Sunday, 23 November 2014


Peoria, Arizona.……A local boy brought it home on Saturday night in the 47th Annual Sands Chevrolet “Western World Championships” at Canyon Speedway Park as Matt Rossi notched the biggest win of his career in the Southwest/West Coast Sprint Car 30-lapper.

“I can’t believe I just won the Western World. I’ve gone to this race my whole life and to be an Arizona boy who wins it is just more than I can even describe. I had no idea how big a lead we had, so every little mistake had me freaking out. I was expecting guys to come flying by me every time. I messed up big on the last corner, but seeing the checkered was the most amazing feeling ever. For my dad to win this race and win it here, where we’ve never won before, it’s a crazy night,” an overwhelmed Rossi said.

The opening lap shook up the race in a big way when front-row starters Gary Taylor and Casey Shuman collided in turn-one, sending Shuman flipping and collecting second-row starter C.J. Leary. Shuman was unhurt. The other two restarted.

On the next start, Shon Deskins flipped in turn-three. He was also unhurt.

R.J. Johnson jumped to the early lead but Thursday and Friday winner Ryan Bernal was in hot pursuit. Rossi moved to third past Robert Ballou on a lap-eleven restart, and he reeled in the leaders as a three-car breakway.

Bernal started to use his above-the-cushion entry and subsequent diamond across the corner to the bottom, as he assaulted Johnson for the lead. On lap ten, Bernal cut to the bottom of turn-four with the lead as they crossed the stripe, sliding up in front of Johnson. At the same time, Rossi grabbed the turn-one cushion and turned down to the bottom of turn-two as he rocketed down the backstretch past both Johnson and Bernal for the lead.

Just a lap later, the action slowed for a red flag, and another three laps later was opened due to the fuel consumption. Rossi drove away from the field on the restart, opening up over a straightaway advantage as he entered traffic. Behind him, Kevin Thomas, Jr. had come to life and used a similar line through the middle of the track to work past Johnson for second. Bryan Clauson was right behind, trying to work in a line on the very bottom to make his way forward.

A final caution with five laps to go put everyone back on Rossi’s tail, as the lapped cars were moved to the tail. They were no match, though, as Rossi nailed the first set of corners off the restart and sailed away to the popular win in the Apache Scapes – Schure Built Suspension #02 Spike/Advanced.

Thomas marked his weekend back in the seat of the Michael Dutcher Motorsports Griffin’s Propane – Indiana Underground Construction #17RW Maxim/Fisher.

“It’s been nice to be back in this car. Mike Dutcher and A.J. (Bray) know how to make a race car fast and it was comfortable to drive right up through there tonight. I was hoping we could give him a run for the win, but he was on tonight. Canyon has been pretty rough on me lately, so bouncing back here is a great feeling,” Thomas said.

Clauson ended up third in the Ultimate Off-Road – PPG #16B Maxim/Fisher.

“I’m happy to get a good finish out of a tough situation this weekend with the sprint car. We blew up the TSR ride and Mike Martin got this car ready for me to run tonight. I would have liked one more shot with a couple to go as good as we could run a couple laps, but it was good to run up through there and get a good finish after all the obstacles,” Clauson said.

R.J. Johnson finished off his USAC Southwest Sprint Car Series title with a fourth-place finish, and Brady Bacon rounded out the top-five.

USAC SOUTHWEST & WEST COAST SPRINT CAR "Special Event" RACE RESULTS: November 22, 2014 - Peoria, Arizona - Canyon Speedway Park - 47th Annual Sands Chevrolet "Western World Championships"

FIRST QUALIFIER: (8 laps) 1. Jon Stanbrough (#20S Deskins), 2. Chris Windom (#22B Weber), 3. Tye Mihocko (#5 Mihocko), 4. Josh Pelkey (#12 Allen), 5. Stevie Sussex (#21AZ Burkhart), 6. Bradley Terrell (#5V VanLare), 7. Mike Martin (#16 Martin). NT

SECOND QUALIFIER: (8 laps) 1. Jake Swanson (#92 Sertich), 2. Mike Spencer (#7M Priestley), 3. Brian Hosford (#32B Weber), 4. Colby Copeland (#74 Williams), 5. Dalten Gabbard (#77 Gabbard), 6. Josh Hodges (#74X Hodges), 7. Casey Buckman (#04G Cook). NT

THIRD QUALIFIER: (8 laps) 1. Matt Mitchell (#37 Mitchell), 2. Bryan Clauson (#16B Martin), 3. Brady Bacon (#99 BBR), 4. Josh Shipley (#2 Bishop), 5. Michael Curtis (#11C Turner/Wheeler), 6. Bruce St. James (#7K St. James), 7. Matt Lundy (#98 Lundy). NT

FOURTH QUALIFIER: (8 laps) 1. Kevin Thomas Jr., (#17RW Dutcher), 2. Charles Davis Jr. (#50 Massey), 3. Dave Darland (#73 Ford), 4. Andy Reinbold (#19 Underwood), 5. Mark Morin (#28 Morin). NT

DASH: (6 laps) 1. Gary Taylor (#1ST BRAT), 2. Casey Shuman (#75 Hockett/James), 3. R.J. Johnson (#77M Michaels), 4. C.J. Leary (#30 Leary), 5. Ryan Bernal (#56 Phulps), 6. Robert Ballou (#12X Ballou), 7. Shon Deskins (#20 Deskins), 8. Matt Rossi (#02 Rossi). NT

FIRST SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Bacon, 2. Pelkey, 3. Sussex, 4. Curtis, 5. Martin, 6. Terrell, 7. Shipley, 8. Lundy, 9. Mihocko. NT

SECOND SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Hosford, 2. Gabbard, 3. Copeland, 4. Reinbold, 5. Darland, 6. Buckman, 7. Hodges, 8. Morin. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Matt Rossi, 2. Kevin Thomas Jr., 3. Bryan Clauson, 4. R.J. Johnson, 5. Brady Bacon, 6. C.J. Leary, 7. Robert Ballou, 8. Ryan Bernal, 9. Chris Windom, 10. Stevie Sussex, 11. Brian Hosford, 12. Dalten Gabbard, 13. Charles Davis Jr., 14. Jake Swanson, 15. Gary Taylor, 16. Jon Stanbrough, 17. Josh Pelkey, 18. Shon Deskins, 19. Matt Mitchell, 20. Mike Spencer, 21. Colby Copeland, 22. Casey Shuman. NT
**Shuman and Deskins flipped on lap one of the feature. Mitchell flipped on lap nine of the feature. Deskins flipped on lap eleven of the feature. Pelkey flipped on lap thirteen of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-9 Johnson, Lap 10 Bernal, Laps 11-30 Rossi.

FINAL 2014 USAC Southwest Sprint Car Standings: 1-R.J. Johnson-1,419, 2-Charles Davis Jr.-1,215; 3-Josh Pelkey-1,207, 4-Matt Rossi-1,200, 5-Shon Deskins-1,083, 6-Mike Martin-1,001, 7-Tye Mihocko-929, 8-Brian Hosford-698, 9-Michael Curtis-691, 10-Nick Aiuto-663.