cal Smith, 39, Cal Sun-17.645; 17. Johnny McCall, 44J, McCall-17.750; 18. Patrick Clark, 71k, Kruseman-17.849; 19. John Aden, 7a, Aden-17.878; 20. Corey Ballard, 20, Ballard-17.944; 21. Gavin Matlock, 25, Williams-18.328; 22. Mike Collins, 04, Perkins-18.405; 23. Jerry Welton, 62, Welton-18.762; 24. Jon Kairot, 0, Perkins-19.234.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Spencer, 2. Gardner, 3. Kruseman, 4. A.Williams, 5. Alexander, 6. Ballard, 7. McCall, 8. Welton. 2:52.11

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Sheridan, 2. Faas, 3. Cardey, 4. Roa, 5. Matlock, 6. Clark, 7. Kairot, 8. Ercse. NT

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. R.Williams, 2. Bezio, 3. C.Williams, 4. Gaunt, 5. Aden, 6. Sweeney, 7. Collins. 2:59.69

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Mike Spencer, 2. David Cardey, 3. Rip Williams, 4. Rickie Gaunt, 5. Nic Faas, 6. Brody Roa, 7. Greg Alexander, 8. Cody Williams, 9. Cory Kruseman, 10. David Bezio, 11. John Aden, 12. Corey Ballard, 13. Verne Sweeney, 14. Gavin Matlock, 15. Patrick Clark, 16. Jon Kairot, 16. Danny Sheridan, 18. Mike Collins, 19. Jerry Welton, 20. Austin Williams, 21. Ronnie Gardner, 22. Johnny McCall. NT

**Smith flipped during qualifying. Ercse flipped during the second heat. A.Williams flipped during the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 R.Williams, Laps 2-11 Sheridan, Lap 12 Spencer, Laps 13-15 Sheridan, Laps 16-30 Spencer.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-Spencer-683, 2-Faas-595, 3-A.Williams-501; 4-Roa-471, 5-Matt Mitchell-461, 6-Ryan Bernal-458; 7-R.Williams-438, 8-Kruseman-417, 9-C.Williams-353, 10-Seth Wilson-313.

NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: August 10 – Watsonville, CA – Ocean Speedway

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