scra: PAS V: Race report

Kruseman rolls to another PAS win. PERRIS, CA, APRIL 13, 2002 - Cory Kruseman rolled to his second straight 30-lap NAPA Auto Parts / Auto Trader SCRA feature win Saturday at the Perris Auto Speedway. Even though Kruseman doesn't think he'll be...

Kruseman rolls to another PAS win.

PERRIS, CA, APRIL 13, 2002 - Cory Kruseman rolled to his second straight 30-lap NAPA Auto Parts / Auto Trader SCRA feature win Saturday at the Perris Auto Speedway. Even though Kruseman doesn't think he'll be able to defend his SCRA title this season, he was pleased to learned that his latest victory helped put him back into the series point lead.

"To win the SCRA Championship is a neat honor, but we're going to miss some races this year," Kruseman confessed. "We've got our sites set on winning the Non-Winged World Championship (which starts August 6th in Oskaloosa, IA), but I want to go out and try to better my racing career and hopefully do some things that will help get me to the next level."

From the standpoint of career main event wins, Kruseman's current level speaks for itself. Now in a category with West Coast legends like Jimmy Oskie and Brad Noffsinger, Kruseman's 54 feature wins leaves him one victory shy of tying Rip Williams' all-time SCRA mark.

Kruseman started the race on the second row behind Damion Gardner who edged Richard Griffin for the win in the JE Pistons Dash. Griffin would get better of Gardner at the start of the main event and would lead Kruseman, Williams, Gardner, Rickie Gaunt and Mike Kirby at the end of the opening lap. Verne Sweeney brought the action to an abrupt halt on lap three after he tangled with another car and took a nasty tumble down the back straight. Fortunately, Sweeney was able to walk away from the accident scene.

Calmly riding the cushion, Griffin set the pace after the restart. Kruseman rode in second place and used the early laps to learn where his Mike Nigh prepared machine would work the best. Tony Jones started the main event in tenth and was up to fifth place when contact with Kirby sent him sliding to a stop off the second turn on lap eleven. Jones entered the evening with the SCRA point lead, but would leave Perris second in series points despite working his way back to a seventh place finish.

One lap after the restart, Gardner bumped wheels with Williams exiting turn two and took over the third position. Gardner and Williams were closing in on the leaders when Kruseman nearly spun exiting turn one on lap 18. Gardner spun trying to avoid hitting Kruseman and left Williams with nowhere to go but into the side of the 20 car.

This resulted in a caution flag after both drivers ended up parked in turn two. Kruseman stayed low on the subsequent restart and was able to put the Harlan Willis / WorldGate Networks No. 1 TCR into the lead with a nice drive off the bottom of turn two.

"I really needed the restart to get by Richard because it allowed us to roll the bottom. The fortunate part of running second is that I was able to try a lot of different lines," Kruseman later said.

One out front, Kruseman pulled away from the Ron Chaffin owned / Arizona Race Mart No. 50 Jon Boy driven by Griffin. Kirby found the bottom of the track to his liking late in the race and put the Brad & Nancy Geurin / Statewide Towing No. 5 Stinger into the runner-up spot on lap 26. Just when it looked like Kirby might have a shot at surprising Kruseman, the yellow flag waved on lap 27 for a Marc Hart spin.

Griffin passed Kirby coming down to accept the green flag on the restart and nearly passed Kruseman as well. Kirby quickly regrouped and took second place back using the low groove in turn two. Continuing to work the bottom, Kirby momentarily held the lead exiting turn two on lap 29 only to have Kruseman take it back in turn three. Griffin slipped into second place coming down to accept the white flag and was briefly within striking distance of Kruseman. Showing poise under pressure, Kruseman ran a perfect final lap and comfortably beat Kirby and Griffin to starter Lee Jaskowiak's checkered flag.

"I hit (turns) one and two real well on the final lap," Kruseman smiled. "I was getting the car sideways enough that I could see over my shoulder and I knew the only pass that they had available was a slide-job, so that was the line I drove."

John Scott put together a nice late race charge of his own and drove the Pace Electronics No. 83 TCR to a fourth place finish after starting 11th. Scott was, however, outdone for the KSE Products Hard Charger Award by Steve Ostling who drove the Fischer Motorsports entry from 15th to fifth.

-scra-

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Series Sprint
Drivers Tony Jones , Cory Kruseman , Richard Griffin , Brad Noffsinger , John Scott , Rip Williams , Damion Gardner
Teams Williams