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October 29, 2011

By Ken Wagner

With 35 cars chomping at the bit to get their share of the $3000 and $5000 to win features in the two nights of racing at Canyon Speedway Park, Brian Clauson made winning look easy on a well prepared 3/8 mile track that showcased some great racing. Brian ran the semi both nights and admitted it gave him an advantage, but when the features started, he was on the gas and going forward fast. The first night required a late race yellow flag to put him in position to win as Mike Spencer was way out in front and cruising up to that point. Brian had come from way back in the field, picking off cars every lap as he mastered the track on his way to the front. That last restart allowed Brian to jump by several cars and claim the win as a lot of late race passing was fun to watch.

For my pics Click here to view. Mrs Wags work Click here to view. Steve Lafond's work Click here to view. Doug Allens work is here as usual click here to view.

On Saturday there was no doubt that Clauson was the chosen one this week as he came from 9th starting spot to 3rd really quick and jumped into the lead on lap 9 as he ran away with his 2nd win in two days and doubled his CRA win total to 4. Nobody could catch him, but Keith Bloom gave it a mighty shot on the last lap. He was laboring back in about 6thor 7th to the best of my ability, and rolled it up top where nobody was workiní it, and passed everyone but the winner. He looked precarious up there, but made it to 2nd with a flourish!

I didnít know what to expect as we headed across the Hoover dam and over another desert to attend the Parker Stores Hall of Fame Classic at Canyon Speedway Park, just a hair North of Phoenix, Arizona. I had seen some races there with the old CRA back in the early 90ís, and I remembered enough to make me nervous. For most it was a new track and some concerns were in the air. I had forgotten how it really looked, but being it is kind of out in the middle of nowhere, it all came back to me when I arrived. The promoter, Kevin Montgomery, has certainly done a lot at a track that has no running water and until recently had a road leading into it that was a real ďrocky roadĒ that made cars and trucks alike in trouble going over it. The road is now paved to within 100 yards or so and is way better.

The lighting out there is as I remembered and a bit dark in spots, but they brought out two portables that really helped. One got repositioned for Saturday and suddenly turn one was much better. This place is getting some attention with Manzanita gone, but without the big crowds every week, they canít just throw money at it. I wonder if there couldnít be a way that fans could get involved with raising money to help get erí done? It can be a worthy replacement for Manzy.

My only problem, as I wandered around taking pics, was a very hard packed and major bumpy pit surface made walking for these challenged old legs a real chore. When they watered the lanes, it got slick and mushy and my little wheeled cart became a box that I dragged around after the wheels froze up? Most had no trouble but I know I looked like a gimpy Charlie Chaplain trying to negotiate my way over it! I missed my Mule. Never the less, there were 10 drivers that came from the Midwest USAC world, plus 15 local Arizona drivers and the 10 west coast CRA boys all there to compete. It was a scintillating two days as the track had two grooves both nights and plenty of racing for all. Remarkably, fast time for the weekend was by Nic Faas in the Alexander Silver Bullet car, not only because the second day track prep was awesome for a two day deal and a west coast driver did it!

The racing was all positive and yet there were some down sides for some. The grandstands are only 13 rows high and I donít know what capacity is, but the place was packed with bodies and so seating the same. It was hard for the racers to see as the pit grandstands werenít high enough to see over the berm and the reserved seating in the small grandstands kept them out of there, too.It makes it hard to evaluate the track and make changes for the crews,

I am glad to have another track for the CRA to run at. It looks like the folks there tried awful hard to pony up money for a National show on a hope and a prayer. I hope they made out, and it looked pretty good to me. You might say the place is a diamond in the rough and yet a lot of positives were there for this far off located track for their future. And, the weather was perfect, with only a small breeze on Saturday that really never got going, which just made sweatshirts and light jackets pop on in the crowd.

They held the Arizona Motorsports Hall of Fame inductions for this yearís crop going in to it, and had Lealand McSpadden, Richard Griffin, Ron Shuman and a few more of our racing stars from the past signing autographs for the crowd. I donít know where the actual Hall of Fame location is these days, but I seem to remember Keith Hall use to keep all that stuff in a closet somewhere. The Toops Family and Ricky Johnson were two that I know personally going in, and it is always nice to see someone get rewarded for their racing memories they created.

The first night two brand new cars went flying high in the air only to tumble to the ground mangled up. When these crashes happen, you kinda choke up a little until you see them crawl out of the wreck. Personally knowing the drivers makes it even harder to not get that painful feeling in the pit of your stomach. Arrrrgh! The just completed Kittle Motorsports # 18 driven by Danny Sheridan got a love tap to send him going end over end off turn one and off in the dark area out there. The car looked remarkably straight, even though it was a little tweaked for sure. The was a new front end, rear end and various bolt-onís to replace the ones that went into the dumpster. Danny banged his right knee hard, but the team put the little blue sucker back together for Saturday and he was sore but able to get in and drive. The Chassis builder, Jeremy Sherman, stayed late and got involved to bless the rebuild, and thatís probably rare in this day and age. The second new car to go flying was that of Stevie Sussex, a local driver that many have been telling me about. He was running 3rd in the feature when it got 3 wide down the front stretch and he was forced into the wall where his car set the altitude record for the weekend. The report on the new sprint car, that Stevie actually built for this race, was that it was too banged up to repair, for now, and he ended up in another car for Saturday.

There were some positive stories likeDavid Bezio ran the feature both nights on his way to claim the rookie of the year title with USAC/CRA. Oh yeah, itís still a 360! Matt Mitchell didnít get a time on Friday after qualifying when he missed the scales to weigh in, so he started at the back of everything. He finished 6th both nights for some good work against the invaders from the Midwest. Rumor has it a wing will go on a new car for the Western World in Tucson later this month where they will run both wing and non wing. Hunter Schuerenberg ran 7th the first night and came from a restart at the back to get 10th the next night on a good run.

Would I go back, yes, who wouldnít with the hopes that lighting and more bleachers might get some attention. I know a lot of work has gone into the place since I last saw it and it is a racy place. Will we go back, only the powers to be know for sure.

The Wagtimes online auction hasnít been doing well with only a few bidders on some great items. Get your bids in! http://www.wagtimes.com/wagsauction2011.html If things donít pick up Iíll take it down next week and bring a few things to Hanford for a raffle ticket auction. Still looking for change for the Lafond Jar of Change that will now be called the Mark Spivey hard charger award this year. Bring your pocket change to Perris and letís fill it up!!!!

I told you I wasnít going to go asking for money with the thought that those who could, would. Here is a list of many who have sponsored us in the past and some of these have already donated this year: Ron Didonato of Spin Tech, Jack Jory, Mike Clark, Mike Truex, R & R Blankets, Josephís Menís Wear, Kittle Motorsports, Ron Chafin Motorsports, Hoseheads, The PAS, Big Steve and Maggie, Thunderhead, LaVilla Mexican Restaurant, Tom &Laurie Motorsports, The Darliní Dils, Alexander Racing, Doug Allen Photos, Jim Fargo Photos, Tear Off Heaven Fotos, Roy Kischell, Agromin, Pat & Leeann Normoyle, Raceway Video, Timeless, ITI Performance Racing, Trophy City, Hondo500.com, Black Widow Racing, Gardner Mechanical Pipe and Supply, Ventura Raceway, Dick and Sue Fry, John Soares, Don Flanders, Joe & Ellen Ellis, Sonia and John Duffy, Tracey and Gerry Johnson, Julie and Randy Shiosaki, Tanaka Dental Labs, Fran & Jim Herdrich, DJ Everett, Lois Ward, Don Read, Braden Wasson, The Thrasherís, John and Marie Gardner, Leroy Beddingfield, Jim Thurman, Ron Bruce Douglas, Marty and Diane, Ron Schwarz, Rich Chesavage, and many more that have helped to make the nearly $600,000 collected for the low buck drivers since 1989. The high water year was 2001 when over $ 47,000 of Wagsbucks was collected. The 911 disaster signaled an end to the growth of our Wagtimes efforts to where 2010 was down around $13,000. Thanks to you all and as I said some 20 years ago, as long as you continue to support the low buck racer cause we have followed, I will continue to find ways to give it to them. WAG$CA$H is on the move, get involved. E-mail me at winglesswariors@aol.com or call 949-981-5497 to get involved. November 12 at Hanford, be there!

Oval Nationals this week and I will have a few calendars, so either get on my list for me to save one or maybe miss out as I sell them. Bring your change, your checkbook, your best wishes and intentions to go to Hanford next week. See ya.

10/28/11 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Damion Gardner, 4. Levi Jones, 5. Mike Spencer, 6. Matt Mitchell, 7. Hunter Schuerenburg, 8. Jon Stanbrough, 9. Robert Ballou, 10. Keith Bloom, 11. Bobby East, 12. Nic Faas, 13. Tracy Hines, 14. Rip Williams, 15. R.J. Johnson, 16. Mike Martin, 17. David Bezio, 18. Cody Williams, 19. Austin Williams, 20. Stevie Sussex, 21. Casey Shuman, 22. Rickie Gaunt, 23. Josh Pelkey, 24. Danny Sheridan. NT

10/29/11 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Brian Clauson, 2. Keith Bloom Jr., 3. Levi Jones, 4. Chris Windom, 5. Nic Faas, 6. Matt Mitchell, 7. Damion Gardner, 8. R.J. Johnson, 9. Mike Spencer, 10. Hunter Schuerenberg, 11. Jon Stanbrough, 12. Robert Ballou (#73), 13. Tracy Hines, 14. Bobby East, 15. Cody Williams, 16. Rickie Gaunt, 17. Austin Williams, 18. Danny Sheridan, 19. Mike Martin, 20. Rip Williams, 21. Bruce St. James, 22. Dalton Gabbard, 23. David Bezio, 24. Stevie Sussex. NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-8 Johnson, Laps 9-30 Clauson.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-Spencer-1,028; 2-Mitchell-994; 3-Faas-993; 4-A.Willams-720; 5-Greg Bragg-615; 6-C.Williams-590; 7-R.Williams-514; 8-Sheridan-512; 9-Gaunt-499; 10-David Cardey-443.

NEW AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Jones-1,449; 2-Windom-1,406; 3-Stanbrough-1,319; 4-Schuerenberg-1,260; 5-Ballou-1,158; 6-Hines-1,127; 7-D.Gardner-1,089; 8-Clauson-1,085; 9-Dave Darland-1,054; 10-East-889.

NEW USAC NATIONAL DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Clauson-1,056; 2-Kyle Larson-1,016; 3-Windom-991; 4-Jones-991; 5-Hines-989; 6-East-942; 7-Jerry Coons Jr.-921; 8-Stanbrough-834; 9-Schuerenberg-832; 10-Darren Hagen-824.

NEXT AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL & USAC/CRA SPRINT RACES: November 3-4-5 Ė Perris, CA Ė Perris Auto Speedway Ė 16th

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