Damion Gardner Winning Continues

Damion Gardner 'drinks the milk' Photo Speedblur101

PERRIS, CA MAY 24, 2014 -RIS- Six races into the 2014 AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series season and there five wins for the Alexander Racing number four of Damion Gardner. The one race he didn't win was the race he finished second in. Damion's rivals have had a season of frustration this far. That's the way it was for the fourty lap Perris Auto Speedway “Salute to Indy”.

Mike Spencer had a good start to the event as he out qualified Damion by two one thousandths of a second to take the honor of fast qualifier. Spencer played it smart and followed Nic Faas in the heat race.

Spencer started the feature inside of Damion Gardner on the third row with Austin Williams, Nic Faas, Matt Mitchell and Ronnie Gardner. The first time the field started Nic Faas collided with Matt Mitchell at the first turn and Nic was done for the night. Mitchell continued but seemed to be having trouble.

At the re-start Ronnie Gardner took the lead and held it for the first six laps until Spencer took over on lap seven. Damion was not far behind.

On lap 10 Damion took the lead from Mike but the races first caution canceled the pass. Matt Mitchell stopped on the front straight with steering problems that started with the contact with Faas on the attempted start. Spencer was not complaining. Mike resumed the lead and held it while Damion stalked him. He closed on lap 13, got beside him on lap 14 and passed under him out of turn two on lap 17.

On lap 19 the Van derWeerd brothers came togather in turn four with Ryan Bernal checking up and collecting Jace Van derWeerd who then was hit by brother Richard. Bernal continued without stopping while the brothers waited for the wreckers. Jace was done for the night while Richard was pushed off to restart at the rear. After the restart the green flag continued until the early leader, Ronnie Gardner came to a stop in turn four to end his race. During the caution Austin Williams left the race as well.

After the restart and until lap 38 Damion was in charge and checked out. Only a caution for Corey Ballard who stopped on the track allowed Spencer a final shot at Gardner. “I knew if I could get one good in on the bottom and then maybe try and slide up in front of him and make something happen, and then make some good laps. I got underneath him and kind'a drag raced him and I knew he was going to block the bottom so I tried to 'rip' the top and it took off and bicycled pretty good and I thought I was going to crash but luckily it came down. Then we were just holding on. It was a good race and we raced hard and I just look forward to battling like that all year.” Said Spencer.

“The more we win the hungrier they get so I knew there was going to be a dogfight, and that's what I like. You can only cover so much of the track and it becomes a sweet blend of being fast and being smart.” Said Damion of the finish.

Third place went to Cody Williams who had started seventh. Ryan Bernal and Brody Roa filled out the top five.

Nic Faas and Matt Mitchell joined Damion Gardner as heat winners and because of a short field there was no Semi Feature race. Twenty one cars qualified. Cory Kruseman was a notable absence as his car arrived but the team reported he got sick on the way to the track.

In addition to the CRA events the Senior Sprint race was won by Rick Hendrix and the California Lightning Sprints winner was 15 year old Cori Andrews.

AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: May 24, 2014 - Perris, California - Perris Auto Speedway - "Salute to Indy"

      QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-16.535; 2. Damion Gardner, 4, Alexander-16.537; 3. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.738; 4. Nic Faas, 73, Ford-16.752; 5. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-16.758; 6. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-16.804; 7. Ronnie Gardner, 93, Gardner- 16.804; 8. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-16.812; 9. Jake Swanson, 92, Sertich-16.881; 10. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-16.884; 11. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-16.988; 12. Rickie Gaunt, 9, McDonald-17.144; 13. Ryan Bernal, 91X, Ferro-17.259; 14. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-17.321; 15. Austin Smith, 36, Springstead-17.482; 16. Logan Williams, 5, Jory-17.518; 17. Tony Everhart, 55, Everhart-17.620; 18. Jesse Denome, 6, Denome-17.638; 19. Corey Ballard, 34, Ballard-17.713; 20. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-17.866; 21. Cal Smith , 39, Cal-Sun-17.896.

      FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Faas, 2. Spencer, 3. R.Gardner, 4. R.Vander Weerd, 5. Bernal, 6. L.Williams, 7. Ballard. 2:52.21

      SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. D.Gardner, 2. Bender, 3. Roa, 4. J.Vander Weerd, 5. C.Williams, 6. Everhart, 7. Gansen. 2:49.99

      THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Mitchell, 2. Swanson, 3. A.Williams, 4. Denome, 5. A.Smith, 6. C.Smith, 7. Gaunt. 2:52.63

      FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Damion Gardner, 2. Mike Spencer, 3. Cody Williams, 4. Ryan Bernal, 5. Brody Roa, 6. Richard VanderWeerd, 7. A.J. Bender, 8. Logan Williams, 9. Jesse Denome, 10. Corey Ballard, 11. Cal Smith, 12. Chris Gansen, 13. Austin Smith, 14. Ronnie Gardner, 15. Austin Williams, 16. Jace VanderWeerd, 17. Rickie Gaunt, 18. Tony Everhart, 19. Matt Mitchell, 20. Jake Swanson, 21. Nic Faas. NT

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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-6 R.Gardner, Laps 7-16 Spencer, Laps 17-40 D. Gardner.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-D.Gardner-427, 2-Faas-339, 3-Spencer-301, 4-Roa-246, 5-Mitchell-238, 6-Swanson-228, 7-C.Williams-217, 8-R.VanderWeerd-207, 9-Cory Kruseman-206, 10-A.Williams-176,

NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE:June 14, 2014 - Perris (CA) Auto Speedway

Results Courtesy USAC

Ed Hollowell

Reporter for RIS since 1996. Photo since 2002.

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Volume 2014, Issue 5, Posted 11:30 PM, 05.25.2014