There was lots of racing this past weekend. The Indy Cars Series was in Brazil, NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and the K&N Pro Series East were in Richmond, Virginia. The World of Outlaws were in Indiana and the NHRA drag races were in Houston, Texas. The K&N Pro Series West raced on the road course at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.
Our “NorCal Driver of the Week” is A.J. Allmendinger from Los Gatos who survived another tough race in Richmond. After a late charge, he finished in 7th place, his best finish of the year in the Sprint Cup Series. A.J. also moved up 4 spots in the standings and is in 11th place, only 12 points out of the important top ten. He had a new sponsor for this race, Nautica Apparel Company.
J.R. Hildebrand from Sausalito was one of the “Hardest Chargers” in the IndyCar race is Sao Paulo, Brazil. The race was halted on Sunday because of rain. They finished up on Monday, J.R. who qualified 22nd rallied for a 10th place finish. It was his first Top 10 in the IZOD IndyCar Series. J.R. is now in 15th place in the points standings and still the leader in the Rookie of the Year race.
Brian Thiel from Pleasant Grove had a great start to the weekend in the NHRA Funny Car division by making it through 4 rounds of qualifying. He was awarded the privilege of facing the legendary John Force in round 1 of eliminations on Sunday morning. This is where things went bad. The roof hatch on Brian’s car came open while he was staging and he timed out while trying to get it fixed. What unfortunate timing for a problem like that. He is consistently showing progress and I expect to see him competing in the final rounds by the end of the year.
Karen Stoffer from Minden, Nevada racing Pro Stock Motorcycles in Texas qualified in the 2nd spot for Sunday’s elimination rounds. She then lost in the semifinals to eventual winner Andrew Hines.
Katie Sullivan from Corning ran a 7.088 at 186.90 mph on Friday for 20th best and then had some trouble on Saturday and did not qualify for Sunday’s O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals.
Matt DiBenedetto: I recently learned of a NorCal race car driver competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. He is 19 year old Matt DiBenedetto from Grass Valley, CA. Matt ran a limited schedule for Joe Gibbs Racing in Nationwide last year but has joined a new team X-Racing for the entire season. He finished in 10th spot in the race at Richmond last Thursday for his 3rd Top 10 finish in 3 races this year. Matt is now in 5th place in the points standings.
Paul McMahan from Elk Grove finished in second position in the World of Outlaws race in Indiana, his best finish of the year. He qualified 3rd and won the Dash. Paul is now 7th in the series points standings.
Jason Meyers from Clovis ended up with a 12th place finish and retains his 3rd place standing in the points.
Brad Sweet from Grass Valley on a break from the NASCAR Truck Series, got to return to racing with the World of Outlaws. He qualified 6th and came in with a 14th place finish.
Jim Inglebright from Fairfield finished 3rd in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race on the road course at Miller Motorsports Park in Toole, Utah on Saturday. David Mayhew from Atascadero came in 5th and is now in 4th place in the points standings. 83 year old Hershel McGriff from Bridal Veil, OR raced to a 16th place finish on the lead lap in a field of 34 cars. (Amazing!)
Willie Croft of Citrus Heights won the King of the West Series race in Marysville on Saturday night after setting a new track record in qualifying earlier in the day. Tim Kaeding from San Jose is the points leader and finished in second place.
Bryan Clauson from Carmichael finished 3rd in the feature event of the USAC Sprint Car Series in Gas City, Indiana. He maintained his lead in the points standings. Kyle Larson from Elk Grove won his heat race but struggled to a 17th place finish in the Main.
Peter Murphy from Clovis won the USAC West Coast 360 race at the Thunderbowl in Tulare. He came in 2nd place in the ASCS main event as well. Jace VanderWeerd from Visalia is the early points leader in this regional series.
Tommy Tarlton of Fresno is now 2 for 2 in the new ASCS Southern California Regional Series. He won Saturday night at the Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare and now has a 30 point lead in the point standings over 19 year old Cory Eliason of Visalia who finished in 3rd place.