Cory's "win it or wear it" attempt fails!
Mrs Wags pics are now here!
The Cowboy came out firing this week after two races in a row of not finishing the main event at Perris. The determined look was not lost on me early in the night, as his focus was to make up some ground on the point leader Kruseman, and win his first race at Ventura. Driving the Ferreira Dairies, Avenger Race Cars of El Paso, VGI Graphics, # 87 wrenched by his dad, Bubby Jones, he did all the above. When you beat the Kruser on his home track, that is something to cheer for, and the young Cowboy had plenty to cheer about on this week's podium appearance as he pulled to within 12 points of the leader. Of course after the race Bubby said it was all car as he smiled at his son proud as can be!
Tony was 12th quick on the night as the "new clay" manicured track made laps look risky for some and smooth for others early in the night. He ran 2nd in his heat and won the dash to earn the pole position for the 40 lap main event. From the get go, he was tenacious on the bottom, holding off an aggressive John Scott with Super K, Mike Kirby, moving in for the kill behind them. When Cory went by the leader on the top, and the ensuing red flag happened, The pause allowed some changes to the car and driver combo's. Tony came back on the restart to move up his line. He then caught up with the new leader and snookered Cory in traffic. That reinforces the theory that it is often better to run second to see what the leader is doing before making your move. Tony did a monster job in traffic for this win as he continues to grab the big ones. This was his 2nd win of the year and 12th SCRA victory in his short career.
Mike Kirby had a fun night. It started out with him qualifying 3rd, thus making his eventual route to the podium much easier. He then took Julie Shiosaki on her first ride in a sprinter and then he shoed the Kruseman two-seater for 2 other customers as well. Julie's ride might have been the best of all as Mike introduced her to the berm, up close and personal! Actually, it was both of them on their first time in the car as Mike hadn't drove it yet. Julie is the Anchor's Away Travel agent who also doubles as a Wagtimes worker at the track. Cory was so busy during the night that Mike and "Sheriff John" Wright handled most of the $100 customers while he concentrated on the number 1 car. Mike then went on in the Statewide Towing, Geurin Moble Home Service, Western Steam Systems, # 5 to run 4th in the dash and finish a close 2nd to the winner in the main. Mike runs this track exceptionally well and when Cory spun to a stop, it gave him a chance to add to his leading number of wins here with a last lap pass. Check out his driving suit when you see him. Kyle Griffin designed it and it looks somewhat electric in pictures, but sedate in person. Kind of like Steve Kinser's car number's on his green # 11 car.
John Scott won the last time we raced here and had a good look at the win this time. He ran third and pressed hard the entire race. No word on when John will be off to Silver Crown land, but he is doing well now with the SCRA. John's sharp looking Pace Electronics, Pro Prep, Design Works Custom graphics, # 83 earned the 10th qualifying spot. Hollywood Scott was 3rd in his heat and 2nd in the dash to get his good start in the main event. He really was hungry for this one.
Cory had a busy two days. First, he flew back to Indiana to run on the tiny quarter mile Bloomington oval that is a thrill a minute itself. Cory was late arriving there and got one qualifying lap that put him behind the locals. He ran 3rd in his heat, started 17th in the main and finished 3rd before flying back home. All he had to do when he arrived was make sure his two school cars were ready for the "rent a ride" action, be prepared to give rides in his two-seater and what else but, drive the familiar black WorldGate Networks, # 1 to the front and defend his Bagley Classic title. He started out with the fastest qualifying time at 12.239, then went out and passed to 4th and a transfer in his heat on a rough and ready race surface. He was 6th in the JE Pistons Passing Masters Dash before starting on the third row outside in the main event. While leader Jones and Scott battled fiercely for the lead in the preferred bottom groove, Cory went up top and "krused" around everybody for the lead. He began stretching it out until a red flag flew. Then Jones got back in it and the war was on. With the white flag waiving and Jones in his hard earned lead spot, Cory made a last ditch "wear it or win it" move and failed. It looked like he was looking for a gap between two cars that never materialized, and he was cooked. He banged into one of them and stopped on the track, finishing 12th after restarting at the back. If it had worked it would have been a sensational move, but it made Tony's pass in heavy lap traffic the Wagsmove of the week for the win!
During the last two weeks, Jim Naylor added some new clay to his racetrack and spent hours remixing the dirt to get closer to perfection. It wasn't quite up to his standards at first, but there were no complaints when the main event came around, especially after he did one of his quick blade scrape jobs, and the resulting smooth surface pleased the racers and fans. The following 40 laps was a whale of a show without interference from earlier ruts that plagued a few who couldn't miss them.
There was plenty of trouble in river city for many during the night, oh Nellie! Charles Davis Jr broke an axle while leading his heat, and they all missed him! He had to come from way back in the semi to make, and finally finish a main in a while, running 9th on the night. Jarrett Chaney had three "ooops" during the night getting his experience in crashing 101. The "best" was a perfect flip down the front stretch that was like, flipping a pancake over one time, when he landed back on his wheels and ready to go again. He restarted that time with no damage, but ended up on his head again a little later, and got $165 worth of Wagsbucks for the night, later. Greg Taylor, local VRA point leader ran a great heat to qualify for the main, but got involved in the first main skirmish and was officially the first one out. On that incident, Adam Mitchell was also out with a battered racer.
Jimmy Thompson managed to set a "crash the billboard" record when he nailed the largest advertising billboard on the backstretch and knocked down, oh maybe a dozen or more 4 x 8 pieces of the tall Derby signage, right at curfew time! So lets add this up. Naylor pays a fine for going over curfew and has to rebuild his biggest billboard at his own expense all in one shot. Maybe the cost of the billboards should go up to the advertisers. Maybe we need to pack this house next time, as I wonder where all the traveling SCRA fans were this week, we had room for you absentees! Team Jory had a rough night this race on the fast paced action night. Rip Williams and Mike English seemed to be battling each other with the two black cars seemingly in the same frame all night. Mike beat Rip to win their heat, then they battled in the main for practically 30 laps, with Rip finishing in 16th and Mike 17th. Rip celebrates his 46th birthday on May 5th, so maybe he will be running the Senior division as well when we come here next time? Not a chance!
"Terrific Tom" of Thunderhead race wear continues to amaze me. Tom is the guy that has a very unique graphic sweatshirt design that everybody loves, plus all kinds of other sprint car stuff, including a neat watch. He has a booth at Ventura every time we go there. He also sells at the Chili Bowl and works hard at his business whenever I see him. He has been creating money for the Wagsdash for several years through his "gimic" ideas that seem to work very well. He's aggressive and committed to do what he feels is needed. This week, on his own, he sold Thunderhead bumper stickers for a buck and numbered each one for a drawing that put one of his watches in a donator's hand. Wow, he sold over 100 of these as he hustled the crowd. The money goes directly to the tour tow money and my hats off to this energetic guy who takes the time to get involved and help others. The racers thank you Tom. Now, everyone go buy his stuff!
Another smiling pit was fun to be in after the races tonight. There are always many happy faces among the crowd, but some just seem to glow more. Gary W Howard could be considered a journeyman sprint car driver. For years he has been in the hunt for his 1st win and his recent performances in the Jim Ruth # 25 convince me he just might snatch one sometime soon. Gary drove to fourth tonight after getting whacked out of last week's feature while running up front. Gary has been really doing well in the Ruth sprinter and his enthusiasm speaks for itself. Just watch him as a little birdie has been pushing him to do better and it is working.
Jack Keene, former car owner for Alex Grigoreas, has sold most of his racing equipment, except for a trailer and his "good" motor, due to a balky liver that has really set his health back. Jim is watching his diet and is spending his time helping the Ruth crew on a weekly basis. That is his motor that Gary did so well with in the car, so he is trying to stay close so when he is ready to be a car owner again, he will be prepared. Last week car owner, Jim Ruth Sr, fell in the pits, or got run over by the part caddy we heard, and broke a vertebrae in his back. He is home recovering very well, but sent me a message. It was something about does that qualify him for Wagsbucks? Get well Jim, and I understand you never dropped you pipe when you hit the ground! What are you smoking?
Dave Keller, a big race fan very familiar in the pits, has presented the Wagtimes with something you will want, I guarantee it! Dave is retired and loves to build things on his miniature CNC machine at home. He has built many race-car replicas and other models over the years and is a big Tony Jones fan. You can find him in Tony's pit on most race nights. Last year Dave built a 1/10th scale RC Sprinter for the George Gervais fund to raffle off. He raise over $2000 with that green and white # 9 beauty. Now, he has done it again, only this time it will benefit two causes. Half the proceeds from the raffle go into the Wagsdash on October 26th and the other half will be split evenly with the 20 starters in the regular SCRA feature that night. The raffle tickets will be available from the Wagtimes booth when set-up, or from me at the races each week until the dash. Tickets will be $3 each or, always a bargain, 2 for $5 and 5 for $10. You will not need to be present to win, so if you don't come out west, send me your bucks and I will put you in the drawing box! Everyone will want this beauty to play with, or perhaps give to your kids or grandkids! Dave hand built the chassis, body and all the parts for this 1st class radio controlled car. He says this one has over 250 hours of labor in it. The little racer is a candy apple red color with a silver chassis. It comes complete with decals that are current and include the Wagtimes and SCRAFAN.COM logo's. Check Mrs Wags photos this week for detail pics and you will want to get your tickets. Our thanks to Dave for this very special opportunity for the Wagsdash and the SCRA.
J J Yeley, one driver who is missed in SCRA a lot, won the Hawkeye Open Wheel Classic at Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Friday night, sweeping both the USAC midget and Sprint mains. It was pavement, so J J is lookin' good in that battle. He is the defending USAC sprint car champion and was just passed over for an Indy ride that many thought he deserved. What's up with that? Oh yeah, money!
Shiny tires tonight had a special look. Wagtimer Willie Bandy made the long tow from his home in Highland to Ventura to see his 2nd race of the year. It was a tough outing, but he was smiling up in the grandstands all night. Granddaughter Krista, and her friend Malory Gardner did the picking and a surprised VRA driver, Jimmy Crawford, got the big one while World Famous Tom Downing the other. Congrats to both.
Next stop - Manzanita for the second trip there this season. Look for the SCRA travelers to try and break Jeremy Sherman's 4 race winning streak! See ya there and back at the PAS on May 18th with Dubya's home on wheels! I'm in hock forever now, but wont we have fun.