MAY 23, 2017… Starting seventh and slipping past R.J. Johnson on lap thirteen, Stevie Sussex (Tempe, Arizona) roared to last Saturday’s feature win at Arizona Speedway. By claiming the $1,500 Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Car triumph, Sussex earned his second victory of the campaign. Johnson, “The Hanford Hornet” Chad Boespflug, “The Radio Flyer” Bruce St. James, and Shon Deskins chased Sussex to the checkered flags.
Starting on the pole position, St. James led his first lap of the year before Boespflug took command. Visiting from Indiana, “The Hanford Hornet” set a torrid pace before falling to Johnson on the eleventh circuit. As R.J. looked for his second straight victory, his hopes were dashed by Sussex. The Tempe driver would go on to score his twelfth career SouthWest win. After a hard flip in the main event, veteran driver “Bullet” Bob Ream Jr. was injured after a hard flip and was taken to a local hospital. Everyone with the Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series wishes Ream will have a quick and speedy recovery.
Returning from the Midwest, Stevie Sussex raced Mike Burkhart’s #21AZ Pacific Supply / Team AZ Automotive RSS to a fourth place finish in his heat race and seventh out of nineteen racers in passing points. The two-time Hank Arnold Memorial winner left Arizona Speedway ranked fourth in the point chase with two heat race victories, one hard charger award, six top-10 finishes, and 40 feature laps led to his credit.
After leading two laps, R.J. Johnson ran second in the 30-lap main event. Piloting Bobby Martin’s #51 Martin Family Auto Museum / Pecon Builders Sherman, Johnson won the night’s first 8-lap heat race and sat third in passing points. At press time, the four-time champion has a 29-point lead with one feature win, four heat race victories, two Beave Stripes Passing Master Awards, one semi-main win, one hard charger award, seven top-10 finishes, and 42 feature laps led.
“The Hanford Hornet” Chad Boespflug (Hanford, California) led nine laps before finishing third at Arizona Speedway. Racing the Team AZ #34 Western Premier Hauling / Performance Plus RSS, Boespflug ran second to Andy Reinbold in his heat race and placed fifth in passing points. After one Southwest start, the USAC National Sprint Car regular is tied with Bob Ream Jr. for thirty-fourth in passing points.
“The Radio Flyer” Bruce St. James (Phoenix, Arizona) scored fourth at the San Tan Valley oval. Driving his #7K Priority Aviation / Woodland Auto Display Maxim, St. James ran third in his heat race and ranked sixth in passing points. The veteran driver heads to the Salute to Indy sitting twelfth in the point chase with three top-10 finishes.
Shon Deskins (Waddell, Arizona) raced to fifth at Arizona Speedway from ninth. Piloting his #20 Spike Chassis / Mesilla Valley Transportation entry, Deskins ran fifth in his heat race and placed ninth in passing points. The veteran driver holds third in championship points with seven top-10 finishes on the season.
Michael Curtis (Cottonwood, Arizona) earned the night’s hard charger award / “best passing job” by racing to sixth from fifteenth. Racing Kevin Turner & Greg Wheeler’s #11C DAR Racing / JT Engineering XXX, Curtis finished seventh in his heat race and ranked fifteenth in passing points. The young driver left San Tan Valley placed thirteenth in points with one heat race victory and two top-10 finishes.
After running third in his heat race, “Chargin” Charles Davis Jr. (Buckeye, Arizona) claimed the night’s Beaver Stripes Passing Master Award. Driving the Massey Motorsports’ #50 RSS Industries / Rod End Supply RSS, Davis finished ninth in the Arizona Speedway main event. At press time, the five-time Arizona champion is second in the point standings with one feature win, three heat race victories, seven top-10 finishes, and 30 feature laps led in the campaign.
Andy Reinbold (Gilbert, Arizona) took the checkered flags in the night’s second 8-lap heat race. Piloting the Reinbold/Underwood #19 AME Electrical / Ross Equipment Rentals Spike, Reinbold placed second in passing points and finished nineteenth after an early exit. The 2008 Hank Arnold Memorial winner is currently ninth in points with three top-10 finishes on the season.
SANDS CHEVROLET USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS:
May 20, 2017 – San Tan Valley, Arizona – Arizona Speedway
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps)
1. R.J. Johnson (#51 Martin), 2. Mike Martin (#16 Martin), 3. Charles Davis Jr. (#50 Massey), 4. Stevie Sussex (#21AZ Burkhart), 5. Jeff Lowery (#45 Lowery), 6. Brian Hosford (#32 Hosford), 7. Michael Curtis (#11C Turner/Wheeler), 8. Matt Lundy (#98 Lundy), 9. Nick Aiuto (#27 Aiuto), 10. Brent Yarnal (#29B Yarnal). NT
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps)
1. Andy Reinbold (#19 Reinbold/Underwood), 2. Chad Boespflug (#34 Team AZ), 3. Bruce St. James (#7K St. James), 4. Tye Mihocko (#5 Mihocko), 5. Shon Deskins (#20 Deskins), 6. Bob Ream Jr. (#8 BRAT), 7. Landon Cling (#54 Cling), 8. Chris Bonneau (#78 Bonneau), 9. Cody Sickles (#14 Sickles). NT
FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions)
1. Stevie Sussex (7th), 2. R.J. Johnson (4th), 3. Chad Boespflug (2nd), 4. Bruce St. James (1st), 5. Shon Deskins (9th), 6. Michael Curtis (15th), 7. Tye Mihocko (8th), 8. Jeff Lowery (10th), 9. Charles Davis Jr. (6th), 10. Matt Lundy (16th), 11. Brent Yarnal (19th), 12. Cody Sickles (18th), 13. Brian Hosford (11th), 14. Bob Ream Jr. (12th), 15. Landon Cling (13th), 16. Chris Bonneau (14th), 17. Mike Martin (3rd), 18. Nick Aiuto (17th), 19. Andy Reinbold (5th). NT
**Mike Martin and Bob Ream Jr. flipped during the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 St. James, Laps 2-10 Boespflug, Laps 11-12 Johnson, Laps 13-30 Sussex.
HARD CHARGER: Michael Curtis (15th to 6th)
BEAVER STRIPES PASSING MASTER: Charles Davis Jr.