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By Ken Wagner 7/23/05

Damion Gardner returned from Indiana Sprint week to capture his 8th Valvoline USAC/CRA event of the year in a car he sold to Kevin Urton several years ago. The Demon set fast time for the 14th time this season and started eighth in the 30 lap feature. He took the lead from Rip Williams on lap 27 and won going away. The team’s familiar red car was still in Indiana for more racing, so they acquired the old silver and green version Damion had driven to numerous wins, and he didn’t skip a beat.

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Damion drove the silver and green, Temecula Valley Pipe & Supply, Arizona Race Mart, Eagle, Shaver # 50 car to second in the dash and third in his heat before his main event heroics. In the winner’s circle he said “Kevin still had all the green stuff and I knew if I was patient, I could win. They were all over the track crossing over and it was fun.” That was after first finishing his cell phone conversation with crew Chief Bruce Bromme Jr who was in Indiana preparing the red car for a race the next day.

Rip Williams finished second on the night after setting second fast time in qualifying in the John Jory Corporation, Weld Wheels, Stinger, Shaver, black # 3 car. He still maintains over a 100 point lead over Gardner as the club hits the half way point in the season the next race at Skagit. Rip won his third Snap-on Tools Trophy Dash of the year as he leads that category. Rip was pressuring the early leader, Cory Kruseman hard when Cory’s car quit on the backstretch of lap 16. Rip held the lead until a scintillating battle with the Demon the last ten laps of the race. Their spirited duel was wheel to wheel and a couple of touches between the two no nonsense drivers highlighted the finish.

Danny Sheridan had his second straight podium finish as ”Showtime” definitely put on a show challenging The Kruser for the lead early and holding off a fast closing Kirby at the end. Danny drove the El Camino Pipe & Supply, Red Line Oil, Stinger, Pick # 18 car owned by the Kittle brothers like he wanted his first win bad! Look for him to get that win soon and maybe Santa Maria would be a good place for it since he’s from there. The afternoon had some real wide scattered sprinkles in the pits as it poured at nearby Hemit, but no appreciable rain fell on the track. Danny was thinking early in the afternoon how he could race up to Santa Maria if it rained out.

Mike Kirby ran 2nd in his heat and started 13th in the main event. On the opening lap he combined with the blues brothers tag team, Rickie Gaunt and Charles Davis Jr with all three of them stopping on the track. Mike pushed off to go to the back followed by Rickie after he changed his flat tire, but Charles was stuck in the work area. Kirby moved thru the pack very well and finally got up to 4th for the best passing job of the night. Rickie came back to 7th for a good effort there.

A new rookie showed up this week with a brand new car and no experience in a 410 sprinter. Robert Ellis, son of Bob Ellis (and brother of chassis man Dave Ellis) has a lot of midget experience, but no sprint cars. He did well on the night with some hard sideways running and no boo boo’s.

Cory Kruseman has been running Indiana Sprint Week for a while. He has won a lot of races in this series and added three more to his total and his second Sprint Week title. He drove the Keith Kunz # 67 car to three wins, a third, a fifth and two 8th place finishes on the seven nights to edge last year’s champion, Levi Jones. Damion Gardner also made the trip and his best finish was a 2nd to Cory at Haubstadt.

The news at 11 story goes something like this. After almost 29 years bleeding green at Kawasaki, I have resigned and will take some time to sort out what I want to do with the rest of my work life. I will be checking my options to stay in the my computer field, move into something in racing, or just find a job I can enjoy and succeed in. If I don’t find what I want, it may be time to move to our retirement home in Las Vegas and relax. I don’t intend to change my current racing efforts and will be working on my Wagsdash collections for the race only three months away.

I have a lot on my mind this week, what with breaking a toe and hobbling around, and will not be attending the Skagit race, but will root the boys on. At this time about 18 cars are making the trip with at least two getting rides up there.

VALVOLINE USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: July 23, 2005 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Damion Gardner, 50, Chaffin-16.637; 2. Rickie Gaunt, 2A, Smiley-16.747; 3. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-16.768; 4. Mike Spencer, 44, Engstrom-16.830; 5. Steve Ostling, 5, Keller-16.961; 6. Josh Ford, 73, Ford-17.000; 7. Bobby Graham, 14, Lancaster-17.070; 8. Danny Sheridan, 18, Kittle-17.135; 9. Cory Kruseman, 38, Crossno-17.167; 10. Troy Rutherford, 11, Wilkerson-17.169; 11. Bobby Cody, 41, Cody-17.198; 12. R. J. Johnson, 15AZ, Martin-17.238; 13. Mike Kirby, 4, Alexander-17.316; 14. Charles Davis, Jr., 8A, Smiley-17.332; 15. Jordan Hermansader, 92, Sertich-17.424; 16. Tony Jones, 87, Vermeer/Ferreira-17.433; 17. J. Hicks, 66, Miller-17.490; 18. David Cardey, 59, Giardina-17.506; 19. Greg Bragg, 33, Blair-17.654; 20. Tom Stansberry, 48, Bach-17.978; 21. Joshua Williams, 34, Williams-18.070; 22. Brandon Springstead, 36, Springstead-18.493; 23. Robert Ellis, 43, Ellis - 18.703; 24. Matt Stewart, 85, Stewart-18.883; 25. Seth Wilson, 17, Racing Optics-20.544.

DASH: (3 laps) 1. Williams, 2. Gardner, 3. Spencer, 4. Gaunt. :51:30

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Kruseman, 2. Kirby, 3. Gardner, 4. Ostling, 5. J. Williams. 2:57:28

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Davis, 2. Ford, 3. Cardey, 4. Rutherford, 5. Springstead, 6. Gaunt. 2:56:50

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Hermansader, 2. R.Williams, 3. Cody, 4. Bragg, 5. Graham, 6. Ellis. 2:56:46

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Jones, 2. Sheridan, 3. Johnson, 4. Spencer, 5. Stansberry, 6. Stewart. 2:56:73

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Gaunt, 2. Graham, 3. Wilson, 4. J.Williams, 5. Stansberry, 6. Hicks, 7. Springstead, 8. Ellis, 9. Stewart. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Damion Gardner, 2. Rip Williams, 3. Danny Sheridan, 4. Mike Kirby, 5. Mike Spencer, 6. Josh Ford, 7. Ricky Gaunt, 8. Bobby Graham, 9. David Cardey, 10. R.J. Johnson, 11. Greg Bragg, 12. Troy Rutherford, 13. Josh Willaims, 14. Seth Wilson, 15. Jordan Hermansader, 16. Bobby Cody, 17. Tony Jones, 18. Cory Kruseman, 19. J. Hicks, 20. Steve Ostling, 21. Tom Stansberry, 22. Charles Davis, Jr.. NT

**Stansberry & Cardey flipped on lap 4 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-15 Kruseman, Laps 16-26 R.Williams, Laps 27-30 Gardner.

NEW USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-R.Williams-1,119; 2-Gardner-1,010; 3-Kirby-946; 4-Kruseman-939; 5-Davis-901; 6-Gaunt-811; 7-Spencer-591; 8-Jones-564; 9-Ford-557; 10-Ostling-522.

NEXT USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: July 29 & 30 – Alger, WA – Skagit Speedway

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