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September 25, 2010

By Ken Wagner

The 20th annual Wagsdash race was a culmination of many awesome things that I’ll cover later, but it was way above my expectations this year, and therefore a rousing success in my book!!! First let’s talk about Brody Roa getting his first big sprint car win as he takes his 360 powered racer to the front and beats a more veteran 410 dominated Wagsdash field with some pretty heady driving. It was the first 360 win in the Wagsdash history and it was done by the first year sprint car driver with a bright future. As always, the Wagsdash is the final event on a regular USAC/CRA race day. Prior to our big race, Cory Kruseman Held off the Cowboy Tony Jones to win the 30 lap main event.

For mine and Mrs Wags pics Click here. For David Cordova's pics with my camera Click here . For Steve's TOHF pics Click here . For more Lafond pics from Kim's camera Click here . For Darleen's pics Click here . For Chucko's pics Click here . For Jim Fargo's pics Click here. For Ellen Ellis's pics Click here. For Doug Allen's work Click here.

I missed most of the racing this night as the Wagsdash festivities kept me busy getting ready for the evenings last race. Along the way the day featured Mrs Wags Chili Feed hosted by John Gardner of La Villa restaurant at 15333 Crenshaw Blvd in Gardena, CA. The pit stop contest had some fun as young Brody Roa started his winning ways by his crew having the fastest time in the annual Pit Stop contest. Kenny Perkins competed as did Lynn Anderson and his all-girl pit crew who were a close second. All the teams change a shock and a right rear tire as fast as they can. Roa’s time was close to the record set by Ronnie Gardner and his crew back when he had time to still do those things. I have to research that record.

The sexy driver contest was a little different this year. With less time to eat, play and visit before the early 3:00 PM drivers meeting, the girls had to hustle this year to even get the drivers to come around. They did an afternoon preliminary intro before asking fans to vote for their favorite driver by paying a buck, and then the top three Chris Gansen, Ryann Butcher and Ludwig Solberg IV went up into the grandstands during intermission to collect more $$$. The winner was a very young lady named Ryann from the kids racing group at the raceway. Some eyebrows went up, but she is a driver and she earned the most money. Interesting also that the CRA champion and many of the top 10 did not participate? What does it take to get them to come and have a good time?

The Gasman Richard Griffin flew in from Silver city, New Mexico to be the Grand Marshal and we were proud to the 5 time champion as he signed autographs and visited with many as we went around the raceway in my mule. Richard’s easy going attitude and big smile was the same as when he raced, and people were thrilled to see and visit with him. He was gracious and went along with all the hoopla. My thanks and gratitude to this great champion of ours for masking the long trip. And just why isn’t he in the Knoxville Hall of Fame???? Write them and let them know they are missing out on this heavy hitter!

The Wagsdash was missed last year, but the only thing different this time from 2 years ago is the economic crunch that hurt everyone, and so it did the Wagsdash purse. We are looking at about $ 12,500 max right now, about 3 to 5 thousand less than usual, but it is a huge success in my mind as I didn’t expect to get near that. I said if I didn’t get at least $ 10,000 we would end it for lack of reality. From this bright and fun day, I am planning on going ahead next year. Unfortunately things are changing again and Ventura might not be an option if the CRA doesn’t run there, unless I make some changes to the format. We shall have to wait and see what happens, but for now, we shall go forward and plan another one. We had surprising success, but it was sad the many business folks that were either out of business or holding on for dear life and couldn’t contribute. I knew some were in trouble and didn’t bother them, yet we managed to get as high as we did, it was all good. The crowd was better than normal and the race was the best. Like everywhere, the purse strings were very tight. Thanks to all who participated, you made it a great one! My thanks also to the Ventura crew from Jim Naylor down to every worker for all they do to make it work for me and my Wagtimer’s. Also, the CRA officials who ran the race, get my appreciation as well.

The Auction worked better with raffle tickets and picking the item you wanted to win for us this year and we will use that format totally in the future. My group told me one prominent member of the local racing scene bid on his own donated picture at the very last minute, and then turned around and sold it to someone else for more money??? That’s not Wags like, I thought it was a donation. Alas, I didn’t win the bid on the rear end clock that I wanted, but amazingly I was told if I paid the last bid of $300, it was mine! Thanks to Jim Fargo as he was the one who made it and got the highest bid, and I tried to keep up with him all night. It will hang in my house from now on.

There were many good items on the tables this year. Most of what we thought were the best were under the raffle ticket format. The annual Julie Shiosaki built collage was a hit again, and I missed getting that one too. It was uniquely put together like a sports page, and it will grace someone’s wall very well. There were plenty of other great items and some top pictures from the best photogs we know. All of it really was good and added to the purse. The bake sale added significantly to the purse as well, as Ashley Johnson spent the entire day working that booth until it was all gone and she also did the Co-pilot for kids adding a little more to the purse. I didn’t get the name of the winner, but I know Troy Rutherford brought a little girl to the winners circle, probably his daughter. By the way, anyone who didn’t understand why Troy wasn’t in the Wagsdash after winning the VRA feature the week before. It is simple, he has won 7 CRA races with us in the past and is ineligible on my rule of 2 or more CRA victories disqualify you from running the Wagsdash.

I had my hands full taking request’s to get in the Wagsdash this year and filled the field early in the day, and tried to make it all work like normal. In the end, I had a full field and at least 6 others who graciously wanted in. I solved my problem with doing a little pre pick by drawing the names in an order, and was ready to spit them out if needed. Only one was needed when Cody Williams couldn’t make the race after crunching his #44 in the regular main event. Brian Camarillo was first draw on my list and got the nod. He would have been followed by Hobie Conway and a couple of others if needed. I don’t know how Hobie got on the track when they were lining up, but I had told the officials we would only run 16 due to the expected shorter purse and since there was no opening, she was sent off. In retrospect I probably should have let her start at the back. She’ll get something for her desire to be in.

How do you describe this racy 20 lapper? Maybe it was the best one yet, with a grand mixture of 360’s and 410’s, who knows. At Ventura, they proved both classes of sprint cars can run together again as Brody Roa started 5th and was obviously too close to the front, or would it have made a difference? Brody was hooked up and haulin’ from the get go! It didn’t take Brandon Thomson very long to jump to 2nd from his 11th starting spot, after finishing 4th in the CRA main, and the race was on between those two! Brody took the top line and pulled away after every restart with Brandon sliding him hard each lap. Brody was heard to later say, when Brandon did one of his deepest slide jobs to pull up right next to the # 91, “I wasn’t going to lift”! And that is why he is this year’s Wagsdash Champion!! In the meantime Ronnie Gardner moved from his 12TH starting spot to challenge both of them with his low groove charging. When he dropped back a little, Dennis “Hot Rod” Howell Jr put on a high groove charge that was scintillating. He looked like he was going to reel them in or nail the wall, but came up a little short in 3rd after a great run. It’s the best he has run since returning from a serious leg injury early in the year.

Greg Bragg took his time coming from the back and eventually settled for 4th and a $1031.92 bonus for being the hard charger. He received the Lafond Jar(s) of change for his efforts. It was all he could do to hold them both up in the foto’s. Many of you gave up your change to build that up to a new record high. I know that’s redundant, but it was impressive there were so many coins. The shiniest tires all night belonged to Ludwig Solberg IV and the best appearing crew was easily Lynn Anderson and his girls.

Thank you to all the contributors and here’s most of you in no particular order: Jim Fargo, Don Read, Don Flanders, Steve & Kim Lafond, Hoseheads, Joe & Ellen Ellis, Jack Kraemer, Roy Kischell, Mike Clark, Brian Kittle, Jack Jory Corp, Tom & Laurie Sertich, Glen Crossno, Lois ward, Thunderhead, Leroy Bedingfield, Mark & Bethany Thrasher, Darleen & Stubby Dils, Sonia & John Duffy, Big Steve and Maggie Kimmel, Sue & Dick Fry, Rich Chesavage, Doug Allen, Speedway Models (John & Debbie Jones from New Zealand), Tanaka Dental Labs, Randy & Julie Shiosaki, Paul Dean, Don “The” Barber, All Coast’s Big Mike, Pat & Norm Bogan, Scotty Stallmo, Bill Camarillo, John Soares, Jim, Blakesly, Don Blair, Pat & Lee Ann Normoyle and the regular Perris crowd who greet me each week with their cash and helped us along all year. Add all of those who donated auction items (too many to mention, but you know who you are), it all helped making this a truly great day for racers and fans alike.

My big thanks to all the Wagtimer’s who came early to work hard, stayed late to load up the leftovers and just made it all happen like clockwork. We had breakfast together in the morning, and they all said let’s do it again next year! They are: Sonia and John Duffy, Tracy, Ashley and Gerry Johnson, Kari Alverran, Mike and Evelyn Clark, Jim and Fran Herdrich, Jim Fargo and Marilyn Griffith, Steve and Kim Lafond, David Cordova and Krista Forester, Julie Shiosaki, Mark & Bethany Thrasher, Chuck Fry, Darleen & Stubby, Joe & Ellen Ellis, and a few who couldn’t make it due to circumstances…. It was a blast!

9/25/10 CRA FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Cory Kruseman, 2. Tony Jones, 3. Mike Spencer, 4. Brandon Thomson, 5. Josh Ford, 6. Danny Sheridan, 7. Troy Rutherford, 8. Ronnie Gardner, 9. Brody Roa, 10. Jimmy Crawford, 11. Dennis Howell, 12. Dennis Rodriguez. 13. Brent Camarillo, 14. Greg Bragg, 15. Cody Kershaw, 16. Ludvig Solberg IV, 17. Rick Hendrix, 18. Cody Williams, 19. Rip Williams, 20. Johnathon Henry, 21. Mike English, 22. Kenny Perkins, 23. Matt Mitchell, 24. Chris Wakim. NT FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-3 Ford, Laps 4-30 Kruseman.

2010 Wagsdash (20 laps) With Starting Positions): 1. Brody Roa (5th), 2. Brandon Thomson (11th), 3. Dennis Howell (10th), 4. Greg Bragg (15th), 5. Kenny Perkins (6th), 6. Ronnie Gardner (12th), 7. Steve Conrad (9th), 8. Austin Williams (13th), 9. Tony Everhart (1st), 10. Cal Smith (7th), 11. Lynn Anderson (4th), 12. Greg Taylor (14th), 13. Jerry Welton (3rd), 14. Dennis Rodriguez (8th), 15. Brian Camarillo (16th), 16. Ludwig Solberg IV (2nd). NT.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Tony Everhart, Laps 3-20 Brody Roa.

HARD CHARGER: Greg Bragg (15th to 4th)

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-Spencer-1,074; 2-Sheridan-848; 3-Kruseman-805; 4-Blake Miller-763; 5-Mitchell-676; 6-Jones-552; 7-Bragg-532; 8-David Cardey-529; 9-Crawford-488; 10-A.Williams-478. NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: October 9 – Perris (CA) Auto Speedway

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