MAY 16, 2017… Taking advantage of a late race “bicycle” by Jake Swanson, Ronnie Gardner (Corona, California) claimed last Saturday’s win at Ventura Raceway. The $1,200 Light Up The World Beverages USAC Western States Midget victory was Gardner’s second triumph of the season. Swanson, Cory Elliott, fast qualifier Robby Josett, and Frankie Guerrini rounded out the top-five drivers.
Piloting the Six8 Motorsports’ #68 PAC Springs / Wilwood Brakes Stewart, Ronnie Gardner started fourth in the main event. Quickly making his way forward, Gardner looked to catch teammate Jake Swanson for the lead. Several caution flags plagued the main event and with twenty-four laps in the books, Swanson’s lead was erased with Ronnie in second. On the restart, Swanson stormed into the first turn and caught air after hitting a rut. As Swanson recovered, Gardner took the top spot and Jake settled into second. From there, Ronnie led the rest of the way and earned his twenty-first career series win.
Earlier in the program, Gardner qualified sixth out of twenty-seven racers and won the night’s Keizer Aluminum Wheels / Saldana Racing Products Heat Race #3. The four-time champion extended his point lead with two feature wins, one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, two heat race victories, three top-10 finishes, and 36 feature laps led.
In his first start of the year, Jake Swanson (Anaheim, California) finished a heartbreaking second at Ventura Raceway. Racing the Six8 Motorsports’ #68W PAC Springs / Wilwood Brakes Stewart, Swanson was second quick in time trials, ran second to Cory Elliott in his heat race, and led 24 laps of the feature. The former USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year left the Ventura County Fairgrounds ranked fifteenth in the point chase.
Cory Elliott (Bakersfield, California) took third in the Ventura feature after starting fifth. Driving the family owned #11E FK Indy / Oilwize Spike, Elliott qualified eighth overall and won the night’s Brown & Miller Racing Solutions Heat Race #2. The 2015 Rookie of the Year is second in points with two heat race victories and three top-10 finishes in the campaign.
Debuting a new #2 machine built by Six8 Motorsports, Robby Josett (Santa Clarita, California) ran fourth at Ventura Raceway. Earlier in the program, Josett earned the night’s Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award and won the 8-lap Extreme Mufflers Heat Race #1. At press time, the young driver is eleventh in the point standings with one top-10 finish.
Frankie Guerrini (San Rafael, California) charged from eleventh to score fifth at Ventura County Fairgrounds. Racing the family owned #63 F&F Racing / Davis Motorsports Spike, Guerrini was fourteenth fast in qualifying and placed fourth in his heat race. The former BCRA Champion sits fourth in the point chase with three top-10 finishes on the year.
David Prickett (Fresno, California) earned the night’s Esslinger Engineering Hard Charger / Best Passing Job honors with a sixth place run from fourteenth. Driving the Neverlift Motorsports #22Q Crysalli Artesian Water / Mt. Rose Cocktail Mixes Spike, Prickett qualified seventeenth overall and took fifth in his heat race. The former Dirt Series Champion is sixth in the point standings with one Light Up The World Beverages Hard Luck Award and two top-10 finishes in the campaign.
With a season high twenty-seven cars in the pit area, Austen Figueroa (El Segundo, California) raced to victory in the 12-lap Competition Suspension Inc. / Pyrotect Racing Cells Semi-Main. Piloting Ron Bach’s #49JR Ron Bach Construction / Island Pacific Racing Spike, Figueroa was eleventh fast in time trials, ran sixth in his heat race, and finished sixteenth in the main event. The second generation driver left the night’s action ranked twentieth in the point standings.
The Light Up The World Beverages USAC Western States Midgets will take a break before returning to action on Saturday, July 15th, at Rick Faeth’s Petaluma Speedway in Petaluma, California. Located on the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, the “Jack London Hall of Fame Race” is co-sanctioned with the BCRA Midgets and will also feature 360 Wing Sprints, BCRA Midget Lites and Dwarf Cars. For more information, visit www.petaluma-speedway.com or call 707.763.RACE (7223).
WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFICATIONS:
1. Robby Josett, 2, Josett-11.969; 2. Jake Swanson, 68W, Six8-11.990; 3. Courtney Crone, 25, Rodela-11.998; 4. Michael Faccinto, 35F, MF-12.049; 5. Troy Rutherford, 73, Ford-12.194; 6. Ronnie Gardner, 68, Six8-12.311; 7. Ryan Bernal, 73X, Ford-12.414; 8. Cory Elliott, 11E, Elliott-12.438; 9. Danny Sheridan, 11B, Brutton-12.527; 10. Randi Pankratz, 8, Pankratz-12.544; 11. Austen Figueroa, 49JR, Bach-12.554; 12. J.J. Ercse, 9E, Dodenhoff-12.570; 13. Shannon McQueen, 7, McQueen-12.612; 14. Frankie Guerrini, 63, Guerrini-12.624; 15. Robert Dalby, 4D, Dalby-12.697; 16. Ron Hazelton, 15, Hazelton-12.809; 17. David Prickett, 22Q, Neverlift-12.842; 18. Nate Wait, 35W, MF-12.935; 19. C.J. Sarna, 20, Sarna-12.967; 20. Kyle Beilman, 31, Beilman-13.086; 21. Tyler Dolacki, 18, Dolacki-13.094; 22. Kyle Smith, 55, Smith-13.131; 23. Terry Nichols, 1P, Nichols-13.140; 24. Clayton Ruston, 7X, Ruston-13.597; 25. Jake Vermeer, 87JR, Vermeer-14.695; 26. Bryan Drollinger, 71, Drollinger-NT; 27. Brennan Rogers, 20X, Rogers-NT.
EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps)
1. Josett, 2. Bernal, 3. Faccinto, 4. Pankratz, 5. McQueen, 6. Smith, 7. Hazelton, 8. Vermeer, 9. Sarna. NT
BROWN & MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS SECOND HEAT: (8 laps)
1. Elliott, 2. Swanson, 3. Rutherford, 4. Guerrini, 5. Prickett, 6. Figueroa, 7. Nichols, 8. Beilman, 9. Rogers. NT
KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS / SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS THIRD HEAT: (8 laps)
1. Gardner, 2. Sheridan, 3. Crone, 4. Dolacki, 5. Dalby, 6. Ruston, 7. Drollinger, 8. Ercse, 9. Wait. NT
COMPETITION SUSPENSION INCORPORATED / PYROTECT RACING CELLS SEMI: (12 laps)
1. Figueroa, 2. Rogers, 3. Ruston, 4. Vermeer, 5. Nichols, 6. Ercse, 7. Sarna, 8. Smith, 9. Hazelton, 10. Beilman, 11. Drollinger. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions)
1. Ronnie Gardner (4th), 2. Jake Swanson (2nd), 3. Cory Elliott (5th), 4. Robby Josett (6th), 5. Frankie Guerrini (11th), 6. David Prickett (14th), 7. Courtney Crone (9th), 8. Michael Faccinto (7th), 9. Troy Rutherford (8th), 10. Robert Dalby (15th), 11. Tyler Dolacki (12th), 12. Danny Sheridan (1st), 13. Shannon McQueen (13th), 14. Terry Nichols (20th), 15. Clayton Ruston (18th), 16. Austen Figueroa (16th), 17. Jake Vermeer (19th), 18. Randi Pankratz (10th), 19. J.J. Ercse (21st), 20. Ryan Bernal (3rd), 21. Brennan Rogers (17th), 22. C.J. Sarna (22nd). NT
**Nichols flipped on lap 7 of the semi. Ercse flipped on lap 1 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-24 Swanson, Laps 25-30 Gardner.
ESSLINGER ENGINEERING HARD CHARGER: David Prickett (14th to 6th)