Biggest Non-Wing Sprint Car Race Of The Year! (LAKE PERRIS, CA& ...
Biggest Non-Wing Sprint Car Race Of The Year!
(LAKE PERRIS, CA– October 30, 2001) The talk and the pre race hype are almost over. It is time for the drivers to settle it on the track. That is just what they are going to do at the biggest Non Wing Sprint Car race of the year at Perris Auto Speedway this Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights during the running of the 6th Annual Budweiser/Temecula Valley Pipe and Supply Oval Nationals.
The race pays a whopping $25,000.00 to win and it is drawing the top Non Wing Sprint Car drivers from around the country. It also happens to be the final round of Ron Shuman’s Non Wing World Championship Series. The title for that series is still up for grabs. Leader Richard“ The Gassman” Griffin, Cory Kruseman and Mike Kirby are separated by a mere 52-points heading into this weekend’s action.
Topping the list of entries is Phoenix, Arizona’s Jeremy Sherman. The 25-year-old veteran captured the biggest race of his career when he won the prestigious 34th Annual Napa Auto Parts/Budweiser Western World Championship at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix last Saturday night. Driving the Mark Priestly owned yellow number seven, Sherman, a former SCRA Rookie of the Year, also won one of the preliminary night mains at Manzanita. Thus far, in three outings in his new ride, Sherman has two wins and a fourth place finish.
Like Sherman, defending Oval Nationals Champion Tony Jones will be in a relatively new ride. The Mike Wall Trucking #37. Jones, a PAS fan Favorite due to his patented turn three slide jobs, split with longtime car owner Gene Cowherd early in the season and went through a variety of rides before settling in with the Wall team. Last Saturday the 31-year old Corona driver placed second to Sherman at Manzanita.
Newly crowned SCRA Champion Cory Kruseman and USAC National Champion J.J. Yeley will also be at The PAS this weekend. Kruseman, who dominated racing at the Riverside County Clay Oval in 2001, sewed up his first ever SCRA Championship at the Ventura Raceway two weeks ago. Less than 24-hours later, Yeley, a second generation racer from Phoenix, won his first ever USAC Championship on Indiana's high banked Salem Speedway.
Some of the other stars entered for this weekend’s race include 24-time Northern California Champion Brent Kaeding and his 21-year old son Bud. The younger Kaeding won the 1999 USAC Western State Sprint Car Championship and was the 2000 USAC Rookie of the Year. He won the last four USAC Sprint Car races on dirt in 2001. The youngster was leading the Western World Championships at Phoenix when he broke an axle with less than two laps to go last Saturday. Brent won the 2001 Golden State Series Championship.
Other Northern California stars doffing their wings and heading to The PAS include Andy Forsberg. The 22-year old has won the Civil War Sprint Car Championship the past two seasons. 2000 Silver Dollar Speedway Champion Jason York, Gilroy’s Eric Rossi and Jason Statler will also be making the trek south.
Statler, who beat the great Steve Kinser to win a World of Outlaws main at Santa Maria Speedway in 1999, is an interesting story. Standing 6’5” and weighing in at 270 pounds, he is one of the larger Sprint Car drivers in the country. Statler turned down a college football scholarship to play for the Washington State Cougars in the late 1980s so he could concentrate on racing. Due to his immense size, the roll cages on Statler’s cars are two inches taller than those of his competitors. In addition, Simpson Race Products has to make custom gloves for Staler due to the size of his hands
Two-time (1998 & 2000) USAC National Champion Tony Elliott heads a strong Indiana contingent headed to The PAS for this weekend’s action. The newlywed driver from Kokomo, Indiana will be in the seat of one of the Jack Gardner Jr. Sleds.
Tracy Hines, the 2000 USAC Silver Bullet Champion, will be behind the wheel of Andy Morales’ famous Tamale Wagon. Last Saturday night the New Castle, Indiana resident drove Morales’ pavement Sprint Car at the Irwindale Speedway. Hines led all drivers with six Stoops Freightliner USAC National Sprint Car main event wins in 2001.
Twenty year-old Ed Carpenter Jr., of Indianapolis, comes into the Oval Nationals fresh off his first ever win in USAC Sprint Car action. He scored that victory on October 21st on the high banks of Salem. Carpenter is the step son of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League president Tony George.
Other USAC stars entered in this week’s event include Derek Davidson of Lafayette, Indiana, Jerry Coons Jr. of Tucson, Arizona, Bill Rose of Plainfield, Indiana, Jon Stanbrough of Jamestown, Indiana and Levi Jones of Olney, Illinois.
Concord, North Carolina’s Brad Noffsinger, a Southern California native and two-time CRA Champion who went on to race NASCAR Winston Cup, will be returning to his roots to drive for fellow competitor“ Super” Rickie Gaunt of Torrance.
Gaunt, who won the 1999 Oval Nationals, is the all time PAS Track record holder (16.009 set on February 17, 2001). The personable and boisterous 33-year-old, who has been referred to as“ The John Force of Sprint Car Racing,” is still looking for his first 2001 win. Nevertheless, he is one of this weekend's favorites.
Richard Griffin, from Silver City, New Mexico, came into this season carrying three consecutive SCRA Championships. His quest to make it four in a row ended in July when he suffered an arm injury at his business. Despite the injury, he has come back strong and is very capable of capturing his first Oval Nationals win on Saturday.
The most dominant driver in SCRA and Perris Auto Speedway history, Rip Williams, would like nothing better than to be the first two time winner of the Oval Nationals. The 45-year old from Yorba Linda won the second Oval Nationals in 1997. Earlier this season he switched to a Gambler Chassis and at SCRA’s last appearance at The PAS, he snapped an over year long winless streak with a popular win.
Other top SCRA contenders entered for this weekend include 1998 Oval Nationals Champion Rodney Argo of Gardena, fourth in SCRA points Mike Kirby (Lomita), Troy Rutherford (3rd in SCRA points), multi-time Mexican National Champion Steve Ostling from Corona,“ Haulin’ Hollywood” John Scott (Spring Valley Lake),“ Hotfoot” Troy Cline (Santa Clarita), former Santa Maria Champion Danny Sheridan, Arizona’s Charles Davis Jr. and Bob Ream Jr. and many more.
The Thursday and Friday Preliminaries (the field will be split in half) will feature qualifying, heat races, B mains and Twin 20 lap A mains each night. The first of the Twin 20 lappers will be lined up straight with the fastest qualifiers starting at the front. The second 20 lapper each night will be completely inverted by they way they finish the first (winner starts dead last, second place finisher starts next to last etc). Points will be totaled after the Twin 20s each night. The top five each evening will move to Saturday’s 50-lap $25,000.00 to win A main. All of the others will be placed into Saturday’s preliminary mains and will have to fight it out for the final 14 spots in the starting field.
Money saving three day passes and single night tickets are available by calling (909) 940-0134
Spectator gates will open at 5:00 PM each night.
Perris Auto Speedway is located on the Lake Perris Fairgrounds approximately one hour East of Los Angeles. Take the 215 Freeway, exit at the Ramona Expressway and go east two miles to the fairgrounds.