JASON YORK SHEDS WINGS TO FLY LOW AT THE PAS TO WIN FIRST RACE. CORY KRUSEMAN SURVIVES FLAT TIRE TO GRAB SECOND PLACE. - By Ken Wagner - 08/21/04 - Perris, CA…The Valvoline USAC/CRA sprint car series returned to Perris after a six-week hiatus, and another first time winner reminded the large crowd what they had been missing. Great racing! Jason York, who normally runs the Nor Cal wing series, promised during one of his early season visits here that he would be back after their season ended. And, return he did!
After a tough night at Kings Speedway with USAC/CRA last week, Jason came to the PAS and won his first ever non-wing heat race. In what could be summed up as a "dream like" night, he followed his heat win with a 30 lap wire-to-wire victory in the Main Event. Jason was in full control until a late race charge by Cory "the Kruser" Kruseman. Jason had some tough decisions on how to handle lapped traffic late in the race, and became a little too conservative, giving back some of the straightaway lead he had seized over the first 20 laps. Jason has run less than ten races "down south" in the traditional style cars, and was thrilled to get his first USAC/CRA win. He noted it took four years to win his first winged race, so he is ahead of schedule in the wingless wars. His plans are to continue to run more USAC/CRA races, and this week they will leave the hauler here and fly home to return for the Legends of Ascot night next Saturday. Next week, crew chief Vince Lattner (formerly Damion Gardner's crew chief) will be with him.
Cory Kruseman qualified 18th out of the 30 cars in house. He then ran second in his heat behind, you guessed it, Jason York! Cory started 17th in the Main Event and was moving up, when he encountered another car and suffered a flat right rear tire. After restarting at the back, he began to move quickly towards the front. On a lap 10 restart, he was already up to 11th place! Cory used the high groove mostly, and because of some minor motor problem, he kept it on the floor all the way around the track each lap. When the 5-lap signal was shown, Cory was in 2nd and closing fast on the leader. He never gave up and was inches short of the win at the line, leaving crowd screaming for more.
Rip Williams had another good run this week and picked up 37 points on his closest competitor, Damion Gardner. After being towed back to the pits in hot laps with a skewed front end, he qualified second to Damion. He was third in his heat and started 7th in the Main. He and Josh Ford had nearly a race long battle for third place, and the Ripper prevailed at the end. Driving the Sharon Jory, AMA Plastics, Ricks Truck Works, # 3, Rip picked up the points on Gardner when Damion didn't finish the Main. Rip has 11 top five finishes out of the sixteen races run this season.
Gardner's recent hot streak that pulled him to within 11 points of the Ripper following the Hanford race stalled this week. He and Bobby Cody had a disagreement on who owned the front stretch high groove. Damion was trying to secure it and Cody wanted it as well, so the resulting "come together" put Damion high up in the air and down without crashing. When he landed, he was done for the night with a car battered on all four corners, and too much to continue. It didn't help that another car couldn't avoid his car stopped on the edge of the track and banged into him also. Cody had a flat tire and restarted to finish 13th. It was the second week in a row that Cody survived a wheel-banging incident to finish, while the other car did not.
Two other drivers who qualified for the Main Event had real problems. Rodney Argo made the Main, but couldn't make it out of the pits for the line-up, so was replaced by Rick Becker. Jordan Hermansader finished fifth in his heat sending him to the Semi, where he ran fifth to move on to the Main. The motor sounded very rough in doing this, so realizing this wasn't going to be his night, Jordan started at the back of the Main and pulled off after earning starting money. Josh Ford was back home for the first time in a while taking a small break before heading back to his regular ride in the Keith Kunz # 73 in Indiana. Josh has improved drastically while running in the hot Indiana climate several nights a week. He drove his own car hard this week in the Main, giving Ripper all he could handle, and finally settling for 4th.
A couple more travelers appeared this week. Axle Walker came down from Seattle. You might remember Axle as one of the local cars on the USAC/CRA visit to Skagit. He, his family and crew decided to combine a vacation with racing, so they headed south. They ran at Hanford last week and visited all the LA sights during the week, before coming to Perris. Although he missed the Main, the crew and a bunch of other racers hung around their trailer until the wee hours of the "night" eating hamburgers and enjoying themselves. They were headed back to the Pacific Northwest in the morning.
Brandon Lane was the other long distance traveler, who came over from the Phoenix area. Brandon spent Indiana Sprint Week working on his driving skills, when he could get the car to run, as they had plenty of electrical problems to slow down their fun. At Perris, the car ran strong and he made the Main, finishing 15th.
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Damion Gardner, 50, Chaffin-16.748; 2. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-16.933; 3. Troy Rutherford, 7, Priestley-17.035; 4. Greg Bragg, 12, Pratt-17.160; 5. Bobby Cody, 41, Cody-17.220; 6. Steve Ostling, 29, Fischer-17.263; 7. Mike Kirby, 38, Crossno-17.301; 8. Rodney Argo, 91, Ferro-17.330; 9. Jordan Hermansader, 4x, Alexander-17.345; 10. Rick Becker, 67, Becker-17.380; 11. Adam Mitchell, 99, Mitchell-17.411; 12. Josh Ford, 73, Ford-17.416; 13. David Cardey, 59, Giardina-17.418; 14. Jason York, 25N, York-17.442; 15. Tony Jones, 2, Vermeer/Ferreira-17.456; 16. Mike English, 01, Farrier-17.485; 17. Brian Venard, 47, Venard-17.540; 18. Cory Kruseman, 4, Alexander-17.568; 19. Ronnie Case, 33, Blair-17.577; 20. Jack DeArmond, 24, DeArmond-17.803; 21. Dan Hillberg, 82, Hillberg-17.870; 22. Dwayne Marcum, 25, Ruth-17.942; 23. Brandon Lane, 97H, Lane-17.975; 24. Rick Ziehl, 14, Lancaster-17.979; 25. Mark Heidenreich, 22, Heidenreich-17.991; 26. J. Hicks, 66, Miller-18.342; 27. Duane Feduska, 23, Bellegante-18.505; 28. Axel Walker, 62, Walker-18.553; 29. David Sinsley, 69, Sinsley-19.176; 20. Nadine Keller, 6, Keller-NT.
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Hillberg, 2. Gardner, 3. Cardey, 4. Cody, 5. Hermansader, 6. Heidenreich, 7. Sinsley, 8. Venard. NT
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. York, 2. Kruseman, 3. Williams, 4. Hicks, 5. Ostling, 6. Becker, 7. Keller, 8. Marcum. NT
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Case, 2. Rutherford, 3. Jones, 4. Lane, 5. Kirby, 6. Mitchell, 7. Feduska. NT
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Ziehl, 2. Argo, 3. Ford, 4. English, 5. Bragg, 6. Walker, 7. DeArmond. NT
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Ostling, 2. Kirby, 3. Bragg, 4. Mitchell, 5. Hermansader, 6. Venard, 7. Becker, 8. DeArmond, 9. Heidenreich, 10. Feduska, 11. Marcum, 12. Keller, 13. Sinsley, 14. Walker. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Jason York, 2. Cory Kruseman, 3. Rip Williams, 4. Josh Ford, 5. Troy Rutherford, 6. Mike Kirby, 7. Adam Mitchell, 8. Greg Bragg, 9. Ronnie Case, 10. Steve Ostling, 11. Brian Venard, 12. David Cardey, 13. Bobby Cody, 14. Dan Hillberg, 15. Brandon Lane, 16. Rick Ziehl, 17. Mike English, 18. J. Hicks, 19. Damion Gardner, 20. Tony Jones, 21. Rick Becker, 22. Jordan Hermansader. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 York.
NEW VALVOLINE USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-Williams-997; 2-Gardner-949; 3-Kirby-912; 4-Rutherford-734; 5-Jones-592; 6-Bragg-566; 7-Kruseman-534; 8-Ostling-529; 9-Venard-520; 10-Cody-495.
NEXT VALVOLINE USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: August 28 - Perris (CA) Auto Speedway