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By Lance Jennings

TULARE, CA – OCTOBER 5, 2010… Visalia's Richard VanderWeerd scored his first main event win of the year at Tulare's Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway. With last Saturday's $2000 victory, VanderWeerd became the twelfth different driver to win in twenty races with the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series.

Billed as "Sprinting For The Cure," race organizers partnered with the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino and Southwest Contractors to raise funds and awareness for Breast Cancer Research. The season point finale also featured a tight battle for the series championship between Craig Stidham and Davey Pombo. Entering the race, Stidham held a twenty-six point advantage and the title would be decided after the night's final checkered flag.

Bakersfield's Rusty Carlile set the pace of the main event alongside Jonathan Logan of Hanford. With both veteran drivers looking for their first win, Carlile had a rocket start past the former SCRA 360 champion. Entering turn one, second row starters Richard VanderWeerd and Bud Kaeding dropped Logan to fourth. 
Logan's problems continued as Wes Gutierrez, Peter Murphy, and "Hollywood" Danny Faria slipped by. Gutierrez took third from Kaeding and challenged VanderWeerd for second. As the first lap was completed, it was Carlile with VanderWeerd and Gutierrez side by side, Kaeding, Murphy, and a three wide battle between Faria, Logan, and Jace VanderWeerd.

In turn one, Gutierrez slipped under Richard VanderWeerd for second as Murphy followed on the bottom groove looking for third. VanderWeerd held the position and Kaeding reclaimed fourth from Murphy. On the third circuit, VanderWeerd mounted a charge past Gutierrez for second and powered by Carlile for the lead before reaching the start-finish line. Kaeding immediately charged to third, dropping Gutierrez to fourth.

On lap five, third place Rusty Carlile tagged the back of Kaeding in turn three, spinning his machine in front of the field and collecting fifth place Peter Murphy. Murphy flipped his pink "Breast Cancer Awareness Car" and action was halted. The Tarlton crew made repairs and Murphy rejoined the field. Carlile was done for the night and recorded a thirteenth place finish.

As racing resumed, Richard VanderWeerd was in command followed by Kaeding, Gutierrez, Jace VanderWeerd, and Craig Stidham. As the laps clicked off, Jace VanderWeerd who started tenth took third from Gutierrez. On the tenth circuit, Gutierrez slowed to a stop, bringing out a yellow flag. Drizzling rain threatened the remaining laps of the feature with the caution light displayed on the speedway.

On the restart, Davey Pombo who was charging forward from his twelfth starting spot spun his car, collecting Jeff Gardner and Danny Faria. All three cars were able to restart as Richard VanderWeerd continued to set a fast pace. Kaeding gave chase, but it was VanderWeerd's night leading the rest of the way to record his first victory of 2010. Bud Kaeding was second, followed by Jace VanderWeerd, Craig Stidham, Peter Murphy, and Justyne Hamblin.

Driving the #10 VanderWeerd Construction / Mid Valley Pipe & Supply Maxim, Visalia's Richard VanderWeerd was eighth quick in time trials and fourth in his heat race. VanderWeerd finishes the year seventh in the point standings with one feature victory, one fast time award, two heat race wins, fourteen top-10 performances, one hard charger award, and one semi-main win.

Campbell's Bud Kaeding scored his fourth top-10 finish of the year with the runner-up finish. Piloting the #2 Junior Bowman / Buster & Ziggy Enterprise Bullet, Kaeding was seventh quick in time trials and won the Extreme Mufflers / Keizer Wheels Heat Race #1. In five appearances, the defending USAC Silver Crown champion finishes the year twentieth in the point chase with two feature victories, two heat race wins, and one hard charger award.

After running third, Visalia's Jace VanderWeerd earned his second King Racing Products Hard Charger Award of the year. Driving the #88 VanderWeerd Construction / Mid Valley Pipe & Supply Maxim, VanderWeerd was thirteenth in time trials and third in his heat race. The June 26th Santa Maria winner ends the season ninth in the point standings with three heat race wins and eleven top-10 finishes.

Fresno's Craig Stidham clinched the 2010 series championship with his fourth place finish. Driving a brand new #3S Brad Johnson Trucking / KRC Safety Maxim, Stidham was third quick in time trials and second in his heat race to Bud Kaeding. The former Trophy Cup champion finishes the year with four feature wins, two fast time awards, nine heat race wins, eighteen top-10 performances, and one hard charger award.

Clovis' Peter Murphy rebounded with a fifth place finish after flipping his machine on lap five. Piloting the pink #21 Tarlton & Son Inc. "Breast Cancer Awareness" KPC, Murphy was twelfth quick in time trials and won the BR Motorsports / Saldana Racing Products Heat Race #2. The former SCRA 360 champion finishes the season sixth in the point chase with one fast time award, five heat race wins, thirteen top-10 performances, and two hard charger awards.

Fresno's T.J. Smith earned his fourth Sander Engineering Fast Time Award of the year. Driving the #14 UHL Rubber / K&N Filters Maxim, Smith suffered engine problems in his heat race, effectively ending his night. The former Plaza Park champion ends the season third in the point standings, with four feature victories, three heat race wins, and sixteen top-10 finishes.

Hanford's Geoffrey Strole and Chris Ennis of Bakersfield earned the Keizer Wheels / Competition Suspension Hard Luck Awards on the night. Strole flipped his #09S Strole Farms / Valley Hardwood Flooring Stinger in practice and missed his heat race. The crew was able to make repairs for the feature, where Geoffrey scored a twelfth place finish. Strole is thirteenth in the point chase with one top-10 finish on the year.

Chris Ennis battled power steering problems in his #86 Skarphol Associates / West Olive Welding 777 entry and missed qualifications. The crew made repairs, but the Rookie of the Year contender flipped on the third lap. The car suffered heavy damage and Chris was done for the night. Ennis is eleventh in the point standings with two heat race wins, eight top-10 finishes, and one hard charger award.

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.

On Saturday, October 16th, the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series will compete at the Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford, California. Located on the Kings County Fairgrounds, the "Cotton Classic" is a non-points race that will also feature Winged 410 Sprint Cars. The Front Gates will open at 5:30pm, Qualifying is scheduled for 6:30pm, with Racing to follow. For event information, please visit www.giantchevroletspeedway.com or call (559) 584-RACE (7223).

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. 
Groppetti Automotive Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway - Tulare, California
October 2, 2010 - Race #20 - "Sprinting For The Cure"

1. T.J. Smith, 14, LeGras-15.204; 2. Davey Pombo, 3, Bowman-15.284; 3. Craig Stidham, 3S, Stidham-15.464; 4. Danny Faria Jr., 8M, May-15.582; 5. Justyne Hamblin, 8, JH-15.595; 6. Wes Gutierrez, 007, WG-15.610; 7. Bud Kaeding, 2, Bowman-15.631; 8. Richard VanderWeerd, 10, VanderWeerd-15.704; 9. Jonathan Logan, 32, Evett/Logan-15.710; 10. Rusty Carlile, 51, Carlile-15.723; 11. Jeff Gardner, 51T, Revcon-15.734; 12. Peter Murphy, 21, Tarlton-15.850; 13. Jace VanderWeerd, 88, VanderWeerd-15.858; 14. Geoffrey Strole, 09S, Strole-NT; 15. Chris Ennis, 86, Ennis-NT; 16. Kevin Barnes, 36B Barnes-NT.

1. Bud Kaeding, 2. Craig Stidham, 3. Jace VanderWeerd, 4. Jonathan Logan, 5. Justyne Hamblin, 6. Jeff Gardner, 7. T.J. Smith, 8. Chris Ennis. NT.

1. Peter Murphy, 2. Rusty Carlile, 3. Wes Gutierrez, 4. Richard VanderWeerd, 5. Danny Faria Jr., 6. Davey Pombo, 7. Kevin Barnes. NT.

FEATURE: (30 laps - With Starting Positions)
1. Richard VanderWeerd (3rd), 2. Bud Kaeding (4th), 3. Jace VanderWeerd (10th), 4. Craig Stidham (8th), 5. Peter Murphy (9th), 6. Justyne Hamblin (6th), 7. Wes Gutierrez (5th), 8. Davey Pombo (12th), 9. Jeff Gardner (13th), 10. Danny Faria Jr. (7th), 11. Jonathan Logan (2nd), 12. Geoffrey Strole (14th), 13. Rusty Carlile (1st). NT.
**Geoffrey Strole flipped during practice. 
**Chris Ennis flipped during the first heat. 
**Peter Murphy flipped during the feature.
**T.J. Smith was slated to start 11th, but did not start feature.
**Chris Ennis was slated to start 15th, but did not start feature.
**Kevin Barnes was slated to start 16th, but did not start feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-3 Rusty Carlile, Laps 4-30 Richard VanderWeerd.

KING RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Jace VanderWeerd (10th to 3rd)

1. Craig Stidham 1158; 2. Davey Pombo 1117; 3. T.J. Smith 1025; 4. Justyne Hamblin 959; 5. Danny Faria Jr. 841; 6. Peter Murphy 840; 7. Richard VanderWeerd 823; 8. Rusty Carlile 758; 9. Jace VanderWeerd 735; 10. Wes Gutierrez 624; 11. Chris Ennis 574; 12. Ricky Kirkbride 515; 13. Geoffrey Strole 492; 14. Jonathan Logan 424; 15. Andy Ferris 404; 16. Jared Little 370; 17. Jesse Mack 340; 18. Koen Shaw 328; 19. Jimmy Thompson 318; 20. Bud Kaeding 245.

October 16 – Hanford, CA – Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway - "Cotton Classic"