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By Lance Jennings

PEORIA, AZ – NOVEMBER 23, 2014... Streaking past Ryan Bernal on lap eleven, Matt Rossi of South Central won the 30-lap finale of the “47th Annual Sands Chevrolet Western World Championships.” For Rossi, the $7,500 victory was his second career USAC SouthWest Sprint Car victory. Kevin Thomas Jr., hard charger Bryan Clauson, R.J. Johnson, and Brady Bacon followed Matt to the checkered flags.

Driving the family owned #02 Apache Scapes / Advanced Engine Components Spike, Matt Rossi earned the biggest win of his sprint car career. After placing eighth in the dash, Rossi won the upset victory from the eighth starting spot. Turning laps over half-second faster than his competitors, the Arizona veteran was on a rail and avoided disaster to take his first win of 2014. Rossi closed out the season ranked fourth in SouthWest points with six heat race victories, two hard charger awards, nineteen top-10 finishes, and 48 feature laps led.

Cullman, Alabama’s Kevin Thomas Jr. took second in the Western World finale after starting twelfth. Piloting the Dutcher Motorsports #17RW Griffin Propane / Indiana Underground Maxim, Thomas won the night’s fourth 8-lap qualifying race. In limited starts, Kevin has two heat race victories, two top-10 finishes and one feature lap led.

After engine problems sidelined the Tony Stewart Racing-Curb/Agajanian #20X, Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, Indiana switched to Mike Martin’s #16B PPG Maxim and earned his second “Hard Charger / Best Passing Job” honors. Before finishing third from the fifteenth starting spot, the former USAC National Champion ran second to Matt Mitchell in his qualifying race. In 2014, Bryan had one heat race victory, three top-10 finishes, and 18 feature laps led.

By leading the first nine laps and scoring fourth in the main event, Phoenix’s R.J. Johnson clinched his second straight USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Championship. Racing the Bill Michaels’ owned #77M Kodiak Products / Beal’s Auto Body Sherman, Johnson scored third in the program’s 6-lap dash. R.J. ended his campaign with eleven feature wins, fourteen heat race victories, one semi-main win, three hard charger awards, thirty-two top-10 finishes, and 229 feature laps led.

Brady Bacon of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma charged to fifth in the main event after starting seventeenth. Driving the BBR #99 Fatheadz Eyewear / Tel-Star Communications XXX, Bacon placed third in his qualifying race and won the night’s first 12-lap semi-main event. In limited starts, Brady has two feature wins, two heat race victories, two semi-main wins, eight top-10 finishes, and 57 feature laps led in SouthWest competition.

Avon, Indiana’s Jon Stanbrough won the program’s first 8-lap qualifying race. Piloting the Shon Deskins owned #20S MP Environmental / Spike Chassis entry, Stanbrough scored sixteenth in the Western World finale. In limited SouthWest action, Jon had two heat race victories, one top-10 finish, and 2 feature laps led.

Jake Swanson of Anaheim, California took the victory in the night’s second qualifying race. Racing Tom and Laurie Sertich’s #92 Huntington Beach Glass & Mirror / Ram-Bull Racing Buckley, Swanson ran fourteenth in the Western World finale. The former USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year has two top-10 finishes in USAC SouthWest action.

Yorba Linda, California’s Matt Mitchell won the program’s third qualifying race. Driving his #37 Campbell Bros. Storage / Pit Boss Jacks Maxim, Mitchell scored nineteenth in the feature after an early flip ended his night.

Gary Taylor of Snohomish, Washington won the special six-lap dash that set the first four rows of the main event. Piloting the BRAT Racing #1ST Beaver Stripes / Invision Auto Body Sherman, Taylor was involved in a first lap tangle the relegated the veteran to the rear of the field. Gary claimed fifteenth in the Western World finale.

Gilbert’s Brian Hosford took the win in the second 12-lap semi-main. Racing Bernie Weber’s #32B Coffin & Trout Fine Jewelers / Invision Auto Body Maxim, Hosford took third in his qualifying race and ran eleventh in the feature after starting eighteenth. Brian ranked eighth in SouthWest points on the strength of two heat race victories and five top-10 finishes.

The USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series thanks Sunoco Race Fuels, Hoosier Tire, Racers Advantage Store, and the Hose Advantage Store for their support. For more information on the group, visit www.southwestsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, or follow the series on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SouthwestSprintCars).
November 22, 2014 - Peoria, Arizona - Canyon Speedway Park - 47th Annual Sands Chevrolet "Western World Championships"

1. Jon Stanbrough (#20S Deskins), 2. Chris Windom (#22B Weber), 3. Tye Mihocko (#5 Mihocko), 4. Josh Pelkey (#12 Allen), 5. Stevie Sussex (#21AZ Burkhart), 6. Bradley Terrell (#5V VanLare), 7. Mike Martin (#16 Martin). NT

1. Jake Swanson (#92 Sertich), 2. Mike Spencer (#7M Priestley), 3. Brian Hosford (#32B Weber), 4. Colby Copeland (#74 Williams), 5. Dalten Gabbard (#77 Gabbard), 6. Josh Hodges (#74X Hodges), 7. Casey Buckman (#04G Cook). NT

1. Matt Mitchell (#37 Mitchell), 2. Bryan Clauson (#16B Martin), 3. Brady Bacon (#99 BBR), 4. Josh Shipley (#2 Bishop), 5. Michael Curtis (#11C Turner/Wheeler), 6. Bruce St. James (#7K St. James), 7. Matt Lundy (#98 Lundy). NT

1. Kevin Thomas Jr., (#17RW Dutcher), 2. Charles Davis Jr. (#50 Massey), 3. Dave Darland (#73 Ford), 4. Andy Reinbold (#19 Underwood), 5. Mark Morin (#28 Morin). NT

DASH: (6 laps)
1. Gary Taylor (#1ST BRAT), 2. Casey Shuman (#75 Hockett/James), 3. R.J. Johnson (#77M Michaels), 4. C.J. Leary (#30 Leary), 5. Ryan Bernal (#56 Phulps), 6. Robert Ballou (#12X Ballou), 7. Shon Deskins (#20 Deskins), 8. Matt Rossi (#02 Rossi). NT

FIRST SEMI: (12 laps)
1. Bacon, 2. Pelkey, 3. Sussex, 4. Curtis, 5. Martin, 6. Terrell, 7. Shipley, 8. Lundy, 9. Mihocko. NT

SECOND SEMI: (12 laps)
1. Hosford, 2. Gabbard, 3. Copeland, 4. Reinbold, 5. Darland, 6. Buckman, 7. Hodges, 8. Morin. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions)
1. Matt Rossi (8th), 2. Kevin Thomas Jr. (12th), 3. Bryan Clauson (15th), 4. R.J. Johnson (3rd), 5. Brady Bacon (17th), 6. C.J. Leary (4th), 7. Robert Ballou (6th), 8. Ryan Bernal (5th), 9. Chris Windom (13th), 10. Stevie Sussex, (21st) 11. Brian Hosford (18th), 12. Dalten Gabbard (20th), 13. Charles Davis Jr. (16th), 14. Jake Swanson (10th), 15. Gary Taylor (1st), 16. Jon Stanbrough (9th), 17. Josh Pelkey (19th), 18. Shon Deskins (7th), 19. Matt Mitchell (11th), 20. Mike Spencer (14th), 21. Colby Copeland (22nd), 22. Casey Shuman (2nd). NT
**Shuman and Deskins flipped on lap one of the feature. Mitchell flipped on lap nine of the feature. Deskins flipped on lap eleven of the feature. Pelkey flipped on lap thirteen of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-9 Johnson, Lap 10 Bernal, Laps 11-30 Rossi.
HARD CHARGER: Bryan Clauson (15th to 3rd)

1-R.J. Johnson-1,419, 2-Charles Davis Jr.-1,215; 3-Josh Pelkey-1,207, 4-Matt Rossi-1,200, 5-Shon Deskins-1,083, 6-Mike Martin-1,001, 7-Tye Mihocko-929, 8-Brian Hosford-698, 9-Michael Curtis-691, 10-Nick Aiuto-663.

- #02 Matt Rossi Wins 2014 Western World Championships. Photo by Rob Hargraves.