The Demon Wins The 2018 Sokola Shootout At Perris Auto Speedway

Showtime Danny Sheridan made a return to the track and the USAC/CRA series.

Perris Auto Speedway’s Sokola Shootout has become one of the most anticipated races in the USAC/CRA season for many reasons, Not only is it a memorial for Gary Sokola and Mark Sokola, two men that dedicated their lives to racing and helping evolve the sport of sprint car racing, but it is one of the USAC/CRA Sprint car early races in a long season.

Gary Sokola, the man behind the nationwide 410 engine limit for sprint cars, padded roll bar cages, the tire rule, and a host of other safety rules, spent 10 years as USAC’s Assistant Director of Competition and Sprint Car Series Supervisor. Gary’s son Mark was a driver who started in three-quarter midgets before graduating to the CRA Sprint Car Series.

Damion Gardner was on the prowl early on as he watched the on track qualifying from the pits.

“Gary did a great job when he was president of CRA in the 1970’s and 1980’s,” said Perris Auto Speedway’s promoter Don Kazarian. “He ruled with an iron fist and he was adamant about making the sport safe. He had no qualms telling a driver to pack it up and go home if he deemed his car as unsafe. He sure is missed.”

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2018 Sokola Shootout At Perris Auto Speedway

The AMSOIL USAC/CRA season is experiencing a late start with two of the four scheduled races rained out. Six-time Champion Damion Gardner won the season opener at Canyon Speedway in Peoria, Arizona, on March 9, 2018. Austin Liggett won the April 14 race at the Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calfornia.

As Damion Gardner eyes another championship, others find opportunities to move up and move around. R.J. Johnson appeared in the Cheney Racing/Racing Optics #42, and former Young Guns star Joel Rayborne moved into the 410 series, abandoning the restricted engine series. Celebrating a birthday, Jake Swanson was also looking to charge to the top of the season’s points standings. Swanson’s car chief, Jim Powers was very measured in his comments. “We don’t come expecting to win, of course we are going to try our best. We’re not here to just turn laps but we aren’t going to push it. We just take what the racing Gods allow us to have.”

Joel Rayborne made a huge move up into the unrestricted 410 sprint car class.

As for Joel Rayborne, his mentor and coach, Tobey Sampson explained their goals for the evening. “We’re here to run around the bottom, keep our nose clean, and learn as much as we can,” said the Oklahoma native. “This is a confidence builder and we’re going to learn a lot more running with a higher level of competition.”

Memorials For Danny Pivovaroff, Cathy Woodland, & Dave Adair

The track and USAC/CRA series began the evening’s events with a memorial to longtime car owners Danny Pivovaroff and Cathy Woodland along with a tribute to former Ventura Raceway flagman Dave Adair, all of whom were lost recently. The first 410 sprint car that Super Rickie Gaunt parked in victory lane was owned by Danny Pivovaroff, who was affectionately known simply as “Danny P.” Gaunt asked for the opportunity to be a part of the tribute and wheeled one of the Alexander Racing’s #4 cars in the memorial. No one was sure if it was the moment, or the honor of driving on behalf of your old car owner’s tribute, but Super Rickie still looks like he can wheel a sprinter at speed. The Jory Motorsports cars of Cody and Logan Williams joined Damion Gardner for the memorial laps.

The event got underway with heat races with Cody Williams taking the first heat over a charging Brody Roa. Damion Gardner led Danny Farina Jr., across the line in heat two. Birthday boy Jake Swanson won heat three over Max Adams. Matt Rossi and Jason McDougal finished in the top two of the semi-main.

Super Rickie Gaunt and Damion Gardner parade the Alexander #4 cars in the memorial laps.

Concord, Calfornia’s Damion Gardner led from lap 4 to lap 14 when Swanson got by the silver #4 of Gardner. The Demon got around Jake Swanson again on lap 16 and led the final half of the race to beat fast qualifier Brody Roa, Swanson, Danny Faria Jr. and Charles Davis Jr. Danny Sheridan led the first three laps of the race but flipped on lap four.

AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series Race Results: April 21, 2018 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway – “Sokola Shootout”

WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-16.378; 2. Damion Gardner, 4, Alexander-16.571; 3. Jake Swanson, 92, Sertich-16.799; 4. Logan Williams, 5, Jory-16.844; 5. Charles Davis Jr., 50, Davis-16.918; 6. Jason McDougal, 19S, Reinbold/Underwood-16.966; 7. R.J. Johnson, 42, Cheney-16.975; 8. Danny Sheridan, 12, Allen-16.989; 9. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-17.214; 10. Matt Rossi, 02, Rossi-17.219; 11. Danny Faria Jr., 17V, Faria-17.269; 12. Matt McCarthy, 28M, McCarthy-17.277; 13. Tommy Malcolm, 5X, Napier-17.290; 14. Verne Sweeney, 98V, Tracy-17.375; 15. Max Adams, 5M, Adams-17.395; 16. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-17.424; 17. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-17.430; 18. Cal Smith, 39, Cal-Sun-17.566; 19. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-17.600; 20. Matt Stewart, 23, Bellegante-17.645; 21. Tye Mihocko, 5T, Mihocko-17.660; 22. Trent Williams, 52V, 17.938; 23. Randy Waitman, 90, Waitman-18.002; 24. Joel Rayborne, 12B, Blair-18.678; 25. Gary Marshall Jr., 72, Marshall-18.976.

EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. C.Williams, 2. Roa, 3. Malcolm, 4. L.Williams, 5. Rossi, 6. A.Williams, 7. T.Williams, 8. Marshall, 9. Johnson. 2:57.12

CIRCLE TRACK PERFORMANCE/ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Gardner, 2. Faria, 3. Davis, 4. Sheridan, 5. Gansen, 6. Stewart, 7. Waitman, 8. Sweeney. NT

KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS/ROD END SUPPLY THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Swanson, 2. Adams, 3. Bender, 4. McCarthy, 5. McDougal, 6. Mihocko, 7. Rayborne, 8. Smith. 3:01.09

COMPETITION SUSPENSION INCORPORATED/ROD END SUPPLY SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Rossi, 2. McDougal, 3. Mihocko, 4. Waitman, 5. A.Williams, 6. Gansen, 7. T.Williams, 8. Stewart, 9. Smith, 10. Rayborne, 11. Marshall, 12. Sweeney, 13. Johnson. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Damion Gardner, 2. Brody Roa, 3. Jake Swanson, 4. Danny Faria Jr., 5. Charles Davis Jr., 6. Max Adams, 7. R.J. Johnson, 8. Tye Mihocko, 9. Matt Stewart, 10. Chris Gansen, 11. Matt Rossi, 12. Cody Williams, 13. Logan Williams, 14. A.J. Bender, 15. Tommy Malcolm, 16. Austin Williams, 17. Jason McDougal, 18. Joel Rayborne, 19. Randy Waitman, 20. Cal Smith, 21. Trent Williams, 22. Danny Sheridan, 23. Matt McCarthy. NT

**Sheridan flipped on lap 4 of the feature. A.Williams, McDougal, Malcolm, and Bender flipped on lap 19 of the feature.

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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