MIKE “THE SILENT ASSASSIN” SPENCER MAKES HOME CROWD DAMN PROUD WITH MAJOR WIN AT THE OVAL NATIONALS.
RICKIE GAUNT, AUSTIN WILLIAMS AND ROBERT BALLOU GET HARD CHARGER PROPS FROM WAGTIMES/LAFOND AWARDS.
November 3, 2012
By Ken Wagner
Wow, what a difference a week makes! Hallelua! Hallelua! The track prep crew worked hard and kept ahead of the slick stuff that can happen when the track takes this kind of abuse under sunny skies. Needless to say it provided a two groove surface both nights that we all wanted. AND..….. Finally a home cookin’ winner at the 17th annual Oval Nationals at the PAS! The annual year ending event, though cut down from 3 to 2 days, was a home run in every aspect but attendance which didn’t reach the full house I expected it to be during the premier race of the year, and too many of the fans missed it! So, those who chose to stay home missed the best race of the year at the PAS shall and forever kick themselves in the butt! Ha! Ha!
Ovals Friday and Saturday Click here to view. For Steve Lafond's Friday work Click here to view. For Steve Lafond's Saturday work Click here to view. For Doug Allen's work Click here to view those.
Let’s talk about the 5 time champ Mike “the silent assassin” Spencer who has quietly become a force in sprint car racing more than just in So Cal by consistency with 13 fast times in 21 races (he didn’t have to qualify 11/03/12) and 9 victories on the year, how could you be any better? His 33 main event wins ties him with Eddie Wirth and Mike Sweeney. The 2012 Championship happened weeks ago so he had to find something new to achieve and he did this weekend. He out qualified the field on Friday and ran 7th in the prelim, but got a break when he had more points than Thomas “Hit Man” Meseraull who finished a spot ahead of him. Thus he got into the saved six for Saturday and won the Super 6 Dash thus starting on the pole of the 40 lap main event.
On the start of the finale Tracy Hines pushed out to the lead immediately while the little red sucker meandered back a few spots as the assassin searched for the “line”. Hines looked fast and as the laps wound down, looked destined to be the winner, but Nooooooo! Mike did what he always does, patiently and silently, he moved forward to get in 2nd and began stalking Hines. The assassin looked it over and struck by sliding under the leader and taking the lead but CRAP, a yellow flew. Even though I thought the pass was good for the required lap, it was ruled not! Now Hines knows the fast line and he protected it on the restart, but the laps wound down with Mike moving in for another shot. Suddenly with two laps to go the little red sucker took the lead again, and again a stopping flag happened this time a red, so I though he was on his way back to second. Surprisingly, the powers that be said no, he keeps the pass and the lead on the last restart and the crowd goes wild! The last two laps were pretty simple as Mike was faster and Hines had nothing for him. The crowd was standing and cheering Spencer on from the first time he got by Hines, and they never quit.
Now the crowd was in pure bedlam as he pulled into the winners circle and they cheered the first local winner in a long time. Mike acted like no big thing with his big smile, but inside I know he was super thrilled and the Bruce Bromme Jr led team really did something special against the hoard of strong motored invaders that usually come and take the big eagle trophies home! Congrats to the champion and his crew, it was monumental and will be talked about all winter. I am proud to be a sprint car fan!
The racing was really good as other stuff was going on during the night. The USAC title was up for grabs as Bryan Clauson came in leading ”Double D” Dave Darland by 8 points! Bryan Had a runaway win on Friday from the pole as Dave finished 3rd. They both were in the Super 6 Dash and DD got 3rd ahead of Bryan’s 4th. They would start side by side on the second row in the big 40 lapper and let the winner be determined tonight. They each led the other during the 40 laps, but near the end Bryan’s right rear seemed to be going down, yet Dave couldn’t take advantage enough as he only finished 5th ahead of Bryan’s 6th and thus not enough to take the title. Bryan ran 4 fewer races and still grabbed this 2012 Championship with a final push.
There were 44 cars in this year’s Oval Nationals edition of the west coast premier non-wing race. The best drivers of this traditional stuff were here and we had some great weather, great get-togethers, great sounds and sights of our brand of racing and yes, some Tony the Tiger GREAT RACING. It’s true the Indiana bunch came again and shined with their nucleus of great drivers and strong cars. There were Bryan Clauson, Jon Stanbrough, Dave Darland, Tracy Hines, Damion Gardner, Hunter Schuerenberg and the rest giving the local CRA boys fits with their fast motors sounding their presence as they roared around the track lap after lap. Stanbrough was oh so close and looking like he was going to be the one with his strong 2nd and 3rd place finishes. Bryan got Friday’s prelim and looked like he would prevail on Saturday. Darland was what he always is, competitive and a winner in spite of his age fighting the youth movement. The Demon came back from a serious motor problem on Friday to run up to 4th Saturday. Hines 4th and 2nd showed he is always a threat to win. Robert Ballou towed an open trailer full of his own car and stuff on a prayer with help from some fans and put on a great show. He was the overall Hard Charger of the event.
That doesn’t mean our local CRA stars were not in the house as they came to defend and provided some great action, too! Besides Spencer there were other local hobby racers who shined with Nic Faas, Rickie Gaunt, Ronnie Gardner, the Williams trio Rip, Austin and Cody, Brody Roa, The Vander Weerd’s Jace and Richard, Troy Rutherford and Ryan Bernal. They all put on a show for their fans as the laps wound down.
Perhaps forgetting the Faas tipover, he was a force to reckon with as he drove the wheels off the silver bullet both nights. Making the Super Six was an example of his ability and running in the top five until the very end was awesome. Super Rickie’s9th and 7th finishes showed this old fox still has something in the tank for the youngsters. The Williams boys all made the main on Saturday with Austin beating his other stealth black “partners” in crime during the weekend. Ronnie Gardner gave the little blue bugger it’s best Ovals in a while. Not only did he have 3rd quick time on Saturday, the quickest lap for the # 18 car ever at the PAS, he ran smoothly, stayed out of trouble and got a big top ten finish in the finale and, it rolled on the trailer.
Now for the OH NO hard luck drivers that are always out there. There were many contestants in this bad category, but let’s start with the Moosemobile with David Cardey in the seat. They broke two motors on Friday and ran 23rd in the prelim. After a lot of work, Saturday did not look any better as he got into a tangle in his heat, then was the first car out in the feature. Richard Vander Weerd has improved greatly this year and to illustrate that, he was 4th quick on Friday and was running well in the feature near the front when he got booted into the wall by the T Man, so that ended his chances for a great finish for the weekend, Saturday he was 11th quick and made the 2 car transfer to the main from the heats. He went out early in the main and was 23rd. Brody Roa lost a cylinder in his motor on Friday and the team installed the familiar Lee Leonard owned motor in its place. He ran 13th.
Rip Williams got push bar pushed sideways in his heat on Friday and that allowed the offender to take the last transfer from him. He then ran second in the Semi and was out 27th in the main. Saturday He just missed the 2 car transfer so had to run one of the two Semi’s to get to the main where he was 14th at the end after some good moves. Ryan Bernal had a very unfulfilled weekend in one of the Ford entries he has shined in all year. He won his heat on Friday and then was moving forward when he got tangled with the cushion in turn four and sent the # 73 flying. His teammate for the weekend, Kyle Hirst didn’t have any better luck as he crashed in qualifying and then had another problem in the main and was done for the weekend. The Ford team had little luck as they lost two cars and then Bernal’s mount broke a brand new motor in qualifying and they were done. Two of the top drivers on the coast done and not a factor that I had predicted they would be. The 72 year old Tooth Doc Jim Giardino brought out a new Gardner built car and promptly split open the motor and was done the first night.
There were others who suffered in various ways, but like always there has to be some bad luck. The Indiana boys were not unscathed as Kevin Thomas Jr started the weekend with an idling 28 second qualifying pass? He showed up in the main and was the first car out. Saturday a 19th qualifying time and last in his heat was the finish of his weekend. Chase Stockton started out with 10th on Friday after winning his heat. Saturday he qualified in his own car, but broke and jumped into a Jeff Walker back-up car to win his heat and then run 9th in the 40 lapper. C J Leary came from Indiana to run the Dwight Chaney 2nd car and was 2nd in his heat and finished 22nd in the prelim main. Saturday he got the last transfer from the 2nd Semi and ended up running over an out of shape team car with Troy Rutherford in it and took them both out. Rutherford gave the white # 42 a strong ride to 12th in the prelim.
Would you believe the Senior sprint car main event winner was Steve Ostling? For some reason Wiley Miller retired after wining Friday night’s Senior main and let him drive his car and the CRA official showed he could still drive one of these things. Although rumor has it he won’t be an official anymore? With Beezer retiring after this season, that’s two. The Senior’s put on a good show and we’ll see them again next year.
So, we had 14 in the main from California plus three who live and race in Indiana with Bud Kaeding added as one of ours. There was good racing both nights and maybe having Mike win made it better, probably, it was a mystery until the final lap and I loved it. The track seemed very good and racy in both grooves to me and it wasn’t cold out at all. I think I’ll come back next year.
We finished the year out by collecting nearly $3000 for the new Wagtimes/Lafond Hard Charger Award by setting up a booth and the fans came by to support the effort. Thanks to the PAS for allowing this as it was their big night. We chose not to take away from the event by quietly presenting the cash in the pits afterward. The Awards were met with smiles as always. The money was collected from local fans for our local racers! We had a little left over after our awards so handed that to Robert Ballou for his efforts. On Friday Austin Williams received $500 and a specially labeled Oval Nationals bottle of Crown Royal? Austin was pleased and I forgot to ask Rip if it was OK to give him the bottle? Oops!
On Saturday night Super Rickie Gaunt received the Lafond Jar of change with $1000 in it and another specially labeled (thanks Jim Thurman and Leroy Bedingfield for making that happen) Oval Nationals bottle of Crown Royal. He told car owner David Miller that he would get the money, but Rickie would keep the container and the bottle of Crown! Also we presented Mark Alexander $400 Wagsbucks for the crash of the # 4 car, Laurie Sertich $300 for their woefull motor breaking weekend on the Moosemobile (2 motors), $210 to the # 7 Clauson car for their shiny tire effort and $220 to Robert Ballou for his open trailer low buck travel fund and his hard charger moves. A lot of people get kudos for making this pot what it was. You know who you are and you have my thanks for the support. Over the winter I will ponder on what the Wagtimes efforts will be on 2013, but this year end deal should happen again in it’s hard charger form.
The 10 race PAS schedule is out and it makes me thing that Victorville better be in the mix for 2013 along with Hanford, Santa Maria and the rest we raced at this year. Rumor has it another local track will be running410’s so hang on an announcement is due soon. The Turkey night event is coming up at the PAS and it will be cold so bundle up and get out and see the midgets on dirt for the first time in way too long. I will be there.
USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: November 3, 2012 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway – 17th “Budweiser Oval Nationals”
QUALIFICATIONS: (Minus top-6 Friday points – no points) 1. Hunter Schuerenberg, 35, Byrum-16.020; 2. Chris Windom, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-16.150; 3. Ronnie Gardner, 18, Kittle-16.189; 4. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-16.205; 5. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.218; 6. Damion Gardner, 71, DG-16.229; 7. Thomas Meseraull, 5x, Baldwin-16.276; 8. Rickie Gaunt, 66, Miller-16.305; 9. Wes McIntyre, 5, Baldwin-16.324; 10. Ryan Bernal, 73, Ford-16.332; 11. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-16.353; 12. C.J. Leary, 42x, Cheney-16.440; 13. Bud Kaeding, 29, Bowman-16.452; 14. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-16.483; 15. Troy Rutherford, 42, Cheney-16.510; 16. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-16.516; 17. David Cardey, 92, Sertich-16.534; 18. Robert Ballou, 81, MPHG-16.537; 19. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9k, Black Jack-16.539; 20. Greg Alexander, 72x, Tyler-16.546; 21. Jake Swanson, 41, Henry/Jones-16.704; 22. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-16.750; 23. John Aden, 7A, Aden-16.902; 24. Ronnie Case, 8x, Case-17.030; 25. Trevor Cooper, 71k, Kruseman-17.074; 26. Bobby Bender, 21, Bender-17.092; 27. David Bezio, 37X, Bezio-17.118; 28. Johnathon Henry, 17, Lathrop-17.157; 29. Chase Stockon, 32, Stockon-17.159; 30. A.J. Bender, 12, Bender-17.195; 31. Tom Hendricks, 14k, Kruserman-17.207; 32. Jesse Denome, 6, Denome-17.307; 33. Tony Everhart, 55, Everhart-17.460; 34. Ed Schwarz, 47, Perkins-17.863; 35. Mike Collins, 04, Collins-18.673; 36. Kenny Perkins, 0K, Perkins-NT.
FIRST QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps-no points) 1. Schuerenberg, 2. McIntyre, 3. Ballou, 4. A.Williams, 5. C.Williams, 6. J.Vander Weerd, 7. Cooper, 8. A.J.Bender, 9. Schwarz. 2:46.75
SECOND QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps-no points) 1. D.Gardner, 2. R.Vander Weerd, 3. Rutherford, 4. Windom, 5. Bezio, 6. Aden, 7. Hendricks, 8. Thomas. 2:48.78
THIRD QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps-no points) 1. Meseraull, 2. R.Gardner, 3. R.Williams, 4. Alexander, 5. Leary, 6. Henry, 7. Case, 8. Denome. 2:47.48
FOURTH QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps-no points) 1. Kaeding, 2. Stockon, 3. Roa, 4. Gaunt, 5. Swanson, 6. Copper, 7. Everhart, 8. Cardey. NT
“SUPER-6 DASH”: (6 laps-no points) 1. Mike Spencer (#50 Chaffin), 2. Tracy Hines (#4 Hines), 3. Dave Darland (#11 Walker), 4. Bryan Clauson (#7 Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian), 5. Nic Faas (#4x Alexander), 6. Jon Stanbrough (#21x Leer). 1:39.42
B MAIN #1: (12 laps-no points) 1. Windom, 2. Ballou, 3. A.Williams, 4. Cardey, 5. Roa, 6. Bezio, 7. Swanson, 8. Alexander, 9. Cooper, 10. C.Williams, 11. Case. NT
B MAIN #2: (12 laps-no points) 1. Gaunt, 2. R.Williams, 3. Rutherford, 4. Henry, 5. Leary, 6. Aden, 7. J.Vander Weerd, 8. A.J. Bender, 9. Everhart, 10. Hendricks, 11. B.Bender. 3:28.71
FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Mike Spencer, 2. Tracy Hines, 3. Jon Stanbrough, 4. Damion Gardner, 5. Dave Darland, 6. Bryan Clauson, 7. Rickie Gaunt, 8. Robert Ballou, 9. Chase Stockon, 10. Ronnie Gardner, 11. Austin Williams, 12. Chris Windom, 13. Brody Roa, 14. Rip Williams, 15. Wes McIntyre, 16. Hunter Schuerenberg, 17. Bud Kaeding, 18. David Bezio, 19. Cody Williams, 20. Nic Faas, 21. Thomas Meseraull, 22. Johnathon Henry, 23. Richard Vander Weerd, 24. Troy Rutherford, 25. C.J. Leary, 26. David Cardey. NT
**C.Williams & Case flipped during the first B Main. Leary & Rutherford flipped during the feature. Meseraull flipped during the feature. Faas flipped during the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-37 Hines, Laps 38-40 Spencer.
AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: Friday November 2, 2012 – Perris, CA – Perris Auto Speedway – 17th Annual Budweiser “Oval Nationals”
QUALIFYING: 1. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-15.891; 2. Dave Darland, 11, Walker-15.933; 3. Nic Faas, 4x, Alexander – 16.025; 4. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-16.112; 5. Bryan Clauson, 7, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-16.164; 6. Thomas Meseraull, 5x, Baldwin-16.172; 7. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-16.174; 8. Jon Stanbrough, 21x, Leer-16.222; 9. Chris Windom, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-16.229; 10. Robert Ballou, 81, MPHG-16.254; 11. Hunter Schuerenberg, 35, Byram-16.265; 12. Troy Rutherford, 42, Cheney-16.283; 13. Brody Roa, 91, BR-16.292; 14. Rickie Gaunt, 66, Miller-16.303; 15. Ryan Bernal, 73, Ford-16.344; 16. Chase Stockon, 32, Stockon-16.348; 17. Damion Gardner, 71, DG-16.408; 18. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-16.433; 19. David Cardey, 92, Sertich-16.446; 20. Ronnie Gardner, 18, Kittle16.448; 21. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-16.456; 22. C.J. Leary, 42x, Cheney-16.576; 23. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-16.635; 24. Bud Kaeding, 29, BZE-16.690; 25. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.699; 26. Wes McIntyre, 5, Baldwin-16.703; 27. Greg Alexander, 72, Tyler-16.719; 28. Jake Swanson, 41, Henry-16.783; 29. Tom Hendricks, 14K, Kruseman-16.947; 30. Rusty Carlile, 51, Carlile-16.951; 31. Johnathon Henry, 17, Lathrop-17.020; 32. Jon Aden, 7A, Aden-17.114; 33. Jesse Denome, 6, JD-17.192; 34. David Bezio, 37x, Bezio-17.198; 35. A.J. Bender, 12, Bender-17.223; 36. Bobby Bender, 21, Bender-17.233; 37. Trevor Cooper, 71K, Kruseman-17.562; 38. Kyle LeDuc, 23, Bellegante-17.703; 39. Ronnie Case, 8x, Case-17.920; 40. Tony Everhart, 55, Everhart-18.345; 41. Ed Schwarz, 47, Schwarz-18.922; 42. Kenny Perkins, 0, Perkins-19.010; 43. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9K, BlackJack-28.880; 44. Kyle Hirst, 73x, Ford-NT.
FIRST HEAT:: (10 laps) 1. Stockon, 2. Schuerenberg, 3. Spencer, 4. Meseraull, 5. R. Williams, 6. Henry, 7. B. Bender, 8. Schwarz, 9. McIntyre. 2:48.35
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Darland, 2. Leary, 3. D. Gardner, 4. Hines, 5. Rutherford, 6. Aden, 7. Cooper, 8. Alexander. NT
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Faas, 2. Stanbrough, 3. C. Williams, 4. Roa, 5. Swanson, 6. J. Vander Weerd, 7. LeDuc, 8. Denome. 2:51.47
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Gaunt, 2. Cardey, 3. Windom, 4. R. Vander Weerd, 5. Kaeding, 6. Hirst, 7. Hendricks, 8. Bezio, 9. Case. 2:50.46
FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bernal, 2. R. Gardner, 3. Clauson, 4. A. Williams, 5. Carlile, 6. Ballou, 7. A.J. Bender, 8. Everhart. 2:47.35
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Rutherford, 2. R. Williams, 3. Henry, 4. Kaeding, 5. Ballou, 6. J. Vander Weerd, 7. Alexander, 8. Aden, 9. Bezio, 10. McIntyre, 11. Hendricks, 12. Swanson, 13. A.J. Bender, 14. Cooper, 15. B. Bender, 16. Case, 17. Perkins, 18. Everhart, 19. Hirst, 20. LeDuc, 21. Carlile. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Jon Stanbrough, 3. Dave Darland, 4. Tracy Hines, 5. Nic Faas, 6. Thomas Meseraull, 7. Mike Spencer, 8. Chris Windom, 9. Rickie Gaunt, 10. Chase Stockon, 11. Hunter Schuerenberg, 12. Troy Rutherford, 13. Austin Williams, 14. Johnathon Henry, 15. Ronnie Gardner, 16. Robert Ballou, 17. Brody Roa, 18. Bud Kaeding, 19. Cody Williams, 20. David Bezio, 21. Richard Vander Weerd, 22. C.J. Leary, 23. David Cardey, 24. Ryan Bernal, 25. Damion Gardner, 26. Jace Vander Weerd, 27. Rip Williams, 28. Kevin Thomas, Jr. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Clauson.
**LeDuc flipped in the Semi. Bernal flipped on Lap 21 of the Feature. R. Vander Weerd flipped on the final lap of the Feature.
NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1) Mike Spencer 1407. 2) Nic Faas 1032, 3) Brody Roa 983, 4) Rip Williams 906, 5 Austin Williams 863, 6) Ryan Bernal 837, 7) Cory Kruseman 725, 8) Cody Williams, 9) David cardey 498, 10) Matt Mitchell 461, 11) David Bezio 440, 12) Richard Vander Weerd 439, 13) Seth Wilson 431, 14) Jace Vander Weerd 320, 15) Greg Alexander.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Clauson-2,042; 2-Darland-2,034; 3-Stanbrough-1,965; 4-Hines-1,834; 5-Gardner-1,751; 6-Stockon-1,687; 7-Ballou-1,684; 8-Schuerenberg-1,650; 9-Levi Jones-1,615; 10-Thomas-1,541.
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