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August 19, 2012

By Ken Wagner

This weekend had two races in the NEW and hopefully long freeway series of Perris to Victorville with the second night the most exciting from many factions. Perris had Cory Kruseman win his 97th all time CRA race and Route 66 Motorplex followed with, as surprising as this sounds, young Ryan Bernal winning his first ever CRA race! Both had their own excitement with the yellow car winning for the first time since Blake Miller was in the seat a couple of years ago and a bold move by Bernal to get an exciting finish to a great opener at the new Route 66 Motorplex opened by former driver Scott Burns.

For my pics of Perris click here to view. For my pics of Route 66 Motorplex click here to view. For Doug Allen's great pic's Click here to view those.

Perris had a pretty nice warm day as the night began Mike Spencer managed to once again get fast time and off we went. Kruseman was 7th quick, won his heat and started on the front row of the 30 lap main event. He was free up front until Spencer arrived late in the race, but never wavered and won another one. Spencer got a 4 laps to go pause and restart, but didn’t get by the winner. In addition to fast time, he won another heat race.

After the races, some hung around to barbeque and sleep over before heading to Victorville in the morning. Others, like myself, loaded up and went up the hill to stay there ready for the Sunday race. Of course the California freeway repair club worked their orange cone magic as we tried to leave the area and everyone had to detour out of the way to get back on the right road going North, but it was eventually a done deal.

Scott Burns had a dream! He wanted to bring the CRA 410 sprinters and the USAC midgets together for his grand opening at the Route 66 Motorplex. This target had many pratfalls in front of him. First he did the work to get USAC to give him a date with a points race and he begun the promoting process with excitement. Unfortunately, politics can be cruel and it was pulled out from under him. He then began a process that had one major obstacle in the way. All the west coast 410’s and 360’s were not scheduled against each other, meaning there were no gaps for the new promoter! A Sunday offering was made, and after a lot of soul searching, was accepted and Scott put his promoter’s hat on again. He had more to do than you could imagine by race day, including putting new clay down. He fought thru the biggest problem where the free dirt he had thought was coming, didn’t. Nevertheless race day came with new dirt on the track and a few small problems. Like no sound system or tow truck (the driver had to paint his house suddenly and the sound guy was back east) when the sun rose, but was taken care of. The deck seemed to be stacked against Scott, but somehow he overcame each challenge and the gates opened on time and the racing was great.

The day was a little warm, but a cool breeze could be found in the shade, so in they came and lined up in a new to everyone pit area, directly behind the back stretch. Too bad the fans nor the racers could see over the fence and that was tough on the racers especially. There were 33 sprint cars and some 21 midgets, so we had race cars, now the next thing we needed was fans. A Sunday night race in California is the toughest! The crowd did come in, not a packed house as we all hoped for, but significant as they came to support this new promoter and his hopes to give us 410 racing in the future. As the fans came in, they signed a poster that said something like “thru this gate come the best fans in the world” or something like that. The poster was large and will be laminated and mounted in the entryway somewhere.

There was a lot of activity getting the haulers lined up (thanks Richard) so many were getting their shade on and their set-ups ready. Myself, I walked the pits a bit, then noticed I was an overheated red color, so headed for the shaded grandstand and cooled down waiting to greet the fans when they came in. There was excitement in the air as the cars began to come onto the track and pack it. How would this surface fare in this heat and would we have some good racing tonight? The track understandably suffered some from the heat, but the racing was really good thruout the night, with little dust roostertails, and only a covered track could have been any better.

OK, who had fast time? I’ll let you guess as the little red sucker owns that these days. His time was 14.710 for what it’s worth. Qualifying became difficult as the track was pretty slick and up until now it was looking really extra racy. The times were slower than expected, but everyone had to do it. The most creative of all drivers was Ronnie Gardner who did a 360 coming out of the 4th turn without stopping! Way cool! Mike Spencer, Ronnie Gardner, Shane Golobic and Rickey Gaunt won racy heats as the little dust devils continued.

The feature was lined up and ready to go with 22 cars starting. Brody Roa took the lead and was immediately hassled by Shane Golobic. His teammate Ryan Bernal followed and finally got by Shane on a restart and began chasing the little green sucker thru traffic. Early in the race most were up on the top around 1 and 2 and low thru 3 and 4, but as the race went on, most stayed down all the way around or shot backwards. Ryan took the lead on a restart move on lap 15 and motored away for his first CRA win. Behind him Cory Kruseman got by Brody and the podium was set. Ronnie Gardner started 16th after a spinning qualifying lap and worked his way surgeon like up to 6th by the end on a great ride for the hard charger of the night.

Jake Swanson gets my kudos this week as he had a great weekend. The real rookie worked hard on Saturday at the PAS with a 5th in his heat, a 2nd in the semi and pulled off when the car overheated in the feature finishing 19th. On Sunday night he was pretty amazing because he looked like a veteran running the fast high groove. He missed his transfer again, got to learn to qualify better, but won the semi and ran great in the main finishing 9th, his best finish so far in the red # 41 crewed by Tony Jones and Larry Henry. The boy has promise or maybe I mean he can drive!

Hard to believe it was the second two race weekend in a row and a lot happened that makes me smile. With sprint car counts of 37 and 33 you can see double racing weekends do appear to help! Three cars even came over from Arizona to do the double. It was probably as hot both tracks, but in the shade a cool breeze worked fine. I loved the Route 66 opener and hope Scott and his energetic family can keep it going and include CRA next year. Hopefully he can have a couple of more races this year. The pits being on the back side of the track with no view from there is tough on the racers and the fans lose sight of them for a negative as well. Opening night was pretty good with only a few things to improve upon including more water and food! The crowd looked good to me, especially for a Sunday night, and I think we can expect some neat stuff out of the place. I for one am ready to go back, of course I live closer to it than other tracks, but I love the three wide oval and even though the track was slick and took some rubber late, it was racy and that’s what you want. Imagine a little cooler weather and a heavy track and I am ready!

The latest news this week was the announcement that Turkey night would return to dirt!!! Perris will host the next edition on Thanksgiving and for us dirt people, I might even go this year as I didn’t like the pavement.

I am off to Kokomo, Indiana for a 3 day USAC show there, and I hope it is good. I will catch up with my friend Mike Clark and see how his life is going back there. I know he will be at Calistoga, and I think this trip he is bringing his car home for the winter. Calistoga is next when I get home, so it will be the 4th multiple race weekend for me.

AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE RESULTS: August 18, 2012 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-16.348; 2. Nic Faas, 4, Alexander-16.577; 3. Ryan Bernal, 73, Ford-17.601; 4. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.675; 5. Ronnie Gardner, 18, Kittle-16.796; 6. David Cardey, 92, Sertich-16.892; 7. Cory Kruseman, 7, Priestley-16.909; 8. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-16.927; 9. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-16.998; 10. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-17.010; 11. R.J. Johnson, 51A, Martin-17.027; 12. Shane Golobic, 73X, Ford-17.033; 13. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-17.082; 14. Seth Wilson, 1X, Wilson-17.151; 15. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-17.197; 16. David Bezio, 37X, Bezio-17.206; 17. Josh Pelkey, 12A, Allen-17.282; 18. Jake Swanson, 41, Henry/Jones-17.329; 19. Stevie Sussex, 1A, Sussex-17.410; 20. Patrick Clark, 71K, Kruseman-17.416; 21. Rusty Carlile, 51, Carlile-17.482; 22. J.J. Ercse, 36, Springstead-17.532; 23. Bobby Bender, 11, Bender-17.666; 24. Kenny Perkins, 0K, Perkins-17.676; 25. Gavin Matlock, 25, Williams-17.689; 26. Corey Ballard, 20, Ballard-17.792; 27. A.J. Bender, 12, Bender-17.799; 28. Jeremy Ellertson, 23, Ellertson-18.091; 29. Johnny McCall, 44J, Morbitzer-18.093; 30. Billy Blinn, 26, Blinn-18.119; 31. Ton Hendricks, 14K, Kruseman-18.275; 32. John Aden, 12X, Blair-18.297; 33. Jerry Welton, 62, Welton-18.302; 34. Trevor Cooper, 21K, Kruseman-18.419; 35. Mike Collins, 04, Perkins-18.487; 36. Kyle Cline, 35, Perkins-18.710; 37. Verne Sweeney, 98, Tracy-NT.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Spencer, 2. Roa, 3. Gardner, 4. Pelkey, 5. Carlile, 6. C.Williams, 7. McCall, 8. Matlock, 9. Welton. 2:51.41

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Cardey, 2. R.Williams, 3. Faas, 4. Ercse, 5. Swanson, 6. Wilson, 7. Ballard, 8. Blinn, 9. Cooper. 2:53.85

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Kruseman, 2. R.Vander Weerd, 3. Bernal, 4. Johnson, 5. Sussex, 6. A.Bender, 7. Hendricks, 8. B.Bender, 9. Collins. NT

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bezio, 2. Golobic, 3. A.Williams, 4. J.Vander Weerd, 5. Clark, 6. Perkins, 7. Ellertson, 8. Aden, 9. Cline. 2:58.94

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. C.Williams, 2. Swanson, 3. Carlile, 4. Wilson, 5. Sussex, 6. Perkins, 7. Ballard, 8. Clark, 9. McCall, 10. A.Bender, 11. Aden, 12. Blinn, 13. Ellertson, 14. Hendricks, 15. Cooper, 16. Matlock, 17. Collins, 18. Welton, 19. Cline. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Cory Kruseman, 2. Mike Spencer, 3. David Cardey, 4. Nic Faas, 5. Ryan Bernal, 6. Brody Roa, 7. Rip Williams, 8. Ronnie Gardner, 9. David Bezio, 10. Richard Vander Weerd, 11. R.J. Johnson, 12. Jace Vander Weerd, 13. Cody Williams, 14. Josh Pelkey, 15. Rusty Carlile, 16. Seth Wilson, 17. J.J. Ercse, 18. Austin Williams, 19. Jake Swanson, 20. Shane Golobic, 21. Stevie Sussex, 22. Kenny Perkins. NT

**B.Bender flipped during the third heat. A.Williams flipped during the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Kruseman.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-Spencer-890, 2-Faas-761, 3-A.Williams-620, 4-Roa-613, 5-Bernal-602, 6-R.Williams-593, 7-Kruseman-547, 8-Matt Mitchell-461, 9-C.Williams-437, 10-Wilson-392.

AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE RESULTS: August 19, 2012 – Victorville, California – Victorville Raceway Park

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-14.710; 2. Nic Faas, 4, Alexander-15.025; 3. David Cardey, 92, Sertich-15.196; 4. David Bezio, 37X, Bezio-15.245; 5. Cory Kruseman, 7, Priestley-15.253; 6. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-15.256; 7. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-15.257; 8. Ryan Bernal, 73, Ford-15.317; 9. Seth Wilson, 1x, Wilson-15.348; 10. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-15.389; 11. Shane Golobic, 73x, Ford-15.416; 12. Josh Pelkey, 12, Allen-15.428; 13. R.J. Johnson, 51a, Martin-15.445; 14. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-15.481; 15. John Aden, 7a, Aden-15.485; 16. Brandon Thomson, 16, Jones-15.529; 17. Jake Swanson, 41, Jones-15.746; 18. Johnny McCall, 44J, McCall-15.755; 19. J.J. Ercse, 36, Springstead-15.810; 20. Adam Frith-Smith, 62a, Frith-Smith-15.890; 21. Rickie Gaunt, 66, Miller-15.970; 22. Trevor Cooper, 21k, Kruseman-15.976; 23. Ronnie Gardner, 18, Kittle-15.996; 24. Patrick Clark, 71k, Kruseman-16.107; 25. Kenny Perkins, 0k, Perkins-16.135; 26. A.J. Bender, 12B, Bender-16.292; 27. Tom Hendricks, 14k, Kruseman-16.365; 28. Cal Smith, 39, Cal Sun-16.371; 29. Jeremy Ellertson, 23, Ellertson-16.585; 30. Mike Collins, 04, Perkins-16.739; 31. Corey Ballard, 20, Ballard-16.771; 32. Ed Schwarz, 47, Perkins-17.074; 33. Jon Kairot, 35, Perkins-17.498.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Spencer, 2. Kruseman, 3. Wilson, 4. Cooper, 5. Bender, 6. McCall. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Gardner, 2. Roa, 3. R.Williams, 4. Ballard, 5. Ercse, 6. Faas, 7. Aden, 8. Hendricks. NT

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Golobic, 2. Cardey, 3. Thomson, 4. Clark, 5. Schwarz, 6. Smith, 7. Frith-Smith, 8. A.Williams. NT

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Gaunt, 2. Johnson, 3. Perkins, 4. Bernal, 5. Bezio, 6. Collins, 7. Swanson, 8. Ellertson. NT

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Swanson, 2. Faas, 3. A.Williams, 4. Bezio, 5. Frith-Smith, 6. Hendricks, 7. Ellertson, 8. Collins, 9. Bender, 10. Smith, 11. Ercse, 12. Schwarz, 13. Aden, 14. Kairot. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Ryan Bernal, 2. Cory Kruseman, 3. Brody Roa, 4. Mike Spencer, 5. Shane Golobic, 6. Ronnie Gardner, 7. Austin Williams, 8. Brandon Thomson, 9. Jake Swanson, 10. Seth Wilson, 11. Corey Ballard, 12. Rickie Gaunt, 13. Tom Hendricks, 14. Rip Williams, 15. R.J. Johnson, 16. Patrick Clark, 17. David Bezio, 18. Adam Frith-Smith, 19. David Cardey, 20. Kenny Perkins, 21. Cody Williams, 22. Trevor Cooper. NT

**Cardey flipped during the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-14 Roa, Laps 15-30 Bernal.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-Spencer-955, 2-Faas-769, 3-Roa-674, 4-Bernal-667, 5-A.Williams-664, 6-R.Williams-625, 7-Kruseman-613, 8-Matt Mitchell-461, 9-C.Williams-450, 10-Wilson-431.

NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: September 1-2 – Calistoga (CA) Speedway – “Louie Vermeil Classic”

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