scra: Ventura Raceway report, Champion crowned

Scott & Chaney Take Ventura Victories As Kruseman Clinches 1st SCRA Title VENTURA, CA, October 20 -- John Scott won the 30 lap Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA) main event and Jarrett Chaney the Wagsdash, Saturday night at Ventura ...

Scott & Chaney Take Ventura Victories As Kruseman Clinches 1st SCRA Title

VENTURA, CA, October 20 -- John Scott won the 30 lap Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA) main event and Jarrett Chaney the Wagsdash, Saturday night at Ventura Raceway.

For local fans, the highlight of the evening was watching hometown favorite Cory Kruseman clinch his first SCRA driving title. Despite the fact that the majority of SCRA participants reside from California, Kruseman becomes the state's first driving champion ending Richard Griffin's run of three straight titles. Interestingly, Kruseman thanked a pair of now retired SCRA champions from Arizona.

"It's a dream come true. For many years, I watched the CRA guys race and who'd ever think that I'd be a champion. I'll probably look at that list of champions and think it's a misprint," laughed Kruseman. "I just have to thank Ron Shuman, who has helped me so much this year and Lealand McSpadden, who has helped me so much over the years."

Even with 14 wins on the year and the driving title in hand, Kruseman still has some unfinished business. Mainly, to win the SCRA Owners Championship for Harlan Willis. With 280 points still possible, Willis' car holds a 141 point lead over six time owners champ, Ron Chaffin, heading into the final two weekends of point paying races.

"We really want to win the Oval Nationals (at the Perris Auto Speedway on Nov. 1st-3rd), but we definitely want to win the owners championship for Harlan Willis. We've been together eight years now, and before that he helped me in TQ's. We'll just have to hang in there for the next couple of races and hopefully we'll be able to do it," said Kruseman.

Not to be overshadowed by Kruseman's accomplishments was Scott's magnificent drive. When the SCRA visited Seaside Park last month, Scott was the fastest driver in time trails and was in a position to win his first race at Ventura.

Scott drove his Pace Electronics No. 83 TCR to a somewhat disappointing fourth place finish on that night, but left Ventura this time with his third SCRA win of the year. Proving his versatility, Scott's victories this season have come at three different tracks.

"It's weird because we've had a lot of bad luck," reflected Scott on what's been the best season of his SCRA career. "We've had some engine problems, some car problems and I've made some mistakes, but overall we've put together a decent year. Not a great year, but a decent year, and it looks like we're going to be able to carry some good momentum into next year. We've learned a lot this year and our future looks good."

Tony Jones won the JE Piston Dash in the Jack Gardner, Jr. / Sander Engineering No. 2 Sled and started the on the pole for the last SCRA feature race of the year at Ventura. Jones took the lead at the start and was followed by Jeremy Sherman, Scott, Griffin and Sander Engineering Fast Time Award winner Mike Kirby. The drop of the green flag also officially gave Kruseman the championship. Scott tangled with Sherman as he was passing him on lap two. This allowed Griffin to slip ahead of both of them. Scott was able to keep pace with Griffin and passed him for second place on the ninth lap.

Trying to become the first driver in SCRA history to win three main events in one year driving for three different car owners, Jones reached lapped traffic on lap eleven. Unfortunately for Jones, Mike Spencer bicycled in front of him on lap 17. Spencer did a nice job avoiding a roll over, but slowed quicker than Jones anticipated. Trying to slide around the outside of the rookie driver, Jones clipped Spencer's right rear tire. Jones somehow avoided a big crash, but did relinquish the lead to Scott.

"Tony was fast. I don't know if we would have got him or not as fast as the track was," Scott later admitted. "Tony was stout and looking good in that Gardner car and I really thought he had that move made, but when I went by him he was nose up. I looked to see if the yellow light had come on because I thought for sure he was going over. I was really happy for Tony that the yellow didn't come out, but on the flip side I knew he was still back there."

Jones was definitely still back there. In fact, had he not run out of race track, Jones might have driven around the outside of Scott exiting turn four on lap 22. But, Jones would once again have some trouble in lapped traffic. Opportunistically, Kirby put the Alexander-Geurin / Statewide Towing No. 5 Stinger into the runner-up spot on lap 26. Kirby ran hard in the final laps, but was not fast enough to challenge Scott who went on to establish a new 30 lap track record (6:18.03).

"Thirty laps in six minutes and change, that's ridiculously quick. I can do 20 minutes on a treadmill and it's not nearly a strenuous as six minutes in a sprint car here. You still have to be patient here and not get yourself in trouble by making stupid moves, but you have to get after it right away here as well. It's a happy medium," Scott explained.

Sherman finished fourth in his first race behind the wheel of the Mark Preistley / Roy Miller Freightliner No. 7 Stealth. Driving the Chaffin Motorsports / Arizona Race Mart No. 50 Jon Boy, Griffin rounded out the top-five.

Ken Wagner's 30 lap invitational race, otherwise known as the Wagsdash, followed. Jarrett Chaney, who had just finished ninth in the SCRA main event, took the lead on lap 14 from Ronnie Clark and went on to win this popular race which is run annually to benefit the hard luck drivers that follow the SCRA tour.

"This is great. I'd like to thank Wags, he put on a great race," said Chaney, who won rookie of the year honors last season with the SCRA. "It's kind of neat because all of the people that have had bad luck or aren't one of the top runners get to run a main event together. We started 16th and my dad told me to just be patient because it's going to be rough out there and everyone wants to win."

Gary W. Howard started next to Chaney and eventually finished in second place ahead of Spencer (started 19th) and Danny Sheridan (started 17th).

-SCRA-

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Tony Jones , Cory Kruseman , Richard Griffin , Ronnie Clark , John Scott , Mike Spencer , Danny Sheridan