scra: PAS III: Round three event preview

Ex-Ascot Figure 8 Champ Leads SCRA at the PAS! (LAKE PERRIS, CA - March 4th, 2002) Mike Kirby, a former Ascot Park Figure Eight Champion, will be the man to beat this Saturday, when Vista Paint presents the NAPA Auto Parts/Auto Trader Magazines...

Ex-Ascot Figure 8 Champ Leads SCRA at the PAS!

(LAKE PERRIS, CA - March 4th, 2002) Mike Kirby, a former Ascot Park Figure Eight Champion, will be the man to beat this Saturday, when Vista Paint presents the NAPA Auto Parts/Auto Trader Magazines SCRA Sprint Cars at Perris Auto Speedway.

Over the first two races of the year, the 37-year old father of two from Lomita has dazzled the crowds at The PAS with breath taking races through the pack. On opening day Kirby barley sneaked into the 25 lap main event by taking fourth place (the final transfer spot) in both the "C" and "B" mains. In the "A" main, Kirby, who is the only driver to post wins in a Stock Car and Sprint Car at The PAS, started dead last (22nd) in his bright blue sprinter. By the time the checkered flag came down he had clawed and fought his way to ninth spot on a day when it was tough to pass.

Last Saturday night, Kirby qualified 15th in the 43 card field. He notched a third place finish in his heat race and was forced to start in row six in the 30-lap "A" main. As soon as the green flag dropped, Kirby, the Ascot Figure Eight in 1984, 1985 and 1986, electrified the crowd with a furious charge to the head of the pack. On his way to the front he had to pass several well-known Sprint Car racing stars including Rip Williams, Mike English, Richard "The Gassman" Griffin, Rickie Gaunt, John Scott and Illinois' Levi Jones. He skillfully got by all of them before zeroing in 2001 SCRA Champion and then race leader Cory Kruseman. On lap 22 Kirby made the move that paid the big money and wrestled the lead from Kruseman. He then moved away for a comfortable, crowd-pleasing victory.

Kruseman, who recently passed his Indy Racing League driver's test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, dominated Sprint Car racing at The PAS in 2001. However, 2002 did not start out the way the veteran wanted. On opening day the Ventura resident spun late in the race and ended up 15th. Last week the 31-year old began the evening in fine style by out qualifying the field with a lightning quick 16.684 lap on the Riverside County half-mile clay oval. However, disaster struck in his heat race when Kruseman was caught up in a crash and flipped hard causing severe damage to the Harlan Willis owned racecar.

As soon as the car arrived back in the pits, the crew, led by chief mechanic Mike Nigh, began thrashing. With additional help from other teams and driver's, they barely made it out for the semi (their last chance to get into the main).

Kruseman, who captured an astounding series record 15 main events wins in 2001, won last Saturday's semi, but was forced to start in row five of the "A" main. Like Kirby, he blitzed his way to the front of the pack. Kruseman relieved Griffin of the lead on lap 11. The driver, who is referred to as "The Kruzer" by his adoring fans, maintained the lead until Kirby raced by on lap 22. When the checkered fell at the end of lap 30, Kruseman was second across the stripe.

Ojai's Rutherford was third last Saturday. The 28-year old has been the only driver to finish in the top three in the first two races of the long 2002 campaign. Thus, he holds a slim 13-point lead over Griffin in the standings coming into this Saturday's race.

TOP 10 SCRA POINTS
1. Troy Rutherford - Ojai, CA - 137
2. Richard Griffin, Silver City, NM - 124
3. Tony Jones - Garden Grove, CA - 108
4. Mike Kirby - Lomita, CA - 106
5. Levi Jones - Olney, IL - 97
6. Cory Kruseman - Ventura, CA - 95
7. John Scott - Hesperia, CA - 94
8. Rip Williams - Yorba Linda, CA - 93
9. Jeremy Sherman - Phoenix, AZ - 84
10. J.J. Yeley - Phoenix, AZ - 78
10. Bobby Graham - Riverside, CA - 78

Saturday's event will include qualifying, four heat races, a dash, two preliminary mains and a 30 lap "A" main event. Spectator gates will open at 4:00 PM and the first race will be at 6:30.

On Saturday March 16th, The PAS will host an exciting quadruple header featuring the California Lightning Sprint Cars, PASSCAR Super Stocks, Temecula Valley Pipe & Supply Street Stocks and the California Champ Trucks.

The best deal in racing, money saving Perris Auto Speedway season passes, are available through April 1st. For more information or to order them today, call The PAS office at (909) 940-0134

Advance tickets for Saturday are on sale now by calling (909) 940-0134 or by going to the PAS website at www.perrisautospeedway.com and clicking on the online tickets icon.

Perris Auto Speedway is conveniently 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 and a half miles to the fairgrounds.

-scra-

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers J.J. Yeley , Tony Jones , Cory Kruseman , Richard Griffin , Levi Jones , John Scott , Rip Williams , Mike English , Troy Rutherford
Teams Williams