For much of the field of cars, it was a tale of race halves. Many of the cars running well in the first half fell off the pace in the second half. Many cars came to life after the lap 18 restart and finished well. Max Adams, who has enjoyed a great season and consistently in the top five, was one of those first half heroes that struggled late. “The car was really good till that stoppage, then it just went away,” he said after the race. “We learned some things and will be ready next time.”
Austin Williams has been opportunistic this season, putting himself in the right place to take advantage of any mistakes made by other drivers. On Saturday night, Austin and brother Cody were positioned to take charge until a Cody’s car was wounded by a minor crash.
The much anticipated match-up of Brody Roa and Damion Gardner lived up to the billing with both drivers up front most of the night. Austin Williams and Danny Faria Jr., were also strong most of the evening. Faria’s move to Cheney Racing’s #42 has been showing signs for positive growth for the team and driver. Austin Williams has been very opportunistic this season, following the leader(s) and pouncing when a mistake is made. He looked poised to take advantage of another SNAFU in the event the leaders were to tangle with each other again.
Enjoy this photo gallery from the event:
Longtime racer Clint Newman, who has been acting as crew chief for the Young Guns driver Amanda Roberson, was on hand to help support the team of A. J. Bender. Bender’s car was one of those cars that came alive in the second half of the race and captured fourth when the checkered flag fell. Roberson won the Young Gun feature, which has given her the podium cycle in the last three races. She took third, then scored second in the last event here, and won the feature on Saturday.
Roa, Gardner, and Austin Williams were clearly the fastest cars on the evening. Austin’s brother Cody, also had a quick car until being halted on lap 18 when the #92 Moose-mobile, piloted by R. J. Johnson, appeared to have lost steering in the back straight, veering initially to the left, then back to the right where it rode up the wall and rolled over 360-degrees landing on its wheels. Cody Williams was unable to avoid the car lying in the track and kissed it with just enough force to damage his own steering and flattened a tire. Williams car was taken to the work, hastily repaired, and returned to the track, finishing in a respectable 8th place.
Roa had built a sizable lead during the first half of the race, only to see it erased when R.J. Johnson flipped on lap 18. Once the field had been grouped back up, Roa and Gardner were nose-to-tail at the restart. Gardner’s car appeared to be gaining momentum before the crash that caused the restart, but the Roa’s lead was so large that it Gardner may not have been able to catch Roa. Once the field was bunched up for the restart, it appeared to be a whole new race.
Gardner was able to put a slider on Roa and take over the lead in the first set of turns, only to have Roa return the favor and slide past Gardner in three for the lead back. Immediately cutting back to the inside, Gardner was able to pull alongside Roa down the front straight on lap 20, and made the final lead swap in turn one. From there the Demon scooted out to a three or four car lead and held it for most of the race.
AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series Race Results:
September 22, 2018 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway – “11th Annual Glenn Howard Classic”
Woodland Auto Display Qualifying : 1. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-16.479; 2. Damion Gardner, 4, Alexander-16.672; 3. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.778; 4. R.J. Johnson, 92, Sertich-16.844; 5. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-16.844; 6. Tommy Malcolm, 5X, Napier-17.000; 7. Chris Gansen, 44G, Gansen-17.022; 8. Logan Williams, 5, Jory-17.039; 9. Danny Faria Jr., 42, Cheney-17.048; 10. Max Adams, 5M, Adams-17.111; 11. Matt McCarthy, 28M, McCarthy-17.259; 12. Verne Sweeney, 98, Tracy-17.689; 13. Eddie Tafoya, 51T, Tafoya-18.042; 14. Joel Rayborne, 12B, Blair-18.050; 15. Cal Smith, 39, Cal-Sun-18.188; 16. Gary Marshall Jr., 72, Marshall-18.235; 17. Austin Ervine, 51, AJ-19.260; 18. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-NT, 19. Matt Stewart, 23, Bellegante-NT.
Extreme Mufflers First Heat (10 laps): 1. C.Williams, 2. Johnson, 3. Adams, 4. Gansen, 5. Marshall. 2:57.19
Circle Track Performance/Rod End Supply Second Heat: (10 laps) 1. Gardner, 2. Roa, 3. L.Williams, 4. McCarthy, 5. Rayborne, 6. Ervine. 2:57.80
Keizer Aluminum Wheels/Rod End Supply Third Heat (10 laps): 1. Faria, 2. A.Williams, 3. Malcolm, 4. Bender, 5. Sweeney, 6. Smith. 2:59.15
FEATURE (30 laps): 1. Damion Gardner, 2. Brody Roa, 3. Austin Williams, 4. A.J. Bender, 5. Danny Faria Jr., 6. Max Adams, 7. Logan Williams, 8. Cody Williams, 9. Tommy Malcolm, 10. Chris Gansen, 11. Verne Sweeney, 12. Matt McCarthy, 13. Gary Marshall Jr., 14. Austin Ervine, 15. Joel Rayborne, 16. Cal Smith, 17. R.J. Johnson, 18. Eddie Tafoya. NT
**Johnson flipped on lap 18 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-6 Johnson, Laps 7-19 Roa, Laps 20-30 Gardner.
SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS/RACING OPTICS HARD CHARGER: A.J. Bender (18th to 4th)
NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Roa-1,145, 2-Gardner-1,101, 3-A.Williams-993, 4-C.Williams-927, 5-Adams-912, 6-Jake Swanson-802, 7-Johnson-758, 8-Faria-748, 9-L.Williams-716, 10-Gansen-684.