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By Ken Wagner 8/21/05

The 5th annual Jeff Bagley Classic belonged to Cory Kruseman before the race even started, by my cipher, and sure enough he went on to win his third Bagley and sixth race of the year in the Valvoline USAC/CRA series. Cory held off Danny Sheridan most of the race and eventually lost the brake caliper on the left rear, but it never fell off, he just had limited brake power. He drove the ITI Performance – Sander Engineering, Bullet, Downing # 38 to victory circle for the second race in a row.

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Cory was very close to Jeff, Paul and Helen Bagley, so it was an emotional night for him as he started eighth in the main event and jumped to third on the first lap, then quickly taking care of early leader Danny Ebberts on lap five and pulling away on each of the six flag slowing stoppages. Cory was smooth in protecting his lead and grabbing his 74th lifetime west coast win, and now is only six behind hall of famer Bubby Jones on that unofficial list. After winning Cory said “I was just hanging on in the race car and I had three guardians that were up there with me the whole race”.

During some time off recently Cory finished second to Levi Jones at Terry McCarl’s Oskaloosa Raceway’s $30,000 to win event in Iowa. Cory’s overall sprint car wins must be well over 100, but who’s counting, as he is one of the best drivers in the country now and always a threat to win anytime he jumps in the cockpit of a sprinter.

Danny “Showtime” Sheridan was pretty hot this week as well, but said later “we need to tweak it just a little more and we’ll be there”! It was his second runner-up with USAC/CRA this season in the El Camino Pipe & Supply - Red Line, Oil, Stinger, Picks # 18 car of the Kittle Brothers. Danny was 11th quick in qualifying and fourth in his heat to start third on the main event grid and came home second. He had plenty of competition on his back door while he tried to pressure the Kruser into a mistake, but was happy with his results this week.

Damion Gardner didn’t set fast time this week, can you believe it! That is surprising, but he ran third at the Oskaloosa race last week. Damion was sixth quick, ran second in his heat and started sixth in the main. He patiently rocked along giving chase to Sheridan at the end, but never got in the neighborhood to challenge for the win. He did, however, pull to within 15 points of point leader Rip Williams after Ripper had a problem with a berm and dropped back to ninth. Damion continues to drive the wheels off the Temecula Valley Pipe & Supply – Arizona Race Mart, Eagle, Shaver # 12 each race and now we have a points race again.

Mike Spencer has been sneaking up on that elusive first win in his Hal Engstrom owned # 44 yellow racer. In the last six races he has five top five finishes include one runner-up spot and is pushing hard for a win. This week he set fast time at 16.971 and made his first trophy dash of the year. He missed the transfer from his heat, but won the semi and started 9th on the grid in the main event. On the start he got shuffled when they tried to go four or five wide and spun to a stop with two other cars, and went to the back with 30 laps to go. He did a masterful job moving back up to fourth by the end and should be proud of the effort.

Danny Faria returned to run with us after a two year absence,. The normally a wing runner is not related to Ricci Faria who won at the only Hanford race earlier in the season, but is related to Tulare Promoter Steve Faria who recently inked a move of the Trophy Cup to his facility on my Wagsdash date. Danny had a nasty crash in his heat, but was able to repair the car and grab the last transfer in the Semi to start 15th in the main. He finished seventh to earn the hard charger of the week award and get an extra $100 of the Legend’s of Ascot money put up by Don Weaver. That event is coming up in October, so you better get your tickets from Belita or Don. Good job by Danny, maybe he will be at Santa Maria?

Mark Heidenreich seems to like his new Chevy power. He made his second main in a row and ran 15th this week after a strong second in his heat to transfer. Good job by the low buck team! Troy Cline came from Mooreville, NC to run Buzz Shoemaker’s car this week. Troy told me he wasn’t doing the stock car thing now, just a few sprint races and something about a son and a quarter midget? Anyway, he was third quick and ran sixth in the main as he can still drive very well. No chance of him moving back here to run the weekly show’s here, as he likes living on the East coast.

You know when you meet someone who is so determined that in spite of anything else going on in his life, he still works hard to get back to the track, no matter how long it takes. Dan Tedrick is one of these guys. Dan is so thrilled to run a sprint car, but his bank account isn’t very supportive to him, he just keeps coming back even though there are long periods of waiting for another race day. Dan usually comes alone, but had a helper this week as he shook down the same old Stinger he has been bandaging up for many years. He should get a pat on the back from all of us, we should be so determined.

Bad news bears this week included many unfortunate, like usual. It all began in the heats when David Cardey got upside down after encountering the wall. David’s Jim Gaiardina owned # 59 wasn’t able to continue, but he was fine. He will be doing double duty coming up on the Labor Day holiday. On Friday night September 2 he will be competing in his first NASCAR Super Speedway race with the NASCAR Grand National West at nearby California Speedway. That should be a rush and his fastest test yet in the door slammers. Then he will come back to the PAS for more 410 sprint car racing the next night. The versatile driver is continuing to shine and in spite of this weeks tumble, he will be back. By the way his Roush Racing “Gong Show” opportunity that involved 1667 applicants, left him out of the final pick even though he made it to the final 50. They might have made a mistake.

Adam Mitchell surprised me this week showing up in Ben Lancaster’s # 14 car! Adam retired last year when finances and family responsibilities didn’t seem to add up properly. One of Ben and wife Linda’s constant concerns has been crew help for their Las Vegas based racing operation. Neither Ben nor Adam talked about how long this marriage will last, but Adam does bring some much needed wrenching help with him and they like each other. Their first effort wasn’t quite that good as Adam struggled in his heat and had to run the semi to transfer to the main, which he did. In the “main of full moon crazy racing”, his incident was spooky as he was left spun to a stop on the back stretch with a folded front end that ended their night. Hope they try again next week. Adam’s personality was surely missed in the pits.

Danny Ebberts has waited several extra weeks to get his motor back from the “rebuilders” after they discovered a small leak, and he was anxious to get back to racing the 410 with Sal Acosta. He has parked his pavement Silver Crown car and is concentrating on the USAC /CRA series the rest of the year. He looked gold early in the evening after starting on the front row with Jason York and taking the lead for four laps. That was short lived as he slowed to a stop on the back stretch shortly after relinquishing that lead with multiple problems including a front end with no steering.

Josh Ford looked like it might be his night as he had his hot rod tuned up and was fourth quick in qualifying. He started the night winning the Snap-on Tools Trophy Dash and then won his heat to start seventh in the main. He was going to the front midway through the event and had just put it into third place behind Sheridan when something happened and the car didn’t turn left coming into turn three. He banged the wall and stopped with a little Tommy tipover. He was fast and looked like he had something for the leaders until the shocking stop.

Davey Pombo came south to try out the Billy Wilkerson # 11 sprinter this week. Davey has run with USAC/CRA on several occasions, with his best a fifth place finish at Santa Maria. The young driver has a lot of talent, but he couldn’t get it unleashed this week and was the first car out of the main.

Tony “The Cowboy” Jones string of no luck continued this week. He was off the last race after suffering a concussion at Skagit Speedway in a nasty crash up there three weeks ago. He looked just fine this time with seventh quick in qualifying, winning his heat and starting fifth in the main. He ran strong in third before he had some kind of a problem on a yellow flag and had to do some adjustments to his car and go to the back. Later he came in for more attention and presto, two stops and yer out! He was flying until then, so who knows when the Cowboy will break thru for a big win, perhaps this week?

Jason York has been spending more time down south and doing quite well. He won his heat this week, holding off the Demon, before starting on the pole of the main. Something about a broken shock bolt caused him to stop on the track, bringing out a yellow flag. He repaired it in the work area, then restarted on the back where he recovered to work back up to 12th by the end. His local sponsor, Joe’s Chicago Restaurant, was serving lasagna at his trailer during the afternoon, so some pit people scarfed it up. I heard it was good!

J Hicks had some kind of motor problem that was described as “it wasn’t running right” and elected to start at the back of his heat. Failing to transfer, he then ran the semi, but pulled in early with that malady again and he was done. Matt Stewart had an interesting encounter with the wall in his heat and came to a stop, but came back to run the semi, only to miss the main. The San Diego Powder Coating sponsored # 85 is giving Matt some learning curve experiences and he is doing just fine.

Brandon Springstead sends word that he is recovering fine from his car destroying crash two weeks ago. He reports red eye and black and blue bruises the colors of the day at his place. He noted some soreness, but nothing broken on him. The team will be building a new car as the # 36 car was a 90% loss as he described it. A new Buckley Chassis is in the garage and before the next racing opportunity, he will be married on September 17 to his sweetheart and then return to racing on October 1st.

Alan Ballard was missed on the track this week, but I caught up with him after the races and he said his dad Ernie was off on business doing training of somebody and hopefully would be back this week. What is Jimmy “Neutron” Crawford’s excuse, as he has been MIA for several races? The tired days of August are almost over and the big races start coming with the Labor day 50 lapper at the PAS. Jack Dearmond Jr made his first appearance of the year in his # 24 car. He said he was ready to get back to racing as he missed it. His plans for the night were to take it easy and get in some laps. He did that and finished just out of a transfer in the semi.

For those who forget how the sprint cars build a fire in their motors, let’s revisit the mighty push trucks who provide that impetus. One push truck driver has been there faithfully from the beginning of the PAS, coming early every week to help the racers get off to their glory. There is no glory for these dedicated pushers who do this at their own expense. This week word came to us about one who has fallen a bit on hard times. An injury and then loss of his job was compounded this week when the tranny in his push only vehicle was sounding the death notes. Infield announcer Chris Holt started a pit fund raiser to help him out and the racers began responding. This dedicated person needs some help and is known as Skip Creath, the guy who drives the gold Ford Bronco and leads the PAS push truck drivers. You can help him by visiting him after the races or e-mail him at scpusher@sbcglobal.net.

My heart and best wishes go out to the Doty family after word of Kevin’s passing last week. He was only 43 and took his son, Kevin Jr everywhere he raced. The pair and his father Bud were often seen together at the racetrack and Kevin will be missed by all the racing community. Rest in peace Kevin.

See you at Santa Maria if I don’t get lazy in my retirement excercize.

VALVOLINE USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: August 20, 2005 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Mike Spencer, 44, Engstrom-16.971; 2. Cory Kruseman, 38, Crossno-16.985; 3. Troy Cline, 0, Shoemaker-17.006; 4. Josh Ford, 3, Ford-17.066; 5. Troy Rutherford, 7, Priestley-17.066; 6. Damion Gardner, 50, Chaffin-17.113; 7. Tony Jones, 87, Vermeer/Ferreira-17.142; 8. Mike Kirby, 4, Alexander-17.235; 9. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-17.349; 10. David Cardey, 59, Giardina-17.378; 11. Danny Sheridan, 18, Kittle-17.425; 12. Adam Mitchell, 14, Lancaster - 17.451; 13. Danny Ebberts, 77, Acosta-17.473; 14. Jason York, 25N, York-17.494; 15. Rodney Argo, 19, Argo-17.534; 16. Danny Faria, 17V, Faria-17.575; 17. Jordan Hermansader, 5, Keller-17.642; 18. J.Hicks, 66, Miller-17.645; 19. R.J. Johnson, 15AZ, Martin-17.660; 20. Seth Wilson, 17, Racing Optics-17.670; 21. Greg Bragg, 33, Blair-17.730; 22. Joshua Williams, 34, Williams-18.006; 23. Nadine Keller, 16, Keller-18.067; 24. Dan Hillberg, 82, Hillberg-18.067; 25. Randy Waitman, Y69, Waitman-18.085; 26. Jim Giardina, 58. Giardina-18.125; 27. Mark Heidenreich, 22, Heidenreich-18.142; 28. Davey Pombo, 11, Wilkerson-18.267; 29. Larry Lloyd, 87L, Lloyd-18.555; 30. Jack DeArmond Jr, 24, DeArmond-18.660; 31. Dan Tedrick, 88, Tedrick-18.845; 32. Matt Stewart, 85, Stewart-19.033; 33. Terry Foster, 19X, Foster - 19.067; 34. Nate Ziegler, N8, Ziegler-19.073.

TROPHY DASH: (3 laps) 1. Ford, 2. Kruseman, 3. Cline, 4. Spencer. 54:15

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bragg, 2. R.Williams, 3. Ebberts, 4. Hermansader, 5. Rutherford, 6. Spencer, 7. Waitman, 8. Lloyd, 9. Foster. 2:58:04

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. York, 2. Gardner, 3. Kruseman, 4. J Williams, 5. Dearmond, 6. Hicks, 7. Giardina, 8. Ziegler. NT

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Jones, 2. Heidenreich, 3. Argo, 4. Sheridan, 5. Johnson, 6. Cline, 7. Keller, 8. Tedrick. 3:00:54

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Ford, 2. Pombo, 3. Wilson, 4. Hillberg, 5. Kirby, 6. Mitchell, 7. Faria, 8. Stewart. 2:58:76

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Spencer, 2. Cline, 3. Kirby, 4. Rutherford, 5. Mitchell, 6. Faria, 7. Waitman, 8. Dearmond, 9. Lloyd, 10. Ziegler, 11. Giardina, 12. Tedrick, 13. Stewart, 14. Hicks, 15. Foster. 3:33:30

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Cory Kruseman, 2. Danny Sheridan, 3. Damion Gardner, 4, Mike Spencer, 5. Mike Kirby, 6. Troy Cline, 7. Danny Faria, 8. Rodney Argo, 9. Rip Williams, 10. Greg Bragg, 11. Troy Rutherford, 12. Jason York, 13. Josh Williams, 14. Dan Hillberg, 15. Mark Heidenreich, 16. Seth Wilson, 17. R.J. Johnson, 18. Josh Ford, 19. Jordan Hermansader, 20. Adam Mitchell, 21. Tony Jones, 22. Danny Ebberts, 23. Davey Pombo. NT

Cardey flipped during heat 2. Danny Faria flipped during heat 4. Josh Ford and R.J. Johnson flipped during the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-4 Ebberts, Laps 5-30 Kruseman.

NEW USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-R.Williams-1,274; 2-Gardner-1,259; 3-Kirby-1170; 4-Kruseman-1,168; 5-Charles Davis, Jr.-954; 6-Rickie Gaunt-851; 7-Spencer-818; 8-Josh Ford-704; 9-Jones-673; 10-Wilson-631.

NEXT USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: August 27 – Santa Maria (CA) Spee

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