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By Ken Wagner 10/29/05

With Parnelli Jones in the house it was the best ever Wagsdash. There is more! With Alan Ballard out-dueling the Demon for the $7500 to win the 30 lapper, it was as good as it gets. There is more! The VRA champion took the Wagsdash field to school when Blake Miller beat them to the $2500 payday. There is more! R.J. Johnson won the Sexy Driver Contest and Kevin Kierce’s crew won the Pit Stop Contest. There is a lot more! The large crowd enjoyed the sunshine, the chili and the racing at the “best little track by the sea” Ventura Raceway.

Mrs Wags many pics are up Click here. or Jim Fargo's pics Click Here.

The day began at the 15th annual Wagsdash with chili served at noon and the action flowing into the best racing some observers said they ever saw. In the 30 lap main event, Steve Ostling took the early lead until the 2003 Wagsdash champion rolled around him using the top groove on lap six and pulled away. Later, the Demon, Damion Gardner, came up from his ninth starting spot to challenge the youngster. The unbelievable battle featured several passes by the Demon, but “Bullheaded” Ballard didn’t let him stay there, and passed him back for the huge win!

It was Alan’s first Valvoline USAC/CRA victory in his Dick’s Automotive – Ernie’s Tong Service, TCR, Chevy # 97 wrenched by his dad Ernie. Alan won his heat and started outside the front row with Ostling in the Main Event. He had his car flying up on the top where the Kruser normally dominates, and rode the crest like a surfboard all the way to his biggest payday of his young career, $7,500. He was scheduled to be in the Wagsdash event, but over celebrated in doing a broadie in front of the crowd and broke something on the car, so could not return for a possible double.

The Wagsdash race was last, but not without it’s own excitement as the young VRA Champion, Bullet Blake Miller started ninth and worked his way into the win to cap off his year. The youngster drove the Simpson, MJB Plating, Sled, Raney # 5X to ninth quick in the 44 car field driving one of three Nadine Keller entries for the night. Blake missed the main, but was ready for the Wagsdash. The 16 car field only started 13 due to attrition in the nights racing, but had only one yellow flag, a record of sorts, and some good racing for the crowd that stayed to see the finale. J Hicks started 13th and reeled in the leader only to settle for 2nd and the hard charger award, the Lafond Jar of Change, which held $337 this year. Finishing third was rookie Ryan Devitt who has looked like a veteran at times during his season with the club. The purse is still coming in and will be finalized by the end of the week and paid at the Oval Nationals.

Damion Gardner was one of many who had a busy pit night. He was 2nd quick in qualifying and got involved in his heat with another car that sent both for heavy repairs. His crew just got him into the Semi where he finished second to transfer to start ninth in the main. There he drove the Temecula Valley Pipe & Supply – Arizona Race Mart, Eagle, Shaver # 50 to a strong second, barely inches behind at the finish. He remains the point leader, 62 points ahead of Cory Kruseman.

Danny “Showtime” Sheridan is making the podium a habit as he jumped from his 12th starting spot to get third in the El Camino Pipe & Supply - Red Line Oil, Stinger, Pick # 18. Danny got faster as the feature went on. He was 14th quick and got the last transfer to the main from the Semi. Great wig!

Cory Kruseman and Rip Williams both went to the pits on an incident early in the main. Cory set fast time, won his heat and started 8th in the main while Rip started 6th and was wreckered off when he came to a stop. They both returned to the rear of the field on the restart with Cory coming back to sixth and Ripper 13th.

Perhaps the most surprising performance of the night was that of Tony Jones when he missed qualifying and stopped in the Consi with a rear-end problem. He later took a provisional, starting 21st in the main and coming back to ninth for the hard charger Award.

Jon Stanbrough and Mat Neely came out early from the Mid West for the Ovals and both made the main. Jon was a strong fifth and Mat dropped out early when his car quit. Did anyone notice that five VRA racers made the main event led by Garrett Hansen’s 8th place finish.

It was a great weekend with great weather, good chili and awesome racing. We had a special afternoon with Parnelli Jones as our Grand Marshal and all he did for us. He signed autographs until he left and greeted all who stood in line to meet him with a smile. He was enthusiastic about the racing and watched every second with a smile on his face. My thanks to Parnelli Jones for making our race very special this year.

My thanks also go out to Jim Naylor and his track personnel and the job they did getting the show on. To all the Wagtimers who once again slaved over a hot stove and made the afternoon activities fun and took care of all the fund raising and clean-up, it was the best and I thank you all. Thanks to "Thunderhead Tom for arranging the band, we need one every year! And thanks to Turn 4 Rob!!! A great race for the Wagsdash was a fabulous ending to a day of fun. Want to do it again next year?

It is nice to note that the $5000 Wagtimes bonus to the main event went to a driver who supported the sexy driver contest, unlike most of the top drivers, so maybe I should put a stipulation on the money next year to make sure we get the hot dogs out helping to raise that money.

Special things I remember about this weekend were: the annual chili cooking experience and discussions on ingredients and how much, seeing Jon Stanbrough’s rig in the parking lot on Friday, the polka dots going up at the front gate, the limo’s lined up near the Travis Nelson band that played, the booths coming together before the crowd came in, Parnelli Jones signing autographs for the long lines of fans, my new eagle trophy, The sign at the fairgrounds entrance featuring Mrs Wags Chili, Danny Sheridan dressed as Evelyn Pratt, our Elvis impersonator, my forgetting the trophies, not signing the checks with winners names, Bullheaded Ballard not giving up when the Demon passed him three times, the Kruser coming from the back, the Cowboy coming from the back, the sexy driver contest, the look of awe on a fan talking with Parnelli, My wife’s face when “our” race was over, Alan’s pointing to the check amount in the winner’s circle, the bake sale proceeds, the sunshine, the In N Out burger coupons for the winners, the pose by Bullet Blake after he won $2500, Patti singing the National Anthem, the only yellow flag in the dash were two green cars, the new Parnelli poster, the Wagtimer’s at breakfast together, the winners, the crowd and the checkered flag.

See ya at the Ovals!

VALVOLINE USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: October 29, 2005 – Ventura, California – Ventura Raceway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Cory Kruseman, 38, Crossno-11.891; 2. Damion Gardner, 50, Chaffin-11.898; 3. Garrett Hansen, 15x, Hansen-12.029; 4. Rodney Argo, 19, Argo-12.048; 5. Mat Neely, 6, K & N-12.064; 6. Jordan Hermansader, 4. Alexander-12.075; 7. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-12.081; 8. Josh Ford, 73, Ford-12.106; 9. Blake Miller, 5x, Keller-12.152; 10. Seth Wilson, 17, Racing Optics-12.157; 11. Rickie Gaunt, 16, Keller-12.161; 12. Mike Kirby, 96, Kirby-12.179; 13. Jon Stanbrough, 10, R & B-12.203; 14. Danny Sheridan, 18, Kittle-12.209; 15. Alan Ballard, 97, Ballard-12.230; 16. Steve Ostling, 45, Willis-12.252; 17. Mike Spencer, 44, Engstrom-12.315; 18. Troy Rutherford, 5, Keller-12.378; 19. Danny Ebberts, 77, Acosta-12.388; 20. R.J. Johnson, 15AZ, Martin-12.401; 21. Ryan Devitt, 35R, Blenkarn-12.411; 22. Mark Heidenreich, 22, Heidenreich-12.419; 23. Greg Bragg, 33, Blair-12.431; 24. Kevin Kierce, 2K, Kierce-12.433; 25. Dennis Rodriguez, 55x, Rodriguez-12.439; 26. Ronnie Case, 8, Case-12.460; 27. J. Hicks, 66, Miller-12.469; 28. Jeremy Ellerston, 98, Ellerston-12.480; 29. Steve Conrad, 91x, Conrad-12.509; 30. Louis Espinosa, 09, Espinosa-12.591; 31. Ross Millar, 67, Becker-12.696; 32. Tom Stansberry, 48, Bach-12.737; 33. David Sinsley, 69, Sinsley-12.839; 34. Matt Stewart, 85, Stewart-12.939; 35. Bobby Ferro, 91, Ferro-12.959; 36. Josh Williams, 34, Williams-13.012; 37. Shawn Kautz, 29, Kautz-13.202; 38. Eric Severson, 36, Severson-13.332; 39. Dan Tedrick, 88, Tedrick-13.337; 40. Hobie Conway, 37nz, Conway-13.356; 41. Tony Everhart, 55, Everhart-13.403; 42. Ron Tjaarda, 0T, Tjaarda-13.415; 43. Jason Willey, 2x, Willey-14.236; 44. Tony Jones, 87, Vermeer/Ferreira-NT.

CONSOLATION (8 laps) 1. Sinsley, 2. Stewart, 3. Everhart, 4. J.Williams, 5. Kautz, 6. H.Conway, 7. Tedrick, 8. Severson, 9. Tjaarda, 10. Ferro, 11. Willey, 12. Jones. NT

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Kruseman, 2. Spencer, 3. Stanbrough, 4. D.Rodriguez, 5. S.Conrad, 6. Miller, 7. Devitt, 8. Neely, 8. Sinsley. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Case, 2. Wilson, 3. Espinosa, 4. Hermansader, 5. Stewart, 6. Gardner, 7. Rutherford, 8. Sheridan, 9. Heidenreich. NT

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Ballard, 2. Hicks, 3. R.Williams, 4. Bragg, 5. Gaunt, 6. Hansen, 7. Millar, 8. Everhart, 9. Ebberts. NT

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Kierce, 2. Johnson, 3. Ford, 4. Ostling, 5. Kirby, 6. Argo, 7. J.Williams, 8. Stansberry, 9. Ellertson. NT

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Neely, 2. Gardner, 3. Hansen, 4. Sheridan, 5. Gaunt, 6. Miller, 7. Devitt, 8. S.Conrad, 9. Rutherford, 10. Stansberry, 11. Argo, 12. Sinsley, 13. Stewart, 14. Heydenreich, 15. Millar, 16. J.Williams, 17. Kirby, 18. Ellerston, 19. Everhart.

WAGSDASH: (15 laps – Held after Feature) 1. Miller, 2. Hicks, 3. Devitt, 4. J.Williams, 5. Bragg, 6. S.Conrad, 7. Heidenreich, 8. Stewart, 9. Case, 10. Sinsley, 11. Stansberry, 12. Tedrick, 13. Severson. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Alan Ballard, 2. Damion Gardner, 3. Danny Sheridan, 4. Mike Spencer, 5. Jon Stanbrough, 6. Cory Kruseman, 7. Steve Ostling, 8. Garrett Hansen, 9. Tony Jones, 10. Jordan Hermansader, 11. J. Hicks, 12. Kevin Kierce, 13. Rip Williams, 14. Louis Espinosa, 15. Dennis Rodriguez, 16. R.J. Johnson, 17. Josh Ford, 18. Greg Bragg, 19. Ronnie Case, 20. Seth Wilson, 21. Mat Neely. NT

**Neely flipped during the first heat. Hermansader and Gardner flipped during the second heat. Ebberts flipped during the third heat.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-5 Ostling, Laps 6-28 Ballard, Lap 29 Gardner, Lap 30 Ballard.

NEW USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-Gardner-1,760; 2-Kruseman-1,698; 3-R.Williams-1,644; 4-Kirby-1,466; 5-Charles Davis Jr.-1,297; 6-Gaunt-1,224; 7-Spencer-1,194; 8-Ford-1,071; 9-Sheridan-990; 10-Jones-940.

NEXT USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACES: November 3-5 – Perris (CA) Auto Speedway – 10th “Budwesier Oval Nationals”

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