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September 14, 2013

By Ken Wagner

On a warm day and cool night, racing was number one at the PAS and several hard chargers led before ”Slic” Nic Faas took charge and surged around 5 time CRA Champion Mike Spencer for good on lap 24 to win his 3rd race of the year and 9th overall with CRA. After setting quick time and running 2nd in his heat, Nic quickly came to the front in the 30 lap main event to be reckoned with! He passed his way by the strong # 7 little yellow bomb, then overcame his silver bullet teammate Damion Gardner and then the little red sucker was next on his shopping list. He began the battle by rolling up around leader Mike Spencer, but a yellow flag sent him back to 2nd. On the restart, he got by the leader again but Mild Man Mike took it back from him. It was great fun to watch the battle as the laps wound down! Then with a burst of speed he roared into the lead for the last time, if you don’t count a restart where he was not in the lead when another yellow flag popped up, and then he pulled away for a convincing win and made it two in a row at the PAS! Spencer had a good run, but the silver bullets ruled the battle this time with him bookended by Nic and Damion on the podium.

For my pics Click here to view. For Doug Allens quality photo's Click here to see.

When Nic Faas took to the track for qualifying, something about his silver bullet on the track had the look and feel of something special on this day to honor a man who gave everything he had to our racing, Glenn Howard. Earlier I had given Nic a ride from the parking area to his pit, like I do for many when they have a load to carry or in his case, pull along behind. Is he like some drivers who are superstitious and look to repeat anything good after a big win? Nevertheless, his fast time just looked more determined, if you can use that word when watching a car race around the fast track. In his heat he again looked “different” as he raced to catch his teammate, only to run out of laps in the ten lap event. In the feature he was possessed it seemed and just took it to the hot dogs ahead of him who have more wins than he does, but tonight he was the master and they were his slaves!

The race was ready to rock and roll when Rickie Gaunt went back to the work area after firing up and ended up on the tail as the green flag dropped. The start pushed the Demon Damion Gardner up to the front row with Cory Kruseman and he immediately headed for the lead that he kept for two laps before the Kruser took it away. Behind them, Spencer and Faas moved up from their third row starting spots and Mike was the first to challenge Cory before taking the lead from him on a top groove move that left him in his wake. And now Nic was coming and coming fast. After Nic took the lead, it was time to watch Bud Kaeding who had qualified 15th and was forced to start in the 7th row in the main event. He has a new Maxim chassis I am told, and getting a win and a 2nd at Calistoga really boosted his CRA results for the year. His best before the last race was 2nd at Yuma. I kept an eye on him early when he rolled up top and drove his way up to 4th at the end on a great ride. Don’t bet against him at the Ovals this year as he has found something he searched for in the early races and will be tough to beat, now that he found it.

The “OH NO” bunch had a lot of company this week as qualifying bit two drivers pretty hard, both going into turn one after completing their first qualifying pass and shazaam, they were on their head! First David Cardey got it up and over hard and his # 92 Moosemobile was hooked back to the pits where his Moose crew worked hard to repair and get him back in the event. He ran 5th in his heat and started the main in the 4th row. After a couple of tussles, his night was done early in 19th place.

Matt Mitchell had a similar story as his crash was maybe harder than Cardey’s, with his car un-repairable. So he went to one of the Senior cars and worked a deal to put # 37 on it and off he went to race this black and white former # 13. He started in the back of his heat and ran 6th getting used to the difference from his own ride. He ran 6th in the Semi to qualify for the main, but the borrowed car was used in a senior event and came away smoking, so Matt was done for the night and now out two rides. It hurt him in the points a bit as he dropped from 4th to fifth, but no big deal, he just wanted to race and win!

Others suffering like normal included Austin Williams, who pulled in early, John Aden who flipped in the main pretty hard, Jeremy Ellerston who showed up but I don’t think he turned a wheel after hot laps, Toby Sampson whose unique # 82 Frankenstein entry ran his heat and the semi, but appeared to have some kind of a motor problem and was done for the night early and Cody Swanson who was involved in a skirmish in the main and went to the pits too early.

David Bezio had one of his most impressive outings this week when he qualified 8th, just missed a transfer by one in his heat and won the Semi with some great high speed moves. He was really cooking when he took the lead for the win. He had an incident in the main that sent him to the back and he finished 16th. Greg Alexander had a good night as he was 9th quick in qualifying and ran 8th in the main event. The weekly Williams family war was a mixed bag and dad The Ripper beat em all with his 6th place finish with Cody coming in 9th as Austin went out early. The youngest son, Logan ran second in the Young Guns shootout and Scott Daloisio said he thought that left Logan second in Young Gun points in their finale.

We had a little downtime this week when both ambulances had to transport people at the same time. One was a fan in the grandstands near us, but I am not sure about the other one. Not sure about where Ryan Bernal was this week, but do know he has parted ways with the Ford racing team. He drove Ronnie Gardner’s # 93 sprinter at Chico last week, so we’ll see where he turns up as the talented youngster won’t be idle for long. Speaking of Ronnie “G”, he won his 10th midget race last night at Ventura and I for one am proud of the young man. I can’t wait until he is driving full time with CRA as I expect he will hassle the heroes there as well.

It was a warm day when I arrived to revel in our sprint car racing as I readied my trusty Mule for another round about on a racing night. What, the stem on the right rear tire was broken? Hmmm, me thinks that’s odd, but with the Moosemobile crew to help me, I loaded the offending tire in my red G35 and headed out to find a fixit place thanks to “Coach” who gave me a heads up on where to go. An hour later and a mere $20 lighter, I returned to remount the little rejuvenated rubber bolt on and was ready to go after my friend Paul Dean decided he needed something to do and torqued it on for me. Enough about my maladies with my race track ride, but here’s a mystery that has been plaguing me for some time. When parked away to wait for another day, my Mule is covered up by a very stiff and protective tarpaulin and held down with some “clips” that don’t come loose. Yet, when it rains a lot, the mule cover that’s over my head to keep the sun off me, fills up with water???? Does it go thru the waterproof material or climb up the inside of the cover to gather in my top, looking to burst it? At least several gallons were in it this time making cleanup of the dust that gathers easy, so the mystery baffles me. Anyone have an idea? One pitsider told me the water goes thru the waterproof cover, but I am not buying it! Sort of like an old story about some marching ducks at a hotel in Memphis, not believable, but…………………..?

The URA has had its ups and downs this year as Scotty Burns tries to make a go of it with his Unlimited Sprint Cars. What started out with a lot of promise and hopes for “his dream” for sprint cars hasn’t turned out quite the way he planned. But not for a lack of trying, he still has high hopes, but it’s like that old Tennessee Ernie Ford song 16 tons that states “you load 16 tons, and what do you get, another day older and deeper in debt”! Scotty might relate to that, but if he is going to be successful, he needs some help from the “company store”, and that’s racers, fans and the like!

The URA Orange Show Stadium events have been really good for the fans with only one problem, not enough fans in the stands! What’s not to like about the place for fans? It has 8000 seats, and most are stadium seats with arm rests and comfy to boot. The view is up close and awesome, high above the track. And it is a palace for racing fans if they would only show up. Times are tough, I.E. broken record, for everyone as car counts continue to fizzle and so do the fans. We can talk about that forever, but it won’t help the URA or the CRA, because action is what is needed and I am stumped! Friends we are in trouble right here in river city and whoever has the answer speak up, we need it more now than ever. Racing needs a shot in the arm and the URA has the potential to do that in the many gaps left by the CRA schedule, but not at the expense of the PAS particularly, or any other successful CRA events. They can do this together, I know, but somehow it’s going to take co-operation and a lot of luck to get back towards, not equal to, but in a positive way. The fact that the URA racers haven’t been paid from their first road trip yet, not only amazes me, but leaves me thinking how can that happen? The revised URA Schedule is available so Click here to View. The only Sprint race scheduled is November 9th and all events are at Orange Show Stadium, so check it out.

One close friend of mine recently told me the future in sprint car racing is special events, hmmmm. Over the years he has been right on a lot of his “hair brained” ideas that I “poo pawed” yet they came to pass. Maybe that is the future as weekly shows seem to be less popular especially with all the NASCAR on the tube Saturday nights against. What family of limited means will pick spending $100 or more to gas up the car, snake thru the freeway traffic, park, get in and have a few snacks, cokes and brews, over a free show in their living room? That’s the definition of a free date! Calistoga is a shining example of a special event as the last few years the crowds and cars for the annual Vermeil race dwindled down, but along came Tommy Hunt and things changed. First the Abreu Farms investment in track changes and new guard rail all around gave hope to the fairgrounds future racing events. That said the crowds came back and the races were the best I have seen in a long tome up there. We have the Ovals coming up at Perris with a new 360 Thursday event and traditional 410’s Friday and Saturday that could be a home run as it is a special event! Let’s hope so!

Since this week was our next to last CRA event at the PAS for the year, (ohhhhh my) we had some great racing to take home to savor as we now wait 7 (that’s SEVEN) weeks for the Oval Nationals year ender on the first weekend in November. It’s a trick or treat deal as the season slams to an end earlier than usual with fewer races than we like, but it is the way it is!

In the meantime you can check out the 3 day event at Tulare known as the Trophy Cup October 17/19. The first night is traditional non-wing with the last two nights winged. It’s the only wing show I got to anymore because it is all set up by points. The Thursday and Saturday main events line up with the point leaders inverted. Saturday pays $3000 to win, but the driver with the most points at the end of the night gets and additional $12,000 of the $117,000! Thursday’s purse is $32,000 with $3500 to the winner and two prelim races paying $1000 and $1500 to win, so the money is up and the place will be packed, get your tickets now.

For those of you who travel, the only other CRA event is at Canyon Raceway in Peoria, AZ on October 25/26. If I want to see any racing I better be prepared to travel as usual, so see ya wherever!

AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: September 14, 2013 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway – “Glenn Howard Memorial”

Fast time Nic Faas, 4, Alexander-16.279;

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Nic Faas, 2. Mike Spencer, 3. Damion Gardner, 4. Bud Kaeding, 5. Cory Kruseman, 6. Rip Williams, 7. Brody Roa,

8. Greg Alexander, 9. Cody Williams, 10. Rickie Gaunt, 11. Richard Vander Weerd, 12 Jace Vander Weerd, 13. Seth Wilson, 14. Danny Faria Jr., 15. Johnny Bluntach, 16. David Bezio, 17. A.J. Bender, 18. Cody Swanson, 19. David Cardey, 20. John Aden, 21. Austin Williams, 22. Matt Mitchell. NT

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Gardner-1,107, 2-Faas-1,008, 3-Spencer-960, 4-Kaeding-753, 5- Mitchell-745, 6-C.Williams-708, 7-A.Williams-692, 8-Roa-659, 9-Ryan Bernal-551, 10-R.Vander Weerd-447.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: October 25-26 – Peoria, AZ – Canyon Speedway Park

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