18th Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals at Perris Auto Speedway

Chase Stockton, Mike Spencer and Matt Mitchell on the podium for the opening night of the 18th Budweiser Oval Nationals at Perris Auto Speedway.

Ryan Bernal, Mike Spencer and Matt Mitchell on the podium for the opening night of the 18th Budweiser Oval Nationals at Perris Auto Speedway.

Budweiser and Don Kazarian hosted the 18th edition of the USAC Sprint Car Oval Nationals at the West Coast’s premiere dirt track racing facility. Activities got underway on Wednesday, October 30, with a practice session for all racers registered for the prestigious event. All of the usual suspects took their laps on the sifted red clay with the USAC/CRA regulars leading the way in fast times. While the midwest invading drivers worked on finding the fast line around the track, the CRA drivers worked on fine tuning their cars during the practice session.

AMSOIL USAC/CRA regular Kenny Perkins found himself in a tight spot and wound up in a nasty flip causing serious damage to the Perkins owned #OK sprinter during the practice session. The Perkins crew scrambled to repair the chassis and reassemble the car for Friday’s qualifying session.

Thursday brought a special event for 360 racers with the West Coast VS. Southwest Sprint car “Grudge Match.” Last year’s Oval Nationals Champion, Mike Spencer of Temecula, California, begin the defense of his Championship by taking the lead from Bryan Clauson with two laps remaining and holding off the USAC National Driver Champion to take the checkers and claim the first win of the weekend.

Spencer moved past early leader Richard Vander Weerd on lap five and led comfortably until AMSOIL National Sprint Car point leader Bryan Clauson ran him down and used a slide-job in turn three to take the lead. Clauson led Spencer and a hard-charging Matt Mitchell as the race hit five laps to go when a yellow flag came out.

On the restart, Clauson was able to create some distance as Spencer and Mitchell fought for second. Another yellow reappeared after just a lap which set up a three-lap run to the checkers.

Spencer celebrates on the front straight-away.

Spencer celebrates on the front straight-away.

Clauson went to the bottom in the first set of corners as Spencer jumped to the top and built momentum for a return slide-job on the leader to recapture the top spot. Spencer held off Clauson’s repeated challenges over the final two laps for the win in the #7 Roy Miller Freightlines/ Sander Engineering Maxim.

Mitchell slid under Clauson in turn three when Clauson bobbled on the cushion, hit the wall and did a nose dance before settling back down midway between turns three and four. Ryan Bernal raced among the top-five throughout the race before coming home third

Future Hall-of-Famer Cory Kruseman watches the early heat races waiting for his turn.

Future Hall-of-Famer Cory Kruseman watches the early heat races waiting for his turn.

“It wasn’t looking good for a while, but we’ve been on the other end of that and lost them late, so we’ll take it for sure. I was loose at the end of the race, so I decided to go to the top where there was some grip. I could see Matt (Mitchell) get to my outside the restart before, so I knew it must be decent. I figured I’d try it, and my dad gave me a signal that the bottom was good enough for a slider into three. I hit that and got a good drive across the center, and after that I just did a slide-job pattern and it was actually pretty fast,” said Spencer.

USAC WEST COAST/SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR “SPECIAL EVENT” October 31, 2013 – Perris Auto Speedway – 18th Budweiser “Oval Nationals” presented by All Coast Construction. RACE RESULTS:

QUALIFYING: 1. Charles Davis, Jr., 50, Massey-16.739; 2. Bryan Clauson, 16B, Martin-16.767; 3. Mike Spencer, 7, Priestley-16.851; 4. Jon Stanbrough, 73, Ford-16.902; 5. Johnathon Henry, 17, Henry-16.949; 6. Shon Deskins, 20, SDR-16.966; 7. Troy Rutherford, 11, Rutherford-17.004; 8. Danny Faria, Jr., 17v, Faria-17.035; 9. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-17.045; 10. Landon Hurst, 179, Hurst-17.136; 11. Ryan Bernal, 56, Phulps-17.137; 12. R.J. Johnson, 77M, Michaels-17.160; 13. Jimmy Crawford, 3x, Crawford-17.169; 14. Colby Copeland, 74, Williams-17.223; 15. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-17.242; 16. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-17.265; 17. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-17.285; 18. Cory Kruseman, 21K, Kruseman-17.297; 19. Don Gansen, 7G, Gansen-17.348; 20. Bruce St. James, 7K, St. James-17.361; 21. Tom Hendricks, 14K, Kruseman-17.364; 22. Dennis Howell, 62, Howell-17.394; 23. Victor Davis, 13, Davis-17.416; 24. Bob Ream, Jr., 8, BRaT-17.457; 25. Brody Roa, 91, BR-17.467; 26. Jeff Sibley, 18, Watt-17.487; 27. J.J. Ercse, 14, Springstead-17.533; 28. Chris Ennis, 86, Ennis-17.548; 29. A.J. Bender, 12, Bender-17.578; 30. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-17.601; 31. Trent Williams, 52, Williams-17.639; 32. Andy Reinbold, 19, Underwood-17.645; 33. Austin Stone, 29, Coffman-17.730; 34. Kenny Perkins, 0, Perkins-19.313; 35. Stevie Sussex, 57, Stone-NT (time of 17.401 disallowed).

FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Mitchell, 2. R. Vander Weerd, 3. C. Davis, 4. Hendricks, 5. Roa, 6. Crawford, 7. Henry, 8. Stone, 9. Bender.

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Kruseman, 2. Deskins, 3. Howell, 4. Martin, 5. Copeland, 6. Hurst, 7. C. Gansen, 8. Sibley, 9. Perkins.

THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Bernal, 2. Spencer, 3. Rutherford, 4. J. Vander Weerd, 5. D. Gansen, 6. Sussex, 7. Williams, 8. V. Davis, 9. Ercse.

FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Johnson, 2. Ream, 3. Faria, 4. Martin, 5. Ennis, 6. St. James, 7. Reinbold, 8. Stanbrough.

DASH: (4 laps) 1. R. Vander Weerd, 2. Faria, 3. Spencer, 4. Bernal, 5. Rutherford, 6. C. Davis, 7. Deskins, 8. Clauson.

FIRST B MAIN: (10 laps) 1. Stanbrough, 2. Hurst, 3. Roa, 4. Copeland, 5. Sussex, 6. Stone, 7. St. James, 8. Ercse, 9. Williams, 10. Bender.

SECOND B MAIN: (10 laps) 1. D. Gansen, 2. Henry, 3. Crawford, 4. Reinbold, 5. Ennis, 6. C. Gansen, 7. V. Davis, 8. Sibley.

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Mike Spencer, 2. Matt Mitchell, 3. Ryan Bernal, 4. Brody Roa, 5. Jon Stanbrough, 6. R.J. Johnson, 7. Troy Rutherford, 8. Richard Vander Weerd, 9. Jace Vander Weerd, 10. Mike Martin, 11. Dennis Howell, 12. Bryan Clauson, 13. Tom Hendricks, 14. Bob Ream, Jr., 15. Don Gansen, 16. Danny Faria, Jr., 17. Charles Davis, Jr., 18. Cory Kruseman, 19. Johnathon Henry, 20. Jimmy Crawford, 21. Landon Hurst, 22. Shon Deskins.

Friday, Nov. 1, 2013

Huntington Beach’s Nic Faas dominated Friday’s 30-lap AMSOIL National & CRA Sprint Car Feature at Perris Auto Speedway. The #4 Alexander Trucking/ Scott Sales Company was virtually unchallenged, winning by a large margin.

Faas led from outside the front row and seemed to be the dominant car by using the cushion from the outset. An early red flag on lap five when Austin Williams and David Cardey tangled led to a couple of quick restarts before a long green-flag run ensued. Faas found lapped traffic, where he encountered his only issue of the race.

Nic Faas dominated the 410 qualifier on Friday night.

Nic Faas dominated the 410 qualifier on Friday night.

“I went to slide Ronnie Gardner, and I misjudged it and got into him. I was lucky enough to keep going, but I think I screwed up something in the front end. I was a little worried going into one on the restart. I knew I just had to stay in the rubber and hit my marks toward the end, though. I got excited to see I was on the front row just like in 2011 when I won the prelim night, but I’d definitely rather win tomorrow. It’s been an up-and-down year; we’ve been strong and then I got sick with a virus, and that pretty much cost us a shot at the championship. We’re getting faster again, and it’s all about getting that eagle (trophy) tomorrow night,” Faas said.

National Sprint Car Hall-of-Fame driver Rip Williams showed why he was inducted in the Hall-of-Fame.

National Sprint Car Hall-of-Fame driver Rip Williams showed why he was inducted in the Hall-of-Fame.

Faas set sail as Chase Stockton secured second place with Brady Bacon holding down third. Bryan Clauson raced his way to fourth and in the process clinched his second-straight AMSOIL National Sprint Car championship, this time aboard the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevy Performance #20. Behind him, last year’s “Oval Nationals” champ Mike Spencer finished fifth in the #50 Madera Produce/Grubstake Mini Storage Maxim.

AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP & CRA RACE RESULTS: November 1, 2013 – Perris Auto Speedway “Oval Nationals”

QUALIFYING: 1. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips-16.126; 2. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-16.329; 3. Bryan Clauson, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-16.376; 4. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-16.398; 5. Nic Faas, 4x, Alexander-16.518; 6. Damion Gardner, 4A, Alexander-16.555; 7. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-16.615; 8. Ronnie Gardner, 93, Gardner-16.754; 9. Ryan Bernal, 56, Phulps-16.773; 10. David Cardey, 92, Sertich-16.776; 11. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17RW, Dutcher/RW/TriStar-16.790; 12. Justin Grant, 5, Baldwin-16.796; 13. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-16.822; 14. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-16.828; 15. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.833; 16. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-16.843; 17. Danny Faria, Jr., 17v, Faria-16.843; 18. Bud Kaeding, 29, BZE-16.865; 19. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-16.866; 20. Verne Sweeney, 98, Tracy-16.869; 21. Chris Windom, 11, Walker-16.908; 22. Tyler Courtney, 23c, Courtney/BRaT-16.995; 23. Nick Drake, 55, Cline-17.018; 24. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-17.034; 25. Jon Stanbrough, 73, Ford-17.138; 26. Markus Niemela, 81, Watt-17.148; 27. Jake Swanson, 14, Springstead-17.152; 28. Wes McIntyre, 21B, Duinkerken-17.152; 29. Landon Hurst, 179, Hurst-17.156; 30. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-17.161; 31. Brody Roa, 91R, Roa-17.176; 32. Austin Stone, 29x, Coffman-17.190; 33. D.J. Johnson, 33, Johnson-17.202; 34. Charles Davis, Jr., 4G, Cook-17.222; 35. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-17.233; 36. Cody Swanson, 14J, Springstead-17.255; 37. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-17.259; 38. John Aden, 7A, Aden-17.309; 39. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-17.314; 40. Seth Wilson, 1, Wilson-17.336; 41. Johnny Bluntach, 58, Bluntach-17.398; 42. Billy Blinn, 26, Blinn-17.432; 43. David Bezio, 37x, Bezio-17.432; 44. Chris Gansen, 4c, Gansen-17.533; 45. Trent Williams, 52, Williams-17.559; 46. Johnathon Henry, 39, Smith-17.618; 47. Kenny Perkins, 0, Perkins-17.626; 48. Andrew Reinbold, 19, Underwood-17.900; 49. Bruce St. James, 7K, St. James-17.999; 50. Greg Alexander, 72, Tyler-NT; 51. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-NT; 52. Cory Kruseman, 7, Priestley-NT; 53. Shon Deskins, 20s, SDR-NT.

C MAIN: (10 laps) 1. Bezio, 2. Blinn, 3. Bluntach, 4. T. Williams, 5. Perkins, 6. Henry, 7. Alexander, 8. Reinbold, 9. St. James, 10. Gansen. 2:58.17

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Windom, 2. Thomas, 3. Darland, 4. Hines, 5. D. Gardner, 6. Roa, 7. Niemela, 8. C. Swanson. 2:53.38

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Stockon, 2. Spencer, 3. Grant, 4. Faria, 5. Courtney, 6. Bender, 7. Stone, 8. J. Swanson. 2:53.89

Tracy Hines (#4), Damion Gardner (#4A) and Dave Darland (#71) battle for position.

Tracy Hines (#4), Damion Gardner (#4A) and Dave Darland (#71P) battle for position.

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Mitchell, 3. Kaeding, 4. Drake, 5. R. Gardner, 6. Aden, 7. McIntyre, 8. D.J. Johnson. 2:56.04

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. Bacon, 3. Leary, 4. Bernal, 5. Hurst, 6. Davis, 7. C. Williams, 8. R.J. Johnson. 2:57.36

FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Faas, 2. R. Williams, 3. Sweeney, 4. Stanbrough, 5. Cardey, 6. Wilson, 7. A. Williams, 8. J. Vander Weerd. 2:54.78

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. D. Gardner, 2. A. Williams, 3. Roa, 4. Cardey, 5. R. Gardner, 6. R.J. Johnson, 7. C. Williams, 8. J. Swanson, 9. Hurst, 10. Davis, 11. Bezio, 12. Courtney, 13. McIntyre, 14. J. Vander Weerd, 15. D.J. Johnson, 16. T. Williams, 17. Wilson, 18. Stone, 19. Niemela, 20. Bender, 21. C. Swanson, 22. Blinn, 23. Bluntach, 24. Aden. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Nic Faas, 2. Chase Stockon, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Bryan Clauson, 5. Mike Spencer, 6. Damion Gardner, 7. Dave Darland, 8. Matt Mitchell, 9. Tracy Hines, 10. Justin Grant, 11. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 12. Bud Kaeding, 13. Jon Stanbrough, 14. C.J. Leary, 15. Cody Williams, 16. Danny Faria, Jr., 17. R.J. Johnson, 18. Brody Roa, 19. Chris Windom, 20. Ronnie Gardner, 21. Nick Drake, 22. Verne Sweeney, 23. Robert Ballou, 24. Austin Williams, 25. David Cardey, 26. Rip Williams. NT

Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013

Dave Darland became a three-time winner of the Budweiser “Oval Nationals” after winning a wire-to-wire race in Saturday’s $15,000-to-win 40-lapper. A hard-charging Bryan Clauson came on strong in the closing laps and pushed the veteran Darland all the way to the line.

Dave Darland became a three-time winner of the Budweiser Oval Nationals.

Dave Darland became a three-time winner of the Budweiser Oval Nationals.

A red flag for Justin Grant on lap 32 put Clauson on Darland’s tail with eight laps to go. Darland and Clauson banged wheels in turn-two as Darland got back to the throttle to hold the lead down the backstretch. Just as Clauson was mounting his final charge, the caution appeared for Nic Faas with two laps to go.

Darland timed the restart just right and held off Clauson by .106-seconds for the win.

“He has been all over us all year, from the first race of the year when he beat me right at the end in Florida. I was thinking it was more of the same when I saw his nose come in under me. Just had to find a way to fight him off and get that race over with as quick as we could. It’s been a great year with my car owners, Steve and Carla Phillips, and I’m glad we could end it this way, winning a big money race at the Oval Nationals. We came up a little short in the championship, but I’m proud of what we did this season,” said Darland.

Jake Swanson (#14) drove his 358ci sprinter to a win over the 410ci sprints in the fourth and final heat race.

Jake Swanson (#14) drove his 358ci sprinter to a win over the 410ci sprints in the fourth and final heat race.

Defending race winner Mike Spencer held second for most of the race before finishing third. Chase Stockon took his third-straight top-five finish in fourth and Brady Bacon rounded out the top-five.

AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: November 2, 2013 – Perris Auto Speedway – 18th Annual Budweiser “Oval Nationals”

QUALIFYING: 1. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-16.483; 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17RW, Dutcher/RW/TriStar-16.623; 3. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-16.708; 4. Brody Roa, 91, Roa-16.753; 5. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-16.761; 6. Chris Windom, 11, Walker-16.763; 7. Justin Grant, 5, Baldwin-16.806; 8. Danny Faria, Jr., 17v, Faria-16.832; 9. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-16.861; 10. Jon Stanbrough, 73, Ford-16.865; 11. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-16.868; 12. Nick Drake, 55, Cline-16.882; 13. John Aden, 7A, Aden-16.919; 14. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-16.924; 15. Damion Gardner, 4A, Alexander-16.936; 16. Jake Swanson, 14, Springstead-16.960; 17. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-16.962; 18. Cory Kruseman, 7, Priestley-16.969; 19. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.999; 20. David Bezio, 37x, Bezio-17.025; 21. Ryan Bernal, 73x, Ford-17.038; 22. Bud Kaeding, 29, BZE-17.092; 23. Johnny Bluntach, 58, Bluntach-17.103; 24. Cody Swanson, 14J, Springstead-17.118; 25. D.J. Johnson, 33, Johnson-17.160; 26. Greg Alexander, 72, Tyler-17.179; 27. Ronnie Gardner, 93, Gardner-17.201; 28. Tyler Courtney, 23c, Courtney/BRaT-17.206; 29. Charles Davis, Jr., 4G, Cook-17.209; 30. Bruce St. James, 7K, St. James-17.238; 31. Billy Blinn, 26, Blinn-17.264; 32. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-17.277; 33. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-17.298; 34. Wes McIntyre, 21B, Duinkerken-17.324; 35. Verne Sweeney, 98, Tracy-17.354; 36. Markus Niemela, 81, Watt-17.357; 37. Seth Wilson, 1, Wilson-17.369; 38. Kenny Perkins, 0, Perkins-17.397; 39. Landon Hurst, 179, Hurst-17.401; 40. Austin Stone, 29x, Coffman-17.412; 41. Andrew Reinbold, 19, Underwood-17.461; 42. Johnathon Henry, 39, Smith-17.681; 43. Trent Williams, 52, Williams-17.800; 44. Chris Gansen, 4c, Gansen-17.968; 45. David Cardey, 92, Sertich-NT (time of 17.213 disallowed);

Richard Vander Weerd (#10) took his front row outside starting position all the way to the win in the first heat race.

Richard Vander Weerd (#10) took his front row outside starting position all the way to the win in the first heat race.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. R. Vander Weerd, 2. Ballou, 3. Hines, 4. Bernal, 5. Mitchell, 6. D.J. Johnson, 7. Davis, 8. Aden. 2:51.88

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Stanbrough, 2. R.J. Johnson, 3. Thomas, 4. Windom, 5. Kruseman, 6. Kaeding, 7. Alexander, 8. St. James. 2:51.67

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. D. Gardner, 2. Grant, 3. Leary, 4. A. Williams, 5. C. Williams, 6. R. Gardner, 7. Bluntach, 8. Blinn. 2:46.58

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. J. Swanson, 2. Roa, 3. Drake, 4. Bender, 5. C. Swanson, 6. Bezio, 7. Faria, 8. Courtney. NT

DASH: (10 laps) 1. Mike Spencer (50, Chaffin), 2. Dave Darland (71P, Phillips), 3. Bryan Clauson (20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian), 4. Nic Faas (4x, Alexander), 5. Brady Bacon (69, Dynamics), 6. Chase Stockon (32, 32/TBI). NT

B MAIN #1: (12 laps) 1. Hines, 2. Mitchell, 3. Kaeding, 4. R. Gardner, 5. Cardey, 6. Bernal, 7. Niemela, 8. Drake, 9. J. Vander Weerd, 10. Perkins, 11. Alexander, 12. T. Williams, 13. Blinn, 14. Stone, 15. St. James, 16. Hurst. 3:29.20

B MAIN #2: (12 laps) 1. Thomas, 2. Leary, 3. Windom, 4. Kruseman, 5. C. Williams, 6. A. Williams, 7. Sweeney, 8. Davis, 9. Bender, 10. McIntyre, 11. Wilson, 12. Reinbold, 13. Henry, 14. Bluntach, 15. Gansen. NT

FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Dave Darland, 2. Bryan Clauson, 3. Mike Spencer, 4. Chase Stockon, 5. Brady Bacon, 6. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 7. Damion Gardner, 8. Chris Windom, 9. Jon Stanbrough, 10. Tracy Hines, 11. Cory Kruseman, 12. Austin Williams, 13. Richard Vander Weerd, 14. C.J. Leary, 15. Brody Roa, 16. Bud Kaeding, 17. Nic Faas, 18. Matt Mitchell, 19. Robert Ballou, 20. R.J. Johnson, 21. Jace Vander Weerd, 22. David Cardey, 23. Cody Williams, 24. Justin Grant, 25. Ronnie Gardner, 26. Nick Drake, 27. Jake Swanson. NT

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
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