RICKY KIRKBRIDE WINS FIRST BAKERSFIELD FEATURE
By Lance Jennings
BAKERSFIELD, CA – JUNE 21, 2010… "The Rickster" Ricky Kirkbride led every lap to score his first feature win in front of his hometown fans at the Bakersfield Speedway. For Kirkbride, the win brought some redemption as he faced a similar scenario when the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series last competed at Bakersfield. On May 29th, Ricky started on the pole position and led the first fourteen laps before falling to point leader Craig Stidham, who started seventh.
This time around, both drivers would start the main event in the same spots. After a few failed starts in the feature, Kirkbride grabbed the lead in Bob & Toni Van Meter's Fred Cummings Motorsports #87 Maxim. Favoring the low line of the Bakersfield clay, "The Rickster" was able to stretch his advantage to half a straightway over the field. Stidham had worked his way to second and chipped away at Ricky's lead as they worked through lapped traffic.
A yellow flag was brought out after twenty-eight green flag laps for Davey Pombo, who spun to a stop. Once action resumed, Ricky continued to hit his marks on the track's bottom groove, but developed a late race "push" condition. As the checkered flags flew, the leader "pushed" to the outside coming out of turn four. This allowed Stidham one last opportunity to take the win away from the young driver at the finish line. Craig gave a valiant effort, but it was Ricky's night. "It feels really great to get that first win," remarked Kirkbride. "Hopefully it will not be the last."
The main event win vaulted Kirkbride to thirteenth in the series point standings. After a terrible crash at Tulare's season opener knocked him out of competition for five events, Ricky has four top-10 finishes in just six starts. The 2008 Kings Speedway Rookie of the Year was eighth quick in time trials and fourth in his heat race. To date, Kirkbride has one heat race win and one hard charger award on the season.
With a runner-up finish, point leader Craig Stidham of Fresno has ten top-10 finishes on the year. The pilot of the Brad Johnson Trucking / KRC Safety #3S Maxim was second quick in time trials and finished third in his heat race. Starting seventh in the feature, the former Trophy Cup champion chased down Kirkbride and fell short at the checkered flags. That drive earned Craig his first King Racing Products Hard Charger award of the season. Now with a sixty-three point advantage over Davey Pombo, Stidham has four feature wins, one fast time award, and leads all competitors with six heat race victories. "Sometimes you have got to run second," said Stidham. "He (Kirkbride) did a good job and white knuckled up."
Justyne Hamblin of Hanford scored a third place finish in the feature after starting fifth. Driving the JH Motorsports / Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino #8 Speed Tech entry, Hamblin was fourth quick in time trials and finished second in her heat race. The defending series champion is now fourth in the point chase and has one feature win, two heat race wins, nine top-10 finishes, and two hard charger awards on the season. "Towards the middle to the end of the race, the car was working a lot better and we were moving forward." remarked Hamblin.
Fresno's T.J. Smith drove Steve LeGras' UHL Rubber #14 Maxim to a fourth place finish at Bakersfield. Smith was fifth quick in time trials and finished second in his heat race to Danny Faria Jr.. The former Plaza Park track champion is third in the point standings with nine top-10 finishes and one fast time award in the 2010 campaign. "We did the best that we could do," said Smith. "It could have been better, but it could have been a lot worse."
Adam Frith-Smith of O'Neals had his best run of the 2010 season with a fifth place finish after starting ninth. The pilot of the MJF Transport / Cunningham-Davis Corporation #62 Gambler was ninth quick in time trials and seventh in his heat race. In limited action with the USAC West Coast 360 Sprints, Frith-Smith is twenty-fourth in the point chase.
Kerman's Davey Pombo earned his second Sander Engineering Fast Time award of the season over the fourteen car field. Driving Junior Bowman's Buster & Ziggy #3 Bullet, Pombo finished third in his heat race. Starting eighth in the main event, the former Bandit Sprint Car champion worked his way up to the third spot until a late race spin on lap twenty-eight. Pombo rebounded to finish eighth and score his tenth top-10 finish of the year. Sitting second in the point standings, Davey has one feature win, one heat race victory, and one hard charger award.
Tipton's "Hollywood" Danny Faria Jr. won his fourth heat race of the 2010 campaign and earned $150 in certificates from Extreme Mufflers and Keizer Wheels. Driving the May Motorsports / Don Berry Construction #8M Maxim, "Hollywood" was third fast in time trials and started sixth in the main event. Unfortunately, Faria was involved in an early tangle that flipped his machine and ended his night. Danny is seventh in the point chase with one feature win, three fast time awards, four top-10 finishes, and one hard charger award.
"The Bakersfield Bullet" Rusty Carlile claimed his second heat race win of the season and $125 in certificates from BR Motorsports, Saldana Racing Products, and Keizer Wheels. The pilot of the Southwest Contractors / N.T.S. Incorporated #51 Bullet was sixth quick in time trials and started third in the feature. "The Bakersfield Bullet" raced to the second spot but could not catch Kirkbride. Rusty battled tough with Craig Stidham, Justyne Hamblin, and Davey Pombo to stay in the top four until a late race incident knocked him out of the feature. Scored with an eleventh place finish, Carlile is sixth in the point standings. The Cotton Classic winner has one fast time award, eight top 10-finishes, and one hard charger award on the season.
The USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series would like to thank Southwest Contractors, Hoosier Tire, Amsoil, BR Motorsports, Competition Suspension, Cory Kruseman's Sprint Car & Midget Driving School, Crow Enterprizes, DJ Safety, Extreme Mufflers, Hilborn Fuel Injection, Hinchman-Indy Racing Uniforms, Integra Shocks, Kaeding Performance, Keizer Wheels, King Racing Products, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Port City Racing, Saferacer.com, Saldana Racing Products, and Sander Engineering for their support.
Round 12 for the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series will be this Saturday, June 26th, at the Santa Maria Speedway. Joining the powerful Sprint Cars are the Papich Construction IMCA Modifieds, MMI Services Hobby Stocks, and Powder Puff Mini Stocks. The Front Gates will open at 3:00pm, Time Trials will start at 5:00pm, with Racing at 6:00pm. Adult tickets are $16, Senior, Military, and Student tickets are $14, Kids tickets (6-12) are $5, and Children’s tickets (5 and under) are FREE. For event information, please visit www.racesantamariaspeedway.com,
For more information on the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series, please visit westcoastsprintcars.com, usacracing.com, racesantamariaspeedway.com, or follow the series on facebook.
USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT RACE RESULTS:
Bakersfield Speedway - Bakersfield, California
June 19, 2010
SANDER ENGINEERING TIME TRIALS:
1. Davey Pombo, 3, Bowman-13.375; 2. Craig Stidham, 3S, Stidham-13.664; 3. Danny Faria Jr., 8M, May-13.733; 4. Justyne Hamblin, 8, JH-13.782; 5. T.J. Smith, 14, LeGras-13.786; 6. Rusty Carlile, 51, Carlile-13.958; 7. Koen Shaw, 88K, Shaw-13.973; 8. Ricky Kirkbride, 87, Van Meter-13.988; 9. Adam Frith-Smith, 62, Frith-Smith-14.067; 10. Chris Ennis, 86, Ennis-14.080; 11. Jesse Mack, 71M, Gilbert/Mack-14.151; 12. Geoffrey Strole, 09S, Strole-14.439; 13. Jeff Gardner, 51T, Revcon-14.585; 14. Matt Day, 97, Day-14.602.
EXTREME MUFFLERS / KEIZER WHEELS HEAT RACE 1: (8 laps)
1. Danny Faria Jr., 2. T.J. Smith, 3. Davey Pombo, 4. Koen Shaw, 5. Jesse Mack, 6. Jeff Gardner, 7. Adam Frith-Smith. NT.
BR MOTORSPORTS / SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS HEAT RACE 2: (8 laps)
1. Rusty Carlile, 2. Justyne Hamblin, 3. Craig Stidham, 4. Ricky Kirkbride, 5. Chris Ennis, 6. Matt Day, 7. Geoffrey Strole. NT.
FEATURE: (30 laps - With Starting Positions)
1. Ricky Kirkbride (1st), 2. Craig Stidham (7th), 3. Justyne Hamblin (5th), 4. T.J. Smith (4th), 5. Adam Frith-Smith (9th), 6. Chris Ennis (10th), 7. Koen Shaw (2nd), 8. Davey Pombo (8th), 9. Jeff Gardner (13th), 10. Geoffrey Strole (12th), 11. Rusty Carlile (3rd), 12. Jesse Mack (11th), 13. Danny Faria Jr. (6th). NT.
**Danny Faria Jr. flipped during the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS:
Laps 1-30 Ricky Kirkbride.
NEXT USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT RACE:
June 26 – Santa Maria, CA - Santa Maria Speedway
USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS:
1. Craig Stidham 650; 2. Davey Pombo 587; 3. T.J. Smith 534; 4. Justyne Hamblin 527; 5. Peter Murphy 503; 6. Rusty Carlile 473; 7. Danny Faria Jr. 440; 8. Chris Ennis 387; 9. Jace VanderWeerd 382; 10. Richard VanderWeerd 329; 11. Andy Ferris 322; 12. Jonathan Logan 259; 13. Ricky Kirkbride 258; 14. Geoffrey Strole 249; 15. Jesse Mack 243; 16. Wes Gutierrez 234; 17. Danny Sheridan 222; 18. Albert Pombo 191; 19. Jimmy Thompson 187; 20. Dean Alexander 166.