OCTOBER 4, 2017… Last Saturday, Ronnie Gardner (Riverside, California) served notice to the competition by sweeping the Light Up the World Beverages USAC Western States Midget event at Bakersfield Speedway. The defending four-time champion and point leader set fast time, won his 8-lap heat race, and led all 30-laps to earn his third victory of the season.
With an invert of zero drawn for the feature, Gardner started on pole position and got the jump on fellow front row starter Shannon McQueen. McQueen stayed within striking distance early, but Ronnie managed to shake free from the field and extend his lead. Charging from ninth and subbing for Cory Elliott, Michael Faccinto slid past Gardner for the top spot after a late race restart. Gardner countered, reclaimed the lead, and stormed to the twenty-second series win of his career. Faccinto, Robert Dalby, David Prickett, and Frankie Guerrini rounded out the top-five drivers.
Piloting the Six8 Motorsports’ #68 PAC Springs / Wilwood Springs Stewart, Ronnie Gardner out-qualified the twenty-car roster, earning his third Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, and won the night’s Extreme Mufflers Heat Race #1. Extending his point lead to 103 points, Ronnie has posted three feature wins, four heat race victories, eight top-10 finishes, and 72 feature laps led on the year.
Michael Faccinto (Hanford, California) earned the night’s Esslinger Engineering Hard Charger / Best Passing Job honors with a second place run from ninth. Racing Mitch Elliott’s #11E Capital E Trucking / FK Indy Spike, Faccinto qualified third overall and finished third in his heat race. At press time, last year’s Louie Vermeil Classic winner is seventh in the point chase with one feature win, one Woodland Auto Display Top Qualifier Award, one heat race victory, five top-10 finishes, and seven feature laps led.
For the second race in a row, Robert Dalby (Anaheim, CA) scored third at the finish line. Driving the family owned #4D R-D Spring & Stamping / Monster Seal Spike, Dalby was twelfth fast in time trials and won the 8-lap Keizer Aluminum Wheels / Saldana Racing Products Heat Race #3. The young driver left Bakersfield sitting fifth in the standings with three heat race victories, one Esslinger Engineering Hard Charger Award, and six top-10 finishes to his credit.
David Prickett (Fresno, California) had a solid night at Bakersfield with a fourth place run from sixth. Piloting the Neverlift Motorsports’ #22Q Crysalli Artesian Water / Mt. Rose Cocktails Spike, Prickett qualified sixth overall and ran second to Robert Dalby in his heat race. The 2012 Dirt Series Champion has climbed to third in points with one heat race victory, one Esslinger Engineering Hard Charger Award, one Light Up The World Beverages Hard Luck Award, and six top-10 finishes on the year.
Frankie Guerrini (San Rafael, California) claimed fifth in the Bakersfield feature. Racing the family owned #63 F&F Racing / Davis Motorsports Spike, Guerrini was tenth fast in time trials and ran second to Ronnie Gardner in his heat race. The 2015 BCRA Champion ranks second in the point standings with one Esslinger Engineering Hard Charger Award, eight top-10 finishes, and 13 feature laps led in the campaign.
Shannon McQueen (Bakersfield, California) drove to victory in the night’s Brown & Miller Racing Solutions Heat Race #2. Driving her #7 Simpson Racing Products / Lucas Oil Spike, McQueen qualified second overall and placed sixth in the main event. The 2012 Champion left her hometown track placed ninth in the standings with one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, one heat race victory, and five top-10 finishes on the season.
Everyone with the USAC Western States Midget Series sends their thoughts and prayers to those who lost their lives and were injured in the tragedy in Las Vegas. This includes condolences to the family of Bakersfield Speedway Promoter Scott Schweitzer, who lost his daughter Bailey at the concert.
LIGHT UP THE WORLD BEVERAGES USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET SERIES RACE RESULTS: September 30, 2017 – Bakersfield, California – Bakersfield Speedway
WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Ronnie Gardner, 68, Six8-12.729; 2. Shannon McQueen, 7, McQueen-12.805; 3. Michael Faccinto, 11E, Elliott-12.919; 4. Courtney Crone, 25, Rodela-12.925; 5. Robby Josett, 2, Josett-12.985; 6. David Prickett, 22Q, Neverlift-12.999; 7. J.J. Ercse, 9E. Dodenhoff-13.092; 8. Mason Daniel, 33M, Daniel-13.173; 9. Sterling Cling, 6K, Kruseman-13.175; 10. Frankie Guerrini, 63, Guerrini-13.177; 11. Danny Faria Jr., 46, Brutton-13.270; 12. Robert Dalby, 4D, Dalby-13.328; 13. C.J. Sarna, 20, Sarna-13.376; 14. Landon Cling, 12K, Kruseman-13.446; 15. Clayton Ruston, 7R, CR-13.524; 16. Ron Hazelton, 15, Hazelton-13.649; 17. Terry Nichols, 1P, Nichols-13.674; 18. Bryan Drollinger, 71, Drollinger-13.790; 19. Jake Vermeer, 87, Vermeer-NT; 20. Kyle Beilman, 31, Beilman-NT.
EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Gardner, 2. Guerrini, 3. Ercse, 4. Crone, 5. Sarna, 6. Vermeer, 7. Hazelton. NT
BROWN & MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. McQueen, 2. Daniel, 3. Josett, 4. L.Cling, 5. Nichols, 6. Beilman, 7. Faria. NT
KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS / SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Dalby, 2. Prickett, 3. Faccinto, 4. S.Cling, 5. Ruston, 6. Drollinger. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps –With Starting Positions) 1. Ronnie Gardner (1st), 2. Michael Faccinto (9th), 3. Robert Dalby (3rd), 4. David Prickett (6th), 5. Frankie Guerrini (4th), 6. Shannon McQueen (2nd), 7. Robby Josett (8th), 8. Landon Cling (11th), 9. Mason Daniel (5th), 10. J.J. Ercse (7th), 11. Courtney Crone (10th), 12. Sterling Cling (12th), 13. Clayton Ruston (15th), 14. C.J. Sarna (13th), 15. Kyle Beilman (17th), 16. Bryan Drollinger (18th), 17. Ron Hazelton (19th), 18. Terry Nichols (14th), 19. Jake Vermeer (16th), 20. Danny Faria Jr. (20th). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Gardner
ESSLINGER ENGINEERING HARD CHARGER: Michael Faccinto (9th to 2nd)
LIGHT UP THE WORLD BEVERAGES USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET POINT STANDINGS:
1. Ronnie Gardner-670, 2. Frankie Guerrini-567, 3. David Prickett-530, 4. Cory Elliott-514, 5. Robert Dalby-508, 6. Courtney Crone-501, 7. Michael Faccinto-451, 8. Randi Pankratz-404, 9. Shannon McQueen-400, 10. Mason Daniel-322, 11. Maria Cofer-321, 12. Terry Nichols-298, 13. Robby Josett-297, 14. Shane Golobic-286, 15. Jake Swanson-269, 16. Chad Boat-249, 17. C.J. Sarna-243, 18. Clayton Ruston-219, 19. Alex Schutte-216, 20. J.J. Ercse-194.
2017 LIGHT UP THE WORLD BEVERAGES USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET SCHEDULE
October 14: Petaluma Speedway – Petaluma, CA
October 28: Ventura Raceway – Ventura, CA
November 18: #Bakersfield Speedway – Bakersfield, CA
November 23: #Ventura Raceway – Ventura, CA (Turkey Night Grand Prix)
# = Co-Sanctioned Event with USAC National Midgets.
This schedule is subject to change.
#68 Ronnie Gardner Wins at Bakersfield Speedway. Photo by Lance Jennings.