HOCKETT TAKES "BUDWEISER OVAL NATIONALS" AT PERRIS; PRELIMS TO JONES & CARDEY
Jerry Coons Jr. and Levi Jones will settle their 2008 USAC National Sprint Car Championship point race this weekend in the 41st NAPA Auto Parts/Budweiser/Parker Store Western World Championships at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix. A 25-lap prelim is slated Friday night, with the 40-lap championship feature Saturday.
Coons emerged from last weekend's 13th "Budweiser Oval Nationals" at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway with an 89-point lead over Jones going into this weekend's series finales. A total of 138 points are available at Phoenix and Coons is the defending race champion.
The spotlight at Manzanita will also shine on Lucas Oil USAC/CRA Sprint Car point leaders Mike Spencer and Blake Miller, who exited Perris separated by only 46 points. The USAC/CRA series concludes with November 15 and 29 races at Perris.
Jesse Hockett of Warsaw, Mo. came from the 19th starting position to win Saturday night's 40-lap Perris feature presented by Temecula Valley Pipe & Supply. He caught Coons on lap 38 and led the final three laps in his McMillan Motorsports/In Memory of J.F. McCray Maxim/McMillan. Pole starter Tyler Brown led the first 26 laps, then Coons led the next 11 before yielding to Hockett. Coons finished second ahead of Kevin Swindell, Brad Sweet and Darren Hagen.
David Cardey of Riverside, Calif. worked his own special brand of Halloween magic to dust off the rest of the field Friday night in the 25-lap Perris prelim feature. Cardey celebrated his 33rd birthday in style, outlasting Damion Gardner, Coons and Hockett in a furious finish to put his ITI Performance/Empire Plumbing Viper/Downing Chevy in victory lane. Jones finished fifth. Five lead changes between three drivers spiced the 25-lap race, with Cardey grabbing the lead for the final time from Gardner on lap 23. Robert Ballou escaped serious injury in a spectacular flip on the backstretch on lap 20 of the feature.
Tony Jones of Norco, Calif. continued his winning ways at the Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway Thursday night, winning the opening night 25-lap feature event in the 13th "Budweiser Oval Nationals." The win for Jones and his Alexander Racing La Villa Restaurant/Ferreira Dairy DRC/JD Performance machine was his fifth in six races at the PAS. Trailing Jones at the checkered flag in the 25-lap National/Lucas Oil USAC/CRA feature were Miller, Gardner, Coons and Spencer.
Shane Cottle and Jeremy Sherman won the previous USAC races at Manzanita this season. Jones and Spencer have fared the best of the title contenders at Manzy this year, both posting a third place finish.
Former race champions expected to compete at Manzanita are Coons, Dave Darland (2005), Bud Kaeding (2002 & 2004) and Jeremy Sherman (2001).