MAY 2, 2017… Executing a turn one “slide job,” “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. (Tipton, California) took command from Joe Stornetta Jr. on lap twenty and sailed to victory at Hanford’s Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds. For Faria, last Saturday’s $1,500 triumph was his first USAC West Coast Sprint Car main event win of the campaign. Austin Liggett, Jace Vander Weerd, Stornetta, and Cody Majors chased the two-time champion to the checkered flags.
Under changing track conditions, front row starter Liggett grabbed the lead and led the first five laps until a caution flag halted the action. On the restart, Stornetta slid his way to the top spot in the south turns and looked to run away from the field. Unfortunately for Stornetta, several red and yellow flags would erase his momentum and bunch the field. As the racers faced a treacherous cushion, Faria took advantage and grabbed the top spot on lap twenty. After dropping back to third, Liggett had reclaimed second and looked to challenge the leader. Richard Vander Weerd flipped his mount and walked away on lap twenty three and this gave Liggett another shot at Faria. “Hollywood” had a great restart and escaped from all challengers to claim the win at the Kings County Fairgrounds.
Making his first start of the year, Kyle Hirst qualified seventh out of the twenty-one racers and ran second to Ryan Bernal in his heat race. Driving Dennis Roth’s #51T Roth Enterprises / KW Suspensions KPC, the three-time King of the West Champion ran second in the Competition Suspension Incorporated Pole Shuffle. Starting second and hitting his marks on the changing track surface, Hirst took the 25-lap main event. Now ranked thirty-third in points, Kyle also gave Roth his first USAC West Coast triumph.
Racing his #17V Buster & Ziggy Enterprises / SurfnSprint Spike, “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. qualified seventh out of nineteen racers and won the night’s 10-lap Extreme Mufflers Heat Race #1. The 2013 and 2015 series champion left Hanford ranked sixth in points with three heat race victories, one pole shuffle win, four top-10 finishes, and 50 feature laps led to his credit.
After leading the first five laps, Austin Liggett (Tracy, California) battled hard and ran second at Hanford. Driving the family owned #83 Excel Environmental / Lucas Oil entry, the 2012 Rookie of the Year was eleventh fast in time trials and won the 10-lap Brown & Miller Racing Solutions Heat Race. Heading to Tulare on May 20th, Liggett is fifth in the point chase with one feature win, one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, two heat race victories, five top-10 finishes, and 7 feature laps led on the season.
Jace Vander Weerd (Visalia, California) raced from eighth to finish third in the Hanford 30-lap feature. Piloting the family owned #88 Vander Weerd Construction / Stone Gate Development Maxim, Jace qualified second overall and took third in his heat race. The 2010 USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year has taken over the point lead on the strength of two heat race victories, five top-10 finishes, and 2 feature laps led in the campaign.
“The Milkman” Joe Stornetta Jr. (Napa, California) led fourteen laps of the feature before scoring fourth. Racing Ted Finkenbinder’s #3F Western Industrial X-Ray Maxim, Stornetta was third quick in time trials and won the Keizer Aluminum Wheels / Saldana Racing Products Heat Race #3. In limited starts, the hard charger left Hanford sitting thirteenth in points with two heat race victories, two top-10 finishes, and 21 feature laps led.
Cody Majors (Simi Valley, California) had a solid night at Hanford and took fifth at the checkered flags. Driving Steve Watt’s #81 Maxwell Industries / Steve Watt Enterprises Maxim, Majors qualified ninth overall and ran second to Stornetta in his heat race. Cody heads to the Faria Memorial ranked seventh in the point standings with two heat race victories and four top-10 finishes on the year.
Richard Vander Weerd (Visalia, California) earned his series leading sixteenth career Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award. Piloting the family owned #10 Vander Weerd Construction / Stone Gate Development Maxim, Richard ran second to Faria in his heat race and scored sixteenth in the main event after a flip ended his night. The 2011 champion ranks second in points with five top-10 finishes to his credit.
Hobie Conway (Ventura, California) earned the night’s BR Motorsports / King Racing Products Hard Charger / “Best Passing Job” honors with an eighth place run from nineteenth. Piloting the #1K Cory Kruseman’s Sprint Car & Midget Driving School / Lucas Oil entry, Conway was nineteenth fast in time trials and took seventh in the first heat race. In limited appearances, Hobie is thirty-fifth in the point chase.
The USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series will return to action on Saturday, May 20th, at the Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California. The “Chris and Brian Faria Memorial” will also feature the King of the West NARC Sprint Cars, Western RaceSaver Sprint Cars, and the Legends of Kearney Bowl Vintage Cars. Located on the Tulare County Fairgrounds at the corner of Bardsley and K Streets, more event information, can be found at www.tularethunderbowl.com or calling 559.688.0909.
WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFICATIONS:
1. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-16.657; 2. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-16.836; 3. Joe Stornetta Jr., 3F, Finkenbinder-16.862; 4. Jake Swanson, 41, Henry/Jones-16.894; 5. Max Adams, 5M, Adams-16.940; 6. Jeff Sibley, 42N, Sibley-17.079; 7. Danny Faria Jr., 17V, Faria-17.096; 8. Tristan Guardino, 15T, Guardino-17.367; 9. Cody Majors, 81M, Watt-17.502; 10. Shannon McQueen, 7, Van Meter-17.505; 11. Austin Liggett, 83, Liggett-17.583; 12. Ryan Timmons, 29T, Timmons-17.721; 13. Brandon Wiley, 33B, Team 33-17.881; 14. Ryan Stolz, 63, Stolz-17.995; 15. Geoffrey Strole, 09S, Strole-18.162; 16. Kyle Smith, 55, Smith-18.198; 17. Steven Garris, 58, Garris-18.237; 18. Steve Hix, 57, Hix-18.554; 19. Hobie Conway, 1K, Kruseman-18.920.
EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps)
1. Faria, 2. R.Vander Weerd. 3. Wiley, 4. McQueen, 5. Swanson, 6. Smith, 7. Conway. NT
BROWN & MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS SECOND HEAT: (10 laps)
1. Liggett, 2. Guardino, 3. J.Vander Weerd, 4. Garris, 5. Stolz, 6. Adams. NT
KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS / SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS THIRD HEAT: (10 laps)
1. Stornetta, 2. Majors, 3. Timmons, 4. Sibley, 5. Hix, 6. Strole. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions)
1. Danny Faria Jr. (1st), 2. Austin Liggett (2nd), 3. Jace Vander Weerd (8th), 4. Joe Stornetta Jr. (3rd), 5. Cody Majors (6th), 6. Ryan Timmons (9th), 7. Tristan Guardino (5th), 8. Hobie Conway (19th), 9. Steven Garris (11th), 10. Steve Hix (15th), 11. Max Adams (17th), 12. Brandon Wiley (7th), 13. Kyle Smith (16th), 14. Jeff Sibley (12th), 15. Ryan Stolz (14th), 16. Richard Vander Weerd (4th), 17. Geoffrey Strole (18th), 18. Jake Swanson (13th), 19. Shannon McQueen (10th). NT
**McQueen flipped on lap 13 of the feature. R.Vander Weerd flipped on lap 23 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-5 Liggett, Laps 6-19 Stornetta, Laps 20-30 Faria
BR MOTORSPORTS / KING RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Hobie Conway (19th to 8th)
USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS:
1. Jace Vander Weerd-403, 2. Richard Vander Weerd-398, 3. Ryan Bernal-395, 4. Jake Swanson-377, 5. Austin Liggett-363, 6. Danny Faria Jr.-358, 7. Cody Majors-310, 8. Tristan Guardino-301, 9. Ryan Timmons-249, 10. Geoff Ensign-244, 11. Brandon Wiley-240, 12. Jeff Sibley-233, 13. Joe Stornetta Jr.-222, 14. Steven Garris-217, 15. Steve Hix-213, 16. Tye Mihocko-158, 17. Shannon McQueen-156, 18. Brady Bacon-148, 19. Ryan Stolz-143, 20. Stevie Sussex-132.