West Coast
Friday, 7 November 2014


C.J. Leary (center) won Thursday's "360 Oval Nationals" over Bryan Clauson (left) & Jake Swanson (right) C.J. Leary (center) won Thursday's "360 Oval Nationals" over Bryan Clauson (left) & Jake Swanson (right) Pat Grant Photo

Perris, California.......Young C.J. Leary from Greenfield, Indiana marked his first USAC-sanctioned win in Thursday night's West Coast/Southwest Sprint Car "360 Oval Nationals" at Perris Auto Speedway. After setting a new 360 Sprint Car track record in Woodland Auto Display Qualifying, Leary worked from row-three to pass Bryan Clauson for the 30-lap victory. Matt Mitchell finished off his title run for the West Coast Sprint Car Series championship.

Clauson started alongside Kevin Thomas, Jr. on the front row, and Thomas shot to the lead on the opening lap using the cushion. After just one lap, a yellow came out from Robert Ballou, who was spun in turn-three and collected Dave Darland. Meanwhile, on the other end of the track, Austin Liggett flipped while running fourth.

Clauson used the restart to shoot off the bottom of turn-two with the lead. Leary used the high side to move past Troy Rutherford and Thomas for second before the second red flag of the event, this time for Jon Stanbrough in turn-four.

Leary made his first bid for the lead after the restart, edging into the lead off turn-two on lap 9 before Clauson slid up in front of him in turns three and four. Leary stayed with Clauson, as Jake Swanson started to reel the two in as the race hit a long stretch of green-flag racing.

Leary closed back on Clauson just past halfway and waited a few laps before throwing a big turn-one slide-job for the lead on lap 20. He caught the cushion and raced away with a growing lead. That was erased, however, when Troy Rutherford flipped in turn-four on lap 25, collecting Ryan Bernal in the process. Bernal had climbed from 24th into the top-ten.

Shortly after the final restart with six laps to go, Leary's car bounced violently through turns one and two and then hiked up off turn-four, as well, as he had a broken left-rear shock. Leary babied it through the final few laps, keeping it under control enough to protect his lead over Clauson and take the win in the Leary Construction Company - Green Tech Lubricants #30 DRC/Mopar.

"This is a big win for us. We were really fast all night and overcame a bad first few laps in the feature. The car was great running around the top, and I just waited until I had a good shot at Clauson to get the lead. He's beaten us at the end for a win this year, and you know it's a good win when you can beat him. It got to be a handful at the end with the broken shock; I was really afraid it was gonna end in a crash, but we held on," Leary said.

Clauson finished second ahead of Swanson. Richard Vander Weerd and defending race winner Mike Spencer rounded out the top-five. 2014 USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series champion Matt Mitchell came home sixth.

USAC WEST COAST & SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR “Special Event” RACE RESULTS: November 6, 2014 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway – 19th “Budweiser Oval Nationals” – The Grudge Series

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-16.416; 2. Jake Swanson, 92, Sertich-16.503; 3. Austin Liggett, 83, Liggett-16.547; 4. Troy Rutherford, 11, Rutherford-16.622; 5. Kevin Thomas Jr., 73X, Ford-16.640; 6. Bryan Clauson, 16B, Martin-16.644; 7. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-16.682; 8. Colby Copeland, 5V, VanLare-16.683; 9. Robert Ballou, 12X, Ballou-16.704; 10. Danny Faria Jr., 2F, Bowman-16.704; 11. Christopher Bell, 51T, Roth-16.728; 12. Jon Stanbrough, 81M, Watt-16.767; 13. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-16.770; 14. Dave Darland, 4G, Gansen-16.833; 15. Mike Spencer, 7M, Priestley-16.864; 16. Charles Davis Jr., 50, Massey-16.871; 17. Shon Deskins, 20. Deskins-16.880; 18. Darren Hagen, 17RW, Dutcher-16.897; 19. R.J. Johnson, 51, Michaels-16.906; 20. Landon Hurst, 9s, Hurst-16.910; 21. Rick Hendrix, 15X, Hendrix-16.918; 22. Josh Pelkey, 12, Allen-16.968; 23. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-16.994; 24. Johnathon Henry, 17, Henry-17.060; 25. Jeff Sibley, 42N, Sibley-17.098; 26. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-17.146, 27. Markus Niemela, 73, Ford-17.147; 28. Max Adams, 5X, Adams-17.191; 29. Michael Curtis, 11C, Turner/Wheeler-17.228; 30. A.J. Bender, 12B, Bender-17.262; 31. Chris Ennis, 86, Ennis-17.378; 32. Terry Schank Jr., 3X, Dupont-17.457; 33. Cody Majors, 54, Majors-17.459; 34. Trent Williams, 52, Williams-17.484; 35. Tristan Guardino, 81, Watt-17.510; 36. David Taylor, 74, Taylor-17.608; 37. Tony Everhart, 55, Everhart-17.638; 38. Kyle Edwards, 39E, Edwards-17.783; 39. J.J. Ercse, 15, Boy-17.843; 40. Kyle Smith, 55X, Smith-18.069; 41. Ryan Bernal, 56, Phulps-18.109; 42. George Morris, 3K, Kruseman-18.302; 43. Brian Grosenheider, 25K, Kruseman-18.658; 44. Eddie Tafoya, 51, Perkins-18.877; 45. Ed Schwarz, U47, Schwarz-18.886; 46. Mike Collins, 04, Collins-19.326

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Johnson, 2. Leary, 3. R.Vander Weerd, 4. Mitchell, 5. Sibley, 6. Edwards, 7. Schank, 8. Tafoya. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Martin, 2. Darland, 3. Swanson, 4. Majors, 5. Copeland, 6. Hurst, 7. Collins, 8. Ercse. 2:58.42

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Spencer, 2. Ballou, 3. Liggett, 4. Adams, 5. Hendrix, 6. Smith, 7. Williams, 8. Schwarz. 2:56.44

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Rutherford, 2. Davis, 3. Bernal, 4. Pelkey, 5. Faria, 6. Curtis, 7. Guardino. 2:59.13

FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Thomas, 2. Bell, 3. Deskins, 4. J.Vander Weerd, 5. Bender, 6. Taylor, 7. Morris. 2:59.20

SIXTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Hagen, 3. Stanbrough, 4. Henry, 5. Everhart, 6. Ennis, 7. Grosenheider. 2:58.34

FIRST SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Mitchell, 2. Copeland, 3. Curtis, 4. J.Vander Weerd, 5. Ennis, 6. Hendrix, 7. Everhart, 8. Majors, 9. Morris, 10. Guardino, 11. Ercse, 12. Schwarz, 13. Sibley, 14. Tafoya. NT|

SECOND SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Faria, 2. Hurst, 3. Henry, 4. Pelkey, 5. Adams, 6. Williams, 7. Bender, 8. Edwards, 9. Smith, 10. Schank, 11. Collins, 12. Taylor, 13. Grosenheider. 3:40.66

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. C.J. Leary, 2. Bryan Clauson, 3. Jake Swanson, 4. Richard Vander Weerd, 5. Mike Spencer, 6. Matt Mitchell, 7. R.J. Johnson, 8. Darren Hagen, 9. Danny Faria Jr., 10. Kevin Thomas Jr., 11. Johnathon Henry, 12. Landon Hurst, 13. Charles Davis Jr., 14. Mike Martin, 15. Troy Rutherford, 16. Ryan Bernal, 17. Colby Copeland, 18. Shon Deskins, 19. Michael Curtis, 20. Jon Stanbrough, 21. Dave Darland, 22. Austin Liggett, 23. Robert Ballou, 24. Christopher Bell. NT
**Niemela flipped in qualifications. Liggett, Stanbrough, Rutherford, Bernal flipped during the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Thomas, Laps 2-19 Clauson, Laps 20-30 Leary.
FINAL USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS: 1-Mitchell-709, 2-Niemela-632, 3-R.Vander Weerd-603, 4-Faria-540, 5-Bernal-539, 6-J.Vander Weerd-535, 7-Rutherford-534, 8-Liggett-513, 9-Nic Faas-465, 10-Dennis Howell-399.
NEXT USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINT RACE: November 20-22 – “Peoria, AZ – Canyon Speedway Park - 47th Annual “Western World Championships”
NEXT USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR “Special Event”: November 20-22 – “Peoria, AZ – Canyon Speedway Park - 47th Annual “Western World Championships”