This year’s USAC/CRA Glenn Howard Classic was scheduled late enough in the season where the championship picture started to have some focus. Saturday night’s race represented the 17th USAC/CRA points race of the season. So far, there have been ten different winners. Austin Williams added one more to his credit by taking the 2019 Glenn Howard Classic victory.
On the season, Damion Gardner has three victories, while Roa, Schuerenberg, Swanson, Austin Williams, and Richard Vander Weerd are tied with two wins. Josh Hodges, Chase Johnson, Austin Liggett, and Troy Rutherford have one triumph on the season. With only a handful of racing left and the National Series coming in for a West Coast Swing, the CRA Championship points battle could get very interesting.
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Absentees And Changes
The Glenn Howard Classic also came on the heels of the final race of the California Sprint Week, which took a toll on several teams. Economic factors also weighed heavy on some teams, which shook up the usual suspects we expect to see for a Perris event. Noticeably absent were the Vander Weerd twins and the Arizona contingents of Stevie Sussex, Mike Martin, Charles Davis Jr., Matt Rossi, and Kyle Shipley. Sophomore CRA racer Joel Rayborne was sidelined waiting for a new car to be completed. Rayborne has assured us that he will be ready for the Oval Nationals in November.
Austin Liggett was out on a well-deserved Vegas trip after a strong showing during the California Sprint week. Danny Faria Jr. is out for an extended healing period to recuperate from injuries incurred at the Santa Maria race on September 17. This left an open seat in the #42 Cheney car which was quickly filled by Brody Roa.
The opportunistic Roa team, looking to stretch their racing budget for the remainder of the year, jumped at the chance to pilot the Cheney car while Faria is recuperating. Roa announced that the team was parking the #91 after California Sprint week. Roa raced Tanner Grau’s #34 to a victory in the Southwest Sprint Car series prior to taking the Cheney ride. After this weekend’s race, he currently ranks Third in the chase for the USAC/CRA championship, just 20 points behind Austin Williams.
Austin Williams was the big winner on Saturday, driving the Moose Team’s #92 to victory lane for his second CRA series win this season. Starting in the Ninth spot, Williams smoothly worked his way through the pack while Malcolm, Roa, and RJ Johnson battled in the front early on.
“The Demon” Damion Gardner took over on lap 11 as RJ Johnson’s #51 experienced valvetrain issues and the engine laid over. Johnson exited the track and retired in the 17th position. Cody Williams’ #44 experienced a catastrophic brake rotor issue that sidelined the driver for the remainder of the race.
A late-race restart saw Gardner fade from First when Austin Williams, then Jake Swanson passed the #4 Silver Bullet. The Alexander car had been extremely fast all night, having set the quick-time with an impressive 16.2-second lap, then dominating the first heat race. Reporters and pit crew members speculated the car had some issues on the restart that put the car in jeopardy of being passed.
Once Williams got to the front, the popular “MooseMobile” opened up a sizable lead on his way to the win. Jake Swanson’s #34AZ Grau/Burkhart ride was entertaining the crowd with “he-man” launches coming off Turn 4 and pulling wheelies down the front straight.
Coming into the race, Matt Stewart joined the #55 Tony Everhart team. After a dismal showing in qualifying where Stewart placed 17th out of 21 cars, the team went to work on adjusting the car to the driver. Stewart started the feature in 17th and charged his way to a 7th place finish, earning the hard charger award. The Stewart/Everhart combination should be exciting to watch for the rest of the season.
AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series Results: 12th Annual Glenn Howard Classic. September 21, 2019. Perris Auto Speedway, Perris, California.
Woodland Auto Display Qualifying: 1. Damion Gardner, 4, Alexander-16.269; 2. Jake Swanson, 34AZ, Grau/Burkhart-16.522; 3. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-16.563; 4. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-16.656; 5. Brody Roa, 42, Cheney-16.705; 6. Tommy Malcolm, 5X, Napier-16.748; 7. Cody Williams, 44, Williams-16.761; 8. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-16.793; 9. Austin Williams, 92, Sertich-16.830; 10. Trent Williams, 52V, Williams-16.863; 11. Verne Sweeney, 98, Tracy-16.933; 12. Chris Bonneau, 15, Bonneau-17.067; 13. Eddie Tafoya Jr., 51T, Tafoya-17.088; 14. Matt McCarthy, 28M, McCarthy-17.101; 15. Bill Rose, 6, Rose/Miller-17.287; 16. Steve Hix, 57, Hix-17.299; 17. Matt Stewart, 55, Everhart-17.437; 18. Eric Englert, 35, Englert-17.797; 19. Chris Tramel, 58, Everhart-17.954; 20. Ryan Timmons, 29T, Timmons-23.700; 21. Will Perkins, 50P, Perkins-NT.
Extreme Mufflers Heat Race 1: (10 laps) 1. Gardner, 2. C.Williams, 3. Tafoya, 4. Mitchell, 5. T.Williams, 6. Hix, 7. Tramel. 2:53.03.
Circle Track Performance / Ultra Shield Race Products Heat Race 2: (10 laps) 1. Swanson, 2. Roa, 3. Stewart, 4. Timmons, 5. Sweeney, 6. Gansen, 7. McCarthy. 2:54.28.
Saldana Racing Products / Butlerbuilt Seats Heat Race 3: (10 laps) 1. Johnson, 2. A.Williams, 3. Malcolm, 4. Rose, 5. Englert, 6. Bonneau, 7. Perkins. 2:58.16.
Feature: (30 laps, with starting positions) 1. Austin Williams (9), 2. Jake Swanson (5), 3. Damion Gardner (6), 4. Tommy Malcolm (1), 5. Brody Roa (2), 6. Chris Gansen (8), 7. Matt Stewart (17), 8. Bill Rose (15), 9. Trent Williams (10), 10. Eddie Tafoya Jr. (13), 11. Matt McCarthy (14), 12. Verne Sweeney (11), 13. Chris Bonneau (12), 14. Eric Englert (18), 15. Steve Hix (16), 16. Chris Tramel (19), 17. R.J. Johnson (4), 18. Cody Williams (7), 19. Ryan Timmons (20), 20. Matt Mitchell (3), 21. Will Perkins (21). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-3 Malcolm, Lap 4 Roa, Laps 5-8 Malcolm, Laps 9-10 Johnson, Laps 11-21 Gardner, Laps 22-30 A.Williams.