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By Lance Jennings

PEORIA, AZ – JANUARY 26, 2015... Leading all 30-laps, Ryan Bernal of Hollister, California backed up Saturday’s dramatic victory to claim his second straight win of the “E&K Winter Challenge.” For Bernal, the $4,000 triumph at Kevin Montgomery’s Canyon Speedway Park was his fourth career USAC SouthWest Sprint Car feature win. “The People’s Champion” Dave Darland, “Chargin” Charles Davis Jr., Brady Bacon, and R.J. Johnson followed Ryan to the checkered flags.

Piloting the Mike Phulps owned #56 Tri-L Mandarin Ranch / Core Power ART, Ryan Bernal started his evening by taking third in his heat race. Ranking fifth in passing points, the 2-time USAC Western Classic Champion grabbed the lead from his outside front-row starting spot and was not to be denied. Ryan has climbed to fifth in the Winter Challenge standings as the mini-series resumes Friday at Tucson’s USA Raceway.

For the second race in a row, Lincoln, Indiana’s “The People’s Champion” Dave Darland has scored a second place finish. Racing Mike Martin’s #16B Ultimate Offroad / Sherwin-Williams Maxim, Darland earned his first heat race victory of the Winter Challenge and was the night’s high point driver. Starting sixth in the feature, Dave took advantage of a late race bobble by Davis to take the runner-up spot. By virtue of his strong performances, the veteran driver sits atop the Winter Challenge points heading to Tucson.

“Chargin” Charles Davis Jr. of Buckeye looked to have second well in hand until slipping to third in the closing laps. Driving the Massey Motorsports’ #50 RSS Industries / MP Environmental RSS, Davis placed third in his heat race and ranked sixth in the nightly passing points. The five-time Arizona Champion is currently fourth in the mini-series point chase and will be looking to move up the standings with a win at USA Raceway.

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Brady Bacon stormed to fourth at Canyon Speedway Park after starting eighth. Piloting Keith Ford’s #73 Berry Pack / King Racing Products Spike, Bacon ran fourth in his heat race and seated the USAC National Champion eighth in passing points. When the Winter Challenge resumes in Tucson, the opening night winner is second in the standings and ten points behind Darland.

R.J. Johnson of Phoenix claimed fifth in the 30-lap main event. Racing Bobby Martin’s #51 Weiler Farms / Pecon Builders Maxim, Johnson was second to Dalten Gabbard in his heat race, ranking the 2-time USAC SouthWest Champion fourth in passing points. The second generation driver sits third in the Winter Challenge points and will be looking to sweep the Friday and Saturday features at Tucson.

After battling engine problems and arriving late to Canyon Speedway Park, Tempe’s Stevie Sussex earned his second Winter Challenge “Hard Charger / Best Passing Job” honors. Charging to an eighth place finish after starting thirteenth, the pilot of Mike Burkhart’s #21AZ Stratis Construction / Westin Diversified RSS ranks eighth in the mini-series. The young driver hopes to have solved all of his mechanical woes and battle for the checkered flags at USA Raceway.

Dalten Gabbard of Glendale raced to victory in the program’s second 8-lap heat race. Driving the family owned #77 BG Chemicals / AZ Heat Trucking Maxim, Gabbard placed second in the nightly passing points and claimed sixth in the main event. Dalten will have his sights on adding the winning trophy from Tucson to his collection.

After an open practice session on Thursday, the USAC Southwest and West Coast Sprint Cars will return to action on Friday, January 30th, at Tucson’s USA Raceway. Round #4 of the “E&K Winter Challenge” will also feature IMCA Modifieds, Stock Cars, X-Mods, and Dwarf Cars. Located at 4300 E. Los Reales Road in Tucson, Arizona, advanced tickets are on sale now and more event information can be found at www.raceusaraceway.com or calling (602) 258-7223 (RACE).

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 25, 2015 – Peoria, Arizona – Canyon Speedway Park – "2015 E&K Winter Challenge"

FIRST HEAT: (8 laps)
1. Dave Darland (#16B Martin), 2. Dustin Cormany (#20 Deskins), 3. Ryan Bernal (#56 Phulps), 4. Matt Lundy (#98 Lundy), 5. David Dykes (#55NM Dykes), 6. Mark Morin (#28 Morin). NT

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps)
1. Dalten Gabbard (#77 Gabbard), 2. R.J. Johnson (#51 Martin), 3. Charles Davis Jr. (#50 Massey), 4. Brady Bacon (#73 Ford), 5. Mike Martin (#16 Martin), 6. Rick Ziehl (#74 Williams). NT

FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions)
1. Ryan Bernal (2nd), 2. Dave Darland (6th), 3. Charles Davis Jr. (1st), 4. Brady Bacon (8th), 5. R.J. Johnson (3rd), 6. Dalten Gabbard (5th), 7. Mike Martin (9th), 8. Stevie Sussex (13th, #21AZ Burkhart), 9. Matt Lundy (7th), 10. Rick Ziehl (12th), 11. Dustin Cormany (4th), 12. David Dykes (10th), 13. Mark Morin (11th). NT
HARD CHARGER: Stevie Sussex (13th to 8th)

1. Dave Darland-197; 2. Brady Bacon-187; 3. R.J. Johnson-186; 4. Charles Davis Jr.-176; 5. Ryan Bernal-174; 6. Dalten Gabbard-152; 7. Mike Martin-149; 8. Stevie Sussex-139; 9. Rick Ziehl-121; 10. David Dykes-106; 11. Matt Lundy-79; 12. Dennis Gile-62; 13. Shon Deskins-57; 14. Dustin Cormany-42; 15. Andy Reinbold-41; 16. Josh Pelkey-40; 17. Jonas Reynolds-37; 18. Mark Morin-30.

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 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.