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September 2, 2012

By Ken Wagner

You go to Calistoga because it is “an event”! You go to Calistoga because it is a splendid tour of the wine country and if you go early, you can look around and relax before the war on the track begins. This year the event gave us a little bit of everything. We had great weather, good racing, wine and beer tasting for the fans, a weekend of tailgating, Dick Vermeil bringing his infamous name and a few other surprises. When the dust settled on Sunday night the 316th name was added to the all-time CRA win list. Kyle Hirst is normally a wing driver who made headlines as he looked way fast and a little bit on edge both nights to impress the house in the winning Randy Tiner # 83 car.

For my pics of Calistoga 1st night click here to view. For my pics of Calistoga 2nd night click here to view. For Steve Lafond's shots of Calistoga 1st night click here to view. For Doug Allen's great pic's Click here to view those.

Kyle out qualified the field on the opening night, including the fast time specialist Mike Spencer by nearly a half a second. He was fifth in his heat and 2nd in the semi before finishing 14th after a little trip to the pits swinging on a wrecker. The second night he was only 5th quick and 4th in his heat to start in the second row of the 30 lap main event. After a helicopter style crash by Danny Sheridan on the first green flag start, Kyle took off from his new front row position on the restart, never to be touched again. He had leads as big as the long straightaway before finishing with bald tires and the big $8000 check in his hands, and was the big winner ahead of the little red sucker.

The first night had the best track as no dust and no black down to give us some very interesting racing. Rockin’ Ryan Bernal was coming off his first ever CRA win at the Route 66 Motorplex opener two weeks prior and was ready to do it again. Rockin’ Ryan was all of that as he used the black loose stuff “above” the cushion to his advantage to overtake early leader Chad Boespflug and win going away. It was like he had a rocking horse ride hopping up and down and bouncing all over the place as he made his way around the very big half mile track in the strong # 73 Ford machine. He had qualified 4th and ran 4th in his heat to transfer to the main. Nobody had anything for Bernal in the prelim race and he was a winner again as his potentially exceptional career had a big boost this week. He told me on Sunday morning that he rode his bike around the racetrack that morning and wondered what he was thinking the night before after pedaling around on the rough washboard like surface. He running second on Sunday when a tire exploded his chance of sweeping the weekend. Still he got 11th from the back after pulling in for new rubber.

Chad Boespflug has moved on to Indiana to further his racing career and returned for this Event to have some fun. He looked strong in the Baxter # 25B car with a second in his heat before taking the lead on the start of the prelim and eventually bring home 2nd place with a great ride on Saturday night. He was 4th in the big one the next night and can go back to the Midwest with a little cash in his pocket after a great weekend in his home state.

The little red sucker was in the house minus its crew chief Bruce Bromme Jr this week because the doc said “stay home”! That didn’t mean his cell phone wasn’t linked to Calistoga, as his loyal and trusty crew went on without him and did very well. Mike Spencer ran on the podium both nights with fast time the second night and got 3rd place and then 2nd place in the finale on Sunday. Mike fought the abrasive track like everyone else all night, but had enough rubber left to slide into second late in the race for a good weekend.

The big feature the second night had some surprises, mostly because of the track surface that started out much slower than the first night, nearly a second slower in qualifying, and tire problems affected more than a few. The rubber wars allowed some, after changing tires, to hang in there better. A new name on the CRA podium was Matt Streeter as he garnered third in the big one with some heady driving. He is not unknown to us, but it was his best finish with CRA and he also drove a midget on the weekend.

The CRA only brought 8 cars up the long tow road, but did themselves proud even though missing 3 major racer cars. The Priestly # 7 didn’t make it due to driver unavailable, the silver bullet # 4 Alexander car had some motor problems and were parked, and of course Matt Mitchell is still down with injuries from his sprint week crash. Rumor has it he will be back within the next month. If it weren’t for the black hauler of the Williams clan, the support would have been more pitiful. All in all many of the CRA regulars can’t afford to take this trip even though there was $300 tow money for each car as the enhanced purse put a lot of extra money in the hands of the racers. Much of this money was raised by Steve Howard who is in the hospital with a serious illness and could use your prayers.

The car count was 27 and 31 for the two nights, so we had the cars and we had the racing for the big crowd. My hats off to all who did the hard work to make this Event happen with the hopes we can make it continue in the future, as there were many who share in the success. Someone asked me how I would rate the success of this event and I wasn’t very helpful as there are very few events like this, but it would be rated at the top if I could compare it to another. Most events are merely the racing itself with little fanfare beyond a few old timers introduced during that particular race. The Chili Bowl has some of this big event atmosphere with everything contained inside a huge building, but still not the same. Calistoga stands alone in my traveling schedule.

Brody Roa made his first trip to the big oval a good one as he was 2nd quick on Sunday and ran 5th both nights for a consistent weekend. The second night he had a tire explode late in the race and he was able to roar from the back with an outside chance of getting on the podium. With a lap to go he couldn’t find passing space and with his new rubber to continue forward. Good job in his green machine as usual for the young man!

Along with the happiness of the winners and good finishes by many, came the not so terrific story of some. Austin Williams must have felt like a pin cushion as he was stuck by many oops during the two days. He suffered thru 20th and 16th place finishes with some wheelstands, wallscraping incidents, a lost muffler and generally not good stuff. He was the hard luck driver on Saturday. Brother Cody had a 7th on the opener and dad Ripper a 9th on Sunday for their best.

Danny Sheridan took an opportunity “he couldn’t refuse” to switch to the Ford Racing team for the season with an opening night 4th place finish before his bouncing flip on the opening lap of the finale put him the first car out. He looked strong in the black # 73X and will be pushing his teammate Bernal in future races.

His old ride, The Kittle Motorsports # 18, suffered the normal Calistoga Blues as Ronnie Gardner had no luck at all during the weekend and the little blue bugger spent a lot of time not on the track. His midget ride had a motor problem and he never got it to the racing fun he normally has. On Saturday night he was the victim of a stuttering car in front of him on a restart, leaving him open to a wheelstanding joust of his tire from behind. By the time they got the tire changed, the field was good and they took off without waiting for him. On Sunday night he started in the 9th row, after running away with his heat, and had worked his way into the top ten when, as he said, the steering failed and he was f*@%$*@*d!!! The wall slamming hurt he reported, and the little blue bugger was done in again at the big Calistoga half mile. He looked fast and very smooth in the little blue bugger, so the future looks fine for the Kittle Motorsports team.

Andy Foresburg, a local racer who runs wings and no wings, and reportedly looks good without a shirt according to my naughty lady spy, came the second night and after working his way into the main he flipped and found his trailer safer for the rest of the night. Many others had tire problems, racing incidents and just plain crap to further end their nights.

A BIG thanks to Dick Fry and son Jeff for the loan of the rocket ship to get me around the fairgrounds. It sure made my getting around a lot easier with these old and getting older lower extremities. Now I see my Mule might be a little wimpy after the surge of the Arctic Cat that went A to B a lot faster than my polka dotted wonder car. Do they make superchargers for the Mules?

Belt Buckle Bob has a new facebook page that showcases his hand painted products and more. Hat pins, ear rings, die cast cars, wooden cars, plus decals and t-shirts and all unique by his hand. Check him out on facebook.com/sprintstuff.

The Kittle Kompound was healthy and fun this weekend with Brian and Chris and brother Gary hosting the Krew and others to some fine food and fun both days. The big rigs blocked off the crowd and made it a quiet place to relax and enjoy some peace before the Krew went back to the track and did their racing thing. It made the event more enjoyable for the team as all they had to concentrate on was the race car and the food would be there. Well a little Jack n’ Coke might be handy along the way.

I’ll be resting up for the next race at the PAS with my brand new Canon lens in my hands ready to start shooting ASAP. It only took me three months, and a lot of trials and tribulations, to make this pricey lens a reality. It’s a long story, but let’s get on to the next race. I think my tired’s hanging out! Thanks to the Kittle Krew for the ride and fun and I hope everyone lived in the moment!


California – Calistoga Speedway – “Louie Vermeil Classic”

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-20.767; 2. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-20.843; 3. Ryan Bernal, 73, Ford-20.900; 4. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-20.907; 5. Kyle Hirst, 83, Tiner-20.920; 6. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-21.146; 7. Danny Sheridan, 73x, Ford-21.148; 8. Terry Schank Jr., 1x, Gleason-21.289; 9. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-21.313; 10. Chad Boespflug, 25B, Baxter-21.393; 11. Matt Streeter, 14jr, Streeter-21.490; 12. Jeff Griffin, 50m, Griffin-21.508; 13. Andy Forsberg, 92x, Forsberg-21.553; 14. Tony Hunt, 56, Hunt-21.615; 15. Marty Hawkins, 3m, Hawkins-21.800; 16. Jonathan Henry, 88, Graunstadt-21.800; 17. Shane Golobic, 14, Pierson/Vertullo-21.866; 18. Ronnie Gardner, 18, Kittle-21.976; 19. Geoff Ensign, 3F, Finkenbinder-22.292; 20. Shauna Hogg, 5, Hogg-22.366; 21. Klint Simpson, 84, Simpson-22.399; 22. Jeff Parady, 6c, Parady-22.490; 23. Taylor Simas, 7T, Simas-22.800; 24. Jimmy Richardson, 8, Richardson-22.933; 25. Dusty Green, 52, Green-23.410; 26. Gordon Rodgers, 94, Rodgers-23.473; 27. Jeremy Hawes, 7, Dolner-23.799; 28. Jerry Cisco, 4B, Baisden-23.869; 29. Sparky Howard, 6, Howard-24.078; 30. Marvin Mitchell, 68, Mitchell-24.897; 31. Tom Baker, 3T, Baker-NT.

CALISTOGA SPEEDWAY HALL OF FAME DASH: (12 laps) 1. Golobic, 2. Parady, 3. Schank, 4. Forsberg, 5. Hogg, 6. Simas, 7. Hunt, 8. Howard, 9. Hawkins, 10. Cisco, 11. Rodgers, 12. Mitchell. NT

FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Golobic, 2. Spencer, 3. C.Williams, 4. Hirst, 5. Simpson, 6. Howard, 7. Green, 8. Forsberg. NT

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Gardner, 2. Roa, 3. Boespflug, 4. A.Williams, 5. Hunt, 6. Parady, 7. Rodgers, 8. Mitchell. NT

THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Ensign, 2. Simas, 3. Bernal, 4. Sheridan, 5. Streeter, 6. Hawkins, 7. Hawes. NT

FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Henry, 2. R.Williams, 3. Schank, 4. Griffin, 5. Hogg, 6. Richardson, 7. Cisco. NT

SEMI: (10 laps) 1. Streeter, 2. Forsberg, 3. Hawkins, 4. Simpson, 5. Hogg, 6. Richardson, 7. Green, 8. Parady, 9. Howard, 10. Hawes, 11. Rodgers, 12. Mitchell, 13. Cisco, 14. Hunt. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kyle Hirst, 2. Mike Spencer, 3. Matt Streeter, 4. Chad Boespflug, 5. Brody Roa, 6. Geoff Ensign, 7. Klint Simpson, 8. Terry Schank Jr., 9. Rip Williams, 10. Shauna Hogg, 11. Ryan Bernal, 12. Tony Hunt, 13. Jonathan Henry, 14. Marty Hawkins, 15. Gordon Rodgers, 16. Austin Williams, 17. Andy Forsberg, 18. Cody Williams, 19. Shane Golobic, 20. Jeff Griffin, 21. Ronnie Gardner, 22. Jimmy Richardson, 23. Taylor Simas, 24. Danny Sheridan. NT

**Sheridan and Forsberg flipped during the feature.


NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Spencer-1,090, 2-Roa-787, 3-Bernal-776, 4-Nic Faas-769, 5-A.Williams-706, 6-R.williams-696, 7-Cory Kruseman-613, 8-C.Williams-519, 9-Matt Mitchell-461, 10-Seth Wilson-431.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: September 15 – Perris (CA) Auto Speedway

USAC AMSOIL USAC/CRA & WESTERN CLASSIC SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: September 1, 2012 – Calistoga, California – Calistoga Speedway – “Louie Vermeil Classic”

SANDER ENGINEERING / ROD END SUPPLY TIME TRIALS: 1. Kyle Hirst, 83, Tiner-19.580; 2. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-19.944; 3. Danny Sheridan, 73X, Ford-19.994; 4, Ryan Bernal, 73, Ford-20.187; 5. Shane Golobic, 14, Pierson/Vertullo-20.235; 6. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-20.247; 7. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-20.264; 8. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-20.426; 9. Matt Streeter, 14JR, Streeter-20.468; 10. Marty Hawkins, 3M Hawkins-20.636; 11. Klint Simpson, 84, Simpson-20.679; 12. Ronnie Gardner, 18, Kittle-20.752; 13. Chad Boespflug, 25B, Baxter-20.752; 14. Jeff Griffin, 50M, Griffin-21.052; 15. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-21.119; 16. Taylor Simas, 7T, Simas-21.264; 17. Jonathan Henry, 88, Graunstadt-21.382; 18. Shauna Hogg, 5, Hogg-21.485; 19. Tony Hunt, 56, Phulps-21.731; 20. Jim Richardson, 8, Richardson-21.776; 21. Jeremy Hawes, 7, Dolner-22.099; 22. Dusty Green, 52, Green-22.115; 23. Sparky Howard, 6, Howard-22.187; 24. Tom Baker, 3T, Baker-22.460; 25. Jerry Cisco, 4B, Baisden-22.726; 26. Gordon Rodgers, 94, Dusin-22.755; 27. Marvin Mitchell, 68, Mitchell-22.957.

EXTREME MUFFLERS HEAT RACE 1: (8 laps) 1. Tony Hunt, 2. Chad Boespflug, 3. Rip Williams, 4. Ryan Bernal, 5. Kyle Hirst, 6. Taylor Simas, 7. Marty Hawkins, 8. Jerry Cisco, 9. Dusty Green. NT

SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS / CIRCLE TRACK PERFORMANCE HEAT RACE 2: (8 laps) 1. Jeff Griffin, 2. Jonathan Henry, 3. Mike Spencer, 4. Brody Roa, 5. Shane Golobic, 6. Jim Richardson, 7. Klint Simpson, 8. Sparky Howard, 9. Gordon Rodgers. NT

DJ SAFETY HEAT RACE 3: (8 laps) 1. Tom Baker, 2. Matt Streeter, 3. Ronnie Gardner, 4. Cody Williams, 5. Danny Sheridan, 6. Shauna Hogg, 7. Jeremy Hawes, 8. Marvin Mitchell, 9. Austin Williams. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION INC. / DIVERSIFIED MACHINE INC. SEMI-MAIN: (10 laps) 1. Danny Sheridan, 2. Kyle Hirst, 3. Shane Golobic, 4. Taylor Simas, 5. Klint Simpson, 6. Shauna Hogg, 7. Jim Richardson, 8. Jeremy Hawes, 9. Sparky Howard, 10. Cody Williams, 11. Dusty Green, 12. Marvin Mitchell, 13. Gordon Rodgers, 14. Austin Williams, 15. Marty Hawkins. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions)

1. Ryan Bernal (7th), 2. Chad Boespflug (2nd), 3. Mike Spencer (8th), 4. Danny Sheridan (10th), 5. Brody Roa (5th), 6. Matt Streeter (4th), 7. Cody Williams (13th), 8. Shauna Hogg (16th), 9. Klint Simpson (12th), 10. Tony Hunt (17th), 11. Jeremy Hawes (19th), 12. Shane Golobic (11th), 13. Gordon Rodgers (22nd), 14. Kyle Hirst (9th), 15. Taylor Simas (14th), 16. Marty Hawkins (23rd), 17. Rip Williams (6th), 18. Johnathon Henry (15th), 19. Ronnie Gardner (3rd), 20. Austin Williams (21st), 21. Jeff Griffin (1st), 22. Tom Baker (20th), 23. Jim Richardson (18th). NT

**Shauna Hogg flipped on lap 6 of the feature. Kyle Hirst flipped on lap 22 of the feature. **Austin Williams, Marty Hawkins, and Gordon Rodgers used provisionals

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-12 Chad Boespflug, Laps 13-30 Ryan Bernal.


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