CRA Returns To Ventura

The field goes four wide for the start.


VENTURA, CA MAY 10, 2014 -RIS- Damion Gardner resumed his winning ways as the USAC/CRA series returned to Ventura Raceway for the first time since 2010. Starting on the pole after an unusually lackluster qualifying result Gardner fought with Cory Kruseman early on and with Nic Faas late in the race but lead every lap (USAC says different, I know) on the way to his fourth feature win of the 2014 season.

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The win was all the better as Michael Spencer was absent from the event as he stayed home with his expectant wife.

Thirty two cars were at the cozy Ventura Raceway. Jake Swanson was the fast qualifier in the 92 Moose Racing “Moosemobile” with a 12.089 second lap. Last weeks winner Richard Vander Weerd was looking as if he had come down from his Perris high as he qualified mid-field in 24th position and was slower than twin brother Jace who ran eleventh. A three car effort by Josh Ford Racing had Nic Faas second fast, Markus Niemela fourth and Ryan Bernal seventh. The previous races third place finisher, Greg Alexander had car problems and was not able to race.

The heat winners were Kruseman, Gardner, Camarillo and Richard Vander Weerd.

The B main was won by Cody Williams.

The feature had a good start with the front row of Kruseman and Gardner fighting it out but Gardner prevailed and Kruseman slipped back to finish fifth. The teammates of Bernal and Faas kept after Gardner and ran in second and third most of the night with Faas taking second on a lap eight restart. The first caution of the race came as Cody Williams lost a muffler. After the track was cleared the restart resulted in a four car crash in turn one involving Wally Pankratz, Rick Hendrix, Markus Niemela and Kyle Smith. Two laps later Chris Gansen flipped and brought the race to a stop.

On the lap 10 restart Faas stayed on Gardner's tail and the laps started to run short. As it seemed that the race might run to it's end Nic started to try Damion and got inside him a few times but the high line was the best line and Gardner stuck to it. Then Richard Vander Weerd came to a stop in turn four with three laps remaining. Another bad restart followed with Rick Hendrix and Don Gansen coming to a stop in turn two. Finally a good start saw Faas get along side Damion twice but each time the high line got out of the turn faster and Damion held on.

The CRA returns to Perris in two weeks with it's “Salute to Indy” race.


AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: May 10, 2014 - Ventura, California - Ventura Raceway - All Coast Challenge "Fred Thomson Tribute Race"

      QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Jake Swanson, 92, Sertich-12.089; 2. Nic Faas, 73, Ford-12.247; 3. Cody Swanson, 36, Springstead-12.269; 4. Markus Niemela, 73X, Ford-12.293; 5. Rickie Gaunt, 66, Miller-12.365; 6. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-12.380; 7. Ryan Bernal, 73F, Ford-12.436; 8. Johnathon Henry, 17, Henry-12.440; 9. Cory Kruseman, 7, Priestley-12.476; 10. Damion Gardner, 4, Alexander-12.491; 11. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-12.500; 12. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-12.560; 13. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-12.654; 14. J.J. Ercse, 14, Springstead-12.786; 15. Matt Michell, 37, Mitchell-12.803; 16. Corey Ballard, 34, Ballard-12.845; 17. Logan Williams, 5, Jory-12.855; 18. Don Gansen, 7G, Gansen-12.883; 19. Brian Camarillo, 51, Smith-12.905; 20. Kyle Smith, 55, Smith-12.937; 21. Austin DeBlauw, 65, DeBlauw-12.970; 22. Rick Hendrix, 15, Hendrix-13.047; 23. Cody Majors, 54, Majors-13.062; 24. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-13.065; 25. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-13.067; 26. Brandon Thomson, 19F, Thomson-13.104; 27. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-13.243; 28. Wally Pankratz, 2X, Swann-13.478; 29. Ron Bach, 49, Bach-13.614; 30. Hobie Conway, 2K, Kruseman-NT; 31. Greg Alexander, 72, Tyler-NT; 32. Charlie Butcher, 96, Butcher-NT.

      FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Kruseman, 2. J.Swanson, 3. L.Williams, 4. Gaunt, 5. Roa, 6. Bender, 7. DeBlauw, 8. Bach. NT

      SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Gardner, 2. Hendrix, 3. Faas, 4. D.Gansen, 5. Ercse, 6. Thomson, 7. C.Williams, 8. Conway. NT

      THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Camarillo, 2. J.Vander Weerd, 3. Mitchell, 4. Bernal, 5. Majors, 6. C.Gansen, 7. C.Swanson. NT

      FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. R.Vander Weerd, 2. A.Williams, 3. Smith, 4. Pankratz, 5. Ballard, 6. Niemela, 7. Henry. NT

      SEMI: (12 laps) 1. C.Williams, 2. Henry, 3. Niemela, 4. Roa, 5. DeBlauw, 6. C.Gansen, 7. Thomson, 8. Ballard, 9. Ercse, 10. Majors, 11. Bender, 12. Conway. NT

      FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Damion Gardner, 2. Nic Faas, 3. Jake Swanson, 4. Ryan Bernal, 5. Cory Kruseman, 6. Rickie Gaunt, 7. Johnathon Henry, 8. Brody Roa, 9. Jace Vander Weerd, 10. Brian Camarillo, 11. Kyle Smith, 12. Richard Vander Weerd, 13. Chris Gansen, 14. Don Gansen, 15. Austin Williams, 16. Rick Hendrix, 17. Austin DeBlauw, 18. Markus Niemela, 19. Wally Pankratz, 20. Cody Williams, 21. Matt Mitchell, 22. Logan Williams. NT


**C.Swanson flipped during the third heat. Niemela flipped during fourth heat. Pankratz flipped during the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-3 Mitchell, Laps 4-30 D. Gardner

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-Gardner-354, 2-Faas-315, 3-Mike Spencer-228, 4-Mitchell-216, 5-J.Swanson-208, 6-Kruseman-206, 7-Roa-192, 8-R.Vander Weerd-157. 9-C.Williams-157, 10-Gary Taylor-143.

NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE:May 24, 2014 - Perris (CA) Auto Speedway - "Salute to Indy"

Results Courtesy USAC

Ed Hollowell

Reporter for RIS since 1996. Photo since 2002.

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Volume 2014, Issue 5, Posted 12:03 AM, 05.12.2014