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By Ken Wagner 9/11/05

Local favorite, Cory Kruseman, started seventh in the Valvoline USAC/CRA 30 lap feature at Ventura Raceway this week and took the lead from Rodney Argo on lap four to run away with his seventh win of the season in the ITI Performance, Sander Engineering, Bullet, Downing # 38. It was his 75th lifetime west coast win, putting him 25 behind active driver leading Rip Williams total of 100.

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The Kruser was third quick and won the third heat before starting seventh in the main event grid. He immediately found some space between several cars and quickly jumped into second after a lap and a half. Rodney Argo grabbed the opening lead and was pushing his big Ford powered car high in the groove until Cory jumped by him on lap four and just like that he was off to the checkered flag demonstration and another win for the Crossno entry. Cory had Rickie Gaunt pursue him on a couple of restarts, but with the fastest groove on the bottom, Cory was on a rail and was never threatened the rest of the way.

Second quick this week was Charles Davis Jr in one of the two Smiley teammate cars. Charlie ran second to Argo in his heat and then started eighth in the main event. While Super Rickie was up hounding the Kruser, Davis methodically worked his way to third in the Smiley Crane Service, Extreme Chassis Co., Chargin, Extreme # 8 sprinter. On the last lap, he bolted by his teammate to equal his best finish of the year.

Super Rickie Gaunt said he was focused on beating “the Kruserman” and was surprised when his teammate out maneuvered him for the runner-up spot. Driving Tony Smiley’s second car, an identical blue mount, Rickie was fifth quick and started fifth in the main. With the top groove a little limited this night, most of the “good moves” were on the bottom and Rickie tried to find the sweet spots in both grooves. He ran a great race and made the podium once again.

Damion Gardner came into the night as the point leader for the first time this season. He didn’t have his usual stellar performance going for him with only an eleventh in qualifying, a fifth in his heat, a fourth in the Semi and he finished eighth after starting eleventh in the main event. His groove, the one he won in last time here, was just not there and he never could make the top work for him to move up enough to challenge. Still, he is only 11 points behind the Ripper. Look out Perris!

Rip Williams was his usual consistent self this week with triple 4’s. He qualified 4th, he ran 4th in his heat and 4th in the main event for a good night and the return to atop the points standings. The battle should be fun to watch the rest of the year as he is just as determined to win his second championship as he was to win the first one.

Only one bone jarring crash this week as Ron Tjaarda, driving a Cory Kruseman rental car, flipped hard in qualifying and didn’t return. The car looked like his extra fee was going to be extra special as you fix what you break in Cory’s cars.

Mike Kirby set fast time this week, but things didn’t follow that pattern at the track he has made his own personal winning ground. He missed the transfer from his heat when he and another car had a disagreement on some landscape. He was running away with the Semi when Steve Ostling went roaring by for the win. In the feature he was in good position, but gave up the low fast groove and found the way to the front slow up top where he was “freight trained” back to 14th at the end.

Jordan Hermansader didn’t have a great time early in the night after qualifying ninth. He wasn’t lucky in the heat or Semi and was forced to take a provisional in the feature where he started 21st. He came up to 13th for the hard charger award, so all wasn’t bad. His car owner, Nadine Keller, couldn’t make it in time to race and the number 16 car remained parked for the night.

What a great night of racing and it was all done by 9:15, well before any curfew and the trip home was much earlier for most. Hopefully the upcoming Wagsdash will go as smooth!

This week at Ventura pointed out one very important issue that has not been addressed by the USAC/CRA membership totally. The seriousness of this issue may have an immediate effect on any more USAC events run at this track. The issue is simple and has been a long time discussed subject, mufflers. The qualifying results were colored with way too many cars that did not meet the California mandated 95 dba when they ran their two laps. The problem this creates for the fairgrounds, and specifically Ventura Raceway, is there will be a bad report card for this week to own up to by Jim Naylor. This track has fought for keeping the track racing and something like this is not good. This problem needs resolved or no Wagsdash, no USAC/CRA or no USAC anything will be run there any more. I don’t know why the offenders weren’t trailered or made to re-qualify like the “old days”, but I do know the membership must fix this as noise is one of the many bad things that directly affect our racing and where we can go to race. Ventura has two accepted muffler suppliers with Spin Tech and Extreme both available to quiet the horsepower. I can’t tell you why the cars were too loud, but it is the law and they must comply next time or…………... just picture the throat slashing sign.

One more week at Perris before the return to the desert Manzanita track.

VALVOLINE USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: September 10, 2005 – Ventura, California – Ventura Raceway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Mike Kirby, 4, Alexander-12.076; 2. Charles Davis Jr., 8A, Smiley-12.174; 3. Cory Kruseman, 38, Crossno-12.182; 4. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-12.186; 5. Rickie Gaunt, 2A, Smiley-12.271; 6. Kevin Kierce, 2K, Kierce-12.303; 7. Mike Spencer, 44, Engstrom-12.361; 8. Tony Jones, 87, Vermeer/Ferreira-12.370; 9. Jordan Hermansader, 5, Keller-12.376; 10. Steve Ostling, 45, Willis-12.432; 11. Damion Gardner, 50, Chaffin-12.508; 12. Adam Mitchell, 14, Lancaster-12.522; 13. Josh Ford, 73, Ford-12.572; 14. Rodney Argo, 19, Argo-12.614; 15. Seth Wilson, 17, Racing Optics-12.622; 16. Alan Ballard, 97, Ballard-12.673; 17. Steve Conrad, 91X, Conrad-12.674; 18. Danny Sheridan, 18, Kittle-12.701; 19. Shawn Kautz, 29, Kautz-12.722; 20. J. Hicks, 66, Miller-12.744; 21. R.J. Johnson, 15AZ, Martin-12.756; 22. Ronnie Case, 8, Case-12.794; 23. Jimmy Crawford, 17C, Crawford-12.880; 24. Tom Stansberry, 48, Bach-12.922; 25. Greg Bragg, 33, Blair-12.969; 26. Ryan Devitt, 35R, Blenkarn-13.060; 27. Dan Tedrick, 88, Tedrick-13.089; 28. Joshua Williams, 34, Williams-13.173; 29. Kevin Mahoney, 5S, Kruseman-13.177; 30. Wes Richardson, 47, Bach-13.869; 31. Jeremy Ellerston, 98, Ellerston-13.910; 32. Ron Tjaarda, 4X, Kruseman-13.942; 33. Bobby Ferro, 91, Ferro-13.965; 34. Matt Stewart, 85, Stewart-14.106; 35. Nadine Keller, 16, Keller NT.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bragg, 2. Johnson, 3. Ford, 4. Gaunt, 5. Kirby, 6. Conrad, 7. Hermansader, 8. Ferro, 9. Mahoney. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Argo, 2. Davis , 3. Case, 4. Sheridan, 5. Richardson, 6. Devitt, 7. Stewart, 8. Ostling, 9. Kierce. NT

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Kruseman, 2. Wilson, 3. Spencer, 4. Crawford, 5. Gardner, 6. Tedrick, 7. Ellerston, 8. Kautz. 2:20:56

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Jones, 2. Stansberry, 3. Hicks, 4. R.Williams, 5. Ballard, 6. J.Williams, 7. Mitchell. NT

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Ostling, 2. Kirby, 3. Ballard, 4. Gardner, 5. Kierce, 6. Conrad, 7. Kautz, 8. J.Williams, 9. Mitchell, 10. Hermansader, 11. Richardson, 12. Tedrick, 13. Ferro, 14. Stewart, 15. Devitt, 16. Mahoney, 17. Ellerston. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Cory Kruseman, 2. Charles Davis Jr., 3. Rickie Gaunt, 4. Rip Williams, 5. Steve Ostling, 6. Mike Spencer, 7. Tony Jones, 8. Damion Gardner, 9. Danny Sheridan, 10, Alan Ballard, 11. Seth Wilson, 12. Jimmy Crawford, 13. Jordan Hermansader, 14. Mike Kirby, 15. J. Hicks, 16. Ronnie Case, 17. Rodney Argo, 18. Greg Bragg, 19. Josh Ford, 20 Tom Stansberry, 21. R.J. Johnson. NT

**Tjaarda flipped during qualifying.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-3 Argo, Laps 4-30 Kruseman.

NEW USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-R.Williams-1,448; 2-Gardner-1,437; 3-Kirby-1,329; 4-Kruseman-1,328; 5-Davis-1,103; 6-Gaunt-1,018; 7-Spencer-921; 8-Ford-840; 9-Jones-743; 10-Wilson-727.

NEXT USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: September 17 – Perris, CA – Perris Auto Speedway

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