VENTURA, California — VRA Champion Troy Rutherford had something to prove Saturday night March 19th after falling out early on March 12. He came back with a fury to take the win in the first All Coast Challenge Series Race and pocket the $3,000 winners purse and take the All Coast Challenge Series point lead. Also Saturday night Cory Kruseman took the win in the first of the Battle at the Beach Series for VRA-USAC Midgets.
On a night that had fans and Raceway officials looking over their shoulders for the predicted rainfall that would put a damper on this special race night, all were treated to a excellent night of outstanding open wheel racing. The expected the rains held off and allowed us to get all main events in except the USAC Ford Focus main event.
The first All Coast Challenge Race of 2011 was just what all in attendance expected as the top VRA drivers and a few out of the area challengers battled to see who would take the $3,000 winners share of the purse and also take the point lead in the three race series that will conclude in October. USAC/CRA Series Champion Mike Spencer, Nick Faas and Jon Stanbrough led the visiting contingent against the VRA regulars on Saturday night. On the night they would meet with varied success as Spencer finished 6th, Stanbrough finished 8th and Faas failed to make the main finishing one spot out of the transfer spot in the semi main. The night belonged to 2010 VRA Series Champion Troy Rutherford as he put his number 11 sprinter out front on lap 5 passing Kyle Smith, who led the first four laps, and went on to lead the rest of the way to take the 30 lap feature. Following Rutherford across the finish line were Sean Buckley, Johnathon Henry, VRA point leader Greg Taylor and Cory Kruseman. Taylor now holds a slim 65 point lead over Rutherford in the 2011 VRA series point battle. four heat races were competed on Saturday night with wins going to Johnathon Henry, Sean Buckley, Greg Taylor and Don Gansen. One 12 lap semi main was run with the win going to Justin Kierce.
VRA Midgets battled USAC Midgets in the first Battle at the Beach Series race of 2011. There were 27 midgets signed into the pits for this special event that also marks the first race in the new VRA Midget Series that will run all season long. The main event saw Brent Camarillo lead lap one and two. Then Jake Swanson took the lead and led until lap eleven when Ventura driver Cory Kruseman took the lead and led to the checkered flag on lap 30 to take the $2,000 winners check and the series point lead. Following Kruseman across the line were Jake Swanson, Chris Ennis Brent Camarillo and Alex Bowman. There were four heat races run with wins going to Johnathon Henry, Connor Kassik, Chris Ennis and Austin Smith. the 12 lap semi main went to Cody Swanson. The new VRA Midget series will resume with their next event set for April 23.
USAC Ford Focus and Junior Ford Focus were also on the program Saturday night. In Junior Focus racing, Cole Custer took wins in both the one heat race and the 12 lap main event. I Ford Focus competition, there was only a heat race run as the rain that came after the end of the sprint car main event forced a cancellation of the Focus main event. Robert Dolacki took the win in their heat race that ran early in the night.
All in all it was a great night of racing that many felt would not occur due to the dire weather prediction for the night. Fans in attendance saw some of the best in open wheel dirt track racing anywhere. Ventura Raceway will return to action on Saturday night March 26 with a full program of Sprint Car racing, VRA Dwarf Cars, IMCA Modifieds, Mod Lights and our kid's divisions.