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The fireworks on the fourth of July weren't all in the sky as Cory Kruseman and Rip Williams were eliminated from the podium dance before the end, after a rousing battle between the two went awry. Then, Super Rickie Gaunt made his charge from 17th to win his 9th SCRA race in front of a super packed crowd at Perris Auto Speedway. With American flags flying everywhere, it was an exciting 30 lap main, cut down from the traditional 50 that many missed. The action on the track was almost as explosive as the fireworks in the sky later.

Super Rickie has been quiet as of late, driving the Alexander Trucking, Drake, Inc, Doug's Auto Body, # 4 to 10th place in SCRA points with but one victory this year, before tonight. Their tour hopes were questionable up to this point, but now look bright with the $3,000 win. While several others led this race, Rickie battled by the Gasman, Richard Griffin, to take the lead on lap 27 and walk away from the Cowboy and Tony Jones, at the end. Rickie, ever the jokester and funseeker, was so happy when he won, that he stopped on the track where his dad, Rickie Sr, was sitting in his push truck, that had broken down earlier, before going on to victory circle. A very popular win with the fans, he is looking ahead to the next race with glee.

Tony Jones was second quick behind Steve Ostling this week as he tried to regain some of his podium swagger after recent unhappy outings. Driving the Ferreira Dairy, Quedow Spring Water, Avenger Race Cars, # 87, he was 2nd in his heat and 6th in the JE Pistons Passing Masters Dash before lining up on the third row of the main event. The show in front of him held the crowd's attention for most of the race as the SCRA heroes were battling tooth and nail. Near the end, Tony charged after the winner the last few laps, but couldn't close the gap and had to settle for 2nd. The "Podium Cowboy" has had some real ups and downs recently and is due to go on a hot streak as the summer heats up.

The Demon, Damion Gardner, was in the Wilkerson car again this week. For this low buck racer, it is a blessing not have to tow his rig from Concord, some 400 plus miles away, but I have grown to like his wild green and silver bullet racer and miss him in it! He was 4th in his heat and started in the 7th row before cranking it up to third at the end. He is getting use to the totally different car, but still looks like he can put it in the winner's circle. The big explosion this week happened after a very heated battle between the leader at the time, Cory Kruseman, and Rip Williams. Cory led from lap 13 until an incident on lap 27 sidelined both of them. Rip had passed Cory coming out of turn four twice, and each time Cory responded to get him back by the time they went into turn one. On the last trip for them around there, Rip was right on Cory's bumper, giving the impression he was "pushing" him, and then halfway thru the turn, Cory's car started sideways until he spun to a stop. Rip also spun to a stop after that, so both went to the rear with Cory coming back to get 12th and Rip finished13th respectively. As Leroy "Too Tall" Shaver remarked near us, it was the first time he could remember two leaders getting shuffled to the back on an incident like that.

Mike Kirby returned to the wars this week after last weeks horrendous crash at Las Vegas that destroyed his car. His new one was fast with a 5th quick timing, a 4th in his heat and then winning the 6 lap dash. He led the feature for 12 laps before he started losing power, first dropping back, then pulling off with some kind of ailment that turned out to be a bad magneto. The Geurin' Mobile Home Service, Statewide Towing, Stinger, # 5 was back, but Mike probably wasn't totally recovered from his crash last week and was actually trying to get off the track.

Michael Hinrichsen had a motor grenade itself for the second Perris race in a row. It was a brand new one with only a few laps on it. That hurts as the team now must get both motors fixed to return to action. They hope to be back on the 27th, but the race finances are short and they could use some help to go on tour if they do get their motors back. Both Venard brothers, Brian in # 47 and Steve in # 49 missed this weeks show with torque tube problems in hot laps.

Charles Davis Jr continues to come up with strange problems. At Manzy the night before he only finished 2nd to Bob Ream Jr. I say only because when he has time to run Fred Bran's car during breaks, he was undefeated until this one. So after the long tow he must have felt really good and ready to battle the SCRA. Starting on the 7th row, Chargin' Charles was on the move. He rolled up behind the fast moving top 5 leaders and was looking for more, but a bleeder valve failed, and he needed a new left rear tire to rejoin the field at the back. At least they waited for him and he was able to get back to 18th with the few laps left. He must wonder why he is so unstoppable in Arizona, but so unlucky in California. This strong driver is going to knock em' dead soon, he really can't miss winning one!

Danny Faria Jr arrived in Mike Hasebe and son's new blue, instead of the traditional yellow, sprinter and was very impressive in his first ever non-wing start. He had taken off his wing for a practice last week and they figured why not go to Perris and then return home to Tulare to give it a whirl for two races. Having never driven without the top hardware, his initiation running topless was exceptional. In his heat he was a victim of a Gasman slide job, but returned the favor on the SCRA point leader by sliding him back, and then won the 10 lap race. This battle really brought the crowd alive with this "rookies" action. In the main event, he started in the back and was getting in his laps when the leaders began to lap him. I missed it, but I hear one contact with one of the front runners helped him into the wall, where the # 2 blue car was battered seriously. Just racing, but he was OK, and the car will need a front clip before it's next outing, alas no Tulare. Good to see the retired Mike Hasebe down here with his sons and still racing.

A major announcement from Don Kazarian and the PAS was made during intermission this week. The three day Oval Nationals, coming up on October 31st, November 1 & 2, will feature a $100,850 total purse this year for the event. The $30,000 to win 100 lap race should be a real dazzler. Yes I said 100 laps, and when was the last 100 lap sprint car race on dirt that you remember? It wouldn't be from that famous oval we all miss, would it? They will run 50 laps, stop for a 20 minute break to gas up and make adjustments, then run the last 50. Fuel conservation will be interesting and just maybe the small fuel cells will be left at home for this one. I have mixed emotions about this one, mostly because the only two 100 lap races I have seen were Silver Crown efforts on horse tracks and that wasn’t good. I think it will be worth checking out, so I guess I am ready. That purse and long race is BIG news and sounds like it will make this annual event even more of a premier race than ever. It is one week after the 12th annual Wagsdash at Ventura, so for you travelers, you can see both in one week! I missed the action up until the main event so can't speak for the fun there, but we raised more tow money for the SCRA tour back to PA. The total collected now is over $1800 and climbing. Thanks to those Wagtimer’s who helped out his week in our fundraising efforts, as I can't do this alone. We also collected $107 of Wagsbucks, which went to the Hinrichson motor fund after the races. Other than Faria's crash in the main, it was a pretty clean night.

Lance Gremett is still suffering from his motor shutting off when he is on the gas and racing. This has been ongoing for weeks and every time he seems to be making headway, the thing quits on him usually putting him crashed and out. Same thing this week and they reported they have changed everything on the car that could possibly be in the fuel related stuff. Somebody please help these guys!! Lance is a talented driver not getting any laps in on this his sophomore season.

John Scott had another good outing even though he started the night out running 2nd in his heat and lining up 18th on the grid for the main event. He finished 4th in the big show hustling form the back and close to the podium goal he and his crew work for each week. A former crew member of his, Bill Goforth, was out for his second race in an old Scott owned car. Bill decided he would rather drive than work on these beasts. Hah, he probably has to work even harder! During track packing, his car looked like the track was really heavy after he came off the track, it was so covered in mud. No, just a little fun by Super Rickie, the Cowboy, Hollywood and a few more that teamed up to "mud" him! He asked John after he pulled into the pits: “is it always like that out there?”

Several drivers proved the early start didn't dry out the track and was racy all night. Mike Spencer made another great passing run coming from 21st to 9th. Adam Mitchell came from 22nd to 14th as his new Avenger is working for him. They both could use a little quicker timing in order to get better main starting slots, but remember there are plenty of fast guys in this club, so it ain't easy! You might note that Bobby Graham is consistently running in the top 10 every week for car owner Glenn Crossno, and he was 8th this time. Troy Rutherford was back in Dwight Cheney's car but finished 17th on the night. Maybe this is a permanent ride and they can get more in sync with each other as Troy has proved he can drive.

Shiny Tires were abound this night as the show of stars was great. The big bottle winner was Dwight Chaney's # 21J and the runner-up was Danny Faria Jr in Hasebe's car. We continue to try and point out the extra work these crews do to make a better show for the fans. It sure doesn't make them go any faster!

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