THE ROCKET RACKS EMí UP AT THE KINDOLL AND GASMAN GRIFFIN WINS 5TH SCRA CHAMPIONSHIP AT PERRIS!!!!
FANS HANG IN THERE FOR SURPRISE FINAL WINNER AND OFF SEASON CELEBRATIONS ARE ON!!!!!
The 2003 season is over after 40 events and it couldn't have been a more surprising ending. A very cold and windy day brought out the hardiest of fans and created a track that only a pavement pounder could love. A wind shift during the racing program made the set-up artists even more frantic to figure out the plan for the long 50 lap main. In the end, three dramatic things happened: Lance Gremett won his first ever SCRA main event, Richard Griffin won his 5th championship and car owner Ron Chaffin his 8th, and Damion Gardner squeeked into 2nd place in points nipping Troy Rutherford by 15 points. One thing for sure, tire wear was king this week at the PAS.
Mrs Wags is ready Click here for her last blast of the year!!
When you are used to winning and you step up to another level, it can be devastating when time passes and you don't start winning again. A young man can lose interest or start doubting himself and that affects confidence. Fourth year driver, Lance "the Rocket" Gremett waited for this day, but was beginning to second guess the hard work he, his dad Bob and their dedicated crew continued to put out, but for what? On November 22nd, and the last race of the season, Lance's hopes were answered. The young man was a hot rookie, but had a swooning sophomore season. This year wasn't much better as they had their share of problems and finally took a few months off to rebuild, and even passed on the Wagsdash in order to be really ready when they returned.
When the windy night started, the Rocket was 11th in qualifying and made the JE Pistons Passing Masters Dash and ran 7th in it. Do the numbers 7 come 11 mean anything. In Vegas you win on those numbers, and at Perris it looks like you win also. Lance started on the 4th row in the 50 lap main and burnt up a tire before long. After changing the worn out rubber, he just went to the front and beat the best SCRA has to offer. He did it on a track that was unbelievable slick and extremely rough on tires and ultimately many cars, because only 13 cars finished the race. So, how did this Cinderella finish happen? The Rocket, driving the Gremett Custom Cabinets, Electro Tech Powder Coating, King Components # 85, merely became very smooth as he went a tad above the groove that Kruseman and Griffin had controlled early on, and went to the front like a veteran. He didn't slip a bit, looking like he belonged there, and pulled away to a straightaway lead before the checkered flag fell. It was his first SCRA win and should give him plenty to think about in the off season. Congrats to John Baumann, the loyal crew member who has been there for the Gremett team from the start.
Levi Joneswas very good on the Indiana like track and held off a charging Damion Gardner at the end for 2nd place. Levi had the Yucaipa Auto & Trailer, ITI Performance, Carty's Collision Center, # 38 red car very close to victory as he handled everything but Lance, and that only because he couldn't catch him. Levi had a good night as he ran 4th in his heat 6th in the dash and had his best finish with SCRA this year.
The Demon Damion Gardner was strong early in the race, but had his tire problems like all of his competitors. He was amazing in his heat race where he passed 5 cars on the opening lap and went on to win. In the feature he hung in third for a long time until a tire change sent him to the back. He was a dynamo coming back to get third and put the Willis Machine, TCR, Weld # 45 on the podium again.
Other good jobs were turned in by Greg Bragg who was 6th for his best finish ever. Tony Elliott jumped in the Nadine Keller # 6 and ran like a wildman getting 5th at the end. He had the Gardner clan, who are helping the VRA driver with her car, pacing around as the track took rubber and the race continued on.
The tough luck brigade was large and painful. John Scott looked like a winner when he took the lead from Griffin halfway thru the main, but on a restart after a gas only stop, he led them off with a tire that was too low and he couldn't control the beast around the corners. The rules say nothing but gas on that kind of a stop or go to the back. He had help in getting on his head later and was done for the night. Bubby Jones has been working on John's car the last few weeks and John was very impressive until he went to the pits early.
Tony Jones didn't get any breaks as usual, and he got into the wall once on a skirmish and later came back to get 10th. The new 5 time champion Richard Griffin led twice but changed a tire and struggled back to get ninth. Rip Williams set fast time, then ran great in his heat until the motor slowed him down. He was 3rd in the semi, but scored last in the main. Brian Venard had a little setback in his recent improving string of great finishes. He was 7th quick and ran 2nd in his heat. Unfortunately, in the dash he set a high water mark on one of the back stretch billboards before landing with a beat up race car. He was sore, but the car needs serious repair over the winter. He received $200 of Wagsbucks later. Also the Jim Ruth # 25 car owner received $200 of Wagsbucks after last weeks crushing crash in the Oval Nationals.
Bill Rose (18th), Jason Yount, Jason York, Jon Stanbrough (8th), Tony Elliott(5th) and Destiney Hays were holdovers from the Oval Nationals. York was in Lowell Carsten's # 91, Elliott in Keller's # 6 and Jon Stambrough switched to Buzz Shoemaker's # 0 car. PJ Chesson landed in the 2nd Cory Witherill car and finished 17th getting crashed out as well. The Moose Racing Team was back again with Mike English in the seat. He ran strong all night to get 7th as the 92 car looked pretty strong.
Once again we must pay tribute to the Ron Chaffin racing team. Since Ron came into the SCRA with Lealand McSpadden in his # 50 car, all they have done in 9 years is win 8 car owner championships and 6 driver championships. Only Cory Kruseman interrupted their run. All of those have come under the watch of Bruce Bromme Jr with his able crew that consists of Eric Kaufman, Michael & Gary Tanaka, and a few others who come when they can, like Dean Buckley. They proved again winning is through hard work and it isn't too bad to have a good driver. Richard Griffin is far more than a good driver and he is still enjoying this racing stuff. Look for him to come back again next year and try it again.
The Wagtimes fund raising dollars collected after the Wagsdash were offered up in a cash drawing of $1000 for one SCRA lucky car owner this week. The winner was Glenn Crossno who owns car # 38 which happened to come in 2nd tonight under the hot foot of Levi Jones. The money was raised from the final quilt raffle drawing night, the silent auction of a Kruseman framed t-shirt plus the pit raffle from the work of Julie Shiosaki, Terri Bliss and Fran Herdrich that totaled up to the extra money. This drawing was just to let all car owners know that we thank them for their help as we continue to showcase the low buck teams the rest of the year.
Coming up, no make that not coming up, is the annual evening SCRA meeting. The opportunity for SCRA members to gather in a meeting room instead of the pits and discuss the future, vote on new offices or new rules and generally work on what's happening, has been called off. This is because two people are running unopposed for car owner and driver rep positions? Is it true you don't have to be one to run for one? Well, that must be a sign that everything is perfect and next year is all signed, sealed and ready to go and the car owners are in agreement on all changes. Maybe nobody wanted to travel to Phoenix for the meeting or maybe the banquet in Las Vegas will be the place to meet?
December 14 will bring the 3rd annual swap meet at Ventura Raceway. All cars and parts are welcome or anything that races. Vendor spots are $50, general admission $5 and parking will be $5. It all starts at 9 am at Seaside Park. Call 805-985-5433 or 805-649-1243 for more info.
Now for the off season, what's coming up for us? I have plans to see 11 grandkids and 5 kids, and maybe a few B-ball games, over the next two plus months, with racing taking a backseat. What's in store for next year from me and the Wagtimer's? How bout we leave that for later as I don't have a crystal ball and will be working on making next years collections easier for me and my group. The best appearing car and most popular driver will be announced at the annual Wagsbash, which should be in late January or early Feb, the date to be announced as soon as Mrs Wags tells me. Thank you to everyone who made 2003 what is was, another outstanding entertaining racing year, with hopes for more in 2004.
A FEATURE (50 Laps)
1. Lance Gremett. 2. Levi Jones. 3. Damion Gardner. 4. Cory Kruseman. 5. Tony Elliott, 6. Greg Bragg. 7, Mike English. 8. Jon Stanbrough. 9. Richard Griffin, 10. Tony Jones. 11. Troy Rutherford, 12. Jordan Hermansader. 13. Mike Spencer. 14. Alan Ballard. 15. Charles Davis, Jr. 16. John Scott. 17. P.J. Chesson. 18. Bill Rose. 19. Steve Venard. 20. Rickie Gaunt. 21. Rodney Argo. 22. Rip Williams. Laps Led: Kruseman 1-13, , Griffin 14-26, Scott 27-29, Griffin, 30-38, Kruseman 39-40, Gremett 41-50.
FINAL 2003 SCRA Point Standings as of: 11/22/03
1. Richard 2152, 2. Damion Gardner 2055, 3. Troy Rutherford 2040, 4. Rip Williams 1730, 5. Mike Spencer 1314, 6. Steve Ostling 1292, 7. Tony Jones 1226, 8. Rickie Gaunt 1116, 9. Mike English 1082, 10. Josh Ford 1070, 11. Cory Kruseman 1061, 12. Levi Jones 1048, 13. Adam Mitchell 889, 14, Alan Ballard 845, 15. Charles Davis, Jr 759, 16. Seth Wilson 628, 17. Verne Sweeney 602, 18. Brian Venard 597, 19. J.J. Yeley 592, 20. Mike Kirby 558.