For Immediate Release: Contact Bobby Gerould – USAC Western States Communications Director. BG@HammerDownUSA.com
Rip Williams and Damion Gardner lead USAC / CRA to Skagit Speedway. Kruseman, Murphy, Kirby, Gaunt and Kaeding Entered too. – By Bobby Gerould – Sacramento, CA. July 21, 2004. …Rip Williams doesn’t bother with hype, and gossip. He just races. "I work during the week, and race on the weekends", said the United States Auto Club / California Racing Association points leader. That matter of fact approach has always been associated with the 48 year-old veteran driver from Yorba Linda, California. It is the approach that Williams will use over the weekend of July 30th and 31st as the USAC / CRA series visits Skagit Speedway in Alger, Washington.
Williams and Damion Gardner (26) of Concord, California, have been the standout performers through the opening 13 races in the 32-race series. Both have three main-event wins, and both have earned nine top-five finishes. As headliners, the public eye steers toward a rivalry between Williams and Gardner but Rip doesn’t concern himself with the talk. "The way it should be is anyone in the top five can win the championship. It’s not just about me and Damion."
When asked who is the man to beat for the series championship, Gardner said respectfully of Williams, "Ripper is the guy. He’s leading the points and running better than he’s run in the last three years. He’s in the top three or top-five every race."
The two USAC/CRA driving stars have at least two things in common; they both race aggressively, and both of their sprinters are powered by Shaver Engines. Gardner, known as "The Demon" says, "I’m pretty aggressive and so is Rip. So our style is similar but Rip is usually aggressive on the bottom and I run the bottom sometimes but I like to run the top so it seems like we are hardly ever looking for the same real estate."
The Skagit weekend could produce a surprise winner. With nearly $50,000 up for grabs, Australian Peter Murphy has thrown his helmet into the ring, along with Bud Kaeding. Williams thinks the winner could come from anywhere but will most likely be someone in the top-eight in the series standings. "It will be a matter of who can adjust to the track quickest. Damion will be good because the Bromme’s have a set-up for Skagit from the days Lealand McSpadden drove their car. I’ll have a little advantage too because I raced there in 1995. But you never know, a guy might look at the track and guess right and whoop up on all of us."
Cory Kruseman will bring his considerable talent along with teammate Jordan Hermansader to the fast 3/10’s-mile high-banked dirt speedway. The pair will drive identical #4 sprinters for Mark Alexander. Mike Kirby is set to drive the Crossno Racing #38. Tony Jones picked up a ride for the weekend, and Greg Bragg, Ronnie Case, Bobby Cody, Rick Becker, and Nadine Keller have all submitted entries.
Gardner lists Skagit Speedway in his top-ten of favorite tracks he’s raced at in his career. The event will mark the debut of the USAC / CRA series to the 10,000-seat facility operated by former sprint car racer Steve Beitler. Traditionally a track for winged sprint cars, Northwest race fans will have a rare opportunity to glimpse the wild and outrageously fast non-winged USAC / CRA sprinters in their only Northwest appearance. The Saturday night feature race pays $4,000 to-win, and a guaranteed $450 to start.
Directions and Information: Take I-5 North to Cook Road exit # 232. Then north from the Cook Rd. Shell on Highway 99 approx. 4 miles. Skagit Speedway’s phone number is (360) 724-3567. For additional information please visit www.SkagitSpeedway.com
Practice is scheduled to start at 6:15 PM both nights.