FATHER/DAUGHTER: Wally Pankratz, 71, and his daughter Randi, 46, have raced against each other in midgets. During May they competed against each other in the 360 senior sprint division at the banked, fifth-mile clay Ventura Raceway. Randi led the first 14 of 20-laps. Chris Wakim led the final six laps in a Steve Watt No. 81. Randi finished second and her dad third. Wally, the 2000 USAC Western Midget Champion, ranks third and part-time sprint racer Randi tenth in 2017 VRA points.
Courtney Crone, 16, won her second 30-lap BCRA Midgets feature in a row May 20 at the third-mile asphalt Madera Speedway. It was the annual Bill Vukovich Classic. She drove her USAC ride — the No. 25 Breka/Toyota owned by Jerome Rodela, the 2005-06 USAC Western Midget driving champion.
Rodela towed to USAC Indiana Midget Week with two midgets for Crone and Ronnie Gardner for six races at six tracks from June 6-11. Gardner made all six mains and finished ninth twice. Crone made two mains. She flipped in a heat at Putnamville after setting 13th fastest qualifying time in a 37 car field. Her car was not repaired for two races on the tour.
FIRST VICTORY: Midget/sprint car driver Kyle Edwards led all 30 laps and won his first 360 sprint feature. He drove his dad Gordon’s Safe House Security No. 39e sprinter to the May 20 triumph at Ventura Raceway. Edwards, 21, and Matt McCarthy, 26, are leading contenders for 2017 USAC-CRA 410 sprint rookie of the year.
Brody Roa started second and led ten laps before finishing second in the PAS May 27 USAC-CRA 30-lap feature. His team towed to the USAC National Sprint races at I-80 Speedway in Nebraska Friday and Knoxville, Iowa, Saturday. Roa was eighth fastest qualifier and finished the 30-lap main fifth in a 22-car I-80 field. At Knoxville he was 15th quickest of 35 qualifiers and was 20th of 22 drivers in the Knoxville feature. Brody and his No. 91R team plan to race in all seven USAC Indiana Sprint Week races at seven speedways from July 7-15.
The AMA Speedway Bike 14-race series at Industry Speedway in the Grand Arena .began Wednesday, May 31 with the annual Connor Penhall Memorial Cup. The enhanced purse topped $12,000. About 1,700 spectators attended and 39 four-lap races were completed. Reigning California and U.S. National Champion Billy Janniro, 36, won all but one of his five races on a 500cc Jawa. It was his third consecutive victory in the event; he received a beautiful Troy Lee Designs painted helmet trophy. Pee-wee 50cc and Junior 150cc and 250cc races augmented the program.
The NMRA TQ-Midget Series has raced five events at its home track, the banked third-mile Bakersfield Speedway. Point leader Chuck West won three 20-lap features in a West Evans Motor-sports Spike chassis powered by a 750cc Bob Wirth-built Suzuki. He leads by 39-points in the 14-event season at speedways in Bakersfield and Santa Maria.
Irwindale Speedway has five classes racing on the banked half and third-mile ovals each month. Wild “Night of Destruction” events monthly usually attract 5,000 to 6,000 fans of mayhem. The premier NASCAR late model class has four winners in seven main events. Point leader/triple winner Trevor Huddleston, 21, won the 2015-16 track and California championships. Other winners were past champion Nick Joanides, 16-year-old Ryan Vargas, and Toni Marie McCray.