PERRIS, CA, September 22 -- Cory Kruseman established a new single season record Saturday at the Perris Auto Speedway when he drove the Harlan Willis / WorldGate Networks No. 45 TCR to his 14th Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA) win of the ...
PERRIS, CA, September 22 -- Cory Kruseman established a new single season record Saturday at the Perris Auto Speedway when he drove the Harlan Willis / WorldGate Networks No. 45 TCR to his 14th Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA) win of the year.
Kruseman set the new mark just 32 races into the season. Along the way, "The Kruser" has led 364 main event laps and posted 27 top-five finishes, while leading the SCRA points standings since the first race of the year.
"It's been a heck of a year for us," said Kruseman. "My goal at the beginning of the year was to win seven main events, but once we got to six wins so quickly I made 14 my goal just because it was the record. I really didn't think it would be possible, but it just goes to show how good of a job my guys do."
Kruseman's year long assault on the SCRA record books has been more like a year long assault on Rip Williams' records. Saturday's win erased Williams' 1997 mark for SCRA victories in a season. In winning his 11th SCRA race of the year at Perris, Kruseman broke another 1997 record held by Williams. In addition, Kruseman now finds himself tied with Williams for all-time SCRA wins at Perris with 30.
With JE Pistons Dash winner John Scott and Danny Sheridan on the front row, Kruseman occupied the fifth starting spot on the grid for the 30 lap feature race. Jockeying for an advantage, Scott and Sheridan were extremely close together, and may have actually touched, coming down to accept the green flag. The initial started was scrubbed after last week's winner, Tony Jones, spun exiting turn four forcing a complete restart. Still posturing for the best line to start the race, Scott tangled with Sheridan in turn three and spun to a stop even before the green had a chance to wave again. Scott re-fired and eventually finished seventh after starting at the rear.
Williams assumed the pole position for the restart. Kruseman benefited, as well, and moved up to the inside of the second row. Sheridan beat Williams into turn one on the start giving the Tom & Lauri Sertich / Jan's Health Bar No. 92 Buckley the lead. Kruseman passed Williams exiting two and ran second at the end of the opening lap ahead of Williams, Richard Griffin and Troy Rutherford.
One lap later, Griffin moved the Ron Chaffin / Madera Produce No. 50 Jon Boy ahead of Williams. Sheridan appeared to miss his line heading into turn one on lap five and Kruseman was in perfect position to take advantage of it. Kruseman's pass for the lead was negated, however, by another turn four yellow flag for an incident involving Jones, Mike Spencer and Steve Venard. Sheridan took back the lead for the restart only to have Kruseman pass him going down the back straight.
"He was missing it a little getting into turn one and was getting into the middle which was causing him to lose a little bit of time," Kruseman recalled. "He was definitely fast at the end of the straight-aways and I wasn't real sure what I was going to do to get by him. He just got in a little high, I had a good run, and it just kind of worked out for us."
The restart seemed costly for Williams after he hit the restart cone on the back straight. Williams' two-car penalty, which dropped him to sixth, was enforced during a lap six caution period for a Lance Gremett spin. On the restart, Steve Ostling was clipped by another car and flipped in turn three. Ostling was not hurt.
As if the penalty lit a fire under him, Williams quickly worked his way forward once racing resumed. By the 16th circuit, Williams had moved ahead of Sheridan for the second spot and appeared to be the only driver to have anything for Kruseman.
Overall, it has been a difficult season for Williams even though he's finished second in the last two events. Williams saw his hard luck continue on lap 18 when a U-joint broke going down the back straight. Fortunately, Williams was not hurt.
With Williams in the pit area, Kruseman, completed the remainder of the race without a serious challenge. In addition to winning his 51st career SCRA main event, Kruseman started the evening by winning his third Sander Engineering Fast Time Award of the year. Sheridan had another impressive showing earning his third career SCRA runner-up finish. Rutherford finished closely behind Sheridan giving the Jack Gardner, Jr. / Shaver Engines No. 4 Sled it's 14th top-five finish of the season.
After starting tenth, Rickie Gaunt passed Griffin coming down to accept the white flag and finished fourth in the Alexander-Geurin / Statewide Towing No. 5x Stinger. Adam Mitchell finished sixth behind Griffin. Australian Peter Murphy took the wing off his car and won the TW Metals Hard Charger Award with a 19th to eighth place run. ###