BF's World

Steve-O's Scrapbook

The 40 Most Exciting Drivers in NARC History

All-Time Calistoga Speedway Winners List


Calistoga Speedway

Click Here for the 40th Anniversary NARC program.




Chuck Gurney, Jr. Racing /

Dirt America /

Golden State Challenge / /

MVP Video Online

National Sprint Car Hall of Fame /

Northwest /

SF Designs /

Trophy Girls


Yak Graphics

51 Racing






by Steve Turnross 04/23/02

The Steve-0 Photo & Video tour kicked off the 2002 race season with a trip to PAS for the SCRA daytime opener. Former Flatout editor Kevin Eckert was kind enough to supply a ride from the Burbank Airport to Perris. We arrived just in time for the first hot lap session and boy was it bringing back some fond memeories of Calistoga daytime shows in the seventies, not to mention the Ascot CRA races I lucky enough to see.

Qualifying got ugly when veteran Ben Astenious took a viscious looking flip after his steering wheel came off entering the first turn. He was taken to the hospital for a precautionary check up. He told SCRA video guru Dean Mills the next week while ordering tapes of the carnage that "I will be back". He also said, " I just needed a good shellacking to get back in the swing of things".

The heat race action was good as the track took rubber all day which provided a tire smoke show with wheelstands mixed in. The feature was excellent as battles ensued throughout the pack. John Scott dealt with SCRA newcomer Damion Gardner for nearly the whole race as the two were in the top 5 when contact was made sending both cars up the track and the freight train going by. They both got back up front by the end of the 30 laps.

JJ Yeley was the man, using patience to pick off the win over Troy Rutherford, "The Gasman" Richard Griffin, Tony Jones, and John Scott. Damion Gardner came home a solid sixth in his initial start without a wing on dirt. If you get a chance to go see this group race anywhere, it is highly recommended as they put on the best show in the country.

The next month of racing action was dominated by rain as mother nature racked up a bunch of wins of her own, keeping California gearheads parked for most of March. It looks to be one of those strange years with cancellations for a variety of reasons. So far this year there has been races lost due to snow, rain, cold weather, wind, lack of fans, television, and construction delays.

Madera Speedway hosted the USAC western states Sprints and Midgets to open the season at the fastest paved 1/3 mile in the west. A fine field of 20 sprinters took to the pavement as Bryan Bullard passed with ease to start the race and took the Ken Pierson #14 to victory lane with only a little pressure from other challengers. Shauna Hogg took runnerup honors with a solid run followed by Jeff Gardner, defending series champ Tony Hunt, and Scott Hansen.

In the headliner midget race, Tony Hunt looked to be a sure winner after swapping the lead with Washington visitor John Starks in the final laps, but the Bob Rosen entry ran short on fuel as the heartbroken Hunt sputtered to a third place finish on the track. A post race inspection found Johnny Rodriguez who finished second to be slightly too wide on the right rear of his midget giving Hunt the runnerup position. Young, Van Knill finished third ahead of Marc DeBeaumont in his DeBeaumont Motorsports Stealth.

Madera Speedway track crews must be given two thumbs up for mopping up two huge oildowns of the track in the Midget semi and Supermodified main. The USAC Sprints return to Madera on May 4th for a point race with the USAC Midgets hitting the track on May 18th for a combo show with BCRA.

After a week off to rest and regroup the tour resumed at Watsonville for a Friday night Golden State Challenge race. It should of been called Golden Skate Challenge this night as the usually nice racing surface was missing moisture and grip all night as the pack paraded around the bottom of the track. Tim Kaeding had the field covered in the feature when he decided to hustle under a backmarker and made contact rotating the Wright One Construction Maxim into a spin with a wheelie coming to rest inside of turn 3-4.

With TK in the back for the restart, Brent Kaeding assumed control of the race and drove off the final ten laps for yet another win in his magical career. Tommy Tarlton came home second with Ronnie Day joining on the podium. Crowd favorite and local boy Kevin Pylant cruised to fourth followed by Peter Murphy. The boys and their toys will be back at the bullring on May 17th for round twelve of the Golden State Challenge.

This past weekend the Placerville Speedway hosted the BCRA midgets along with the BCRA Midget Lites, 600 Mini-sprints, and Drawf cars. 93 cars packed the pit area for a full night of open wheel action. The red dirt was prepared perfectly for the non-wing midgets as 23 cars clocked in with Southern California visitor Brian Stanfill obliterating the exsisting standard for time trials with an astounding 11.908. Four other drivers were under the old mark as well in Qualifying.

The main event was a star studded field with the big boys coming from the back of the pack. Rob Russell took advantage of his fourth starting spot to bolt out to an early advantage in the F&F Racing Stealth V4. As Russell pulled away the packed tightened at the back as four cars entered turn 1 side by side something had to give. Jonathan Allard was the meat in a midget sandwich as he was up on another car while being hit on the inside at the same time. Jimmy Christian looked to have the mess cleared when he clipped someone and flipped high into the Placerville night sky. He climbed out of the wounded Walker mount uninjured.

After a yellow on lap 16 for a Stanfill spin in turn four the stage was set for a final 4 lap dash for cash. Russell was still out front in a car that was getting loose as the race wore on followed closely by Glen Carson who had no brakes the final laps with Ronnie Day charging up to challenge. With two to go Carson made his make it or break it move and powered by Russell to win on the dirt for the first time in ten years. Day wheeled the Mike Sala 19 to second followed by the impressive Russell. Young, Steven Williams out of Merced was fourth in the Cliff Blackwell Special followed by the ageless Floyd Alvis.

Vidbits.....Damion Gardner should capture the SCRA Rookie of the Year award in Las Vegas next winter.....With very few 410 racers still going, it may be only a matter of time before winged 410's are extinct. It could happen before we know it in California......No Civil War races at Petaluma this year is a bummer......Former sprint car pilot and Ascot Park 6 lap track record holder Desi Bray is running a 11 race pavement schedule with BCRA and USAC in his lovely wife Michelle's Sager Motorsports entry.....Tony Iacobitti is the early season favorite for nicest car award with his Yak Graphics chariot.....The newlook team cars of Ken Pierson fielded for Tony Hunt and Bryan Bullard are really sharp rides.....Johnny Rodriguez showed well in his pavement midget debut at Madera.....Cory Kruseman could be going for a repeat title in SCRA as he has already parted company with his Silver Crown ride for 2002.....Mark Monico will be a winner in USAC western states sprints very soon.....Jon Allard snapped out of his early season tailspin by capturing the win at Chico in Civil War competition.....Jason Meyers looks a little frustrated being relegated to racing at home, as he is running over and through his old California buddies trying to make a buck.....Brian Matherly has been a busy crew chief thus far in 2002 with the duties of setup for a non-wing pavement sprint car, winged dirt sprint, and non-wing dirt midget....Good to see Chuck Gurney Jr. at Placerville in the Gary and Greg Haynes Yellow Bird.

Speaking of the little rim rider, he was the winner of the last trivia question on how many career USAC feature wins does Floyd Alvis have. The answer is 2. They were about 15 years apart and both at Madera. So with that in mind we will use the Gurney family for this trivia question. How many feature wins total have Chuck Gurney and Chuck Gurney Jr. scored combined in BCRA midget competition? You can e-mail me at with your answers, comments, or questions.

See ya at the races. Keep your elbows up. main page