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October 6, 2012

By Ken Wagner

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus as Xmas comes early this year for car owner Ron Chaffin, Crew chief Bruce Bromme Jr, the crew and their driver Mike Spencer. This team pulled off their fifth championship in a row in CRA racing and they did it with ease!. It is not premature to announce and talk about it, only a done deal with 4 races to play out the last winners of the year. Of course, Bruce and Ron have shared many more good times as they now have an even dozen Championships together, (plus I think and owner championship or two thrown in, and with Bruce also having several more before Ron on his stat sheet. When you add in the Dean Thompson years, it is simply amazing. And is Bruce Bromme Jr the most celebrated mechanic of all time? Certainly in So Cal history, but I remember a comment he made to me many years ago, and I still see it in my head after each race, win or lose. That is the fact that winning is the only thing that means anything to Bruce! He once said to me “it wasn’t a good night if I didn’t win” and his wins sure do add up.

No pics from me this week, sorry! For Doug Allen's great pic's Click here to view those.

Over the years Bruce has won with some elite drivers in the seat of his fast cars. Hall of Famer Leadland McSpadden got one championship and retired, then Richard Griffin had five of his own and retired, then Damion Gardner got one and left for Indiana and now Mike Spencer has five. This means there is now a three way tie with Jimmy Oskie, Richard Griffin and now Mike Spencer, all at five giving next season some mystery already for us as we wind down this one. Congratulations to the Little red sucker’s crew including Mike Spencer Sr, Eric Kaufman, Gary Tanaka and Michael Tanaka and a few more that show up on occasion. The bar is set very high and I hope the future challengers in CRA take note and get on with it. And by the way Mike’s runner-up finish this week was his 15th of 18 races that he has been on the podium! Pretty consistent and we get a lot of trophy pics of this guy and his crew.

Nic Faas finally got his second win this season as he added one to his grand total of 6 CRA wins over the last few years. The very first was in his own car back in August of 2008 before he left to go run in Indiana. When he came back and landed the Silver Bullet ride of the Alexander Brothers, it looked like a match made in heaven. In beating the new 2012 Champion this week, he jumped into 2nd place in the now insignificant points race, but it still is a great accomplishment. He was 7th quick in this week’s split show and won his heat on the way to his second win in this 30 lapper. He led the last 23 laps in the yellow flag marred event and now the team looks back in the groove after several motor problems in September drove them nuts. On any given race day, Nic is always one to beat!

The Williams trio was once again putting on a show rolling three cars out of the big Jack Jory 18 wheeler. This week father Ripper led the first 7 laps before falling to 11th in the end. Cody made the podium this week in 3rd and brother Austin came in 5th for a good week for the black bombers.

David Bezio continues to impress and improve as his night was one of his best with CRA. He was 10th quick, won the Semi and had an all time best finish of 4th on the night. J J Ercse continues his strong running with a 6th in the 360 powered car this week. I wonder what would happen if they drug out a strong 410 for him? Long tow visitors on the weekend were Josh Pelkey, (9th) , R J Johnson (10th) and Charles Davis Jr (16th) as they made the long drive from Arizona to maybe practice for the Ovals in 3 weeks, yes it’s almost here. Coming south was Marty Hawkins, who is actually in school in the southland somewhere and will fit in his racing with his studying along the way.

There are only four more CRA events this season, two at Canyon Raceway just North of Phoenix, AZ in Peoria and two at the Oval Nationals at the PAS. It has been a long year time wise, but a short year in actual races with 22. That is pretty sad when you look at the long CRA history of racing. The original CRA Roadsters ran 10 years and averaged 35 cars a race with a high of 89 races in 1947. The old CRA ran for 40 years and averaged 38 cars with a high of 56 races in 1984. The SCRA had an 11 year run with 38 cars as an average with a high of 49 races in 2000. Our current USAC/CRA has run 9 years, including this one, with an overall average of 30 cars, 35 without the last 4 years and 22.5 during those years. The high race total for USAC/CRA was 39 in 2005 and 2007. I am not going to get too far into the reasons, as most of you know how our plundering economy stands out significantly, but hope the so called recovery (?) we hear about from the incumbent government honcho is in fact coming? I don’t see it yet and the recent sky rocketing gas prices in California signify the usual to me, that “the” change we were promised continues to spiral up and is hitting us hard when it comes to transportation to and from the races for fans and racers alike. The lack of tracks that will pay the purse and run CRA is dwindling down. That is why we need to get Route 66 Motorplex on the schedule for next year! Obviously there is a never ending circle of action, a lot like a cat trying to catch his tail, as we find car counts going down and fan attendance doing the same. If the fans come back in droves, do the cars come back? Not at these prices and all the aforementioned economic problems affect all racing, and our situation is nothing new. MARKETING, anyone?

Next up for me is the 19th annual Trophy Cup event at Tulare coming in two weeks. The fact that Trophy Dave Pusateri has added a night of non-wing action for the first time thrills me. What doesn’t thrill me is the fact that next year’s 20th annual event will be his last race, as he is retiring. He has raised more money for the Make A Wish foundation than you can imagine. Too bad it is going away, even though rumors are floating around that his dedicated worker bee’s are wanting to continue it on their own. So, race fans you can catch the most exciting winged racing of the year where Dave’s format places the fast guys at the back where they belong! Kind of opposite of our WOO friends, imagine if they used this format!!! Nobody complains about coming from the back because the big money goes to the one who passes the most cars on Saturday night, even if they don’t win! Whoever actually wins gets the posted winners share, but the action of Tim Kaeding and plenty of others coming thru the pack is worth the price of admission every time. In addition to the racing, there is some fun at the annual auction for the Make A Wish Foundation and usually a food fest. Don’t know the menu for this year but Taco Bravo provided plenty of taco’s and burritos last year. Make a plan and head to Tulare. At least go on Thursday for the non-wing Traditional night. Some of the southlands hottest drivers will be there!

I plan to spend the Tulare Saturday at the Bakersfield reunion drags like normal during the day. I’ll have to miss the cacklefest on Saturday night as I must see the final sprint night, but the day light hours spent at Bakersfield will provide me with eye candy you cannot believe. From the hundreds of hot rods of all years, shapes, colors and sizes, plus the 60’s style front motored top fueler’s and restored drag cars firing up behind the grandstands to bark sweet music to my ears and a nitro fix for my nose. Add the front motored fueler’s and other drag cars on the track racing hard, plus the real eye candy walking around taking it all in, my camera really gets a workout. I’ll visit with Walt Stevens and the High Speed Motorsports Top Fueler group along the way, so it will be a fun day.

The next weekend following Tulare is at the Parker Stores Hall of Fame Classic at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, AZ. I think Mrs Wags will make her first and last race of the year because she doesn’t want to miss out on the Ellis Hacienda stay and fun stuff we do in Phoenix. Two nights with the So Cal best drivers, the Arizona best drivers and the Indiana USAC National best drivers all on one track, wild man wild! I am also looking forward to the Ovals this year and with only two nights of racing plus probably a practice night before, it gives more “little guys” a chance to race and cut down on expenses like motels and food and the like. In some cases only one night of motels is a good thing for these crews. I am looking forward to it all!! I am thinking of the Hanford race this weekend and the nearly 6 hour commute time it takes to get there. I’ll think on it. Boy, I wonder what my total mileage is for my racing this year? It’s good thing the Vette gets 25 MPG, or my wallet would be thinner. Remember, When it’s Racetime….It’s Wagtime!!!!


October 6, 2012 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-16.411; 2. Danny Sheridan, 73x, Ford-16.649; 3. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-16.723; 4. Ryan Bernal, 73, Ford-16.804; 5. David Cardey, 92, Sertich-16.844; 6. Rickie Gaunt, 66, Miller-16.855; 7. Nic Faas, 4, Alexander-16.889; 8. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-16.980; 9. Cory Kruseman, 7, Priestley-17.016; 10. David Bezio, 37X, Bezio-17.176; 11. Johnny Bluntach, 58, Bluntach-17.187; 12. Charles Davis Jr., 4G, Cook-17.233; 13. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-17.242; 14. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-17.268; 15. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-17.344; 16. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-17.347; 17. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-17.368; 18. J.J. Ercse, 36, Springstead-17.042; 19. Josh Pelkey, 12, Allen-17.436; 20. A.J. Bender, 12B, Bender-17.624; 21. Ronnie Case, 8, Case-17.815; 22. Greg Alexander, 72, Tyler-17.896; 23. Cal Smith, 39, CalSun-18.035; 24. Marty Hawkins, 3m, Hawkins-18.081; 25. John Aden, 7a, Aden-18.221; 26. Matt Stewart, 27, McWilliams-18.605; 27. Tony Everhart, 55, Everhart-18.635; 28. Jerry Welton, 62, Welton-18.936; 29. Bobby Bender, 21, Bender-19.140; 30. Kyle LeDuc, 23, Bellegante-19.246; 31. Mike Collins, 04, Perkins-19.599; 32. Kenny Perkins, 0k, Perkins-NT.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Aden, 2. Kruseman, 3. Spencer, 4. Cardey, 5. J.Vander Weerd, 6. A.Williams, 7. Case. 2:57.73

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Alexander, 2. C.Williams, 3. Gaunt, 4. Sheridan, 5. Ercse, 6. Bezio, 7. Stewart, 8. LeDuc. 2:56.86

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Faas, 2. R.Vander Weerd, 3. Pelkey, 4. Johnson, 5. Smith, 6. Everhart, 7. Bluntach. 2:55.95

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bernal, 2. Davis, 3. R.Williams, 4. Roa, 5. Hawkins, 6. A.J. Bender, 7. Welton. 2:56.45

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Bezio, 2. A.Williams, 3. Bluntach, 4. J.Vander Weerd, 5. Ercse, 6. Hawkins, 7. A.J. Bender, 8. Smith, 9. Everhart, 10. Stewart, 11. Welton, 12. LeDuc, 13. B.Bender, 14. Case. 3:29.90

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Nic Faas, 2. Mike Spencer, 3. Cody Williams, 4. David Bezio, 5. Austin Williams, 6. J.J. Ercse, 7. David Cardey, 8. Brody Roa, 9. Josh Pelkey, 10. R.J. Johnson, 11. Rip Williams, 12. Ryan Bernal, 13. Cory Kruseman, 14. John Aden, 15. Danny Sheridan, 16. Charles Davis, Jr., 17. Richard Vander Weerd, 18. Johnny Bluntach, 19. Rickie Gaunt, 20. Marty Hawkins, 21. Jace Vander Weerd, 22. Greg Alexander. NT

**Sheridan flipped on lap 27 of the feature. Kruseman flipped on lap 28 of the feature. Bernal flipped on lap 28 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-7 R.Williams, Laps 8-30 Faas.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-Spencer-1,232, 2-Faas-900, 3-Roa-881, 4-Bernal-816, 5-R.Williams-792, 6-A.Williams-757, 6-Kruseman-692, 8-C.Williams-606, 9-Cardey-465, 10-Matt Mitchell-461.

NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: October 26-27 – Peoria, AZ – Canyon Speedway Park.

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