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October 26, 2013

By Ken Wagner

For whatever the reasons, I didn’t want to go to Canyon Raceway this week, and am unhappy I missed the Steve Stroud Museum hoopla on Wednesday, but I did go and it was half and half worth it. The first night was dominated by Bryan Clauson setting fast time, running 2nd in his heat and coming from 6th to win the 30 lap main with a dramatic slide job on Dave Darland along the way for the lead. It was the half worth it. The second night Mike Spencer set fast time and went to the back twice to finish 15th. Chase Stokin was 2nd quick in qualifying, and started in the second row and surged to the lead early by passing poll sitter Tracy Hines and never looked back with Hines on his tail the entire 28 aps to the end. This was the not so good half as there was a lot of dust and little passing that is demonstrated by the fact that Bryan Clauson started 8th and finished 7th! He can pass on anything and it was not to be tonight as the second night of 2 day shows are often not as good as the opener, as was in this case.

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Even though the National points chase is still up in the air between Dave Darland and Bryan Clauson and the CRA Championship is done, there was no mention of CRA Champion Damion Gardner’s accomplishment, pretty much like normal in these combo National/West Coast CRA year ending events as the CRA gets little press from the Indiana based organization. It’s not the first time as we have been down this road before with all the pomp and ceremonies of the champions of Indiana, yet little mention for the home boys. Once they didn’t even mention the CRA champion after all the podium pics and celebrations of Indiana’s finest. The CRA champion pic was an afterthought, goodness gracious, how can that be. I can’t wait to hear the celebration begin this weekend. Regardless, congratulations to The Alexander racing team and Damion Gardner for their 2013 CRA Championship!!!Seems like Tony Jones won the first one for them in 2007 so it’s nothing new for them, but been a while, and I’m sure they are all happy for it!

The first night’s only downside for me was the dust in the eyes, making it impossible for me to watch turn 4. The second night I had my goggles, so I was good to go as the fine mist rolled up over me. Still the low grandstands don’t put me up where I like my view from normally, and certainly not high enough to use my camera down there. It’s too low to shoot over the fence, so I didn’t bother with bringing my Canon up to my seat. Even though there were many yellow flags both nights that caused a lot of hot dogs to be forced back to try it from the rear, there was plenty to watch unfold Friday, and not so much Saturday. After two good grooves on Friday, the track didn’t have a sweet spot Saturday, and if there was one out there, nobody found it as they flailed away treading dirt trying to find it.

Good weather was the norm and most relished it as high 80’s daytime and maybe low 60’s nighttime were great. The hall of fame induction ceremonies were conducted in front of the crowd at intermission as Darrell Dockery, Buddy Jobe and someone named Tempe Jim were inducted into the Arizona version of the Hall of Fame. Some very notable former drivers were in attendance including Richard “The Gasman” Griffin, Shane Carson and Jimmy Oskie. Good to see Richard as he looks like he could put his helmet on and give the boys a run for their money. The push off area has been moved away from the walking path to the grandstands from the pits making it safer for pedestrians. Surprisingly, or not maybe, there were only 30 cars both nights as one left after Friday night, Matt Rossi, and one came in, Andrew Reinbold, on Saturday.

One incident on Friday sent Chris Windom off looking for another chassis as they brought only one car out West, who does that? It happened when our own Damion Gardner made a quick move from the top towards the bottom and bumped Windom, who flew into a wild flip, destroying that car. Jon Stanbrough, driving the Ford Motorsports entry, was caught up in that and he too was parked. Friday’s feature started with Charles Davis Jr getting pushed over on his head on the backstretch, but he restarted at the back only to spin backwards off the track in turn one later and finish 21st. Nick Faas had his share of bad luck after being 2nd quick in qualifying. He ran 2nd in his heat and was in the top 5 when his car stopped with a broken rear end, I was told. He is still second in points by 15 points and if he finishes there, it will be the first time in my memory that two team cars were one/two in points for the season.

The Williams family had a rough weekend. On Friday Cody had a fire in his heat and missed the semi. His brother Austin and dad Ripper were both 5th in their heats and ran the semi, both finishing back and missing qualifying for the main event. The brothers Cody and Austin took provisional spots at the back of the now 24 car main with Austin finishing 16th and Cody 20th. Saturday was better as Austin ran up front finishing 9th, Ripper 17th and Cody 22nd after he took a provisional when he just missed the transfer in the semi.

The best local AZ finishes were Josh Pelkey 7th on Friday and R J Johnson 4th on Saturday. Mike Spencer was third on Friday for CRA’s best and Damion Gardner 8th on Saturday. The National boys whose 40 race schedule nearly doubles the CRA, plus they run Friday and Sunday shows as well, so they are running every week and the California boys run about twice a month. It’s a stark difference in experience for our boys to overcome, but the Ovals are next and whose to know who will win this year. The CRA didn’t fare well in AZ as they had only 7 cars there compared to the travelers 11, can you believe that??? A sign of the times as the CRA no longer travels, WOW! I wonder if we will have a full complement this coming weekend, whatever that is!

Dave Darland came to town only 13 points behind Bryan Clauson with hopes for another championship in the fairly low buck team. The 13 went to 29 then 57 after Saturday as his 20th finishing spot wasn’t helped by two stops on the track. He’s not out of it as Bryan is nearly invincible at Canyon and not so at Perris, but the line is Clauson will win the championship with two races to go.

Tracy Hines was very consistent both nights with runner-up finishes and had some opportunities to win both. Kevin Thomas Jr was really good on Friday coming from the back for 4th, but his up front start on Saturday was blown when he got caught up in the opening lap shuffle that sent Spencer and several others to the back and he couldn’t recover on the slick track. Matt Mitchell came out with a brand new car, white with bright day glow stripes, and struggled a little with 12th and 13th place finishes dialing the car in. Look for much better at the Ovals.

The Wagtimes/Lafond Hard Charger Award got a little money added to the pot for next weekend as I sold a few shirts and grabbed up $125 during the weekend. Among the luminaries chipping in so far are world famous Hosehead and a few Wagtimers along the way. Our total is near $1000, but needs to grow, so don’t forget me! Jim Thurman and Leroy Bedingfield sent money to buy the bottle of Crown Royal that gets presented with the Hard Charger money, so thanks to them! I got the special label on it and it’s ready to go! I’ll have a table set up Friday and Saturday out front, so look for my polka dotted mule or find me in the pits early or the grandstands later. Thank you ALL! We’ll see if we can surpass last year’s $2700 we gave out!

Well let’s send the season on it’s way this weekend with a big crowd and a lot of good racing! Are we done already? Yes and Santa will bring us all what our racing future needs, more money! Come see me and bring your bucket of change!

AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL & USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE RESULTS: October 26, 2013 – Peoria, Arizona – Canyon

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-13.747; 2. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-13.775; 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17RW, Dutcher/RW/TriStar-13.842; 4. Bryan Clauson, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-13.891; 5. Justin Grant, 5, Baldwin-13.924; 6. Nic Faas, 4x, Alexander-13.959; 7. Chris Windom, 11, Walker-13.972; 8. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-14.032; 9. Tyler Courtney, 23c, Courtney/BRaT-14.078; 10. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips-14.085; 11. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-14.105; 12. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-14.124; 13. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-14.131; 14. Mike Bonneau, 29, Bonneau-14.154; 15. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-14.186; 16. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-14.194; 17. Michael Curtis, 11c, Curtis-14.200; 18. Damion Gardner, 4A, Alexander-14.200; 19. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-14.218; 20. Charles Davis, Jr., 4G, Cook-14.237; 21. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-14.271; 22. Josh Pelkey, 12A, Allen-14.272; 23. Nick Drake, 55, Cline-14.299; 24. Jon Stanbrough, 73, Ford-14.303; 25. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-14.437; 26. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-14.443; 27. Shon Deskins, 20x, SDR-14.448; 28. Tom Ogle, 48, Ogle-14.558; 29. Andrew Reinbold, 19, Reinbold-14.673; 30. Bruce St. James, 7K, St. James-14.702.

FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Curtis, 2. Grant, 3. Courtney, 4. R.Williams, 5. Martin, 6. C.Williams, 7. Spencer, 8. Reinbold. 1:56.21

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Darland, 2. Faas, 3. Gardner, 4. Stockon, 5. Pelkey, 6. Bonneau, 7. Hodges, 8. St. James. 1:53.51

THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Bacon, 2. Windom, 3. Ballou, 4. Thomas, 5. Drake, 6. Mitchell, 7. Deskins. 1:54.29

FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Stanbrough, 2. Davis, 3. Johnson, 4. Hines, 5. Clauson, 6. A.Williams, 7. Ogle. 1:54.23

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Spencer, 3. A.Williams, 4. Martin, 5. Pelkey, 6. Drake, 7. Mitchell, 8. C.Williams, 9. St. James, 10. Reinbold, 11. Deskins, 12. Hodges, 13. Bonneau, 14. Ogle. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Chase Stockon, 2. Tracy Hines, 3. Justin Grant, 4. R.J. Johnson, 5. Robert Ballou, 6. Chris Windom, 7. Bryan Clauson, 8. Damion Gardner, 9. Austin Williams, 10. Josh Pelkey, 11. Brady Bacon, 12. Jon Stanbrough, 13. Matt Mitchell, 14. Nic Faas, 15. Mike Spencer, 16. Charles Davis, Jr., 17. Rip Williams, 18. Nick Drake, 19. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 20. Dave Darland, 21. Cody Williams, 22. Tyler Courtney, 23. Michael Curtis, 24. Mike Martin. NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Hines, Laps 2-30 Stockon.

NEW AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Clauson-1,828; 2-Darland-1,771; 3-Bacon-1,658; 4-Stockon-1,582; 5-Thomas-1,574; 6-Hines-1,464; 7-Ballou-1,413; 8-Windom-1,155; 9-Courtney-1,027; 10-Hunter Schuerenberg-1,000.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-Gardner-1,208, 2-Faas-1,068, 3-Spencer-1,053, 4-Mitchell-803, 5-Bud Kaeding-753, 6-A.Williams-751, 7-C.Williams-734, 8-Brody Roa-659, 9-Ryan Bernal-551, 10-R.Williams-470.

NEXT AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL & USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: November 1-2 – Perris (CA) Auto Speedway –18th “Budweiser Oval Nationals”

AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL & USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE RESULTS: October 25, 2012 – Peoria, Arizona – Canyon

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Bryan Clauson, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-13.647; 2. Nic Faas, 4x, Alexander-13.650; 3. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips-13.694; 4. Nick Drake, 55, Cline-13.748; 5. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-13.822; 6. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-13.833; 7. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-13.929; 8. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-13.937; 9. Justin Grant, 5, Baldwin-14.017; 10. Jon Stanbrough, 73, Ford-14.018; 11. Chris Windom, 11, Walker-14.020; 12. Josh Pelkey, 12A, Allen-14.080; 13. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-14.158; 14. Damion Gardner, 4A, Alexander-14.187; 15. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-14.212; 16. Charles Davis, Jr., 4G, Cook-14.215; 17. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-14.232; 18. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-14.255; 19. Mike Bonneau, 29, Bonneau-14.311; 20. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-14.320; 21. Matt Rossi, 02, Rossi-14.321; 22. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-14.327; 23. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-14.406; 24. Michael Curtis, 11c, Curtis- 14.478; 25. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-14.481; 26. Bruce St. James, 7K, St.James-14.499; 27. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17RW, Dutcher/RW/TriStar-14.548; 28. Tom Ogle, 48, Ogle-14.586; 29. Shon Deskins, 20x, SDR-14.741; 30. Tyler Courtney, 23c, Courtney/BRAT-NT.

FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. Clauson, 3. Grant, 4. Spencer, 5. A.Williams, 6. Hodges, 7. Deskins, 8. Rossi. NT

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Gardner, 2. Faas, 3. Bacon, 4. Martin, 5. R.Williams, 6. Courtney, 7. Stanbrough, 8. St. James. NT

THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Darland, 2. Johnson, 3. Hines, 4. Windom, 5. Thomas, 6. Mitchell, 7. Bonneau. NT

FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Stockon, 2. Pelkey, 3. Davis, 4. Drake, 5. Curtis, 6. Ogle, 7. C.Williams. NT

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Stanbrough, 2. Thomas, 3. Mitchell, 4. Hodges, 5. Courtney, 6. Ogle, 7. Curtis, 8. Deskins, 9. Bonneau, 10. St. James, 11. A.Williams, 12. R.Williams. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Tracy Hines, 3. Mike Spencer, 4. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 5. Damion Gardner, 6. Dave Darland, 7. Josh Pelkey, 8. Robert Ballou, 9. Tyler Courtney, 10. Nick Drake, 11. Mike Martin, 12. Matt Mitchell, 13. Brady Bacon, 14. Chase Stockon, 15. Justin Grant, 16. Austin Williams, 17. R.J. Johnson, 18. Tom Ogle, 19. Nic Faas, 20. Cody Williams, 21. Charles Davis, Jr., 22. Josh Hodges, 23. Chris Windom, 24. Jon Stanbrough. NT

**Davis flipped on lap 1 of the feature. Windom flipped on lap 5 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-20 Bacon, Laps 21-22 Darland, Laps 23-30 Clauson.

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