Leary Opens 2014 Oval Nationals With 360 Win

Forty Six drivers were at Perris Perris Auto Speedway for the opening night of “The Budweiser Oval Nationals” for sprint cars. Opening night was limited to 360 CID cars and featured many drivers from the USAC National Sprintcar series as well as drivers from the numerous 360 series in the southwest. When the results were in it was the National Series had shown their skills as C. J. Leary and Bryan Clauson fought it out for the $2,500 winner's purse.

Kevin Thomas Jr. lead the first lap of the thirty lap feature but on lap two Clauson had command and held on to the lead despite the efforts of Leary who nosed ahead several times. With ten laps remaining Leary finally made a pass 'stick' as he went around the top in turn one and took the lead which he held for the remainder of the race.

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Leary was driving his own car while Clauson was in a car provided by Mike Martin.

Third place was held for most of the night by Cody Swanson in the Moose Racing #92.

The race was not without incident as Austin Liggett and Jon Stanbrough flipped in separate incidents while Troy Rutherford and Ryan Bernal both flipped in turn four on lap 25. it did not appear that any of the drivers were injured.

The same cannot be said for Markus Niemela who flipped hard in qualifying when his rear axle fractured during his second qualifyinig lap. Markus was awake but was taken to a local hospital and the team had no further information about his status as of race time. Markus was scheduled to drive in the 410 class events Friday and Saturday but that now seems doubtful.

A more pleasant occasion was the presentation of the 2014 USAC West Coast Driver's title to Matt Mitchell. Mitchell clenched the title as he started the feature.

Fast time was set by Leary as well when he qualified at 16.416 seconds. The six heat races were won by RJ Johnson, Mike Martin, Michael Spencer, Troy Rutherford, Bryan Clauson and Kevin Thomas Jr.

Twin 12 lap B mains were run with Matt Mitchell and Danny Faria Jr. winners.

Friday and Saturday will be the final two nights of the 2014 Oval Nationals.

RESULTS COURTESY USAC

USAC WEST COAST & SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR "Special Event" RACE RESULTS: November 6, 2014 - Perris, California - Perris Auto Speedway - 19th "Budweiser Oval Nationals" - The Grudge Series

      QUALIFICATIONS: 1. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-16.416; 2. Jake Swanson, 92, Sertich-16.503; 3. Austin Liggett, 83, Liggett-16.547; 4. Troy Rutherford, 11, Rutherford-16.622; 5. Kevin Thomas Jr., 73X, Ford-16.640; 6. Bryan Clauson, 16B, Martin-16.644; 7. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-16.682; 8. Colby Copeland, 5V, VanLare-16.683; 9. Robert Ballou, 12X, Ballou-16.704; 10. Danny Faria Jr., 2F, Bowman-16.704; 11. Christopher Bell, 51T, Roth-16.728; 12. Jon Stanbrough, 81M, Watt-16.767; 13. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-16.770; 14. Dave Darland, 4G, Gansen-16.833; 15. Mike Spencer, 7M, Priestley-16.864; 16. Charles Davis Jr., 50, Massey-16.871; 17. Shon Deskins, 20. Deskins-16.880; 18. Darren Hagen, 17RW, Dutcher-16.897; 21. Rick Hendrix, 15X, Hendrix-16.918; 22. Josh Pelkey, 12, Allen-16.968; 23. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-16.994; 24. Johnathon Henry, 17, Henry-17.060; 25. Jeff Sibley, 42N, Sibley-17.098; 26. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-17.146, 27. Markus Niemela, 73, Ford-17.147; 28. Max Adams, 5X, Adams-17.191; 29. Michael Curtis, 11C, Turner/Wheeler-17.228; 30. A.J. Bender, 12B, Bender-17.262; 31. Chris Ennis, 86, Ennis-17.378; 32. Terry Schank Jr., 3X, Dupont-17.457; 33. Cody Majors, 54, Majors-17.459; 34. Trent Williams, 52, Williams-17.484; 35. Tristan Guardino, 81, Watt-17.510; 36. David Taylor, 74, Taylor-17.608; 37. Tony Everhart, 55, Everhart-17.638; 38. Kyle Edwards, 39E, Edwards-17.783; 39. J.J. Ercse, 15, Boy-17.843; 40. Kyle Smith, 55X, Smith-18.069; 41. Ryan Bernal, 56, Phulps-18.109; 42. George Morris, 3K, Kruseman-18.302; 43. Brian Grosenheider, 25K, Kruseman-18.658; 44. Eddie Tafoya, 51, Perkins-18.877; 45. Ed Schwarz, U47, Schwarz-18.886; 46. Mike Collins, 04, Collins-19.326

      FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Johnson, 2. Leary, 3. R.Vander Weerd, 4. Mitchell, 5. Sibley, 6. Edwards, 7. Schank, 8. Tafoya. NT

      SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Martin, 2. Darland, 3. Swanson, 4. Majors, 5. Copeland, 6. Hurst, 7. Collins, 8. Ercse. 2:58.42

      THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Spencer, 2. Ballou, 3. Liggett, 4. Adams, 5. Hendrix, 6. Smith, 7. Williams, 8. Schwarz. 2:56.44

      FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Rutherford, 2. Davis, 3. Bernal, 4. Pelkey, 5. Faria, 6. Curtis, 7. Guardino. 2:59.13

      FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Thomas, 2. Bell, 3. Deskins, 4. J.Vander Weerd, 5. Bender, 6. Taylor, 7. Morris. 2:59.20

      SIXTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Hagen, 3. Stanbrough, 4. Henry, 5. Everhart, 6. Ennis, 7. Grosenheider. 2:58.34

      FIRST SEMI: (10 laps) 1. Mitchell, 2. Copeland, 3. Curtis, 4. J.Vander Weerd, 5. Ennis, 6. Hendrix, 7. Everhart, 8. Majors, 9. Morris, 10. Guardino, 11. Ercse, 12. Schwarz, 13. Sibley, 14. Tafoya. NT

      SECOND SEMI: (10 laps) 1. Faria, 2. Hurst, 3. Henry, 4. Pelkey, 5. Adams, 6. Williams, 7. Bender, 8. Edwards, 9. Smith, 10. Schank, 11. Collins, 12. Taylor, 13. Grosenheider. 3:40.66

      FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. C.J. Leary, 2. Bryan Clauson, 3. Jake Swanson, 4. Richard Vander Weerd, 5. Mike Spencer, 6. Matt Mitchell, 7. R.J. Johnson, 8. Darren Hagen, 9. Danny Faria Jr., 10. Kevin Thomas Jr., 11. Johnathon Henry, 12. Landon Hurst, 13. Charles Davis Jr., 14. Mike Martin, 15. Troy Rutherford, 16. Ryan Bernal, 17. Colby Copeland, 18. Shon Deskins, 19. Michael Curtis, 20. Jon Stanbrough, 21. Dave Darland, 22. Austin Liggett, 23. Robert Ballou, 24. Christopher Bell. NT

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**Niemela flipped in qualifications. Liggett, Stanbrough, Rutherford, Bernal flipped during the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Thomas, Laps 2-19 Clauson, Laps 20-30 Leary.

FINAL USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS: 1-Mitchell-709, 2-Niemela-632, 3-R.Vander Weerd-603, 4-Faria-540, 5-Bernal-539, 6-J.Vander Weerd-535, 7-Rutherford-534, 8-Liggett-513, 9-Nic Faas-465, 10-Dennis Howell-399.

NEXT USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINT RACE: November 20-22 - "Peoria, AZ - Canyon Speedway Park - 47th Annual "Western World Championships"

NEXT USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR "Special Event": November 20-22 - "Peoria, AZ - Canyon Speedway Park - 47th Annual "Western World Championships"

Ed Hollowell

Reporter for RIS since 1996. Photo since 2002.

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Volume 2014, Issue 11, Posted 1:41 PM, 11.07.2014