CRA BANQUET A QUIET NIGHT FOR 410 FANS BUT THE FOCUS WORLD PERFORMS WELL FOR THEIR HARDWARE
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO SUPPORT 410 RACING in 2011????????????????????????
DATE NIGHT AT THE PAS ONLY $ 5.00 – GET THE KIDS OUT OF THE HOUSE AND BRING THE NEIGHBORS!!!!!
January 27, 2011
By Ken Wagner
The 2010 USAC/CRA combo banquet was held at Knotts Berry Farm Resort Hotel in Buena Park this year. The banquet room was very nice, decorated with lots of stars and stuff on the tables, the miniature kind you get in cards in the mail that attacks your carpet and makes a home there. A full racing flag set-up was the center piece for each table and became the giveaway after the night was over. The awards were very unique with big medalions on ribbons to hang around the necks of winners, with a USAC framed logo, some big picture drawings of the champions and a few other things like a huge winner’s cup and a special eagle trophy.
The banquet photo's click here to see.
The banquet room was decorated nicely by Tommy and Jeannie Hunt and their many minions who came early to make it happen. The awards were nice and plentiful for the ten open wheel classes that came to receive them. A lot of effort went into this event, so the 200 or so that did attend, had a good time sharing their awards. It is the first banquet I ever went to, since the first one I went to, that I knew less than probably 20% of the attendees, and the majority of them were way younger than me!
Les Kynett was the MC and the winners are: USAC Young Guns Ford Focus Northern Series Champion Brandon White, Western Champion Jarid Blondel, Western Pavement Champion Brandon White, and Western Dirt Champion Casey Martinez. In the USAC Western Ford Focus Pavement Championship (both Northern and Southern) Cody Garhardt was on top. The USAC Western Ford Focus Dirt Champion was Nick Carlson. And last was for the USAC Western Ford Focus Pavement series where Cody Gerhardt won that one.
The USAC Western Ford Focus Midget Champion was Nick Carlson. USAC Western States 360 Sprint Car Champion was Craig Stidham. The USAC Western States Midget Car Series Champion was Alex Schutte in Jerome Rodela’s race car. The Western States Sprint Car Series Champion was Tony Hunt in Mike Phulps car. Mike Spencer was the USAC/CRA Champion for the 3rd year in a row driving Ron Chaffin’s little red sucker.
There were some special awards presented thruout the night. The Billy Wilkerson Award went to Tom and Laurie Sertich. Most improved CRA driver was Austin Williams. Rookie of the year is Jace VanderWeerd. Promoter of the year Chris Kearns. And for the umpteenth time The USAC/CRA Crew Chief of the year Award went to Bruce Bromme Jr, but in his absence, was not formally awarded. Special recognition in CRA went out to Julie Shiosaki and the USAC/CRA worker Bee’sthat included Steve and Shelley Ostling, Nellie Stansberry, Sylvia Watkins, J J and Lisa Ercse, Dick Hindman, Keith (Beezer) Taylor, Evelyn Pratt, Sammy Bahr and Doug Allen.
It all went well, considering there were 10 different series to go through. Several had good comments for winning including Jerome Rodela and Mike Spencer. Mr Rodela was particularly enlightening with his blast. This event had a time limit of 11 O’clock, so I guess the musical streams for the younger set were coming in behind us?
There were many CRA members who missed the event due to the “blue flu” Tulsa Chili Bowl sickness. I myself had to get out of my sneezing fits to drive 600 miles to take pictures in Doug Allen’s absence. I counted 4 CRA drivers in the house, 5 if you include Heidi Tressler, that’s less than 10 % of our racers? It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? The USAC/CRA banquet is turning out to be much like the racing, as support is getting slimmer with time.
It makes me wonder why the CRA members don’t support their association and their fans by going to the banquet. If the drivers, car owners and crews don’t support the winners of their 410 racing, what’s up with that? Is it more important to go watch motocross, a movie, go dirt bike riding, work on their car, piddle around the house, watch TV, or what! Are the fans reacting to their heroes not supporting themselves or is apathy the order of the day in our ever changing 410 world? Why did we once have 500 “club” members at our CRA banquets before the SCRA arrived and now can only get 200 attendees for California Ford Focus and Jr Focus, Midgets, Westerns States Sprints and CRA Sprints in this USAC world? Another good question that points out how far we have to go to right the ship. Sorry, my soapbox is rising, so what are you personally going to do to help 410 racing in the future? Is the banquet important to anyone but the Champions?
I like what the PAS is doing with the $5 ticket prices for the teenagers! For those from age 5 up thru 18, that’s a good deal. Maybe the kids can come and bring their friends! This is a critical year for Perris because they have operated in the red for too long and need some black months ahead to come back and do it again. Although Don Kazarian stated he was committed to 410’s, if the support is not there, what is he to do? The schedule is out, so put the PAS dates on your kitchen calendar and plan ahead.
Ventura Raceway just merrily moves along. Jim Naylor has hired some new people for his upcoming season including Walt Johnson Jr plus Ray and Nellie Stansberry as he starts the new VRA Midget class. His All Coast series has been popular with the racers with the extra money and continues on. There will be a VRA Midget challenge for USAC midgets to come play. His gate prices are still a low $14 so is worth the drive from wherever!
USAC/CRA is not getting enough race dates for this wag. With barely 20 committed, it will be a lot of breaks between events this year. I suspect some will go 360 racing in the down time, but the full schedule should be out soon and hopefully grows a bit. One thing for sure, it saves some long road trips for me, but I’ll probably hit Ventura a time or two and who knows where else.
My plans for the year are to go the full CRA schedule and hit Indiana Sprint Week for the first time in a few years and fight the heat! Another reason to go to Indiana is to fete my fallen friend Jack Kraemer who will be honored at Terre Haute during the Speed week. There are a number of people involved in raising money for that event to be given to the Hard Charger. They include “the man with the plan” Mike Clark, who came up with the idea, plus Leroy Bedingfield, myself and a few others who will make this a worthy event. There will be others along the way in the midwest who will be collecting too, so remember Jack and help make this a memorial night at Terre Haute.
So am I ok’d to go back to B Ball now? Gone! See ya March 12th at the PAS!
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