JONES, GARDNER HEAD POINT LEADS AS NATIONAL, CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES COLLIDE AT PERRIS INDIANAPOLIS -- Three of the biggest nights of the year for Sprint car racing come this Thursday, Friday and Saturday on the West Coast as the USAC Valvoline ...
JONES, GARDNER HEAD POINT LEADS AS NATIONAL, CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES COLLIDE AT PERRIS
INDIANAPOLIS -- Three of the biggest nights of the year for Sprint car racing come this Thursday, Friday and Saturday on the West Coast as the USAC Valvoline National and CRA Sprint Car Series divisions clash with the 10th running of the Budweiser Oval Nationals, with both point championships on the line.
National driver Levi Jones and CRA gunner Damion Gardner lead their respective series into the three-night affair at Perris Auto Speedway in California hoping to keep their leads, in addition to shooting for one of the biggest purses of the season. More than 70 cars are pre-entered for the event, and drivers will be looking to fill one of at least 24 feature spots each night.
While Thursday and Friday night preliminary features will pay $8,590 purses, Saturday boasts a $60,500 payoff, with a $30,000 cut to the victor. Second- and third-place finishers will take home $7,000 and $4,000 respectively. Cory Kruseman won last year's running of the event.
Alan Ballard of Bakersfield, Calif. tuned up for this weekend's festivities Saturday at Ventura Raceway in California with a last lap victory ahead of CRA points leader Gardner. Driving the No. 97 Dick's Automotive/Ernie's Tong Service Schnee/Chevy, Ballard led laps 6-28 before Gardner inched forward on lap 29, but came to the checkered flag first for his initial USAC triumph. Gardner -- who extended his point lead to 62 markers over Cory Kruseman -- finished second, ahead of Danny Sheridan, Mike Spencer and Jon Stanbrough. Kruseman was sixth.
Blake Miller drove to the 15-lap "Wagsdash" victory.
The National Series has been idle since Oct. 16, when Dave Darland won at Winchester Speedway in Indiana. That triumph moved Darland to within 78 points of Jones heading into Thursday's race. Darland, Jay Drake and Bud Kaeding are all still in the running for the championship with six races left.
USAC VALVOLINE NATIONAL SPRINT CAR SERIES STANDINGS
8.-Jerry Coons Jr.-712
USAC VALVOLINE CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES STANDINGS
5.-Charles Davis Jr.-1,297