KENNEDY: California Coast


On Aug. 19, 2012, Scott Burns was the promoter of a USAC doubleheader that featured point races for the USAC-CRA 410 Sprint Car Series and USAC Western Midgets. It was an artistic success with 33 sprint cars and 21 midgets competing. In a pair of competitive races, R. J. Johnson won the 20-lap midget feature that had four leaders and Ryan Bernal won the 30-lap sprint main that had two leaders.

Opening night 2013 at Victorville saw 18 Unlimited Sprint cars, four Limited Midgets (Ford Focus engines), and 11 NMRA TQ Midgets.

The URA sprint car count would have been higher with the presence of some 360 cars that raced Fri.-Sat. March 15-16 in a USAC Western 360 Sprint doubleheader at Thunderbowl Raceway in central California.

Brett Roa, the VanderWeerd twins, Bud Kaeding and Ryan Bernal raced in Tulare where Bernal won both main events. The URA Unlimited Midget event had to be canceled for lack of cars. There were 12 midgets racing with VRA March 16 at Ventura Raceway. Booking URA, VRA and USAC Midgets race dates will require coordination to maximize car counts. Perhaps some car owners or drivers do not want to race frequently or they don’t have sponsorship funds to do so.

Opening night attendance was less than 1,000 in the covered grandstand. One has to hope attendance for upcoming URA races at Victorville will increase dramatically. On March 21 a release revealed the scheduled March 23 URA event in Victorville will not include sprint cars, but will have URA Limited Midgets and CDCRA dwarf cars. URA sprint cars will return on April 27.

A possible first-time occurrence in sprint car competition was NSCHofF inductee Rip Williams racing against all three of his sons for the first time. His longtime car owner, Jack Jory, owns all four of the sprinters. Qualifying times in order were: Cory, 23, 14.322; Rip, 56, 14.399; Austin, 22, 14.523, and Logan, 17, 15.915.

Logan drove Rip’s backup No. 3x. Austin won his heat, Cory was second, Rip third and Logan fourth in their heat races. In the feature Rip finished fourth, Cody fifth, Logan 11th – down a lap. Austin was 16th and a non-finisher.

The four Limited Midgets ran a 15-lap main event. Colston led the first lap and Kyle Cline led laps 2-15; he won by 35-yards over Colston. Jet Davidson and 12-year old Clayton Rushton followed. The all-green flag race took five minutes.

The Unlimited Sprint 30-lap feature ($2,500 to win) saw David Cardey beat Nic Faas by 10 yards with the lapped No. 29 between them. Gardner settled for third in his first visit to the track.

About 70 percent of the grandstand fans departed for their cars to go home after the sprint car feature. It was their loss. The third feature, NMRA-TQ Midgets, ran a 20-lap main, reduced to 15 laps because of the late hour with Lopiccolo taking the checkered flag.



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Tim Kennedy
Tim Kennedy is a veteran motorsports journalist. He worked as the CRA sprint car publicity director for 11 years beginning in 1968 and his Racing Scene column has been a motorsports staple since 1979.