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By Ken Wagner 7/3/05

Cory Kruseman, from Ventura, California, took the lead on lap 19 and “kruised” to a 50 lap victory in front of a packed house at Perris Auto Speedway this week. The eighteenth Valvoline USAC/CRA series race of the season was racy from the start as Danny Sheridan took the lead from the start and drove a hard line maintaining it until Cory caught him. The battle between them wasn’t settled for several laps as they swapped the lead several times until Kruseman surged ahead for good. Cory drove the ITI Performance, Sander Engineering, Bullitt, Downing engines # 38 to a heat race win before starting sixth in the main event. He quickly moved into second and worked hard to take the lead from Showtime Sheridan. There battle was fun to watch as the track didn't slick up in spite of the heat and wind.

Mrs Wags has the Firecracker 50 pics ready. Click here.

It was Cory’s fourth win of the season and 72nd on my all time So Cal list putting him in 6th there. Cory was hot in his heat, high balling it from his sixth place starting spot to win going away. After last weeks disappointment in not finishing that race, he was totally focused on taking another 50 lapper at the PAS. In victory circle he said “hopefully this gets the monkey off our back and now we can win some races.”

Danny Sheridan hasn’t had a lot of luck lately, but almost pulled his first win out this week when he finished second in the Kittle owned, El Camino Pipe & Supply, Red Line Oil, Stinger, Pick # 18. Danny tied his best ever 410 finish as he was on his game to give Cory a tough battle for his win and he stayed nearby trying to reel him in the rest of the way. Danny broke a driveshaft just as he crossed the finish line in winning his heat.

Steve Ostling had a pretty good night getting on the podium for the first time in the Nadine Keller owned car. He started 4th and dropped back to about 9th before returning up front in the Simpson, MJB Plating, Sled, Raney # 5 car. He passed the point leader for his finishing spot, and made the night a good one.

Damion Gardner had rear end problems early in the main event and couldn’t get the new gears installed before the next restart and was the first car out. Tony Jones won his second trophy dash in a row, started seventh in the main and cruised up to third before a muffler fell off the car and he also had a flat tire. He too couldn’t make it back on the next restart and was the second car out. Mike Kirby started 18th, had a flat tire midway thru the race and came from the back to get eighth. Rip Williams started 18th in the feature and finished 4th for the hard charger of the night award. Rip leads Gardner in the championship points by over 100 as he continues to pad his lead.

Verne Sweeney returned after a long absence and put his familiar # 98 on the track. He missed the main from the semi on the first night out in at least a year. Davey Pombo made his first appearance at the PAS and looked strong until he pulled off in the main.

The club will be off the next two weeks, going quiet for the Indiana Sprint Week, returning on July 23rd to the PAS. Then a two race trip to Skagit in Washington comes next with Perris and four different tracks alternating each week until October arrives. The dog days of summer are coming! I should get a little rest with the time off as I am not going to Indiana this year for the first time in a while.

VALVOLINE USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: July 2, 2005 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway – “Firecracker 50”

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Johnny Rodriguez, 7R, Priestley-16.980; 2. Damion Gardner, 50, Chaffin-16.992; 3. Tony Jones, 87, Vermeer/Ferreira-17.024; 4. Davey Pombo, 3p, Pombo-17.120; 5. Cory Kruseman, 38, Crossno-17.144; 6. Charles Davis, Jr., 8A, Smiley-17.202; 7. Bobby Cody, 41, Cody-17.227; 8. Steve Ostling, 5, Keller-17.260; 9. Rickie Gaunt, 2A, Smiley-17.318; 10. Danny Sheridan, 18, Kittle-17.345; 11. Josh Ford, 73, Ford-17.345; 12. Mike Spencer, 44, Engstrom-17.349; 13. R.J. Johnson, 15az, Martin-17.426; 14. J. Hicks, 66, Miller-17.437; 15. Greg Bragg, 33, Blair-17.476; 16. Bobby Graham, 14, Lancaster-17.550; 17. Mike Kirby, 4, Alexander-17.580; 18. Jordan Hermansader, 92, Sertich-17.600; 19. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-17.635; 20. Tom Stansberry, 48, Bach-17.670; 21. Troy Rutherford, 11, Wilkerson-17.690; 22. Jimmy Crawford, 17c, Crawford-17.733; 23. Alan Ballard, 97, Ballard-17.957; 24. Rick Becker, 67, Becker-17.977; 25. Jimmy Thornell, 25, Ruth-18.005; 26. Verne Sweeney, 98, Zoriki-18.133; 27. David Cardey, 59, Giardina-18.170; 28. Joshua Williams, 34, Williams-18.207; 29. Richard Rose, 8N, Ziegler-18.209; 30. Seth Wilson, 17, Racing Optics-18.232; 31. Ronnie Case, 8, Case-18.253; 32. Shawn Kautz, 29, Kautz-18.283; 33. Brandon Springstead, 36, Springstead-18.423; 34. Dan Hillberg, 82, Hillberg-18.487; 35. Nadine Keller, 16, Keller-18.548; 36. Jim Giardina, 58, Giardina-18.657; 37. Ryan Devitt, 35R, Blenkarn-18.663; 38. Eric Severson, 36x, Severson-18.915; 39. David Sinsley, 69, Sinsley-19.179; 40. Matt Stewart, 85, Stewart-19.393.

Snap-On Tools Trophy DASH: (3 laps) 1. Jones, 2. Pombo, 3. Gardner, 4. Rodriguez. :55:10

CONSOLATION RACE: (8 laps) 1. Springstead, 2. Keller, 3. Devitt, 4. Hillberg, 5. Sinsley, 6. Giardina, 7. Severson, 8. Stewart. 2:32:30

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Kruseman, 2. Kirby, 3. Gaunt, 4. Rutherford, 5. Johnson, 6. Thornell, 7. Rose, 8, Springstead, 9. Rodriguez. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Sheridan, 2. Gardner, 3. Davis, 4. Hermansader, 5. Crawford, 6. Hicks, 7. Keller, 8. Wilson, 9. Sweeney. NT

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. R.Williams, 2. Jones, 3. Ford, 4. Cardey, 5. Cody, 6. Devitt, 7, Ballard, 8.Case, 9. Bragg. NT

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Spencer, 2. Ostling, 3. Becker, 4. Graham, 5. J.Williams, 6. Pombo, 7. Stansberry, 8. Hillberg, 9. Kautz. 3:07:41

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Pombo, 2. Rodriguez, 3. Johnson, 4. Cody, 5. Crawford, 6. Bragg, 7. Thornell, 8. Hicks, 9. Ballard, 10. J.Williams, 11. Kautz, 12. Case, 13. Springstead, 14. Sweeney, 15. Rose, 16. Devitt, 17. Keller, 18. Hillberg, 19. Stansberry, 20. Wilson. NT

FEATURE: (50 laps) 1. Cory Kruseman, 2. Danny Sheridan, 3. Steve Ostling, 4. Rip Williams, 5. Mike Spencer, 6. Charles Davis, Jr., 7. Rickie Gaunt, 8. Mike Kirby, 9. Josh Ford, 10. Johnny Rodriguez, 11. Jordan Hermansader, 12. Troy Rutherford, 13. David Cardey, 14. Greg Bragg, 15. Rick Becker, 16. Bobby Cody, 17. Davey Pombo, 18. Alan Ballard, 19. R.J. Johnson, 20. Bobby Graham, 21. Jimmy Crawford, 22. Tony Jones, 23. Damion Gardner. NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-16 Sheridan, Lap 17 Kruseman, Lap 18 Sheridan, Laps 19-50 Kruseman.

NEW USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-R.Williams-1,051; 2-Gardner-938; 3-Kruseman-914; 4-Kirby-888; 5-Davis-880; 6-Gaunt-760; 7-Jones-537; 8-Spencer-535; 9-Ballard-519; 10-Ford-504.

NEXT USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: July 23 – Perris (CA) Auto Speedway

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