USAC
 

 

 

 

USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGETS RETURN TO PLACERVILLE MARCH 29
By Lance Jennings
 
MARCH 24, 2017... On Wednesday, March 29th, the Light Up The World Beverages USAC Western States Midgets will tackle the Placerville Speedway. Located on the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville, California, the "Placerville Short Track Outlaw Showdown" will also showcase the famed World of Outlaw Craftsman Sprint Cars. The Pit Gates will open at 2:00pm, the Front Gates will open at 4:00pm, Time Trials at 6:30pm with Racing to follow. Ticket information can be found at https://dirtcar.ticketforce.com/ordertickets.asp?p=741&backurl=default.asp. Race track information can be found at www.placervillepeedway.com or calling 530.344.7592.

While a fixture on the Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) schedule, Placerville's quarter-mile oval has hosted three USAC Western States Midget shows. On October 11, 1996, "The Professor" Jimmy Sills raced to a popular victory at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. Shane Golobic won the BCRA co-sanctioned race in 2013 and Ronnie Gardner won last year's event.

After winning the March 11th Bakersfield season opener, Ronnie Gardner (Corona, California) has a slim three point lead over the competition. Racing the Six8 Motorsports' #68 PAC Springs / Wilwood Brakes Stewart, Gardner also earned the night's Woodland Auto Display Award. The defending four-time champion has 20 career series wins and will be looking to add another Placerville win to his resume.

Cory Elliott (Bakersfield, California) ranks second in the chase for the championship. Driving the family owned #11E FK Indy / Oilwize Spike, Elliott ran second at his hometown racetrack. The 2015 Rookie of the Year has one career series win and will have his sights on the Placerville victory.
 
Nic Faas (Huntington Beach, California) is third in the USAC Western States Midget point chase. Piloting Jerome Rodela's #25X Trench Shoring / Ed Pink Racing Engines Breka, Faas led the first five laps at Bakersfield before taking third at the checkered flags. With four career series triumphs, it is unknown if the 2008 Champion will compete at Placerville.

Frankie Guerrini (San Rafael, California) sits fourth in the championship standings. Racing the family owned #63 F&F Racing / Davis Motorsports Stealth, Guerrini raced to fourth at Bakersfield from twelfth. The 2015 BCRA Champion has one career USAC win and will be looking to gain valuable points by winning the "Placerville Short Track Outlaw Showdown."

"The Panda" Terry Nichols (Delano, California) ranks fifth in the point standings. Driving his #1P Rex & Tracie / Masters Design & Construction Spike, Nichols rebounded from restarting at the back to claim fifth in the season opener. The 2009 West Coast Sprint Car Rookie of the Year will have his sights on his first USAC Western Midget win at Placerville.

Currently ninth in points, Mason Daniel (Visalia, California) leads the chase for Rookie of the Year honors. Clayton Ruston (Upland, California) and Bryan Drollinger (Lomita, California) are also in contention.

Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Courtney Crone, J.J. Ercse, Randi Pankratz, Robert Dalby, C.J. Sarna, Shannon McQueen, Maria Cofer, Tyler Dolacki, David Prickett, Michael Faccinto, and more.

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DEFENDING WINNER C.J. LEARY AIMS FOR REPEAT SUCCESS IN APRIL 2ND SUMAR CLASSIC AT TERRE HAUTE

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

In May of 1997, back when C.J. Leary was just a year old, the Leary family reached USAC Silver Crown victory lane for the first time.

Chuck Leary, C.J.'s father, scored a prestigious win in the "Hoosier Hundred" at the Indiana State Fairgrounds for his first and only career USAC National triumph. It may have just been a single victory, but oh, what a victory it was in the most-storied race on the series' calendar.

Zip forward nearly two decades later and the setting is slightly different, just a tad less than an hour and a half drive to the west from the Indy Mile to the Terre Haute Action Track where the Leary Construction No. 30 once again raced its way into the record books, this time with C.J., as he joined his dad as the first father/son duo to capture USAC Silver Crown series wins in their careers.

Not only was it meaningful to C.J. to become a USAC winner, he accomplished the feat with his dad as his spotter, making it an extra-special Sunday afternoon for the Leary family.

"Winning the 'Sumar Classic' is a huge accomplishment, especially for me being only 20-years-old and how hard 100-lap races are to win," Leary admitted. "Guys race their whole careers and may never win a Silver Crown event. It was definitely a special moment for my dad and I at Terre Haute last year. He spotted for me the whole race and kept me informed on where the rubber was on the track and kept me focused. We've come a long way as a father/son team. Not only is he my father, he's my best friend and it's really cool to be the first father/son to win a Silver Crown event."

Chuck himself made 37 Silver Crown starts in his career, along with 1995 series Rookie of the Year honors. C.J. took his father's experienced advice to heart and conserved early on as he kept pace with Justin Grant after starting outside the front row. The sunbaked surface provided a tricky set of circumstances for C.J., who was accustomed to running under the lights on the half-mile.

"All day, my car was extremely fast and I knew we were going to be competing for the win," Leary recalls. "Once we took the green flag, I just kept pace with Grant and I tried to be as easy on my tires as I could without losing much time to him. On the radio, my dad kept me from overdriving the car too early in the race. We had the yellow (flag) with 11 laps to go and, prior to the yellow, (Brady) Bacon and I battled for second. Bacon really helped me find the fastest line on the track. Once we went back green, Grant went straight back to the top and I went for the rubber. Once he missed the rubber, we were in the clear. The rubber on the track was just so much faster and I had already run down there and made adjustments to my shocks for the rubber. My dad kept telling me to hit my marks and stay in the rubber; Grant couldn't get past us."

It was quite a breakthrough performance for the Greenfield, Indiana driver who, one year earlier, had finished a close second to Shane Cockrum in the 2015 "Sumar Classic." Terre Haute has been one of those tracks that seems to be hit or miss for C.J., but in the Silver Crown car, it appears as if he and his crew have the place figured out.

"I don't know what it is, but our DRC Chassis just works really well on the half miles," Leary feels. "I feel like I do a really good job at conserving the racecar until the timing is right, then we make our move to the front. I'd say Terre Haute is one of my toughest tracks in the sprint car, but I make it look like my best track in the Silver Crown car."

There would be an encore performance in August of 2016 when C.J. captured his first career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory at Indiana's Kokomo Speedway, surpassing the hurdle that had stood in his way during his first five seasons. Now, C.J. has sights set on new heights and capturing those accomplishments that have eluded him thus far. Now just 20 years of age, future victory lane scenes could see a lot of C.J. Leary in them, especially a certain victory lane that would mean the world to he and his father.

"Last year had a lot of ups and downs for me," Leary acknowledged. "I drove for three different teams and had success with each of them, but I'm excited this season to be back in the family-owned No. 30 with new 1 Way Technologies power plants and Jeff Walker on the wrenches. We're obviously looking for a championship in the sprint car series and wins. I'd love to win back-to-back 'Sumar Classics,' but there isn't a race I want to win more on the schedule than the 'Hoosier Hundred.' It would be the 20-year anniversary of my dad winning it back in 1997."

Thirty-four drivers and cars have already been entered for the 17th running of the "Sumar Classic" at the Terre Haute Action Track on Sunday, April 2, including former race winners Kody Swanson (2014), Shane Cockrum (2015) and defending winner C.J. Leary as well as Silver Crown champs Jerry Coons, Jr. (2008) and Chris Windom (2016).

Pit gates open at 1pm while the grandstands open at 3pm. Silver Crown hot laps begin at 3:30pm with Silver Crown qualifying pushing off at 4:40pm. Racing begins at 5:15pm.

Tickets for the "Sumar Classic" can be purchased now at http://www.usactickets.com/. Adult infield tickets start at just $15 while children age 10 and under are FREE! Adult grandstand tickets are $25. Fans will receive a free pit pass upgrade with an advanced general admission ticket purchase, which is good for passive pit entry after 3pm only. Pit Passes are $30 for USAC/UMP Members and $35 for non-members.

The Terre Haute Action Track is located at 3901 South US Hwy 41, Terre Haute, IN, 47807.

Meanwhile, the 63rd "Hoosier Hundred" is just around the corner and will take place on Thursday, May 25 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. The event is part of the "Week of Indy," which features three-straight nights of USAC racing leading up to the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500: the "Tony Hulman Classic" featuring the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship on Wednesday, May 24, the "Hoosier Hundred" on Thursday, May 25 and the "Carb Night Classic" at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind. for the USAC Silver Crown Championship on Friday, May 26. An advanced, discount "Superticket" for these three events can be purchased now at https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/2017-week-of-indy.

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LARGEST SUMAR CLASSIC FIELD IN TWO DECADES EXPECTED AT TERRE HAUTE APRIL 2ND!

The largest car count for the "Sumar Classic" in nearly two decades is expected for the USAC Silver Crown season opener Sunday, April 2 at western Indiana's Terre Haute Action Track.

Thirty-three drivers and cars are on the list of expected competitors for this year's 100-lap showdown on the famed half-mile dirt oval. The list includes some of the most decorated racers in USAC history as well as one of the strongest fields seen in several seasons.

USAC Triple Crown champ Jerry Coons, Jr. is entered for the event along with additional past Terre Haute Silver Crown victors Bud Kaeding (2006), Kody Swanson (2014), Shane Cockrum (2015) and defending winner C.J. Leary, who continued a streak of different "Sumar" winners last April that dates back to 1999.

Defending Silver Crown champion Chris Windom begins his title defense with the return of Kazmark Racing, who is fielding a car in the series for the first time since 2001. Reigning USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion Brady Bacon eyes the addition of one of the few missing pieces to his racing resume: a victory in the Silver Crown series. Five-time and defending USAC/CRA AMSOIL Sprint Car titlist Damion Gardner plans to make his first Silver Crown feature start since 2008.

Past Silver Crown series winners also make up the bulk of the "Sumar" driver lineup, including Aaron Pierce, David Byrne and Shane Cottle.

The event, which debuted with Donnie Beechler's 1995 score, could see some history made as the expected turnout will likely result in the first qualifying race for the series since the 2008 "4-Crown Nationals" at Ohio's Eldora Speedway. The qualifying race will be 15 laps, with the top-8 finishers transferring to the final four rows of the 24-car main event.

The first ever Silver Crown event held at Terre Haute was in 1980 when Gary Bettenhausen drove the Delrose-Holt Racing machine to the victory. This will be the 17th edition of the "Sumar Classic."

Pit gates open at 1pm while the grandstands open at 2pm. Silver Crown hot laps begin at 3:30pm with Silver Crown qualifying pushing off at 4:40pm. Racing begins at 5:15pm.

Tickets for the "Sumar Classic" can be purchased now at http://www.usactickets.com/. Adult infield tickets start at just $15! Adult grandstand tickets are $25 while children age 11 and under are FREE! Pit Passes are $30 for USAC/UMP Members and $35 for non-members.

The Terre Haute Action Track is located at 3901 South US Hwy 41, Terre Haute, IN, 47807.

"SUMAR CLASSIC" ENTRY LIST
07 JACOB WILSON/Crawfordsville, IN
08 JOHNNY PETROZELLE/Denton, NC
2 PATRICK LAWSON/Edwardsville, IL
4 JOE LIGUORI/Tampa, FL
5 J.C. BLAND/Springfield, IL
6 DAMION GARDNER/Corona, CA
7 DAVID SHAIN/Sullivan, IL
14 ZACH DAUM/Pocahontas, IL
18 KENNY GENTRY/Henderson, KY
20 JERRY COONS, JR./Tucson, AZ
26 AARON PIERCE/Muncie, IN
30 C.J. LEARY/Greenfield, IN
31 DAVE BERKHEIMER/Mechanicsburg, PA
32 JOSS MOFFATT/Columbus, IN
40 DAVID BYRNE/Shullsburg, WI
42 TERRY BABB/Decatur, IL
48 BRADY BACON/Broken Arrow, OK
53 STEVE BUCKWALTER/Royersford, PA
54 MARK SMITH/Sunbury, PA
55 CASEY SHUMAN/Tempe, AZ
63 KODY SWANSON/Kingsburg, CA
71 SHANE COCKRUM/Benton, IL
75 BILL ROSE/Plainfield, IN
81 SHANE COTTLE/Kokomo, IN
89 CHRIS FETTER/Troy, MO
92 CHRIS WINDOM/Canton, IL
95 PATRICK BRUNS/Champaign, IL
97 BUD KAEDING/Campbell, CA
99 KOREY WEYANT/Springfield, IL
118 TRAVIS WELPOTT/Pendleton, IN
120 HUNTER SCHUERENBERG/Sikeston, MO
201 DAKOTA JACKSON/Elizabethtown, IN
TBA JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA

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HANFORD HOSTS SATURDAY'S USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR RUMBLE

By Lance Jennings

Fresh off two nights at Tulare, the USAC West Coast Sprint Cars are ready to clash at the Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds. Making their first of three appearances at the Hanford, California oval, the fifth point race will also feature the Western Racesaver Sprint Cars, IMCA Stock Cars, and Mini Stocks. The pit gates will open at 2:00pm, the front gates open at 5:00pm, and racing is scheduled for 7:00pm. For more information, visit the track's website at www.racekingsspeedway.com or call 559.651.1990.

Heading into Saturday's event, the Kings County Fairgrounds has hosted forty-four USAC West Coast Sprint Car races. Richard Vander Weerd leads all drivers with nine victories and veteran Peter Murphy set the 1-lap qualifying track record of 15.290 on March 13, 2010. Last year, Vander Weerd scored two Hanford victories and Brody Roa took the checkered flags on June 26th. A complete series win list at Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds is at the end of this release.

After winning three out of four point races, Ryan Bernal has a 45-point advantage over the competition. Bernal ran third and first at the Tulare County Fairgrounds. To date, the two-time USAC Western Classic Champion has also posted one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, one heat race victory, one BR Motorsports / King Racing Products Hard Charger Award, four top-10 finishes, and 57 feature laps led. Ryan leads all drivers with 30 series wins and is a favorite to watch.

Jake Swanson ranks second in the chase for the championship. Swanson set a new track record and ran first and third at Tulare. At press time, the 2012 USAC/CRA Sprint Car Rookie of the Year has one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, one heat race victory, one BR Motorsports / King Racing Products Hard Charger Award, four top-10 finishes, and 17 feature laps led to his credit. Jake has two career USAC West Coast feature wins and will be looking to add Hanford to his resume.

Richard Vander Weerd sits third in the point standings. Richard scored two fifth place finishes at the Tulare County Fairgrounds. To date, the 2011 Champion has three top-10 finishes in the campaign. Vander Weerd ranks second on the series win list with 19 triumphs and will have his sights on another Hanford victory.

Jace Vander Weerd is currently fourth in the championship point chase. Jace claimed second and seventh at Tulare. At press time, the 2010 USAC/CRA Sprint Car Rookie of the Year two heat race victories, three top-10 finishes, and 2 feature laps led on the season. Vander Weerd is tied with Peter Murphy for sixth on the series win list and will be looking for his ninth career triumph.

Geoff Ensign is fifth in the USAC West Coast point standings. Ensign placed second and fourth at the Tulare County Fairgrounds. To date, the 2011 USAC Western Classic Sprint Car Champion has posted one heat race victory, one semi-main win, and two top-10 finishes on the year. Geoff has one career series win and will have his sights on a Hanford triumph.

Currently twenty-first in points, Steve Hix leads the chase for Rookie of the Year honors. Steven Garris and Brandon Wiley are also in contention.

Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Tristan Guardino, Austin Liggett, Cody Majors, "Hollywood" Danny Faria Jr., Jeff Sibley, Jay Ervine, Ryan Timmons, Ryan Stolz, Shannon McQueen, Garrett Long, and more.

Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds is located at 801 South 10th Avenue in Hanford, California. Adult tickets are $18, Student and Senior tickets are $15, and Kids (5 and Under) are FREE. Camping is available on the fairgrounds and for more event information, visit www.racekingsspeedway.com or call 559.651.1990.

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GRANT GETS USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WIN #1 AT SHAMROCK CLASSIC

Du Quoin, Illinois.........Thus far, USAC's 2017 season has already become the year of Justin Grant.

The record books were rewritten in Saturday night's "Shamrock Classic" USAC Midget National Championship season-opener at the Southern Illinois Center as Grant became the first driver in the 62-year history of the organization to record season-opening feature victories in both the National Sprint and National Midget divisions in a single year.

Now, the Ione, California driver finds himself in an envious early-season position: sitting atop the standings in both the USAC National Sprint and National Midget series. It's a remarkable accomplishment for Grant, a driver who readily admits that his racing career was floundering less than a year ago.

"Last summer, I was sitting on the couch," Grant recalls. "I wasn't doing much racing. I couldn't beg my way into a racecar. From then 'til now, it's just incredible. I keep thinking I'm going to wake up from a dream and it's not going to be real."

The dream is now reality for the 26-year-old Grant as he gladly accepted a fortuitous bout of Irish luck with 17 laps remaining when Christopher Bell saw his chance of winning fade into the haze as the lapped cars of Korey Weyant and Chris Andrews tangled in front of him on the high side of turn four. Bell became trapped in a box with the two stalled cars and the outside retaining wall surrounding him as he looked for an escape.

Just moments before, second-running Grant had decided to take his shot at Bell and the race lead. Just seconds later, the move proved to be a wise one as he avoided the mayhem and came away with the lead on the ensuing restart.

"It was just kind of a chance deal," Grant believes. "I'd been kind of shadowing him, waiting and waiting for lapped traffic to try and take a shot at him. I thought the top was slowing down enough that I could maybe make a move on the bottom if he caught some lapped traffic on the top. As soon as we caught that pack of cars on the top, I dove to the bottom in turn three to try and take a shot and capitalize. It just happened to work out for me with those guys crashing right in front of him. I don't know why I picked that lap to do it or why it worked out that way, but I'll take it."

On the lap 34 restart, a new, but familiar member joined the fray at the front of the field in the name of defending "Shamrock Classic" winner Shane Golobic.

Golobic, originally beginning the 50-lap feature from the 14th spot, busted his way from fifth to second in quick fashion when action resumed. Soon enough, Golobic was right on the tail of Grant for the lead with 12 laps to go until clipping the berm on the inside of turn two. That dropped Golobic back a bit as Grant began to create a bit of separation between he and his CMR teammate.

In the final five circuits, Golobic had reeled Grant in as the two weaved their way through the tail-end of the field. The two dipped and dove between the lapped cars of Weyant and Daniel Adler as the pair threaded through the eye of a needle in a game of racing limbo to see who could be the first to get the lowest on the racing surface.

"I caught sight of Shane (Golobic) off the middle of (turns) three and four. I kind of got a run back around him off the cushion of (turn) four. I knew he started real deep and if he'd come from that far back on the bottom, I knew I needed to get back to the bottom in a hurry. I had just enough to get back by him off (turn) four and shut him down on the bottom getting into (turn) one. From there on out, it's about not missing the bottom and not getting caught up on the berm. Once it started laying rubber, I knew if I didn't get out of the rubber, he wasn't going to be able to get by me. Catching lapped cars and rubber is highly frustrating. You can't get out of it to get around him and they're not going to get out of it. You just have to settle in, follow, stay in it and hope you're not a sitting duck."

Grant never flinched an inch as Golobic swarmed Grant's tail tank coming to the checkered flag to no avail, providing Grant his first career USAC National Midget victory in his Clauson-Marshall Racing/Driven 2 Save Lives - Priority Aviation/Spike/Stanton SR-11 over Golobic, Jerry Coons, Jr., Brady Bacon and Brent Beauchamp.

The spirit of Bryan Clauson was prominent throughout the event, which was promoted by Bryan's fiancée Lauren Stewart. The winner's share of the purse was $3900 in honor of Bryan who drove the No. 39 to consecutive USAC National Midget titles in 2010 and 2011. Grant's drive was reminiscent of Bryan's magnificence throughout the years as he piloted Bryan's father's, Tim Clauson's, car to victory lane Saturday night.

The combination of the Southern Illinois Center, plus Tim Clauson and Tyler Ransbottom on the wrenches has proven to be an unstoppable equation since the first USAC-sanctioned midget race at the one-sixth-mile indoor oval in December of 2015. Since then, the pairing has earned four-straight victories with four different drivers: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Shane Golobic, Tyler Courtney and, the latest, Justin Grant.

"They're racecars are fast," Grant exclaimed. "They were fast at the Chili Bowl. They're fast here. They've clearly got this place figured out. I've been racing a long time now and I've never been this quick. It's obviously the car I'm sitting in. Tim and Tyler do such a good job. They're so good at what they do and it's such a pleasure to drive for them."

Shane Golobic has yet to finish outside the top-two in his three Southern Illinois appearances since his inaugural "Shamrock Classic" victory in March of 2016. On Saturday night, he collected a close second behind his teammate in his Clauson-Marshall/Matt Wood Racing/Elk Grove Ford - Driven 2 Save Lives/Spike/Stanton SR-11.

"I don't know if it's me who's got this place figured out or if it's the team. I'm thinking it's the team," a humble Golobic said. "The team's won the last four here and I've finished second the last two times and won the time before that. This team's obviously got this place figured out and it's made it very easy for me to get the track figured out. I think if we could've gotten a little further up on Justin before he changed lanes, it might've been a different story. He switched lanes at just the right time just like the veteran that he is. If I'm going to be beaten by anybody, I'm glad it's by a teammate."

"I kind of had the bottom figured out," Golobic continued. "I was catching a little bit of rubber on the bottom. As I was reeling Justin (Grant) in, I really just needed to get to the point where I could get wheel-to-wheel with him. I just couldn't quite get there. If he wasn't my teammate, I might have had a little different mindset getting into (turn) three when he shut the door down there. I might've shoved the car in there a little bit harder, but I lifted and hoped to get another opportunity in traffic. That opportunity never showed up; Justin never made a mistake."

Jerry Coons, Jr. equaled his best finish of a year ago at the Belleville (Kans.) High Banks with a third-place run Saturday night in his Petry-Goff Motorsports/Petry Excavating - Gray Auto/Spike/Stanton Toyota.

"I started off the race a little too tight on the right rear," Coons explained. "It kind of came to us and got better midway through the race. I thought we were pretty good until the early yellow came out and we got smoked on the bottom. I went down there, it was a little free and I made a bunch of adjustments on the shocks. Then, the rubber really started laying down and I got too tight. I was going back on the shock adjustment. The car was really good all throughout the night. Hopefully, we can go on to the next one and keep piling up top-threes.

FEATURE: (50 laps) 1. Justin Grant, 2. Shane Golobic, 3. Jerry Coons Jr., 4. Brady Bacon, 5. Brent Beauchamp, 6. Tony Roney, 7. Josh Most, 8. Jake Neuman, 9. Billy Wease, 10. Christopher Bell, 11. Colten Cottle, 12. Spencer Bayston, 13. Gage Walker, 14. Tanner Carrick, 15. Daniel Adler, 16. Korey Weyant, 17. Chad Boat, 18. Chris Andrews, 19. Mark Chisholm, 20. Justin Peck, 21. Tanner Thorson, 22. Joe B. Miller. NT
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**Conover flipped during the third heat. Fehr flipped during the fourth heat.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Grant, Laps 2-33 Bell, Laps 34-50 Grant.

NEW USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES POINTS: 1-Grant-70, 2-Golobic-67, 3-Coons-64, 4-Bacon-61, 5-Bayston-39, 6-Walker-37, 7-Carrick-35, 8-Boat-29, 9-Thorson-23, 10-Darland-10.

NEXT USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACES: April 7-8 - Kokomo (IN) Speedway - "Kokomo Grand Prix"

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USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: March 18, 2017 - Tulare, California - Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Ryan Bernal, 2. Jace Vander Weerd, 3. Jake Swanson, 4. Geoff Ensign, 5. Richard Vander Weerd, 6. Danny Faria Jr., 7. Austin Liggett, 8. Cody Majors, 9. Steven Garris, 10. Tye Mihocko, 11. Shannon McQueen, 12. Trista Guardino, 13. Jeff Sibley, 14. Koen Shaw, 15. Jay Ervine, 16. Garrett Long, 17. Steve Hix, 18. Jim Richardson, 19. Ryan Stolz, 20. Kyle Smith, 21. Brandon Wiley. NT
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**Smith, Wiley, and Long flipped during the feature.
 
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 J.Vander Weerd, Laps 3-30 Bernal.
 
BR MOTORSPORTS / KING RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Jake Swanson (8th to 3rd)
 
NEW USAC WEST COAST SPRINT POINTS: 1-Bernal-317, 2-Swanson-272, 3-R.Vander Weerd-241, 4-J.Vander Weerd-216, 5-Ensign-172, 6-Guardino-164, 7-Mihocko-158, 8-Brady Bacon-148, 9-Liggett-138, 10-Majors-137.
 
NEXT USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: March 25 - Hanford, CA - Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds

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SANDS CHEVROLET USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: March 18, 2017 - Queen Creek, Arizona - Arizona Speedway

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Stevie Sussex, 2. Charles Davis Jr., 3. R.J. Johnson, 4. Landon Cling, 5. Chris Bonneau, 6. Shon Deskins, 7. Mike Martin, 8. Andy Reinbold, 9. Brian Hosford, 10. Jeff Lowery, 11. Matt Lundy, 12. Joe Schoepner, 13. Cody Sickles (#14 Sickles), 14. Brent Yarnal, 15. Nick Aiuto, 16. Larry Kesterson, 17. Michael Curtis, 18. Jonas Reynolds, 19. Michael Woodruff. NT
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**Lowery flipped on lap 1 of the feature.
 
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-23 Davis, Laps 24-30 Sussex.
 
HARD CHARGER: Stevie Sussex (9th to 1st)
 
NEW USAC SANDS CHEVROLET USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINT POINTS: 1-Sussex-278, 2-Johnson-249, 3-Davis-237, 4-Deskins-224, 5-Cling-190, 6-Dave Darland-169, 7-Ryan Bernal-160, 8-Brady Bacon-148, 9-Martin-142, 10-Aiuto-134.
 
NEXT USAC SANDS CHEVROLET USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: April 1 - Peoria, AZ - Canyon Speedway Park - "Showdown at Canyon"
 
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USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: March 17, 2017 – Tulare, California – Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Jake Swanson, 2. Geoff Ensign, 3. Ryan Bernal, 4. Austin Liggett, 5. Richard Vander Weerd, 6. Cody Majors, 7. Jace Vander Weerd, 8. Koen Shaw, 9. Brandon Wiley, 10. Tristan Guardino, 11. Steve Hix, 12. Jay Ervine, 13. Steven Garris, 14. Danny Faria Jr., 15. Gary Nelson Jr., 16. Tye Mihocko, 17. Shannon McQueen, 18. Ryan Stolz, 19. Jim Richardson, 20. Jeff Sibley, 21. Ryan Timmons. NT

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**Timmons flipped during the third heat. Nelson flipped during the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-6 Faria, Laps 7-13 Bernal, Laps 14-30 Swanson.

NEXT USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR RACE: March 18 – Tulare, California – Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway

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STEVIE SUSSEX LEADS USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINTS TO ARIZONA SPEEDWAY

By Lance Jennings

After two successful nights at Las Vegas, the Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Cars are back in action this Saturday, March 18th, at San Tan Valley's Arizona Speedway. Promoted by Jonah Trussel and located within ET Motopark, the fourth point race will also feature Pure Stocks, Modlites, and the Robert Horne Ford Bombers. The Front Gates will open at 5:00pm and Racing at the fast 3/8-mile oval will start at 7:00pm. For more event and ticket information, visit www.arizonaspeedway.net or call 480.926.6688.
 
Since April 13, 2013, twenty-five USAC SouthWest Sprint Car events have been held at the San Tan Valley oval. Four-time champion R.J. Johnson leads all drivers with fourteen victories and Johnson (4), Stevie Sussex (2), Brady Bacon (1), and Chris Windom (1) celebrated wins at Arizona Speedway last season.

Entering Saturday's event, Stevie Sussex holds a 28-point advantage over the competition. Racing Mike Burkhart's #21AZ Pacific Supply / Team AZ RSS, Sussex placed fourth and fifth at the "FVP Outlaw Showdown." To date, the two-time Hank Arnold Memorial winner has one heat race victory, three top-10 finishes, and 20 feature laps led on the season. Sussex has ten career SouthWest wins and will be looking to extend his lead with a win at Arizona Speedway.

R.J. Johnson ranks second in the chase for the championship. Driving Bobby Martin's #51 Martin Family Auto Museum / Pecon Builders Sherman, Johnson scored seventh and twelfth at Las Vegas. To date, the four-time champion has posted one semi-main win, one hard charger award, and two top-10 finishes. On Saturday, the second generation driver will have his sights on his series leading forty-fifth victory.

Charles Davis Jr. sits third in the championship point chase. At press time, the five-time Arizona Sprint Car champion has two heat race victories, two top-10 finishes, and 1 feature lap led on the year. Davis has fourteen career SouthWest wins and will be looking gain valuable points with a Saturday night triumph.

Dave Darland is fourth in the SouthWest point chase. Darland ran tenth and fourteenth at Las Vegas. To date, the former USAC National Champion has one feature win, one heat race victory, two top-10 finishes, and 18 feature laps led on the season. On Saturday, the "Steve Stroud Memorial" winner is scheduled to race a USAC National Midget in DuQuoin, Illinois.

Ryan Bernal ranks fifth in the SouthWest point standings. Bernal won both main events at Las Vegas. The two-time USAC Western Classic Sprint Champion has also posted one heat race victory, one hard charger award, two top-10 finishes, and 22 feature laps led on the year. With six career SouthWest feature wins, Ryan will skip Saturday's event at San Tan Valley to race in California.

Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Shon Deskins, Tye Mihocko, Landon Cling, Nick Aiuto, Mike Martin, Andy Reinbold, Matt Lundy, Jeff Lowery, Bruce St. James, Brian Hosford, Matt Rossi, Michael Curtis and more.

Arizona Speedway is located at 47800 N. Ironwood Road in San Tan Valley, just five minutes from Mesa, Arizona. To get to the track, exit Ironwood Drive on US 60, then head four miles south. Adult Tickets are $15, Senior Tickets are $12, Kids Tickets (11 & under) are FREE. For more event and ticket information, visit www.arizonaspeedway.net or call 480.926.6688.

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USAC WEST COAST SPRINTS INVADE TULARE FOR FRIDAY-SATURDAY DOUBLEHEADER

By Lance Jennings

MARCH 14, 2017... After two successful nights at Las Vegas, the USAC West Coast Sprint Cars are back in action this Friday (March 17) and Saturday (March 18) at Tulare, California's Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway. The non-wing sprints will tackle the lightning fast 1/3-mile clay oval with the famed World of Outlaw Sprint Cars.

The Legends of Kearney Bowl Vintage Cars will join the Friday card and the IMCA Sport Mods will join Saturday's showcase. The front gates will open at 4:00pm on both nights, time trials at 6:00pm, with racing scheduled for 7:00pm. For more event information, visit the track's website at www.tularethunderbowl.com or call 559.688.0909.

Heading into Friday's event, the Tulare County Fairgrounds has hosted thirty-three USAC West Coast Sprint Car races. Ryan Bernal leads all drivers with eleven victories and Richard Vander Weerd holds the 1-lap qualifying record of 15.014, set on April 23, 2016. Last season, D.J. Johnson (twice), Austin Liggett, Bernal, and Troy Rutherford celebrated wins at the Tulare oval. The series win list at Thunderbowl Raceway is at the bottom of this release.

After winning both nights at Las Vegas, Ryan Bernal sits atop the point standings. Bernal jumped into a backup car and won the Friday show from twenty-second. To date, the two-time USAC Western Classic Champion has also posted one heat race victory, a Hard Charger Award and 22 feature laps led. Ryan leads all drivers with 29 West Coast triumphs and is always a threat win.

Brady Bacon is second in the West Coast standings. Bacon ran third and second at Las Vegas. The USAC National Sprint Car Champion also recorded aCharger Award and 12 feature laps led. Brady has two series win to his credit and it is unknown if he will be in action at Tulare.

Stevie Sussex ranks third in the championship point chase. Sussex placed fourth and fifth at Las Vegas. The USAC SouthWest series regular has one West Coast victory and is expected to compete in San Tan Valley, Arizona this weekend.

Brody Roa sits fourth in the chase for the championship. Roa ran ninth and third at Las Vegas. The defending series champion has also earned one heat race victory on the young season. Brody has three West Coast victories and it is unknown if he will be in action at the Tulare County Fairgrounds.

Jake Swanson (Anaheim, California) is fifth in the West Coast point standings. Swanson placed eighth and sixth at Las Vegas. The USAC/CRA regular has also posted one heat race victory on the season. Jake has one career West Coast victory and it is unknown if he will compete at Tulare.

Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Richard Vander Weerd, Trey Marcham, Troy Rutherford, Jace Vander Weerd, Ryan Timmons, Tristan Guardino, Jeff Sibley, Danny Faria Jr., Cody Majors, Ryan Stolz, Steve Hix, Jay Ervine, and more.

Tulare, California's Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds at the corner of Bardsley and K Streets. Friday Grandstand Tickets are $45, Bleacher Seats are $40, and all seats are RESERVED. Saturday Grandstand Tickets are $50 and, Bleacher Seats are $45. Advance tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling the track office at 559.688.0909. For more event information, visit the track's website at www.tularethunderbowl.com.

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CLAUSON-MARSHALL RACING ANNOUNCES 2017 USAC MIDGET LINEUP AND PARTNERSHIP WITH DRIVEN2SAVELIVES

Clauson-Marshall Racing has announced a star-studded three-man lineup that consists of USAC winning drivers currently at the top of their game - Shane Golobic, Tyler Courtney and Justin Grant - to compete for a USAC Midget National Championship in 2017.

The first destination on the road to a championship begins March 18 indoors at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin for the second running of the "Shamrock Classic." It's a place that's been very kind to the CMR team's top wrenches, Tim Clauson and Tyler Ransbottom, under USAC sanction. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. won under the Bryan Clauson Racing banner at Du Quoin in December of 2015 while Courtney captured the "Junior Knepper 55" in December 2016 during his first ride in the CMR car.

Last March's inaugural "Shamrock Classic" saw Fremont, California's Shane Golobic take the lead just past the halfway point of the 50-lapper on his way to picking up his first career USAC National Midget feature score. The 25-year-old Golobic is no stranger to the team as he has won a number of sprint car and midget races under the tutelage of Tim Clauson over the years. In 2017, Golobic will be behind the wheel of the Elk Grove Ford/Driven 2 Save Lives machine as he chases the series title for the first time.

"I am excited and thankful for a full season behind the wheel of the Matt Wood Racing/Clauson Marshall No. 17w," an appreciative Golobic stated. "I enjoy racing with Matt, Tim, Tyler and the rest of the CMR team and I have no doubt that we will be very successful in 2017."

Twenty-two-year-old Courtney's first start for CMR was one he'll never forget as he raced to victory in the "Knepper 55" USAC Midget "Special Event" at Du Quoin just less than three months ago. His follow-up performance during a "Chili Bowl Midget Nationals" preliminary night in January ended in the same result - celebrating in victory lane with the CMR crew. "Sunshine," as he is affectionately known, assumes control of the Driven 2 Save Lives #7BC for 2017.

"I'm really excited to contend for my first national midget championship this season," Courtney exclaimed. "We've got a solid group of guys with a lot of momentum on our side from the winter season that hopefully transcends into this season. I feel it's going to be a great year. I've got two really good teammates and one really solid team."

Ione, California's Justin Grant seized the moment the first time he had an opportunity behind the wheel of a CMR entry on the Friday night "Chili Bowl" preliminary. Grant, age 26, took the victory and earned the pole position for Saturday night's finale, firmly establishing himself as a member of the CMR family where he will tackle the full USAC National Midget schedule for the first time. The versatile Grant finished third in last season's USAC Silver Crown standings and currently leads the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car point standings after winning the season-opener at "Winter Dirt Games VIII" in Ocala, Florida.

"I am very grateful for the opportunity to compete for the 2017 USAC National Midget Championship with the Clauson-Marshall Racing team," an excited Grant said. "Between Tim Clauson's dedication and knowledge and the Marshall's commitment to this team and our sport as a whole, I couldn't ask for better people to work with. Having a seat in the No. 39BC midget will provide me not only a chance to race for wins and a championship title, but also an opportunity to learn from a great team and talented teammates both on and off the race track. Clauson-Marshall Racing is highly professional as well as very family-oriented and I am honored to be a part of it as we chase wins, a championship and hope to honor Bryan's memory."

The lineup of Golobic, Courtney and Grant owns just a single USAC National Midget points win coming into 2017, but expectations are high for this group of young guns who have achieved success in several disciplines of racing at the local and national levels. Golobic is a World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car feature winner, Courtney is a USAC National Sprint Car feature winner and Grant owns five career USAC National Sprint Car wins. It's a youthful, exciting group that's hitting its stride at just the right time.

"I am really proud of the lineup we have assembled for our inaugural season," Clauson added. "While our original plan was to run a two-car team for the championship with Tyler and Shane, the opportunity to add Justin was one we just couldn't pass up. All three of the drivers have won in our cars and now to have a team that will allow them the chance to compete for a championship is very exciting. All three drivers are professional racecar drivers and the type of people we want our development drivers to look up to."

"To me, this team should be called "We Loved Bryan Racing," team partner Matt Wood said. "I've never met a person that impacted my life the way Bryan (Clauson) did. I'm honored to have an opportunity to represent Bryan and be affiliated with the Driven 2 Save Lives campaign. This USAC midget season will be the best ever. It's no secret the road to the championship goes thru Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports. With this lineup of drivers, and the talent of Tim Clauson, I predict next year it goes thru CMR/MWR."

"After seeing the teamwork displayed by these guys at this year's Chili Bowl, I could not be more excited to keep it going for the 2017 USAC championship campaign," team owner Richard Marshall noted. "These three drivers are winners on and off the track. They carry themselves in a way that would make Bryan proud, and consequently, will be great mentors for Clauson-Marshall Development drivers. I can't wait to get to the track!"

Clauson-Marshall Racing is not only driven by the pursuit of feature wins and a season championship in 2017, but also by promoting organ, tissue and eye donation and transplantation in honor of, Tim Clauson's son, the late Bryan Clauson, through a partnership with the Indiana Donor Network and the Driven2SaveLives campaign.

Bryan, a two-time USAC National Midget champion and three-time USAC National Sprint Car titlist, passed away after an incident during the "Belleville Midget Nationals" in August 2016. Bryan was a registered donor and, because of that, saved five lives and will enhance the lives of countless others as a tissue donor.

Driven2SaveLives initially started in 2016 as a partnership between the Indiana Donor Network, Stefan Wilson and KV Racing Technology. The goal was to promote organ, tissue and eye donation and transplantation around the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in honor of Stefan's late brother, IndyCar driver Justin Wilson.

Together, Indiana Donor Network and Clauson-Marshall Racing hope to get people across the country to register their donation decision through Driven2SaveLives. There are more than 120,000 people nationwide waiting for lifesaving organ transplants. The Driven2SaveLives campaign will have a presence at dirt track races around the country in Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio and more during the 2017 season.

In the U.S., another person is added to the transplant waiting list every 10 minutes. Each day, 22 people on average in the U.S. die because a donated organ wasn't made available in time. You can make a difference. You could save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance the lives of approximately 75 people through tissue donation now at Driven2SaveLives.org.

"I can think of no better way to honor the gift that Bryan left us all with his decision to be an organ donor then to have our program be a part of the Driven2SaveLives campaign," Clauson said. "The campaign is focused on bringing education and awareness about organ, tissue and eye donation and transplantation. To be able to share the message through the sport that Bryan was so passionate about is humbling to say the least. Following Bryan's death, the impact that his decision had on not only the short track community, but racing was something that we knew we wanted to carry on by continuing to spread the message and allow those who are willing an opportunity to share their stories and experiences with donation and transplantation. The Driven 2 Save Lives Campaign will follow the blue print of Bryan's Chasing 200 tour by being present at several of racing's biggest events during the 2017 season."

You can follow Driven2SaveLives on a variety of social media channels on Facebook, Twitter (@Driven2Save) Instagram (@Driven2Save), Snapchat (@Driven2Save) and YouTube (Driven2SaveLives).

You can follow along with the Clauson-Marshall Racing throughout the season on Facebook (Clauson-Marshall Racing) and Twitter (@ClausonMarshall).

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SHAMROCK CLASSIC KICKS OFF 2017 USAC NATIONAL MIDGET SEASON SATURDAY IN Du QUOIN

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

One of the deepest USAC National Midget fields in years is set to hit the track for the first time in 2017 this Saturday, March 18th for the second-running of the "Shamrock Classic" at Du Quoin's Southern Illinois Center.

Fifty drivers have already pre-entered for the $3900-to-win USAC Midget National Championship season opener that brings the series indoors to showcase the intense open wheel action on the 1/6-mile indoor oval that has routinely provided some of the most memorable races each season and features a number of the biggest names in open-wheel, dirt track racing.

Among them are defending USAC National Midget champ Tanner Thorson, who leads a six-car Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports stable into Du Quoin. The Minden, Nevada native won six features on his way to the title one year ago, and intends to kick off the year in strong fashion as he aims to become the first back-to-back series champ since Bryan Clauson in 2010 and 2011. Thorson is joined on the KKM team by Lebanon, Indiana's Spencer Bayston, last season's runner-up in points, who was victorious in last season's Gas City round of "Indiana Midget Week."

Christopher Bell, a USAC National Midget champion in 2013, rounds out the KKM lineup for Du Quoin. The versatile Norman, Oklahoma native recently won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event and is also a past winner in the USAC Silver Crown Champ Cars as well as the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series. Rounding out the KKM lineup is the California trio of Holly Shelton, Ryan Robinson and series Rookie of the Year contender Tanner Carrick.

The two most recent USAC Midget winners at the Southern Illinois Center have signed on to compete for the Clauson/Marshall Racing team. Fremont, California's Shane Golobic will attempt to defend his "Shamrock Classic" victory in the CMR/Matt Wood Racing No. 17w while Indianapolis, Indiana's Tyler Courtney, a Southern Illinois Center winner in last December's "Junior Knepper 55," will pilot the CMR No. 7BC. Filling out the CMR stable is current USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car point leader Justin Grant who won just one month ago in the Sprint series' season opener in Ocala, Florida. The Ione, California native won his first ever start in the CMR No. 39BC in a Chili Bowl preliminary night feature in January.

Dave Darland is one of just six drivers to have claimed titles in USAC's National Midget, National Sprint and Silver Crown divisions during his career. The Lincoln, Indiana veteran will be in the seat of Gray Racing No. 11 in which he aims to find victory lane in the series for the first time in three seasons. During his illustrious career in which he has amassed more than 100 USAC victories, 30 of those came in a USAC National Midget event, ranking him 11th all-time.

The other USAC Triple Crown member in Saturday's field is Tucson, Arizona's Jerry Coons, Jr., the 2006 and 2007 USAC National Midget champ. Coons returns to the seat of the Petry/Goff Motorsports No. 25 for 2017.

In addition, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Brady Bacon is back in the saddle of the FMR Racing No. 76m for the 2017 USAC season. The two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ won last season's "Jason Leffler Memorial" in Wayne City, Ill. on his way to a third-place finish in series points.

Chad Boat picked up his first three career USAC National Midget victories in 2016, all within the span of a week in early August. The first of which came at the bullring of Jefferson County Speedway in Fairbury, Neb. before sweeping both nights at Belleville to close out the weekend. The Phoenix, Ariz. driver is a two-time Rookie of the Year in both the USAC National Midget and National Sprint divisions and is the son of 1995 USAC Western States Midget champ and 1998 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Billy Boat.

Collegeville, Pennsylvania's Alex Bright is renowned for his success in a midget on a resume that is highlighted by a 2016 ARDC title as well as a preliminary night feature win at the "Chili Bowl Midget Nationals" in Tulsa, Oklahoma in January of 2016. Bright has made 40 career USAC National Midget feature starts, including a second-place finish at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway in 2012, but is still seeking his first trip to victory lane.

Further entries include a handful of USAC regulars eyeing their first series victory. Oklahoma's Tyler Thomas who finished in the runner-up spot in last August's "Tuesday Night Thunder" in Fairbury, Nebraska. Up-and-comers Gage Walker and Tony DiMattia have sights set on a breakthrough season of their own.

Saturday's race-day schedule begins with pits opening at 8am. Spectator gates open at 1pm. A public drivers' meeting open to all race fans starts at 3:00 pm while hot laps get under way at 4pm with racing set for 5:30pm.

50 DRIVERS ENTERED FOR THE "SHAMROCK CLASSIC"
1K Brayton Lynch - Springfield, IL
1T Tony Roney - Herculaneum, MO
2 Kellen Conover - St. Louis, MO
3N Jake Neuman - New Berlin, IL
5 Kyle Cummins - Princeton, IN
5c Colten Cottle - Kansas, IL
7 Gage Walker - Fairland, IN
7BC Tyler Courtney - Indianapolis, IN
7K Justin Peck - Monrovia, IN
9 Korey Weyant - Springfield, IL
9JR Derek Hagar - Marion, AR
9K Kyle Schuett - Philo, IL
11 Dave Darland - Lincoln, IN
11B Brent Beauchamp - Fairland, IN
12w Billy Wease - Noblesville, IN
15 Tim Siner - Dupo, IL
15F Cole Fehr - Coatesville, IN
15M Shane Morgan - Morton, IL
15s Mitchell Davis - Auburn, IL
17w Shane Golobic - Fremont, CA
21 Christopher Bell - Norman, OK
22 Andy Malpocker - St. Charles, MO
25 Jerry Coons, Jr. - Tucson, AZ
28 Kory Schudy - Springfield, MO
29 David Hair - Indianapolis, IN
31 David Budres - Beloit, WI
35 Chris Baue - Indianapolis, IN
35T Tyler Robbins - Collinsville, IL
39BC Justin Grant - Ione, CA
50 Tony DiMattia - Malvern, PA
50A Daniel Adler - St. Louis, MO
52 Isaac Chapple - Willow Branch, IN
56v Matt Veatch - McLeansboro, IL
56x Mark Chisholm - Cheyenne, WY
57D Daniel Robinson - Ewing, IL
67 Tanner Thorson - Minden, NV
67K Holly Shelton - Gold River, CA
68 Kyle O'Gara - Indianapolis, IN
71 Ryan Robinson - Foresthill, CA
71B Robert Bell - Colfax, IA
71K Tanner Carrick - Sacramento, CA
75 Lee Dakus - Edmonton, ALB, CAN
76M Brady Bacon - Broken Arrow, OK
77 Alex Bright - Collegeville, PA
84 Chad Boat - Phoenix, AZ
88 Terry Babb - Harristown, IL
91 Tyler Nelson - Kansas City, KS
91A Chris Andrews - Sandusky, OH
91T Tyler Thomas - Catoosa, OK
97 Spencer Bayston - Lebanon, IN

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Clauson-Marshall Racing Poised to Chase Down USAC Midget Crown

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (March 13, 2017) – The race cars are prepped and ready to hit the track.  And so are the three drivers as Clauson-Marshall Racing is set to pursue the 2017 USAC National Midget championship.

The potent three-car team features Tyler Courtney, Shane Golobic and Justin Grant, each of whom goes after a first USAC National title.  Courtney and Grant both picked off preliminary feature wins at this January's Chili Bowl Nationals with all three finishing among the top 15 in the championship finale.

The title pursuit begins with the Second Annual Shamrock Classic at Du Quoin's Southern Illinois Center on Saturday night, March 18.

"I am really proud of the lineup we have assembled for our inaugural season," team co-owner Tim Clauson commented.  "While our original plan was to run a two-car team for the championship with Tyler and Shane, the opportunity to add Justin was one we just couldn't pass up."

Clauson goes on to say, "All three of the drivers have won in our cars, and now to have a team that will allow them the chance to compete for a championship is very exciting.  All three drivers are professional race car drivers and the type of people we want our development drivers to look up to."

Courtney is no stranger to the team, having worked with the Clauson's in the past to earn his first shot at Midget racing several years ago.  Familiar with the team's approach, Courtney was a natural fit for the CMR team aboard the Driven2SaveLives No. 7bc.

"I'm really excited for this season and to contend for my first national midget championship," Courtney comments.  "We have a solid group of guys with a lot of momentum on our side from the winter season that hopefully transfers into this season.  It's gonna be a great year with two really good teammates and one really solid team."

A winner of both Sprint Car and Midget races under the tutelage of Tim Clauson and last year's Inaugural Shamrock Classic in a car prepared by Clauson and Tyler Ransbottom, Fremont, California's Shane Golobic will take the wheel of the Matt Wood Racing/Clauson-Marshall Racing Elk Grove Ford No. 17w.

"I am excited and thankful for a full season behind the wheel of the Matt Wood Racing/Clauson Marshall 17w," Golobic says. "I enjoy racing with Matt, Tim, Tyler, and the rest of the CMR team and I have no doubt that we will be very successful in 2017."

The partnership with Matt Wood Racing carries over from the Chili Bowl.  "To me, this team should be called 'We loved Bryan Racing'," Wood states.  "I've never met a person that impacted my life the way Bryan did.

"I'm honored to have an opportunity to represent Bryan and be affiliated with the Driven2SaveLives campaign," Wood continues.  "This USAC midget season will be the best ever.  It's no secret that the road to the USAC Midget championship goes through Keith Kunz Racing.  With this lineup of drivers and the talent of Tim Clauson, I predict next year it goes thru CMR/MWR".

Filling out the potent Clauson-Marshall Racing USAC Midget stable is Justin Grant, a California native like Golobic who led the CMR team at the Chili Bowl with a fifth-place finish in the finale.  Grant will wheel the CMR No. 39bc.

"The addition of a driver like Justin, whose passion for the sport is second to none and who really came through for us at this year's Chili Bowl, was really an opportunity we had to make happen," Tim Clauson explains.  "I know how hard Justin has worked and sacrificed to earn his opportunities over the years. To be in a position to reward that hard work and passion is really what this team is all about."

Grant is ready for the opportunity to pursue the USAC Midget crown.  "I am very grateful for the opportunity to compete for the 2017 USAC National Midget championship with the Clauson-Marshall Racing team," Grant says.  "Between Tim Clauson's dedication and knowledge and the Marshalls' commitment to this team and our sport as a whole, I couldn't ask for better people to work with.

"Having a seat in the 39BC Midget will provide me not only a chance to race for wins and a championship title, but also an opportunity to learn from a great team and talented teammates both on and off the race track," Grant says.  "Clauson-Marshall Racing is highly professional, as well as very family oriented and I am honored to be a part of it as we chase wins, a championship and hope to honor Bryan's memory."

Richard Marshall is eager to see the CMR team take to the track in 2017.

"After seeing the teamwork displayed by these guys at this year's Chili Bowl, I could not be more excited to keep it going for the 2017 USAC championship campaign," Marshall says.  "These three drivers are winners on and off the track.  They carry themselves in a way that would make Bryan proud and consequently will be great mentors for Clauson-Marshall Development drivers.  I can't wait to get to the track!"

It all begins Saturday night in Du Quoin before the 27-race slate of events resumes in April with the Kokomo Grand Prix.

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SHAMROCK CLASSIC ENTRY LIST HITS 50!

The pre-entry list for the second running of the "Shamrock Classic" USAC National Midget season opener at Du Quoin's Southern Illinois Center has reached 50!

The Saturday, March 18th event on the one-sixth-mile, indoor dirt oval features many of the biggest names in U.S. open-wheel, dirt track racing, including two drivers who've attained the status of USAC Triple Crown champion in their careers - Dave Darland and Jerry Coons, Jr.

The two most recent winners at the Southern Illinois Center - Tyler Courtney and defending "Shamrock Classic" winner Shane Golobic - make up two-thirds of the Clauson-Marshall Racing stable. Past USAC National Midget Champions Tanner Thorson (2016) and Christopher Bell (2013) will be among two of Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports' six entries. Two-time, and reigning, USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ Brady Bacon has entered the event along with current USAC Sprint point leader Justin Grant.

Past USAC National Midget feature winners will be in abundance as well with Chad Boat, Billy Wease and Spencer Bayston ready to roll this weekend. Recent USAC National Sprint Car feature winners Brent Beauchamp and Kyle Cummins will make a rare appearance in a midget, with Cummins making his midget racing debut in Du Quoin. Last season's USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year Isaac Chapple makes his midget return as well.

Free entry is available for all "Shamrock Classic" competitors courtesy of R.E. Griesemer at https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/shamrock-classic-at-du-quoin-entry. Use the code regriesemer. The deadline for free pre-entry is Monday, March 13. Entries filed after March 13 are $40.

Reserved seats are $25.00 for the highly-anticipated event while adult general admission tickets are $20.00; kids 6-12 are $10.00 and kids 5 years-old and under are FREE! Pit passes are $35.00. The purchase of a reserved seat provides you a free pit pass! Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.usactickets.com/.

The timetable of events at the Southern Illinois Center for the "Shamrock Classic" begins with participant parking on March 17 (Friday) from 4-7 pm. Saturday's race-day schedule begins with pits opening at 8am, followed by a "pit sweep" at noon. Spectator gates open at 1pm. A public drivers' meeting open to all race fans starts at 3:00 pm. Hot laps get under way at 4pm with racing set for 5:30pm.

50 DRIVERS ENTERED FOR THE "SHAMROCK CLASSIC"
1K Brayton Lynch - Springfield, IL
1T Tony Roney - Herculaneum, MO
2 Kellen Conover - St. Louis, MO
3N Jake Neuman - New Berlin, IL
5 Kyle Cummins - Princeton, IN
5c Colten Cottle - Kansas, IL
7 Gage Walker - Fairland, IN
7BC Tyler Courtney - Indianapolis, IN
7K Justin Peck - Monrovia, IN
9 Korey Weyant - Springfield, IL
9JR Derek Hagar - Marion, AR
9K Kyle Schuett - Philo, IL
11 Dave Darland - Lincoln, IN
11B Brent Beauchamp - Fairland, IN
12w Billy Wease - Noblesville, IN
15 Tim Siner - Dupo, IL
15F Cole Fehr - Coatesville, IN
15M Shane Morgan - Morton, IL
15s Mitchell Davis - Auburn, IL
17w Shane Golobic - Fremont, CA
21 Christopher Bell - Norman, OK
22 Andy Malpocker - St. Charles, MO
25 Jerry Coons, Jr. - Tucson, AZ
28 Kory Schudy - Springfield, MO
29 David Hair - Indianapolis, IN
31 David Budres - Beloit, WI
35 Chris Baue - Indianapolis, IN
35T Tyler Robbins - Collinsville, IL
39BC Justin Grant - Ione, CA
50 Tony DiMattia - Malvern, PA
50A Daniel Adler - St. Louis, MO
52 Isaac Chapple - Willow Branch, IN
56v Matt Veatch - McLeansboro, IL
56x Mark Chisholm - Cheyenne, WY
57D Daniel Robinson - Ewing, IL
67 Tanner Thorson - Minden, NV
67K Holly Shelton - Gold River, CA
68 Kyle O'Gara - Indianapolis, IN
71 Ryan Robinson - Foresthill, CA
71B Robert Bell - Colfax, IA
71K Tanner Carrick - Sacramento, CA
75 Lee Dakus - Edmonton, ALB, CAN
76M Brady Bacon - Broken Arrow, OK
77 Alex Bright - Collegeville, PA
84 Chad Boat - Phoenix, AZ
88 Terry Babb - Harristown, IL
91 Tyler Nelson - Kansas City, KS
91A Chris Andrews - Sandusky, OH
91T Tyler Thomas - Catoosa, OK
97 Spencer Bayston - Lebanon, IN
 
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RYAN BERNAL BREAKS THROUGH IN VEGAS!

Las Vegas, Nevada... Starting on the inside of the third row, Ryan Bernal (Hollister, California) chargerd forward and raced past Joe Stornetta Jr. to claim the 25-lap victory at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Landon Cling set a new track record in qualifying over the 37 entries.

Jake Swanson, Stornetta, Brady Short, and Davis won the 8-lap heat races. Troy Rutherford and Geoff Ensign raced to victory in the 10-lap semi-mains.

SANDS CHERVOLET USAC SOUTHWEST/WEST COAST SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: March 9, 2017 - Las Vegas, Nevada - The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway -  "6th FVP Outlaw Showdown"

FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Ryan Bernal, 2. Joe Stornetta Jr., 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Stevie Sussex, 5. Charles Davis Jr., 6. Richard Vander Weerd, 7. R.J. Johnson, 8. Jake Swanson, 9. Brody Roa, 10. Dave Darland, 11. Shon Deskins, 12. Landon Cling, 13. Ryan Timmons, 14. Tye Mihocko, 15. Troy Rutherford, 16. Brady Short, 17. Nick Aiuto, 18. Dylan Westbrook, 19. Trey Macham, 20. Geoff Ensign, 21. Danny Faria Jr., 22. Matt Lundy. NT
 ----------------------------
**St. James flipped during qualifications. Faria, Aiuto, and Westbrook flipped during feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Davis, Laps 2-8 Stornetta, Laps 9-25 Bernal

NEXT USAC SOUTHWEST & WEST COAST SPRINT CAR RACE: March 10 - The Dirt Track at Las Vegas (NV) Motor Speedway - "6th FVP Outlaw Showdown"

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CUMMINS TO MAKE USAC MIDGET DEBUT IN MARCH 18 "SHAMROCK CLASSIC"

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

The beginning of the 2017 National Midget season marks a new beginning for one of USAC's longtime standout Sprint Car stars, Kyle Cummins.

Cummins, the 29-year-old Princeton, Indiana veteran driver has raced his way to numerous feature victories and championships throughout his decade-and-a-half career behind the wheel of a sprint car. But on Saturday night, March 18 at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds' Southern Illinois Center, he attacks a new challenge as he straps into the seat of a midget for the first time in the "Shamrock Classic" USAC National Midget season opener.

"This will be my first time in a dirt midget," Cummins establishes. "I haven't raced much other than a sprint car in years. I figure it has four wheels, a motor and we're on dirt, so I think I'll adapt pretty quickly"

Cummins' ride for Du Quoin will be fielded by Chase Briscoe, a recent sprint car and midget driver who picked up an ARCA Stock Car driving title in 2016 and now competes full-time on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series circuit. Cummins and Briscoe have battled alongside each other for much of the last decade, but this time they're teaming up, and with high aspirations.

"With the equipment and the knowledge they bring, there are no excuses to not be in the top-five or so," Cummins admits. "If I left there with a top-three finish, I would be content for the first night out. I have high expectations for myself, but I know it will be a good accomplishment just to put it in the A-Main with this group of cars. At this moment, this is the only race I will run (in a midget), so hopefully we can have a good showing and run again."

The connection between the Cummins and Briscoe families date back to before Kyle and Chase's own careers had even begun. Back when each of their fathers, Mark Cummins and Kevin Briscoe, were battling up front on a weekly basis on the bullrings at Haubstadt and Bloomington.

"I have known the Briscoes for years, from going racing with my dad, to racing with Kevin when I first started, to racing with Chase," Cummins recalls. "In my third or fourth season, I ran for Richard (Briscoe) a hand full of times in the famous white and red No. 5. Chase and I have always been friends and have gotten along really well. He asked me at the PRI show in December if I would be interested in running his midget a couple times if he couldn't, and I was all for it."

Coming on the heels of his first two career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car wins a year ago during "Indiana Sprint Week" at Kokomo and the "Haubstadt Hustler" at Indiana's Tri-State Speedway, Cummins is pumped at the thought of finally getting on track at the one-sixth-mile indoor bullring, a place he's been to as a fan, but not as a competitor.

"I'm pretty excited to get the chance to go to Du Quoin as a driver instead of as a spectator," said Cummins, who is the owner of a CNC machine shop in Haubstadt by day. "There's a lot of luck that is involved to keep your car out of trouble and finish up front. I just hope that I feel comfortable in the car. If I feel good right out of the gate, I think we can have a good run for my first time in a midget."

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CHARLES DAVIS, JR. LEADS USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINTS TO LAS VEGAS SHOWDOWN

This Thursday and Friday (March 9th and 10th), the Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Cars will clash at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The prestigious "6th Annual FVP Sin City Showdown" is co-sanctioned with the USAC West Coast Sprint Cars and will pay an impressive $3,000-to-win and $300-to-start the feature on BOTH NIGHTS. A talented roster of drivers from Arizona, California, and the Midwest are expected to battle for bragging rights on the large half-mile clay oval. In addition, the famed World of Outlaw Craftsman Sprint Cars and IMCA Modifieds will join the action packed card. The pit gates will open at 2:00pm, the spectator gates open at 5:00pm, with racing set for 7:30pm on Thursday and 8:00pm on Friday. For more event information, visit the track's website at www.lvms.com/dirt or call 702.644.4444. A schedule for both nights is at the end of this release.

Held during NASCAR weekend, the "FVP Outlaw Showdown" has become one of the most popular dates on the USAC SouthWest and West Coast schedules. Last year, Bryan Clauson (Noblesville, Indiana) outdueled Brody Roa, Stevie Sussex, and Brady Bacon to earn his second Las Vegas jackpot. When the checkered flags waved, Sussex, Bacon, Roa, and Josh Hodges rounded out the top-five drivers.

Also known as the "Sin City Showdown," Bud Kaeding (Campbell, California) won the inaugural race on his way to the USAC West Coast crown in 2012. Bryan Clauson (Noblesville, Indiana), Austin Liggett (Tracy, California), and Stevie Sussex (Tempe, Arizona) celebrated Las Vegas wins before Clauson returned to victory circle last year.

Entering the Las Vegas doubleheader, "Chargin" Charles Davis Jr. (Buckeye, Arizona) sits atop the point standings. Driving the Massey Motorsports' #50 RSS Industries / Rod End Supply RSS, Davis ran second to Dave Darland at Canyon's "Steve Stroud Memorial" on February 11th. In addition, the five-time Arizona Sprint Car Champion won the night's first heat race and earned valuable qualifying points. "Chargin" Charles has fourteen SouthWest wins to his credit and will be one of the favorites to watch at Las Vegas.

"The People's Champ" Dave Darland (Lincoln, Indiana) is second in the chase for the championship. Racing Charlotte Aragon's #99 Yelp / Beaver Stripes J&J, Darland took the lead from Stevie Sussex on the twenty-first lap and claimed the "Steve Stroud Memorial." At press time, the former USAC National Champion has four series wins and it is unknown if he will be in action at Las Vegas.

Stevie Sussex (Tempe, Arizona) ranks third in the USAC SouthWest point chase. Piloting Bob Price's #4 Team AZ Racing / RSS Industries entry, Sussex ran fourth in the Canyon Speedway Park feature after leading the first twenty laps. The 2015 Las Vegas Showdown winner has ten SouthWest victories and will be a threat to repeat if he can secure a ride.

R.J. Johnson (Laveen, Arizona) is currently fourth in the championship standings. Driving Bobby Martin's #51 Martin Family Auto Museum / Pecon Builders Sherman, Johnson was the hard charger at Canyon with a seventeenth to third place run. The four-time champion leads the series with 44 triumphs and will be looking to add Las Vegas to his resume.

"The Magic Man" Mike Martin (Yuma, Arizona) sits fifth in the point standings. Racing his #16 Sherwin-Williams / Ultimate Offroad Maxim, Martin ran sixth in the February 11th main event. The former Hall of Fame Classic winner has five career SouthWest victories and will have his sights on the $3,000 Las Vegas jackpot.

Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Shon Deskins, Nick Aiuto, Andy Reinbold, "The Bull" Tye Mihocko, Brian Hosford, "The Real American" Matt Rossi, Landon Cling, "The Radio Flyer" Bruce St. James, and more.

Brody Roa will lead a strong USAC West Coast roster including Jace Vander Weerd, D.J. Johnson, Richard Vander Weerd, Max Adams, "Hollywood" Danny Faria Jr., Austin Liggett, Tristan Guardino, Ryan Timmons, and Cody Majors.

Two-day Pit Passes are $100 and single-day Pit Passes are $50.

The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is located twelve miles north of downtown Las Vegas, Nevada off Interstate 15 at Exit 54 (Speedway Blvd). The pit gate will open at 2:00pm and more event information can be found at www.lvms.com/dirt or calling (702) 644-4444. Two-day Reserved and General Admission tickets are on sale for $80 (with fan pit pass). Single-day Reserved tickets are $40, General Admission tickets are $39, and Children (12 and Under) are FREE. For more ticket information, visit www.dirtcar.ticketforce.com or call 844-DIRT-TIX (844-347-8849).

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USAC WEST COAST SPRINTS OPEN 9TH SEASON AT LAS VEGAS SHOWDOWN

By Lance Jennings
 
The ninth season for the USAC West Coast Sprint Cars will kickoff this Thursday and Friday (March 9th and 10th) at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Co-sanctioned with the Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Cars, the prestigious "6th Annual FVP Sin City Showdown" will pay an impressive $3,000-to-win and $300-to-start the feature on BOTH NIGHTS. A talented roster of drivers from California, Arizona, and the Midwest are expected to clash on the large half-mile clay oval. In addition, the famed World of Outlaw Craftsman Sprint Cars and IMCA Modifieds will join the action packed card. The pit gates will open at 2:00pm, the spectator gates open at 5:00pm, with racing set for 7:30pm on Thursday and 8:00pm on Friday. For more event information, visit the track's website at www.lvms.com/dirt or call 702.644.4444. A schedule for both nights is at the end of this release.
 
Held during NASCAR weekend, the "FVP Outlaw Showdown" has become one of the most popular dates on both the USAC West Coast and Southwest schedules. Last season, Bryan Clauson (Noblesville, Indiana) outdueled Brody Roa, Stevie Sussex, and Brady Bacon to earn his second Las Vegas jackpot. When the checkered flags waved, Sussex, Bacon, Roa, and Josh Hodges rounded out the top-five drivers.
 
Also known as the "Sin City Showdown," Bud Kaeding (Campbell, California) won the inaugural race on his way to the USAC West Coast crown in 2012. Bryan Clauson (Noblesville, Indiana), Austin Liggett (Tracy, California), and Stevie Sussex (Tempe, Arizona) celebrated Las Vegas wins before Clauson returned to victory circle last year.
 
Last August, Brody Roa (Garden Grove, California) clinched his first series crown on the strength of two feature wins and solid finishes. Primarily racing the BR Performance #91R HD Industries / Lee & Norma Leonard Maxim, Roa also posted three Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, three heat race victories, eleven top-10 finishes, and 68 feature laps led. The former Western World Champion will pilot a Steve Watt entry at Las Vegas and will be looking for the $3,000 jackpot.
 
Jace Vander Weerd (Visalia, California) came on strong at the end of last season and finished second in the point chase. Driving the family owned #88 Vander Weerd Construction / Stone Gate Development Maxim, Jace had two feature wins, one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, four heat race victories, one semi-main win, nine top-10 finishes, and 85 feature laps led to his credit. The former USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year has eight career West Coast wins and will have his sights on adding Las Vegas to his resume.
 
D.J. Johnson (Stockton, California) had a standout season and placed third in the chase for the championship. Racing the family owned #33 Proplant Farm Services / J. Milano Company Eagle, Johnson recorded two feature wins, three heat race victories, one hard charger award, twelve top-10 finishes, and 51 feature laps led on the season. The former USAC Western Classic Rookie of the Year will be looking to honor his father Brian, who recently passed away, with a victory.
 
Richard Vander Weerd (Visalia, California) finished fourth in the West Coast point standings. Piloting the family owned #10 Vander Weerd Construction / Stone Gate Development Maxim, Richard had two feature wins, two Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, three heat race victories, one hard charger award, nine top-10 finishes, and 33 feature laps led to his credit. The 2011 Champion has 19 West Coast wins and will have his sights on sweeping the Las Vegas doubleheader.
 
Max Adams (Loomis, California) moved up the ranks and took fifth in the final point standings. Driving his #5M A.R.T. Speed Equipment / Ken Imler Diesel Performance Maxim, Adams had two heat race victories, one hard charger award, seven top-10 finishes, and 2 feature laps led. Last year's USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year will be looking to breakthrough at Las Vegas for his first West Coast triumph.
 
Among the other drivers expected to be in action are "Hollywood" Danny Faria Jr., Austin Liggett, Tristan Guardino, Ryan Timmons, Cody Majors, Jeff Sibley, Troy Rutherford, Ryan Bernal, and more.
 
"Chargin" Charles Davis Jr. will lead a strong USAC SouthWest roster including R.J. Johnson, "The Magic Man" Mike Martin, Shon Deskins, Nick Aiuto, Andy Reinbold, "The Bull" Tye Mihocko, Brian Hosford, "The Real American" Matt Rossi, Landon Cling, "The Radio Flyer" Bruce St. James, and more.
 
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BAKERSFIELD HOSTS USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET OPENER THIS SATURDAY

By Lance Jennings

This Saturday, March 11th, the Light Up the World Beverages USAC Western States Midgets will open their 2017 campaign at Bakersfield Speedway. Promoted by Scott Schweitzer, "The BULL 97.3 Night at the races!" will also feature Sport Mods, IMCA Stock Cars, ModLites, and NMRA TQ Midgets. The Pit Gates will open at 2:00pm, the Front Gates will open at 4:00pm, and Racing is scheduled for 6:00pm at "The West's Fastest 1/3-Mile High Banked Clay Oval." For event information, visit the track's website at www.bakersfieldspeedway.com or call 661.393.3373.  

Since July 3, 1987, Bakersfield Speedway has hosted 105 USAC Western States Midget races and P.J. Jones claimed the inaugural victory. Ronnie Gardner won the April 30th and November 19th races and Michael Faccinto claimed the June 4th victory. Former champions Sleepy Tripp and Robby Flock are tied for the series lead with eight Bakersfield triumphs, followed by Billy Boat (7), Jay Drake (5), Ronnie Gardner (4), and "Flash" Jordan Hermansader (4). Heading into Saturday's race, Ricky Shelton holds the 1-lap qualifying track record of 12.339, set on June 21, 1997.

Last November, Ronnie Gardner (Corona, California) clinched his fourth consecutive series crown. Piloting the Six8 Motorsports' #68 Baldozier Racing / Esslinger Engineering Stewart, Gardner posted six feature wins, five Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, eight heat race victories, two hard charger awards, thirteen top-10 finishes, and 116 feature laps led. Ronnie is tied with Wally Pankratz for fourth on the series win list with nineteen triumphs and will be looking for another Bakersfield victory.

Michael Faccinto (Hanford, California) ran second in the chase for the championship. Racing the MF Motorsports' #35F OSV / Lucas Oil Spike, Faccinto earned two feature wins, two Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, three heat race victories, eleven top-10 finishes, and 67 feature laps led to his credit. The Louie Vermeil Classic winner has four series victories and will have his sights on the 30-1ap triumph.

Cory Elliott (Bakersfield, California) had a solid season and placed third in the championship point chase. Driving the family owned #11E FK Indy / Oilwize Spike, Elliott posted five heat race victories, twelve top-10 finishes, and 24 feature laps led to his credit. The 2015 Rookie of the Year has one career win and will be looking to score the hometown victory.

Frankie Guerrini (San Rafael, California) finished fourth in the Western Midget point standings. Racing the family owned #63 F&F Racing / Davis Motorsports Spike, Guerrini had two heat race victories, one semi-main win, eleven top-10 finishes, and 36 feature laps on the year. The former BCRA Champion has one career USAC victory and will have his sights on the Bakersfield main event win.

Courtney Crone (Corona, California) closed out her campaign ranked fifth in the point chase. Driving Jerome Rodela's #25 Trench Shoring / Ed Pink Racing Engines Breka, Crone had one heat race victory, two hard charger awards, and eight top-10 finishes. The 2016 Rookie of the Year will be looking to earn her first USAC Midget victory this Saturday night.

Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Maria Cofer, Robert Dalby, Randi Pankratz, Cody Swanson, Tyler Dolacki, Shannon McQueen, Nate Wait, "The Panda Express" Terry Nichols, Robby Josett, David Prickett, C.J. Sarna, and more.

Bakersfield Speedway is located at 5001 North Chester Extension in Bakersfield, California. Advance tickets are on sale and for more event/ticket information, visit the track's website at www.bakersfieldspeedway.com or call 661.393.3373.  

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DARLAND, BOAT AND BRIGHT ENTER THE RING FOR MARCH 18TH "SHAMROCK CLASSIC" IN Du QUOIN

Du Quoin, Illinois.........USAC Triple Crown champ Dave Darland, "Belleville Midget Nationals" winner Chad Boat and Chili Bowl Prelim Night winner Alex Bright have entered the fray for the USAC National Midget season-opening "Shamrock Classic" at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin on Saturday, March 18.

Darland is one of just six drivers to have claimed titles in USAC's National Midget, National Sprint and Silver Crown divisions during his career. The Lincoln, Indiana veteran will be in the seat of Gray Racing No. 11 in which he aims to find victory lane in the series for the first time in three seasons. During his illustrious career in which he has amassed more than 100 USAC victories, 30 of those came in a USAC National Midget event, ranking him 11th all-time.

Boat picked up his first three career USAC National Midget victories in 2016, all within the span of a week in early August. The first of which came at the bullring of Jefferson County Speedway in Fairbury, Neb. before sweeping both nights at Belleville to close out the weekend. The Phoenix, Ariz. driver is a two-time Rookie of the Year in both the USAC National Midget and National Sprint divisions and is the son of 1995 USAC Western States Midget champ and 1998 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Billy Boat.

Collegeville, Pennsylvania's Bright is renowned for his success in a midget on a resume that is highlighted by a 2016 ARDC title as well as a preliminary night feature win at the "Chili Bowl Midget Nationals" in Tulsa, Oklahoma in January of 2016. Bright has made 40 career USAC National Midget feature starts, including a second-place finish at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway in 2012, but is still seeking his first trip to victory lane.

Additionally, defending USAC National Midget champion Tanner Thorson leads a five-car Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian stable into Du Quoin that includes Spencer Bayston, Holly Shelton, Ryan Robinson and Tanner Carrick.

Christopher Bell, a USAC National Midget champion for KKM in 2013, will pilot the No. 21. The versatile Norman, Oklahoma native recently won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Tucson, Arizona's Jerry Coons, Jr. is one of just six drivers part of the exclusive USAC Triple Crown Club. A pair of first-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature winners from 2016 have signed up to rumble at Du Quoin. Brent Beauchamp of Fairland, Ind., is entered in his own No. 11 while Kyle Cummins of Princeton, Ind. intends to make his USAC National Midget debut.

St. Charles, Missouri's Andy Malpocker knows the 1/6-mile indoor dirt track in Du Quoin well. Just two weeks ago, Malpocker captured a USAC Speed2 IMRA/Midwest Thunder Midget feature victory at the track during the "Open Wheel Extravaganza" at the Southern Illinois Center.

A handful of flyin' Illini have mailed in their entries including 2015 Indy Invitational winner Kyle Schuett of Philo as well as Tim Siner (Dupo), Daniel Robinson (Ewing), Brayton Lynch (Springfield), Jake Neuman (New Berlin), Korey Weyant (Springfield) and Terry Babb (Decatur).

Entries continue to pour in for the $3900-to-win USAC Midget National Championship season opener which brings the series indoors for its only points race of the season. Last year's "Shamrock" brought 54 midgets to battle it out for the "Pot of Gold" trophy and many additional entries are expected to be filed within the next couple weeks leading up to raceday.

Free entry is available for all "Shamrock Classic" competitors courtesy of R.E. Griesemer at https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/shamrock-classic-at-du-quoin-entry. Use the code regriesemer. The deadline for pre-entry is Monday, March 13. Entries filed after March 13 are $40.

Reserved seats are $25.00 for the highly-anticipated event while adult general admission tickets are $20.00; kids 6-12 are $10.00 and kids 5 years-old and under are FREE! Pit passes are $35.00. The purchase of a reserved seat provides you a free pit pass! Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.usactickets.com/.

40 MIDGETS ENTERED
FOR THE "SHAMROCK CLASSIC" AS OF WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8
1K Brayton Lynch - Springfield, IL
1T Tony Roney - Herculaneum, MO
3N Jake Neuman - New Berlin, IL
5 Kyle Cummins - Princeton, IN
7 Gage Walker - Fairland, IN
7BC Tyler Courtney - Indianapolis, IN
7K Justin Peck - Monrovia, IN
9 Korey Weyant - Springfield, IL
9JR Derek Hagar - Marion, AR
9K Kyle Schuett - Philo, IL
11 Dave Darland - Lincoln, IN
11B Brent Beauchamp - Fairland, IN
15 Tim Siner - Dupo, IL
15F Cole Fehr - Coatesville, IN
17w Shane Golobic - Fremont, CA
21 Christopher Bell - Norman, OK
22 Andy Malpocker - St. Charles, MO
25 Jerry Coons, Jr. - Tucson, AZ
28 Kory Schudy - Springfield, MO
29 David Hair - Indianapolis, IN
31 David Budres - Beloit, WI
39BC Justin Grant - Ione, CA
50 Tony DiMattia - Malvern, PA
50A Daniel Adler - St. Louis, MO
57D Daniel Robinson - Ewing, IL
67 Tanner Thorson - Minden, NV
67K Holly Shelton - Gold River, CA
68 Kyle O'Gara - Indianapolis, IN
71 Ryan Robinson - Foresthill, CA
71B Robert Bell - Colfax, IA
71K Tanner Carrick - Sacramento, CA
75 Lee Dakus - Edmonton, ALB, CAN
76M Brady Bacon - Broken Arrow, OK
77 Alex Bright - Collegeville, PA
84 Chad Boat - Phoenix, AZ
88 Terry Babb - Harristown, IL
91 Tyler Nelson - Kansas City, KS
91A Chris Andrews - Sandusky, OH
91T Tyler Thomas - Catoosa, OK
97 Spencer Bayston - Lebanon, IN

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GREG STAAB, LONGTIME USAC DRIVER, CAR OWNER AND SERIES COORDINATOR PASSES AT 68

Greg Staab, a beloved figure who wore many hats during his racing career as a driver, car owner, crew chief, mechanic, track promoter and series coordinator, passed away Monday, March 6, 2017 after a battle with cancer. He was 68 years old.

Staab, from Cincinnati, Ohio, piloted car No. 44 for more than two decades on the USAC trail, first in midgets before transitioning to the sprint car full-time. Staab was a regular on USAC's National Midget circuit from 1972-1979, garnering a career-best series finish of second at Salt Lake City, Utah's Salt Palace in 1976, but it was in the sprint car where Staab truly flourished.

In a six-year span between 1982 and 1987, Staab won the Lawrenceburg Speedway sprint car track championship five times in addition to a Bloomington Speedway title in 1984! One year after his final 'Burg championship, in the summer of 1988, Staab captured the most notable victory of his career in an ESPN-televised USAC National Sprint Car race at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Staab, known his for his prowess on the clay, outdueled fellow dirt-tracker Kevin Huntley in the final laps on the asphalt to take his first and only USAC triumph. Ironically, it was Huntley who had denied Staab the Lawrenceburg track championship in 1986.

Staab finished in the top-ten of the USAC National Sprint Car standings in 8 of 11 years between 1985 and 1995, highlighted by a runner-up finish in 1986, a fourth in 1989 and a third in 1990. Staab also made 34 Silver Crown starts with a best finish of fourth, which he accomplished twice at Eldora Speedway's "4-Crown Nationals" in 1982 and 1988.

His driving career ended in his 177th USAC Sprint Car start after an accident at Indiana's Paragon Speedway in 1996, though Staab remained heavily involved in the sport, fielding cars for drivers such as Joey Kerr, Eric Gordon, Dickie Gaines, Critter Malone, John Heydenreich, Cary Faas, Jason Setser - who won the 2000 Lawrenceburg track championship in his car - among many others. At the same time, Staab had taken over the role as president and promoter of Lawrenceburg Speedway from 1997-2000, and from 2005-2008, served as the coordinator of the USAC National Sprint Car division.

Staab, a Hoosier Auto Racing Fans and Dayton Area Racing Fans club Hall of Famer, kept close ties with the sport in recent years. In 2016, he served as crew chief for Joe Liguori's Silver Crown team and, just two weeks ago, the yellow No. 44 was in action at "Winter Dirt Games VIII" in Ocala, Fla. with Liguori behind the wheel for the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car season openers.

USAC extends its deepest condolences to Staab's family and numerous friends in the racing community.

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RICHARD VANDER WEERD WINS NONSTOP "SOKOLA SHOOTOUT" AT THE PAS
By Lance Jennings
 
MARCH 5, 2017... Last Saturday, polesitter Richard Vander Weerd (Visalia, California) led all 30-laps to claim the season opening "Sokola Shootout" at Perris Auto Speedway. For Vander Weerd, the $2,500 AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car triumph was the seventh series win of his career and ties Matt Mitchell for fourteenth overall. Damion Gardner, R.J. Johnson, Austin Williams, and Brody Roa rounded out the top-five drivers.
 
Richard Vander Weerd qualified seventh out of twenty-two racers and ran second to Tommy Malcolm in his heat race. Now ranked second in points, the two-time "Sokola Shootout" winner will return to Perris on April 1st at the "So-Cal Showdown" alongside the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars.
 
Damion Gardner (Concord, California) had fallen back to seventh after bicycling his mount and rebounded to second at the checkered flags. The five-time champion left USAC/CRA's "home track" as the new point leader.
 
R.J. Johnson scored third in the "Sokola Shootout" after starting eighth. Johnson qualified eighth overall and ran second to Damion Gardner in his heat race. At press time, the four-time USAC SouthWest Champion sits third in the point standings.
 
Austin Williams battled hard to place fourth at Perris Auto Speedway. Williams was fourth quick in time trials and ran fourth in his heat race. As this writing goes to press, the 2009 Rookie of the Year sits fourth in the chase for the championship.
 
Brody Roa (Garden Grove, California) claimed fifth in the season's first point race. Driving the BR Performance #91R HD Industries / Baldozier Racing Maxim, Roa qualified fifth overall and scored third in his heat race. The defending USAC West Coast Champion left Perris ranked sixth in the point chase.

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Richard Vander Weerd, 2. Damion Gardner, 3. R.J. Johnson, 4. Austin Williams, 5. Brody Roa, 6. Jake Swanson, 7. Mike Spencer, 8. Cody Williams, 9. Chad Boespflug, 10. Logan Williams, 11. Jace Vander Weerd, 12. Kyle Edwards, 13. Verne Sweeney, 14. Chris Gansen, 15. Jeremy Ellertson, 16. Cal Smith, 17. Matt McCarthy, 18. Brady Short, 19. Tommy Malcolm, 20. Eddie Tafoya, 21. Tom Hendricks, 22. Parker Colston. 8:52.43.
 
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS:1. Damion Gardner-80, 2. Richard Vander Weerd-77, 3. R.J. Johnson-71, 4. Austin Williams-69, 5. Jake Swanson-67, 6. Brody Roa-66, 7. Mike Spencer-64, 8. Cody Williams-54, 9. Chad Boespflug-51, 10. Logan Williams-47, 11. Jace Vander Weerd-46, 12. Kyle Edwards (R)-45, 13. Verne Sweeney-40, 14. Chris Gansen-38, 15. Jeremy Ellertson-35, 16. Cal Smith-33, 17. Tommy Malcolm-33, 18. Matt McCarthy (R)-32, 19. Brady Short-31, 20. Eddie Tafoya-30, 21. Parker Colston-25, 22. Tom Hendricks-24.
 
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USAC CHAMPS THORSON, BELL & COONS ENTER MARCH 18 SHAMROCK CLASSIC IN Du QUOIN

Du Quoin, Illinois.........USAC National Midget champions Tanner Thorson, Christopher Bell and Jerry Coons, Jr. are among the latest headline drivers to file entries to compete in the USAC National Midget season-opening "Shamrock Classic" at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin on Saturday, March 18, 2017.

Thorson, the defending USAC National Midget champ, leads the five-car Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian stable into Du Quoin. The Minden, Nevada native won six features on his way to the title one year ago, and intends to kick off the year in strong fashion with intentions of becoming the first back-to-back series champ since Bryan Clauson in 2010 and 2011. Thorson is joined on the KKM team by Lebanon, Indiana's Spencer Bayston, who was victorious in last season's Gas City round of "Indiana Midget Week." Rounding out the KKM lineup is Sacramento, California's Holly Shelton, Foresthill, California's Ryan Robinson and series Rookie of the Year contender Tanner Carrick from Sacramento.

Christopher Bell, a USAC National Midget champion for KKM in 2013, will pilot the No. 21. The versatile Norman, Oklahoma native finished third in 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points and is also a past winner in the USAC Silver Crown Champ Cars as well as the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series.

Tucson, Arizona's Jerry Coons, Jr. is one of just six drivers part of the exclusive USAC Triple Crown Club that includes drivers who've earned a title in each of USAC's three national divisions: Silver Crown, Sprint Car and Midget. Coons, the 2006 and 2007 USAC National Midget champ, returns to the seat of the Petry/Goff Motorsports No. 25.

Two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature winner Kyle Cummins of Princeton, Ind. intends to make his USAC National Midget debut aboard the Chase Briscoe Racing No. 5. Another driver who broke through for his first USAC National win in 2016, Brent Beauchamp of Fairland, Ind., is entered in his own No. 11.

St. Charles, Missouri's Andy Malpocker knows the 1/6-mile indoor dirt track in Du Quoin well. Just two weeks ago, Malpocker captured a USAC Speed2 IMRA/Midwest Thunder Midget feature victory at the track during the "Open Wheel Extravaganza" at the Southern Illinois Center.

A handful of flyin' Illini have mailed in their entries including 2015 Indy Invitational winner Kyle Schuett of Philo as well as longtime midget competitor Tim Siner of Dupo and Daniel Robinson from Ewing.

Entries continue to pour in for the $3900-to-win USAC Midget National Championship season opener which brings the series indoors for its only points race of the season. Last year's "Shamrock" brought 54 midgets to battle it out for the "Pot of Gold" trophy and many additional entries are expected to be filed within the next couple weeks leading up to raceday.

Free entry is available for all "Shamrock Classic" competitors courtesy of R.E. Griesemer at https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/shamrock-classic-at-du-quoin-entry. Use the code regriesemer. The deadline for pre-entry is Monday, March 13. Entries filed after March 13 are $40.

Reserved seats are $25.00 for the highly-anticipated event while adult general admission tickets are $20.00; kids 6-12 are $10.00 and kids 5 years-old and under are FREE! Pit passes are $35.00. The purchase of a reserved seat provides you a free pit pass! Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.usactickets.com/.

"SHAMROCK CLASSIC" ENTRIES AS OF FRIDAY, MARCH 3
1T Tony Roney - Herculaneum, MO
5 Kyle Cummins - Princeton, IN
7 Gage Walker - Fairland, IN
7BC Tyler Courtney - Indianapolis, IN
9JR Derek Hagar - Marion, AR
9K Kyle Schuett - Philo, IL
11 Brent Beauchamp - Fairland, IN
15 Tim Siner - Dupo, IL
15x Cole Fehr - Coatesville, IN
17w Shane Golobic - Fremont, CA
21 Christopher Bell - Norman, OK
22 Andy Malpocker - St. Charles, MO
25 Jerry Coons, Jr. - Tucson, AZ
29 David Hair - Indianapolis, IN
39BC Justin Grant - Ione, CA
50 Tony DiMattia - Malvern, PA
50x Daniel Adler - St. Louis, MO
57D Daniel Robinson - Ewing, IL
67 Tanner Thorson - Minden, NV
67K Holly Shelton - Gold River, CA
71 Ryan Robinson - Foresthill, CA
71K Tanner Carrick - Sacramento, CA
76M Brady Bacon - Broken Arrow, OK
91 Tyler Nelson - Kansas City, KS
91A Chris Andrews - Sandusky, OH
91T Tyler Thomas - Catoosa, OK
97 Spencer Bayston - Lebanon, IN

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BACON, GRANT, COURTNEY AND GOLOBIC AMONG FIRST TO FILE ENTRIES FOR SHAMROCK CLASSIC

Du Quoin, Illinois.........Some of the biggest names in midget racing have begun to file their entries for the second running of the "Shamrock Classic" Saturday, March 18 at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin. The $3900-to-win USAC Midget National Championship season opener brings the series indoors to showcase the intense open wheel action on the 1/6-mile indoor dirt track that has routinely provided some of the most memorable races each season.

The two most recent USAC Midget winners at the Southern Illinois Center have signed on to compete for the Clauson/Marshall Racing team at Du Quoin. Fremont, California's Shane Golobic will attempt to defend his "Shamrock Classic" victory in the CMR/Matt Wood Racing No. 17w. Indianapolis, Indiana's Tyler Courtney, a Southern Illinois Center winner in last December's "Junior Knepper 55," will pilot the CMR No. 7BC. Filling out the CMR stable is current USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car point leader Justin Grant who won last Friday's Sprint season opener in Ocala, Florida. The Ione, California native won his first ever start in the CMR No. 39BC in a Chili Bowl preliminary night feature in January.

In addition, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Brady Bacon is back in the saddle of the FMR No. 76m for the 2017 USAC season. The two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ, won last season's "Jason Leffler Memorial" in Wayne City, Ill. and finished third in series points.

Further early entries include Collinsville, Oklahoma's Tyler Thomas who finished in the runner-up spot in last August's "Tuesday Night Thunder" in Fairbury, Nebraska and is always an exciting one to watch. Herculaneum, Missouri's Tony Roney finished fifth in the 2016 "Shamrock." Up-and-coming Fairland, Indiana driver Gage Walker showed much improvement throughout last season and aims to be a contender on March 18.

Last year's "Shamrock" brought 54 midgets to battle it out for the "Pot of Gold" trophy and many additional entries are expected to be filed within the next couple weeks leading up to raceday.

Free entry is available for all "Shamrock Classic" competitors courtesy of R.E. Griesemer at https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/shamrock-classic-at-du-quoin-entry. Use the code regriesemer. The deadline for pre-entry is Monday, March 13. Entries filed after March 13 are $40.

Reserved seats are $25.00 for the highly-anticipated event while adult general admission tickets are $20.00; kids 6-12 are $10.00 and kids 5 years-old and under are FREE! Pit passes are $35.00. The purchase of a reserved seat provides you a free pit pass! Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.usactickets.com/.

Among the companies offering prizes and bonuses for winning the 50-lap midget feature are Simpson Race Products, who will award a brand-new helmet to the victor. Cold Hard Art has created a "Pot of Gold" trophy that will be presented to the winning driver and team in victory lane.

Drivers on the move will have the opportunity to cash in on the bonuses being served up. The "Wheelman of the Race" will earn a Max Papis Innovations (MPI) steering wheel for his or her efforts. The driver advancing the most positions during the "Shamrock Classic" will earn "Hard Charger" honors courtesy of Elliott's Custom Trailers.

Furthermore, the third-place finisher in each heat race will receive a prize from FK Shocks. Ben Hodgin has thrown in $100 to the driver who leads lap 39 of the feature.

Additional companies offering prize packs include Competition Suspension, Inc., Allstar Performance, AFCO, Indy Race Parts, DMI, Wilwood, Walker Performance Filters, Keizer Wheels, Speedway Motors, Schoenfeld, Arizona Sport Shirts and EarEVERYTHING, Inc.

The timetable of events at the Southern Illinois Center for the "Shamrock Classic" begins with participant parking on March 17 (Friday) from 4-7 pm. Saturday's race-day schedule begins with pits opening at 8 am, followed by a "pit sweep" at noon. Spectator gates open at 1 pm. A public drivers' meeting open to all race fans starts at 3:30 pm. Hot laps get under way at 4 pm with racing set for 5:30pm.

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15th "SOKOLA SHOOTOUT" OPENS USAC/CRA AT PERRIS SATURDAY
 
A tradition dating back to 2001 celebrates its 15th running Saturday night at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway as the "Sokola Shootout" opens the 2017 AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Championship.
 
The event honors the memory of former USAC and CRA Sprint Car competition director Gary Sokola and his son Mark, who competed in numerous USAC events as a driver. Inaugurated at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz., the event returns to The PAS Saturday.
 
Tony Jones won the 2001 inaugural, while Jeremy Sherman (2002-2003), Cory Kruseman (2004), Rickie Gaunt (2005 & 2009), Mike Kirby (2006), Damion Gardner (2010 and 2014), Mike Spencer (2011), Nic Faas (2012), Bryan Clauson (2013 and 2016) and Richard Vander Weerd (2015) have been fortunate enough to inscribe their names in the record books as "Sokola Shootout" Champions. The event was not presented in 2007 or 2008.
 
Gardner returns as the series champion in search of a record-breaking sixth driving title. He and Spencer share the record of five titles each. Gardner has won the crown the past four years!
 
Gardner tops all the Perris records (40 wins, 926 laps Led, 55 races led) and scored a trio of Perris victories last year. Other 2016 Perris USAC Sprint winners were Clauson, Josh Hodges, Austin Williams, Vander Weerd, Danny Sheridan, Matt Mitchell, Chad Boespflug and Dave Darland.
 
Saturday's race is the first of 11 for the AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars at Perris this season.

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SCHUERENBERG ESCAPES TO VICTORY LANE IN WINTER DIRT GAMES VIII FINALE
 
By: Richie Murray - USAC Media
 
Ocala, Florida.........A seventh-place starting position and a 360 degree spin at the midway point was not enough to deter Hunter Schuerenberg on the path to a "Winter Dirt Games VIII" victory Saturday night at Bubba Raceway Park.
 
The 27-year-old Sikeston, Missouri native steadily moved his way toward the front of the field throughout the 30-lap event before surging into the lead with seven laps remaining to collect his first USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature victory in nearly three years since a 2014 victory in McCool Junction, Nebraska as well as his ninth career series triumph, joining Mario Andretti and Robbie Stanley for 47th on the all-time list.
 
At the drop of the green, though, outside front row starter Thomas Meseraull held the point, fending off a furious challenge from previous night's winner Justin Grant and defending USAC Silver Crown titlist Chris Windom for the first pair of laps.
 
Following a yellow brought about by a Kyle Cummins spin after contact with Isaac Chapple in a battle for the seventh position, Windom used a massive run on the restart to slide up in front of Meseraull and snare the lead away in turn one, instantly stretching out his lead by the tenth lap as Meseraull and Grant battled for second.
 
At the feature's midway point, Schuerenberg and Carson Short fought side-by-side for the fourth position.  In turn four, the two made contact, vaulting Short's right rear over the nose of Schuerenberg's ride.  Short landed on all fours before sliding front-bumper-first into an infield tire marker, stopping him in his tracks.  Meanwhile, Schuerenberg was sent into a complete 360 spin, but kept his foot on the gas and continued down the front straightaway as the yellow flew for the stopped car of Short.
 
"The bottom started going away there," Schuerenberg recalls.  "I whoaed up there too much trying to hit the bottom and I think Carson just had a head of steam.  It was one of those racing deals.  I don't think he really meant to do it partially because I slowed down quite a bit trying to hit my marks."
 
Schuerenberg restarted fourth with 15 to go, joining Grant and Meseraull in their pursuit of race leader Windom who began to pull away in the latter stages to a one second advantage with a mere 10 laps remaining, but a lap 21 caution bunched up the field at the front of the pack for the ensuing restart.
 
On this occasion, Windom was unable to break way as Grant challenged low and a surging Schuerenberg ripped the top-side to remain within the shadows of the orange No. 5 that paced the field.  Suddenly, though, Windom's right rear tire appeared to be going flat, but the determination of Windom refused to deflate after both Grant and Schuerenberg completely surrounded him, both low and high, on lap 22.
 
Grant clawed his way along the bottom of turn three to briefly occupy the top spot, yet Windom was able to duck back under Grant to retain a lead of the narrowest of margins at the stripe.  On the 23rd lap, Schuerenberg used the momentum on the cushion to ride his way to the front and, one lap later, Windom's quest for victory vanished as the tread on his right rear tire gave way, resulting in a yellow with just seven laps to go.
 
When racing resumed, it was all too clear Schuerenberg was the class of the field on this night as he constructed a lead that grew to nearly two seconds on the final lap to score the win in his Roof Bolt Racing/Eddie Gilstrap Motors - Roof Bolt Xpress/Eagle/Tranter over Grant, Meseraull, Chad Boespflug and Brady Bacon, who earned $700 in cash for the BC Badass Passing Award this weekend courtesy of the Hughes Family and the Indiana Mafia.

Saturday night marked the first USAC victory for the Roof Bolt Racing team and Schuerenberg's first career USAC victory at Ocala, a place in which he has scored six top-five finishes in his 11 most recent starts at the 3/8-mile D-shaped dirt track.
 
"We've got a different car this year and we've got some new partners involved," Schuerenburg explained.  "Being away from non-wing racing for a while and doing the wing thing, there were things I took from that and applied to the non-wing car, which is quite a bit different than what I've typically done in the past.  I've been rebuilding engines myself and learned quite a bit with making more power where I think I needed it.  It's nice to take the perspective of driving the car and then learning more about engines, you can apply what you learned on them to what you feel with your foot."
 
"Justin has many of the same tendencies as me," Schuerenberg asserts.  "If he gets the chance and he's racing somebody, he's probably going to be on the top.  When Windom's tire was going down, I noticed that and I knew going into the first corner, Justin was probably going to the outside to try and get Windom.  I thought if Windom got through that corner quick enough, I could follow him to get around Justin when he left the bottom open and, from there, I'd just have to worry about getting by Chris.  I knew Windom would go to the bottom in (turns) three and four, so I went to the top to try to beat him in one.  I've been racing with Chris and Justin for 10 years now.  You kind of know those guys' habits, where they're going to go and what they're going to do.  They know the same things about me too.  It's nice because you don't have to worry about those guys running over you, but in that situation, it kind of helped me because I knew what I thought they were going to do.  Sometimes it works out; sometimes it doesn't.  I tried what I was thinking that time and it worked out, but it may not work out the next time.  It was just a hold-your-breath type of race, but it was a fun one.  If you're going to win one, I'd rather win it like that rather than just lead the whole thing."
 
"Obviously, we wanted to win," Grant acknowledged.  "Second place is a good night.  It was good for points and we've set out to chase the points deal this year, so I took what I could get.  I made a couple mistakes throughout the race, but I think those guys were just a little better than we were.  Had I run a perfect race, we were good enough to beat them.  But missing a step here and there, it just got away from us.  Sam gave me a great car again and it seems like we're close every night.  It's nice when it feels like we missed, yet we were still able to run second."
 
San Jose, California's Thomas Meseraull captured the victory in the 2016 "Winter Dirt Games" finale.  Although the results from 2017's event did not include a victory celebration, Meseraull was extremely pleased with his third-place finish in his debut weekend performance aboard the Rick Pollock/Bates Commodities - Jonathon Pollock Engines/Maxim/Pollock.
 
"The car was great," Meseraull exclaimed.  "It was a big difference from yesterday when it was my first time in the car and I was still getting a feel for it and getting on the same page as Rick.  We did that tonight.  We knew we had to qualify better, but we had a little bit of timing problems.  We just worked it out.  It just needed more timing and the difference was night and day.  I'm really excited to run top-three.  I thought we had a fourth or fifth-place car, but Windom blew a tire and that helped us out.  I just got up on the wheel and was able to keep Chad (Boespflug) and Chase (Stockon) behind us.  I'm just happy to get out of Florida in one piece."
 
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Hunter Schuerenberg, 2. Justin Grant, 3. Thomas Meseraull, 4. Chad Boespflug, 5. Brady Bacon, 6. Chase Stockon, 7. Dave Darland, 8. Kyle Cummins, 9. Jarett Andretti, 10. Carson Short, 11. Shane Cottle, 12. Jerry Coons, Jr., 13. Tyler Courtney, 14. Isaac Chapple, 15. C.J. Leary, 16. Chris Windom, 17. Jeff Bland, Jr., 18. Josh Hodges, 19. Max McGhee, 20. Rob Caho, Jr., 21. Dallas Hewitt, 22. Landon Simon, 23. Aaron Farney. NT
 
----------------------------
 
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Meseraull, Laps 3-23 Windom, Laps 24-30 Schuerenberg.

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Grant-155, 2-Schuerenberg-144, 3-Boespflug-141, 4-Stockon-139, 5-Bacon-128, 6-Meseraull-120, 7-Leary-99, 8-Andretti-99, 9-Windom-96, 10-Coons-96.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: April 1 - Lawrenceburg, Indiana - Lawrenceburg Speedway

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USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: February 24, 2017 - Ocala, Florida - Bubba Raceway Park - "Winter Dirt Games VIII"

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Justin Grant, 2. Chad Boespflug, 3. Chase Stockon, 4. Brady Bacon, 5. C.J. Leary, 6. Hunter Schuerenberg, 7. Josh Hodges, 8. Chris Windom, 9. Jerry Coons, Jr., 10. Thomas Meseraull, 11. Jarett Andretti, 12. Shane Cottle, 13. Tyler Courtney, 14. Aaron Farney, 15. Landon Simon, 16. Joe Liguori, 17. Max McGhee, 18. Dave Darland, 19. Kyle Cummins, 20. Isaac Chapple, 21. Jeff Bland, Jr., 22. Carson Short. (Short originally finished third, but was repositioned to the tail of the field after missing the scales). NT
----------------------------
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-8 Darland, Lap 9 Grant, Lap 10 Darland, Laps 11-30 Grant.

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Grant-81, 2-Boespflug-74, 3-Stockon-72, 4-Schuerenberg-67, 5-Bacon-65, 6-Leary-64, 7-Windom-57, 8-Hodges-56, 9-Coons-53; 10-Meseraull-50.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: February 25 - Ocala, Florida - Bubba Raceway Park - "Winter Dirt Games VIII"

-end-

WINTER DIRT GAMES NIGHT ONE FALLS TO RAIN; RACES STILL ON SCHEDULE FOR FRIDAY, SATURDAY

Ocala, Florida.........Thursday night's "Winter Dirt Games VIII" opener featuring the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship at Bubba Raceway Park has been cancelled due to persistent heavy rain at the track and a forecast for continued rain throughout the afternoon and night.

"Winter Dirt Games" continues as scheduled Friday night, February 24 and Saturday night, February 25 at the 3/8-mile D-shaped dirt oval in Ocala, Fla. On Friday night, the pit area opens at 5pm, front gates open at 6pm and hot laps at 7:15pm. Racing is set to begin at 8pm. On Saturday night, the activities begin one hour earlier. The pits open at 4pm, front gates open at 5pm and hot laps at 6:15pm. Racing is set to begin at 7pm. Tickets each night are $20 for children 11-15, $30 for adults and $40 for a pit pass.

-end-

HAMILTONS AIM TO BECOME 5TH FATHER AND SON TO COMPETE IN SAME SILVER CROWN EVENT

A legendary name in Phoenix International Raceway lore returns to the one-mile tri-oval aiming for a feat that has only been accomplished four times as Davey Hamilton, Sr. and Davey Hamilton, Jr. look to become just the fifth father-son duo to compete against each other in a USAC Silver Crown race on Saturday, April 29 in the "Phoenix Copper Cup."

At Phoenix, both Hamiltons will pilot potent team cars for the Fred Gormly/RPM Auto Enterprise team, whose cars Chris Windom drove to the 2016 Silver Crown driving title. Hamilton, Jr. will drive the No. 98 while Hamilton, Sr. will take the wheel of the No. 99.

Only four fathers and sons have competed against each other in a Silver Crown event: Jim and James McElreath (7 races between 1975-1977), Mike and David McCreary (Sacramento 1994), Wayne Reutimann, Sr. and Wayne Reutimann, Jr. (Phoenix 2007). The Hamiltons aren't even the first father and son from their own family to race against each other in the series! Davey Hamilton, Sr. and his father Ken raced together at Colorado's Pikes Peak International Raceway in 1998.

"We've been able to race together in the past, but not Silver Crown cars," Hamilton, Sr. noted. "(Davey Jr.) has been in a Silver Crown car before, and it's been awhile for me, but Phoenix is my place. I love it there. It's exciting to have an opportunity to run with your son. It doesn't happen very often."

Hamilton, Jr. also has tentative to plans to race a Silver Crown car for Gormly at Brownsburg, Indiana's Lucas Oil Raceway on May 26 as well as Toledo (OH) Speedway on July 28 as he eyes his first series start since an 11th place run at Lucas Oil in 2014.

"It's great to be able to be a part of this and add racing at Phoenix to my resume," Hamilton, Jr. said. "Obviously, my grandpa and dad had great success there and I hope to follow in their footsteps. It's rare for my dad and I to even be together at a race. Being able to race against each other is going to be incredible. A lot of my family and friends are coming into town just to see it."

The success achieved by the Hamiltons at Phoenix and, particularly the "Copper World Classic," is paramount. Hamilton, Sr. is a six-time supermodified winner at the "Copper World" with victories in 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995 and 2001. Ken is a two-time winner of the sprint car portion of the "Copper World" in both 1980 and 1984, in which he drove the famed "Pink Lady" to victory. The car was number 98, the very same numerals grandson Hamilton, Jr. will use this season on his Silver Crown ride.

It's been eight years since Hamilton, Sr. has been in a Silver Crown car, but the 11-time Indy 500 starter has made 30 career series starts, including his debut run in 1990 for Bob Consani and where he made six IndyCar starts between 1996 and 2001. Despite the changes in the track since the last time he competed at Phoenix, the track still seems to fit his style.

"I actually did some testing there in an IndyCar awhile back after they made the configuration change," Hamilton, Sr. recalls. "It's definitely a little faster, but It really drives the same. Visually, it has a bit of a different look to it without the grass infield on the back stretch. You gain a little bit more speed since turn two opens up so good now. I hope it gets to where everybody's comfortable with it since we haven't been there in a long time and I hope we get the set-ups right because we know the races there in the past have been outstanding and I feel it's going to happen again. Silver Crown cars belong at Phoenix."

Car owner Fred Gormly has been a fixture at Phoenix for a number of years, but after serving as a spectator and push-truck driver at the "Copper World," he will now serve as one of the teams vying for the "Phoenix Copper Cup."

"Phoenix is a track I've always wanted to run," Gormly admits. "I've attended many 'Copper Worlds' over the years and I have family that lives in Phoenix, so I'm really thrilled to be going back there. We've got two excellent drivers with Davey and Davey, Jr. Davey, Sr. has a record that speaks for itself. I know he loves the place and has a lot of laps there. Junior is an up-and-comer. I hope we can put on a good show."

Hamilton, Jr. exudes confidence coming into the round at PIR.

"I believe I have one of the best teams and cars out there," Hamilton, Jr. says without hesitation. "I will definitely have a good shot in every race we're at. We have a good car and program, so I'll have to do my part and make sure to give them the best results I possibly can."

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WINDOM SET TO DEFEND USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP WITH KAZMARK MOTORSPORTS

Defending USAC Silver Crown champion Chris Windom will sport a new look in the 2017 season as he takes the wheel of the Kazmark Motorsports No. 92, a team that makes its return to the series after a 16-year hiatus.

Windom, of Canton, Illinois, was a consistent front-runner in each and every series race on both the dirt and pavement surfaces in 2016, becoming the first driver since Jimmy Caruthers in 1975 to finish in the top-five in all the Silver Crown races in a single season.
Windom's ride will be fielded by Kazmark Motorsports, a team that makes its first entry into the USAC Silver Crown division since the 2001 Hoosier Hundred with driver Ricky Shelton. The team plans on competing for a series championship with Windom in 2017 and will utilize a Beast Chassis with Toyota power on pavement and a Maxim Chassis with Mopar power on the dirt.

Windom finished the 2016 season at the top of his game. His ongoing streak of top-six finishes in USAC National points-paying races dates back to the July 17, 2016 "Indiana Sprint Week" date at the Terre Haute Action Track. He was also the only driver to earn three straight USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature victories last season, which included the "Jim Hurtubise Classic" at Terre Haute and a sweep of both nights at Arizona Speedway's "Western World Championships."

In Silver Crown competition, Windom collected three victories, including a pair of classic duels on the dirt. In June, Windom held off a hard-charging Bryan Clauson on the final lap to take the Horn/Schindler Memorial at Pennsylvania's Williams Grove Speedway. On Labor Day weekend, Windom passed Jeff Swindell in the final laps to win the "Ted Horn 100" at the Du Quoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds. Windom concluded the season in winning fashion with a dominating victory at Ohio's Eldora Speedway during the "4-Crown Nationals."

Team owner Gene Kazmark is no stranger to victory lane with the Silver Crown cars as he was a part of the 1997 "Copper World Classic" winning team with driver Jimmy Kite and team partners Bob Hoerner and Bill Stapleton. Hoerner, himself a two-time winner as an owner with Kite as well as Dave Steele at Indianapolis Raceway Park (now Lucas Oil Raceway) in 1999, will serve as the crew chief.

Windom and Kazmark will make their debut in the season opener at the Terre Haute Action Track on Sunday, April 2 for the "Sumar Classic."

-end-

A LOOK AHEAD AT THE 2017 USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT CAR SEASON

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

The offseason provides a welcome rest. A time for rejuvenation and a chance to catch a breath after a long, arduous season journey.

Yet, the dawn of a new season marks a beginning full of hopes, dreams and glory that lie ahead on this dirt road from coast-to-coast. A chance to start anew and reemerge from the doldrums of winter and focus the mind, body and soul on getting back behind the wheel of a racecar.

As has been the case since 2010, the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars make the annual trek down to the Sunshine State for three consecutive nights to kick off the season. This year's edition begins on the three-eighths-mile Bubba Raceway Park on Feb. 23rd, 24th and 25th, 2017 in Ocala, Florida where gray skies and the cool air give way to blue skies, sunshine and big horsepower. A sure sign that the USAC racing season has arrived.

Fort Branch, Indiana's Chase Stockon finished a career-best second in series points in 2016 on the strength of a pair of victories in Haubstadt and Terre Haute. The 28-year-old continues to inch toward the top of the rankings year-by-year and enters 2017 as one of the favorites to take the title in his 32 TBI Racing number 32.

The USAC National Sprint Car division's all-time leader in victories returns to the seat of a familiar ride in 2017. Lincoln, Indiana's Dave Darland is "Back in Black" so to speak as he takes control of the Phillips/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports number 71p, a ride he raced to 17 USAC victories between 2013 and 2015, including a Winter Dirt Games triumph in 2015.

Nobody in the USA finished last season hotter than Chris Windom of Canton, Illinois. Windom carries a streak of 19 consecutive top-6 finishes in USAC National points races into Ocala. Coming off a Silver Crown championship season, Windom is hungry to add a USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Championship trophy to his ever-growing trophy case.

Chad Boespflug blossomed into a perennial front runner in 2016 with six series victories to his credit, but in 2017, a slew of changes landed the "Hanford Hornet" in the most vaunted ride of them all, the Hoffman Auto Racing number 69. A shake-up on the Hoffman team moves ace wrench Davey Jones into the role of crew chief for the team that owns 11 USAC National Sprint owner titles and exactly 100 wins in the series dating back to 1957.

One season ago, C.J. Leary broke through for his long-anticipated first career series victory. Now that the door has been knocked down, the Greenfield, Indiana native who is still just a mere 20-years-old, look for big things out of the number 30 as the family team now has three-time series owner champ Jeff Walker turning the wrenches.

A new number adorns the Sam McGhee Motorsports ride for 2017, but the plan for 17-year-old team owner/crew chief and driver Justin Grant is to approach the season with the same attitude and vigor the pair used on their late-season wave of success in the final months of 2016 in which Grant pocketed 4 top-fives in six starts for the team including a thrilling first victory for the team in last September's 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora.

Perhaps no one was more efficient in as few starts last year as was Indianapolis driver Tyler Courtney, who finished with 16 top-tens in 17 starts including an incredible run from 24th to 1st in Gas City's Indiana Sprint Week round that turned many heads. The schedule expands for "Sunshine" this season as he heads to Florida to kick off his first full run at a USAC National Sprint Car championship.

Thomas Meseraull is a gasser and the San Jose, California native always knows how to put on a show. In 2016, T-Mez grabbed 5th in the standings on the strength of a pair of victories to his credit, including a last corner, last lap score in Ocala just one year ago. Meseraull opens his 2017 season aboard the potent number 21 owned by Rick Pollock.

Two-time series champ and two-time Winter Dirt Games feature winner Brady Bacon takes the wheel of the Dooling-Hayward Number 63, the very same team that won last year's opening race with Bryan Clauson as the pilot.

The field for "Winter Dirt Games VIII" is stacked with talented and proven winners across the board. These men will be joined by USAC Triple Crown champion Jerry Coons, Jr. in Gene Nolen's No. 20, two-time series winner Kyle Cummins, 2016 "Rookie of the Year" Aaron Farney, Haubstadt "Indiana Sprint Week" victor Carson Short, Lawrenceburg Fall Nationals winner Josh Hodges, veteran front runners Hunter Schuerenberg and Shane Cottle, plus past series Rookies of the Year Isaac Chapple and Jarett Andretti, Lincoln, PA "Special Event" winner Landon Simon, South Dakota's Bret Mellenberndt and many more.

Who will seize the moment? Who will step to the forefront and find their breakthrough moment of glory and become USAC's newest national champion in 2017? Time will answer those questions. But the first step on the quest to reach the pinnacle begins right here, right now on Feb. 23rd, 24th and 25th at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida!

On Thursday and Friday night, the pit area opens at 5pm, front gates open at 6pm and hot laps at 7:15pm. Racing is set to begin at 8pm. On Saturday night, the activities begin one hour earlier. The pits open at 4pm, front gates open at 5pm and hot laps at 6:15pm. Racing is set to begin at 7pm. Tickets each night are $20 for children 11-15, $30 for adults and $40 for a pit pass.

On-track action at the "Winter Dirt Games" begins Wednesday night, February 22 with open practice from 7-10pm. The pit gate opens at 5pm. Pit passes are $15 each.

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2017 points

National Sprints
Feb. 25
1. Justin Grant 115
2. H. Schuerenberg 144
3. Chad Boespflug 141
4. Chase Stockon 139
5. Brady Bacon 128
6. T. Meseraull 120
7. C.J. Leary 99
7. J. Andretti 99
9. Chris Windom 96
9. Jerry Coons Jr. 96

National Midgets
March 18
1. Justin Grant 70
2. Shane Golobic 67
3. Jerry Coons Jr. 64
4. Brady Bacon 61
5. Spenser Bayston 39
6. Gage Walker 37
7. Tanner Carrick 35
8. Cahd Boat 29
9. Tanner Thorson 23
10. Dave Darland-10

Silver Crown
FINAL
1. Chris Windom 588
2. Kody Swanson 583
3. Justin Grant 474
4. Jerry Coons Jr. 465
5. David Byrne 398
6. Casey Shuman 386
7. Shane Cottle 381
8. Austin Nemire 340
9. Joe Liguori 316
10. Brady Bacon  268

USAC/CRA
March 5
1. Damion Gardner 80
2. R. Vander Weerd 77
3. R.J. Johnson 71
4. Austin Williams 69
5. Jake Swanson 67
6. Brody Roa 66
7. Mike Spencer 64
8. Cody Williams 54
9. Chad Boespflug 51
10. Logan Williams 47

 

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