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July 31, 2010

By Ken Wagner

On an unusually nice summer night at the PAS, the USAC/CRA put on another great show as David Cardey beat the 27 car field once more by winning his 4th CRA event in a row. Add a couple of Victorville wins, and he is the man. Can you say HOT! One wonders where he would be in the points if he had the sponsor money this season to run them all as he is stuck BACK in 7th place with 4 victories on his resume.

For my PAS pics Click here. For Doug Allen's work Click here.

It was classic 2010 Cardey as he was looking to continue his win streak while getting interviewed earlier in the day by track announcer Ronnie Everhart. He wasnít at all concerned about it as this limited budgeted team with him driving continues to open eyes in CRA racing. He was 6th quick in qualifying, and after running 3rd in his heat, was on the inside of row two in the main event starting grid. After opening his charge from third place, he dispatched young Blake Miller before reeling in the race long leader, Mike Spencer and running inside of him down the backstretch on lap 24 to take the lead and go on to win. A mighty pass of the defending champion one more time, seems to be the norm for him these days!

It looked like the point leader Mike Spencer was going to have a great night when he was 7th in qualifying and ran third in his heat to transfer to the main. His inverted line-up spot based on that qualifying number, put him on the front row and sent him off to a big lead on the start that looked like it was a slam dunk for the quiet CRA Champion. But she ainít over tillí sheís over as Cardey proved once again. Spencer was fast in the little red sucker, but couldnít quite pull off another win for his team and had to settle for 2nd place.

Cory Kruseman was also starting up front in the second row due to his 5th qualifying effort and a 3rd in his heat. He ran it hard for 30 laps getting the last podium spot, his second race in a row. Blake Miller had another good run this week as the first two rows finished in the top 4 spots for a bit of a rarity. Young Bullet Blake drives a Bullet Chassis and is having fun as he prepares to go back to college this fall to work on his degree.

The night started off with 27 cars and three were gone with problems before the first heat started. Richard VanderWeerd, R J Johnson and Ludwig Solberg IV had wasted pit passes and would see some expensive parts bills coming up next after loading up early. Stevie Sussex made the long tow from Arizona to be the first car out of the main when he pulled off. Tony Everhart and Jerry Welton both pulled out early after making the main.

Rip Williams made his 2010 debut in the black # 3 Jory car and was 10th quick before showing his sons how to win a heat. He reportedly dropped a cylinder in the feature and was also out early. Jimmy Crawford caused the first and only yellow flag when he pulled over and stopped on the track, sending him to the showers early. The last victims appeared on the last lap when Matt Mitchellís motor began pouring out white death smoke heavily behind him. As he slowed down, he collected Greg Bragg who had no place to hide and they both stopped in turn 4, never crossing the finish line. They were scored 11th and 12th ahead of the lap cars for a sad finish by two who ran strong for 29 laps. All in all, the usual problems faced the 410 racers and like always only the strong survived.

Speaking of problems, young high school sprint car driver Matthew ďMad DogĒ Shedarowich recently had a serious string of bad luck. The team only has two motors for their #9 Prolong race car and both of those broke recently very bad. With no budget to repair them, they borrowed a motor that didnít do the job, so the car is parked for now. Luckily, the Don Blair car was available, and Mad Dog jumped right in. This is the one David Cardey has stormed Victorville with recently. Matthew won his heat and ran 13th in the main.

Returning to the sprint car wars after 18 weeks off due to a nasty leg injury that occurred around an off road vehicle, Dennis ďthe menaceĒ Howell is back in his # 62 car where he so desperately wants to be. It seems he is only a menace to himself, unlike that cartoon character who badgers everyone, and his latest leg injury left a scar that is long and ugly! He told me the girls donít like the looks of it, so I suggested he wear a long sock! He was concerned about keeping the knee bent for the night of racing in the small cockpit, but he reported after the show, it was all good. He made the main with a transfer from his heat and was doing just fine thank you, until he got an assist into the wall and broke a Jacobs ladder. He did go on to finish 20th in his first time back and heís looking forward to his next outing. Maybe then he will badger other drivers and live up to that name.

On the positive side Nic Faas ran strong all night but was never able to run up better than his 5th place finish. Same story for Danny Sheridan who started 12th on the grid and finished right behind Faas in his little blue bugger with a smooth clean run. The Williams Brothers were the next two as they seemed to be only racing each other all night with the younger Austin bettering his older brother Cody at the finish. The surviving twin, Jace VanderWeerd, finished strong after being booted out of the path of another car when he was running closer to the front. He was 9th on a good run after that.

And then there was the Cowboy Tony Jones giving his all again this week. His ďnewĒ car came out with a brand new paint scheme. This car has seen a race or two last year. Now forgive me because the Alexander Silver Bullet car has always been a special looking car to me in the sleek silver color, but the new one is certainly eye appealing. The addition of a black fuel cell and the front of the hood now in black, plus some side panels in black, and packaged with red accent stripping, it is a striking # 4 no doubt. Tony started next to Sheridan in the 6th row of the main, and danced forward and back with Showtime until the car slowed late in the race to put him in 10th and rolled it on the trailer. Youíll like the new paint job, but I am already missing the silver bullet theme.

Besides the Arizona visitors, the Victorville flash Heidi Tresler returned after suffering a pretty gnarly crash the last time she was here. She was 17th in the main as she seems to like this racing with the Williams brothers, and the other drivers.

I had some good success this week with my Wagsdash collections as Wagtimes fan Don Flanders continues to support the Wagsdash like he does every year in a big way. I hope some of you other supporters start looking for me as we are just over $3000 and counting for the low buck racers event at Ventura on September 25th. I continue to add to my auction stash as many are bringing me some neat stuff to make money for the racers with. One item that should go over well is an antique slot machine that will be on the auction table this year. I also have a new, in the box die cast Richard Griffin # 50 car, just added this week, along with many other items you have been bringing to me each week. . If this keeps up, we will do very well on Wagsdash day when fans can bid on some good stuff weíll have to offer.

I know Steve Lafond sports a lot of change in his annual best passing job ďLafond Jar of changeĒ, clever name isnít it, as we head towards another record $1000 pay off that night for some lucky competitor. Everyone collect your change and letís just see how heavy we can make the jar this year. The Richard Griffin Wagsdash poster created by Jim Naylor is about ready and Iíll have some of them available soon for a nominal fee to also help build the purse. Mrs Wags is working on both the annual Wagtimes sprint car calendar and the sexy driver version, to be available soon, so be ready to get yours. And for anyone who doesnít know, every penny raised for the race, goes into the race with no handling charges or funny expenses. It has always been done for the racers pocketbook and stays that way. Just so you know, what we raise is what they get and the more the merrier.

I already announced that the Wagsdash/Ventura Raceway Golf tournament is a go again this year. Tom Touts and Jimmy Crawford, along with several others I am sure, are working very hard on getting it organized. The $100 per person entry fee covers 18 holes of golf, the cart and the banquet dinner afterwards. I would like to invite, or twist some arms, so all drivers, pit crewman and fans can join us for a fun day with some special hole in one and putting contest prizes for the lucky ones in store. Please support this classic the day before the Wagsdash on September 24th. Just come to have a good time and know it supports both the racers in the Wagsdash and helps Ventra Raceway as well. Remember, you donít even have to know how to play the game, just come and drive the golf cart and have a few cocktails, itís all good and you can do that, right!

So I guess I should mention, this 20th annual Wagsdash may very well be the last one of all time! Donít panic, but it has been a great ride doing this for 20 years with all the help from the Wagtimers, from some of the media, from many fans, and of course, all those who have had extra money to donate to our cause. Iíll take a look at how it goes this year, but I already know we may have to adjust to keep it going with the car counts dwindling, the wags money sources scaling down and the reality of our future of sprint car racing and where is it going. Help me out here and maybe we can keep it going. I know that Ventura was a one shot deal, so letís get going and just see how it turns out.

A group of USAC/CRA concerned individuals met this week to start making the CRA more fan friendly. They are out to keep fans informed with current data like driver profiles, the latest press releases, team info, schedule updates, and anything that a sprint car fan would like to know directly from the club. There is also some plans to pass out informative flyers at other events that are car crazy gatherings in order to interest other types of fans to come see the greatest show on dirt! The CRA wants to make it better for fans and racers alike and getting fans involved is a good start. The announcement of how it will be accomplished will be made very soon, but Iíll give you a clue. It doesnít cost anything, just make your E-mail available and itíll all come to you as fast as it happens. The CRA hasnít been a club for many years now, and perhaps this is a step in the right direction to unite the racing community and make it better for everyone.

With a week off before the Santa Maria race, make some plans to go racing. Unfortunately I will miss one of my favorite tracks on August 15 as I plan a little TNT tour music in the Midwest with my son Kevin and some other fans who like to travel like Mike Clark, Leroy Bedingfield and the famous Jack Kraemer. Iíll be back after a 10 day fun and games racing trip and a few visits and chow down events of note. You know that the best barbeque is usually found in Kansas City, so I will let you know how I find it. Iíll be in the LA area come this Saturday night, then again on Tuesday and finally another quick return Thursday, can you figure that out? Iíll see you back at the PAS on August 28 before we take the trek up to Calistoga for that 2 day show in the wine country the holiday weekend following.

July 31st Feature: (30 laps) 1. David Cardey, 2. Mike Spencer, 3. Cory Kruseman, 4. Blake Miller, 5. Nic Faas, 6. Danny Sheridan, 7. Austin Williams, 8. Cody Williams, 9. Jace VanderWeerd, 10. Tony Jones, 11. Matt Mitchell, 12. Greg Bragg, 13. Mathew Shedarowich, 14. Jonny Bates, 15. Cal Smith, 16. Randy Waitman, 17. Heidi Tresler, 18. Josh Ford, 19. Jimmy Crawford, 20. Dennis Howell, 21. Jerry Welton, 22. Rip Williams, 23. Tony Everhart, 24. Stevie Sussex. NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-24 Spencer, Laps 25-30 Cardey.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-Spencer-669; 2-Sheridan-608; 3-Kruseman-523; 4-Miller-492; 5-Mitchell-470; 6-Bragg-408; 7-Cardey-375; 8-Crawford-348; 9-C.Williams-342; 10-Jones-326.

NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: August 14 Ė Santa Maria (CA) Speedway

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