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By Ken Wagner 9/18/05

The “old man” in the pits this week wasn’t Rip Williams as Wally Pankratz joined the Ripper, at a ripe old age of 60, to run his backup car. Later Rip showed him how it’s done when he won his 8th Valvoline USAC/CRA race and pulled within two of the legendary Dean Thompson’s record. The Ripper drove the John Jory Corporation – Weld Wheels, Stinger, Shaver, black # 3 hard as usual and was rewarded when he passed early leader, Cory Kruseman, on lap 21 and stretched it out for his 101st west coast win.

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Ripper was determined to get the win this week as he chased The Kruser around the Perris oval almost from the start. Once when Cory got sideways coming out of turn four on one lap, and when Rip was so close he couldn’t avoid him, they banged together. The result was Kruseman straightened it out and Rip dropped back to reload, but they continued on as if nothing had happened. Rip came back to pass the leader and move on to the big 101. It was a great effort by the man who will wear the all time winner crown sooner or later.

Charles Davis Jr finished second for the second race in a row and had to battle teammate, Super Rickie Gaunt, both weeks. At Ventura last week he took second from Rickie on the last lap, but this week, as they raged the same battle, Rickie’s motor let him down and he went from the third to 12th the last few laps after setting fast time this week at 16.512. Charlie drove the blue Smiley Crane Service – Extreme Chassis Co., Chargin, Extreme # 8 car to his third runner-up finish on the season. He was ninth quick, third in his heat and started third in the main. He is fifth in the championship points on his best year yet with the CRA boys.

Cory Kruseman did what he does a lot this week in the ITI Performance – Sander Engineering, Bullet, Downing # 38 car owned by Glenn and Carol Crossno, he jumped into the lead like he has in five of the last six main events. He won his heat after qualifying eighth and started fourth in the main. He dropped back to fourth late in the main, but recovered to grab the last podium spot at the end. Cory is now third in the points chase.

Danny ”Showtime” Sheridan continues to improve and run near the front each week. This time he was fifth quick in qualifying, missed the transfer in the “heavy hitters” heat and won the semi to start tenth in the feature. He was on the move and got into a five way battle for the win, as was amazing for many laps. He ended up putting on a quick lightning show with a few laps to go, when he lost a couple of cylinders, and still managed to get fourth at the end with an expiring motor under him.

Thinks happen in racing and drivers change, like normal, but this week’s news was shocking for Mike Kirby fans. After the Ventura race last week, Mike decided to move on and is working out a new deal as we speak. He will announce his plans officially very soon, but this week he took the time to be with his family and took a break from racing. He will be back with a new team for the next Perris race on October 1st and could have a ride for Manzanita this coming week. He dropped from third to 4th in the points chase, losing valuable ground on the top three.

The Alexander’s put Jerry Coons Jr in the saddle of their Silver Bullet # 4 car for this week and probably next, but don’t know their plans for the rest of the year. Jerry did a good job starting 16th in the main and finishing seventh in a new car to him. Jerry has had a very good year as he continues to run USAC midget, Silver Crown and Sprints back in the mid-west, but was happy to get away from the humidity for a bit back there. He calls Tuscon his home, but his Indiana suitcase has been utilized a lot these past few years.

Bill Rose also showed up from his USAC, and other fun racing back east to use his own car stored at Rickie Gaunt’s shop this week. The likeable Bill ended up 13th in the main and seemingly had a good time doing it. He will run the Four Crown at Eldora next week.

More good, bad and even some ugly this week as the beat goes on. On the plus side several had great outings beyond the podium scene. Bobby Cody has had some disastrous outings this year with a couple of crashes and motor burn downs in his own equipment that set him back. His big smile is still going as he ran the Moosemobile for the second time this week and was 8th in the main, still getting use to the car. Slick Mike Spencer ran a strong and steady fifth after qualifying fourth and running second in his heat. He continues to look like that first win is coming. Josh Ford had a smooth outing running sixth and showing his time is coming, too! Tony Jones rolled it in the trailer again this week and had a few smiles for his fans after the races. Seth Wilson had some good and bad after qualifying third, making the main and running in the top five most of the race. I don’t know what caused it, but he trickled back to 15th at the end. All of these guys have the potential to win! Rookie driver Ryan Devitt made his first feature and started last in the 22 car field, but rolled it up to tenth at the end for the hard charger award of the week. Nice going to the newcomer who is driving my neighbor Jim Blenkarn’s car.

David Cardey’s luck was bad again this week when the motor began smoking in his heat. It became death smoke soon after that and he pulled off the track before the end, and did not come back. Rodney Argo started in the front for the second week in a row and looked fast again. Unfortunately he got a “love tap” from another car that slowed him back a few positions and then the white smoke stopped him a few laps later. The big Ford motor gave up the ghost and will see Mr Shaver this week. Jordan Hermansader was a victim of “taillight syndrome” as he was behind a bunch who slowed to avoid others and he got Nadine Keller’s Black widow car over on it’s head. Until a broken rear end was noticed, he looked like he would make it back out. Danny Faria came south from his Tipton home up North to make another feature. This time “Hollywood Dan” got hung up on the fourth turn wall and was back in his trailer to make the long tow home before it was over.

Damion Gardner had a tough night as he came in 11 points behind Rip Williams for the championship battle. He picked up five in qualifying then lost two in the heats and started the man with high hopes of regaining his top spot only six behind. Early in the race he moved into fourth and made a slider move on Rip going into turn two. As he slowed a little and moved up on the track, Rip didn’t go away and they got together pretty good with Gardner getting a flat rear tire out of the deal and headed to the back. Two restarts later there was a spinning car in front of him and after the brakes were applied, the Demon got whacked in the back and yes, another flat tire, so he was done. Watch out at Manzy the little red sucker may be seeing red.

The 2006 Wagtimes Calendar is out and we have sold out the first printing, but a second will be done this week. If you won’t catch Terry, Ellen or myself at the races, you can send a $22 check or money order to Ellen Ellis, 1641 East Fremont Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282 and she will mail one to you!

As the Wagsdash builds to a crescendo …… let me tell you who some of the sponsors are so far to support the 15th annual event. Trophy City will produce the awesome trophy again and he has made every one of them. JAF and Tear Off Heaven Foto’s will be instrumental again. Buena Body Shop in Ventura, Black Widow Racing, Tim Myrick, Ron Chaffin Motorsports, Big Jon and Scotty, So Cal Performance, Alexander Trucking and Joseph’s Men’s Wear are also inked. Also IN N OUT Burgers just joined us as we prepare to support a traditional Wagsdash and build up the Big Dog winner’s share that could reach $10,000 to win on October 29th at Ventura Raceway. Thanks to everyone as we get in gear. Sponsorships for the event T-shirt are also available. You can get involved, it’s only money!

VALVOLINE USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: September 17, 2005 ¬ Perris, California ¬ Perris Auto Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Rickie Gaunt, 2A, Smiley-16.512; 2. Damion Gardner, 50, Chaffin-16.638; 3. Seth Wilson, 17, Racing Optics-16.702; 4. Mike Spencer, 44, Engstrom-16.705; 5. Danny Sheridan, 18, Kittle-16.731; 6. Josh Ford, 73, Ford-16.742; 7. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-16.803; 8. Cory Kruseman, 38, Crossno-16.832; 9. Charles Davis Jr., 8A, Smiley-16.837; 10. Bill Rose, 6R, Rose-16.839; 11. Wally Pankratz, 3X, Jory-16.842; 12. Rodney Argo, 19, Argo-16.844; 13. Tony Jones, 87, Vermeer/Ferreira-16.850; 14. Davey Pombo, 3P, Pombo-16.883; 15. Bobby Cody, 92, Sertich-16.957; 16. Steve Ostling, 0, Shoemaker-17.003; 17. Danny Ebberts, 77, Acosta-17.071; 18. Jordan Hermansader, 5, Keller-17.140; 19. David Cardey, 59, Giardina-17.140; 20. Jerry Coons Jr., 4, Alexander-17.168; 21. Alan Ballard, 97, Ballard-17.221; 22. Danny Faria, 17V, Faria-17.228; 23. R. J. Johnson, 15AZ, Martin-17.232; 24. J.Hicks, 66, Miller-17.240; 25. Greg Bragg, 33, Blair-17.275; 26. Adam Mitchell, 14, Lancaster-17.323; 27. Tom Stansberry, 48, Bach-17.578; 28. Ryan Devitt, 35R, Blenkarn-17.592; 29. Joshua Williams, 34, Williams-17.597; 30. Jack Hawley, 1J, Hawley-17.625; 31. Jack DeArmond Jr., 9, DeArmond-17.672; 32. Mark Heidenreich, 22, Heidenreich-17.682; 33. Randy Waitman, Y69, Waitman-17.788; 34. Nadine Keller, 16, Keller-17.955; 35. Matt Stewart, 85, Stewart-18.048; 36. Todd Hunsaker, 75, Hunsaker-18.061; 37. Nate Ziegler, N8, Ziegler-18.325; 38. Dan Tedrick, 88, Tedrick-19.137; 39. Mel Murphy, 57, Gunderson NT.

TROPHY DASH: (3 laps) 1. Wilson, 2. Spencer, 3. Gaunt, 4. Gardner. :51.26

CONSI: (8 laps) 1. Waitman, 2. Keller, 3. Hunsaker, 4. Stewart. 2:24.66

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bragg, 2. Ebberts, 3. Davis, 4. Gaunt, 5. J.Williams, 6. Sheridan, 7. Jones. 8. Ballard, 9. Waitman. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Mitchell, 2. Hermansader, 3. Faria, 4. Gardner, 5. Pombo, 6. Ford, 7. Rose, 8. Hawley, 9. Keller. 2:55:14

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Johnson, 2. R.Williams, 3. Wilson, 4. Stansberry, 5. Pankratz, 6. Cody, 7. DeArmond, 8. Hunsaker, 9. Cardey. NT

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Kruseman, 2. Devitt, 3. Argo, 4. Coons, 5. Spencer, 6. Hicks, 7. Ostling, 8, Heidenreich, 9. Stewart. NT

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Sheridan, 2. Spencer, 3. Jones, 4. Ford, 5. Rose, 6. Cody, 7. Pombo, 8. Ostling, 9. Ballard, 10. Hicks, 11. J.Williams, 12. Waitman, 13. Keller, 14. Heidenreich, 15. Stewart, 16. Hunsaker, 17. Pankratz, 18. Hawley. 3:29:05

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Rip Williams, 2. Charles Davis Jr., 3. Cory Kruseman, 4. Danny Sheridan, 5. Mike Spencer, 6. Josh Ford, 7. Jerry Coons Jr., 8. Bobby Cody, 9. Tony Jones, 10. Ryan Devitt, 11. R.J. Johnson, 12. Rickie Gaunt, 13. Bill Rose, 14. Danny Ebberts, 15, Seth Wilson, 16. Tom Stansberry, 17. Danny Faria, 18. Adam Mitchell, 19. Greg Bragg, 20. Damion Gardner, 21. Jordan Hermansader, 22. Rodney Argo. NT

**DeArmond flipped during the third heat. Hermansader flipped during the feature,

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-20 Kruseman, Laps 21-30 R.Williams.

NEW USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-R.Williams-1,515; 2-Gardner-1,460; 3-Kruseman-1,390; 4-Kirby-1,329; 5-Davis-1,166; 6-Gaunt-1,058; 7-Spencer-975; 8-Ford-887; 9-Jones-781; 10-Wilson-760.

NEXT USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: September 24 ¬ Phoenix, AZ ¬ Manzanita Speedway

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