Williams Blasts USAC/CRA Foes at Ventura - By Bobby Gerould, 05/22/04, Ventura, CA. … The 1/5 mile Ventura Raceway at Seaside Park is one of a handful of special places in the USA to view a sprint car race. With the cool marine climate, and tight, close quartered racing, the track drips with atmosphere. Saturday night, the United States Auto Club (USAC), and California Racing Association (CRA) sprinters showed up 26-strong to contest a full program at the track that lies just few yards from the Pacific Ocean. When the checkered flag fell at 9:02 PM, points leader Rip Williams won by over a straightaway in a non-stop event. "I saw you (P.A. announcer / promoter, Jim Naylor) grade the track, and then water the track before the feature", explained the 48 year-old Williams over the public address system. "We figured with the reworking of the surface we would change back to our setup from qualifying and the heat race."
The 30 lap feature started with Brian Venard, and Jordan Hermansader on the front row. The former Turkey night winner, Hermansader, outraced Venard in turn one, and led the field of 21 cars down the back chute on the opening lap. Hermansader controlled the opening tours while the action behind him was nothing short of frantic. Williams took over third place on lap seven with a sweeping move in turn four that pushed his Sharon Jory #3 past Steve Ostling. One lap later, Venard nearly spun his #47 in turn two while running second. Williams abruptly checked up but both drivers held straight and continued motoring.
With traffic in front of him, Hermansader led through lap ten. Williams moved by Venard to take the runner up spot on lap eleven just as Hermansader caught the tailenders with a half straightaway lead. By lap 13, Williams was on the rear-nerf of Hermnasder's Mark Alexander #4. The winning pass occurred on the front chute at the completion of lap 14. Hermansader became bottled up in traffic on the sea level groove, while Williams was operating wherever he wanted to. Once in front, 'Ripper' ran away in the black Stinger/Shaver ride.
Ostling took over the runner-up position on lap 16. Meanwhile Danny Sheridan, Tony Jones, and Troy Rutherford were battling for space as they too maneuvered through the backmarkers. With six to go, Sheridan, who started 11th, edged his #21 into third, pushing Hermansader, and Jones back a spot each. Rutherford steered into the top five with two laps left. Ostling was entering turn three when Williams finished the race in just over six minutes. Ostling was second, followed by Sheridan, Damion Gardner, and Hermansader. Gardner threaded his way through machines from an original starting spot of 16th! The top ten was rounded out by Rutherford, Mike Kirby, Jones, Gary Howard, and Venard.
Jimmy Crawford flipped in turn four during the second heat race. David Cardey suffered a similar fate in heat four. Both emerged unhurt. The heat race winners were J. Hicks, Kirby, Rutherford, and Gardner. Rick Ziehl won the B-Main driving the Ben Lancaster #14.
Valvoline USAC / CRA Sprint Cars - Ventura, CA. - 05/22/04 -
Time trials: 1. Gary Howard, Fontana, CA. 12.070, 2. Jimmy Crawford, Ventura, CA. 12.073, 3. Troy Rutherford Ojai, CA. 12.182, 4. Bobby Cody, Costa Mesa, CA. 12.201, 5. Rip Williams, Yorba Linda, CA. 12.207, 6. Tony Jones, Corona, CA. 12.222, 7. Steve Ostling, Corona, CA. 12.243, 8. Jordan Hermansader, Long Beach, CA. 12.342, 9. Brian Venard, Tustin, CA. 12.350, 10. Chris Wakim, Simi Valley, 12.375, 11. Danny Sheridan, Santa Maria, CA. 12.402, 12. Rick Ziehl, Las Cruces, NM. 12.435, 13. Alex Pruett, Carefree, AZ. 12.486, 14. Mike Kirby, Torrence, CA. 12.522, 15. Alan Ballard Bakersfield, CA. 12.524, 16. Damion Gardner, Concord, CA. 12.531, 17. J. Hicks, Torrance, CA. 12.612, 18. Greg Bragg, Visalia, CA. 12.788, 19. Ronnie Case, Camarillo, CA. 12.880, 20. David Cardey, Riverside, CA. 12.912, 21. Mark Knopf, Santa Maria, CA. 12.968, 22. Dennis Rodriguez, Camarillo, CA. 13.037, 23. Mark Heidenreich, Upland, CA. 13.232, 24. Dan Hilberg, Whittier, CA. 13.248, 24. Nadine Keller, Azusa, CA. 13.275, 25. Bill Camarillo, Ventura, CA. 13.344, 26. Tom Stansberry, Bakersfield, CA. 13.710.
Heat One - 1. Hicks, 2. Howard, 3. Williams, 4. Venard, 5. Knopf, 6. Pruett, 7. Keller.
Heat Two - 1. Kirby, 2. Jones, 3. Bragg, 4. Wakim, 5. Camarillo, 6. Rodriguez, 7. Crawford.
Heat Three - 1. Rutherford, 2. Sheridan, 3. Ostling, 4. Ballard, 5. Case, 6. Stansberry, 7. Heidenreich.
Heat Four - 1. Gardner, 2. Hermansader, 3. Hilberg, 4. Cody, 5. Cardey
Semi Main: 1. Ziehl, 2. Cardey, 3. Crawford, 4. Pruett, 5. Stansberry, 6. Camarilo, 7, Knopf, 8. Heidenreich, 9. Rodriguez, 10. Case, 11. Keller.
Feature - 30 Laps - 1. Williams, 2. Ostling, 3. Sheridan, 4. Gardner, 5. Hermansader, 6. Rutherford, 7. Kirby, 8. Jones, 9. Howard, 10. Venard, 11. Crawford, 12. Bragg, 13. Cardey, 14. Hilberg, 15. Ballard, 16. Hicks, 17. Pruett, 18. Wakim, 19. Cody, 20. Case, 21. Ziehl. Lap Leaders: Hermansader 1-13, Williams 14-30