WagsWorld globe image WagsWorld text images




November 12, 2011

By Ken Wagner

Cold nights are tough, but it didn’t stop the Mid West invasion from dominating the front of the main at Giant Speedway in Hanford with Levi Jones looking like he was on a walk in the park as he led 30 laps with no one to challenge him. The fast track made everyone fast and little passing marked the season ending affair with 32 cars in the house. Of the few notable battles and doing some passing, was young Ryan Bernal when he got the local crowd going as he passed a few Mid West heroes near the end to get 3rd place. And of course there was the Dothead race of the polka dots that saw WAG$CA$H winner Brody Roa hold off a determined Greg Bragg in the Moosemobile for the $2000 pot for the low buck heroes. Brody was running his trusty 360 motor after breaking his new 410 at the Ovals.

For Gerry Johnson's pics Click here to view. For Korie Lafond click here to view. For Steve Lafond click here to view. For Chuck Fry coming soon? Doug Allens work is here as usual click here to view.

Levi had already sewn up his 2nd USAC championship in a row as his closest challenger Chris Windom launched his # 5 orange car very high in the air in his heat and was done for the night. Along the way, Mike Spencer won his 4th CRA championship in a row as the little red sucker just keeps on rolling thru the CRA field. Mike was 10th in the main. The track was heavy and a few had their problems out there. Nic Faas was looking to win his first championship this year but he crashed in the feature and finished a close second in the points. Bud Kaeding set a new track record of 14.793, but got on his head in the feature to end his run. Cory Kruseman got on a wild toad ride in his heat fighting for 5th place. And finally, to finish the Oh No’s, Cody Williams, who had taken a provisional in the main, stuffed his car into the fence on the second restart and we lost one of our 3 dotheads who made the main.

Danny Sheridan was the highest finishing CRA guy finishing in 9th place after winning his heat running away from the pack in the Pace Lighting sponsored little blue bugger. Kyle Larson also won his heat, but that was the last blast we saw of him when he left the feature early in the race on a red flag stop and didn’t return. Jon Stanbrough smoked heavily late and slowed down from his 2nd running spot to finish 4th, and I wonder how that motor was. Most of the heroes just ran in place, so to speak, and there wasn’t much to titillate the crowd besides the fast “stringing em’ out nicely” action on the track.

The WAG$DA$H event was a sea of polka dots as the “Magnificent 7” mighty low buckers took on the challenge during the night when they allowed me to put the red and white polka dot streamers on their cage. The rules were simple, run hard like normal and the car with polka dots running in the highest position at the end would be the 2011 WAG$CA$H Champion. Brody Roa came out on top for the $ 2000 payday of the $6000 added purse, with Greg Bragg the runner-up receiving $700 and he also received the Mark Spivey Hard Charger Award jars of Change that held $610. Brody also got an additional $25 for leading the 5th lap and $25 for leading the 7th lap (57 get it? Ron Didonato’s car number as he was the one who requested it). The 91 car was also voted the shiny tire award from the Wagtimer’s! The rest of the finishing order was Cody Williams, Cory Ballard, Jerry Welton, Cal Smith and Marty Hawkins all low buck racers who did us proud. We had three dotheads in the feature, but lost one early when Cody crashed and it left Brody and Greg to fight it out for the new WAG$CA$H trophy from Trophy City in San Jose, CA. It was polka dottish as well this year with the new look provided by my friend Trophy Dave. It was by the way the first time ever I was able to pay everyone on race night!

DA DA DA DAHHHH! Next year NEW WAG$CA$H rules! Everyone is eligible for the event with a few stipulations. The driver can have won only 1 CRA main event or less; he has to be a local CRA racer and must race at least half the races at Perris to be eligible. I might add a few more to that, but I think that should keep the money in the family. I can’t, nor could I ever really figure out who was low buck or not, so this new plan gives all the “not so experienced” drivers and their car owners a chance at the money we collect. The format of running a separate “Wagsdash” after the main event is done, gone, finished. The fact that they can just run the regular event and be part of the WAG$CA$H event is seamless for everyone. The way the fans can see who is the eligible out there is easy; they will be the cars with red and white polka dot streamers on their cage. Dothead racing, why didn’t I think of this a long time ago? Now there can be no crash and bang Wagsdash’s any more, thus saving those car owners the additional cost of one more race that night, not to mention the billboards we use to destroy at Ventura regularly. Plans right now are to run at Santa Maria next year in August with the full chili feed, or maybe a different menu, and other entertaining old Wagsdash features back, unlike this year’s skinnied down version, that is if the Wagtimer’s and I do it, Hah! This year’s mini-event was still a big success for those drivers involved, and after all that is what this Wags collection for the racers is all about, free money for the racers. In the 20 years Wagtimes Has hustled money for the low buck racers, that total is about $550,000.00. You add a few other collections I was involved in that was not part of the Wagsbucks, and the total is nearer $600,000.00!

I said early in the year I would not ask for money this year and I stuck to it, but that did affect the final purse significantly. All due to the economical bad times, I wanted to insure that those who donated did it because they wanted to, not because I ask. Next year, I will go back to asking and will have a few new wrinkles to help raise the money, so my Wagtimer’s told me this weekend. Next year’s WAG$CA$H event should be entertaining and add to the pocketbook of the racers as we have fun at the races and pass out money! If everybody will get involved “THE race within a race, polka dot style” could turn out to be real helpful to the CRA racers and fun for us all.

There are so many people on my list to say thank you to! The donators were mighty as Don Flanders, The Lafond’s, Spintech’s Ron Didonato, The Normoyle’s, CRA official Beezer, Philip Patton, The Lovgren Family (in honor of Walt James), Doug Allen, Mike Fink, Joe & Ellen Ellis, Fran and Jim Herdrich, Paul Anton, Mike Clark (who also donated most of the framed items to the auction), The Duffy’s and their large family, Greg Kaz, A & A Machine (AKA Walt Stevens) Hubcap Mike, others who handed me money and the many who bought calendars, 50/50 tickets and auction items. Thanks to Scott & Lisa Woodhouse for hosting the event, Julie Shiosaki for helping make it happen, plus those who encouraged me to keep it going after losing Ventura, and the Wagtimer’s who came to work as usual. Sonia, Tracie, Gerry (who was my photographer for the event), Kari, Krista, Mallory and Mrs Wags kept the dark booth alive. The 50/50 winner was Chuck Fry who had a pit ticket (for those who say they never win out there) and he promptly donated $100 of his $437 to next year’s race! Thank you to all and if I forgot anyone, please forgive me!

Weather, BAH! The last two CRA race weekends were littered with rainfall and no doubt hurt the fan participation, what a shame. After a storm interrupting the Oval Nationals, the final CRA race was a victim of rain until Saturday morning and surely kept many home not wanting to waste the gas on the long trip from their home to the track. Nevertheless, arrival on Friday saw things looking shaky, but we had a good forecast for Saturday and the show, thank goodness went on. Promoter Scott Woodhouse had a smile on his face when I checked out the muddy infield early on Saturday and said no rain and we were a go! Talk about confidence, it didn’t look so dry to me, but the blue skies prevailed and we never got a drop of wet all evening. It didn’t work out as well for our collections as the later arriving fans that came after dark didn’t stream by us like we are used to. Our location was without light and I didn’t bring my portables, so many didn’t see us over in the corner or knew what we were up to partly because it was not our normal crowd. Thanks to Bobby G for announcing the details and letting the fans know something special was happening besides three USAC champions getting their laurels. I missed my mule, but was able to sneak in my car a time or two without plodding thru the muddy infield. I did get physically stuck on the track after the race when we were presenting Brody’s trophy to him, but didn’t hit a rut or get on my head like the week before! I am unhappy with the official who said the heavy gate leading to the track wouldn’t open and we all climbed over the thing with challenging results. On our way out it was magically open? Hmmmmmmmm it figures!

The year ends with a lot of positives for many. The PAS had more cars weekly than the other CRA locations except for Chico which blew me away with 49 cars! Perris averaged 34 cars per race and the road average was 29 in a total of 21 races on the year. The overall average was nearly 32 cars and that is very acceptable in this economy. Last year’s numbers were 31 cars per race at Perris and a road average of 30 with the overall car count at 26 per race over 24 Races. In 2009 it was 38 cars per race at Perris and the road average was the same with 38 the overall average for 21 races. In 2008 it was about a 32 car average overall. That all said, we actually are actually keeping up with the last 4 years as the average around 32 is still lookin’ pretty good! The 410’s are not dead and mark my words, help is on the way!

For me, it was a pretty long year with some highs and some lows. I enjoyed Calistoga’s zest, Chico was a shock and a good race with Kyle Larson’s win, Perris 4th of July race was good to see a big crowd, I was so surprised that Canyon racing was boss, the annual Chili Bowl outrageous, I enjoyed the trips with the Danny Sheridan bunch, my Mule on the road with Beezer was often a lifesaver, Bud Kaeding’s win at Hanford impressive, Matt Mitchell slide jobs, some of Indiana Sprint Week was fun, but a dusty Lawrenceburg wasn’t, Austin Williams first big win, Nic Faas Dean Thompson sweep at the PAS, Brian Caluson’s sweep of Canyon Raceway, Nic Faas domination on the opening night of the Ovals, watching Ryan Bernal and seeing the car counts stay steady as we climb out of this economic crunch. I can’t wait until next year, but my retired budget is smashed!

Just so you know, old folks are regularly challenged and often losing things. The guy who asked where his glasses were and then someone points to the top of his head, is always shocked. Well I had one of those incidents this week as my losing track of things continues to amaze me, once I find the missing item. This time it was my comb. I have sooo much hair that I need to keep combed, so it was disturbing when I thought I had lost it, again. I always carry a spare in my travel bag, so I whipped that one out and put it in my front pocket where I always keep my comb, without fail. When I got home from Hanford eureka, I found it! It was in my back pocket where I never put it. Hmmmm, am I losing it? Always a matter of opinion.

To all have a great thanksgiving and Xmas Holidays as we wind down 2011. Keep yourself together and think 2012 CRA racing! It’s the best thing going, so let’s make it better. Help someone next year! A tire, a part, a $20 bill, it all helps! Sweet dreams as I now go off to my winter B Ball fun, I love it! I might show at the Ventura Midget race this weekend, you never know where I will turn up.

11/12/11 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Levi Jones, 2. Keith Bloom Jr., 3. Ryan Bernal, 4. Jon Stanbrough, 5. Tracy Hines, 6. Bryan Clauson, 7. Damion Gardner, 8. Peter Murphy, 9. Danny Sheridan, 10. Mike Spencer, 11. Danny Faria Jr., 12. Rip Williams, 13. Bobby East, 14. Robert Ballou, 15. Hunter Schuerenberg, 16. Brody Roa, 17. Greg Bragg, 18. Geoff Ensign, 19. Bud Kaeding, 20. Richard VanderWeerd, 21. Kyle Larson, 22. Nic Faas, 23. Troy Rutherford, 24. Cody Williams. NT

**Kruseman flipped during the first heat. Windom flipped during the third heat. C.Williams flipped at the start of the feature. Faas flipped on lap 1 of the feature. Kaeding flipped on lap 15 of the feature.

FINAL AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-Spencer-1,253; 2-Faas-1,178; 3-Matt Mitchell-1,073; 4-Austin Williams-741; 5-Bragg-651; 6-C.Williams-646; 7-Sheridan-614; 8-R.Williams-588; 9-Rickie Gaunt-520; 10-D.Gardner-507.

FINAL AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Jones-1,668; 2-Windom-1,569; 3-Stanbrough-1,434; 4-Schuerenberg-1,408; 5-Hines-1,303; 6-Gardner-1,296; 7-Ballou-1,269; 8-Clauson-1,237; 9-Dave Darland-1,119; 10-East-1,028.

Next CRA race February 25 @ Perris - Chili Bowl January 10-14.

Wagsworld Back Issues: