Taking the lead from Austin Liggett with two laps to go, Ryan Bernal (Hollister, California) won last Friday’s event at Tulare’s Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway. For Bernal, the $1,500 triumph was his first USAC West Coast Sprint Car victory of 2018 and the thirty-fourth of his career. Liggett, “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr., fast qualifier Richard Vander Weerd, and Jace Vander Weerd rounded out the top-five drivers.
Driving Keith Ford’s #73T Edgewater Construction / Sun Valley AG Transport Triple X, Ryan Bernal qualified fourth out of fifteen racers and ran second to Jace Vander Weerd in his heat race. Starting third on the grid, Bernal slipped by Faria for second and pressured Liggett for the lead. Liggett managed to avoid several of Ryan’s challenges until a near tangle cost Bernal the runner-up spot. Faria regained second and gave chase after the leader. With a handful of laps remaining, Bernal took over second and kept his momentum to grab the lead for good. With the victory, Ryan heads to the April 7th race at Hanford with a two point lead.
After leading twenty-eight laps, Austin Liggett (Tracy, California) had to settle for second at Tulare. Racing the family owned #83 Excel Environmental Services / Lucas Oil Maxim, Liggett was second fast in time trials and placed third in his heat race. Starting on the pole position, Austin held off several early challenges from Faria and kept Bernal at bay. With the win nearly in his grasp, Liggett could not stop Bernal’s late charge and left the Tulare County Fairgrounds ranked second in points.
“Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. (Tipton, California) pressured for the top spot and scored third in the first point race. Piloting his #17V Buster & Ziggy Enterprises / DeBoer & Sons Trucking Spike, Faria qualified third overall and scored third in his heat race. The two-time champion heads to Hanford ranked fourth in the chase for the championship.
Richard Vander Weerd (Visalia, California) raced to fourth at Tulare after starting sixth. Driving the family owned #10 Vander Weerd Construction / Stone Gate Development Maxim, Richard earned his seventeenth career Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award and won the night’s Extreme Mufflers’ Heat Race #1. At press time, the 2011 champion sits third in the point standings.
Jace Vander Weerd (Visalia, California) took fifth at Tulare’s checkered flags. Racing the family owned #88 Vander Weerd Construction / Stone Gate Development Maxim, Jace qualified sixth overall and won the night’s Keizer Aluminum Wheels / Rod End Supply Heat Race #2. The 2010 USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year heads to Hanford ranked fifth in the point chase.
Britton Bock (Calistoga, California) earned the night’s Saldana Racing Products / Racing Optics Hard Charger / “Best Passing Job” honors with a ninth place run from fourteenth. Piloting the #67 West Evans Motorsports / Abreu Vineyards Eagle, Bock was fourteenth fast in time trials and scored seventh in his heat race. Currently ranked tenth in points, Britton is going for rookie of the year honors.
Unfortunately for race fans, rain claimed the Saturday show at the Tulare County Fairgrounds.
The USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series will return to action on Saturday, April 7th, at the Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds in Hanford, California. The event will also feature the Winged Western RaceSaver Sprint Cars, IMCA Stock Cars, and Mini Stocks. Located on the Kings County Fairgrounds at 801 South 10th Avenue, more event information can be found at www.kellerautospeedway.com or calling 559.651.1990.
WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFICATIONS:
1. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-15.320; 2. Austin Liggett, 83, Liggett-15.447; 3. Danny Faria Jr., 17V, Faria-15.523; 4. Ryan Bernal, 73T, Ford-15.579; 5. Tristan Guardino, 15T, Guardino-15.604; 6. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-15.636; 7. Johnathon Henry, 8, Richardson-15.719; 8. Koen Shaw, 88K, Shaw-16.079; 9. Ryan Timmons, 29T, Timmons-16.141; 10. Steve Hix, 57, Hix-16.198; 11. Ryan Stolz, 72, Ford-16.211; 12. Brandon Wiley, 33B, Team 33-16.279; 13. Shannon McQueen, 7, Van Meter-16.320; 14. Britton Bock, 67, Bock-16.959; 15. Austin Ervine, 51, AJ-18.688.
EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps)
1. R.Vander Weerd, 2. Guardino, 3. Faria, 4. McQueen, 5. Henry, 6. Stolz, 7. Ervine, 8. Timmons. NT
KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS / ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (8 laps)
1. J.Vander Weerd, 2. Bernal, 3. Liggett, 4. Shaw, 5. Wiley, 6. Hix, 7. Bock. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions)
1. Ryan Bernal (3rd), 2. Austin Liggett (1st), 3. Danny Faria Jr. (2nd), 4. Richard Vander Weerd (6th), 5. Jace Vander Weerd (5th), 6. Koen Shaw (8th), 7. Brandon Wiley (10th), 8. Shannon McQueen (7th), 9. Britton Bock (14th), 10. Steve Hix (12th), 11. Tristan Guardino (4th), 12. Ryan Timmons (15th), 13. Ryan Stolz (11th), 14. Austin Ervine (13th), 15. Johnathon Henry (9th). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-28 Liggett, Laps 29-30 Bernal
SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS / RACING OPTICS HARD CHARGER: Britton Bock (14th to 9th)
USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS:
1. Ryan Bernal-80, 2. Austin Liggett-78, 3. Richard Vander Weerd-75, 4. Danny Faria Jr.-74, 5. Jace Vander Weerd-67, 6. Koen Shaw-60, 7. Brandon Wiley-56, 8. Shannon McQueen-54, 9. Tristan Guardino-50, 10. Britton Bock-48, 11. Steve Hix-46, 12. Ryan Timmons-40, –. Ryan Stolz-40, 14. Austin Ervine-37, –. Johnathon Henry-37.