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By Lance Jennings

PEORIA, AZ – JANUARY 24, 2015... Taking the lead from “The Magic Man” Mike Martin on lap five, Brady Bacon of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma won the opening night of the “4th Annual E&K Construction Winter Challenge.” For his efforts, the USAC National Champion earned $2,000 for taking Friday’s USAC SouthWest and West Coast Sprint Car victory at Canyon Speedway Park. R.J. Johnson, “The People’s Champion” Dave Darland, “Chargin” Charles Davis Jr., and Stevie Sussex rounded out the top-five drivers as the second round of the five-race mini-series gets underway tonight.

Making his first start in Keith Ford’s potent #73 Berry Pack / King Racing Products Spike, Brady Bacon claimed the “Winter Challenge” opener for the second year in a row. After taking fourth in his heat race, the veteran driver ranked fourth in passing points and started third in the main event. Making his way forward, Bacon powered past Martin to grab the top spot but would soon have to contend with Ryan Bernal. The 2-time Western Champion briefly took command before flipping his mount on the seventeenth circuit. Ryan walked away, but his machine was done for the night. Once action resumed, Brady held off all challengers to score his third career SouthWest triumph.

Phoenix’s R.J. Johnson claimed second at the checkered flags. Racing Bobby Martin’s #51 Weiler Farms / Pecon Builders Maxim, the 2-time USAC SouthWest Champion scored the program’s first 8-lap heat race win, placing third in passing points. Starting third in the feature, Johnson opened his 2015 campaign with another solid finish.

“The People’s Champion” Dave Darland of Lincoln, Indiana charged from ninth to take third at Canyon Speedway Park. Driving Mike Martin’s #16B Sherwin-Williams / Desert Building Materials Maxim, last year’s Winter Challenge Champion ran third in the opening heat race to sit ninth in passing points.

Buckeye’s “Chargin” Charles Davis Jr. ran fourth in the 30-lap feature after starting seventh. Piloting the Massey Motorsports’ #50 RSS Industries / MP Environmental RSS, Davis ranked seventh in passing points after claiming third in the night’s second 8-lap heat race.

Racing Mike Burkhart’s #21AZ Stratis Construction / Westin Diversified RSS, Stevie Sussex of Tempe raced to the night’s “Hard Charger / Best Passing Job” honors. Storming to a fifth place run from fourteenth, Sussex took seventh in the night’s first heat race, placing him fourteenth in passing points.

Hollister, California’s Ryan Bernal won the program’s second 8-lap heat race. Driving Mike Phulps’ #56 Tri-L Mandarin Ranch / Core Power ART, Bernal briefly took the lead from Bacon before contact with the wall resulted in a flip that ended his night. The 2-time USAC Western Classic Champion scored twelfth in the main event.

The USAC Southwest and West Coast Sprint Cars will return to action tonight, January 24th, at Canyon Speedway in Peoria. Round #2 of the “Winter Challenge” will also feature IMCA Modifieds, Stock Cars, Mini Sprints, and AMA Modlites. Located at 9777 West Carefree Highway, more event information can be found at www.canyonspeedwaypark.com or calling (602) 258-RACE (7223).

The USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series would like to thank Sunoco Race Fuels, Hoosier Tire, Hose Advantage Store, and the Racers Advantage Store for their support. For more information on the series, visit www.southwestsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, or follow the series on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SouthwestSprintCars).

For more information on the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series, visit westcoastsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, follow the series on Facebook (www.facebook.com/#!/pages/USAC-West-Coast-Sprint-Car-Series/369549755817), or Twitter (www.twitter.com/#!/USACwc360).
January 23, 2015 – Peoria, Arizona – Canyon Speedway Park – "Winter Challenge"

FIRST HEAT: (8 laps)
1. R.J. Johnson (#51 Martin), 2. Josh Pelkey (#12 Allen), 3. Dave Darland (#16B Martin), 4. Brady Bacon (#73 Ford), 5. Mike Martin (#16 Martin), 6. David Dykes (#55 Dykes), 7. Stevie Sussex (#21AZ Burkhart). NT

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps)
1. Ryan Bernal (#56 Phulps), 2. Dalten Gabbard (#77 Gabbard), 3. Charles Davis Jr. (#50 Massey), 4. Rick Ziehl (#74 Williams), 5. Dennis Gile (#13 Gile), 6. Shon Deskins (#20 Deskins), 7. Andy Reinbold (#19 Underwood). NT

FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions)
1. Brady Bacon (3rd), 2. R.J. Johnson (4th), 3. Dave Darland (9th), 4. Charles Davis Jr. (7th), 5. Stevie Sussex (14th), 6. Mike Martin (1st), 7. Rick Ziehl (8th), 8. Andy Reinbold (13th), 9. David Dykes (11th), 10. Dalten Gabbard (5th), 11. Josh Pelkey (2nd), 12. Ryan Bernal (6th), 13. Shon Deskins (12th), 14. Dennis Gile (10th). NT
*Bernal and Pelkey flipped during the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-4 Martin, Laps 5-30 Bacon.
HARD CHARGER: Stevie Sussex (14th to 5th)

1-$2,000; 2-$1,000; 3-$800; 4-$600; 5-$500; 6-$400; 7-$375; 8-$350; 9-$325; 10-$300; 11-$280; 12-$260; 13-$245; 14-$230; 15-$215; 16-$210; 17-$205; 18-$205; 19-$200; 20-$200.

1-$4,000; 2-$2,000; 3-$800; 4-$1,200; 5-$700; 6-$600; 7-$575; 8-$550; 9-$525; 10-$500; 11-$480; 12-$460; 13-$445; 14-$430; 15-$420; 16-$410; 17-$405; 18-$400; 19-$400; 20-$400.

January 24: Canyon Speedway Park - Peoria, AZ ($2,000-to-Win)
January 25: Canyon Speedway Park - Peoria, AZ ($4,000-to-Win)
January 29: USA Raceway - Tucson, AZ (Open Practice, 6-9pm)
January 30: USA Raceway - Tucson, AZ ($2,000-to-Win)
January 31: USA Raceway - Tucson, AZ ($4,000-to-Win)
This schedule is subject to change.