2005 USAC Western States News
CASA ‘in the house’ with USAC Western Sprint Cars for huge Stockton 99 race. August 27th event also features USAC Western Midgets. – By Bobby Gerould – Stockton, CA. – 08/17/05 - …The fans win when a co-sanctioned event occurs! With that credo in mind, USAC Western Officials emerged from recent meetings with the California Asphalt Sprintcar Association (CASA) to announce that the two sanctioning bodies will join forces August 27th at Stockton 99 Speedway. The event will be race two in the Stockton 99 Sprint Car Triple Crown. The opening feature race in the trio of events was held June 25th and captured by Brian McClish of Santa Rosa, CA. The third and final leg of the Triple Crown will run Sunday September 11, 2005. A large car count and fierce competition is the expected result as the two groups come together for the first time. “Our sport is in a tough spot presently”, said USAC Vice President of Western Operations Tommy Hunt. “Many short tracks are not making it. We as a racing community are slivered into so many different cliques that the greater good of the sport is getting lost. This race offers proof that two sanctioning bodies can find common ground.” (Read it all)
15th to first, Tyler Brown wins wild USAC Western Midget event at Santa Maria by Bobby Gerould 06/18/05 Santa Maria, CA. ...Oh, how quickly things can change in auto racing. Early in the 30-lap feature event for USAC Western Midgets Saturday night, Norco, California's Tyler Brown was struggling. After starting 15th, Brown had moved up three spots to 12th by lap ten but it didn't appear to be his night. "If you asked me who was going to win, I would have said 'anyone but me'", explained Brown, after hopping from his #34 TCR in the winners circle. (Read the whole deal)
Kruseman handles Perris 50-lapper - By Ken Wagner - Perris, CA. 05/28/05 - Cory Kruseman, of Ventura, California won the Valvoline USAC/CRA “Salute to Indy” 50 lap race at Perris Auto Speedway this week. Driving the ITI Performance, Sander Engineering, Bullitt, Downing # 38, The Kruser started 14th in the main event and chased early leader, Rip Williams, down and led the final 24 laps to win his third race of the season. His win stopped the win streak by Damion Gardner at four, The Demon was involved in a shunt in the main that bent his front end so severely that he fought it until he spun out with a few laps to go as he was charging into 4th place from the back. Rip Williams increased his point lead over Damion to 34 points as he finished third while Gardner was tenth. (More)
Ryan Kaplan records first USAC Midget win in Western Oildale thriller - By Bobby Gerould - Oildale, CA. 05/14/05 - …Sophomore midget racer Ryan Kaplan of Chico, CA. snookered two men with an outside pass in turn four on lap-24 Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway en route to a 30-lap feature victory. The USAC Western States Midget main event win was the first for the 18 year old since he moved up from Ford Focus midget racing. On a lap 24 restart, Kaplan lined up behind leader Tyler Brown, and second place running Robby Flock. As the trio took the green flag and hauled down the backchute, Kaplan used the additional bite from his adjusted shocks to power into turn three on the high side. He drove around both Flock, and Brown with just inches to spare and powered into the lead as the cars raced off turn four. "Before the restart, I thought to myself, 'this could be good or bad'", said Kaplan in the pits post-race. "I adjusted my shocks during the yellow (flag), and thought I could push it up higher and just see what happens, and it worked!" (Read the whole deal)
Hot Gardner sizzles at Ventura in USAC/CRA action - By Ken Wagner – 5/8/05 - Ventura, CA. Damion Gardner, from Concord, California won his fourth Valvoline USAC/CRA main event win of the season in his Temecula Valley Pipe & Supply, Arizona Race Mart, Eagle, Shaver powered # 50 sprinter. He came from the sixth starting spot riding the high groove and taking the lead with two laps to go from Mike Kirby who had led from the start in the 30 lap feature at Ventura Raceway. Kirby had been enjoying a nice lead when a yellow flag flew with five laps to go and Damion in a close second place. The last restart quickly became a titanic battle for the lead. Damion passed Kirby twice before it stuck with two laps to go. The Demon was very patient and said in the winners circle “I was so high up on the cushion, it didn’t look like I was gaining on them at first, but then I started reeling them in and we won this one in the end”. He was followed by Kirby, Cory Kruseman, Blake Miller (the local 360 VRA point leader) and Mike Spencer, with his best finish of the year so far, across the stripe. (More)
Provisional smovisional, Gardner (from 23rd) turns in performance for the ages - HD Staff - 04/30/05 - Perris, CA. ...Damion Gardner set quick-time but had heat race and semi-main woes forcing him to use a provisonal starting berth in the 30 lap A-Main at Perris Auto Speedway Saturday night. Starting 23rd, Gardner passed every car in the feature and left race fans with their mouths agape. The win for the Concord, CA. driver was his 12th career USAC/CRA triumph. He also notched quick-time for the eigth time this season. Cory Kruseman followed Gardner to the checkered flag. Third through fifth fell to Tony Jones, Mike Kirby and Charles Davis Jr. (More)
Shasta cancels amid grey skies - By Bobby Gerould - Anderson, CA. 04/30/05 - The USAC Western States Sprint Car series event scheduled for Saturday night at Shasta Raceway Park was cancelled after heavy overnight rain and forecasts of 60% chance of more rain. Practice was held Friday night at the 3/8's-mile paved oval.
Kruseman wins Ventura USAC Western Midgets - HD Staff - Ventura, CA. 04/23/05 - Ventura's hometown ace Cory Kruseman bested a stellar field of Western USAC midgets Saturday night at Seaside Park. (Summary)
Flock shakes and rolls to 50th career USAC midget win - By Bobby Gerould - Oildale, CA. 04/16/05 - …50 wins in a series of any kind is an accomplishment reserved for a select group of racers. Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway, Robby Flock of Murrieta, CA. won his 50th USAC Western States Midget feature with a patient yet determined drive in Mike Sala's potent #79. Flock passed Jerome Rodela on the back chute on lap 21 of 29 to claim a shortened race of attrition. Due to time constraints, and after seven caution flags, the feature was cut by one lap. "This is awesome!" said Flock post-race. "To win my 50th in the 50th year of USAC racing is excellent. I give credit to 'Biggie' (crew chief, Steve Watt); he was right on all night. Everything he said was going to happen, happened." (Read it all)
USAC Western Sprint Season opens Friday in Boise - By Dick Jordan - April 11, 2005 - Boise, ID. - The 2005 USAC Valvoline Western Sprint Car and Rocky Mountain Sprint Car Series open this weekend with back-to-back races at Meridian (Idaho) Speedway Friday and Saturday nights. Tony Hunt of Fair Oaks, Calif. (Western) and Jimmy Waters of Salt Lake City, Utah (Rocky Mountain) are expected to open defense of 2004 USAC driving championships in the two-night racing program on the 1/4-mile paved oval. A 40-lap feature caps Friday night's events, while a big 50-lapper is set to close Saturday night's program. Hometown favorite Mike Murgoitio and 10th-ranking 2004 Western Sprint driver Greg Anderson earned their initial USAC feature victories in last year's Meridian races, but 2004 Western series runner-up Michael Lewis was the fastest qualifier for both nights of racing last year. Murgoitio's victory and sixth-place final point ranking helped him earn the 2004 Western Sprint Car "Rookie of the Year" Award. Hunt and Lewis were the two USAC feature winners at Meridian Speedway in 2003. Female drivers are also expected to gain their share of attention in the Meridian openers, with drivers Shauna Hogg and Destiney Hays both former USAC Western Sprint Car feature winners
Kruseman best at Perris - HD Staff - 03/26/05 - Perris, CA. - Cory Kruseman is getting comfortable in the Crossno #38. That could be bad news for the competition. After switching rides in the off-season, Kruseman admitted to a learning curve with his 2005 sprinter. Saturday night at Perris Auto Speedway, Kruseman won his seventh career USAC/CRA sprint car feature event. Mike Kirby led the opening 15 laps but Kruseman led the final 15. Kirby finished second, followed by 2004 USAC/CRA champion Rip Williams. Rickie Gaunt, and Charles Davis Jr. completed the top-five. The stout top-ten was filled out by Danny Sheridan, Josh Ford, Tony Jones, Tracy Hines, and Steve Ostling. Chico's Jason York was eleventh. ...Rip Williams has taken the lead in the new USAC/CRA point standings. (Summary)
Gaunt good in Sokola Classic prelim - By Dick Jordan - Phoenix, AZ. 03/18/05 ...Rickie Gaunt of Torrance, Calif., who scored his initial Valvoline USAC/CRA Sprint car feature win last November, notched his second Friday night, winning the 20-lap "Sokola Classic" prelim feature at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz. Gaunt passed defending series champion Rip Williams on the second lap and led the rest of the way in his Smiley's Crane Service/Extreme Chassis Chargin/Extreme to beat Williams, series point leader Charles Davis Jr., Josh Ford and Jesse Hockett. The 5th Annual 40-lap "Sokola Classic" main event is scheduled tonight (Sat., March 19) at the 1/2-mile dirt oval. "It's so much fun racing with him," Gaunt remarked in victory lane about his battle with Williams. "We may not have been the fastest out there tonight." Fastest qualifier Damion Gardner failed to finish the 20-lapper after a wall-banging incident.
Damion dominant at Perris in USAC/CRA - HD Staff - Perris, CA. March 5, 2005 - Damion Gardner (Concord, CA.) won his second consecutive USAC/CRA feature event at Perris Auto Speedway Saturday night. The winningest driver in the history of the series drove the Ron Chaffin #50 in the 30-lap triumph on the 1/2-mile dirt oval. Steve Ostling finished second driving the Tony Smiley #2A. Mike Kirby, Danny Sheridan, and Charles Davis Jr. completed the top-five. The tough, deep, and experienced roster saw sixth through tenth fall to Josh Wise, Tony Jones, Rip Williams, Dave Darland, and Cory Kruseman. (Summary)
Ford Focus Nationals a reality this year - By Dick Jordan - March 2, 2005 - Indianapolis, IN. ...The USAC Ford Focus Midget Series, for the first time in its four-year history, will crown an all-divisions national driving champion in 2005. Limaland (Ohio) Motorsports Park and Anderson (Ind.) Speedway will host the inaugural USAC Ford Focus National Championship Invitational events on September 17 and 18. Future championships will be hosted by the California Region in 2006 and the North Carolina Region in 2007. "The Ford Focus National Championship Invitational is the result of the strong growth and prosperity the Ford Focus Midget Series continues to enjoy," said Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology. "A national championship has been a priority of ours and part of our long-term vision for the series since day one. Today, with over 140 registered Ford Focus Midget competitors contesting six regional championships in 2005, the time was right to bring the best of the best from each region together for an exciting weekend of racing and crown a Ford Focus National Champion." USAC Ford Focus officials have developed a unique format for these events. The top eight drivers in points from each of the six Ford Focus regions, along with a wild-card driver from each region, will be invited to compete for the national championship. Each race track's event will feature a full Ford Focus Series program of qualifying, a non-qualifiers' race, heat races, a semi-feature and 50-lap feature event. The national champion will be determined by using USAC's points system, which awards points to drivers for qualifying, heat races, semi-feature and feature. The driver earning the most total points for the two races will be the USAC Ford Focus National Driving Champion. "I'm sure the competition to make the field and the enthusiasm to compete in this unique event will be tremendous," said Rollie Helmling, President and CEO of USAC. "Every series participant will be planning for these races, and race fans should definitely have them on their calendar. We have been planning for this since the USAC Ford Focus Midget Series began. This format will certainly match the 'best of the best' for years to come in what has become America's fastest-growing racing series." The 2.0-liter Zetec engines found in every USAC Ford Focus Midget are completely stock internally as produced on a Ford production line. SCREAM adds mechanical fuel injection, clutch and self-starter, which eliminates the need for push trucks at Ford Focus Midget events.
Gardner masters Perris day show - HD Staff - Perris, CA. 02/05/05 ...Damion Gardner, the career leader in USAC/CRA feature wins, added another one Saturday at Perris Auto Speedway. Driving the Ron Chaffin #50, Gardner nearly scored a clean sweep. He set quick-time, and won the trophy dash. His only "blemish" was a third in his heat race. From Concord, CA., Gardner was runner-up in the 2004 points chase to Rip Williams. Williams finished second Saturday. The top-five was completed by Mike Kirby, Bill Rose, and Seth Wilson. Last week's CRA winner Dave Darland was a non-transfer out of the B-Main. Flip victims on the day included Tracy Hines, Mike Spencer, and Tony Jones. 47 cars were on hand, proving the growth of the non-wing 410 sprint car series. (More)
John's Racing Photos - Phoenix: The ten best shots.
J.J. backs up Copper World midget win - By Dick Jordan - January 30, 2005 - ...Avondale, AZ. Defending USAC Midget "Copper World Classic" champ J.J. Yeley used a pair of slower cars to make the winning move and defend his 2004 triumph in Sunday's 25-lap "Fast Signs 25," part of the 28th Annual "Copper World Classic" at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. The event afforded points toward the National and Western Midget Car Series championships. Yeley's led only the final lap of the contest in his ASE/Ford Beast/Pink Ford, making a bold move in traffic to beat Jay Drake, Nine Racing teammate Bobby East, Dave Steele and Tracy Hines to the twin checkered flags. "I knew I could make the move, even though there was a transition of the banking coming through there," said Yeley who will make limited USAC starts in 2005. "I've been in races where I've won and lost at the line, and I feel for Bobby. We just had the better luck today. I came here as a kid and watched how it was done." Michael Lewis was the pacesetter during the first 15 laps of the caution-marred event. Lewis held advantages of over a second at times before being brought in during a caution period, which started following the completion of 15 laps, for removal of a loose rear sway bar. East inherited the lead and held off Yeley and Drake until Turn 4 of the final lap. East went high to avoid running into slower traffic, while Yeley split the middle and Drake dived low. The final margin of victory was .049 seconds. Lewis secured the pole for the event Saturday after practice times determined the field. Following his misfortune on lap 15, East took over the point from laps 16-24 before Yeley jumped ahead. The USAC National Midget Car Series is idle until May 7 when it visits the Raceway @ Powercom Park in Beaver Dam, Wisc., while the Western Midget Car Series resumes action March 5 at Altamont Motorsports Park in Tracy, Calif. (Summary)
Darland rides to victory at cold Manzanita Speedway - By Ken Wagner - January 29, 2005. Phoenix, AZ. ...Showers played havoc with the Valvoline USAC/CRA season opener on January 29th at Manzanita Speedway when wet grounds greeted the racers trying to negotiate into the muddy pits for the night's action. Dave Darland later drove the Performance, Eric Industries, TCR, Donovan sprinter, owned by Dwight Chaney, to a 30 lap win in the Main Event. Wet grounds and a late start cancelled qualifying. Heat race line-ups for the 38 cars in attendance were done by pill draw, then passing points further aligned cars transferring into the Semi and Main Events. (Read it all)
USAC / CRA ready for green flag Saturday night at Manzy - By Michael Harker - Phoenix, AZ. Jan. 24, 2005 - ...Defending Valvoline USAC/CRA Sprint Car Champion Rip Williams of Yorba Linda, Calif. aims for his 100th career Sprint car feature victory this Saturday night as the 2005 series debuts at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz. Williams, who earned his initial driving title last year, scored three wins at Perris, Calif. and two at Ventura, Calif. on his way to the championship. His best finish in five starts at the 1/2-mile dirt Phoenix oval was seventh. Bud Kaeding, Cory Kruseman and Mike Kirby all scored 2004 Manzanita CRA wins, as well as Dave Darland, who won last year's USAC/CRA debut there. Kruseman won twice, including the "Sokola Classic," while Kaeding grabbed the "Western World Open" main event last November. Kirby won last year's "Hall of Fame Vintage Classic" at Manzy. Kruseman is expected to be among top threats, concentrating on the USAC/CRA championship this season after finishing third behind Jay Drake and Kaeding in the 2004 Valvoline USAC National Sprint Car standings. Several of USAC's National drivers are slated to be on hand for the Manzanita CRA opener, which coincides with the Jan. 29-30 "Copper World Classic" at Phoenix International Raceway. In terms of CRA regulars, Williams has no farther to look for challenges than Damion Gardner of Concord, Calif., runner-up for the 2004 CRA title. Gardner won eight times last year, more than any other CRA driver, but his five Manzanita starts in 2004 produced only one podium finish, a third. Tracy Hines of New Castle, Ind., winner of the recent "Chili Bowl" Midget spectacular in Tulsa, Okla., is also expected to compete. Qualifying is scheduled for 6 pm and racing will begin at 7. A 30-lap feature caps the action and tickets can be secured by calling (602) 276-7575.