Thursday, September 29, 2016

Action Heating Up Out West-

The Amsoil USAC/CRA Series is having, arguably, one of its most competitive seasons in history.  There have been 11 different winners, through the season's first 16 races.  Entering this weekend, there are 8 races remaining in the 2016 tour, while the final 5 races will be combined with the USAC National Sprint Car Tour.  That means that both of this weekend's races at Canyon Speedway Park, along with October 15th at Perris, are the 3 last "stand alone" races of the season, for the USAC/CRA regulars.  The Dirt Network will be on-hand this Friday and Saturday, covering all the action of this year's Hall of Fame Classic!


The Hall of Fame Classic has been held at Canyon Speedway Park, in Peoria, Arizona (just North of Phoenix), since 2000.  A few years have been skipped since then, and the race has changed its format a few times, but this is still one of the biggest Sprint Car shows in Arizona!  "The Demon" Damion Gardner and the late, legendary, Bryan Clauson have each won this race twice, in past seasons.  Making that even more impressive for "The Demon", this race used to be run in conjunction with the USAC National Sprint Car Series, until recently.  Adding more excitement to this event, legendary drivers are being elected into the Arizona Motorsports Hall of Fame.  This year's class includes Jimmy Blanton (who will serve as Grand Marshall), along with Karl Korbacher, Corky Larson, Henry "Tex" Guthrie, Buddy Rice and "Big" Bob Moore.

Canyon Speedway Park is a 1/3 mile clay oval located in Peoria, Arizona (just North of Phoenix)


"The Demon" Damion Gardner has the most wins in USAC/CRA Series history and enters this year's Hall of Fame Classic with a 104-point edge over Richard Vander Weerd.  Both of the California-native drivers have been the most consistent this year, with Gardner posting 12 Top-5 finishes and Vander Weerd posting 9 Top-5's, to date.  Gardner has also won the most races to date, with 3, while Vander Weerd has only visited victory lane once so far this season, but looks to add to his total this weekend, at Canyon.  I know that I'm really "going out on a limb" here, when I say that I think "The Demon" is the man to beat this weekend.  In addition to his 2 previous Hall of Fame Classic victories, Gardner also won a Copper on Dirt main event, which was a USAC/CRA Series race held in February of 2014.  I think it goes without saying, but "The Demon" is always the man to beat, whenever he straps-in to a USAC/CRA Series Sprint Car!

If you're looking for a darkhorse to win, Arizona's local contingent of talent will have a couple of intriguing options.  R.J. Johnson has been dominating the 360 USAC Southwest Sprint Car Series this year, in addition to the last several seasons.  When R.J. isn't busy racing a Sprint Car in Arizona, he has traveled to California and raced with the USAC/CRA Series this season, having posted 2 Top-5 finishes, to date. He will look to add to those numbers this weekend, along with searching for his first USAC/CRA Seris win of the year. "Chargin'" Charles Davis Jr. won the Hall of Fame Classic in 2003 and continues to prove that he is one of the best Sprint Car drivers in Arizona.  Davis Jr. primarily focuses on 360 Sprint Car racing these days, but it has been rumored that he will have a 410 installed and ready for business this weekend.  Considered to be a "home game" for both, don't be surprised if R.J. Johnson or Charles Davis Jr. contend for wins at this year's Hall of Fame Classic!

Arizona shoe, R.J. Johnson races this 51 machine in 410 competition!
Arizona race fans can look for Charles Davis Jr. in his familiar 50 ride this weekend!

2016 USAC/CRA Series - By The Numbers

Quick Time
Jake Swanson - 3
Damion Gardner - 2
Bryan Clauson - 1
Parker Colston - 1
Brody Roa - 1
Stevie Sussex - 1
Richard Vander Weerd - 1
Austin Williams - 1
Ronnie Gardner - 1
R.J. Johnson - 1
Robert Ballou - 1
Tanner Thorson - 1
Chase Johnson - 1

Damion Gardner - 3
Austin Williams - 2
Ryan Bernal - 2
Thomas Meseraull - 2
Bryan Clauson - 1
Joshua Hodges - 1
Troy Rutherford - 1
Richard Vander Weerd - 1
Danny Sheridan - 1
Matt Mitchell - 1
Brady Bacon - 1

Top-5 Finishes
Damion Gardner - 12
Richard Vander Weerd - 9
Brody Roa - 8
Austin Williams - 7
Ryan Bernal - 6
Jake Swanson - 5
Mike Spencer - 4
Thomas Meseraull - 3
Chad Boespflug - 3
Joshua Hodges - 2
R.J. Johnson - 2
Ronnie Gardner - 2
Geoff Ensign - 2
Brady Bacon - 2
Bryan Clauson - 1
Troy Rutherford - 1
Stevie Sussex - 1
Matt Mitchell - 1
Cody Williams - 1
Carson Macedo - 1
Tanner Thorson - 1
Kevin Thomas Jr - 1
Chase Johnson - 1
Danny Faria Jr - 1
Jace Vander Weerd - 1

Point Standings (as of 9/24)
1. Damion Gardner - 1080
2. Richard Vander Weerd - 976
3. Jake Swanson - 958
4. Brody Roa - 915
5. Austin Williams - 883
6. Mike Spencer - 758
7. Max Adams - 688
8. Jace Vander Weerd - 602
9. Logan Williams - 595
10. Jeremy Ellertson - 552
(tie) Cody Williams - 552

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