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The weekend before the NWWC tour starts is here and most teams that are going back East are in their shops preparing for the three weekend trip. And then, some are racing at the PAS, because they can. Of the 39 VRA sprint cars signing in, nine drivers had SCRA roots and did well on their home track against the VRA regulars. Mike Kirby did the best as he came home with the victory after a good battle with Steve Ostling and Josh Ford.

Mrs Wags pics are up click here.

Mike was driving the familiar Buzz Shoemaker # 0 car that will be going to Hollywood Hills Speedway in Albuquerque, NM for the first NWWC Tour race, but then coming home. Mike ran high around turn four and low around turn one to pass his way from his 6th starting spot and never wavered all 30 laps in his quest for the win. It was actually his 2nd win in at row at the PAS. On his last trip there he drove Rickie Gaunt’s car and pulled off a win that night, too. Mike hasn’t had a great year so far on his scale and he felt he owed Buzz one after nailing the wall at Ventura a few weeks ago after leading most of that race.

Mike has spent his year driving his own late model stock car and running a sprinter when he could, this after not putting together enough money he needed to run the whole season with SCRA. He got with Shoemaker a few months ago in a 360 race and they have run together since. Even though he has won two VRA features, the other half dozen appearances, mostly in the 410 car with SCRA, were littered with enough problems to keep them from the success the team works hard for. With Gale Forester, Billy Wilkerson, Brett Roa, Buzz’s son Doug, Tom Wilhelm and a few others thrashing on the car, maybe now they will turn that corner in the 410 car as well.

Will ”The Thrill” Perkins put on a real charge coming from 15th to run 2nd on the night in his black # 50 car. Will, you might remember, crashed extremely hard at the PAS two years ago and retired for a short time. He has come back with VRA and is 12th in points as he has shown marked improvement since that crash. He shared his runner-up podium finish with his son and father with great enthusiasm after the race, he was happy!

VRA point leader, Chris Wakim just wanted to do well when he arrived at the track his week. Leading the points is fun, and a new experience for the veteran, and he hopes to score the championship with his small budget team this season. He is proof the low buck guys can be successful in the VRA, and is thrilled to be doing so well. The nice guy ran third in his heat to start 9th in the main and rolled up to the podium with some heady driving and got 3rd for his efforts.

Tom Stansberry had some problems with his # 75 car early so switched to a back-up Ron Bach owned car and made the main. Running 2nd in points on the year, he was on a three race win streak, and finished 7th in his borrowed car. Greg Taylor also borrowed a car this week, Alex Pruitt’s # 56, and finished 7th from his starting 14th spot. He was never close enough to be a factor, but put on a good drive for his fans. He has been running some USAC 360 pavement stuff this season and has dropped back in the points race due to missing some key VRA events.

Josh Ford took a little time out before his trip to Albuquerque to run the 360 car. He was one of three SCRA heat race winners, Kirby and Ostling being the other two, and then had a good run in the main event. He was chasing down the leader with two laps to go, and he ran out of fuel! Before that, he looked like he was going to make a go of it with the “Kirbyman”. Perhaps the most unlucky of all the leaders was Steve Ostling. He was one of 4 cars to lead the feature and battled with Kirby most of the race before he knocked the front end out from under the # 14 car and went to the pits. He was strong winning his heat and going to the front early in the feature race. News flash, he has a new T-shirt!

Nadine Keller is a policewomen with her beat in Azusa, CA, and with the new love of driving a sprint car. Nadine was a short time fan. This after she watched her first sprint car race and just couldn’t sit in the grandstands without trying it. The attractive brunette with a great smile took Cory Kruseman’s driving school five times and then did something most don’t, she bought her own sprint car! It was a Gardner Sled chassis that Troy Rutherford owned until recently and the familiar blue and white theme was still going as she put it on the track. She utilizes a borrowed trailer, borrowed truck, borrowed toolbox, you get the picture, and much more just to get to the track. She has a few friends that are helping out as she learns this new world. She was proud she had her own wheel wrench now and looks forward to add to her “own” stuff as time goes by. On this night, all was not peaches and cream for Nadine as she had a hard crack-up against the wall in her heat and bent the # 4x car pretty bad. She was still smiling after the race, but the car wasn’t. This is a true low-buck operation and could use some help. She has the desire and enthusiasm to do it, now needs the seat time to develop her skills.

Perhaps the most entertaining and “WILD” race of the night was the 2nd Semi. They run two each week when there are so many cars. With 23 cars not yet in the main, the first Semi sent winner Tom “World Famous” Downing, Larry Lloyd and Dwight Cheney to the main. In the 2nd one, there was such a shuffle of cars that the leaders became backmarkers, the backmarkers became leaders, then the backmarkers became leaders again, and so on, before Ronnie Case, Jayson May and Luis Espinoza moved on. To say that they ran all over the track would be redundant, but there was much wheel banging that looked like a yellow flag was coming, and then they would recover and go on, not once or twice, but a bunch of times, it was wild! They will be back in two weeks and then the 360 Nationals two-day affair. If you are not on tour, this is a must see. Since I know most are not going, just go like normal and enjoy the wild show.

The Cory Kruseman Fan Club is finally off the ground. I wondered how long it would take to get this going, but it is a chance to help his efforts in USAC. An application can be obtained on the website at http://www.kruseman.com/docs/Application.htm. It can be mailed or faxed back to the address on the application. Included in membership kit: *Membership card, *Membership Certificate, * Fan sticker, * Temporary Tattoo, *Fan Club t-shirt, *Periodic Newsletter, *$5.00 Coupon for Cory Kruseman merchandise in website store or at the track. *10% off Coupon for Cory Kruseman’s Sprint Car Driving School, *Autographed Photo Card. You can be a part of his history, starting now!

J J Yeley is unanimous as number 1 in the latest Knoxville Hall of Fame non-wing poll. His 19 victories in USAC competition speak volumes as he continues to be “the man” in traditional sprint car racing. SCRA’s Damion Gardner was 2nd,Richard Griffin 4th and Troy Rutherford 7th as the west coast boys were well represented on the only poll that ranks drivers across the land. Most of them will be competing on at least part of the NWWC Tour starting this coming Friday, so take a seat and hang on, it should be a blast. For further news on the poll click here!

I didn’t see any money for the tour in the mail this week, so that means you are going to see me on the road! I will be at all NWWC races looking to add to the total of $2300 and it’s not enough! The money will be divided, as always, by giving a share to every SCRA car owner whose car was towed back East for every race the car runs at. Only one share per trailer. To be eligible, the driver has to have run 25% of the 19 races or 5 times. I have a few grandstand tickets for the Oskaloosa $30,000 to win race and can have some for Lakeside, if you contact me now.

As for who is going? No official announcement, but here is a rundown on who I think I know will travel. Richard Griffin, Troy Rutherford, Damion Gardner, Rip Williams, Mike Spencer, Adam Mitchell, Mike English, Josh Ford, Alan Ballard, Levi Jones, Jimmy Crawford and Mel Murphy for sure. Tony Jones, Rickie Gaunt and a few more are on the maybe list last I heard. For some it is pure cost, others don’t have enough spares to go on the road. Some, like Steve Ostling’s team, will put the money saved by not going into the car. Some like Mike Kirby will go only to selected races. Last years long trip taught many about travel costs and preparing for the long tow. It is a commitment and some teams, with the tough economic times, are not so ready to chance it. Regardless, the haulers will be getting on the road Thursday or Friday to begin the annual trek, lets just support them along the way. I will post nightly updates on my 1 am results button on the front of the Wags Web page, so look for it, that is if the phone lines are working in some of the remote locations like Oskaloosa and Farmer City.

SCRA Points as of 7/27/03

1. Richard Griffin Silver City NM 17 1155, 2. T'roy Rutherford Ojai CA 17 1114, 3. Damion Gardner Concord CA 17 1059, 4. Rip Williams Yorba Linda CA 17 958, 5. Steve Ostling Corona CA 17 859, 6. Rickie Gaunt Torrance CA 16 803, 7. Mike Spencer Temecula CA 16 749, 8. Adam Mitchell Escondido CA 16 601 9. Tony Jones Garden Grove CA 16 594, 10. Mike English Norwalk CA 15 578, 11. Josh Ford (R) Camarillo CA 17 513, 12. Alan Ballard (R) Bakersfield CA 17 432, 13. Verne Sweeney Lomita CA 16 431, 14. Lance Gremett San Marcos CA 15 385, 15. Levi Jones Olney IL 9 374, 16. Bobby Cody Costa Mesa CA 16 342, 17. Brian Venard Irvine CA 12 335, 18. Bryan Stanfill (R) Bakersfield CA 16 330, 19. Seth Wilson (R)San Clemente CA 17 329, 20. Jimmy Crawford (R) Ventura CA 17 306.

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