West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series

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By Lance Jennings

BAKERSFIELD, CA – MARCH 29, 2010… Kerman's Davey Pombo used patience and the experience of a veteran driver to score the Round #3 victory for the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series. The 30-lap main event at Scott Schweitzer's Bakersfield Speedway had intense racing action, changing track conditions, and a new series points leader.

Piloting the Junior Bowman / Buster & Ziggy #3 Bullet, Pombo started in the fifth spot and made some quick moves to take third. Staying within striking distance of early leaders Garrett Ishii of Caruthers and Chris Ennis from Bakersfield, Davey waited for the race to unfold. "I was actually trying to save my right rear tire as the track was starting to put rubber down," said Pombo. "I was leaning pretty hard on it for the last five of six laps."

A tangle on lap 16 between Ennis and Ishii took the early leaders out of contention. Both drivers were able to restart at the tail of the field and battle back to top-10 finishes. This gave the lead to Davey Pombo, who now had to fight off the challenges from Bakersfield's Rusty Carlile and Craig Stidham from Fresno. Davey had some great restarts and put some distance between himself and the field. As the laps clicked off, Carlile and Stidham were closing in, but the 2004 Bandit Sprint Car Champion was too strong and claimed the win. "This is like my home track and I've had real good luck here," said Pombo.

Driving the Southwest Contractors #51 Maxim in front of his hometown fans, Bakersfield's Rusty Carlile finished in the runner-up spot after starting sixth. "We had something there and the car was working good," said Carlile. "This is the best night that I've had here. We had a good time and I'm happy for Davey." 

Craig Stidham switched to a different chassis and drove his Brad Johnson Trucking #3S Maxim to a third place finish after starting seventh. On the strength of solid performances, including a second at Tulare and a sixth at Hanford, the former Trophy Cup champion is now the series point leader. Stidham has a twenty eight point advantage over Danny Faria Jr.

After hurting his primary engine at Hanford, Mariposa's Andy Ferris was looking for a change of luck at Bakersfield. Relying on a backup powerplant in Jaye Ferris' Matt & Glass Race Bodies #4J Eagle, Andy rebounded from an early tangle after starting thirteenth to cross the finish line in fourth. "The car was good," said Ferris. "The crew had the car dialed in so we could drive the car back up to the front."

Another driver looking for a better change of luck was Jonathan Logan of Hanford. The 2006 SCRA 360 Sprint Car Champion started fourteenth and powered the Evett Racing / Mike Downing Engines #32 KB to a fifth place finish. That drive vaulted Logan to seventh in the series point standings.

Tipton's "Hollywood" Danny Faria Jr. set fast time in qualifying over the 19-car field. Visalia’s Dean "Kiwi" Alexander won the first heat race and earned a $100 gift certificate from Extreme Mufflers. In the second heat race, Hanford's Geoffrey Stole had a commanding lead until catching the outside crash wall between turns three and four. The car barrel-rolled several times before coming to rest. Strole walked away uninjured and despite a valiant effort from his crew, the Mark Strole / Valley Hardwood Flooring #09S Stinger was done for the night. Craig Stidham picked up the win and Clovis' Peter Murphy won the third 8-lap heat race in Tom Tarlton's Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino #21 KPC. Defending series champion Justyne Hamblin earned "Best Passing Job" honors on the night as she finished sixth after starting sixteenth in the feature.

The USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series would like to thank Southwest Contractors, Hoosier Tire, Amsoil, BR Motorsports, Cory Kruseman's Sprint Car & Midget Driving School, Crow Enterprizes, DJ Safety, Extreme Mufflers, Hinchman-Indy Racing Uniforms, Integra Shocks, Kaeding Performance, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Port City Racing, and Saferacer.com for their support.

Round 4 for the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series will be Saturday, April 3rd, at The Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California. Joining the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Cars will be the Western States Modifieds. Reserved Grandstand Tickets are $18 and Bleacher Tickets are $15. Advance tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling the track office at (559) 688-0909.

The Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway is located on the Tulare County Fairgrounds at the corner of Bardsley and K Streets in Tulare. For more event information, please visit the track’s website at www.tularethunderbowl.com. 

For more information on the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series, please visit www.racesantamariaspeedway.com, and www.usacracing.com. 
Bakersfield Speedway - Bakersfield, California
March 27, 2010

1. Danny Faria Jr., 17V, Faria-14.108; 2. Craig Stidham, 3S, Stidham-14.186; 3. Rusty Carlile, 51, Carlile-14.295; 4. Davey Pombo, 3, Bowman-14.377; 5. Jimmy Thompson, 71R, Eames-14.438; 6. Jesse Mack, 8M, May-14.446; 7. Justyne Hamblin, 8, JH-14.642; 8. Chris Ennis, 86, Ennis-14.696; 9. Garrett Ishii, 71G, Ishii-14.709; 10. Adam Frith-Smith, 62, Frith-Smith-14.760; 11. T.J. Smith, 14, Legraw-14.765; 12. Peter Murphy, 21, Tarlton-14.986; 13. Dean Alexander, 11, McCowan-15.067; 14. Geoffrey Strole, 09S, Strole-15.082; 15. Matt Day, 97, Day-15.402; 16. Andy Ferris, 4J, Ferris-15.823; 17. Jonathan Logan, 32, Evett/Logan-16.073; 18. Kevin Barnes, 36B, Barnes-16.348; 19. Ray Knight, 99K, Knight-NT.

1. Dean Alexander, 2. Danny Faria Jr., 3. Andy Ferris, 4. Davey Pombo, 5. Ray Knight, 6. Adam Frith-Smith, 7. Justyne Hamblin. NT.

1. Craig Stidham, 2. Chris Ennis, 3. T.J. Smith, 4. Jimmy Thompson, 5. Jonathan Logan, 6. Geoffrey Strole. NT.

HEAT RACE 3: (8 laps) 
1. Peter Murphy, 2. Garrett Ishii, 3. Rusty Carlile, 4. Matt Day, 5. Jesse Mack, 6. Kevin Barnes. NT.

FEATURE: (30 laps - With Starting Positions) 
1. Davey Pombo (5th), 2. Rusty Carlile (6th), 3. Craig Stidham (7th), 4. Andy Ferris (13th), 5. Jonathan Logan (14th), 6. Justyne Hamblin (16th), 7. Chris Ennis (2nd), 8. Garrett Ishii (1st), 9. T.J. Smith (9th), 10. Kevin Barnes (19th), 11. Peter Murphy (10th), 12. Jesse Mack (3rd), 13. Dean Alexander (11th), 14. Jimmy Thompson (4th), 15. Adam Frith-Smith (17th), 16. Matt Day (12th), 17. Ray Knight (15th), 18. Danny Faria Jr. (8th), 19. Geoffrey Strole (DNS-18th). NT.

Laps 1-3 Garrett Ishii, Laps 4-16 Chris Ennis, Laps 17-30 Davey Pombo.

1-Craig Stidham-183; 2-Danny Faria Jr.-155; 3-Garrett Ishii-146; 4-Chris Ennis-141; 5-T.J. Smith-140; 6-Davey Pombo-134; 7-Jonathan Logan-129; 8-Rusty Carlile-123; 9-Andy Ferris-119; 10-Peter Murphy-117.

April 3 – Tulare (CA) Gropetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway