PERRIS, CA, October 5 -- Troy Rutherford started on the pole and went on to win Friday night's Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA) main event at the Perris Auto Speedway in wire-to-wire fashion. Adding his name to the PAS record books, ...
PERRIS, CA, October 5 -- Troy Rutherford started on the pole and went on to win Friday night's Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA) main event at the Perris Auto Speedway in wire-to-wire fashion. Adding his name to the PAS record books, Rutherford's nonstop victory also earned him and Jack Gardner, Jr. / Shaver Engines No. 4 Sled an automatic 20 lap track record (5:49.68).
Looking at the win column, Rutherford now has two victories on the season and has quietly had his best SCRA season ever. With 16 top-five finishes to his credit, Rutherford sits third in series points and has pulled to within 27 points of defending champion Richard Griffin for the second spot. Rutherford's victory shouldn't come as much of a surprise since he has been the runner-up finisher in four of the last eight races, including last weekend at Santa Maria where he led all but the final three laps of the race.
"We had a bit of misfortune last week and we came here tonight just trying to finish in the top-four so we could get locked in for tomorrow. We were just fortunate enough to be able to come away with the victory," Rutherford said. "It's just a reassuring feeling to know that you're locked into tomorrow's main event and don't have to worry about tearing a car up in a heat race."
Rodney Argo beat Rutherford into turn one to put the Don Argo / Venolia Forged Pistons No. 19 into the lead on the initial start. Rutherford caught the only break he needed when second row starters Rickie Gaunt and Charles Davis, Jr. touched tires behind him. Davis flipped in the incident and was clipped by Griffin, who also came to a stop in turn two, as the red flag waved.
"It takes a little bit for our Shaver motor to get warmed up, but once it gets over a 180 degrees it runs like a son-of-a-gun," Rutherford admitted. "I was happy to see the red flag come out so the guys could make a few minor adjustments to the car. From that point, the car was just perfect."
The second start was more to Rutherford's liking and he led Argo, Gaunt, Rip Williams and Danny Sheridan at the end of the opening lap. Argo slipped wide exiting turn four on the following lap and dropped to fourth. As Williams, in the Sharon Jory / Vista Paint No. 3 Gambler, battled intensely with Gaunt for second, Rutherford extended his lead.
While Rutherford continued to pull away en route to his fourth career SCRA win, the fight for the final direct transfer heated up on lap 17 when Cory Kruseman passed Sheridan for fifth and nearly drove around Argo for fourth. One lap later, Kruseman moved ahead of Argo for the transfer spot as Rutherford reached lapped traffic for the first time.
Williams eventually passed the Alexander-Geurin / Statewide Towing No. 5x Stinger driven by Gaunt for second. Kruseman's 13th to fourth place run not only secured his a spot in Saturday's A-Main, but also gave the Harlan Willis / WorldGate Networks No. 45 TCR the TW Metals Hard Charger Award.
"It was a real fast race track. It felt like we were qualifying the whole time, just lap after lap of going as fast as you could go," Rutherford said, before joking that his series high eight Sander Engineering Fast Times may not be the best formula for getting main event wins. "I think the guys have slowed the car down in qualifying because they don't like qualifying first because it puts us to far back in the JE Pistons Passing Masters Dash. We had some brake problems in qualifying tonight which worked out in our favor."