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August 17, 2013

By Ken Wagner

On a warm sunny day Perris became the racing capital of Southern California as a windy mother nature visited the famous clay and still the racing was fun to watch all night. With 24 cars signed in and only 23 qualifying, we had another three heat race, no Semi and a 30 lap main night, but who is counting. Car counts are an issue these days, but when the racing is by our beloved 410 sprint cars, not to worry, it’s all good! When Matt Mitchell started on the front row with eventual winner Cory Kruseman with the two silver bullets right behind them, you knew it would be a classic tussle or more.

For my pics from the Pas click here to view. For Doug Allens quality photo's Click here to see.

On the first green flag start all was well for Nic Faas as he rolled on the bottom around turn 2 nearly getting the lead from the pole sitter, but when he excited turn three trying to put the moves on the Kruser for the lead things changed! Nic began to spin counter clockwise as he headed into turn 4 and all hell broke out behind him. Only Matt and Cory were not affected as the rest of the top ten cars took a beating. Young Ronnie Gardner, Damion Gardner and David Cardey made a small pile with Ronnie G on top of the front ends of Damion and Cardey. Mike Spencer had a flat tire and a few others had work area adventures before the first restart with some heavy hitters restarting in the back.

The second start saw Cory lead the first lap as Matt threw his wicked slider on him going into turn two and off went “Mad Matt” looking like he had total control as he widened his lead every lap. With Matt in control right away, there was something to watch from the back as the two silver bullets of Damion and Nic started a “watch this ballet” that saw them slide job their way forward as if the two of them were in a chain race hooked together, it was exciting to say the least! Nic was leading the Green Demon driver until Nic hit 5th place and came upon a slowing Cody Williams and couldn’t avoid him. He popped up over Cody’s rear wheel and slid a little sideways while the Demon roared by him and nobody spun out, so on they went.

Matt Mitchell had no problems as he was cruising in the lead far ahead, but when 25 laps were in the books, his motor began to smoke pretty heavy, and that spelled doom for the young driver. Two more laps and Kruseman closed in, but Matt was hanging in there. When a yellow came out with 3 laps to go, that was the signal of the end for Matt. Maybe it was the header fire that sent him to the pits or no oil pressure probably, but reluctantly he pulled in before the last restart could get going with Ripper and the two silver bullets ready to pounce on Kruseman. On the restart, both Damion and Faas slid under Ripper and probably were licking their chops as they came from the back to get a chance at the win. But, not today as neither of them could catch the now 98 time winner who is 3rd on the all-time So Cal win list only 6 behind the Ripper. Damion and Nic were on the podium after the opening lap problems and it was fun to watch the two silver bullets darting thru traffic playing follow the leader until the checkers flew. Matt Mitchell finished 15th for a sad ending to such a good run for him.

The first item on the night’s agenda was the last man standing “race” with the quickest 4 cars running for nearly $3000 with $1500 going to the winner, or the last man standing. The four cars started inverted by their qualifying time and Damion Gardner never left the front row and swept the three 3 lap efforts from his original front row starting spot. Not much excitement in this year’s edition as in the first one, fast timer Mike Spencer couldn’t get by Nic Faas and he was out. Ronnie “G” was done next as he couldn’t pass after his bad start put him too far back. The last round was follow the leader and the Demon on top for the win. Personally I like the format where all four cars start in the four different starting spots, and run the 4 races with points earned denoting the winner. It forces the winner to pass cars, but………………. Nobody asked me!

Rip Williams beat his boys this week with a good run in 4th place. Last weekend he suffered thru a stuttering motor problem that sent him to the showers early both nights of the long trip north. Not this time as he looked like he might have had a shot at it until late in the race. Cody was right behind him and Austin was the first car out after the opening lap shuffle.

Mike Spencer came from the back after his early flat tire to earn 6th, but his chances for a 6th CRA championship look slim as he is 187 points behind the leader Damion Gardner. R J Johnson came over to run and garnered 7th with some nifty driving himself. And ............ where was the 360 champion? LOL!

Damion Gardner had an eventful trip to Bonneville this past week as he and his team led by Steve Watt took their standard sized sprint car to try for 200 MPH and the world’s fastest sprint car title. They didn’t quite make it to 200, but 195 is pretty fast in the short wheelbase car! He spun out at speed, twice I hear, but what goes around comes around and all was well. To see his web site go to: http://worldsfastestsprintcar.com/ and check it out. Wait until next year is the teams motto as they go home and collect, analyze, and plan the next run. It was scary just reading about it!

Next up for the few CRA travelers is the annual Calistoga Vermeil event. This event started out with packed houses and plenty of sprint cars and stars, but last year it was toned down without many travelers from back east and the crowd wasn’t as good as it should be. I understand the cost of the trip up there, thus not as many cars or fans making the move, but really, when these notable events happen, we need to be there!

But before that, the URA is at Santa Maria this weekend on their first road trip so should be worth the drive up there. Besides the Unlimited Sprints, there will also be midgets, so a double show will be worth it! Check it out. I’ll be there! Having my fun as usual, and I’ll have a few Wagtimes t-shirts with me..

AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: August 17, 2013 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-16.244

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Cory Kruseman, 2. Damion Gardner, 3. Nic Faas, 4. Rip Williams, 5. Cody Williams, 6. Mike Spencer, 7. R.J. Johnson, 8. Richard Vander Weerd, 9. Jace Vander Weerd, 10. Greg Alexander, 11. Ronnie Gardner, 12. Johnny Bluntach, 13. David Bezio, 14. Kenny Perkins, 15. Matt Mitchell, 16. Toby Sampson, 17. Brody Roa, 18. Don Gansen, 19. Austin Smith, 20. Jeremy Ellertson, 21. David Cardey, 22. Austin Williams. NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Kruseman, Laps 2-27 Mitchell, Laps 28-30 Kruseman.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-D.Gardner-951, 2-Faas-826, 3-Spencer-766, 4-Mitchell-645, 5-C.Williams-591, 6-Bud Kaeding-564, 7-A.Williams-564, 8-Roa-530, 9-Ryan Bernal-491, 10-R.Vander Weerd-415.

NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: August 31, 2013 – Calistoga (CA) Speedway

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