USAC/CRA “SOKOLA SHOOTOUT” SATURDAY AT PERRIS
Dick Jordan: This Saturday night’s “Sokola Shootout” at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway salutes the memory of the Sokola family, whose impact on Sprint Car racing in Southern California was profound. Gary Sokola piloted the CRA Sprint Series for 13 years before becoming the USAC National Sprint Car Supervisor, a post he held for 10 years prior to his passing in 2000.
Saturday’s race marks the 150th for AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars at the half-mile dirt oval and drivers Mike Spencer and Damion Gardner will square off for the all-time lead in terms of feature victories in the series.
Spencer, who became the first driver in USAC history to win five straight series titles with last year’s USAC/CRA crown, has 24 Perris wins, while Gardner, who has switched back to USAC/CRA full-time this year, owns 25.
Spencer and Gardner met with mediocre success in last weekend’s “Copper on Dirt” events at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Ariz. Spencer had a fifth and a 23rd, while Gardner was fourth and sixth in the two races. Spencer was Saturday’s fastest qualifier.
R.J Johnson of Phoenix, Ariz. wheeled the Weiler Farms/Pecon Builders Maxim to victory in Saturday night’s 30-lapper at Peoria. Johnson passed Bruce St. James on the second lap and led the rest of the way for the win over Nic Faas, Bryan Clauson, Gardner and Ryan Bernal. The win stopped Clauson’s “sweep” of the weekend races after he had won both Friday and Saturday’s Midgets and Friday’s Sprint. Spencer was forced out of the feature early with a tire issue.
Clauson, of Noblesville, Ind., completed a clean sweep of Friday night’s “Copper on Dirt” USAC features as he won the 30-lap AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint main event after winning the 25-lap USAC Western Midget race. In the Sprints he passed Faas on lap 15 and led the final 16 laps in his Mike Martin Ultimate Offroad/Naquin Precision Earth Moving Maxim. Faas took second ahead of Bud Kaeding, Gardner and Spencer. Hunter Schuerenberg led the first nine laps and Faas led the next five before Clauson, who was also the fastest qualifier, took over.
Clauson’s three USAC victories over the weekend have tied him for the all-time Arizona USAC lead matching the eight wins by A.J. Foyt and Dave Steele.
2013 AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-Bryan Clauson-138, 2-Nic Faas-124, 3-Damion Gardner-119, 4-Bud Kaeding-110, 5-Ryan Bernal-98, 6-Hunter Schuerenberg-91, 7-Mike Spencer-80, 8-Brody Roa-71, 9-Matt Mitchell-63, 10-David Cardey-60.
WESTERN MIDGET DIRT AT BAKERSFIELD MARCH 30
Dick Jordan: USAC’s Western Midget Series heads for Madera and Bakersfield, Calif. ovals in late-March. The pavement series debuts March 23 at Madera Speedway and the dirt series resumes March 30 at Bakersfield Speedway.
Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, Ind. stands atop the dirt standings after winning the first two features of the season last weekend at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Ariz.
Driving the Curb Records Spike/Esslinger, Clauson passed Ronnie Gardner on lap seven and led the final 19 laps to win Friday’s 25-lapper over Kyle Larson, Gardner, Christopher Bell and fast qualifier Rico Abreu. On Saturday Clauson took the lead on lap 19 and led the last 12 laps to win the 30-lapper over Abreu, fast qualifier Bell, R.J. Johnson and Larson. Kody Swanson led the first 18 laps.
The wins left Clauson with a 15-point margin over Abreu in the standings entering Bakersfield.
2013 USAC WESTERN MIDGET STANDINGS: 1-Bryan Clauson-143, 2-Rico Abreu-128, 3-Christopher Bell-125, 4-Scott Pierovich-91, 5-Jake Swanson-86, 6-Ronnie Gardner-84, 7-Dillon Welch-71, 8-Kody Swanson-66, 9-David Prickett-64, 10-Riley Emmel-61.
SOUTHWEST SPRINTS OPEN AT LVMS DIRT TRACK THURSDAY
Participants in USAC’s brand-new Southwest Sprint Car Series head to Las Vegas, Nev. this Thursday for the 2013 series opener on the facility’s half-mile dirt track. The event also carries West Coast Sprint Car co-sanctioning as a “special” non-points race.
USAC conducted a Southwest Sprint Series in 2003 and 2004, with Rick Ziehl and Beau Binder grabbing championships, and the 2013 calendar includes 28 races in six states.
Bud Kaeding of Campbell, Calif., USAC’s 2012 West Coast Sprint Car Champion, won the last USAC Sprint race at LVMS, last year. Of the 24 previous USAC appearances at the LVMS half-mile, 14 have involved the Sprint cars.
Bryan Clauson and R.J. Johnson scored “special” non-point Southwest Sprint wins a month ago at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Ariz.
Thursday’s race coincides with NASCAR Week in Las Vegas, with the Nationwide Series Saturday and the Sprint Cup Series Sunday on the big LVMS paved oval.