scra: Perris race report 2001-08-25

Kruseman Enjoys 6th Straight PAS Win PERRIS, CA, August 25 -- Cory Kruseman's summer of love with the Perris Auto Speedway continued Saturday night after the current Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA) point leader drove to his sixth ...

Kruseman Enjoys 6th Straight PAS Win

PERRIS, CA, August 25 -- Cory Kruseman's summer of love with the Perris Auto Speedway continued Saturday night after the current Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA) point leader drove to his sixth consecutive victory.

Unlike his previous five PAS victories, Kruseman's chances of extending his streak seemed bleak prior to the start of the race thanks to his eighth starting spot. Normally, winning from the eighth position at Perris wouldn't be thought of as a monumental task, but, track conditions on this night were very different. Despite the hot weather conditions, the track remained extremely tacky long after Kruseman had received the checkered flag for the 12th time this season.

"Starting eighth, I really didn't think we had a chance, but something happened on the start and they were going every which way in front of me. Things just laid out nice and it allowed us to get a good start which was the key tonight," Kruseman said after learning that his drive to the front also won him the TW Metals Hard Charger Award.

Last year's SCRA Rookie of the Year, Jarrett Chaney, won his first career JE Pistons Dash. While Chaney was in the process of earning the pole for the 30 lap main event, Kruseman could only watch the Dash from the work area as his crew searched to find what was causing motor problems for the Harlan Willis / WorldGate Networks No. 45 TCR.

"We had an ignition box go bad," Kruseman explained. "Luckily, our motor builder Richard Catton (RC Performance) was with us and he hopped right on it and figured out what the problem was and the car never missed a beat."

After finishing fifth in the last Perris event, Rodney Argo edged Chaney into turn one to put the Don Argo / Decore Plating No. 19 TCR into the lead on the opening lap. With the Joe Morales / O'Reilly Chevrolet No. 94 Buckley driven by Charles Davis, Jr. occupying the third spot, Kruseman passed Richard Griffin for fifth before the end of the first lap. Sweeping into turn one on lap two, Kruseman moved into fourth after contact with John Scott.

Continuing his quick charge to the front, Kruseman passed Davis one lap later in turn two and relieved Chaney of the second position on lap six. Argo had enjoyed a comfortable lead, until a lap seven miscue in turn one allowed Kruseman to make up considerable ground. Playing the waiting game, Kruseman was content to follow Argo until they reached lapped traffic on the 16th circuit.

Looking for his first win since the 1998 Oval Nationals at Perris, Argo withstood Kruseman's relentless challenges. Continuing to stay aggressive while working lapped traffic, Argo bravely took any opening he could find to keep Kruseman behind him.

"Once we got into second I figured I'd just run with (Argo) until we got into lapped traffic and that's where we'd be able to do something," said Kruseman. "Rodney did a heck of a job tonight, we got underneath him a couple of times, but he's a smart race car driver and he knew where the race track was. I knew he wasn't going to just give it to me, but with the track being so heavy and everyone starting to get tired, there were plenty of opportunities for him to make an error and he never did."

The only yellow flag of the race flew for Chaney, who came to a stop exiting turn four five laps from the finish. At first, this looked like a huge break for Argo since Kruseman hadn't shown any indication that he could pass the leader without the aid of lapped traffic. Unfortunately for Argo, someone forgot to remind Kruseman of that.

Exiting turn four to accept the green flag on the restart, Kruseman darted around the outside of Argo's Ford powered sprinter and grabbed the lead. Argo stayed close during the final laps of the race, but could do nothing to prevent Kruseman from gathering his 49th career SCRA main event win.

"Our car owner Harlan Willis is on vacation, so he turned the car over to the crew, and it just goes to show how strong our team is," Kruseman proudly smiled. "My crew chief Mike Nigh called all the shots tonight and when he gave me the thumbs-up during the caution with five to go, I knew we were in pretty good shape. We just put our head down, held our breath, and were lucky enough to get by Rodney."

Griffin finished third in the Ron Chaffin / Arizona Race Mart No. 50 Jon Boy ahead of Davis. Rickie Gaunt started tenth and drove the Alexander-Geurin / Statewide Towing No. 5x Stinger to a fifth place finish. Tony Jones made his debut in the Mike Wall entry and finished sixth, ahead of Sander Engineering Fast Time Award winner Troy Rutherford.


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Series Sprint
Drivers Tony Jones , Cory Kruseman , Richard Griffin , John Scott