Perris, California — Robert Ballou took home $20,000 for his impressive drive on Saturday to sweep the Perris Auto Speedway “Budweiser Oval Nationals” presented by All Coast Construction. The Rocklin, California native came on the second half of the race after a losing a few spots early to close out the biggest win of his career, making it five for the season and the ninth of his career.
“This is just a testament to our perseverance. We were as low as we could be earlier this season, but we kept at it and hit our stride and have put together the best stretch of races we’ve ever had. This track has never been kind to me, but we had the thing great the last half of the race. I have to thank Derrick Bye for all the work he puts into this car and all the people who have stood behind us to get us here,” Ballou said.
Dave Darland started from the pole after winning the “Super 6 Dash” and led the field into turn-one, but he bicycled and quickly fell to fourth as Mike Spencer grabbed the lead. C.J. Leary moved to second as Ballou cleared Darland for the third spot.
Spencer immediately felt pressure from Leary, who was already using the extreme high side. He jumped above the cushion getting into turn-one and turned down across the track to the bottom of turn-two and rocketed to the lead on lap six. A lap later, he missed his mark and Spencer shot back past. On lap eight, Leary hit his line again off turn-two and this time opened up his lead.
A quick caution set up a restart, but Leary got a great run down the frontstretch to pull away. The race went green until lap nineteen when Geoff Ensign flipped in turn-two just as Spencer had capitalized on a Leary mistake to return to the lead. Leary continued to hold back Spencer, as he drove through turns one and two and ran the cushion in three and four.
Leary missed his line on the next restart, and Spencer moved back to the front on lap twenty. Two laps later, Garrett Hansen flipped in turn-two and the red flag was opened up. On the restart with 18 laps to go, Spencer led Darland, Leary, Jon Stanbrough, and Ballou.
After another caution with sixteen laps to go, which saw Leary head to the work area after bicycling just before and catching the wall, Spencer led as Ballou moved past Stanbrough and Darland to get to the runner-up spot. He closed on Spencer and got a run down the backstretch on lap thirty to throw a slide-job for the lead.
Once out front, Ballou was untouchable, moving around on the track as rubber started to come in through the turns. He looked to be home free until Rickie Gaunt came to a stop on the backstretch with two laps to go. Ballou closed the deal, though, winning by .647 seconds in the MPHG Promotions – Tom Buch #12x Maxim/Ott. His crew chief, Bye, earned the “Ray Scheetz Oval Nationals Outstanding Crew Chief Award.”
Behind Ballou, Spencer held off a hard-charging Bryan Clauson to claim the runner-up spot, finishing a strong weekend which honored his former crew chief Bruce Bromme, Jr., who was named the event’s Grand Marshal shortly before his death earlier this season. The former “Oval Nationals” champion represented the home team in the Ron Chaffin Motorsports – Grubstake Mini Storage #50 Maxim/Shaver.
“It was really a great battle up front throughout the race. We were able to hang in there and keep fighting for the lead with whoever came at us. Robert just ended up being better than us late in the race. I’m really proud of my team. We put a new car together for this race and were fast all weekend. It’s an honor to drive for this team,” Spencer said.
Clauson again notched a close call in his pursuit of an “Oval Nationals” win, coming home third in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevy Performance #20 Beast/Kistler.
“We just kinda got jammed up early in the race and lost some ground, but it was definitely getting better and better towards the end. I was getting going really well on the bottom as the race went on, and I guess I ended up being the last one down there. We made our way up through there pretty good, but I hated to see the rubber come in and make that groove so fast,” Clauson said.
Darland came home fourth in the Phillips Motorsports – Racer’s Advantage Store #71P DRC/Foxco, and Ryan Bernal came from tenth to round out the top-five in the Phulps Motorsports – Tri-L Mandarin Ranch #56 ART/Wesmar.
Chad Boespflug came from 22nd to finish tenth, earning the $1,000 “Tony Jones Hard Charger Award” in the Baldwin Brothers Racing – Fox Paving #5 DRC/Claxton Mopar.
-USAC Racing Press Release & Photo
AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS
November 8, 2014 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Damion Gardner, 4x, Alexander-16.577; 2. Justin Grant, 40, Hery-16.619; 3. Darren Hagen, 17RW, Dutcher-16.687; 4. Nic Faas, 37F, Mitchell-16.813; 5. Jake Swanson, 92, Sertich-16.822; 6. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-16.828; 7. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.838; 8. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-16.855; 9. Christopher Bell, 51T, Roth-16.923; 10. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 73, Ford-16.954; 11. Geoff Ensign, 3F, Finkenbinder-16.967; 12. Ryan Bernal, 56, Phulps-16.980; 13. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-17.003; 14. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-17.009; 15. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-17.016; 16. Garrett Hansen, 7, Priestley-17.023; 17. Danny Faria, Jr., 2F, Bowman-17.044; 18. Chad Boespflug, 5B, Baldwin-17.059; 19. Bryan Clauson, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-17.076; 20. Josh Pelkey, 12, Allen-17.100; 21. David Bezio, 37x, Bezio-17.104; 22. Ronnie Gardner, 93, Gardner-17.122; 23. Rickie Gaunt, 66, Miller-17.240; 24. Max Adams, 5x, Adams-17.244; 25. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-17.245; 26. Matt Rossi, 02, Rossi-17.290; 27. Colby Copeland, 5v, VanLare-17.334; 28. Trent Williams, 52, Williams-17.371; 29. Greg Alexander, 72, Henry-17.381; 30. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-17.413; 31. Corey Ballard, 34, Ballard-17.437; 32. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-17.456; 33. Austin Liggett, 9s, Hurst-17.496; 34. Logan Williams, 5, Jory-17.501; 35. Terry Schank, Jr., 1, Gleason-17.532; 36. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-17.557; 37. Verne Sweeney, 98, Tracy-17.633; 38. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-17.640; 39. Jeremy Ellertson, 98x, Ellertson-17.661; 40. Jeff Sibley, 42N, Sibley-17.714; 41. Johnathon Henry, 17, Henry-17.830; 42. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-17.845; 43. Landon Hurst, 179, Hurst-17.962; 44. Kyle Edwards, 39E, Edwards-18.046; 45. Tony Everhart, 55, Everhart-18.521; 46. Michael Curtis, 45c, Turner/Wheeler-18.624; 47. Tobey Sampson, 12B, Blair-18.646;
FIRST HEAT : (10 laps) 1. D. Gardner, 2. Bell, 3. Mitchell, 4. Johnson, 5. Swanson, 6. Faria, 7. Alexander, 8. Bezio. NT
SECOND HEAT : (10 laps) 1. Hines, 2. Stockon, 3. Grant, 4. R. Gardner, 5. Thomas, 6. Boespflug, 7. Rossi, 8. Andretti. 2:58.72
THIRD HEAT : (10 laps) 1. A. Williams, 2. Clauson, 3. C. Williams, 4. Hagen, 5. Ensign, 6. Copeland, 7. Ballard, 8. Gaunt. NT
FOURTH HEAT : (10 laps) 1. R. Vander Weerd, 2. Bernal, 3. Pelkey, 4. Faas, 5. Adams, 6. Hansen, 7. T. Williams, 8. J. Vander Weerd. NT
“SUPER 6 DASH” : (6 laps) 1. Dave Darland (71P, Phillips), 2. Mike Spencer (50, Chaffin), 3. C.J. Leary (30, Leary), 4. Robert Ballou (12x, Ballou), 5. Jon Stanbrough (37RW, Dutcher), 6. Brady Bacon (69, Dynamics). 1:46.20
FIRST B MAIN: (12 laps) 1. Pelkey, 2. Johnson, 3. Thomas, 4. Gaunt, 5. Faas, 6. Mitchell, 7. R. Gardner, 8. L. Williams, 9. Bender, 10. Curtis, 11. Sweeney, 12. Ellertson, 13. Liggett, 14. Copeland, 15. Everhart, 16. Henry, 17. Bezio, 18. Sibley. NT
SECOND B MAIN: (12 laps) 1. Faria, 2. Hagen, 3. Grant, 4. Boespflug, 5. Ensign, 6. Rossi, 7. C. Williams, 8. Adams, 9. Andretti, 10. Schank, 11. T. Williams, 12. Hurst, 13. Hansen, 14. Ballard, 15. Edwards, 16. Gansen, 17. Sampson, 18. Swanson. NT
FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Robert Ballou, 2. Mike Spencer, 3. Bryan Clauson, 4. Dave Darland, 5. Ryan Bernal, 6. Damion Gardner, 7. Richard Vander Weerd, 8. Brady Bacon, 9. Jon Stanbrough, 10. Chad Boespflug, 11. Chase Stockon, 12. Christopher Bell, 13. Darren Hagen, 14. C.J. Leary, 15. Austin Williams, 16. Danny Faria, Jr., 17. Tracy Hines, 18. Cody Williams, 19. Rickie Gaunt, 20. R.J. Johnson, 21. Josh Pelkey, 22. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 23. Garrett Hansen, 24. Geoff Ensign, 25. Nic Faas, 26. Justin Grant. NT
***Henry flipped in the 1st B Main. Copeland flipped in the 1st B Main. Faas flipped on Lap 17. Ensign flipped on Lap 19. Hansen flipped on Lap 23. Thomas, Jr. flipped on Lap 25.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-5 Spencer, Lap 6 Leary, Lap 7 Spencer, Laps 8-19 Leary, Laps 20-30 Spencer, Laps 31-40 Ballou.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Bacon-1,868; 2-Clauson-1,815; 3-Darland-1,790; 4-Stanbrough-1,690; 5-Stockon-1,532; 6-Hines-1,452; 7-Grant-1,418; 8-Ballou-1,412; 9-Chris Windom-1,351; 10-Leary-1,268.
NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-D.Gardner-1,255, 2-Spencer-1,045, 3-Brody Roa-790, 4-Mitchell-787, 5-C.Williams-786, 6-A.Williams-760, 7-Swanson-660, 8-R.Vander Weerd-656, 9-Faas-642, 10-Bernal-508.
NEXT AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: November 14-15 – Peoria, AZ – Canyon Speedway Park – 14th Hose Advantage Store “Hall of Fame Classic”