2003 & 2005 - All HammerDown! Team Member
It's Gardner again at Perris - HD Staff - Perris, CA. - 09/16/06 - USAC CRA sprint car series points leader Damion Gardner won the 30-lap feature Saturday night at Perris Auto Speedway. In a race that saw five flips, Gardner was followed across the finish line by Rip Williams, Tony Jones, Josh Ford, and Blake Miller. (Summary)
Gardner extends points lead with Perris CRA win - HD Staff - Perris, CA. August 19, 2006 - Concord, CA driver Damion Gardner lengthened his lead in the USAC-CRA point standings with a win Saturday night at Perris Auto Speedway. (Summary)
Gardner again in USAC-CRA at Manzanita - HD Staff - May 20, 2006 - Phoenix, AZ. ...Damion Gardner continued his dominance of the USAC-CRA Sprint Car Series with a 30-lap win at Manzanita Speedway Saturday night. Cory Kruseman was second followed by Johnny Rodriguez, Charles Davis Jr., and Rickie Gaunt. (Summary)
Damion tough in Tucson USAC-CRA - HD Staff - April 8, 2006 - Tucson, AZ. ...Damion Gardner of Concord, CA won the USAC-CRA sprint car feature event Saturday night at Tucson USA Race Park. Gardner took the lead from eventual runner-up Charles Davis Jr. on lap 23 of 30. Points leader Cory Kruseman finished third and also notched fast time. It was the first time in 2006 someone other than Gardner scored quick-time. Tony Jones was fourth in the feature followed by David Cardey who gained his first top-five finish of the season. (Summary)
Gardner best again in USAC/CRA - By Robert Mayson - Perris, CA – March 25, 2006 – Defending USAC / CRA Champion Damion Gardner, Concord, Calif. served notice Saturday night at the Perris Auto Speedway that he is the man to beat for the 2006 driving title. Five races into the 2006 campaign, Gardner has piloted the Ron Chaffin / Temecula Valley Pipe & Supply #50 Eagle to the fastest lap in time trials every race, and has two wins and two runner-up finishes in the last four events. Cory Kruseman, Ventura, Calif., led the first 18 laps of the 30-lap main event before giving way to Gardner and went on to finish second ahead of Buckeye, Arizona’s Charles Davis, Jr. Rip Williams, Yorba Linda, Calif., and Tony Jones, Norco, Calif., rounded-out the top-five. (Summary)
Gardner doubles at Skagit - By Ken Wagner - July 29-30 - Alger, WA. - Damion Gardner, of Concord, California, won his third Valvoline USAC/CRA race in a row, and swept two nights at Skagit Speedway this past weekend. Damion set his 15th fast time of the year, plus a new track record on Friday night, and went on to win his ninth race. On Saturday, driving the Temecula Valley Pipe & Supply, Arizona Race Mart, Eagle, Shaver #50 he passed early leader, Cory Kruseman on lap two and ran away with his 10th big win in the series. Damion has now won three in a row for the second time this year and is on another hot streak as he pulled to within 50 points of the point leader Rip Williams in the championship race. Cory Kruseman was second on the preliminary night followed by Tony Jones, Rip Williams, Bud Kaeding and hard charger Mike Kirby. On Saturday, Kirby followed Damion in the 40 lap finali with Bud Kaeding, Mike Spencer and hard charger Danny Sheridan behind him in that order. Outstanding racing at an awesome little track in Washington made for a trip well worth it. (More)
Gardner hops in midget, wins USAC Western go at Bakersfield Speedway - HD Staff - Oildale, CA. 07/09/05 - Damion Gardner has limited experience driving a midget but that didn't matter Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway. The Concord, CA. driving ace won the 30-lap USAC Western Midget feature event on the 1/3-mile high banked clay oval. Jerome Rodela finished as runner-up. The top five was filled out by Robby Flock, Stephen Graves, and Dallen McKenney. (Summary)
Make it official. Gardner is hot! - HD Staff - 05/14/05 - Perris, CA. - Damion Gardner is in a groove like no one in the brief history of the USAC/CRA sprint car series has ever been in. Saturday night at Perris Auto Speedway, Gardner won his third straight series feature event behind the wheel of the Ron Chaffin #50. Cory Kruseman, Charles Davis Jr., Mike Kirby, and Danny Sheridan completed the top-five in the 30-lap feature. (Summary)
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 provisional 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 eighth 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)
Pedregon Picks Gardner to Drive Midget at Ventura - VENTURA, Calif. (April 13, 2005) – NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon has picked Damion Gardner to pilot his No. 71C Advance Auto Parts midget for the upcoming United States Auto Club (USAC) Western States Midget Series race at Ventura Raceway on April 23. Gardner, of Concord, Calif., is an up and coming star within the Western states sprint car ranks. This season, Gardner, 28, has already posted two USAC/CRA (California Racing Association) sprint car victories and set fast time at five of the first six events. Gardner, voted on as the No. 1 non-winged sprint car driver in the nation during a stretch of the 2003 racing season, is quite accomplished already in his young career, including runner up in the 2004 USAC/CRA sprint car points chase. “Damion Gardner is a heck of a driver and a winner,” Pedregon said. “I’m really excited and happy to provide him with a quality car. I hand picked him because I really like his style and everything about the way he handles the car. “I really like that he’s aggressive and smooth,” Pedregon added. “He’s really calculated in how he approaches a race. He works on and really understands the race car. He’s one of those guys that wants to know every detail of how a car is set up and how to better make that car go as fast as it can. I love that about him. It’s no accident that he’s won a lot of races.”
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)
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)
DAMION GARDNER PASSES PETER MURPHY LATE TO WIN SEVENTH. - By Ken Wagner – Perris, CA. 09/18/04 …The 20th Valvoline USAC/CRA event of the season featured Damion Gardner's last lap pass of Aussie driver, Peter Murphy, as they went under the white flag exciting the crowd. Peter led 28 laps before Damion made a very calculated pass for his seventh win of the season. Gardner said "I knew I was faster than Murphy, but he was running in the middle of the track, and I had to wait for "my lane" to open up before I could go for it".
Gardner loves Skagit, powers to 40-lap USAC / CRA win - By Bobby Gerould - July 31, 2004 - Alger, WA. ...Even before the weekend started, Damion "The Demon" Gardner was professing his love for Skagit Speedway. It is rare that sprint cars race at the 3/10's mile dirt oval without wings and Gardner seemingly could not wait to run the cushion at the Northwest speedplant. Saturday night, Gardner defeated a 24 car main-event field to win the 40-lap USAC / CRA sprint car feature in front of a large audience. Gardner started on the pole, and led every lap, holding off first Cory Kruseman, and then series points leader Rip Williams. (More)
Gardner Towers in Firecracker 50 - By Bobby Gerould - 07/03/04 - Perris, CA. …Standing room only was the rule at Perris Auto Speedway Saturday night as the Valvoline United States Auto Club California Racing Association sprint cars took to the ˝-mile clay oval for the Budweiser Firecracker 50. Concord California's Damion "The Demon" Gardner responded to a late race challenge from Mike Kirby to win an exciting feature event. (More)
...Concord, CA.'s Damion Gardner will replace Griffin in the potent Ron Chaffin / Bruce Bromme Jr. #50. The chariot has always been a premier ride with memories of Lealand McSpadden, and Griffin consistently in the winners circle. Gardner, meanwhile, continues his climb to prominence. A winner of seven SCRA features in 2003, Damion is expected to contend for the USAC/CRA title in 2004.
Four Winners in Four Races in USAC/CRA, Gardner takes Hanford - By Bobby Gerould, 04/03/04, Hanford, CA. …Non-winged sprint cars with 410 cubic inch motors, and 800 plus horsepower returned to sticky Kings Speedway Saturday night. Marking the first time since 1997 that such an event has run at the Hanford fairgrounds, the United States Auto Club, California Racing Association race was highly anticipated in the Central Valley. At the completion of 30 laps of clay slinging, Concord, California's Damion Gardner became the fourth different Feature winner in as many 2004 races for the Valvoline sponsored series. (more)
2003 All-HammerDown! drivers, Damion Gardner, and Bud Kaeding do their thing at the Perris Oval Nationals (Jim Fleming photo)
Damion Gardner has Big Opportunity - By Blake Johnson, Memphis, TN. 10/02/03 ...R.E. Technologies announced today that Jerry Coons Jr. and Damion Gardner will drive for the team at the Salt City 100 at the New York State Fairgrounds on October 10-11, 2003. This will be Damion Gardner’s first race in a USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series car. Gardner has spent most of this season on the West Coast racking up wins with the SCRA. The Concord, California native has seven SCRA feature wins so far this season. Gardner, a first place vote getter in the Spring National Non-Winged Sprint Car Poll, says he is ready for the challenge of USAC Silver Crown. “I am looking forward to Syracuse and Super Dirt week,” said Gardner. “I am always trying to go faster. I love strapping into cars and being competitive.” Jerry Coons Jr. will pilot the #35 Curb Records sponsored “Curb-Agajanian Special.” Damion Gardner will steer the #115 Parkerstores/Curb Records sponsored “Spirit of Knoxville.” He will drive for Donny Schatz who will also be at Texas Motor Speedway with the World of Outlaws. Jerry Coons Jr. is no stranger to the R.E. Technologies team. He drove for the team from 2000-2002 scoring two poles and five podium finishes. In 2002, Coons set a new track qualifying record at the Salt City 100 with a time of 31.255 seconds at a speed of 115.182 mph. “I am happy to be back in the car for this race,” smiled Coons. “We have always worked well together. I am looking forward to returning to Super Dirt Week with this team.” Qualifying for the Salt City 100 will take place Friday October 10th. The feature is scheduled for Saturday October 11th. The event will be televised by Speed Channel on November 9th at 2pm Eastern.
DAMION GARDNER EARNS #1 RANKING IN NON-WINGED SPRINT POLL KNOXVILLE, IOWA (May 1, 2003) - By Tom Schmeh ...Just five months ago, Damion Gardner of Concord, Calif., was receiving his 2002 “Wild Card Award” from the National Non-Winged Sprint Car Poll voting panel for his exciting driving performances last season. Today he has been named the number one non-winged sprint car driver in the nation by that same select panel of manufacturers, media members, sanctioning officials and promoters. He received 10 of 15 first-place ballots cast. Gardner wheels the Willis Machine-sponsored TCR/Gaerte sprint car of owner Harlan Willis in Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA) competition and has three wins to his credit already in the 2003 racing season. (read it all)
Damion Gardner, from Concord CA.is ranked #1 in the National Sprint Car Poll
Damion Gardner is Hot, Heads to Perris with SCRA Sprints - By Bobby Gerould and stssports 04/09/03 - Lake Perris, CA. - Damion Gardner of Concord, California was a name that Ron Albright told us to remember back in 1996. Gardner was wiping out the competition in Dwarf Cars at Petaluma Speedway in 1995, and Albright was announcing at the track. Ron told us the kid had as much natural talent as any driver he'd seen. That's saying something coming from Ron, who has been around top notch non-wing sprint car, and midget racing his entire life. Fast forward to 2003, and Gardner now has won two of the last three SCRA main events. His latest triumph came last Saturday night at the Thunderbowl in Tulare where he dominated the program. Gardner set a new track record in qualifying, won his heat race, placed second in the JE Pistons Passing Maters Dash and then fought off the advances of 4-time SCRA Champion Richard Griffin for the win in a crowd pleasing main event. All of this comes in just his sixth ride for famous car owner Harlan Willis.
Gardner enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top with SCRA in 2002. After racing with a wing on dirt in the Golden State Championship Series (Central and Northern California) and without a wing on pavement with the USAC Western State Sprint Car Series, Gardner doffed his wing and ran with SCRA last season. He came into the February season opener unknown to most SCRA fans, but by the time the season had ended, he was arguably the hottest driver on the track and the most popular driver with those packing the grandstands. And, he finished third in points behind Griffin (Silver City, New Mexico) and Garden Grove's Tony Jones. Late in the season he became the first, and to this day the only, diver to run a sub 16-second lap without a wing at The PAS. When the SCRA throng returns to The PAS this Saturday, Gardner finds himself third in the point standings, some 54 digits behind Griffin. Ojai's Troy Rutherford, who won the 2003 season opener in February and has not finished out of the top five this season, mans the second place spot. Gardner took over the Willis ride, which veteran Cory Kruseman drove to the SCRA title in 2001, over the winter. Kruseman is driving a Sprint Car owned by NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart on the USAC circuit in the Midwest.
From Positivity: ...Damion Gardner of Concord, California was the winner when the wings came off Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway. Fellow Cali-kid Bud Kaeding finished second. Gardner was a young, support class hero at Petaluma Speedway, when scribe Ron Albrite hipped us to his name. Now Gardner can boast of winged sprint car wins on the rugged Golden State Challenge tour, as well non-wing glory with SCRA. Natural talent runs through the likeable racer that is coached by Vince Lattner, and Kevin Urton. HammerDown! Is extremely happy for "Vinny" Lattner, who toiled on the NARC sprint car circuit for years, learning how to make the cars fast.
Bay Area's Gardner Wins SCRA at Perris - Rare are the days when a Northern California driver invades Southern California and wins the feature in a non-wing SCRA race. Saturday night, at Perris Auto Speedway, in Perris CA., Concord's Damion Gardner, a rookie on the prestigious SCRA sprint car tour, won the 30-lap main event. Gardner took the lead from point leader Steve Ostling, briefly lost it back to Ostling in lapped traffic, before regaining the lead and waltzing off for the victory. Gardner also posted the fastest qualifying lap among 35 cars, turning the 1/2 mile in 16.380 seconds. (more)