(APRIL 8, 2003) The hottest Sprint Car driver in the country, Concord's Damion Gardner, tops the list of entries for this Saturday night when Temecula Valley Pipe and Supply and Vista Paint present the NAPA Auto Parts/Auto Trader Magazines SCRA...
(APRIL 8, 2003) The hottest Sprint Car driver in the country, Concord's Damion Gardner, tops the list of entries for this Saturday night when Temecula Valley Pipe and Supply and Vista Paint present the NAPA Auto Parts/Auto Trader Magazines SCRA Sprint Cars at Perris Auto Speedway!
Gardner, who began his career in 1995 racing Dwarf Cars in Northern California, has won two of the last three SCRA main events. He would have won three in a row, but lost the lead while leading in a third one on the last lap. His latest triumph came last Saturday night at the Thunderbowl in Tulare where he dominated the program. Gardner set a new track record in qualifying, won his heat race, placed second in the JE Pistons Passing Maters Dash and then fought off the advances of 4-time SCRA Champion Richard Griffin for the win in a crowd pleasing main event. All of this comes in just his sixth ride for famous car owner Harlan Willis.
Gardner enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top with SCRA in 2002. After racing with a wing on dirt in the Golden State Championship Series (Central and Northern California) and without a wing on pavement with the USAC Western State Sprint Car Series, Gardner doffed his wing and ran with SCRA last season. He came into the February season opener unknown to most SCRA fans, but by the time the season had ended, he was arguably the hottest driver on the track and the most popular driver with those packing the grandstands. And, he finished third in points behind Griffin (Silver City, New Mexico) and Garden Grove's Tony Jones. Late in the season he became the first, and to this day the only, diver to run a sub 16-second lap without a wing at The PAS.
When the SCRA throng returns to The PAS this Saturday, Gardner finds himself third in the point standings, some 54 digits behind Griffin. Ojai's Troy Rutherford, who won the 2003 season opener in February and has not finished out of the top five this season, mans the second place spot.
Gardner took over the Willis ride, which veteran Cory Kruseman drove to the SCRA title in 2001, over the winter. Kruseman is driving a Sprint Car owned by NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart on the USAC circuit in the Midwest.
In addition to the SCRA Sprint Cars, the California Lightning Sprint Cars will also be in action on Saturday night. 1999 Champion Brent Sexton of Lakeside, fresh off back-to-back wins at Route 66 Speedway in Victorville and Bakersfield Speedway, leads the CLS standings after four races. Saturday's appearance will be the third of nine for the Lightning Sprints at The PAS in 2003.
Spectator gates at will open at 4:00 PM Saturday and qualifying will start at 5:00.
All adult fans (18 and over) purchasing a ticket will receive an entry blank for the May 24th Downs Commercial Fueling Gasoline Giveaway. On that night one lucky fan will receive 300 gallons of free gasoline.
Don't forget that at intermission the entire family can dance in The PAS Dance Contest with prizes for the winning dancers ages 12 and under.
Perris Auto Speedway is the world's premiere clay oval stadium. The fan friendly track features an amazing 60,000-watt digital sound system, daytime bright lighting, a wide variety of delicious food, clean restrooms and paved spectator parking. Best of all, the track supplies clean, wholesome family entertainment every Saturday night.
Advance tickets are on sale now by calling 1-800-595-4TIX (4849).
Perris Auto Speedway is conveniently located on the freeway close Lake Perris Fairgrounds, home of the Farmer's Fair, approximately one hour east of Los Angeles. Take the 215 Freeway, exit at the Ramona Expressway and go east two miles to the fairgrounds.