30TH “PACIFIC COAST NATIONALS” AT TULARE SATURDAY & SUNDAY
This Saturday and Sunday the USAC National and Lucas Oil USAC/CRA Sprint Car series will compete in the 30th “Pacific Coast Nationals” at the Tulare (Calif.) Thunderbowl Raceway. The event is being revived after a 14-year hiatus as a tribute to the Agajanian family, who spearheaded its 29-year success.
The championship point focus has shifted to the USAC/CRA series, where Mike Spencer of Temecula, Calif.; holds an 80-point lead over David Cardey of Perris, Calif. with three races remaining in the 2009 series. The series concludes November 28 at Perris.
Last weekend’s point-rich “Budweiser Oval Nationals” at Perris Auto Speedway resulted in an insurmountable point lead for Levi Jones of Avon, Ind. in the National series. He will celebrate his third National title this weekend at Tulare.
The winner of Sunday’s “twilight” feature will earn a paycheck of $12,500, while minimum feature-start money is $700. Saturday night’s standard USAC/CRA purse offers $4,000-to-win. USAC has been to the Tulare Fairgrounds six times, but only once before 2009 with Sprint Cars, a race won by Cory Kruseman. This year, Matt Mitchell triumphed in the USAC/CRA Sprint race at Tulare in May.
Damion Gardner of Concord, Calif. caught Spencer on lap 37 and led the final four laps to win Saturday night’s 14th :”Budweiser Oval Nationals” 40-lap feature at Perris, claiming the $12,500 winner’s prize in his Pace Lighting Eagle/Shaver. Spencer took second ahead of Jones, Bryan Clauson and Bud Kaeding.
Dave Darland, second entering the Perris event, suffered car damage in a B Main incident Saturday and was unable to start the feature.
Rip Williams, the only driver to win both the “Budweiser Oval Nationals” and the “Pacific Coast Nationals,” led the first 21 laps of Saturday’s race. Spencer led the next 15 and Gardner led the final four.
Jones won a thrilling 25-lap preliminary feature at Perris on Friday. He passed Gardner on lap 14 and led the final 12 laps in his Tony Stewart Racing Chevy/Bass Pro Shops Maxim/Kistler Chevy. Fast qualifier Jon Stanbrough finished second ahead of Spencer, Gardner and Darren Hagen.
Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, Ind. led all 25 laps to win Thursday night’s Perris prelim in the Parker Stone Company/Gaerte Engines Maxim. It was his ninth victory in USAC competition this season. Stanbrough finished a close second ahead of Jones, Gardner and Williams.