Oval Nationals at Perris pre-race notes

Toughest Field Ever Set For Oval Nationals! (OCTOBER 26, 2004, PERRIS, CA) Many of the top sprint car drivers from around the United States are converging on Perris Auto Speedway for this week's 9th Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals presented...

Toughest Field Ever Set For Oval Nationals!

(OCTOBER 26, 2004, PERRIS, CA) Many of the top sprint car drivers from around the United States are converging on Perris Auto Speedway for this week's 9th Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals presented by Temecula Valley Pipe & Supply.

As of Monday, 64 cars from eight states had pre-entered the prestigious race. All of them will be in action all three (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) nights. Thursday and Friday will feature full programs with qualifying, five 10-lap heat races with eight cars in each, D, C, B and A main events. The A main on Thursday and Friday will be 25-laps and will be contested by 24 cars.

Saturday's program will consist of D, C, B and A main events. There may also be a Last Chance race on Saturday. Saturday's A main will be 50-laps and the winner will walk off with a whopping $30,000.00 from the $100,780.00 purse.

For the first time in the races nine-year history, it will be sanctioned by USAC (United States Auto Club) and it will pay points for the Valvoline USAC National Sprint Car Series all three nights.

Transplanted Californian Jay Drake, now living in Brownsburg, Indiana, leads the National Series by 141 points. While his lead is not insurmountable, he could be putting the finishing touches on his first USAC National Sprint Car crown.

Lurking behind Drake is a dramatic fight for second place in the National standings. Two-time (2001 & 2002) Oval Nationals Champion Bud Kaeding of Campbell, California leads defending Oval Nationals winner Cory Kruseman of Ventura, California by 35-points. Olney, Illinois driver Levi Jones is another 50-points behind Kruseman while USAC National Sprint Car Series leading rookie Josh Ford of Camarillo, California is fifth overall.

The Valvoline USAC/CRA Series title is a tough fight as well. Yorba Linda, California veteran Rip Williams leads Concord, California's Damion Gardner by 61 points. 1993 CRA Champion Mike Kirby of Torrance, California is third overall some 99 points behind Williams.

Perris Auto Speedway promoter Don Kazarian is excited about this weekends race. "As a racing fan, I can't wait to see this one," he enthused. "This field is incredibly tough and the racing will intense. The drivers earn points on both Thursday and Friday that will determine where they start Saturday's program. With the quality of this field, the fans can look forward to racing that is going to be fantastic each night. A lot of drivers who you normally see near the front of the A main event are going to have to fight and claw their way from the C and B mains just to get into the A main events."

Thus far seven of the top ten ranked USAC National Series drivers have entered the three-day race. Tony Stewart Motorsports has entered two cars (Kruseman and Drake) and USAC Series leading car (Dynamics, Inc. #69) was entered on Monday with NASCAR Craftsman Series rookie Tracy Hines, of Greenfield, Indiana, behind the wheel.

The complete entry list with numbers, names and hometowns is listed at the end of this release.

Spectator gates will open at 5:00 PM on Thursday and Friday with racing starting at 7:00. The spectator gates will open at 3:00 PM on Saturday with racing at 6:00.

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.

For more information on this or any other event at Perris Auto Speedway events, please call (909) 940-0134.

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About this article
Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Bud Kaeding , Cory Kruseman , Jay Drake , Levi Jones , Rip Williams , Josh Ford , Damion Gardner
Teams Williams