MIKE SPENCER QUIETS PURSE CHANGE TALK WITH LAST LAP WIN OVER THE DEMON AT THE PAS!
OPENER SHOWS TACKY TRACK AND SOME GOOD OLD FASHION RACING TO OPEN THE YEAR.
March 19, 2011
By Ken Wagner
When the CRA sprint car world was shocked by a surprising USAC E-mail from God, one wondered what was going on! The epistle threatened to open the year at the PAS with the USAC purse lowered over $2000 for the racers. This made a lot of phone lines warble nervously as discussions were wild and wooly. Fortunately, before the threat could be acted on to not support our CRA racing before we even started the year, a stand down message was received that left the purse like last year, for now, with a meeting to be named later with the car owners suggested. Perhaps that should have happened first?
My pics this week click here to see. Doug Allens work is here click here to view.
Meanwhile back in garages across the southland, preparations on Friday were calmer, so full speed ahead and letís race. What followed on March 12 was an outstanding race opener at the PAS that feature 27 cars and a lot of great racing. With Damion Gardner in the house driving Dwight Cheneyís # 42, you knew it would be interesting with the visitor who was once the local CRA champion. The Demon starting on the front row of the 30 lap main next to Blake Miller would make it even more so as he followed the early leader Bullet Blake for 6 laps and then swept by for the lead he would hold until the very end.
With fast time rolled out with a surprising 16.65 by Greg Alexander, it left the traditionally quick little red sucker starting in the 4th row next to Seth Wilson when the green fell for the feature. It didnít take long for Mike Spencer to run up into 2nd place and the chase was on. When Damion stuttered in turn one, Spencer flew by, butÖÖ. A yellow sent him back to second place. As the race neared the end Mike did everything he could to take the lead again, to no avail as the Demon was hanging on to his next win. Unfortunately for me, the crowd stood up as they came around turns 3 and 4, and my height challenged body was not able to rise above the crowd to see the finish, but I heard a lap car stunted Damionís path and Spencer roared by for the win.
The next five cars started and stayed nearly the same with Matt Mitchell grabbing third followed by Blake Miller, Nic Faas, David Cardey and Danny Sheridan. The track was fast and most used the high groove waiting for someone to make a mistake. The Williams brothers ran 8th (Austin) and 10th ( Cody) as their dad Rip was a little under the weather and didnít unload his # 3 car. Rickie Gaunt was the first car out as he had some kind of problem before the start and only got in a lap to get starting money. Seth Wilson came from my living area to race this week and was 15th with a late problem. The VanderWeerd twins were in the house as Richard won his heat and finished 14th while Jace ran 2nd in his heat and was 12th on the night. Greg Alexander followed up his fast time with winning the semi after missing the main from his heat. He started 9th and finished 9th for a good ride. Stevie Sussex came all the way over from Phoenix to race and ran 17th.
With no wind and a nice 70 degree day, the evening cooled off, but it didnít stop the crowd from having a good time. Certainly not a packed house, the fans enjoyed the high groove preferred route to the finish line and only the brave sliders would do something about that. I heard food prices were down, but will report when I check it out next time. That would be a great step for saving the fans a little money.
Kevin Michnowicz stormed the lightning sprints this week as he set fast time, started in the third row of the 20 lap feature and was running away with it halfway into it. He finished on 3 cylinders, but still was way ahead at the end. It was his first feature win with the revitalized club.
I spent a few days enjoying watching a sprint car build with the Kittle Motorsports Racing Team. A new experience watching a build from the ground up was observed and catalogued in my memory, but donít ask me to tell you how to do it, not that I could anyway. I didnít help at all, but was recording it in photos and you can check it out here Click here. The one thing that became clear was how the build was orchastrated by their leader Randy Shiosaki even though they all acted like each process was done by telepathy as they talked in riddles and danced around each other as they completed one step then another. It was a long day from early morning until after midnight and they actually looked like they were having fun. It was more work than usual starting with a new to them chassis that was a little different that the Stingers they ran in recent years. The closeness of the Kittle Krew of Chad, Ralph, Jimbo, Paul and Randy was obvious as they have been together for over 6 years doing this stuff. Car Owner Brian Kittle was there the whole time and made sure they had what they needed as he manned the broom, went shopping for necessities and smoked a stogie now and then. Even though it wasnít all done in that one day, it took the better part of the week as Randy and Paul put the finishing touches on before the car was loaded in the trailer on Friday night, I didnít miss much as I was in town to watch the California High School Basketball Championships all week! When it was all done the new Sherman digger proved itself on the track at Perris on Saturday night.
I am waiting on the Owners meeting to see how this purse thing goes, but given all the bad economic times we have had, the racers have been del t lower purses for years, and there has to be a bottom and some growth upwards for them to continue to race and give us the good times we wish in the future. I hope all goes well as I am looking forward to a good year of racing as I swoop down from the Vegas desert to see.
See you at Victorville for some great racing on March 26, but not on April 2nd as I was informed I am expected at a family wedding that day. How could that happen?
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