Thursday, 2 June 2016




By Lance Jennings

JUNE 1, 2016... This Friday, June 3rd, the annual “Border Tour” featuring the USAC SouthWest and New Mexico Motor Racing Association (NMMRA) Sprint Cars will open at Western Tech Speedway Park in El Paso, Texas. The following night, Southern New Mexico Speedway in Las Cruces, New Mexico will host the second round of the four race mini-series. The “Border Tour” events are known as “must see” events as drivers from Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas will battle for bragging rights.

For the fifth consecutive season, the newly rechristened Western Tech Speedway Park has featured the traditional sprint cars of Arizona and New Mexico. On June 8, 2012, veteran Rickey Hood claimed the inaugural El Paso show that was sanctioned by the ASCS Canyon Region. R.J. Johnson earned back-to-back USAC SouthWest wins in 2013 and 2014, and rain washed out last year’s race. Friday’s point show will also feature Street Stocks, X-Mods, Super Trucks, Street Stocks, Casa Nissan Legends Cars. The Front Gates will open at 5:30pm with Racing scheduled to begin at 7:45pm. For more information, visit or call 915.791.8749.

Like El Paso, the Southern New Mexico Speedway will showcase the Arizona and New Mexico Sprints for five straight years. Last July, “The Magic Man” Mike Martin added the fast 5/16-mile facility to his win list by leading all 30-laps. On June 9, 2012, Rickey Hood backed up his El Paso triumph, “The Real Deal” Rick Ziehl earned a popular hometown win in 2013, and R.J. Johnson claimed victory in 2014. Saturday’s point race will also feature X-Mods, Street Stocks, Casa Nissan Legends Cars, and Claimers. The Front Gates will open at 5:30pm with Racing scheduled to begin at 7:45pm. For more information, visit or call 575.524.7913.

After winning both nights of last weekend’s “Salute to Indy” at Canyon, R.J. Johnson (Tempe, Arizona) has taken over the point lead. Driving Bill Michael’s #77M Kodiak Products / Beal’s Auto Body Sherman, Johnson has a 40-point lead on the strength of three feature wins, four top-qualifier awards, five heat race victories, twelve top-10 finishes, and 91 feature laps led. The three-time champion will be looking to sweep the El Paso and Las Cruces dates as he continues another run for the crown.

Stevie Sussex (Tempe, Arizona) is second in the USAC SouthWest point chase. Racing Mike Burkhart’s #21AZ Stratis Construction / Westin Diversified RSS, Sussex ran eighth and twentieth at Canyon’s “Salute to Indy.” To date, the hard charger has three feature wins, two top-qualifier awards, four heat race victories, one hard charger award, seven top-10 finishes, and 60 feature laps led to his credit. Stevie ranks fourth in series wins and will be looking to add El Paso and Las Cruces to his resume.

“Chargin” Charles Davis Jr. (Buckeye, Arizona) sits third in the point standings. Piloting the Massey Motorsports’ #50 RSS Industries / Rod End Supply RSS, Davis scored tenth and eighteenth at Canyon Speedway. Heading to El Paso, the five-time Arizona champion has six heat race victories, two top-qualifier awards, one hard charger award, eleven top-10 finishes, and 34 feature laps led. “Chargin” Charles is second on the series win list and will have his sights on his fourteenth triumph.

“The Magic Man” Mike Martin (Yuma, Arizona) ranks fourth in the chase for the championship. Driving his #16 Sherwin-Williams / Boulevard Truck Maxim, Martin placed ninth and sixth at the “Salute to Indy.” To date, the former Hall of Fame Classic winner has three heat race victories, two hard charger awards, ten top-10 finishes, and 27 feature laps led on the year. “The Magic Man” is tied for fifth on the series win list with Josh Pelkey as he looks to earn valuable points with “Border Tour” victories.

Matt Rossi (Glendale, Arizona) is fifth in the USAC SouthWest point standings. Racing the family owned #02 Apache Scapes / IWR Spike, Rossi claimed eleventh and third in the Canyon main events. To date, the former 360 Western World Champion has one heat race victory, four top-10 finishes and 1 feature lap led to his credit. Matt will be looking to score El Paso and Las Cruces feature wins. 

Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Nick Aiuto, Josh Pelkey, Brian Hosford, “The Bull” Tye Mihocko, Andy Reinbold, Chris Bonneau, Dustin Burkhart, “The Radio Flyer” Bruce St. James, Tom Ogle, Dennis Gile, Landon Cling, Shon Deskins, Asa Kesterson, and more.

Farmington, New Mexico’s Jason Grady leads the NMMRA point standings. Michael Fanelli, Matthew Cardenas, Nick Rael, David Dykes, J.R. Bonesteel, Randy Smith, Robert Marfia, Cody Mansfield, and Caleb Saiz round out the top-10 drivers.


2016 USAC Southwest Sprint Car Standings: 1-R.J. Johnson-519, 2-Stevie Sussex-479, 3-Charles Davis Jr.-424, 4-Mike Martin-404, 5-Matt Rossi-398, 6-Nick Aiuto-373, 7-Josh Pelkey-364, 8-Brian Hosford-320, 9-Tye Mihocko-312, 10-Andy Reinbold-264.