HANFORD, California — Last Saturday night, San Martin's Wes Gutierrez led all thirty laps to score his first USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series feature win of the season. With the "Jim Turner Memorial" victory at Scott Woodhouse's Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway, Gutierrez became the seventh different driver in twelve events to claim victory during the 2011 campaign.
Piloting the WG Motorsports #007 ButlerBuilt / Competition Suspension Inc. DRC, Wes Gutierrez started the Hanford feature from the pole position. It was not an easy win for the hard charger as he had to fight off numerous challenges from Ryan Bernal. Bernal, who had won the three previous main events, actually took the lead from Gutierrez on several occasions. Each time, Wes countered with determined drive and retook the top spot to officially lead every circuit. The pair sliced and battled their way through slower traffic and in the end, Wes Gutierrez won the "Jim Turner Memorial" followed by Ryan Bernal, point leader Richard VanderWeerd, Greg Alexander, and "Showtime" Danny Sheridan.
The "Jim Turner Memorial" marks the second career USAC West Coast 360 feature triumph for Wes Gutierrez. The young driver was fourth quick in time trials and won his series leading fifth heat race by taking the Extreme Mufflers sponsored event. Climbing to fourth in the chase for the championship, Gutierrez has nine top-10 finishes to his credit as the series heads to Santa Maria this Saturday.
With his runner-up finish, Hollister's Ryan Bernal saw his win streak end at three main events, tying a club record. Driving Danny Olmstead's #11D S&S Automotive / Dorso's Automotive Maxim, Bernal fought hard with Gutierrez, racing side by side for many laps. It was not to be for the former Wingless Spec Sprint Champion as he is in a tight battle for the championship. Earlier in the program, Ryan was third fast on the night and finished third in his heat race. Currently second in the points, Bernal has two heat race victories, nine top-10 finishes, and leads the series with 116 feature laps led.
Point leader Richard VanderWeerd of Visalia came home third in the Jim Turner Memorial. Piloting the family owned #10 VanderWeerd Construction / Battery Worx Maxim, Richard was close behind the leaders and had a solid performance as the season winds down. Leading the competition by fifty-two points, VanderWeerd has one feature win, three Sander Engineering Fast Time Awards, three heat race victories, eleven top-10 finishes, one Keizer Wheels Hard Charger Award, and seventeen main event laps led.
Gardena's Greg Alexander claimed fourth at the checkered flags. Driving Chuck Tyler's #72 Barnes Systems / Amsoil Maxim, Alexander earned his first Sander Engineering Fast Time Award of the year and was fourth in his heat race. Sitting eighth in the point chase, Greg has two heat race victories, seven top-10 finishes, and six feature laps led to his credit.
"Showtime" Danny Sheridan of Santa Maria earned his second Keizer Wheels Hard Charger / Best Passing Job honors with a fifth place run after starting tenth. Piloting Warren Dorathy's #21 Pace Lighting / PIPE KPC, Sheridan qualified thirteenth and took second in his heat race to Wes Gutierrez. In limited action, "Showtime" is eighteenth in the points with two heat race victories, three top-10 finishes, and eight feature laps led on the season.
Hanford's Justyne Hamblin drove the JH Motorsports' #8 Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino / Dias Law Firm Speed Tech to victory in the Saldana Racing Products / Keizer Wheels Heat Race #2. The 2009 series champion was fourteenth quick on the night and claimed tenth at the checkered flags. Currently seventh in the standings, Hamblin has two heat race victories, one Keizer Wheels Hard Charger Award, and seven top-10 finishes on the year.
Dennis Howell of Rancho Palos Verdes raced the family owned #62 San Pedro Auto Body / Howell-Meyer Racing Maxim to the DJ Safety Heat Race #3 win. The USAC Western Midget Series graduate qualified twelfth fast in the night and was seventh in the main event. Currently sixth in the point standings, Howell has three heat race victories, two Keizer Wheels Hard Charger Awards, and nine top-10 finishes in 2011.
The USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series would like to thank Southwest Contractors, Hoosier Tire, Amsoil, BR Motorsports, ButlerBuilt, Competition Suspension Inc., Cory Kruseman's Sprint Car & Midget Driving School, Crow Enterprizes, DJ Safety, Extreme Mufflers, Hilborn Fuel Injection, Hinchman-Indy Racing Uniforms, Integra Shocks, Kaeding Performance, Keizer Wheels, King Racing Products, Port City Racing, Rod End Supply, Saferacer.com, Saldana Racing Products, and Sander Engineering for their support.
The USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series will return to action this Saturday, September 17th, at Chris Kearns' Santa Maria Speedway. Located 1/4-mile north of the 101/166 interchange at 1900 Hutton Road in Nipomo, California, more event information can be found at www.racesantamariaspeedway.com or call (805) 922-2232.
For more information on the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series, please visit westcoastsprintcars.com, usacracing.com, racesantamariaspeedway.com, or follow the series on facebook.
USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT SCHEDULE:
September 17: Santa Maria Speedway - Santa Maria, CA
September 24: Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway - Hanford, CA
October 8: Groppetti Automotive Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway - Tulare, CA
October 15: *Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway - Hanford, CA
|USAC West Coast 350 Sprints|
|SANDER ENGINEERING TIME TRIALS: |
1. Greg Alexander, 72, Tyler-15.608; 2. Richard VanderWeerd, 10, VanderWeerd-15.794; 3. Ryan Bernal, 11D, Olmstead-15.828; 4. Wes Gutierrez, 007, WG-15.939; 5. Ricky Kirkbride, 87, Van Meter-16.012; 6. Danny Faria Jr., 2, Bowman-16.017; 7. T.J. Smith, 14, LeGras-16.088; 8. Jace VanderWeerd, 88, VanderWeerd-16.094; 9. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-16.187; 10. Jonathan Logan, 32, Evett/Logan-16.223; 11. Jeff Gardner, 51T, Revcon-16.242; 12. Dennis Howell, 62, Howell-16.256; 13. Danny Sheridan, 21, Dorathy-16.323; 14. Justyne Hamblin, 8, JH-16.513; 15. Nico Russo, 3N, Russo-16.541; 16. Austin Liggett, 83, Liggett-16.566; 17. Matt Day, 97, Day-16.604; 18. Jared Little, 25, Little-16.747; 19. Terry Nichols, 33, Nichols-17.366; 20. Ray Knight, 6K, Knight-19.927.
EXTREME MUFFLERS HEAT RACE 1: (10 laps)
1. Wes Gutierrez, 2. Danny Sheridan, 3. Jonathan Logan, 4. Greg Alexander, 5. Austin Leggitt, 6. Terry Nichols, 7. T.J. Smith. NT.
SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS / KEIZER WHEELS HEAT RACE 2: (10 laps)
1. Justyne Hamblin, 2. Richard VanderWeerd, 3. Jace VanderWeerd, 4. Matt Day, 5. Ricky Kirkbride, 6. Jeff Gardner, 7. Ray Knight. NT.
DJ SAFETY HEAT RACE 3: (10 laps)
1. Dennis Howell, 2. Danny Faria Jr., 3. Ryan Bernal, 4. Brody Roa, 5. Nico Russo, 6. Jared Little. NT.
FEATURE: (30 laps - With Starting Positions)
1. Wes Gutierrez (1st), 2. Ryan Bernal (2nd), 3. Richard VanderWeerd (3rd), 4. Greg Alexander (4th), 5. Danny Sheridan (10th), 6. Jace VanderWeerd (6th), 7. Dennis Howell (9th), 8. Jonathan Logan (8th), 9. Ricky Kirkbride (13th), 10. Justyne Hamblin (11th), 11. Brody Roa (7th), 12. Nico Russo (16th), 13. Matt Day (12th), 14. Jeff Gardner (15th), 15. Jared Little (18th), 16. Austin Liggett (17th), 17. Terry Nichols (19th), 18. Danny Faria Jr. (5th), 19. Ray Knight (20th), 20. T.J. Smith (14th). NT.
**T.J. Smith flipped during the first heat.
**Danny Faria Jr. flipped during the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Wes Gutierrez.
KEIZER WHEELS HARD CHARGER AWARD: Danny Sheridan (10th to 5th)
NEW WEST COAST 360 SPRINT POINTS:
1-Richard VanderWeerd-694; 2-Ryan Bernal-642; 3-Jace VanderWeerd-600; 4-Wes Gutierrez-586; 5-Danny Faria Jr.-550; 6-Dennis Howell-511; 7-Justyne Hamblin-474; 8-Greg Alexander-461; 9-T.J. Smith-437; 10-Rusty Carlile-395.