Spencer Wins Thursday Oval Nationals Preliminary
by Dick Jordan
Calif. ? In a battle of drivers sporting the same numbers from opposite
ends of the nation, the West Coast prevailed over the Midwest in the
Thursday preliminary at Perris Auto Speedway, with Californian Mike
Spencer winning his third CRA Sprint Car Series race of 2006 and first
career National victory.
Driving the No. 44 Hal Engstrom owned
car, Spencer held off Jon Stanbrough in the Pace Brothers owned No. 44P
machine to win by more than four car lengths over the nation?s highest
winning traditional Sprint car driver in a night that saw more action
than most can remember.
?I?ve been excited about this race since
May,? said Spencer, who led the final 23 laps on the half-mile. ?This
is the Super Bowl or World Series for us, so it?s a great feeling to
come out and get one for the West Coast guys.?
involved in a three-car battle for the lead early before running off to
more than a straightaway lead late in the race. Starting third, he sat
behind polesitter Bud Kaeding and outside front row starter Dave
Darland and watched the pair battle for the opening two laps before
Darland dived under Kaeding in Turn 2, and
Spencer followed. No sooner than Darland had established he owned the
point, Spencer charged under him in Turn 3, no more than a lap after
looking to split the pair at the flag stand.
When he took the lead, he started running away. That is, until frequent stoppages kept the race from being completed quickly.
by pre-race favorites Tony Jones (Lap 3), Darren Hagen (Lap 13) and
National Sprint Car Series point leader Josh Wise (Lap 14) stopped the
race and allowed drivers to work on their cars, as well as sit and
wander what to do on the restarts. Those three flips were part of a
dozen barrel rolls or tip overs that set a USAC record for flips in a
program, besting the previous mark (11) set on two different occasions.
one of those red flag periods, Spencer?s crew made some adjustments to
the front of the car to free it up. It worked beautifully in the end.
on the restarts, it didn?t quite show. Despite getting good jumps
early, Spencer was a mistake away from allowing Stanbrough to snatch
the point away at any given moment.
However, during the long runs, it didn?t matter. The last yellow came on Lap 22, when Jesse Hockett stopped on the frontstretch.
didn?t get a great jump ? in part because USAC officials made it a
point to tell him not to jump the start ? but Stanbrough was unable to
challenge and get under him on the bottom.
Instead of moving to
the front once again, Stanbrough had to settle for second, holding off
a hard-charging Cory Kruseman, who made his way from 13th starting
position. Kruseman had caught Darland and Stanbrough by Lap 11, but
couldn?t find his way past them until the waning laps. His high finish
helped him increase the CRA point advantage over defending series
champion Damion Gardner, who suffered more than his fair share of bad
luck during the night?s festivities.
Gardner was charging to the
front of his heat race before coming to a stop in Turn 1. He couldn?t
get back to the front and instead pulled off the track, transferring to
the B Main, which he won.
But he slowed again on Lap 13 of the
feature after a torrid three-wide battle for fifth. With nowhere to go,
reigning Thursday night prelim winner Hagen ran into the back of him
Wise flipped a couple restarts later, doing nothing
to help his pursuit of the National title. Teammate Levi Jones, the
closest to him in the National standings, finished sixth.
Spencer said all he needed to do was run his race.
?I thought if I ran my rhythm, I?d be all right,? Spencer said.
who shaved his moustache prior to the race, said he was a little
disappointed with the outcome, but will be back searching for a victory
Friday, which will consist of the same program.
?I?m a little
disappointed,? Stanbrough said. ?I didn?t want to see those yellows,
but that?s just a part of racing. We?ll be back tomorrow and hope to
pick up one more spot.?
Trailing Kruseman in third were Kaeding and Darland.
was the fast qualifier, while Scotty Weir and Brady Short won the
10-lap D and C Mains. Ten-lap heat winners included Kruseman, Hagen,
Tony Jones, Dickie Gaines and Garrett Hansen.
The 25-lap Friday preliminary kicks off with practice around 4 p.m.
USAC National and USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series Results from Perris Auto Speedway
Calif. -- USAC National and USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series results for
Thursday, November 2, 2006 from Perris Auto Speedway's 11th ?Budweiser
Oval Nationals? Presented by Temecula Valley Pipe & Supply.
1. Josh Wise, 20, Stewart-16.385; 2. Johnny Rodriguez, 7,
Priestley-16.521; 3. Damion Gardner, 50, Chaffin-16.543; 4. Levi Jones,
21, Stewart-16.575; 5. Daron Clayton, 92, Clayton-16.696; 6. Jon
Stanbrough, 44s, Pace-16.723; 7. Mike Spencer, 44x, Engstrom-16.726; 8.
Dave Darland, 11, Walker/Guiducci-16.758; 9. Bud Kaeding, 29,
BK-Leffler-16.769; 10. Andy Forsberg, 93, Filipich-16.779; 11. Rickie
Gaunt, 2a, Smiley-16.797; 12. Matt Mitchell, 3m, Jory-16.865; 13. Blake
Miller, 94, Keller-16.882; 14. Cary Faas, 37, Faas-16.903; 15. Casey
Shuman, 12az, Massey-16.905; 16. Cory Kruseman, 38, Crossno-16.920; 17.
Brady Bacon, 67k, Kunz-16.946; 18. Jesse Hockett, 2az, Massey-16.961;
19. Alan Ballard, 97, Ballard-16.964; 20. Danny Sheridan, 18,
Kittle-16.985; 21. Shane Cottle, 10E, Edison-16.991; 22. Jerry Coons
Jr., 69, Dynamics-17.003; 23. Tony Jones, 4, Alexander-17.020; 24. R.J.
Johnson, 15, Martin-17.048; 25. Shain Matthews, 2x, Fontaine-17.054;
26. Don Droud Jr., 44, Pace-17.085; 27. Jimmy Crawford, 51,
Crawford-17.137; 28. Michael Trimble, 15T, CTR-17.156; 29. Troy
Rutherford, 11R, Rutherford-17.157; 30. Jayme Barnes, 9x,
Barnes-17.203; 31. Jack DeArmond, 9, DeArmond-17.225; 32. Darren Hagen,
67, Kunz-17.228; 33. Greg Taylor, 47, Taylor-17.272; 34. Rodney Argo,
19, Argo-17.279; 35. Seth Wilson, 17, Wilson-17.280; 36. Charles Davis
Jr., 8a, Smiley-17.303; 37. Bret Mellenberndt, 97m,
Mellenberndt-17.335; 38. Jesse Mack, 71m, Mack-17.360; 39. Dickie
Gaines, 2H, Woodward-17.377; 40. Garrett Hansen, 70, Hansen-17.383; 41.
Mat Neely, 2B, 2B Racing-17.387; 42. Brady Short, 36, Short-17.397; 43.
Brian Venard, 12, Blair-17.413; 44. Tyler Brown, 34, Brown-17.422; 45.
A.J. Anderson, 66, Miller-17.466; 46. Jeremy Campbell, 10c,
Campbell-17.474; 47. Bobby Cody, 92x, Sertich-17.478; 48. Kevin Kierce,
11K, Kierce-17.495; 49. David Cardey, 59, Giardina-17.550; 50. Jason
York, 25N, York-17.570; 51. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-17.580; 52. Critter
Malone, 7c, Malone-17.626; 53. Todd Hunsaker, 6x, Hunsaker-17.632; 54.
Matt Rossi, 02, Rossi-17.640; 55. Bill Rose, 11w, Wilkerson-17.668; 56.
Ryan Devitt, 35, Devitt-17.733; 57. Scotty Weir, 22w, Weir-17.815; 58.
Travis Rilat, X, Minks-17.819; 59. Ross Millar, 67M, Millar-17.848; 60.
Nadine Keller, 16, Keller-17.848; 61. Brian Camarillo, 73c,
Ford-17.940; 62. Mike Leslie, 76, Montgomery-17.945; 63. Danny Faria
Jr., 87, Vermeer/Ferreira-17.953; 64. Tony Everhart, 55,
Everhart-17.978; 65. Matt Stewart, 85, Stewart-17.985; 66. Zak
Hawthorne, 1, Hawthorne-18.225; 67. Jerome Warmerdam, 90T,
Gatten-18.277; 68. Robert Ballou, 12x, Ballou-18.484; 69. Matt Forstie,
72, Forstie-18.681; 70. Royal Adderson, 40, Adderson-18.747; 71. Chad
Boespflug, 90, Gatten-NT; 72. Dustin Morgan, 11D, Walker/Guiducci-NT;
73. Josh Ford, 73, Ford-NT; 74. Danny Ebberts, 77, Acosta-NT; 75. #71,
?D? MAIN: (10 laps) 1. Weir, 2. Keller, 3. Leslie, 4.
Faria, 5. Rilat, 6. Ballou, 7. Ford, 8. Stewart, 9. Millar, 10.
Adderson, 11. Forstie, 12. Warmerdam, 13. Everhart, 14. Hawthorne.
?C? MAIN: (10 laps) 1. Short, 2. Neely, 3. Brown, 4.
Venard, 5. Anderson, 6. Malone, 7. York, 8. Kierce, 9. Cody, 10.
Cardey, 11. Devitt, 12. Keller, 13. Weir, 14. Rossi, 15. Leslie, 16.
Hunsaker, 17. Rose, 18. Williams, 19. Campbell, 20. Faria. NT
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Kruseman, 2. Stanbrough, 3. Wise, 4. Davis, 5. Gaunt, 6. Cottle, 7. Droud, 8. DeArmond. 2:53.92
HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Hagen, 2. Crawford, 3. Bacon, 4. Spencer, 5. Coons,
6. Rodriguez, 7. Mitchell, 8. Mellenberndt. 2:52.81
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. T.Jones, 2. Taylor, 3. Hockett, 4. Darland, 5. Miller, 6. Trimble, 7. Mack, 8. Gardner. NT
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Gaines, 2. Johnson, 3. L. Jones, 4. Kaeding, 5. Ballard, 6. Argo, 7. Faas, 8. Rutherford. NT
FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Hansen, 2. Shuman, 3. Wilson, 4. Sheridan, 5. Forsberg, 6. Clayton, 7. Barnes, 8. Matthews. NT
(12 laps) 1. Gardner, 2. Rodriguez, 3. Gaunt, 4. Cottle, 5. Mitchell,
6. Forsberg, 7. Ballard, 8. Trimble, 9. Droud, 10. Short, 11. Neely,
12. Miller, 13. Venard, 14. Mack, 15. DeArmond, 16. Mellenberndt, 17.
Brown, 18. Coons. NT
FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Mike Spencer, 2. Jon
Stanbrough, 3. Cory Kruseman, 4. Bud Kaeding, 5. Dave Darland, 6. Levi
Jones, 7. Rickie Gaunt, 8. Brady Bacon, 9. Danny Sheridan, 10. Casey
Shuman, 11. Dickie Gaines, 12. Johnny Rodriguez, 13. R.J. Johnson, 14.
Jerry Coons Jr., 15. Seth Wilson, 16. Charles Davis Jr., 17. Greg
Taylor, 18. Darren Hagen, 19. Jesse Hockett, 20. Blake Miller, 21. Mat
Neely, 22. Garrett Hansen, 23. Josh Wise, 24. Damion Gardner, 25. Shane
Cottle, 26. Tony Jones, 27. Jimmy Crawford. NT
during practice. Ballou flipped during qualifying. Boespflug flipped
during qualifying. Morgan flipped during qualifying. Ford flipped
during qualifying. Faria flipped during the C Main. Matthews flipped
during the fifth heat. Clayton flips during the fifth heat. Barnes
flips during the fifth heat. Tony Jones flipped on lap 2 of the
feature. Gardner flipped on lap 13 of the feature. Wise flipped on lap
14 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Kaeding, Laps 3-25 Spencer.
USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-Wise-1,515; 2-L.Jones-1,431;
3-Darland-1,385; 4-Neely-1,313; 5-Hagen-1,206; 6-Bryan Clauson-1,196;
7-Coons-1,068; 8-Stanbrough-901; 9-Short-824; 10-Jay Drake-800.
USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-Kruseman-1,820; 2-Gardner-1,738;
3-T.Jones-1,645; 4-Spencer-1,620; 5-Sheridan-1,519; 6-Miller-1,166;
7-R.Williams-1,161; 8-David Cardey-992; 9-Josh Ford-971; 10-Gaunt-869.
NEXT USAC NATIONAL & USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: November 3 ? Perris (CA) Auto Speedway ? 11th ?Budweiser Oval Nationals?