SEPTEMBER 24, 2018… Taking advantage on a restart, “The Demon” Damion Gardner (Concord, CA) slipped past Brody Roa on lap 20 and stormed to last Saturday’s “11th Annual Glenn Howard Classic” at Perris Auto Speedway. Racing Mark Alexander’s #4 Trench Shoring / Weld Racing Spike, Gardner earned $2,500 by claiming his fourth AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car win of the season. Point leader Roa, “The Big Game Hunter” Austin Williams, hard charger A.J. Bender, and “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. rounded out the top-five drivers.
After Perris starter Kevin Winters waved the green flag, third starting R.J. Johnson raced past front row starters Tommy “Thunder” Malcolm and Brody Roa to grab the early lead. Looking for his first USAC/CRA win of 2018, Johnson led the first six laps before Roa took charge. Once out front, the newly crowned “California Sprint Week” Champion set a torrid pace and reached slower traffic.
While Roa maintained control, the battle for the other top-ten spots was furious. However, a couple of cautions halted the action, including and a red flag for a Johnson flip that also collected fast qualifier “The Cadillac” Cody Williams. Now in second, the fifth starting Gardner was in the runner-up spot and challenged for the lead on the restart. Roa battled back and held strong, but “The Demon” grabbed the top spot. Once out front, Gardner extended his advantage, but heavy lapped traffic a few laps later would hamper the leaders. Roa was closing the gap, but Gardner sliced his way through the traffic to score his fourth “Howard Classic” and 79th USAC/CRA triumph.
Earlier in the program, “The Demon” Damion Gardner qualified second out of nineteen racers and won the night’s Circle Track Performance / Rod End Supply Heat Race #2. The six-time champion heads to Arizona Speedway’s “Hall of Fame Classic” ranked second in the point chase with five Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, one dash win, nine heat race victories, thirteen top-10 finishes, and 140 feature laps led.
After leading thirteen laps, Brody Roa (Garden Grove, CA) finished second in the “Glenn Howard Classic.” Driving the BR Performance #91R HD Industries / Burris Racing Maxim, Roa was fifth quick in time trials and ran second to Gardner in his heat race. The point leader left the Lake Perris Fairgrounds with a 44-point lead on the strength of three feature wins, one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, five heat race victories, one Competition Suspension Incorporated / Rod End Supply Semi-Main, one Saldana Racing Products / Racing Optics Hard Charger Award, fifteen top-10 finishes, and 87 feature laps led on the season.
“The Big Game Hunter” Austin Williams (Yorba Linda, CA) scored third in the Perris Auto Speedway main event. Piloting Jack Jory’s #2 John Jory Corporation / AMA Plastics DRC, Williams qualified third overall and placed second to Danny Faria Jr. in his heat race. Currently sitting third in the point standings, the 2009 Co-Rookie of the Year has two feature wins, one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, one Saldana Racing Products / Racing Optics Hard Charger Award, thirteen top-10 finishes, and feature laps led in the campaign.
A.J. Bender (San Diego, CA) earned the night’s Saldana Racing Products / Racing Optics “Hard Charger Award / Best Passing Job” honors with fourth place run from eighteenth. Racing the family owned #21 K&R Motorsports / Rosson Racing DRC, Bender was eighteenth fast in time trials and finished fourth in his heat race. At press time, the 2008 CLS Rookie of the Year is thirteenth in USAC/CRA point standings with five top-10 finishes to his credit.
Starting ninth, “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. (Tipton, CA) claimed fifth in the “Glenn Howard Classic.” Driving Dwight Cheney’s #42 Racing Optics / Sander Engineering Maxim, Faria qualified ninth overall and won the night’s Keizer Aluminum Wheels / Rod End Supply Heat Race #3. To date, the two-time USAC West Coast Sprint Car Champion is eighth in the point chase with one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, four heat race victories, two Saldana Racing Products / Racing Optics Hard Charger Awards, ten top-10 finishes, and 21 feature laps led in 2018.
“The Cadillac” Cody Williams (Corona, CA) began the night by earning his third Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award of the year. Racing Jack Jory’s #44 John Jory Corporation / AMA Plastics Spike, Williams also won the night’s Extreme Mufflers Heat Race #1 and rebounded to score eighth in the main event. At press time, the former Victorville Champion sits fourth in the standings with four heat race victories, twelve top-10 finishes, and 24 feature laps led in the campaign.
The AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars are back in action for two nights starting Friday, September 28th at Arizona Speedway in San Tan Valley, Arizona. In addition to a legends autograph session, the annual “Hall of Fame Classic” will also feature the San Tan Ford Sprint Cars and winged mini sprints. Located at the ET Motopark, more event and ticket information can be found at www.arizonaspeedway.net or calling 480.926.6688.
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: September 22, 2018 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway – “11th Annual Glenn Howard Classic”
WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-16.479; 2. Damion Gardner, 4, Alexander-16.672; 3. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.778; 4. R.J. Johnson, 92, Sertich-16.844; 5. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-16.844; 6. Tommy Malcolm, 5X, Napier-17.000; 7. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-17.022; 8. Logan Williams, 5, Jory-17.039; 9. Danny Faria Jr., 42, Cheney-17.048; 10. Max Adams, 5M, Adams-17.111; 11. Matt McCarthy, 28M, McCarthy-17.259; 12. Verne Sweeney, 98, Tracy-17.689; 13. Eddie Tafoya, 51T, Tafoya-18.042; 14. Joel Rayborne, 12B, Blair-18.050; 15. Cal Smith, 39, Cal-Sun-18.188; 16. Gary Marshall Jr., 72, Marshall-18.235; 17. Austin Ervine, 51, AJ-19.260; 18. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-NT, 19. Matt Stewart, 23, Bellegante-NT.
EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. C.Williams, 2. Johnson, 3. Adams, 4. Gansen, 5. Marshall. 2:57.19
CIRCLE TRACK PERFORMANCE / ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Gardner, 2. Roa, 3. L.Williams, 4. McCarthy, 5. Rayborne, 6. Ervine. 2:57.80
KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS / ROD END SUPPLY THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Faria, 2. A.Williams, 3. Malcolm, 4. Bender, 5. Sweeney, 6. Smith. 2:59.15
FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions) 1. Damion Gardner (5th), 2. Brody Roa (2nd), 3. Austin Williams (4th), 4. A.J. Bender (18th), 5. Danny Faria Jr. (9th), 6. Max Adams (10th), 7. Logan Williams (8th), 8. Cody Williams (6th), 9. Tommy Malcolm (1st), 10. Chris Gansen (7th), 11. Verne Sweeney (12th), 12. Matt McCarthy (11th), 13. Gary Marshall Jr. (16th), 14. Austin Ervine (17th), 15. Joel Rayborne (14th), 16. Cal Smith (15th), 17. R.J. Johnson (3rd), 18. Eddie Tafoya (13th). NT
**Johnson flipped on lap 18 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-6 Johnson, Laps 7-19 Roa, Laps 20-30 Gardner.
SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS / RACING OPTICS HARD CHARGER: A.J. Bender (18th to 4th)
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS: 1. Brody Roa-1145, 2. Damion Gardner-1101, 3. Austin Williams-993, 4. Cody Williams-927, 5. Max Adams-912, 6. Jake Swanson-802, 7. R.J. Johnson-758, 8. Danny Faria Jr.-748, 9. Logan Williams-716, 10. Chris Gansen-684, 11. Ryan Bernal-527, 12. Tommy Malcolm-497, 13. A.J. Bender-472, 14. Matt McCarthy-357, 15. Joel Rayborne-347, 16. Verne Sweeney-309, 17. Austin Ervine-307, 18. Austin Liggett-252, 19. Jace Vander Weerd-251, 20. Matt Rossi-178.
#4 Damion Gardner & Team in Perris victory circle. Photo by Mike Grosswendt / surfNsprint.com.