Brady Bacon and Damion Gardner enter this week’s 19th “Budweiser Oval Nationals” at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway with somewhat similar aspirations, but in different circumstances.
Bacon, of Broken Arrow, Okla. hopes to protect his AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car point lead on the way to what would be his first USAC title, but he has only a 51-point lead over Bryan Clauson and 79-point edge over Dave Darland in the standings.
Gardner, of Concord, Calif., has a more comfortable 153-point lead over runner-up Mike Spencer as he seeks to capture his third AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car crown. Spencer is a five-time USAC/CRA king.
Both series are involved in this weekend’s events at Perris and then conclude with the November 14-15 14th Annual “Hose Advantage Store Hall of Fame Classic” at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Ariz.
Thursday’s Perris 360 Oval Nationals kick off this week’s action at the PAS, featuring the West Coast and Southwest Sprint series, while the National and USAC/CRA series combine for Friday and Saturday events in the program presented by All-Coast Construction.
Darland, of Lincoln, Ind., who already has surpassed Tom Bigelow’s all-time USAC National series record of 52 wins by posting his 53rd victory earlier this season at Kokomo, Ind., is the defending “Budweiser Oval Nationals” winner and won the same title in 2005 and 2006. He could become the first driver to win it four times. Gardner won it in 2009 and 2011, while Spencer won the 2012 running. Chris Windom was the 2010 champion, while Bud Kaeding won it three times (2001-02-07), Cory Kruseman is a two-time winner (2003-04), Jesse Hockett won in 2008, Tony Jones in 2000, Rickie Gaunt in 1999, Rodney Argo in 1998, Rip Williams in 1997 and Jimmy Sills in 1996.
The PAS Senior Sprint Cars will also compete Friday and Saturday and the California Lightning Sprints are also on tap Friday.
So far more than 50 entries have been received for the USAC National and USAC/CRA events, including most of the “top-10” drivers in each series standings.
2014 AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Standings: 1-Brady Bacon-1,762, 2-Bryan Clauson-1,711, 3-Dave Darland-1,683, 4-Jon Stanbrough-1,588, 5-Chase Stockon-1,474, 6-Tracy Hines-1,401, 7-Justin Grant-1,376, 8-Chris Windom-1,351, 9-Robert Ballou-1,284, 10-Hunter Schuerenberg-1,188.
2014 AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Standings: 1-Damion Gardner-1,189, 2-Mike Spencer-936, 3-Brody Roa-790, 4-Cody Williams-751, 5-Matt Mitchell-750, 6-Austin Williams-722, 7-Jake Swanson-640, 8-Nic Faas-628, 9-Richard Vander Weerd-574, 10-Logan Williams-464.