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By Ken Wagner 6/19/05


Super Rickie Gaunt won his second Valvoline USAC/CRA series race in a row driving the Smiley Crane Service, Extreme Chassis Co., Chargin, Extreme # 2A sprinter at Santa Maria Speedway this weekend. Rickie grabbed the lead from teammate Charles Davis Jr on lap 9 and led the rest of the way. His last win at the scenic facility was in 1991 in a wing car. It was the largest crowd at the race track in three years.

Mrs Wags was MIA, so here’s what little I did get Click here.

Rickie held off the point leader, Rip Williams, the last half of the race and later said in the winners circle, “I couldn’t of held em’ off for 5more laps, I knew the Ripper and the Demon were back there and they let me have my way”. It was Rickie’s 19th non-wing sprint car win putting him 23rd on my all time compiled list.

It was another good night for the Ripper, Rip Williamsin the John Jory Corporation, Weld Wheels, Stinger, Shaver # 3. He set fast time, finished fourth in his heat and started eighth in the Main Event. When he took over second, it was too late to catch the winner, but he scored his third straight runner-up finish and tenth podium of the year.

Damion Gardner hasn’t been on the podium since his last win on May 21st. In those three races he was 10th, 15th and 19th with a variety of problems. This week he was second in his heat and jumped the Temecula Valley Pipe & Supply, Arizona Race Mart, Eagle, Shaver # 50 back in second place in the point standings. The Demon took a wild ride at the small oval in a rebuilt car after last weeks crash at Perris.

With two incidents on the first two starts of the 30 lap race, three of the front three drivers became the rear three before Charles Davis Jr swept out to a quick lead on the third attempt to start the main event. Cory Kruseman was in the mix until his motor began popping and he fell back to 18th, barely running at the end. Danny Ebberts came from his 12th place starting spot to get fourth and was the hard charger of the night. Local driver, Davey Pombo put on a good show for his fans as he was 5th quick, won the Semi, started 9th in the main and finished 5th.

Local driver, Danny Sheridan was up to do well for his fans at his home track, but it didn’t turn out very well. On the first start of the main event he was outside the front row next to Jordan Hermansader. Jordan took the lead and when they went down the backstretch, Danny promptly moved around for the lead, but the two cars touched and he spun to a stop. Two guys going for the lead on the start, and it always seems to bring out problems. Danny restarted at the back only to have something break and he was officially the first car out. The restart sent Hermansader and Josh Ford to the rear after another brain fade incident, this time in turn one. It was wild out there.

Tyler Brown won a wild and exciting midget race at Santa Maria after one incident took the top four out on one scrum. A good field, less Wally Pankratz making his last appearance here and blowing the motor in hot laps, added a racy event tot he night.

The PAS made a schedule change this past week. The USAC/CRA race scheduled for July 16th has been moved forward one week to July 23rd, to allow anyone running Indiana Sprint week to fly home after it ends on Friday night to run Perris on that Saturday. If they left a car home, it will work, but no hauler is going to make it from Indiana to Perris the next night and not break any speed laws.

It was sad to hear Dave Strickland Sr passed away.

Happy fathers day to all it applies. I had three grandsons with me on the trip to Santa Maria and we left before the stocks were done in order to get home by 2:30 AM. Imagine the three sleepers rolling down the highway while grandpa toiled behind the wheel. They washed the car and fixed me a burger on my day, so it was a happy fathers day.

John Scott some of you may remember left to go run USAC in Indiana. He struggled, but didn’t give up and at Limo, Ohio on Friday he ran 10th behind winner Levi Jones. Saturday he did one better as he ran 4th at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway. Maybe a few broken bones at Anderson was just what he needed to prod him on, good job John!

VALVOLINE USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: June 18, 2005 – Santa Maria, California – Santa Maria Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-13.697; 2. Cory Kruseman, 38, Crossno-13.790; 3. Charles Davis, Jr, 8A, Smiley-13.820; 4. Davey Pombo, 3P, Pombo-13.850; 5. Damion Gardner, 50, Chaffin-13.867; 6. Josh Ford, 73, Ford-13.884; 7. Rickie Gaunt, 2A, Smiley-13.887; 8. Rodney Argo, 19, Argo-13.895; 9. Danny Sheridan, 18, Kittle-13.939; 10. Jordan Hermansader, 21A, Dorathy-13.997; 11. Alan Ballard, 97, Ballard-14.102; 12. Mike Kirby, 4, Alexander-14.104; 13. Danny Ebberts, 77, Acosta-14.205; 14. Bobby Cody, 41, Cody-14.233; 15. Tom Stansberry, 48, Bach-14.342; 16. Jimmy Crawford, 17C, Crawford-14.408; 17. Mike Knopf, 5K, Knopf 14.420; 18. Seth Wilson, 17, Racing Optics-14.637; 19. Dennis Rodriguez, 20, Rowher-14.940; 20. Nadine Keller, 16, Keller-15.008; 21. Thad Bennett, 77x, Bennett-15.150.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Crawford, 2. Ebberts. 3. Gaunt, 4. Williams, 5. Hermansader, 6. Pombo, 7. Rodriguez. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Cody, 2. Gardner, 3. Knopf, 4. Ballard, 5. Kruseman, 6. Keller, 7. Argo. NT

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Wilson, 2. Sheridan, 3. Stansberry, 4. Davis, 5. Ford, 6. Kirby, 7. Bennett. NT

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Pombo. 2. Kirby, 3. Keller, 4. Rodriguez, 5. Bennett. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Rickie Gaunt, 2. Rip Williams, 3. Damion Gardner, 4. Danny Ebberts, 5. Davey Pombo, 6. Alan Ballard, 7. Bobby Cody, 8. Tom Stansberry, 9. Mike Kirby, 10. Jimmy Crawford, 11. Josh Ford, 12. Mike Knopf, 13. Seth Wilson, 14. Charles Davis, Jr., 15. Dennis Rodriguez, 16. Todd Bennett, 17. Nadine Keller, 18, Cory Kruseman, 19. Jordan Hermansader, 20. Danny Sheridan. NT

**Argo and Keller flipped during the second heat.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-8 Davis, Laps 9-30 Gaunt.

NEW USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-Williams-945; 2-Gardner-840; 3-Kruseman-813; 4-Davis-787; 5-Kirby-781; 6-Gaunt-684; 7-Ballard-463; 8-Wilson-462; 9-Ford-461; 10-Tony Jones-447.

NEXT USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: June 25 – Perris (CA) Auto Speedway

USAC Midget results:

Main 30 laps: 1. Tyler Brown, 2. Michael Graves, 3. Rob Russell, 4. Brad Galedrige, 5. Jerome Rodella, 6. Robby Flock, 7. Scott Pierovich, 8. Garrett Hansen, 9. Garrett Boyden, 10. Michael Trimble, 11. Chris Rahe, 12. Shannon McQueen, 13. Thomas Messeraul, 14. Quinton Sall, 15. Matt Mitchell, 16. Dallen McKenney, 17. Ryan Kaplan.

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