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RICHARD VANDER WEERD TAMES THE THUNDERBOWL
by Lance Jennings

TULARE, CA – APRIL 14, 2013... Visalia’s Richard Vander Weerd continued his recent string of success by claiming his tenth career USAC West Coast Sprint Car victory. The 2011 Champion led all 30-laps at Tulare’s Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway for his second win of the campaign. Ryan Bernal, Jace Vander Weerd, Markus Niemela, and Bud Kaeding followed Vander Weerd to the checkered flags.

Piloting the family owned #10 Vander Weerd Construction / Battery Worx Maxim, Richard Vander Weerd shook free from twin brother Jace, Niemela, and mid race pressure from Danny Faria Jr. Unfazed after several red and caution flags, Richard ran strong all night and earned the Tulare victory. Earlier in the program, Vander Weerd scored his ninth career Weld Racing Fast Time Award, ran third in his heat race, and placed second in the dash. To date, Richard has one heat race victory, one semi-main win, eight top-10 finishes, two hard charger awards, and 59 feature laps led. Richard has climbed to third in points as the series returns to Tulare on Saturday.

Ryan Bernal of Hollister earned the BR Motorsports / Racing Optics "Hard Charger / Best Passing Job” honors with a second place run after starting fifteenth. Racing Keith Ford's #73 King Racing Products / A&A Precision Machine Spike, Bernal flipped in time trials and dominated the Saldana Racing Products / Keizer Wheels Heat Race #3. Starting near the back, the former Rookie of the Year valiantly charged to the front and claimed second in a hard fought main event. Heading to next weekend’s action, Ryan holds a 21 point lead with two feature wins, three heat race victories, one dash win, seven top-10 finishes, and 39 feature laps led.

After winning his first 6-lap Woodland Auto Display Dash, Visalia's Jace Vander Weerd came home third in the Tulare feature. Driving the family owned #88 Vander Weerd Construction / Battery Worx Maxim, Jace was third fast in time trials and fourth in his heat race. The former USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year battled hard to stay up front and fell back to sixth before making a late surge forward. Vander Weerd is currently fourth in the standings with one heat race victory and four top-10 finishes to his credit.

Markus Niemela of Rauma, Finland scored fourth after running second for the majority of the feature. Piloting Steve Watt’s Steve Watt's #81 Christian Stover Foundation / Steve Watt Enterprises Maxim, Niemela qualified second, ran fifth in his heat race, and claimed third in the dash. The hard charging driver challenged Vander Weerd for the lead after several restarts before fading back in the closing laps. As this writing goes to press, Markus has moved to sixth in the championship points with one heat race victory, two top-10 finishes, and 10 feature laps led on the year.

Campbell’s Bud Kaeding battled back from ninth to claim fifth at the checkered flags. Racing Junior Bowman's #29 Buster & Ziggy Enterprises / Kaeding Performance Bullet, Kaeding was fifth quick, second in his heat race, and fifth in the dash. The defending champion was battling for third in the main event before falling back in the closing laps. Currently, Bud is second in the point chase with two heat race victories, one dash win, and six top-10 finishes on the season.

“Hollywood” Danny Faria of Tipton won the program's 10-lap Extreme Mufflers Heat Race #1. Driving his #17V DeBoer & Sons Trucking / Johnston Calf Pens Spike, Faria qualified seventh and ran fourth in the dash. “Hollywood” made a three-wide battle for the lead with Niemela and Vander Weerd before a flat left rear tire on lap 16 knocked him out of contention. With fresh rubber, Danny charged from the back to take sixth at the checkered flags. Heading to Saturday, Faria is fifth in the point standings with four top-10 finishes and 1 feature lap led.

San Diego’s “The Wild Child” Chris Ennis claimed his first heat race victory of the year in the program’s DJ Safety Heat Race #2. Piloting his #86 Spy Optics / Bell Helmets 777 entry, Ennis qualified fourteenth overall and scored sixteenth in the feature after a flip ended his night. Uninjured, the future college graduate has climbed to tenth in points heading to Saturday’s action.

The USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series will return to action this Saturday, April 20th, at Tulare's Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway. The popular IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Stock Cars will join the night’s showcase. 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, Kaeding Performance, Keizer Wheels, King Racing Products, Racing Optics, Rod End Supply, Rugged Radios, 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 in 2013, 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).
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USAC WEST COAST SPRINT RACE RESULTS:
April 13, 2013 – Tulare, California – Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway

WELD RACING TIME TRIALS:
1. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-15.484; 2. Markus Niemela, 81, Watt-15.526; 3. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-15.626; 4. Austin Liggett, 83, Liggett-15.814; 5. Bud Kaeding, 29, Bowman-15.885; 6. Dennis Howell, 62, Howell-16.057; 7. Danny Faria Jr., 17V, Faria-16.069; 8. Andy Ferris, 4J, Ferris-16.179; 9. Ricky Kirkbride, 87, Van Meter- 16.200; 10. Kevin Barnes, 36B, Barnes-16.451; 11. Tom Hendricks, 14K, Kruseman-16.456; 12. Marty Hawkins, 3M, Hawkins-16.490; 13. Rusty Carlile, 51, Carlile-16.637; 14. Chris Ennis, 86, Ennis-16.752; 15. Jeff Sibley, 18, Watt-17.008; 16. Trent Carter, 13, Carter-17.019; 17. Matt Day, 97, Day-17.282; 18. Ryan Bernal, 73, Ford-NT.

EXTREME MUFFLERS HEAT RACE 1: (10 laps)
1. Danny Faria Jr., 2. Rusty Carlile, 3. Richard Vander Weerd, 4. Austin Liggett, 5. Kevin Barnes, 6. Trent Carter. NT

DJ SAFETY HEAT RACE 2: (10 laps)
1. Chris Ennis, 2. Bud Kaeding, 3. Andy Ferris, 4. Tom Hendricks, 5. Markus Niemela, 6. Matt Day. NT

SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS / KEIZER WHEELS HEAT RACE 3: (10 laps)
1. Ryan Bernal, 2. Marty Hawkins, 3. Ricky Kirkbride, 4. Jace Vander Weerd, 5. Jeff Sibley, 6. Dennis Howell. NT.

WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY DASH: (6 laps)
1. Jace Vander Weerd, 2. Richard Vander Weerd, 3. Markus Niemela, 4. Danny Faria Jr., 5. Bud Kaeding, 6. Austin Liggett, 7. Ricky Kirkbride, 8. Andy Ferris. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps - With Starting Positions)
1. Richard Vander Weerd (2nd), 2. Ryan Bernal (15th), 3. Jace Vander Weerd (1st), 4. Markus Niemela (3rd), 5. Bud Kaeding (5th), 6. Danny Faria Jr. (4th), 7. Dennis Howell (16th), 8. Rusty Carlile (12th), 9. Trent Carter (17th), 10. Andy Ferris (8th), 11. Tom Hendricks (10th), 12. Jeff Sibley (14th), 13. Kevin Barnes (9th), 14. Matt Day (18th), 15. Marty Hawkins (11th), 16. Chris Ennis (13th), 17. Ricky Kirkbride (7th), 18. Austin Liggett (6th). NT
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**Ryan Bernal flipped during qualifications.
**Austin Liggett and Chris Ennis flipped during the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Richard Vander Weerd.
BR MOTORSPORTS / RACING OPTICS HARD CHARGER: Ryan Bernal (15th to 2nd)

USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS:
1-Ryan Bernal-263, 2-Bud Kaeding-242, 3-Richard Vander Weerd-238, 4-Jace Vander Weerd-232, 5-Danny Faria Jr.-216, 6-Markus Niemela-177, 7-Rusty Carlile-164, 8-Ricky Kirkbride-152, 9-Austin Liggett-139, 10-Chris Ennis-130.

2013 USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR SERIES SCHEDULE
DATE - TRACK - LOCATION
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)
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* = Co-Sanctioned Event With USAC Southwest Sprints.
This schedule is subject to change.