(JUNE 4, 2004, PERRIS, CA) West Coast sprint car fans need to make plans now for June 12th when the Valvoline USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series returns to Perris Auto Speedway for the Snap On Tools Shootout II presented by Temecula Valley Pipe and...
(JUNE 4, 2004, PERRIS, CA) West Coast sprint car fans need to make plans now for June 12th when the Valvoline USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series returns to Perris Auto Speedway for the Snap On Tools Shootout II presented by Temecula Valley Pipe and Supply and Vista Paint. In addition to seeing The PAS regulars, who comprise the strongest field in western open wheel racing, fans will get a full dose of visiting superstar drivers Rickie Gaunt, Cory Kruseman and Bud Kaeding.
Gaunt, who is known to his adoring fans as "Super Rickie" due to a Superman style fire suit, will be making his first appearance of 2004 at the track where he netted the biggest win of his career. In 1999 Gaunt, driving for the famous Gardner Motorsports Team, outdistanced Kruseman, Tony Jones, Troy Rutherford and J.J. Yeley to win the 4th Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals before a capacity crowd.
A 35-year old father of two sons, the boisterous Gaunt has competed in four races in the prestigious Valvoline USAC/CRA Series thus far in 2004. However, the Torrance, California residents results been impressive and he is 16th in points. His best outing thus far in the series came at the Sokola Classic in March at Phoenix' Manzanita Speedway. Gaunt was fast qualifier both nights and finished third behind Indiana's Dave Darland and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular Tracey Hines in the 20-lap preliminary main. The next night he ended up fourth the finale. Away from Valvoline USAC/CRA competition this season, Gaunt has scored four main event wins in the Smiley Crane #2A.
Kruseman, who won the 8th Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals driving for NASCAR Nextel Cup superstar Tony Stewart at The PAS last November, will be driving for Carson's Mark Alexander on the 12th. Kruseman took Alexander's silver #4 to the win in the Sokola Classic and backed that up with another win at Manzanita on May 8th. Those two victories and a second place behind Mike Kirby at the series debut at The PAS on March 6th leave Kruseman 9th in points.
While he is 9th in the Valvoline USAC/CRA Series, Kruseman, 33, who operates a sprint car driving school at the Ventura Raceway, is third in USAC National Series points in Stewart's Mopar sprinter. On May 22nd he defeated teammate and lifelong friend Jay Drake and Yeley to win the prestigious Tony Hulman Classic in Terre Haute, Indiana. One week later, he qualified third fastest and finished seventeenth in the grueling Little 500. The Little 500 is a 500-lap race sprint car on the tight Anderson, Indiana quarter-mile paved track.
Fans will never forget the season Kruseman had at The PAS in 2001. Driving for car owner Harlan Willis, he won 12 main events, including the Salute to Indy, Firecracker 50 and the Jack Kindoll Classic at the Riverside County Oval.
Like Kruseman, third generation champion Bud Kaeding will be flying in from Indiana to drive for legendary Willis in the Mike Nigh tuned #45. A native of Campbell, California, Kaeding is no stranger to Perris fans. He won the prestigious Oval Nationals at The PAS in 2001 and 2002 and thus pocketed over $60,000.00. In the 2003 edition of the Oval Nationals last November, Kaeding finished on the podium for the third consecutive year with a third place finish.
The talented 24-year old was fourth in last year's USAC National Sprint Car standings and is currently ranked sixth in the 2004 series. In 2002, a devastating flip, after setting fast time at the Hulman Classic at Terre Haute, put the young star on the shelf for much of the season. However, when he climbed back into the cockpit, he won several races including the sprint car portion of the 4-Crown Nationals at Ohio's high-banked Eldora Speedway and the Oval Nationals.
Kaeding first gained prominence in 1999 when he won seven main events in 17 starts and the USAC Western Sprint Car Championship. In addition, he won the Rookie of the Year award in the series. One year later, he won the Rookie of the Year award in the tough USAC National Sprint Car Series after finishing seventh in the point standings.
Can Gaunt, Kruseman, Kaeding or visiting Charles Davis Jr., The PAS regulars? Or will they ride behind heavy hitters Rip Williams, Mike Kirby, Damion Garner, Troy Rutherford, Tony Jones and Steve Ostling? The only way to find out is to be at Perris Auto Speedway June 12th for the BEST show in Southern California racing.
In addition to the Valvoline USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, the Southern California Ford Focus Midgets will also be racing on the 12th.
Remember, the month of June is Kid's Month at The PAS. Bring one, 100 or 1,000 kids 12 and under and they will be admitted free when they are accompanied by an adult.
Perris Auto Speedway is conveniently located on the Lake Perris Fairgrounds, home of the Southern California Fair, approximately one hour east of Los Angeles. Take the 215 Freeway, exit at the Ramona Expressway and go east two and a half miles to the fairgrounds.