JONES WINS JEFF BAGLEY CLASSIC by Robert Mayson VENTURA, CA, MAY 4, 2002 - Tony Jones usually runs well at Ventura Raceway, but until Saturday's Jeff Bagley Classic he had been held without a main event victory at Seaside Park. Putting that demon to rest in a big way, the only thing that prevented Jones from sweeping the race program was a second place finish in his heat race. With 12 career NAPA Auto Parts / Auto Trader Magazines SCRA main event wins, Jones now ranks seventh in all-time feature wins. Of greater importance, Jones has now established himself as a legitimate title contender. Enduring some hard luck in the prior two races, Jones sits only 12 points behind defending series champion Cory Kruseman.
"I'm not sure what the points deal was coming into this thing, but I've been telling everyone not to worry, that there's a bunch of races left," Jones said. "I'm looking forward to challenging for the point championship. It seems like I never get to run a full season, and if we can win a championship this year it would really be a feather in my cap." After starting on the pole, Jones finished second to John Scott when the last time the SCRA visited Seaside Park in October. As fate would have it, Jones and Scott would share the front row for the start of the 40 lap main event. Even though he prefers to not lead early, Jones got the better start and led Scott, Gary W. Howard, Mike Kirby and Troy Rutherford at the end of the opening lap.
"I hate starting on the front row. It's just too much damn pressure," Jones joked. "When you start in the front row you have to be able to make quick decisions, and, as I've said before, it's a lot easier for me to be running second, third or fourth and watching what the leaders and the lapped cars are doing." In Kruseman's case, running sixth was the place to be. With the first five cars hugging the infield berm, Kruseman, who won the inaugural Bagley Classic last May, was able to make the cushion work. Passing both Rutherford and Kirby on lap four, Kruseman was up to fourth when the yellow flag flew on lap eight for an incident involving Adam Mitchell and Rip Williams in turn one. Moments after the yellow flag waved, Williams' teammate, Mike English, tangled with Rickie Gaunt in turn three. Kruseman passed third place Howard on the restart and quickly closed in on Jones and the Pace Electronics No. 83 TCR driven by Scott.
Fearlessly, Kruseman darted off the turn four banking and squeezed his way between Jones and Scott on the eleventh lap. Not seeming particularly comfortable on the bottom, Jones pushed his Ferreira Dairy No. 87 Avenger up to the middle of the racing surface. Jones' change of lines did little to slow Kruseman's momentum and by the end of the 14th circuit "The Kruser" had car number one in the top spot. Once out front, Kruseman pulled away from the rest of the field until he hit lapped traffic on the 18th lap.
As a tribute to Bagley, Buzz Shoemaker and Billy Wilkerson posted bonus money for leading lap 21. Shortly after Kruseman collected that bonus, the red flag appeared for Jimmy Thompson who flipped hard off the back straightaway billboards. Thompson was not hurt, but his accident did create a longer than normal clean up.
Kruseman, who earlier won the Sander Engineering Fast Time Award, continued to pace the field comfortably until he reached the last car on the lead lap with ten laps to go. Heavy lapped traffic allowed Jones to instantly erase Kruseman's comfort zone. With Kruseman trapped behind a side-by-side battle for position, Jones took a couple unsuccessful of stabs at the lead. Fully aware that he was being pressured, Kruseman shot low on lap 35 hoping to break up the race in front of him. Kruseman's strategy didn't work out as planned and the door was left wide open for Jones on the top. Now in front, Jones was faced with the same dilemma. Lapped traffic did, however, play out nicer for Jones than Kruseman allowing him to put a couple of cars between his Johnny Vermeer / Bubby Jones owned car and Kruseman.
Naturally frustrated, Kruseman figured his last hope for victory was to split a couple lapped cars in turn three on the white flag lap. Kruseman's attempt came up short and he was relegated to a 12th place finish after contact with a slower car caused him to slide to a stop. "It's kind of tough when your groove is going away and cars are everywhere," Jones recalled. "We had Rickie Gaunt in front of us on the bottom and Danny Sheridan on the top and they were fast enough to where we couldn't split them. There were times that I wanted to go down to the bottom and try a slider, but everyone was fast and you just couldn't get enough momentum."
Kirby brought the Brad & Nancy Geurin / Statewide Towing No. 5 Stinger home in second place ahead of Scott and the Jim Ruth entry driven by Howard. Steve Ostling started 13th and finished fifth in the Fischer Motorsports No. 29. Richard Griffin won the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award with a 19th to sixth place run.
### SCRA RACE #9 - JEFF BAGLEY CLASSIC, VENTURA RACEWAY, VENTURA, CA Date of Race: 05/04/02
SANDER ENGINEERING TIME TRIALS 1. Cory Kruseman, Ventura CA, Willis 1, 12.239 2. Jack DeArmond, Jr., Corona CA, DeArmond, Jr. 24, 12.368 3. Mike Kirby, Torrance CA, Geurin 5, 12.387 4. Rickie Gaunt, Torrance CA, Alexander 4, 12.407 5. Jeremy Sherman, Phoenix AZ, Priestley 7, 12.469 6. Jimmy Thompson, Nipomo CA, Thompson 71T, 12.475 7. Rodney Argo, Gardena CA, Argo 19, 12.477 8. Gary W. Howard, Fontana CA, Ruth 25, 12.479 9. Michael Hinrichsen, Lakeside CA, Lake Mtrsprts. 16, 12.482 10. John Scott, Hesperia CA, Scott Mtrsprts 83, 12.495 11. Greg Taylor, Ojai CA, Taylor 7T, 12.533 12. Tony Jones, Garden Grove CA, Vermeer/Jones 87, 12.533 13. Adam Mitchell, Escondido CA, Mitchell 99, 12.535 14. Mike English, Norwalk CA, Jory 6, 12.547 15. Troy Rutherford, Ojai CA, Gardner Jr. 96, 12.572 16. Steve Ostling, Corona CA, Fischer Mtrspts 29, 12.589 17. Jimmy Crawford, Ventura CA, Team NRG 17C, 12.614 18. Rip Williams, Yorba Linda CA, Jory 3, 12.619 19. Danny Sheridan, Santa Maria CA, DiDonato 57, 12.637 20. Damion Gardner, Concord CA, Gardner 20, 12.665 21. Chris Wakim, Simi Valley CA, Wakim 9W, 12.667 22. Charles Davis, Jr, Buckeye AZ, Davis 94, 12.688 23. Richard Griffin, Silver City NM, Chaffin 50, 12.747 24. Bobby Cody, (R) Costa Mesa CA, Cody 41, 12.749 25. Jarrett Chaney, Clovis CA, Chaney 69, 12.775 26. Robbie Flock, Murrieta CA, Pratt 12, 12.803 27. Jimmy May, Ventura CA, Witherill 61, 12.811 28. Bobby Graham, Riverside CA, Crossno 38, 12.852 29. Jeremy Ellertson, Hermosa Beach CA, Ellerton 98X, 12.856 30. Ronnie Clark, Tucson AZ, Clark 33, 12.863 31. Steve Chuhaloff, Camarillo CA, Camland Mtrspts 25C, 12.989 32. Dan Hillberg, Whittier CA, Hillberg 82, 13.064 33. Dan Tedrick, Hesperia CA.,Tedrick 88, 13.066 34. Mike Spencer, Temecula CA, Engstrom 44, 13.152 35. Mark Heidenreich, (R) Upland CA, Heidenreich 22 , 13.228 36. Tom Downing, Lakewood CA, Downing 90, 13.310 37. Mel Murphy, Woodcrest CA.,Murphy 62, 13.361 38. David Sinsley, Torrance CA, Sinsley 69X, 13.434 39. Rick Hinrichsen, Lakeside CA.,Lake Mtrsprts. 9, 13.521 40. Ron Rector, Oxnard CA, Kruseman 1C , 13.523 41. Charlie Zabinski, Garden Grove CA.,Gardner Jr 96X, 13.538 42. Bob Johnson, (R) Perris CA, Johnson 81, 14.244 43. Alan Ballard, Bakersfield CA.,Ballard 97, No Time
C FEATURE 1. Tom Downing, 2. Dan Tedrick. 3. Mike Spencer. 4. Mark Heidenreich. 5. Rick Hinrichsen. 6. David Sinsley. 7. Mel Murphy. 8. Ron Rector. 9. Bob Johnson.
HEDMAN HEDDERS HEAT 1 1. Jeremy Sherman, 2. Jimmy Crawford, 3. Tom Downing, 4. Cory Kruseman, 5. Chris Wakim, 6. Adam Mitchell, 7. Jeremy Ellertson, 8. Jarrett Chaney, 9. Michael Hinrichsen,
SHAVER ENGINES HEAT 2 1. Mike English, 2. Rip Williams, 3. John Scott, 4. Robbie Flock, 5. Jimmy Thompson, 6. Jack DeArmond, Jr., 7. Ronnie Clark, 8. Dan Tedrick, 9. Charles Davis, Jr,
SPIN TECH MUFFLERS HEAT 3 1. Troy Rutherford, 2. Richard Griffin, 3. Danny Sheridan, 4. Mike Kirby, 5. Jimmy May, 6. Greg Taylor, 7. Mike Spencer, 8. Steve Chuhaloff, 9. Rodney Argo,
STINGER CHASSIS HEAT 4 1. Steve Ostling, 2. Tony Jones, 3. Damion Gardner, 4. Gary W. Howard, 5. Bobby Graham, 6. Rickie Gaunt, 7. Dan Hillberg, 8. Bobby Cody, 9, Mark Heidenreich,
JE PISTONS DASH 1. Tony Jones. 2. John Scott, 3. Gary W. Howard. 4. Mike Kirby. 5. Mike English. 6. Cory Kruseman 7. Jeremy Sherman. 8. Troy Rutherford.
B FEATURE 1. Rickle Gaunt. 2. Greg Taylor. 3. Jimmy Thompson. 4. Adam Mitchell, 5. Charles Davis, Jr. 6. Mike Spencer. 7. Jack DeArmond, Jr.. 8. Ronnie Clark. 9. Bobby Graham, 10, Steve Chuhaloff. 11, Dan Hillberg. 12, Jimmy May. 13. Mark Heidenreich. 14. Rodney Argo. 15. Bobby Cody. 16. Michael Hinrichsen. 17. Chris Wakim. 18. Jarrett Chaney, 19. Jeremy Ellertson. 20. Dan Tedrick.
A FEATURE (40 Laps) 1. Tony Jones, 2, Mike Kirby. 3. John Scott. 4. Gary W. Howard. 5. Steve Ostling. 6. Richard Griffin, 7. Troy Rutherford, 8. Jeremy Sherman. 9. Charles Davis, Jr. 10. Damion Gardner. 11. Danny Sheridan, 12. Cory Kruseman. 13. Rickie Gaunt. 14. Robbie Flock, 15. Jimmy Crawford, 16. Rip Williams. 17. Mike English, 18. Tom Downing. 19. Jimmy Thompson. 20. Adam Mitchell. 21. Greg Taylor.
Laps Led: Jones 1-13, Kruseman 14-34, Jones 35-40