VENTURA, California — Defending series champion Troy Rutherford of Ojai continued his winning ways last Saturday night. Rutherford passed former champion Greg Taylor of Ventura on lap twenty-eight to claim the 30-lap feature win. After the race, a happy Rutherford remarked "We made some changes to this race car. I was more comfortable and can run the car a lot harder to actually use the horsepower." With thirty-nine cars in the pit area, the opening night at Ventura Raceway was a considered a success.
Santa Barbara's Marcus Niemela paced the twenty car feature. Driving the #69 Steve Watt Enterprise / SurfnSprint.com machine, Niemela got the jump on Greg Taylor as the green flag waved. Action was briefly halted for a stalled Steve Conrad before the first lap was completed. On the restart, Niemela again took command as Taylor, Rialto's Don Gansen, Camarillo's Brent Camarillo, Reseda's Justin Kierce and Rutherford gave chase.
Niemela set a fast pace around the Ventura clay oval as he looked for the opening night victory. Unfortunately, a bobble on lap nine opened the door as Taylor and Rutherford passed the young driver. Piloting the #7 Taylor Trucking & Crane Service / Four Paws Pet Grooming car, Greg assumed command. With Rutherford on his heels, Taylor was determined to score the win. The duo raced nose to tail and battled back and forth in the closing laps. Rutherford eventually got the better of Taylor to take the lead and claim the victory. Troy was followed by Taylor, Niemela, Brandon Thomson, and Kierce.
Driving the #11 Trench Shoring / State Ready Mix car, Troy Rutherford also won the night's third heat race.
Starting sixth in the main event, Rutherford finished with 260 points on the night and now holds a twenty-five point lead heading into next Saturday night's action.
By virtue of his second place finish in the feature, Greg Taylor is now second in the point standings. Earlier in the evening, Taylor finished second to Rutherford in the third 10-lap heat race.
Marcus Niemela held on to take third place in the 30-lap main event. The hard charging driver finished second to Justin Kierce in the evening's fourth and final heat race. Niemela sits third in the point chase, just forty points behind Rutherford and fifteen points behind Taylor.
Norwalk's Brandon Thomson raced from the seventh spot to claim fourth in the feature. Driving the #92 ThunderHead Apparel car, Thomson also won the night's second heat race. Brandon is fourth in the championship points, just five behind Niemela.
Reseda's Justin Kierce claimed fifth in the main event, despite having a flat left rear tire. Piloting the #43 JDCE Transportation / Concrete Specialties entry, Kierce won the evening's fourth 10-lap heat race. Justin is currently fifth in the point standings.
Derek Buckley of Ojai took the first checkered flag of the season by winning the night's first heat race. Driving the #76 A-1 Truck & Equipment / L&H Consulting machine, Buckley was tenth in the main event and is tied for seventh in the points.
Driving the #31 Fast Undercar / Lucas Oil entry, Bruce Douglass of Ventura claimed the 12-lap semi-main. Also earning transfer spots to the feature were Charlie Butcher, Tom Harper, and Steve Hix. Douglass was seventeenth in the main event, Butcher was thirteenth, Harper claimed fifteenth, and Hix was scored nineteenth. A.J. Bender was the night's alternate in his first career Sprint Car start.
Camarillo's Josh Ford earned "hard charger / best passing job" honors with his seventh place run after starting sixteenth. Piloting the #73 King Racing Products / A&A Precision Machining entry, Ford took fourth in the evening's fourth heat race and is tied for seventh in the point chase.
Ventura Raceway held seven other companion main events on the night. Danny Lauer won in IMCA Modified action with Angel Figueroa taking the win with the VRA Pro Dwarf Cars. George Calvo scored the VRA Senior Dwarf Car victory, as Chris Olson won the inaugural Mod Lite feature. J.D. Brown claimed the VRA Mini Dwarf Piston class win, with Cameron McCauley storming to the VRA Mini Dwarf Supercharger victory. Brennan Rogers took the win with the VRA Junior Midgets.
To catch all of the action of the VRA Sprint Car Series and Ventura Raceway, Mike Truex's Loudpedal Productions has DVD videos available for purchase. For more information, call (805) 407-7229 or visit www.loudpedalvideo.com. In addition, Ventura Raceway offers a live feed of every event at www.venturaraceway.com/live.html. The live feed will begin at 5:00pm PST.
This Saturday March 12th, the VRA Sprint Car Series will return to Ventura Raceway. Also on the card will be the VRA Senior Sprints, IMCA Modifieds, Sport Compacts, and Go-Karts. The Front Gates will open at 3:00pm with Racing to start at 5:30pm. For more event information, please visit www.venturaraceway.com or call (805) 985-5433.
|ENTRIES: ( Car / Driver Name / Points) |
7 Greg Taylor 235; 11 Troy Rutherford 260; 11B AJ Bender 15; 11X Ryan Bernal 135; 14 Tom Hendricks 125; 15 Rick Hendrix 5; 16 Tom Harper 120; 18T Clark Templeman III 170; 24 Guy Woodward 20; 29K Hobie Conway 15; 31 Bruce Douglass 115; 31v Victor Davis 10; 43 Justin Kierce 205; 49x Jeff Fillingame 0; 51 Brent Camarillo 125; 55s Kyle Smith 10; 56 Steve Conrad 110; 57 Steve Hix 105; 65 Austin DeBlauw 15; 67K Taylor Price 10; 69 Marcus Niemela 220; 71c Jeff Culver 5; 71K Don Gansen 190; 72 Brian Camarillo 145; 73 Josh Ford 170; 76 Derek Buckley 170; 83 John Nock 165; 91R Brody Roa 155; 92 Brandon Thomson 215; 96k Charlie Butcher 135; 98 Jeremy Ellertson 0.
HEAT RACE 1: (10 laps)
1. Derek Buckley, 2. Brent Camarillo, 3. Clark Templeman III, 4. Ryan Bernal, 5. Bruce Douglass, 6. Tom Harper, 7. Kyle Smith, 8. Rick Hendrix.
HEAT RACE 2: (10 laps)
1. Brandon Thomson, 2. Don Gansen, 3. Brody Roa, 4. Tom Hendricks, 5. Guy Woodward, 6. Hobie Conway, 7. Taylor Price, 8. Jeff Culver.
HEAT RACE 3: (10 laps)
1. Troy Rutherford, 2. Greg Taylor, 3. John Nock, 4. Brian Camarillo, 5. Steve Hix, 6. AJ Bender, 7. Jeff Fillingame (DNS), 8. Jeremy Ellertson (DNS).
HEAT RACE 4: (10 laps)
1. Justin Kierce, 2. Marcus Niemela, 3. Steve Conrad, 4. Josh Ford, 5. Charlie Butcher, 6. Austin DeBlauw, 7. Victor Davis.
SEMI-MAIN: (12 laps)
1. Bruce Douglass, 2. Charlie Butcher, 3. Tom Harper, 4. Steve Hix, 5. AJ Bender, 6. Hobie Conway, 7. Jeff Culver, 8. Kyle Smith, 9. Austin DeBlauw, 10. Taylor Price, 11. Jeff Culver, 12. Guy Woodward, 13. Rick Hendrix (DNS), 14. Jeff Fillingame (DNS), 15. Jeremy Ellertson (DNS).
FEATURE: (30 laps - With Starting Positions)
1. Troy Rutherford (6th), 2. Greg Taylor (2nd), 3. Marcus Niemela (1st), 4. Brandon Thomson (7th), 5. Justin Kierce (5th), 6. Don Gansen (3rd), 7. Josh Ford (16th), 8. Clark Templeman III (9th), 9. John Nock (11th), 10. Derek Buckley (8th), 11. Brody Roa (10th), 12. Brian Camarillo (15th), 13. Charlie Butcher (18th), 14. Ryan Bernal (13th), 15. Tom Harper (19th), 16. Tom Hendricks (14th), 17. Bruce Douglass (17th), 18. Brent Camarillo (4th), 19. Steve Hix (20th), 20. Steve Conrad (12th).
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-8 Marcus Niemela, Laps 9-27 Greg Taylor, Laps 28-30 Troy Rutherford.
HARD CHARGER: Josh Ford (16th to 7th)
VRA SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS: (3/5)
1. Troy Rutherford 260; 2. Greg Taylor 235; 3. Marcus Niemela 220; 4. Brandon Thomson 215; 5. Justin Kierce 205; 6. Don Gansen 190; 7. Clark Templeman III 170; -. Josh Ford 170; -. Derek Buckley 170; 10. John Nock 165; 11. Brody Roa 155; 12. Brian Camarillo 145; 13. Ryan Bernal 135; --. Charlie Butcher 135; 15. Tom Hendricks 125; --. Brent Camarillo 125; 17. Tom Harper 120; 18. Bruce Douglass 115; 19. Steve Conrad 110; 20. Steve Hix 105.