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By Ken Wagner 8/7/05

The day started out with black clouds and brief gale force wins followed by some light rain before the haulers even got unloaded in the pits. Later in the 30 lap feature, Cory Kruseman overcame Rip Williams big lead and won going away for his fifth win of the year and 73rd lifetime West Coast win. Driving Glenn and Carol Crossno’s ITI Performance, Sander Engineering, Bullitt, Downing # 38, Cory was tenacious as he took charge when it counts, at winning time.

Mrs Wags pics are done! click here.

Cory was 7th quick, won his heat and started 4th on the main event grid. He immediately began chasing early leader Mike Kirby until the Ripper passed him for 2nd. Later, Rip took the lead from Kirby and then Cory passed him with four laps to go and was home free the rest of the way. Cory said “we weren’t the fastest car out there tonight, but I’d rather have luck than be good”, and he was. An example was when Damion Gardner was mounting a charge on the leader Rip, and Cory was breathing down his fuel cell, Damion began to spin coming out of turn 4, and the recent Indiana Sprint Week Champion had to really scramble to avoid him.

Mike Spencer has been getting his latest 4 bar car better and better each week and more to his liking. He has had two fifth’s and a fourth in the last four races so is on his game now. Driving the Hal Engstrom owned Murrieta Development, Spenco Machine, TCR, R.C. Performance # 44, Mike won the Snap-on Tools Trophy Dash after qualifying 4th quick. He ran second in his heat and started seventh next to the Demon in the main. He dropped back a little at the start, but began reeling them in until he stood second on the podium later. He looked very strong late in the race.

Mike Kirby seems to have rejoined the front runners after two months of struggling to get his latest car sorted out. With his third this week, he has had a sixth and two 4th’s in the last four races for a more consistent month of racing. Unfortunately the L.A. Prep, La Villa Restaurant, Stinger, RC Performance # 4 had a problem with the vent on the master cylinder clogging up, and he lost his brakes because of it. It was still an outstanding finish for the “Manzy Man” as he led the first 12 laps in the silver bullet car and finished on the podium one more time.

David Cardeyis starting to look like a winner as he drives more like a veteran each week in his second year of 410 sprint cars. He won his heat in the ”Tooth Doc” Jim Giardina owned # 59 car and started 12th in the main event. At the end he charged to 4th for his best finish with the USAC/CRA stars.Troy Rutherford, who most recently has been driving the Billy Wilkerson # 11, showed up tonight in the Mark Priestley # 7 that he drove last year. Troy was 8th quick, ran third in his heat and took his 2nd row starting spot to finish 5th in the main. Where’s ZFrank and his “Fronkburger” when you need him?

It has been a while since we have seen the Harlan Willis owned # 45 on the race track. When the big new white hauler pulled into the pits, I knew something was up. Harlan had the car out for a test run with Steve Ostling on board. Steve is taking a break from his Black Widow Racing ride for a few weeks as this car will be running in Nebraska, Oklahoma and Kansas in a 5 race series next week. Steve will return to the number 5 when he gets back. The # 5 Nadine Keller owned car was driven this week by Jordan Hermansader as he grabs rides when his normal one, the Tom and Laurie Sertich Moosemobile # 92, is parked on a planned budget forced schedule. Jordan did well winning the Semi and finishing one click above the 45 car for seventh in the main.

Bobby Graham did well for his last night in Ben Lancaster’s # 14 this week. He started on the pole and eventually grabbed ninth when it was over. Bobby has been in helicopter flight school part time for a while and is now going full time and thus giving up one of his loves, driving a sprint car, at least until he completes his training. Ben will be looking for a new driver, and especially some help on the crew. He does most of the work himself in way off LasVegas where he and wife Linda live. He loves the racing, but could use some help or he will have to stay home and play with his two puppies!

The Demon Damion Gardner was going for his 4th win in a row this week, but had his own troubles slow him down. He was the fast qualifier for the 16th time this season and won his heat with patience and a dramatic move on the leader on the last lap. He started in his normal 8th spot in the feature and quietly moved into second place behind the Ripper. Then he made a serious mistake that went wrong, then right and wrong again. He was coming out of turn four when he began to turn left a little too much, and spun out. But, he kept it under control and moved back on the track, losing about eight spots or so, but the yellow flag flew! The rules are if you cause a yellow – you go to the back. What a shame, because when he got going again he was in position to go back to the front, but from the tail it was just too tough. He managed to get back to tenth, yet his bad fortune improved tremendously when point leader Rip dropped back to 15th, thus cutting Ripper’s lead to 34 points now. The team left early on Sunday morning to go run Terry McCarl’s Oskaloosa’s $30,000 race in Iowa.

Problems, problems, problems, everyone suffers from them from time to time. This week Jimmy Evans, longtime crewmember for the Don Blair owned # 33 car, tried to do his first sprint car racing of his own for a change. He has been practicing and felt good enough to give it a shot this week. Unfortunately, he never got the # 76 qualified and missed the entire night. Better luck next time as I know he was anxious to race!

Rodney Argo looked like he was going to give his family car a good ride this week, but the car came out of gear early in the feature and he chose to pull it in. Greg Bragg in the Blair car couldn’t make the call in the main and was the first car out before they even started. If there was a rule about having an alternate fired and ready, Dan Hillberg would have been a happy Camper, but there isn’t one. Alan Ballard’s newly painted yellow # 97 lost an oil plug in his heat but held on to transfer to the main. Unfortunately in the main the car just quit on him and he was out early. Mark Heidenreich made the main but had two stops and was done in his “it’s not a Buick any more” car. So some good and bad here for the low buck team that has to save up money to get to run.

Matt Stewart had a drive shaft fall out, then lost a brake caliper and then missed the main, but what is most frustrating to the team is their only sponsor, San Diego Powder Coating is not in the program yet for them to be proud of. This low buck second generation driver is working hard and hopes he gets them some press soon. It’s what helps them all get on the track to race, sponsorship. Great family team and he is improving every outing.

The lightning quick crash of R.J. Johnson and Bobby Cody was sudden and devastating. The two got hooked up side by side going down the back stretch fighting for position when they banged and both launched into the third turn wall. Reports from the infield announcer, Chris Holt, stated the # 41 car of Cody was a dumpster model and Johnson’s was pretty close to it. Bobby climbed right out and R. J. complained of an ankle hurting. Bobby was done and R.J. rolled out his back-up car to start on the back of the semi, a 360 powered version, and narrowly missed the main. Both will be sore this week. Brandon Springstead also got on his head in his heat and trashed the front end of his car and could not return.

Car owner/driver Nadine Keller had a good night when she led the opening heat until the very last lap and transferred to the main with a second place finish. She ran 14th in the main, tying her best finish ever. She took a couple of weeks off, but still went to Skagit with her Gardner crewed team and had a great visit with family and her crew that she reported relaxing.

Wagsdash XV is coming fast and I guess I better get with it! Retiring from Kawasaki will probably not help my quest to raise money, but with your support we will get it done. I will be going to work somewhere, because I am not independently wealthy and can’t stay home and really retire yet. Mrs Wags has already raised over $1000 on her 2006 racing calendar, and she has room for more sponsors. A few of you have been stuffing my pockets with cash now and then so we have over $1000 there, but we need to move fast now. It is pretty difficult to do this from the press box each week, so let’s try this, I will officially open the Wagsdash purse bag to put the money in and you begin responding when I see you. Let’s get started.

I am selling spots on the annual Wagsdash t-shirt now so be ready to get your name or business on it. No telling what it will look like, but it will be great. Also any items for the annual auction will be appreciated as that raises more money for the Wagsdash purse. We will do the Mrs Wags Chili Feed as usual and all the Wagtimes Workers will make this day happen for fans and racers alike.

In addition to everything we need to get done, I am altering the format just a little this year. No Big Dawg Dash this year, but with time very short at Ventura, we can still help all the racers. First I will be attempting to put a significant dollar number in the main event for the winner, more than last year’s $5000 to win effort won by Rip Williams, and will need some bigger checkbook donators for that. My goal is $10,000 to win or more if possible. Then we will bring back the Wagsdash race for the low buck teams, but I haven’t figured out how many cars will start or how I will pick them. It will be an invitational event with at least 15 laps and pay at least $2500 to win. With all the many causes racing needs to help their racers, this one is somewhat different, but anyone can get involved. Call me on 949-981-5497 or e-mail me at winglesswarriors@aol.com. Get me started!

The next USAC/CRA race will be the Bagley Classic at Perris Auto Speedway honoring Paul and Helen Bagley and their son Jeff on August 20th. Jeff lost his life at Ascot while racing a sprint car and his parents left us just two years ago in a tragic accident. They are all still in the minds of the racing community and we should pack the house in their honor. The purse will be boosted over $6000 with money collected in tribute for them with at least $200 for each lap led.

Speaking of horsepower, (?) I took my Vette to Spintech this past week and now have a new exhaust system. An X pipe and two new Spintech mufflers gives me that varoom I like to hear and the 15% horsepower increase is nice, too! Ron Didonato has all kinds of cool noise/horsepower set-ups for your street car and he can install or let you do the work. He has the new Pontiac 6.0 stuff ready plus a lot of others for Mustangs and Chevy products and more. Give him a call on 951-360-2474 to get your own Varoom. The harmonic song my car sings going thru the gears is music to my ears!

Hanford Raceway has cancelled the USAC/CRA race that was to be held next week on the 13th. It is pretty late in the year to do that, so something must be up. Don’t make that trip! See you in two weeks.

VALVOLINE USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: August 6, 2005 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Damion Gardner, 50, Chaffin-16.918; 2. Charles Davis, Jr., 8A, Smiley-17.122; 3. Seth Wilson, 17, Racing Optics-17.265; 4. Mike Spencer, 44, Engstrom-17.281; 5. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-17.307; 6. Rickie Gaunt, 2A, Smiley 17.358; 7. Cory Kruseman, 38, Crossno-17.415; 8. Troy Rutherford, 7, Priestley-17.442; 9. Rodney Argo, 19, Argo-17.452; 10. Mike Kirby, 4, Alexander-17.526; 11. Bobby Graham, 14, Lancaster-17.598; 12. David Cardey, 59, Giardina-17.602; 13. J Hicks, 66, Miller-17.695; 14. Jordan Hermansader, 5, Keller-17.705; 15. Steve Ostling, 45, Willis 17.839; 16. R.J. Johnson, 15AZ, Martin-17.879; 17. Alan Ballard, 97, Ballard-17.892; 18. Josh Ford, 73, Ford-17.977; 19. Jason York, 25N, York-18.001; 20. Bobby Cody, 41, Cody-18.013; 21. Dan Hillberg, 82, Hillberg-18.209; 22. Joshua Williams, 34, Williams-18.213; 23. Greg Bragg, 33, Blair-18.296; 24. Mark Heidenreich, 22, Heidenreich-18.305; 25. Nadine Keller, 16, Keller-18.324; 26. Brandon Springstead, 36, Springstead-18.452; 27. Nate Ziegler, N8, Ziegler-18.854; 28. Jim Thomson, 91, Thomson-18.938; 29. Robert Ellis, 43, Ellis-19.028; 30. Matt Stewart, 85, Stewart-19.177; 31. Brandon Thomson, 24, Thomson-19.548; 32. Tony Everhart, 55, Everhart-19.998; 33. Jimmy Evans, 76, Evans NT.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Gardner, 2. Keller, 3. R.Williams, 4. Ballard, 5. Argo, 6. Hicks, 7. Ellis, 8. Hillberg. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Gaunt, 2. J.Williams, 3. Kirby, 4. Ford, 5. Davis, 6. Hermansader, 7. Stewart, 8. Springstead. NT

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Kruseman, 2. York, 3. Bragg, 4. Graham, 5. Wilson, 6. Ostling, 7. B.Thomson, 8. Ziegler. 3:01:55

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Cardey, 2. Spencer, 3. Rutherford, 4. Heidenreich, 5. Cody, 6. Johnson, 7. J.Thomson, 8. Everhart. NT

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Hermansader, 2. Davis, 3. Wilson, 4. Argo, 5. Hicks, 6. Ostling, 7. Hillberg, 8. Johnson, 9. Stewart, 10. Ziegler, 11. B.Thomson. 3:37:64

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Cory Kruseman, 2. Mike Spencer, 3. Mike Kirby, 4. David Cardey, 5. Troy Rutherford, 6. Charles Davis, Jr., 7. Jordan Hermansader, 8. Steve Ostling, 9. Bobby Graham, 10. Damion Gardner, 11. Rickie Gaunt, 12. Joshua Williams, 13. J.Hicks, 14. Nadine Keller, 15. Rip Williams, 16. Seth Wilson, 17. Josh Ford, 18. Jason York, 19. Mark Heidenreich, 20. Alan Ballard, 21. Rodney Argo, 22. Greg Bragg. NT

**Springstead flipped during the second heat. R.J. Johnson and Cody flipped during the fourth heat.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-12 Kirby, Laps 13-26 R.Williams, Laps 27-30 Kruseman.

NEW USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-R.Williams-1,231; 2-Gardner-1,197; 3-Kirby-1,120; 4-Kruseman-1,097; 5-Davis-954; 6-Gaunt-851; 7-Spencer-757; 8-Ford-676; 9-Tony Jones-652; 10-Ostling-619.

NEXT USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: August 20 – Perris (CA) Auto Speedway

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