Who Can Stop Ballou?
PERRIS, CA -RIS- Winning his fourth feature in a row on the Perris oval looked too easy for Robert Ballou. Damion Gardner lead the early laps but as he caught the back of the field Ballou took advantage of the lapped traffic to take the lead and go on to his fourth win in-a-row on Perris clay. It was also Ballou's 12th win of the season tying him with Pancho Carter and Larry Dickson for third on the all time one season win list.
Gardner started on the outside of the front row and took the lead from polesitter Brady Bacon at the start with Ballou starting third and passing Bacon for second on lap two. They ran in that order during a long period of green flag racing until Gardner caught the back of the field. Slowed by traffic, Gardner's lead shrank until Ballou took over the lead on lap 11.
Back in third place Bryan Clauson took over from Bacon who was in fourth when Chase Stockon lost a tire on lap 25 for the first caution of the race. Stockons trouble put him out of the race and cost him second place in the season standings.
The race restarted with 24 laps remaining. There were no less than five lapped cars between Ballou and Second place Gardner. On lap 25 Gardner had a hard bump with Justin Grant exiting turn two and on lap 26 another bump involving Gardner and a lapped car started a six car pile-up out of turn two.
Clauson was taken out in the accident and Bacon was able to get by and claim second while Gardner remained in third.
The restart with five laps remaining saw Tracy Hines move up from sixth to third before Gardner reclaimed the three spot.
In the lead Ballou had no challenge from second place Bacon as he scooted home to win by 3.123-seconds.
"It means a lot to put my name up there in terms of winning seasons with guys I know like Pancho Carter and Bubby Jones, and other guys who are the legendary names in sprint car racing. It's special to have a season like this. I thought I gave away a couple too many to have a chance to put up a number like Bigelow's 14 (all-time record), but now we've hit a hot streak again. It's so tough to beat these guys out there, so we're happy to be winning but I know we need to find even more to keep this going," Ballou said.
Gardner's third place finish combined with another disappointing finish by Michael Spencer (15th place) gave Gardner the lead in the USAC/CRA series points. Spencer trails Gardner by 14 points with four races remaining.
Saturday night is the championship round and the only question is 'Who can stop Ballou?'
AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL & CRA CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: November 13, 2015 - Perris, California - Perris Auto Speedway - 20th Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction
QUALIFYING: 1. Bryan Clauson, 63, Dooling/Hayward-16.647; 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17RW, Dutcher-16.769; 3. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-16.807; 4. Jake Swanson, 92, Sertich-16.827; 5. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-16.833; 6. Damion Gardner, 4x, Alexander-16.850; 7. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-16.859; 8. Tracy Hines, 4, THR-16.875; 9. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.919; 10. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-16.941; 11. Dave Darland, 71p, Phillips/Curb-Agajanian-17.006; 12. Thomas Meseraull, 66, Amati-17.026; 13. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-17.093; 14. Aaron Farney, 15F, Farney-17.099; 15. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-17.105; 16. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-17.119; 17. Brody Roa, 48, Leonard-17.125; 18. Danny Faria, Jr., 4D, Gansen-17.152; 19. Ryan Bernal, 56, Phulps-17.155; 20. Ronnie Gardner, 12A, Allen-17.186; 21. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-17.243; 22. Chris Windom, 21x, Pollock-17.250; 23. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-17.299; 24. Justin Grant, 5, Baldwin-17.302; 25. Jon Stanbrough, 81, Stanbrough-17.408; 26. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-17.428; 27. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-17.458; 28. Mitch Wissmiller, 36, Springstead-17.463; 29. Logan Williams, 5J, Jory-17.532; 30. Chad Boespflug, 04G, Cook-17.549; 31. Kyle Edwards, 51E, Tafoya-17.550; 32. Austin Liggett, 83, Liggett-17.594; 33. Geoff Ensign, 3F, Finkenbinder-17.594; 34. Brady Short, 42, Cheney-17.607; 35. Matt Rossi, 02, Rossi-17.617; 36. Max Adams, 5M, Adams-17.710; 37. David Bezio, 37x, Bezio-17.798; 38. Verne Sweeney, 98JR, Tracy-17.810; 39. Lee Dakus, 75, Dakus-17.817; 40. Tommy Malcolm, 5x, Napier-17.869; 41. Koby Barksdale, 12B, Sampson-17.950; 42. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-18.013; 43. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-18.064; 44. Jeremy Ellertson, 98, Ellertson-18.207; 45. Mike Collins, 04, Collins-18.626; 46. Parker Colston, 64, Gore-18.702; 47. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-19.079; 48. Randy Waitman, Y69, Waitman-19.341.
C-MAIN: (10 laps) 1. J. Vander Weerd, 2. Barksdale, 3. Colston, 4. Ellertson, 5. Gansen, 6. Waitman, 7. Bell, 8. Collins. NT
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Darland, 3. D. Gardner, 4. R. Vander Weerd, 5. C. Williams, 6. Johnson, 7. Adams, 8. Edwards. 2:51.21
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Meseraull, 2. Windom, 3. Bacon, 4. Bender, 5. Thomas, 6. Roa, 7. Liggett, 8. Bezio. 2:50.67
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Stockon, 2. Faria, 3. Hines, 4. Hodges, 5. Mitchell, 6. Ensign, 7. Sweeney. 2:49.16
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Grant, 2. Farney, 3. Bernal, 4. Swanson, 5. Short, 6. A. Williams, 7. L. Williams, 8. Dakus. 2:53.74
FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. Boespflug, 3. Stanbrough, 4. Spencer, 5. R. Gardner, 6. Leary, 7. Rossi, 8. Malcolm. NT
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Thomas, 2. A. Williams, 3. Leary, 4. Roa, 5. C. Williams, 6. Mitchell, 7. R. Gardner, 8. Ensign, 9. Liggett, 10. L. Williams, 11. Short, 12. J. Vander Weerd, 13. Bezio, 14. Johnson, 15. Rossi, 16. Adams, 17. Dakus, 18. Edwards, 19. Malcolm, 20. Colston, 21. Barksdale, 22. Ellertson, 23. Sweeney. 3:32.95
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Robert Ballou, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Damion Gardner, 4. Tracy Hines, 5. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 6. Thomas Meseraull, 7. Dave Darland, 8. Chris Windom, 9. C.J. Leary, 10. Austin Williams, 11. Richard Vander Weerd, 12. Jake Swanson, 13. Josh Hodges, 14. Ryan Bernal, 15. Mike Spencer, 16. Brody Roa, 17. Jon Stanbrough, 18. Justin Grant, 19. Danny Faria, Jr., 20. Aaron Farney, 21. Cody Williams, 22. A.J. Bender, 23. Bryan Clauson, 24. Chase Stockon, 25. Chad Boespflug, 26. Matt Mitchell. NT
**Swanson flipped during qualifying. C. Williams flipped on lap 26 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-11 D. Gardner, Laps 12-30 Ballou.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Ballou-2042, 2- Darland-1973, 3-Stockon-1966, 4-Bacon-1850, 5-Stanbrough-1682, 6-Thomas-1636, 7-Windom-1478, 8-Leary-1351, 9-Hines-1295, 10-Grant-1188.
NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-D. Gardner-1212, 2-Spencer-1200, 3-R. Vander Weerd-1140, 4-Swanson-1018, 5-A. Williams-1005, 6-Roa-951, 7-Mitchell-786, 8-C. Williams-745, 9-L. Williams-650, 10-Bernal-550.
OVAL NATIONALS POINTS: 1-Ballou-292, 2-Bacon-267, 3-Darland-261, 4-Thomas-246, 5-Hines-239, 6-Meseraull-238, 7-D. Gardner-236, 8-R. Vander Weerd-232, 9-Clauson-230, 10-Stockon-225.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT RACE: November 14 - Perris (CA) Auto Speedway - 20th Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction
Results Courtesy USAC
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