By Lance Jennings
PEORIA, AZ – FEBRUARY 2, 2013… Taking the lead from Jon Stanbrough on lap twelve, Noblesville, Indiana’s Bryan Clauson scored his second “Winter Challenge” victory at Canyon Speedway Park. Going back to last year’s Western World Championships, the $2,000 triumph was Clauson’s fourth straight win at Kevin Montgomery’s 1/3-mile oval. Stanbrough, Robert Ballou, Ryan Bernal, and Charles Davis Jr. rounded out the top five in the USAC Southwest vs. USAC West Coast special event.
At the drop of the green flag, Ventura, California’s Jimmy Crawford grabbed the early lead from pole sitter Bud Kaeding. Before the first lap was completed, Stanbrough closed in and began to pressure Crawford. The battle for the lead was taking shape, but two caution flags halted the action. A spin by Josh Pelkey brought out a yellow that was soon followed by a red for a Bud Kaeding flip. Kaeding was uninjured and as racing resumed, Stanbrough was back on the attack. Crawford officially led the first two circuits as Jon took over with a strong outside power move.
Two laps later, the fifth starting Clauson slid past Crawford for second and gave chase after Stanbrough. The leader reached slower cars on the eighth lap and began to pick them off. Also unfazed with the back markers, Bryan sliced through the pack as Jon had to contend with heavy traffic. Clauson closed to within striking distance and made his bid for the lead on lap twelve. The move worked to perfection and the new leader began to run away from the field.
A yellow flag was displayed on lap twenty-two for a stalled Bruce St. James. With one lapped car between the lead duo, Stanbrough had one more shot to reclaim the lead. It was not to be on this night, as Clauson had an excellent restart and sailed to his second checkered flag of the year.
Driving Mike Martin’s #16B Ultimate Offroad / Naquin Precision Earth Moving Maxim, Bryan Clauson also won his second heat race of the Winter Challenge. The USAC National Champion continued his hot streak at Canyon and is one of the favorites in Saturday’s doubleheader.
After a tough Wednesday night, Avon, Indiana’s Jon Stanbrough had to settle for second. Piloting the Shon Deskins Racing #20 Performance Plus / Ellis Race Cars entry, Stanbrough won the second heat race of the night. With two Saturday races and extra prize money up for grabs at the finale, look for Jon to be in the mix.
Rocklin, California’s “The Madman” Robert Ballou rebounded to claim third in an unfamiliar car. After a Wednesday crash wiped out Jack Hockett’s #77 Lucas Oil / ParkerStore of Phoenix entry, the team scrambled to race on Friday. Preparing an ex-Massey Motorsports DRC, Ballou made the most of the night and could challenge for the Saturday main event wins.
Ryan Bernal of Hollister, California made his first Winter Challenge start and raced to fourth from ninth. Piloting Keith Ford’s #73 King Racing Products / A&A Precision Machine Spike, Bernal scored third in his 8-lap heat race. The two time Santa Maria track champion could be a factor in Saturday’s doubleheader.
Buckeye’s Charles Davis Jr. earned the night’s “Hard Charger / Best Passing Job” honors with a fifth place run from seventeenth. Driving the Massey Motorsports #50 RSS Industries / Rod End Supply entry, Davis was seventh in his heat race and won the 12-lap semi-main. The five-time Arizona Champion has had a tough Winter Challenge, but will look to claim both winners’ checks on Saturday.
Racing his #3X Twister-X / Steve Gresham Racing Engines XXX, Jimmy Crawford won the third 8-lap heat race of the night. After leading the opening laps, the former VRA Champion struggled in the main event and scored eleventh. Crawford is no stranger to Canyon Speedway Park and could surprise the field with a victory.
The USAC Southwest and West Coast Sprint Cars will return to action on Saturday, February 2nd at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria. Action will get underway at Noon for the second round makeup race of the Winter Challenge. The $5,000-to-win sixth and final round will follow at 7:00pm. Located at 9777 West Carefree Highway, more event information can be found at www.canyonspeedwaypark.com or calling (602) 258-RACE (7223).
The USAC Southwest Sprint Car Series would like to thank Sunoco Race Fuels, Hoosier Tire, and the Hose Advantage Store for their support. For more information on the series, visit www.southwestsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, or follow the series on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SouthwestSprintCars).
For more information on the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series, visit www.westcoastsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, or follow the series on Facebook (www.facebook.com/#!/pages/USAC-West-Coast-Sprint-Car-Series/369549755817)
USAC SOUTHWEST & WEST COAST SPRINT SPECIAL EVENT RACE RESULTS:
February 1, 2013 – Peoria, Arizona – Canyon Speedway Park – “Winter Challenge”
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps)
1. Bryan Clauson (#16B Martin), 2. Rick Ziehl (#20Z Ziehl), 3. Stevie Sussex (#1AZ Sussex), 4. Jace Vander Weerd (#88 Vander Weerd), 5. Richard Vander Weerd (#10 Vander Weerd), 6. Tom Lee (#53 Lee), 7. Glen Brace (#13 Brace), 8. Jeremy Sherman (#77M Michaels), 9. Colby Copeland (#74 Williams). NT
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps)
1. Jon Stanbrough (#20 Deskins), 2. Josh Pelkey (#4JR Reagles), 3. Andy Reinbold (#19 Underwood), 4. Robert Ballou (#77 Hockett), 5. Bud Kaeding (#29 Bowman), 6. Brian Hosford (#32B Weber), 7. Charles Davis Jr. (#50 Massey), 8. Kevin Thomas Jr. (#21 Ellis), 9. Jason Grady (#45 Grady). NT
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps)
1. Jimmy Crawford (#3X Crawford), 2. Bruce St. James (#7K St. James), 3. Ryan Bernal (#73 Ford), 4. Tom Ogle (#48 Ogle), 5. Josh Hodges (#74X Hodges), 6. R.J. Johnson (#51 Martin), 7. Mark Morin (#28 Morin), 8. Tony Everhart (#55 Everhart), 9. Mike Martin (#16 Martin). NT
SEMI-MAIN: (12 laps)
1. Charles Davis Jr., 2. R.J. Johnson, 3. Brian Hosford, 4. Jeremy Sherman, 5. Colby Copeland, 6. Kevin Thomas Jr., 7. Tony Everhart, 8. Tom Lee, 9. Jason Grady, 10. Mike Martin, 11. Mark Morin. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions)
1. Bryan Clauson (5th), 2. Jon Stanbrough (3rd), 3. Robert Ballou (7th), 4. Ryan Bernal (9th), 5. Charles Davis Jr. (17th), 6. Andy Reinbold (11th), 7. Tom Ogle (14th), 8. Jeremy Sherman (20th), 9. Josh Hodges (10th), 10. Richard Vander Weerd (15th), 11. Jimmy Crawford (2nd), 12. Bruce St. James (8th), 13. Stevie Sussex (12th), 14. R.J. Johnson (18th), 15. Colby Copeland (21st), 16. Josh Pelkey (6th), 17. Glen Brace (16th), 18. Kevin Thomas Jr. (22nd), 19. Brian Hosford (19th), 20. Jace Vander Weerd (13th), 21. Rick Ziehl (4th), 22. Bud Kaeding (1st). NT
**Colby Copeland flipped during the first heat.
**Bud Kaeding flipped during the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Jimmy Crawford, Laps 3-11 Jon Stanbrough, Laps 12-30 Bryan Clauson.
HARD CHARGER: Charles Davis Jr. (17th to 5th)
2013 WINTER CHALLENGE SCHEDULE
DATE – TRACK – LOCATION
February 2: *Canyon Speedway Park – Peoria, AZ (Round #2 Makeup / $2,000-to-Win / Non-Points)
February 2: *Canyon Speedway Park – Peoria, AZ (Round #6 / $5,000-to-Win / Non-Points)
* = Co-Sanctioned Event With USAC Southwest & West Coast Sprints.
This schedule is subject to change.