Gardner Wields Pedregon Entry To First Victory Sprint Star Dominates Bakersfield USAC Western Midget Field BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (July 11, 2005) -- Damion Gardner and the Cruz Pedregon-owned No. 71 Advance Auto Parts midget led wire-to-wire to ...
Gardner Wields Pedregon Entry To First Victory
Sprint Star Dominates Bakersfield USAC Western Midget Field
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (July 11, 2005) -- Damion Gardner and the Cruz Pedregon-owned No. 71 Advance Auto Parts midget led wire-to-wire to win this past weekend's USAC Western Midget Series event at Bakersfield Speedway.
Gardner, who normally drives for owner Ron Chaffin in the CRA/USAC Sprint Car Series, led all 30 laps for his first-career USAC midget victory. It was also Pedregon's first midget series triumph as a car owner since starting the team at the beginning of the 2005 season.
"Damion drove an awesome race," said Pedregon, who drives the Advance Auto Parts Nitro Funny Car in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. "He put in a dominating performance. It was great to see Damion drive that car to victory lane in only our second USAC start together.
"He knows what it takes to win races," Pedregon continued. "I saw that first hand after his fifth-place performance in our first USAC midget race at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway earlier this season."
Gardner, of Concord, Calif., qualified 10th, but started on pole following heat race activity. Despite suffering from overheating problems and navigating through a lap-13 caution period that tightened competition, Gardner pulled away from the field and distanced runner-up Jerome Rodela and current Western Midget Series point's leader Robby Flock at the stripe.
"It was so thrilling to see," Pedregon said. "Even though I have a different role as car owner, I was still nervous when Damion started getting into lap traffic. I have many of the same feelings - supporting Damion and the Advance Auto Parts midget - I do when I strap into my Nitro Funny Car. It was an intense and exciting evening."
Gardner and the Pedregon-owned Advance Auto Parts No. 71 midget will be back in action during the USAC Western Midget Series event at Ventura (Calif.) Speedway on Oct. 15.