scra: Ventura Raceway race report 2001-09-01

Kruseman Gets 50th SCRA Win VENTURA, CA, September 1 -- Cory Kruseman's win Saturday at the Ventura Raceway made him only the second driver to have won 50 Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA) main events in his career. "It's pretty neat for...

Kruseman Gets 50th SCRA Win

VENTURA, CA, September 1 -- Cory Kruseman's win Saturday at the Ventura Raceway made him only the second driver to have won 50 Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA) main events in his career.

"It's pretty neat for me to win my 50th here at my home track. It's definitely a milestone in my career and to be able to do it in eight years is pretty awesome," said Kruseman, who also tied Rip Williams' season record by notching his 13th win of the year. "We got a few more races and we'll just keep taking it one race at a time. My guys keep giving me a great race car and I still feel like I'm on top of the world."

Kruseman may not be not exaggerating when he says he feels like he's on top of the world. He started his racing career at Ventura Raceway and grew-up idolizing the men that drove sprint cars. Today, Kruseman's success in sprint cars is recognized nationally and has resulted in an offer to drive an Indy Racing League car later in the year. While Kruseman works to secure the financial backing he needs to make his dream of driving an Indy car a reality, he knows must stay focused on the task at hand which is winning his first SCRA driving title.

"The problem is that Richard Griffin is still second in points and when he gets hot, he gets hot," Kruseman cautiously reminded us. "We won tonight, but I think he was third and point wise we really didn't earn that many more points than he did. We'll just keep plugging away and hopefully we won't have any bad luck."

After winning his fourth JE Pistons Dash of the year, Griffin started the 40 lap feature on the pole with the Pace Electronics No. 83 TCR driven by John Scott to his outside. Griffin took the lead on the initial start, only to watch the yellow light appear for couple of incidents, the most spectacular of which was Jack DeArmond, Jr.'s front straightaway tip over. DeArmond was not hurt, in fact, he was able to restart the race.

Griffin put the Ron Chaffin / Arizona Race Mart No. 50 Jon Boy into the lead on the ensuing start as well and led Scott, Kruseman, Troy Rutherford and Mike English at the end of the opening lap. Scott, who in time trials won the Sander Engineering Fast Time Award, applied heavy pressure to Griffin in the early stages of the race while Kruseman appeared to be content to watch.

Griffin had just reached lapped traffic for the first time when the caution flag waved for Lance Gremett, who lost his left rear wheel on lap 12 in turn one. The yellow flag flew again just after the restart for sixth place Mike Spencer, who spun in turn one collecting Bobby Graham.

Scott took a run at Griffin on the restart only to have Kruseman push the Harlan Willis / WorldGate Networks No. 45 TCR ahead of him down the back straight. Kruseman stayed low and passed Griffin for the lead on lap 14 exiting turn four. Just after Scott and Rutherford finished swapping the third position, the red flag flew for Jordan Hermansader, who flipped in turn three. Hermansader was not injured.

Griffin went high on the restart only to lose the second spot to Scott. Following a couple more caution periods, Griffin finally had a chance to build his momentum back up on the cushion. Working lap 20, Griffin moved back into the second position and immediately closed in on Kruseman. One lap later, Griffin ran even with Kruseman along the short back straight. Kruseman was able to maintain the lead and decided by the 23rd lap that it was time to move to the cushion.

"Richard was running the middle when I got by him and I knew he was going to go to the top because no one can run the top like he can. Still, I wasn't going to get off the bottom until someone proved to me that the top was better. I saw his nose a couple times, so I gassed it and went to the top," Kruseman said.

Once up top, Kruseman pulled away from the rest of the field and went on to score a comfortable win. One unusual aspect of the race was that it wasn't until the 36th lap that Kruseman faced lapped traffic as the leader. Normally, Ventura's one-fifth mile track is notorious for heavy lapped traffic, which more often than not determines the winner of the race.

"It surprised me too," smiled Kruseman. "Usually about lap six your in it here, but it took quite a while to get in it tonight. It was definitely something that I was expecting to happen that didn't happen."

Rutherford passed Scott on a lap 24 restart and then Griffin on lap 26 to give the Jack Gardner, Jr. Motorsports / Sander Engineering No. 4 Sled it's third runner-up finish in the last four races. Griffin held back Scott by the narrowest of margins for third at the finish line. Mike Kirby nursed a smoking car and still managed to finish fifth the Alexander-Geurin / Statewide Towing No. 5x Stinger. Kirby started 17th and was named the TW Metals Hard Charger.

-SCRA-

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Jack DeArmond , Cory Kruseman , Richard Griffin , Rip Williams , Mike English , Troy Rutherford
Teams Williams