West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series

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by Lance Jennings

LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 8, 2013... Noblesville, Indiana's Bryan Clauson continued his hot streak by leading the final three laps to claim the "Sin City Showdown" at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. The $2,500 "Grudge Series" victory was Clauson's fourth triumph in five starts with the USAC West Coast and Southwest Sprint Cars. R.J. Johnson, Richard Vander Weerd, Rusty Carlile, and Shon Deskins rounded out the top-five finishers.

From the pole position, Carlile fought off early challenges from Johnson and Clauson to take command of the race. Looking for his first main event win since October 2009, the veteran driver set a fast pace as the other eighteen cars battled for position. With track conditions changing and drivers searching for racing room, Rusty was inching away from the field.

By the fifth circuit, Ryan Bernal had slipped into second from his sixth starting spot. The former Rookie of the Year was running strong and began to reel in the leader. Close behind, third and fourth running Johnson and Clauson were looking to join the fray. Driving through some ruts, Carlile continued to hit his marks as Bernal was within striking distance. Two laps later, Clauson had dropped Johnson to fourth and prepared to attack Bernal.

With the laps counting down, Rusty held tough but a lap twelve miscue opened the door for Bernal and Clauson. Streaking down the front straightaway, both drivers motored past Carlile and they battled for the lead. Reaching slower traffic, Bernal emerged with the top spot and began to stretch his advantage. The battle for sixth was heating up between Vander Weerd and Deskins with Charles Davis Jr. in close pursuit.

Bernal sliced through traffic at will and earned a sizable lead until a lap twenty-two heartbreak. While making a move past a slower car, Ryan's machine spun around to a stop and brought out a caution flag. Bernal was able to restart and Clauson inherited the lead. The defending USAC National Sprint Car Champion set the pace, but second running Johnson had other ideas. R.J.'s move did not work as Clauson maintained the point. On the white flag lap, Clauson bobbled in the west turns and Johnson had one last shot. Coming for the checkered flags, the move fell short and the night belonged to Bryan Clauson.

Driving Mike Martin's #16B Ultimate Offroad / Naquin Precision Earth Moving Maxim, Bryan Clauson is making the best of his early season "western swing." In addition to his fourth 360 powered win, the Winter Challenge Champion has already scored two USAC Western Midget victories and one USAC/CRA main event. At Las Vegas, Clauson placed third in his heat race and currently leads the "Grudge Series" point chase. To date, Bryan has three heat race victories and 72 feature laps led.

Phoenix, Arizona's R.J. Johnson finished second at Las Vegas and is enjoying a great start to his 2013 campaign. Piloting the Michaels Racing #77M Dan Goodman Enterprises / Beal's Auto Body Sherman, the second generation driver has one West Coast/Southwest victory and won last Saturday's USAC/CRA "Copper On Dirt" at Canyon Speedway Park. Johnson won the night's Saldana Racing Products / Keizer Wheels Heat Race #3 and ranks second in the "Grudge Series."

Richard Vander Weerd of Visalia, California earned the night's BR Motorsports / Racing Optics "Hard Charger / Best Passing Job” honors with a third place finish after starting ninth. Making his first Las Vegas start in the family owned #10 Vander Weerd Construction / Battery Worx Maxim, the former USAC West Coast Champion claimed fourth in his heat race. Vander Weerd has five top-10 finishes in the young season and sits third in "Grudge Series" standings.

After leading the first thirteen laps, Bakersfield, California's Rusty Carlile scored fourth at the checkered flags. Racing his brand new #51 Southwest Contractors / NTS Incorporated Bullet, Carlile ran second in his heat race and is currently fourth in the 3-race mini-series. The former Cotton Classic winner will have his sights on claiming next week's West Coast doubleheader at Tulare's Thunderbowl Raceway.

Claiming fifth after starting eighth in the "Sin City Showdown" was Shon Deskins of Phoenix, Arizona. Making his first Las Vegas start behind the wheel of his #20 Performance Plus / Ellis Race Cars entry, Deskins won the program's Extreme Mufflers Heat Race #1. Now fifth in the "Grudge Series" points, Shon will race in the March 16th Southwest "Championship Opener" at Canyon Speedway Park.

Hollister, California's Ryan Bernal won the night's 8-lap DJ Safety Heat Race #2. Piloting Keith Ford's #73 King Racing Products / A&A Precision Machine Spike, Bernal was on his way to victory until late race problems took him out of contention. Scoring twelfth in the feature, the 2-time Santa Maria Champion will also compete with the USAC/CRA Sprints in the Josh Ford Motorsports entry.

The USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series will be ready for two nights of action starting next Friday, March 15th, at Tulare, California's Thunderbowl Raceway. The action packed card will also showcase the famed World of Outlaw Sprint Cars and IMCA Modifieds (Friday only). Advance tickets are on sale and for more information, visit www.tularethunderbowl.com or call 559.688.0909.

The USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series would like to thank Southwest Contractors, Hoosier Tire, Amsoil, BR Motorsports, Chris Kearns Presents, Competition Suspension Inc., DJ Safety, Diversified Machine Inc., Extreme Mufflers, Five Star Grafix, Keizer Wheels, King Racing Products, Racing Optics, Rod End Supply, SBI Fuel Systems, 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 for the upcoming season, please email PR Director Lance Jennings at lwjennings@earthlink.net.

For more information on the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series, visit www.westcoastsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, or follow the series on Facebook (www.facebook.com/#!/pages/USAC-West-Coast-Sprint-Car-Series/369549755817). 

March 7, 2013 – Las Vegas, Nevada – Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track – “Sin City Showdown” 

1. Shon Deskins (#20 Deskins), 2. Rusty Carlile (#51 Carlile), 3. Mike Martin (#16 Martin), 4. Charles Davis Jr. (#50 Massey), 5. Bruce St. James (#7K St. James), 6. Colby Copeland (#74 Williams), 7. James Aragon (#94 Aragon). NT

DJ SAFETY HEAT RACE 2: (8 laps) 
1. Ryan Bernal (#73 Ford), 2. Stevie Sussex (#1AZ Sussex), 3. Bud Kaeding (#29 Bowman), 4. Richard Vander Weerd (#10 Vander Weerd), 5. Jace Vander Weerd (#88 Vander Weerd), 6. Trevor Cooper (#89K Kruseman). NT

1. R.J. Johnson (#77M Michaels), 2. Mike Spencer (#7M Priestley), 3. Bryan Clauson (#16B Martin), 4. Cory Kruseman (#21K Kruseman), 5. Brody Roa (#91 BR), 6. Andy Reinbold (#19 Underwood). NT

FEATURE: (25 laps - With Starting Positions) 
1. Bryan Clauson (3rd), 2. R.J. Johnson (2nd), 3. Richard Vander Weerd (9th), 4. Rusty Carlile (1st), 5. Shon Deskins (8th), 6. Charles Davis Jr. (11th), 7. Cory Kruseman (12th), 8. Bruce St. James (13th), 9. Bud Kaeding (10th), 10. Mike Martin (5th), 11. Brody Roa (15th), 12. Ryan Bernal (6th), 13. Jace Vander Weerd (14th), 14. Mike Spencer (4th), 15. Andy Reinbold (17th), 16. Trevor Cooper (16th), 17. Colby Copeland (18th), 18. James Aragon (19th), 19. Stevie Sussex (7th). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-13 Rusty Carlile, Laps 14-22 Ryan Bernal, Laps 23-25 Bryan Clauson.
BR MOTORSPORTS / RACING OPTICS HARD CHARGER: Richard Vander Weerd (9th to 3rd)
March 15: Thunderbowl Raceway - Tulare, CA 
March 16: Thunderbowl Raceway - Tulare, CA 
March 23: Bakersfield Speedway - Bakersfield, CA
April 13: Thunderbowl Raceway - Tulare, CA 
April 20: Thunderbowl Raceway - Tulare, CA 
April 27: Bakersfield Speedway - Bakersfield, CA
May 11: Kings Speedway - Hanford, CA (Billet Cup)
June 8: Kings Speedway - Hanford, CA
June 22: Santa Maria Speedway - Santa Maria, CA (Bud Stanfield Memorial)
July 6: Santa Maria Speedway - Santa Maria, CA (Doug Fort Memorial)
July 20: Kings Speedway - Hanford, CA 
August 3: Kings Speedway - Hanford, CA (Jim Evett Memorial)
September 7: Bakersfield Speedway - Bakersfield, CA
September 20: Kings Speedway - Hanford, CA (Jim Turner Memorial)
September 21: Thunderbowl Raceway - Tulare, CA (John Anthony Sharp Memorial)
September 28: *Canyon Speedway Park - Peoria, AZ (Brawl For It All / $2,500-to-Win / Grudge Series / Non-Points)
October 12: Kings Speedway - Hanford, CA (Cotton Classic)
October 31: *Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Oval Nationals / $2,500-to-Win / Grudge Series / Non-Points)
November 14: *Canyon Speedway Park - Peoria, AZ (Western World Championships / Non-Points)
November 15: *Canyon Speedway Park - Peoria, AZ (Western World Championships / Non-Points)
November 16: *Canyon Speedway Park - Peoria, AZ (Western World Championships / $7,500-to-Win / Non-Points)
* = Co-Sanctioned Event With USAC Southwest Sprints.
This schedule is subject to change.