RYAN BERNAL WINS TWO IN A ROW AT TULARE
by Lance Jennings
TULARE, CA MARCH 17, 2013... Hollister's Ryan Bernal had a weekend to remember at Tulare's Thunderbowl Raceway. Bernal not only claimed back-to-back features at the lightning fast 1/3-mile oval, he also swept the Saturday night program. The former Rookie of the Year led all 25-laps to claim his series leading eleventh career USAC West Coast Sprint Car main event and was followed by Richard Vander Weerd, Bud Kaeding, Austin Liggett, and Jace Vander Weerd.
By virtue of winning the 6-lap Woodland Auto Display Dash, Ryan Bernal started from the pole position.
Driving Keith Ford's #73 King Racing Products / A&A Precision Machine Spike, the young driver powered by "The Bakersfield Bullet" Rusty Carlile into the first turn. The leader was streaking away from the pack as Carlile was under attack from Kaeding, Richard Vander Weerd, and Markus Niemela.
The tricky surface had drivers searching high and low for the best traction. After an early caution halted the feature, Kaeding applied heavy pressure for the top spot. The defending champion slid into the lead, but Bernal successfully countered and retook command. Finding his groove, Ryan began to inch away from the field as Niemela traded second with Kaeding. By lap fifteen, Richard Vander Weerd made it a three-way clash for the runner-up position. The trio diced for several laps and Vander Weerd charged forward into second.
With the laps winding down, Bernal encountered slower traffic and had a tense moment. After contact with another car, Ryan was able to keep his car moving and maintained the lead. The yellow flag was displayed and his advantage was erased. Vander Weerd, Kaeding, Niemela, and Liggett had another shot to advance, but Bernal had a great restart. Niemela faded back with driveline problems and Ryan claimed victory on this night.
In addition to the main event win, Ryan Bernal also scored the Saldana Racing Products / Keizer Wheels Heat Race #3 triumph. To date, the two-time Santa Maria Champion has two heat race victories, four top-five finishes, and 72 feature laps led on the year. Ryan will be looking to add Bakersfield to his win list this Saturday night.
After battling with Kaeding and Niemela, Visalia's Richard Vander Weerd ran second at the checkered flags. Driving the family owned #10 Vander Weerd Construction / Battery Worx Maxim, the former champion was second to his twin brother in his heat race and claimed fourth in the Dash. Heading to Bakersfield fifth in points, Richard has one heat race victory, one semi-main win, two hard charger awards, and six top-10 finishes on the season.
Bud Kaeding of Campbell briefly took the lead from Bernal, but came home third in Junior Bowman's #29 Buster & Ziggy Enterprises / Kaeding Performance Bullet. The defending champion had a solid night at Tulare by winning the DJ Safety Heat Race #2 and taking third in the Dash after starting sixth. The 3-time USAC Silver Crown Champion is second in the standings with two heat race victories, one dash win, and four top-10 finishes in 2013.
Tracy's Austin Liggett charged from tenth to score fourth at Tulare's Thunderbowl Raceway. Racing the family owned #83 Excel Environmental Services / Home Connections Inc. Maxim, Liggett placed third in his heat race and sits ninth in the championship points. Last season's Rookie of the Year scored a Spec Sprint victory at Chico and will be making his first Bakersfield start on Saturday.
For the second night in a row, Jace Vander Weerd of Visalia claimed fifth in the main event. Piloting the family owned #88 Vander Weerd Construction / Battery Worx Maxim, Vander Weerd won the 8-lap Extreme Mufflers Heat Race #1 and ran sixth in the Dash. The former USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year is third in the points and will also be making his first Bakersfield start on Saturday.
Mariposa's Andy Ferris earned the BR Motorsports / Racing Optics "Hard Charger / Best Passing Job honors with a ninth place run after starting nineteenth. The pilot of the Jaye Ferris' #4J Sponsors Needed Jon Boy was collected in a lap fourteen tangle and made two charges to the front. Scoring seventh in his heat race, the veteran driver is eleventh in points and has returned to USAC West Coast action.
The USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series will head to Bakersfield Speedway this Saturday, March 23rd. The action packed showcase will also feature Hobby Stocks and American Stocks. Advance tickets are on sale and for more information, visit www.bakersfieldspeedway.com or call 661.393.3373.
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 email@example.com.
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).
USAC WEST COAST SPRINT RACE RESULTS:
March 16, 2013 Tulare, California Thunderbowl Raceway
EXTREME MUFFLERS HEAT RACE 1: (8 laps)
1. Jace Vander Weerd (#88 Vander Weerd), 2. Richard Vander Weerd (#10 Vander Weerd), 3. Chris Ennis (#86 Ennis), 4. Marty Hawkins (#3M Hawkins), 5. Joe Stornetta (#3F Finkenbinder), 6. Jim Richardson (#8 Richardson), 7. Kolby Araki (#30K Araki). NT
DJ SAFETY HEAT RACE 2: (8 laps)
1. Bud Kaeding (#29 Bowman), 2. Landon Hurst (#179 Hurst), 3. Rusty Carlile (#51 Carlile), 4. Jonathan Logan (#32 Evett/Logan), 5. Brody Roa (#91R BR), 6. Matt Day (#97 Day), 7. Andy Ferris (#4J Ferris). NT
SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS / KEIZER WHEELS HEAT RACE 3 : (8 laps)
1. Ryan Bernal (#73 Ford), 2. Markus Niemela (#81 Watt), 3. Austin Liggett (#83 Liggett), 4. Danny Faria Jr. (#17V Faria), 5. Ricky Kirkbride (#87 Van Meter), 6. Kevin Barnes (#36B Barnes), 7. Jeff Sibley (#18 Watt). NT
WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY DASH: (6 laps)
1. Ryan Bernal, 2. Rusty Carlile, 3. Bud Kaeding, 4. Richard Vander Weerd, 5. Markus Niemela, 6. Jace Vander Weerd, 7. Chris Ennis, 8. Landon Hurst. NT
FEATURE: (25 laps - With Starting Positions)
1. Ryan Bernal (1st), 2. Richard Vander Weerd (4th), 3. Bud Kaeding (3rd), 4. Austin Liggett (10th), 5. Jace Vander Weerd (6th), 6. Danny Faria Jr. (9th), 7. Brody Roa (14th), 8. Jonathan Logan (13th), 9. Andy Ferris (19th), 10. Ricky Kirkbride (15th), 11. Marty Hawkins (12th), 12. Landon Hurst (8th), 13. Jim Richardson (17th), 14. Kevin Barnes (16th), 15. Matt Day (18th), 16. Markus Niemela (5th), 17. Chris Ennis (7th), 18. Joe Stornetta (11th), 19. Rusty Carlile (2nd), 20. Jeff Sibley (20th). NT
**Kolby Araki flipped during the first heat.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-25 Ryan Bernal.
BR MOTORSPORTS / RACING OPTICS HARD CHARGER: Andy Ferris (19th to 9th)
USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS:
1-Ryan Bernal-134, 2-Bud Kaeding-124, 3-Jace Vander Weerd-111, 4-Danny Faria Jr.-108, 5-Richard Vander Weerd-95, 6-Markus Niemela-93, 7-Ricky Kirkbride-86, 8-Landon Hurst-83, 9-Austin Liggett-80, 10-Marty Hawkins-79, 11-Andy Ferris-76, 12-Jonathan Logan-69, 13-Rusty Carlile-65, 14-Jim Richardson-61, 15-Chris Ennis-59, 16-Jeff Sibley-51, 17-Brody Roa-46, 18-Joe Stornetta-39, 19-Kolby Araki-30, 20-Kevin Barnes-28.
2013 USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR SERIES SCHEDULE
DATE - TRACK - LOCATION
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.