KAPT. KIRBY WINS SECOND RACE IN A ROW WITH DETERMINED APPROACH - By Ken Wagner - 09/11/04 - Perris, CAůMike Kirby beat point leader, Rip Williams, for the second week in a row as he won his fifth Valvoline USAC/CRA race of 18 events this season. Kirby led all 30 laps at Perris Auto Speedway and afterwards in the winners circle said about the Ripper "He raced me clean all night and if I don't win the championship, I hope he does." Kirby now is in second place in the championship race, less than 100 points behind Ripper. The top three in points all won their heats this week and set the stage for another shootout in the main event, but one of them didn't finish the main.
Kirby drove the red # 38 Snap on Tools, Sander, ITI Performance car to the lead from his second row outside starting position before the first lap was complete. From there he had a shadow, the Ripper, stuck to him like glue to the very end. Mike stayed in the faster bottom groove, except for a few lap cars that forced him up high to get by them, and looked comfortable winning for the second week in a row. He says the secret to success this season is having a car owner who puts together a great car so he can win.
Rip Williams drove the wheels off his John Jory Corp, AMA Plastics, Ricks Truck Works # 3 Stinger, and took a commanding points lead now, with the last third of the season yet to come. Rip closed tight on Kirby at the end of the race but couldn't make the pass for the win. He finished second for the third straight race.
Young Mike Spencer made a run at the two leaders and settled for third with some smooth moves of his own in the Spenco Machine, TCR Performance, Del Mar Wire # 44. Mike's busy schedule this season has included running in Indiana USAC events. It has kept him lower on the points list than he normally is, but when he is in town, he is a factor in each race.
Damion Gardner's championship aspirations got sidetracked a bit this week when he biked the car in the main event and then rode up on the wall for 50 feet or so. When he came down off it, the front end was mangled and he was done for the night.
Tony Jones was another hard luck racer after setting fast time in qualifying at 17.337. He said the car was running great with new sponsors coming on to support the team, but a small fire caused by a malfunctioning fuel nozzle, ended his night, especially after he tagged the backstretch wall.
Jordan Hermansader had his hands full in the Alexander Trucking car when something broke in his heat and he ran straight into the wall. There was too much damage to repair, so they had to load up and wait for next week when sometimes teammate, Cory Kruseman, returns to run the other team car.
Bobby Cody gets a big hoorah this week as he was second quick in qualifying, ran second in his heat and then a strong sixth in the main. You could hear the rev limiter that squabbles when he is hard on the gas, "speaking" all night as he didn't lift often to score in the main event. He stayed out of trouble this week and the results were very satisfying.
David Cardey won his heat and continues to improve in his rookie year. He went on to finish 15th in the main event. Troy Rutherford jumped in the Black Widow Racing back-up car this week and finished fifth in the main. Troy's regular ride, Mark Priestly's # 7 is in need of repair after a tumble last week at Ventura. The Sled Chassis was familiar to "Rambo" Rutherford because he drove a Sled for the Gardner's a few years ago, then bought the car and later sold it to Nadine Keller, who drives it now!
Rick Ziehl and visiting Rick Williams passed nine cars in the feature event. Williams finished eighth and gets the nod for the Weld Hard Charger Award.
NOTES: Wagsdash plans are still moving forward for the October 16th date at Ventura Raceway. I am still looking for sponsors for the annual Wagsdash T-shirt that goes to press next week. There are a few $500 spots open and some $300 and $200 with all the money going to the racers on race day. Get involved and help out. I can also use a few more pics for the auction.
USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series Results from Perris Auto Speedway PERRIS, Calif. (September 11, 2004)
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Tony Jones, 2, Vermeer/Ferreira-17.337; 2. Bobby Cody, 41, Cody-17.362; 3.Mike Spencer, 44, Engstrom-17.363; 4. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-17.365; 5. Mike Kirby, 38, Crossno-17.388; 6. Damion Gardner, 50, Chaffin-17.435; 7. Gary W. Howard, 84, Keene-17.435; 8. Brian Venard, 47, Venard-17.446; 9. Steve Ostling, 29, Fischer-17.537; 10. Troy Rutherford, 5, Keller-17.628; 11. Peter Murphy, 45, Willis-17.637; 12. Greg Bragg, 12, Pratt-17.660; 13. Kevin Urton, 51, Urton-17.664; 14. Mike English, 0, Shoemaker-17.718; 15. Adam Mitchell, 99, Mitchell-17.798; 16. Ronnie Case, 33, Blair-17.865; 17. Jordan Hermansader, 4, Alexander-17.886; 18. Rick Williams, 6x, Williams-17.940; 19. David Cardey, 59, Giardina-17.987; 20. Rick Ziehl, 14, Lancaster-18.012; 21. Mike Martin, 57, Martin-18.090; 22. Mike Leslie, 76, Leslie-18.105; 23. Mark Heidenreich, 22, Heidenreich-18.125; 24. Jack DeArmond, 24, DeArmond-18.132; 25. Dwayne Marcum, 25, Ruth-18.202; 26. Bruce St. James, 7k, St. James-18.350; 27. Nadine Keller, 6, Keller-18.402; 28. Duane Feduska, 23, Bellegante-18.580.
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Kirby, 2. Ostling, 3. Urton, 4. Jones, 5. Marcum, 6. Martin, 7. Hermansader. NT
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Gardner, 2. Cody, 3. Rick Williams, 4. English, 5. Leslie, 6. Rutherford, 7. St. James. 3:02.83
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Cardey, 2. Mitchell, 3. Spencer, 4. Howard, 5. Murphy, 6. Keller, 7. Heidenreich. 3:01.56
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Rip Williams, 2. Case, 3. Ziehl, 4. Bragg, 5. DeArmond, 6. Venard, 7. Feduska. 3:01.84
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Rutherford, 2. Venard, 3. Leslie, 4. Murphy, 5. DeArmond, 6. Marcum, 7. Feduska, 8. Keller, 9. St. James. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Mike Kirby, 2. Rip Williams, 3. Mike Spencer, 4. Steve Ostling, 5. Troy Rutherford, 6. Bobby Cody, 7. Peter Murphy, 8. Rick Williams, 9. Adam Mitchell, 10. Rick Ziehl, 11. Brian Venard, 12. Ronnie Case, 13. Jack DeArmond, 14. Mike English, 15. David Cardey, 16. Greg Bragg, 17. Dwayne Marcum, 18. Gary Howard, 19. Kevin Urton, 20. Damion Gardner, 21. Tony Jones, 22. Mike Leslie. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Kirby.
NEW VALVOLINE USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-Rip Williams-1,199; 2-Kirby-1,108; 3-Gardner-1,098; 4-Rutherford-824; 5-Jones-680; 6-Bragg-679; 7-Ostling-659; 8-Cody-633; 9-Venard-599; 10-Hermansader-590.
NEXT VALVOLINE USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: September 18 - Perris Auto Speedway, Perris California