USAC WEST COAST SPRINTS BATTLE AT
WATSONVILLE & CHOWCHILLA
By Lance Jennings
CA – AUGUST 5, 2014... The cars and stars of the USAC West
Coast Sprint Car Series are set to battle the USAC Western
Classic Sprints for two nights of action. This Friday, August
8th, the traditional sprints will invade John Prentice’s Ocean
Speedway in Watsonville. The following night, both groups will
make their debut at Jack Stanford’s Chowchilla Raceway.
RACERS: Watsonville’s Ocean Speedway has a strict 90db at 100
feet state mandated sound rule and the Flowmaster “Suitcase”
(Part 53545-USAC) is the track legal muffler. If the sound
levels are broken, the racer will be disqualified and not
allowed to compete. Per USAC West Coast and Western Classic
rules, all fuel-injected 360s must run the Hoosier 105/16
Medium Right Rear Tire and all four corners must be Hoosier.
Carbureted spec sprints (with starter) are welcome to compete
and use their track legal Hoosier tires. Cockpit adjustable
shocks are NOT allowed and engine restrictor rules are 1-7/8”
with open heads and 2-3/16” with ASCS Spec legal cylinder
heads. The weight rule is 1,475 lbs. with driver and one-way
radios are mandatory. There is a $35 entry fee to all
competitors. The USAC West Coast Sprint Car Rule Book can be
found online at westcoastsprintcars.com and
Friday show for the USAC West Coast and Western Classic
Sprints will be the second race of the year at the Santa Cruz
County Fairgrounds. On May 16th, Ryan Bernal began his winning
streak of five consecutive victories and Markus Niemela set a
new qualifying track record of 12.979. Friday’s “Night at the
races with the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation” will also
showcase American Stocks, IMCA Modifieds, and IMCA Sport Mods.
The Pit Gates will open at 1:00pm, Spectator Gates will open
at 4:30pm, Drivers Meeting at 4:30pm, with Racing scheduled
debut at the Chowchilla Fairgrounds will mark the twelfth
point race of the campaign. While new to both groups, the
semi-banked 3/8-mile oval has hosted sprint cars in the past.
Chowchilla Raceway has featured Bandits, SCRA 360s, Wingless
Spec Sprints, winged 360s, winged 410s, and open competition
shows. On Saturday, the popular Hobby Stocks will share the
spotlight as Gates will open at 2:00pm with Racing scheduled
the doubleheader, Markus Niemela of Rauma, Finland has a
twenty point advantage over the competition. Piloting Keith
Ford’s #73 Berry Pack / King Racing Products Spike, Niemela
placed seventh on July 19th at Ventura Raceway. To date, the
point leader has two Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award,
one heat race victory, ten top-10 finishes, and 12 feature
laps led to his credit. Last season’s USAC/CRA Rookie of the
Year will be looking for first USAC West Coast victories at
Watsonville and Chowchilla.
Linda’s Matt Mitchell is second in the USAC West Coast point
standings. Racing his #37 MPD Racing / ART Enterprises Maxim,
Mitchell led the first sixteen laps at Ventura before taking
ninth at the checkered flags. Entering the
Watsonville-Chowchilla doubleheader, the USAC/CRA standout has
three heat race victories, one Competition Suspension Inc. /
Rod End Supply Semi-Main win, two Keizer Wheels / Racing
Optics Hard Charger Awards and nine top-10 finishes on the
year. Matt will have his sights on gaining valuable points on
Niemela with Watsonville and Chowchilla victories.
Rutherford of Ojai sits third in the chase for the
championship. Switching to his #11 AAA Propane Service /
Trench Shoring Spike, Rutherford charged to fourth at Ventura
after starting ninth. Currently, the former VRA Champion has
one feature win, one heat race victory, nine top-10 finishes,
and 14 feature laps led in the campaign. At press time, Troy
may skip the Watsonville-Chowchilla doubleheader due to family
Jace Vander Weerd ranks fourth in the West Coast point chase.
The driver of the family owned #88 Vander Weerd Construction /
Battery Worx Maxim skipped the Ventura event to compete in
USAC’s “Indiana Sprint Week.” The 2010 USAC/CRA Rookie of the
Year has one feature win, two Woodland Auto Display Fast Time
Awards, two heat race victories, nine top-10 finishes, and 20
feature laps led. Jace will be looking to add his name to the
winner’s list at Watsonville and Chowchilla.
Vander Weerd of Visalia is currently fifth the point
standings. Like his twin brother Jace, the pilot of the family
owned #10 Vander Weerd Construction / Battery Worx Maxim
missed Ventura to race in the Midwest for “Indiana Sprint
Week.” To date, the 2011 Champion has one feature win, six
heat race victories, one Keizer Wheels / Racing Optics Hard
Charger Award, eight top-10 finishes, and 16 feature laps led.
Richard will have his sights on adding both winning trophies
to his collection.
sixteenth in the standings, Springville’s Garrett Long leads
the chase for Rookie of the Year honors. Terra Bella’s Trent
Carter, Robert Nuckles of Hanford, and Hanford’s Connor Kassik
are also in contention.
other drivers expected to be in action are Ryan Bernal,
“Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr., Austin Liggett, “Shifter” Landon
Hurst, Kevin Barnes, Marty Hawkins, “The Wild Child” Chris
Ennis, Jeff Sibley, Matt Day, Austin Stone, T.J. Smith,
Jonathan Logan, and more.
sixth in West Coast points, Ryan Bernal of Hollister leads the
USAC Western Classic point standings. Matt Mitchell, Nic Faas,
Jace Vander Weerd, Richard Vander Weerd, D.J. Johnson, Marty
Hawkins, “Shifter” Landon Hurst, “The Human Highlight Reel”
Geoff Ensign, and Markus Niemela round out the top-10 drivers.
Other WCRS drivers expected to compete are Trevor Schmid,
Scott Hall, Terry Schank Jr., Jim Richardson, “Wild” Billy
Aton, and more.
Speedway is located on the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in
Watsonville, California at 2601 E. Lake Avenue. Adult Tickets
are $20, Senior Tickets (over 65) are $19, Kids Tickets (12-6)
are $13, Children (5 and under) are FREE. For more
information, visit the track's website at
www.oceanspeedway.com or call 831.662.9466 (WINN).
Raceway is located at the Chowchilla Fairgrounds in
Chowchilla, California at 1000 South 3rd Street. For more
event information, visit the track’s Facebook page at
West Coast Sprint Car Series thanks Amsoil, Hoosier Tire,
Chris Kearns Presents, Competition Suspension Inc., Deist
Safety, Engler Machine & Tool, Extreme Mufflers, Five Star
Grafix, Keizer Wheels, Pyrotect Racing Cells, Racing Optics,
Rod End Supply, Rugged Radios, Saldana Racing Products,
SouthWest Contractors, VanLare Steering Repair, Weld Racing,
and Woodland Auto Display for their support.
information, visit westcoastsprintcars.com,
www.usacracing.com, follow the series on Facebook
or Twitter (www.twitter.com/USACwc360).
WATSONVILLE USAC WEST COAST SPRINT
COAST SPRINT POINT STANDINGS:
1-Markus Niemela-548, 2-Matt
Mitchell-528, 3-Troy Rutherford-500, 4-Jace Vander Weerd-436,
5-Richard Vander Weerd-423, 6-Ryan Bernal-421, 7-Danny Faria
Jr.-412, 8-Austin Liggett-408, 9-Dennis Howell-399, 10-Nic
Faas-342, 11-Landon Hurst-325, 12-Kevin Barnes-231, 13-Marty
Hawkins-207, 14-Bud Kaeding-180, 15-Chris Ennis-154,
16-Garrett Long-153, 17-Michael Pickens-150, 18-Jeff
Sibley-133, 19-Trent Carter-121, 20-Matt Day-115.
CLASSIC SPRINT POINT STANDINGS:
Bernal-268, 2. Matt Mitchell-202, 3. Nic Faas-201, 4. Jace
Vander Weerd-186, 5. Richard Vander Weerd-180, 6. D.J.
Johnson-173, 7. Marty Hawkins-165, 8. Landon Hurst-147, 9.
Geoff Ensign-130, 10. Markus Niemela-128, 11. Trevor
Schmid-118, 12. Scott Hall-116, 13. Austin Liggett-107, 14.
Danny Faria Jr.-98, 15. Terry Schank Jr.-84, 16. Dennis
Howell-82, 17. Troy Rutherford-77, 18. Bud Kaeding-58, 19.
Jeff Sibley-51, 20. Austin Stone-43.
WEST COAST SPRINT CAR SERIES SCHEDULE
DATE - TRACK - LOCATION
August 8: #Ocean Speedway -
August 9: #Chowchilla Raceway -
September 27: *Canyon Speedway Park
- Peoria, AZ (Brawl For It All / $2,500-to-Win / Grudge Series
October 11: Thunderbowl Raceway –
Tulare, CA (Cotton Classic / Non-Points)
November 6: *Perris Auto Speedway -
Perris, CA (Oval Nationals / $2,500-to-Win / Grudge Series)
November 20: *Canyon Speedway Park -
Peoria, AZ (Western World Championships / Non-Points)
November 21: *Canyon Speedway Park -
Peoria, AZ (Western World Championships / Non-Points)
November 22: *Canyon Speedway Park -
Peoria, AZ (Western World Championships / $7,500-to-Win /
* = Co-Sanctioned Event with USAC
# = Co-Sanctioned Event with USAC
Western Classic Sprints.
This schedule is subject to change.