Ballou Sweeps 2014 Oval Nationals
PERRIS, CA -RIS- It was a 'first' in the 19 year “Budweiser Oval Nationals” as Robert Ballou swept all the 410 sprintcar features at Perris Auto Speedway.
It was Roberts fourth USAC National feature win of the year and maybe the two biggest nights of his career as he took 20 thousand dollars for the championship to add to the five thousand he won in the Friday preliminary feature. Rockland California is where Ballou calls home and winning in his home state was also a big bonus.
Ballou started fourth in the forty lap feature and lagged behind in the early part of the race as Michael Spencer, C. J. Leary and Dave Darland fought in the front. Spencer and Leary traded the lead officially four times but there were many times when Leary lead partial laps. The same was true for Darland who ran second from laps 17 till lap 29.
Leary dropped from contention on lap 25 when he slapped the wall in turn two while running third. Kevin Thomas, Jr. flipped the same lap and stopped the race while Leary changed a tire and had to restart at the rear. Leary ended the day in 14th place.
The race was restarted on lap 26 and Spencer held his lead while Stanbrough, Richard Vander Weerd and Ballou fought over third. Stanbrough faded but Vander Weerd hung on for several laps and then it became apparent that Robert Ballou was riding a rocket.
In Roberts words, “It 'laid rubber' with about 15 to go or so. We weren't good. Thanks for that open red Jason McCord. Normally it don't work out in my favor. I missed the setup just a tick it didn't take much to dial this thing in. We have a real tight window of what we need to do and as long as we don't get off it we're pretty good. You know this is unbelievable. We've been here, I think since 2006 and barely made the show every year.” Later he added “Early on I just tightened up the car too much. It was hunkered down on the right rear and I can't drive a car on the right rear like a lot of these guys can. That's been my downfall since I started sprint car racing. I ran a winged car too long and it's to the point now where if it's laid over on the right rear I might as well just load up and go home. That red flag (on lap 26) definitely helped us out a lot otherwise we'd have been real bad in the rubber.”
Once Ballou had the lead there was no catching him as he seemed to secure a half straight lead in only two laps. Bryan Clauson was finally coming on near the end but he ran out of laps after taking third from Darland on lap 35. On last opportunity to challenge Ballou came on lap 38 when Rickie Gaunt came to a stop on the back straight for the final caution of the night. It was a missed opportunity as no one was able advance on the restart.
Dave Darland did win the Super 6 Dash. Damion Gardner was the fast qualifier at 16.577 seconds and won his heat. Other heat winners were Richard Vander Weerd, Austin Williams and Tracy Hines. Two B qualifying races were run with Josh Pelkey and Danny Faria jr. winning.
Steve Brown won a Perris 30 Senior sprintcar feature and Bruce Douglass was awarded the Senior series season title.
Jay Agajanian was on hand to announce that Parnelli Jones will be the “Grand Marshal” for the 2014 edition of the “Turkey Night Midget Grand Prix”. It will be the 50th anniversary of Mr. Jones' Turkey Night win. Another big item for the event is the entry of 2012 winner Kyle Larson by special permission from Target Chip Gannasi Racing. The race will be at Perris Auto Speedway on Thanksgiving and close the season.
RESULTS COURTESY USAC-
USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: November 8, 2014 - Perris, California - Perris Auto Speedway - 19th "Budweiser Oval Nationals" - Presented by All-Coast Construction
QUALIFICATIONS: (Minus top-6 Friday points - no points) 1. Damion Gardner, 4x, Alexander-16.577; 2. Justin Grant, 40, Hery-16.619; 3. Darren Hagen, 17RW, Dutcher-16.687; 4. Nic Faas, 37F, Mitchell-16.813; 5. Jake Swanson, 92, Sertich-16.822; 6. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-16.828; 7. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.838; 8. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-16.855; 9. Christopher Bell, 51T, Roth-16.923; 10. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 73, Ford-16.954; 11. Geoff Ensign, 3F, Finkenbinder-16.967; 12. Ryan Bernal, 56, Phulps-16.980; 13. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-17.003; 14. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-17.009; 15. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-17.016; 16. Garrett Hansen, 7, Priestley-17.023; 17. Danny Faria, Jr., 2F, Bowman-17.044; 18. Chad Boespflug, 5B, Baldwin-17.059; 19. Bryan Clauson, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-17.076; 20. Josh Pelkey, 12, Allen-17.100; 21. David Bezio, 37x, Bezio-17.104; 22. Ronnie Gardner, 93, Gardner-17.122; 23. Rickie Gaunt, 66, Miller-17.240; 24. Max Adams, 5x, Adams-17.244; 25. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-17.245; 26. Matt Rossi, 02, Rossi-17.290; 27. Colby Copeland, 5v, VanLare-17.334; 28. Trent Williams, 52, Williams-17.371; 29. Greg Alexander, 72, Henry-17.381; 30. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-17.413; 31. Corey Ballard, 34, Ballard-17.437; 32. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-17.456; 33. Austin Liggett, 9s, Hurst-17.496; 34. Logan Williams, 5, Jory-17.501; 35. Terry Schank, Jr., 1, Gleason-17.532; 36. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-17.557; 37. Verne Sweeney, 98, Tracy-17.633; 38. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-17.640; 39. Jeremy Ellertson, 98x, Ellertson-17.661; 40. Jeff Sibley, 42N, Sibley-17.714; 41. Johnathon Henry, 17, Henry-17.830; 42. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-17.845; 43. Landon Hurst, 179, Hurst-17.962; 44. Kyle Edwards, 39E, Edwards-18.046; 45. Tony Everhart, 55, Everhart-18.521; 46. Michael Curtis, 45c, Turner/Wheeler-18.624; 47. Tobey Sampson, 12B, Blair-18.646;
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. D. Gardner, 2. Bell, 3. Mitchell, 4. Johnson, 5. Swanson, 6. Faria, 7. Alexander, 8. Bezio. NT
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Hines, 2. Stockon, 3. Grant, 4. R. Gardner, 5. Thomas, 6. Boespflug, 7. Rossi, 8. Andretti. 2:58.72
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. A. Williams, 2. Clauson, 3. C. Williams, 4. Hagen, 5. Ensign, 6. Copeland, 7. Ballard, 8. Gaunt. NT
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. R. Vander Weerd, 2. Bernal, 3. Pelkey, 4. Faas, 5. Adams, 6. Hansen, 7. T. Williams, 8. J. Vander Weerd. NT
"SUPER 6 DASH": (6 laps) 1. Dave Darland (71P, Phillips), 2. Mike Spencer (50, Chaffin), 3. C.J. Leary (30, Leary), 4. Robert Ballou (12x, Ballou), 5. Jon Stanbrough (37RW, Dutcher), 6. Brady Bacon (69, Dynamics). 1:46.20
FIRST B MAIN: (12 laps) 1. Pelkey, 2. Johnson, 3. Thomas, 4. Gaunt, 5. Faas, 6. Mitchell, 7. R. Gardner, 8. L. Williams, 9. Bender, 10. Curtis, 11. Sweeney, 12. Ellertson, 13. Liggett, 14. Copeland, 15. Everhart, 16. Henry, 17. Bezio, 18. Sibley. NT
SECOND B MAIN: (12 laps) 1. Faria, 2. Hagen, 3. Grant, 4. Boespflug, 5. Ensign, 6. Rossi, 7. C. Williams, 8. Adams, 9. Andretti, 10. Schank, 11. T. Williams, 12. Hurst, 13. Hansen, 14. Ballard, 15. Edwards, 16. Gansen, 17. Sampson, 18. Swanson. NT
FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Robert Ballou, 2. Mike Spencer, 3. Bryan Clauson, 4. Dave Darland, 5. Ryan Bernal, 6. Damion Gardner, 7. Richard Vander Weerd, 8. Brady Bacon, 9. Jon Stanbrough, 10. Chad Boespflug, 11. Chase Stockon, 12. Christopher Bell, 13. Darren Hagen, 14. C.J. Leary, 15. Austin Williams, 16. Danny Faria, Jr., 17. Tracy Hines, 18. Cody Williams, 19. Rickie Gaunt, 20. R.J. Johnson, 21. Josh Pelkey, 22. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 23. Garrett Hansen, 24. Geoff Ensign, 25. Nic Faas, 26. Justin Grant. NT
***Henry flipped in the 1st B Main. Copeland flipped in the 1st B Main. Faas flipped on Lap 17. Ensign flipped on Lap 19. Hansen flipped on Lap 23. Thomas, Jr. flipped on Lap 25.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-5 Spencer, Lap 6 Leary, Lap 7 Spencer, Laps 8-19 Leary, Laps 20-30 Spencer, Laps 31-40 Ballou.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Bacon-1,868; 2-Clauson-1,815; 3-Darland-1,790; 4-Stanbrough-1,690; 5-Stockon-1,532; 6-Hines-1,452; 7-Grant-1,418; 8-Ballou-1,412; 9-Chris Windom-1,351; 10-Leary-1,268.
NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-D.Gardner-1,255, 2-Spencer-1,045, 3-Brody Roa-790, 4-Mitchell-787, 5-C.Williams-786, 6-A.Williams-760, 7-Swanson-660, 8-R.Vander Weerd-656, 9-Faas-642, 10-Bernal-508.
NEXT AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: November 14-15 - Peoria, AZ - Canyon Speedway Park - 14th Hose Advantage Store "Hall of Fame Classic"
Reporter for RIS since 1996. Photo since 2002.