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LAST LAP INCIDENT HANDS RUTHERFORD $1000 VENTURA WIN
by Gary Jacob 

Wingless 360 Sprints, Pony Stocks, Dwarf Cars, Mini Dwarfs and Junior Midgets

Ventura, CA..May 13....In the right place at the right time, Troy Rutherford took advantage of a last lap tangle between leaders Luis Espinoza and Michael Trimble to get his first $1000 VRA 360 Wingless Sprint Car feature win of 2006 on Saturday night at Ventura Raceway. San Jose's Trimble spun in the incident and ended up 10th while Espinoza was slowed almost to a stop and settled for the $750 second place money ahead of Tom Hendricks, who won $500. Rutherford started the 30 lapper in sixth. The point standings tightened as point leader Greg Taylor had to borrow a car for the B and A Mains. Espinoza is now just 40 points back of Taylor and Steve Conrad is just 100 points out of first. Senior Sprint Car point leader Bob Alderman won his second main event in front of Steve Stasa and Ron Bach. This threesome has finished top five in all three 2006 races and Alderman's point lead is just 195 over Bach and 385 ahead of Stasa. Still battling back from a point deficit caused when he failed to start the feature on opening night, defending pony stock champion Mike Frazier won both his heat and a shortened 9 lap feature. Joel Chavez ran second in both and Jack Hoyt came from 14th to get third. Point leader Jim Evans started 17th and finished 4th. The Pro Dwarf Car feature only managed to get four laps scored and fifth starter Rob Anderson emerged the winner ahead of Carl Behmer and Jeff Shelton. The Senior Dwarf Cars ran their full 15 lap distance and John Lynch followed up a heat race win with a feature triumph from third starting. Ed Niedzwiecki ran second ahead of Tom Bellinger. The new mini dwarf car class has taken off with 16 cars in action. Austin Figueroa followed up a 2nd in his heat with a 12 lap feature win over Matt Orozco and Elysse Blade. Chase Lippert was the B Main victor. The new Junior Midget class is for racers 11 to 16 years old and has a very competitive seven car field. Everyone finished lead lap in both the 8 lap heat and 12 lap feature. Chris Olson beat opening night winner Christian Copley in the main event after starting on the pole. Copley came from 4th to get second and Ramon Rivas ran third.

            The VRA wingless 360 sprint cars had a 33 car turnout and it was divided into the normal four heat races with the top four finishers in each advancing into the 30 lap feature. Jimmy Crawford beat Bill Camarillo and Kevin Kierce in heat 1 with dwarf car graduate Errol Sack getting the last transfer slot. In heat 2, point leader Taylor got tangled up with female rookie Heidi Tresler and Taylor flipped. He borrowed the Sack car for the B Main action. Rutherford won heat 2 over Hendricks and Wes Richardson. Espinoza enjoyed a big night as he captured heat 3 ahead of Trimble and Jeremy Ellertson. Last week's feature winner Conrad got upsidedown at the start of heat 4, but continued on and ended up in second behind heat winner John Wright. Mark Weitzman and popular Hobie Conway both transferred. Taylor tagged a 17 car B Main in his borrowed machine, but managed to make a transfer slot. With Sack scratching, that left five transfers out of the B Main and Rob Kershaw got that win ahead of Ron Wade, Dennis Rodriguez, Taylor and Tresler. Tom Schneider, Derek Buckley and Brian Camarillo all came close to transfers and Austin Figueroa's father Angel Figueroa missed in 9th.   Young Trimble is connected with Kaeding Performance and makes the long tows from San Jose to run a full Ventura schedule. He and Hendricks shared the front row for the 30 lapper ahead of Crawford, Wright, Espinoza and Rutherford. A crash in turn 3 eliminated Kershaw, Tresler and Chris Wakim. Trimble raced into the lead over Hendricks and Crawford. Jeremy Ellertson and Taylor crashed in turn 2. Taylor was able to restart. Another tangle ends the night for Taylor and Wes Richardson stalled. Trimble now leads Espinoza, Crawford and Rutherford. Conrad and Wright tangle and then a second incident with Conrad cuts the starting field of 20 down to just 11 cars. A bobble by Crawford allows Kierce to pass him. Trimble is still setting the pace as Espinoza is trying to make passes on both the bottom and top of the mile clay oval. Finally on the final round, Espinoza gets by Trimble on the straight. They then get hooked together and Trimble spins. Espinoza slows to a crawl and Rutherford races by the incident for the win. Espinoza recovers in second ahead of Hendricks and Kierce. Bill Camarillo started 7th and ran fifth while Crawford settled for sixth. Richard McCormick started 15th and ran 7th ahead of Wright and Wade as a disappointed Trimble ran 10th ahead of Rodriguez. Crawford is fourth in points, 205 behind the leader and Rutherford remains in point title contention in fifth, 420 behind Taylor.

          The Senior Sprints had a 21 car turnout with top runners Wiley Miller and Danny Miller both missing from the action. Alderman had a perfect night as he won heat 1 over John Woodward and Chuck Tyler. Bach and Stasa were 1-2 in heat 2 ahead of Tom Harper. Rick Hendrix has taken his new division by storm and he captured heat 3 over Tim Moon and Ross Millar. Alderman won the 15 lap feature from third starting and Stasa came from fifth to get second. Bach started 2nd and ran third with fourth starting Hendrix finishing there. Harper ran fifth ahead of Mark Chuhaloff, Millar, Brett Butler, Jm Porter and Jeff Culver. Hendrix is fourth in points ahead of Millar.

             Seventeen pony stocks were divided into two heat races. Frazier and Chavez had the front row for heat 1 and they ran 1-2 ahead of Paul Johnson. Top runner Evans was out on lap 1. Tom Fish won heat 2 from the pole ahead of third starting Steve Klingberg and 7th starter Ryan Changus. Top runners Hoyt and Andrew Greiman both fell out. The shortened feature had a six car inversion and Frazier got the win from sixth ahead of 4th starting Chavez and 14th starter Hoyt. Evans ran fourth and came out of the night 75 points up on both Greiman and Hoyt. Fourth ranked Johnson is five more points back. Greiman fell out on lap 6. Front row starters Changus and Johnson finished 5-6 ahead of Randal Dougan and Fish.

            The Pro Dwarf Cars split 18 cars into a pair of heat races. Their heat races ended up with more laps scored than the feature. Former champion Shelton won heat 1 from fifth as front row starters Behmer and Anderson finished 2-3. Chuck Lippert came from fifth to win heat 2 over Chad Kincaid and 2005 champion Brian Saxton. Sixteen of the 18 feature starters were still running when the race was called after just four rounds. Anderson emerged as the victor ahead of Behmer, Shelton, Kincaid, Chuck Lippert, Saxton, Michael Allawos, Cole Milton, Tom Sera and Curt Cook. The Senior Dwarf Cars attracted 20 entries and ran a two heat format also. Fifth starting Niedzwiecki won heat 1 over 8th starter Bellinger and 7th starting Glen Monk. Lynch charged from 8th to win heat 2 over third starter Dave Revard and sixth starting Jon Prechtl. Both John Haag and James Soltis broke before the heat action. Revard and Bellinger shared the front row for the 15 lap feature ahead of Lynch and Niedzwiecki. Lynch raced to the win ahead of Niedzwiecki, Bellinger, Monk, Prechtl, 11th starter Wes Harris, 12th starting Gary Conditt, Tom Davis, Mike Bailey and Ben Hoskins. The top 8 finished on the lead lap.

           The new mini dwarfs race on a smaller infield track and split the 16 car turnout into a 12 lap B Main and a 12 lap A Main. Tommy Velasquez III won the opening heat race from the pole ahead of Blade and Tanner Kershaw. Pole starter Devin McCree won heat 2 over Ricky Lewis and Orozco. Riley Helland made it three straight pole wins in heat 3 over Austin Figueroa and Chase Lippert. Chase Lippert was relegated to the B Main but won from the pole over Tyler Jerman, Emma Alderman, Eddie Vasquez and Kayle Brazel. Lewis was a scratch from the A Main to leave 7 starters and Austin Figueroa won from third with pole starter Orozco second ahead of Blade, McCree, Helland and Velasquez, the final lead lap car. Copley won the Junior Midget heat race ahead of Charlie Butcher and Ramon Rivas. Olson ran fourth in the heat, but that put him on the pole for the 12 lap main and he won ahead of Copley, Rivas, Butcher, Drew Wright, Connor Calhoun and Michaela Stanton.

          The VRA Sprint Cars start their prestigious Grand Slam Series with an event in Bakersfield on May 20 that is expected to draw a huge field of cars. Here is Ventura, the USAC Midgets and Ford Focus Midgets will headline with the Junior Ford Focus Midgetrs, IMCA Modifieds, Dwarf Cars and Junior classes all joining in.

Summary 

Junior Midget Heat-Christian Copley, Charlie Butcher, Ramon Rivas, Chris Olson, Connor Calhoun. Main-Olson, Copley, Rivas, Butcher, Drew Wright, Calhoun, Michaela Stanton. 

Junior Dwarf Car Heat 1-Tommy Velasquez III, Elysse Blade, Tanner Kershaw, Emma Alderman, Jacob Hurnblad. Heat 2-Devin McCree, Ricky Lewis, Matt Orozco, Tyler Jerman, Kayle Brazel. Heat 3-Riley Helland, Austin Figueroa, Chase Lippert, Cris Noe, Eddie Vasquez. B Main-Chase Lippert, Jerman, E Alderman, Vasquez, Brazel, Joey Freshour, Noe, Hurnblad. A Main-Austin Figueroa, Orozco, Blade, McCree, Hilland, Tommy Velasquez III, T Kershaw. 

Senior Dwarf Car Heat 1-Ed Niedzwiecki, Tom Bellinger, Glen Monk, Tom Davis, Linda Taylor. Heat 2-John Lynch, Dave Revard, Jon Prechtl, Bill VanPraag, Jim Stutzman. Main-Lynch, Niedzwiecki, Bellinger, Monk, Prechtl, Wes Harris, Gary Conditt, Davis, Mike Bailey, Ben Hoskins, Steve Addison, Cindy Addison, Stutzman, VanPraag, Jerre Hinton, Revard, Sack, L Taylor. 

Pro Dwarf Car Heat 1-Jeff Shelton, Carl Behmer, Rob Anderson, Cole Milton, James Johnson. Heat 2-Chuck Lippert, Chad Kincaid, Brian Saxton, Michael Allawos, Jason Morheiser. Main-Anderson, Behmer, Shelton, Kincard, Chuck Lippert, Saxton, Allawos, Milton, Sera, Curt Cook, Jeff Fillingame, Lars Wolfe, Chris Taylor,  Michael Sweeney Jr, Diana Marshall, Ben Sheen, Morheiser, J Johnson. 

Pony Stock Heat 1-Mike Frazier, Joel Chavez, Paul Johnson, Jerrod Twomey, Joe Weaver. Heat 2-Tom Fish, Steve Klingberg, Ryan Changus, Jeff Houghton, Randal Dougan. Main-Frazier, Chavez, Jack Hoyt, Jim Evans, Changus, P Johnson, Dougan, Fish, Mark Woellert, Travis Wickenden, J Houghton, Martin Nettring, Weaver, Andrew Greiman, Klingberg, Tyler Brochett, Twomey. 

Senior Sprint Car Heat 1-Bob Alderman, John Woodward, Chuck Tyler, Grady Winkler, Jeff Culver. Heat 2-Ron Bach, Steve Stasa, Tom Harper, Brett Butler, Bill Badger. Heat 3-Rick Hendrix, Tim Moon, Ross Millar, Mark Chuhaloff, Oren Prosser Sr. Main-Alderman, Stasa, Bach, Hendrix, Harper, Chuhaloff, Millar, Brett Butler, Jim Porter, Culver, Badger, Jack Parker, Winkler, Bruce Douglas, John Richards, Prosser Sr, Woodward, Dave Marini, Bill Leonard, Tyler, Moon. 

Unwinged 360 Sprint Car Heat 1-Jimmy Crawford, Bill Camarillo, Kevin Kierce, Errol Sack, Ron Wade. Heat 2-Troy Rutherford, Tom Hendricks, Wes Richardson, Richard McCormick, Rob Kershaw. Heat 3-Luis Espinoza, Michael Trimble, Jeremy Ellertson, Chris Wakim, Dennis Rodriguez. Heat 4-John Wright, Steve Conrad, Mark Weitzman, Hobie Conway, Rusty Carlile. B Main-R Kershaw, Wade, Rodriguez, Greg Taylor, Heidi Tresler, Tom Schneider, Derek Buckley, Brian Camarillo, Angel Figueroa, Charles Turner. A Main-Rutherford, Espinoza, Hendricks, Kierce, Bill Camarillo, Crawford, McCormick, Wright, Wade, Trimble, Rodriguez, Conrad, Weitzman, Richardson, Taylor, Ellertson, Wakim, Conway, R Kershaw, Tresler.

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