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April 10, 2010

By Ken Wagner

SURPRISE, when it looked like David Cardey would get his first win this season the last race at Perris two weeks ago, suddenly the rear-end gears broke while he was leading at the halfway point in the 30 lapper. That was Mike Spencer’s opportunity as he missed the jumble of cars behind David, and got around first and won going away. This week, SURPRISE, when Cardey was again leading with four laps to go on a restart and looked in control, again, it looked a little like a familiar rerun of the last race. Once again he had Danny Sheridan and Matt Stewart right behind him just like the last race. As he took the green in front of the flagmen, the car sputtered as he - ran - out - of - gas! And just like last race, the scramble behind him was fierce as he slowed in front of the pack. Danny was taking the low line to try and root Cardey up so he could take the lead on that fateful restart, but suddenly he was stalled next to the leader with Greg Bragg forced up on the track by another car trying to root the bottom as well. And SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE (sayeth Jim Nabors a long time ago) the wideopen high line was Bragg’s path to victory when he got to the lead just ahead of the little blue bugger and held on for the four laps to win his first ever CRA race.

For my pics Click here. For Doug Allen's work Click here.

What a finish and it made my long drive home very busy remembering the frantic action at the end of the 5th CRA race of the year. It was Tom and Laurie Sertich’s 3rd all time win with their Moosemobile, and a very happy Greg Bragg’s first. Greg had fought his way thru some heavy traffic to get into 4th just in time for the last restart of the some 65 plus laps of the 30 lap race. Were there some yellow flags, you reckon? The drive back to middle California must have been one big smile for him and his family this time. Another first time winner, isn’t it grand!

Bad news for Mike Spencer fans as he took a relatively slow motion looking crash that put the car up high and then hit so hard when it came down, it beat up the little red sucker enough for a dumpster deposit this week and didn’t do Mike any good either. Mike didn’t want to go to the hospital, but did and the check-out on his head and body was deemed OK, but battered and bruised, and he was released about the time the feature ended. Mike was more concerned about racing than his own well being. He’ll be back when Bruce Bromme Jr and his crew get another car ready for the next race in early May.

For the second race in a row, Smokey Showtime was on his game and had a great shot at his first win in nearly two years! Of course, it wasn’t all easy times for the Kittle Krew as Randy and his Rad Boys worked on some smoke blowing incidental’s (they said that not me) all night. First in hot laps, the car smoked badly and he pulled in. Then he sets fast time on the night in another pair of smokey laps as well. His heat was more smoke and when he was nearly run over by another car on the back stretch of the second lap, he pulled in with a flat and I figured the worst this time. Nooooooooo, he came back out for the Semi and smoked the first few laps before going on to win the 12 lapper. This put him 9th on the starting grid. When the main started, the little blue bugger was still smoking, but after a few laps, the blue haze following the car disappeared, and he moved right up to 2nd where he barely didn’t win. Good job by the crew that had to have the motor repaired after some rocker spring or something went bad the last race. It is their only good motor left, so they had to hustle to be ready. Word is the oil pump will be replaced?

Matt Mitchell who it turns out to be a cousin of my friend Harold Hubbs, made the podium for the second week in a row with some heady driving and was also in position to grab the lead on the last scramble with a wider race track, but it was not to be and he went home happy with his good run in his # 37 sprinter.

Tony Jones was up to his usual Cowboy antics this week after he came out late to qualify with only one lap and was left with 19th quick time out of the 27 cars that qualified. He won his heat and started in the 9th row. Ever a charger, the Cowboy moved up to 4th at the end with a sputtering motor running out of fuel at the checkers.

Cody “Cadillac” Williams had a great run tonight, until….. a lap car caught him in traffic. He had been running a strong third thru the first half of the race with Cory Kruseman trying to run under him nearly every lap. Cody was undaunted, and continued to hold his line and brush of the challenger at every thrust thrown at him. Unfortunately a lap car got in his way and he slowed and immediately collected the 21K car and was issued a pass to the back while the Kruser was on the hook. He came back to garner 13th after all that.

Nic Faas a great run while leading for 8 laps, but Cardey caught him and the young driver went backwards to 16th after that with some kind of problem. Rickie Gaunt had two slowing stops and was done for the night after winning his heat and looking strong in the # 66 Miller car. Randy Waitman, Josh Ford, Blake Miller, and Ludvig Solberg IV all came in early, but I didn’t get why.

Dennis Howell Jr was off playing in the desert last week when he got his leg banged up when a ramp broke while he was unloading one of the vehicles. He’s on crutches for a while and his sprint car driving career takes a break. The Howell legend of catastrophes continues.

With Spencer in the hospital for a check-up after his crash, Showtime Sheridan took advantage and pulled to within 12 points of the lead Mike enjoys. Nobody cares this early, but a closer race is always more fun.

I collected $110 worth of Wagsbucks and will add to it for a payout at the next Perris race as it reaches at least $150 and makes it worth it to pass on. Shiney tires laurals this week go to the Moosemobile and Cody Williams # 44. They were both glazing and a few more actually made an effort. The fans always notice!

There was some wind today to agrivate Ray Sheets, but the Lightning Sprints didn’t bother the track like the late models do and the two grooves were race nice for some great action. It was an exciting event with several leaders in the main event and some surprises, as usual. The heats were a little lackluster with several cashes taking time out. I noticed Dean Mills in house getting our CRA videographer Jeff Kristensen into the live streaming word. Mrs Wags watched from home, but admitted it was not like being there, but better than nothing! She will start her therapy on her foot this week and should be walking soon.

Not sure what my plans for this week are as the NHRA is in town here in Las Vegas, the sprints run at Santa Maria, Victorville and Ventura. It may be easier to stay home and watch the quickest cars on earth roar by. I don't do Long Beach, so that's out. I do have a lot of high school baseball with my grandson to watch, so I'll be busy. The next race is at Perris on May 29th followed by Tulare on the 30th. A good trip!

Rumor has it the VanderWeerd boys are looking for some help to run non wing in the southland. They have plenty of experienced help with their wing dates, but could use some set-up help particularly, and can pay for the right person to work with them in So Cal. They have done pretty good considering that they have little experience without a wing and would like to do more with CRA.

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Greg Bragg, 2. Danny Sheridan, 3. Matt Mitchell, 4. Tony Jones, 5. Jimmy Crawford, 6. Austin Williams, 7. Ronnie Gardner, 8. Richard VanderWeerd, 9. R.J. Johnson, 10. Cody Kershaw, 11. David Cardey, 12. Jace VanderWeerd, 13. Cody Williams, 14. Royal Adderson, 15. Mathew Shedarowich, 16. Nic Faas, 17. Cory Kruseman, 18. Randy Waitman, 19. Josh Ford, 20. Blake Miller, 21. Ludvig Solberg IV, 22. Rickie Gaunt-NT

**Notes: Spencer flipped during the start of the Second Heat and was transported to a local hospital for observation,

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-8 Faas, laps 9-27 Cardey, laps 28-30 Bragg

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-Spencer-208; 2-Sheridan-196; 3-Damion Gardner-187; 4-Jerry Coons Jr.-171; 5-Mitchell-161; 6-Crawford-155; 7-Tracy Hines-154; 8-Henry Clarke-150; 9-Chris Windom-147; 10-Kruseman-147. NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: May 29 – Perris (CA) Auto Speedway

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