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The Cowboy chases at the end and brings the crowd to its feet!!

The SCRA made their first trip to Santa Maria this season and the Gasman remembered the road to the winner's circle at the little 1/3rd mile oval when he captured his first win of the season. It was his 38th lifetime SCRA win, tying him with Mike Kirby for 3rd on the list. The 21 car field found the sun drenched track to be tricky throughout the night, but the small close quarter action pleased the fans and sent them home talking about coming back for the next edition on July 20th.

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Richard Griffin put the Arizona Race Mart, Circle C Marketing, Madera Produce, John Boy Chassis, # 50 "Little Red Sucker" in the winner's circle and took over the points lead, now six ahead of Steve Ostling. It's not like anything is different with Richard and his crew, because the Gasman has been driving just as hard as always, but things just haven't gone as planned. Some very unlucky breaks have taken him out of his comfort zone when he was charging hard. This week, he got a big break, when the leader, Rip Williams, got into the wall on lap 26, and he took full advantage this time. The Bruce Bromme led team has been scratching their heads, but tonight, the regular smiles were more radiant than usual as they had reason to finally celebrate this year. Richard could easily go on a roll now that the winless streak is off his back.

Tony, "The Cowboy" Jones, driving the Ferreira Dairies, Avenger Race Cars of El Paso, VGI Graphics, # 87, put on a show of his own as the tricky track made anyone who wanted to go forward, fun to watch. Tony started 8th in the 30 lap main and moved up by using the "slider" technique he has mastered. After the red flag stop on lap 26 put him right up behind the new leader, it looked like Tony had something for the Gasman. He was unable to make the pass in the last 4 laps, but made it very interesting coming around the last corner with both front wheels up in the air. Tony had it all together this week and now is 3rd in points. Only 38 points separates the top four at this point in the season.

Mike Kirby driving the Statewide Towing, Geurin's Mobile Home Service, Western Steam Systems, Stinger chassis, # 5 had a good ride. He started in the 5th row and made his usual moves forward until he was on the podium at the end. Mike is so quiet, he chooses to let his driving on the track do his talking. He had a "team" car this week as he brought Troy Cline's familiar # 11 to Santa Maria for Troy's wife Denise to drive. She had her hands full on the slick track early in the night and ended up only running the main event after a qualifying incident put her car in repair "time out" in the pits. She started in the back of the main and ended up pulling off with a problem early in the race. She didn't get in enough laps to get comfortable, but probably looks forward to coming back.

Steve Ostling didn't have his best week with a 12th in the main, but is only 6 points behind new leader, the Gasman. Steve hung in there and beat Cory Kruseman to the checkered. Cory was trying out a new TCR coil over car. His car owner, Harlan Willis, is not one to stand still and took this opportunity to give this "little" change a chance. Cory was 11th quick and finished about where he started, as he became a "lap car" for one of the few times in his career. Not knowing anything about these cars and their set-up patterns, the car didn't look much different on the track to me, but Cory could better answer what it felt like to him as he couldn't find a place on the track to move forward.

Bobby Graham was in Glenn Corssno's third car that will go on the tour, the red one Glenn drove at Manzy earlier in the year. Bobby liked it so well he was 7th quick, won his heat and the J E Pistons Passing Masters Dash before starting on the pole and finishing 4th in the main event. It was his highest finish in SCRA and he looked good. Jordan Hermansader was in Graham's old ride, the Ben Lancaster # 14, this week. After finishing 3rd in his heat, he was the first car out of the main. Casey Shuman is getting dialed into Bill Pratt's # 12 and won his first heat in quite a while. The new motor from the Gardner stable has souped up the car and he hopes for more good finishes in the future. Local favorite, Danny Sheridan was driving Ron Didonato's car again this week, after a motor problem from the last race was resolved by motor man Pick. The crew also put together Danny's Stinger chassis and he set 2nd quick time and ran well all night. He was 7th in the main as Ron and his crew have burnt the midnight oil putting Danny back up front on the track.

John Scott is working so hard trying to get back to the front he visited often last year, it is frustrating him with so many "little" problems plaguing his Pace Electronics # 83 this season. This week, the crew had to replace the motor after he injured it in his heat. He finished 9th in the main, hustling all night on a track that he has won at last year. John has been having more bad luck than good as the team continues to chase that perfect set-up for him. They are so close, but I know he hates motor maladies perhaps more than anything. He wonders who is shooting at him, but better times are around the corner for John and his team, you can count on it!

The same could be said for the Rip Williams team. They have come so close lately, he has top five finishes in the last four races until this one, and he was on the verge of breaking thru this week. He had his black # 3 Gambler out front for 26 laps and looked to beat the field for his first win of the year, until a yellow flag flew for two cars spun together in turn 4. He couldn't stop his car from launching up into the fence and falling back on the track up side down. He was done, but fast until then all night.

We collected $70 of Wagsbucks, and since there was no "low buck winner" this week, it will go directly into the tour money, which is very low so far. Shiney tires were picked by Jennifer Perry, our young Wagtimer from Bakersfield whose family has deserted racing, and she decided Mike English and Tony Jones would be the winners. She didn't want to present the awards, so Emily Jones, Tony's sister, presented them with Dubya's help.

It is not often we "have" to sing the National Anthem at a race track, but this week when they went to play their tape, it wouldn't work. I remarked to a nearby fan that it looks like we will have to sing tonight. The announcer was braver than me as Jim Pluhar did a great musicless version while us dunces in the stands sort of helped out, but not much.

The scenic view and warm feeling we have when we go to this small oval is always something to experience, it always brings me back. Santa Maria Speedway is special and no matter how things go during the night, you can't help but enjoy the action on this track. This week J J Ercse, a wannabe sprint car driver, whose only chance so far was a 305 cubic inch, Ford powered car that he was driving. The owner passed away before he could get very comfortable in the drivers seat. While he is waiting for his big chance in sprints, he seems to be doing very well in the Ford Focus league and the TQ's. He won this 25 lap main easily and I might start calling him the Quizno Sub, because his domination of this group is unfair, just like that well known commercial. He he.

Sad news in the local racing community this week. Friday, Dean Thompson's dad, Bud passed away. Bud was always with the Bromme crew back when Dean drove for them in the CRA days. Bud still came to the races often with his son after Dean's retirement, and the quiet spoken man was very well liked. There will be no funeral, but a memorial service is planned. Check SCRAFAN.COM for further news. He also leaves his daughter Barbara, who has taken care of him and her mother Marge the last few years. Rest in peace Bud, you are missed.

Jack DeArmond, Sr., who raced with the CRA in the 1960's and '70's, passed away Tuesday. He was 67 years old. DeArmond died as a result of a heart attack he suffered last Saturday night at the Perris Auto Speedway while watching his son, Jack Jr. race.

I will be in Ohio this week watching some non-wing action. Look for me and ask about the RC sprinter, the Snap-on toolboxes, the tour money, Oskaloosa tickets and the Wagsdash. I have all the answers. I will be back for Perris on Saturday night.

SCRA Points as of 6/16/02 1. Richard Griffin 811, 2. Steve Ostling,805, 3. Tony Jones 791, 4. Cory Kruseman 773, 5. Rip Williams 714, 6. Mike Kirby 695, 7. John Scott 684, 8. Jeremy Sherman 674, 20 Damion Gardner 574, 10. Charles Davis, Jr 569, 11. Rickie Gaunt, 554 12. Troy Rutherford, 523, 6 Mike English 499, 25 Gary W. Howard 415, 15. Bobby Graham 405, 16. Rodney Argo 315, 17. Danny Sheridan 270, 18. Levi Jones 213, 19. Bobby Cody 213, 20. Adam Mitchell 211.

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