Mrs Wags Pics are up click here!
Damion, The Demon", Gardner continues to be the one to catch. He had to overcome a stop in his heat to grab third, then win the JE Pistons Passing Masters Dash in order to start on the pole of the 30 lap main event. From there he had plenty of challengers, but in spite of a balky powerplant, according to crew chief Mike Nigh, he managed to make his TCR, Gaerte, Weld, # 45 pretty fast and wide when he needed it. The Demon acted as if he was alone on the track as he brought home another win for his team. Perhaps the green flames on his helmet are OK now? The win was his 7th in SCRA as he is rockin' now!
Steve Ostling set fast time at 16.904, the only 16 on the night, and continued his great driving throughout the evening. He was 5th in the dash and then moved up to challenge the eventual winner in the feature. He made several runs at the leader, but was unable to get by him, partially because too many colorful flags flew about every time he got close. Steve's driving of the Stress Relief Eng, Angell & Giroux, Del Mar Wire, # 29 continues to be exciting and fruitful. It was the 2nd runner-up of the young year and he will breakthrough soon.
Richard Griffin, the pointleader over Troy Rutherford, continued his march towards another successful year. Richard, driving the Temecula Valley Pipe & Supply, Arizona Race Mart, Circle C Marketing # 50 remains focused on the big picture as he is still one to beat. He had some rough riding on the tricky track, but in the end, the red flags helped to get the car better. Rutherford finished in 4th place for the 4th time in a row, as his consistency is the best in his career so far this season. One victory, plus a third and five 4th's are what he has produced so far. That is very special as he is only a few points back in that long race for the championship.
Adam Mitchell put his white charger in the mix this week. He ran second for the longest time and ended up 5th for a very good night. The team is running a "selective" schedule this year and maybe this will perk up their sponsors. Two USAC competitors took time off from the cold Midwest and had fun this week. Levi Jones came from back in cool country to finish 6th in the Crossno # 38. Cory Kruseman drove Cory Witherill's # 61 to 7th, but was up farther when the car began to sound funny?
Tony Jones made another wild showing this week, but had to run the semi when his car quit in his heat. After winning that 12 lapper, Tony charged from the 5th row up to about 4th using his preferred high groove. Unfortunately, it didn't pan out and he dropped back to the 8th in the end when he didn't take the low road.
Grandma Rosie was surely proud of her two grandsons this week as they battled hard in front of the crowd. Brian passed Steve for the main qualifying spot, in their heat. Later he rode the top into the top 5 and eventually settled for 9th on a great ride for the young Mopar driver. Jimmy "Neutron" Crawford did the best of the rookies this week in 13th as he is getting this 410 thing down.
Lance "the Rocket" Gremett looked like his nickname this week when he was on the gas and passing people all night. He ran 2nd in his heat and then 7th in the dash to get ready for a good main. In that one he was doing great, but became the 2nd to find "the rut" in the first turn and flipped out of this one. Rip Williams had been the first when he was running 2nd. Both were done for the night.
Is it my imagination or is the PAS never going to get a break in the weather. They seem to get nothing but the dreaded two w's, wet and/or windy, and this week was no exception. The wind wasn't as bad, but the dark clouds and gusty stuff not only hurts the track, but the racers and the fans. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a good day and night the next race? Maybe a rain undance?
In addition to losing Cory and John Scott to other racing, we have also lost several others due to sponsorship money. Jeremy Sherman, Danny Sheridan and Charles Davis Jr all were staples in the club last year, but now Jeremy & Charles stay in Arizona to feast on the local talent while Danny is Santa Maria bound. Mike Kirby, Bobby Graham, Gary W Howard and Casey Shuman are without rides and the fans are missing them. Kirby did get to take Buzz Shoemaker's brand new Stinger # 0 out for a maiden voyage, but he dropped out of both his heat and the semi. Howard had a night in Rick Becker's # 67 while Rick entertained some sponsors in the pits. It is a sign of the times, but maybe the economic situation will change to get these guys back full time.
Under the "Save Ventura Raceway" efforts, there is a golf tournament coming up on Monday, April 28 at Sterling Hills Golf & Country Club in nearby Camarillo. The requested donation to play is $150 per player. It will support that effort for the next racing season as we can't give up! Call Jim Crawford at 805-658-0800 ext 203 or Steve Hoganson at 805-796-3674 for more info.
This week I had the pleasure of appearing on the Racewear Sprint Car Show on RSBN.NET. The internet radio program features sprint car racing and they wanted a little of the "unwinged" action from the left coast. DJ Johnson allowed me to talk about the SCRA, the Wagtimes and other related subjects to our local racing. It was fun and he promises to have us back on later in the year to help with NWWC tour and Wagsdash collections. It was a kick and I understand you can go back in the files to hear old shows as well as tune in every Wednesday at 6 pm Pacific time to hear live what's happing in sprint car racing all over the land.
The 2003 edition of the National Speedway Directory will soon be available. The popular pocket-sized 592 page book is presently at the printers, It will list over 1,420 auto racing facilities located in the U.S. and Canada. The comprehensive information will include phone numbers, addresses, directions to get to the tracks, webpages, nights of operation, etc. for oval tracks, dragstrips and road courses. It also has extensive data on the various sanctions, print and internet publications and racing related museums. The new edition of the National Speedway Directory is available by sending a check or money order for $12.00 (which includes postage) for one copy to: National Speedway Directory, PO Box 448, Comstock Park, MI 49321-0448. They do not accept credit card or COD orders.
I am in Arizona on Biz, so hope to coordinate Mrs Wags pics for this week very soon! I might also update this edition as I had to rewrite after my computer went splat and I lost the first two hour rendering. I may have forgotten something important!
SCRA standings as of 4/13/03
1. Richard Griffin 452, 2. Troy Rutherford 442, 3. Damion Gardner 395, 4. Rip Williams 323, 5. Steve Ostling 320, 6. Mike English 314, 7. Rickie Gaunt 290, 8. Mike Spencer 273, 9. Levi Jones 249, 10. Tony Jones 215, 11. Cory Kruseman 211, 12. Adam Mitchell 201, 13. Lance Gremett 179, 14. Rodney Argo 158, 15. Verne Sweeney 148, 16. Jerry Coons, Jr 135, 17. Bryan Stanfill (R) 132, 18. Tracy Hines 121, 19. Jeremy Sherman 117, 20. Jimmy Crawford (R) 114, Bobby Cody 114