FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series
#4 “The Demon” Damion Gardner - USAC/CRA Point Leader. Photo by Doug Allen.
CALISTOGA’S “LOUIE VERMEIL CLASSIC” OPENS USAC/CRA “CALIFORNIA SPRINT WEEK”
By Lance Jennings
PHOENIX, AZ – AUGUST 25, 2014… This Labor Day Weekend, August 30th & 31st, the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series will invade Calistoga Speedway for the “7th Annual Louie Vermeil Classic.” Also showcasing the Honda USAC Western Midget Series, the popular 2-day event will have many pre-race festivities such as a vintage car show, raffles, wine tasting, silent auctions, and beer garden events for fans to enjoy. The Spectator Gates at the Napa County Fairgrounds will open at 4:00pm with racing set to begin at 5:30pm each night.
The “7th Annual Louie Vermeil Classic” will open the highly anticipated “California Sprint Week.” The five-race in eight-night tour will also visit Chico’s Silver Dollar Speedway, Watsonville’s Ocean Speedway, and Santa Maria Speedway. At press time, the” Vermeil Classic” will pay a minimum of $5,000-to-win on both nights, as Chico, Watsonville, and Santa Maria will pay $2,750-to-win and $350-to-start.
Since August 2008, the famed Calistoga Speedway has hosted the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Cars on twelve occasions. Tim Kaeding won the inaugural race and Kevin Swindell earned the first “Louie Vermeil Classic” win. Nine different drivers have claimed the checkered flags at the Napa County Fairgrounds, led by Swindell, Damion Gardner, and Mike Spencer with two victories. Last season, NASCAR’s Kyle Larson added the prestigious event to his win list. “The Bullet” Blake Miller still holds the USAC/CRA 1-lap qualifying track record of 19.078, set on September 4, 2010.
NOTICE TO COMPETITORS: Per USAC/CRA rules, all fuel-injected 410 and 360 powered sprint cars must run the Hoosier 105/16 Medium Right Rear Tire and all four corners must be Hoosier. Cars must pass a tech inspection, drag links and tie-rods must be steel with steel rod-ends, and one-way radios are mandatory for drivers. USAC/CRA charges a $25 entry fee to all competitors, which includes a transponder rental. Carbureted spec sprints are welcome to race with USAC/CRA and can still use their track legal Hoosier tires. USAC/CRA follows the National Series Rule Book, which can be found at www.usacracing.com/assets/files/rules/2014/2014_Appendix_C_National_Sprint.pdf.
The festivities will actually begin on Friday, August 29th, with the Calistoga Speedway Hall of Fame Dinner. Calistoga’s winningest driver LeRoy Van Connet will serve as Grand Marshall and Bobby Gerould will host the ceremony. This year’s inductees are Gary Gerould, Jimmy Boyd, Jack Flaherty, Chuck Gurney, Ron Horton, Bob Miller, John Montelli, George Rogge, and Stan Vermeil.
Heading to Calistoga, “The Demon” Damion Gardner of Concord, California holds a 155 point advantage over the competition. Driving Mark Alexander's #4 Scott Sales Company / J&D Performance Spike, Gardner earned his seventh victory of the year at the August 16th “California Racers Hall of Fame Night” at Perris. To date, the 2010 Louie Vermeil Classic winner has four Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, ten heat race victories, eleven top-10 finishes, and 154 feature laps led. “The World’s Fastest Sprint Car Driver” will be looking to continue his championship bid as he goes for his 54th USAC/CRA victory.
Temecula, California’s Mike Spencer is second in the championship point standings. Piloting Ron Chaffin’s #50 Grubstake Mini Storage / Madera Produce Maxim, Spencer earned his 57th career Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award and scored nineteenth in the Perris feature. Currently, the five-time champion has five fast time awards, one feature win, two heat race victories, one Competition Suspension Inc. / Rod End Supply Semi-Main win, one Keizer Wheels / Racing Optics Hard Charger Award, nine top-10 finishes, and 51 feature laps led on the season. Mike won the Vermeil Classic in 2009 and will have his sights on adding the “Louie” trophy to his collection.
Nic Faas of Huntington Beach, California is a close third in the USAC/CRA point chase. Racing Keith Ford’s #73 Berry Pack / King Racing Products Spike, Faas ran eighteenth in the “California Racers Hall of Fame Night” main event. To date, the former USAC Western Midget Champion has three heat race victories, ten top-10 finishes, and 1 feature lap led to his credit. At press time, it was announced that Kevin Thomas Jr. and Robert Ballou are scheduled to drive the JFM entries at the “Vermeil Classic.”
Sitting fourth in the USAC/CRA point standings is Yorba Linda, California’s Matt Mitchell. Driving his #37 Campbell Bros. Storage / Pit Boss Maxim, Mitchell took fifth at Perris Auto Speedway. Currently, the 2-time “Salute to Indy” winner has one feature win, two heat race victories, seven top-10 finishes, and 35 feature laps led in the campaign. Matt will be looking to claim his seventh career USAC/CRA victory at Calistoga.
After running third at Perris, Austin Williams of Yorba Linda, California has climbed to fifth in points. Piloting Jack Jory’s #2 John Jory Corporation / AMA Plastics Spike, Williams has one feature win, one heat race victory, six top-10 finishes, and 48 feature laps led on the season. The 2009 Rookie of the Year will have his sights on adding the “Louie Vermeil Classic” to his resume.
Currently eleventh in points, Yorba Linda’s Logan Williams leads the chase for Rookie of the Year honors. Snohomish, Washington’s Gary Taylor, Cody Swanson of Norco, and Verdemont Heights’ Chris Gansen are also in contention.
Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Brody Roa, “The Cadillac” Cody Williams, Richard Vander Weerd, Jake Swanson, “The Kruser” Cory Kruseman, Ryan Bernal, Jace Vander Weerd, Ronnie Gardner, D.J. Johnson, Bud Kaeding, Christopher Bell, Colby Copeland, Jim Richardson, and more.
Calistoga Speedway is located on the Napa Valley Fairgrounds at 1435 North Oak Street in Calistoga. Reserved tickets are $35, General Admission Adult tickets are $30, and General Admission Kids tickets (10-6) are $10, and Children (5 & Under) are FREE. For more information, visit www.louievermeilclassic.net, www.calistogaspeedway.org, or call (916) 773-7223.
To catch all of the action of the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series, Loudpedal Productions has DVD videos available for purchase. For more information, call (805) 407-7229 or visit www.loudpedalvideo.com.
The Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series thanks Hoosier Tire, Circle Track Performance, Competition Suspension Inc., DJ Safety, Engler Machine & Tool, Extreme Mufflers, Huntington Beach Glass & Mirror, Keizer Wheels, Pyrotect Racing Cells, Racing Optics, Rod End Supply, Rugged Radios, Saldana Racing Products, Weld Racing, and Woodland Auto Display for their support. If you or your company would like to become part of the series, email PR Director Lance Jennings at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series, visit www.usacracing.com or follow the series on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/USAC-CRA-Sprint-Car-Series/167535183297971) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/USAC_CRA).
LOUIE VERMEIL CLASSIC SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONS:
2008-Kevin Swindell; 2009-Mike Spencer; 2010-Damion Gardner; 2011-Mike Spencer; 2012-Kyle Hirst, 2013- Kyle Larson.
CALISTOGA AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR WINS:
2-Damion Gardner, 2-Mike Spencer, 2-Kevin Swindell, 1-Robert Ballou, 1-Ryan Bernal, 1-Kyle Hirst, 1-Bud Kaeding, 1-Tim Kaeding, 1-Kyle Larson.
CALISTOGA AMSOIL USAC/CRA 1-LAP QUALIFYING RECORD:
Blake Miller - 19.078 (09/04/10)
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS:
1. Damion Gardner-786, 2. Mike Spencer-631, 3. Nic Faas-628, 4. Matt Mitchell-517, 5. Austin Williams-507, 6. Brody Roa-496, 7. Cody Williams-483, 8. Richard Vander Weerd-471, 9. Jake Swanson-460, 10. Cory Kruseman-381, 11. Logan Williams-321, 12. Gary Taylor-263, 13. Ryan Bernal-251, 14. Jace Vander Weerd-240, 15. Chris Gansen-234, 16. A.J. Bender-199, 17. Ronnie Gardner-198, --. Cody Swanson-198, 19. R.J. Johnson-160, 20. Corey Ballard-139.
2014 AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES SCHEDULE:
DATE - TRACK - LOCATION
August 30: Calistoga Speedway - Calistoga, CA (Louie Vermeil Classic / California Sprint Week)
August 31: Calistoga Speedway - Calistoga, CA (Louie Vermeil Classic / California Sprint Week)
September 4: Silver Dollar Speedway - Chico, CA (Gold Cup Race of Champions / California Sprint Week / $2,750-to-Win / $350-to-start)
September 5: Ocean Speedway - Watsonville, CA (California Sprint Week / $2,750-to-Win / $350-to-start)
September 6: Santa Maria Speedway - Santa Maria, CA (California Sprint Week / $2,750-to-Win / $350-to-start)
September 13: Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Glenn Howard Classic)
November 7: *Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Oval Nationals)
November 8: *Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Oval Nationals / $20,000-to-Win)
November 14: *Canyon Speedway Park - Peoria, AZ (Hall of Fame Classic)
November 15: *Canyon Speedway Park - Peoria, AZ (Hall of Fame Classic)
* = Co-Sanctioned Event with USAC National Sprints.
This schedule is subject to change.