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August 29, 2010

By Ken Wagner

Coming home from a lackluster Midwest racing trip, it got real fun again quickly as the USAC/CRA wars continue with point leader Mike Spencer widening his lead after setting fast time for the 6th time this year, overwhelming his heat race and coming from the 8th starting spot to claim his 5th feature win this season. All in a days work as he gave credit to his crew for giving him the car to slay the CRA dragons and win another Dean Thompson award.

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

"Mild Mannered Mike" made the little red sucker look like it was on a string as he slid under most cars on his passing rampage and put himself in a commanding lead for this 3rd straight championship with the CRA. After 14 events, and only 11 more to come, his consistency includes 10 races finishing in the top 5, so he is not giving anyone a chance to chase him down at this point. His Bruce Bromme Jr led crew seems to be in a zone, but aren’t counting on anything until their job is done. He has over a 100 point lead now after Sheridan dropped out early in the race.

Cory Kruseman started on the front row to charge to his 2nd place finish as he was on the gas as well. He currently runs 3rd in championship points and with crew chief Mike Nigh still turning the wrenches, things are looking more positive each time out. Cory was 8th quick in qualifying and ran second in his heat to get a good starting spot in the main event.

The last time we sighted the ”Cowboy” Tony Jones at Perris, his “new” ride was a stealth looking Black and silver model that he ran 10th in after one stop. During this week his Alexander Brothers race team had a new car arrive at the shop on Wednesday. They hustled the new Spike Chassis together and shook it down on Saturday with a podium 3rd place finish. He came from 12th place on the starting grid to ride the top groove like he is known to do. First time out with the all new silver car put a big smile on his face and will give him and the team a big boost in the weeks to come. He said the car handled great, unlike some of the recent models he has been driving. Look out, the Cowboy has been released on the field, and we can’t wait until their next appearance.

Super Rickie Gaunt and bunch of other drivers had cause to smile this week with their performances. Rickie was 2nd quick in the David Miller car and ran 3rd in his heat before starting the main. After suffering all kinds of chaos this season in several old Gardner cars, Ronnie Gardner got on top of the scrap pile in his new blue # 93 Sled and ran 5th, his best finish this season. He was 4th quick and 5th in his heat as he enjoyed the night, even though contact with another car in his heat made Grandpa Jack a little nervous, he restarted and went on to a good night of racing after the no harm no foul incident.

The brothers Cody and Austin Williams ran 6th and 8th tonight as they had good runs chasing thru the pack. Dad “The Ripper” had no luck and was out early in the 30 lapper. Last race winner Blake Miller ran a tough 7th in the beautiful yellow # 7 as he was fighting for every inch of track space. R J Johnson came over from Arizona to get ninth on his best finish here in a while. He looked good, but the long ride home must have been tough after working all day.

Ludwig Solberg came out in a rental Glenn Crossno owned # 28 to get back to racing again. He looked good in the car putting it in 12th on the night. >B>Danny Ebberts came out after at least a year of running midgets and champ dirt cars elsewhere. He said they were experimenting as a new car was coming out soon. B>Andrew Reinbold made another long tow across the Arizona desert and finished 14th. Glad to see the visitors coming as we surely need the car count and some new blood this season.

Now for the unbelievable tough luck guys, and there were a few. David Cardey was the first car out after an incident with another car that tossed a torsion bar on the track, leaving him no steering and sending him to the trailer. The little blue bugger, with ”Showtime” Sheridan running a strong second the first part of the race, experienced a malady after a red flag stop, that couldn’t be found until the field had restarted. The culprit, a rock had crammed itself in the throttle linkage and upon re-firing the motor, it was full on and he had to stop and clear his head while he sat in the pits and the race resumed. A tough break for both of these very competitive racers, and the fans as well. You want all your heroes on the track in the main event!

Matt Mitchell made a great run to the front to lead 12 laps before a yellow flag restart left him with a quickly deflating tire that sent him to the showers early. Heidi Tressler and Cal Smith got tangled up in a flipping scenario that scared the crowd a little after they came to a stop. Cal climbed out unhurt, but Heidi was banged up enough that they took their time getting her out of her car. She walked to the ambulance as they wanted to look her over before releasing her back to her pit.

Matthew Shedarowich was driving the Don Blair car again, when David Cardey isn’t rocketing it at Victorville Raceway when he can. The younger driver had some tough times as what the crew said was minor motor ails kept him from the feature when they couldn’t keep it going in his heat and the Semi. Oh, and least I forget about Greg Bragg, the Moosemobile driver who didn’t make it out for any racing after hot laps, they experienced an ailment too hard to overcome this week, but will be packing it off to Calistoga this coming week.

Speaking of Calistoga, one of the gems of the USAC/CRA racing schedule each year now, it will be the place to be this coming holiday weekend. Picture this: about a dozen or more of our local CRA favorites are heading up there to take on some of the Midwest best drivers and whoever the Northern Cal boys can throw at them in this two day event that pays bigger money than normal due to the efforts of Greg Sowers and Steve Howard among others. Extra cash for the racers beyond the USAC promoted purse makes this one a real event to be savored and enjoyed by racer and fan alike.

We will have David Cardey making the trip up there in another Glenn Crossno rental after his Bikini Car wash event two weeks ago raised money to help him travel for a change. Most of the top ten will be there and a few who can’t afford it probably will bite the bullet to make the scene. I knowDamion Gardner and Robert Ballou, plus a few other travelers from USAC homeland are coming. That ”other” Cowboy, Daren Clayton is hustling a ride and could be there as well, but the USAC mandatory events for some will keep them home running Silver Crown.

As for what’s going on besides one of the most scenic tracks in the country nestled in the tall trees of the wine country, listen to this, fans! Saturday starts off with wine tasting from 17 nearby wineries! If you like a bit of the grape, this is worth doing earlier in the day. There will be live music as a silent auction happens with a Spa package, some wine, a bed & breakfast freebie and some racing memorabilia are on the block for fans to bid on There will be a NARC and CRA legends autograph session plus the competing drivers signing at the same time in the afternoon. There is even a Bud Girls autograph signing? While many of the vintage cars on display will include Midgets, Sprint Cars, Hard Tops and Supermodifieds, it is a nifty car show for the fans. And that is just Saturday!

Sunday will start off with an inaugural Beer Garden where you can slug down some suds if that appeals to you. Both days the tasting costs only $10 each and the money raised goes to the racers, as does all the extra money being created for the long tow event. Oh, did I forget the racing on the track will be awesome on this big, long and very high speed half mile dirt track! I know we are all broke, but this one is worth digging into some discretionary funds to make a run up there. Camping is available on the fairgrounds and call Julie on 310-488-9183 for motel rooms if needed. See you there as my bride is taking a little time off from work to enjoy this one with me.

My continuing efforts to create the 20th annual Wagsdash purse has reached $ 3500 and if I haven’t bugged you yet, save me the trouble and call me or talk to me when you see me. I really don’t like begging! With all your help we will make this low buck racers invitational special for the racers again this year. I have the 2011 calendars ready for $20 each now. Since JAF Photos paid the initial creation costs for us, that means we get the whole $ 20 straight into the race! And word is Mrs Wags will have the sexy driver version ready very soon, so she tells me. We only make so many of these annual calenders, so E-mail me if you aren’t going to see me soon, to get one reserved.

I’ll be photographing some of the items to be in the auction, but I need more, so get at it. My Lafond Jar of change many coins is overflowing, as is Mr Lafond’s version up north, so the hard charger award in his name will be really good this year. Last year’s record of $1000 could be surpassed, but anything over that might be split with another driver, we’ll see.My new Wagtimes and Wagsdash poker chips are now a reality, and those will be available for a few pesos to add to the purse as well. Don’t know how we will bundle them, but there will be individual ones available as well as several sized packets for those who play the game, or just want another racing memorabilia for their collection. Also Mr Naylor’s Richard Griffin Wagsdash poster is about ready and these will be available for a nominal fee to also grow the purse. With the economy suffering so badly these days, I’ve had to find new ways to gather money for our race.

For all you golfers and weenie golfers, there are two flavors of golf tournaments this year that will take place on Friday September 24th, the day before our race day. The first is a big boy slammin’ 18 holes of regulation golf in scramble format, with tee-off times starting at 10:30 AM. There will be a hole-in-one contest that gets you a sprint car, if you can nail the cup on the special hole in just one shot. It costs only $ 100 per person to join us and you get the round of golf, a cart, dinner and a T-shirt for a bargain and a good time. For the less aggressive sleep in golf folks you can get in on the miniature golf 18 hole team tournament that starts at 3 pm. Cost here is merely $ 50 and includes the golf, dinner and a T-shirt. There will be a $5,000 putting contest with details available at the event that day. And there probably will be alcohol involved, imagine that, for those who do that sort of thing! For more info call 805-389-0260 to get your reservation to play, or sponsor a hole, or you can e-mail tom@thunderheadonline.com for more info. The link for the sign up sheet is on the Wagtimes. com front page. Remember, you don’t have to really know how to play golf, just come and practice your cart driving skills (in moderation please as we know how racers can be when given anything with a motor). The Wagsdash gets a nice share of all monies raised, so come have fun and we all will benefit.

Our trip north is just days away and Mrs Wags and I are going to go see the wine country and relax just a little while we get to see some great racing. Our itinerary manager, one Julie Shiosaki, has everything planned out for the three days plus, so lets get started and all meet up there for another adventure in the wild world of sprint car racing.

8/28/10 Feature at the PAS: (30 laps) 1. Mike Spencer, 2. Cory Kruseman, 3. Tony Jones, 4. Rickie Gaunt, 5. Ronnie Gardner, 6. Cody Williams, 7. Blake Miller, 8. Austin Williams, 9. Rj Johnson, 10. Jimmy Crawford, 11. Greg Alexander, 12. Ludvig Solberg IV, 13. Danny Ebberts, 14. Andrew Reinbold 15. Matt Mitchell, 16. David Bezio, 17. Danny Sheridan, 18. Randy Waitman, 19. Cal Smith, 20. Heidi Tressler, 21. Rip Williams, 22. David Cardey. NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Krusmean, Laps 3-14 Mitchell, Laps 15-30 Spencer

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-Spencer-803; 2-Sheridan-674; 3-Kruseman-636; 4-Miller-607; 5-Mitchell-523; 6-Crawford-422; 7-Jones-421; 8-Greg Bragg-409; 9-Cardey-395; 10-C.Williams-393.

NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: September 4-5 – Calistoga (CA) Speedway – “Louie Vermeil Classic”

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