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It was Wagsmule retrieval day and the overcast skies in Ventura meant for a great track as the dirt miester, Jim Naylor, did it again. The 38 sprint cars ready to battle included three SCRA dudes and the local hero took the win, but it was no runaway. The track was racy all night and the racing top notch as the VRA, I didn't stutter, put on a whale of a show for the fans.

Here are a few pics from Norm Bogan. Click here!!!

Greg Taylor started on the front row for the second week in a row and wanted to win again. Like last week, he went backwards at the start as three others tried to take the gold. The opening leader was, surprise, Luis Espinoza as he pulled away from Taylor right away. Then Jeremy Ellerston put on a show, cranking under the leader to take the lead! He has improved tremendously since we last saw him, but he got caught in what Naylor calls the Bermuda triangle and spun out on the bottom of the track. He did it a second time, but was fast and fun to watch until then.

Luis went back to the lead and Mike Knopf became the challenger as Troy Rutherford and Chris Wakim, both back a ways on the start, came flying forward. Chris from row four and Troy from row six, and they were both on the move up top. Mike Kirby looked like he was going to follow Troy early on, but traffic took care of him, as one car was fast enough and wide enough that Mike wasted 15 laps before getting around him. The wild up front battle lost Espinoza to a flat tire and then Wakim swept into the lead ahead of Knopf as Rutherford moved in. Taylor was hanging in there, but seemingly out of it now, especially when Rutherford went by and there was but a lap left. It was Wakim, Rutherford and Taylor in that order as they went down the backstretch for the last time. "Rambo" Rutherford put a major slider on Wakim and took the lead but went high and wide trying to regain control coming out of four. Chris never let up and tried to cut down under Troy for the win, but they came together. This banging slowed them down as both cars stuttered and then recovering their control, charged for the finish line. That hesitation gave Taylor the opportunity to stick his nose between the wall and the tug o' war duo, and he gassed it hard and it was just enough to squeeze by under the flag by less than a wheel at the line. And the crowd stands up and goes wild! It was a dramatic surprise finish! Both Rutherford and Wakim were fun to watch as they came roaring thru the pack to the front.

Several drivers impressed me this trip to the raciest little track by the sea! Ellerston was the first to show his stuff, but Clark Templeman III really blasted thru the pack from his 10th starting spot to get 4th. He was on the move and looked like a winner. Chris Tramel has been in the top five a lot lately and this week was no exception as Cory Kruseman's cousin got 5th again. He also gets the honorary shiny tire award for the night as I forgot to bring a bottle, again, for this good looking group of cars who really spif up their tires every week. Will "the California thrill" Perkins is back racing after a bad crash last year and won his heat, handily! Will looked good in the black # 50. Wow, good job for him as well! These guys are fast improving as the SCRA and ex-SCRA cherry pickers come to play, and are holding their own on their home court. Cory Witherill made his car look like Kruseman was in it as he pounded the top of the cushion all night like he owned the wall. He went out early in the main, surprisingly without buying the wall he danced with like most figured he would.

It looks like Buzz Shoemaker has talked Mike Kirby into having fun in his orange # 0 car on a regular basis. The team works well together and has fun together, so maybe we will see Mike regularly now. He didn't have a bad night at Ventura, but they are still searching for the right combo together. They used the Stinger with the 360 in it this race, but Mike seems to prefer the Ellis car that Buzz has, because the motor is farther forward.

Jimmy Crawford visited his home track and drove a brand new Rob Kershaw car this week and plans on bringing it to the PAS for next weeks SCRA race as "the" motor in the Jim Ruth # 25 is out for refreshing. You know how it is when you only have one motor. He missed the main by one spot as he later said the car just wasn't hooking up like the other team car does.

The Wagsmule now has some dots and Wagtimes deco that will make it easier to get around the race track and will be trailered, as soon as I figure that out, to many of the races we go to. I needed the help of a work friend, Randy Davis, to make it happen as he chauffered me to Ventura and we got Wagsmule back home after the races. I was able to use it during the night as he also fixed the little battery problem it had suffered while in the deco shop of Jim Naylor.

In the former SCRA heroes column, It looks like J J Yeley is taking no Prisoners! He won at Gas City on Friday night, then again at Lawrenceburg on Saturday so he is lighting them up back there. Cory Kruseman didn't have much luck as he broke a motor on Friday and ran 17th on Saturday. Jay Drake was 3rd and 7th, Levi Jones was 2nd and 5th as the beat goes on. Damion Gardner, currently running third in SCRA points, ran 5th in a Knoxville Midget race on Saturday night! I would have liked to see that!

I wonder how many caught the latest WOO press release about the disagreement with a sponsor? Did you notice that the spiel ended with a statement that I have never heard or seen in print from them? It read "The World of Outlaws is still committed to bringing the world's best WINGED sprint car racing to its fans." Does that mean they noticed that traditional sprint car racing is different and we are growing?

An added date for the NWWC tour this year is for August 18 at Highland, Ill. Add that to your traveling schedule. It was also announced that the Bagley Classic will be rescheduled for the next trip to Ventura on August 30, so that is good news as we prepare for the return to the PAS for the next point race. I saw that Buckwheat won the Masters Classic, so I guess Ron Shuman didn't race!

SCRA DRIVER POINTS as of 5/24/03 1. Richard Griffin 692 2. Troy Rutherford 665 3. Damion Gardner 617 4. Rip Williams 554 5. Steve Ostling 539 6. Mike Spencer 444 7. 4 Rickie Gaunt Torrance CA 10 442 8. 6 Mike English Norwalk CA 10 431 9. 38 Levi Jones Olney IL 7 329 10. Tony Jones 328 11. Adam Mitchell 290 12. Brian Venard 256 13. Verne Sweeney 241 14. Lance Gremett 239 15. Josh Ford (R) 235 16. Cory Kruseman 211 17. Rodney Argo 195 18. Alan Ballard (R) 192 19. Bryan Stanfill (R) 191 20. 41 Bobby Cody 183

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