On Saturday, June 21st, the powerful USAC West Coast Sprint Cars will invade Tulare’s Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway for the fourth and final time in 2014. The action-packed card will also showcase the IMCA Modifieds and RaceSaver Wing Sprint Cars. The spectator gates will open at 4:30pm, time trials at 6:30pm, with racing to follow at 7pm.
Looking for his first series win, Markus Niemela of Rauma, Finland, leads the point standings and will battle a talented roster of drivers. Currently 11th in points, Hollister’s Ryan Bernal has won the last four main events, including May 17th and May 31st at Tulare. Dennis Howell of Rancho Palos Verdes earned his first main event triumph at Tulare on March 14th while rain cancelled the April 26th race. To date, Bernal leads all drivers with 18 career victories, six Tulare wins, and holds the one-lap qualifying track record of 15.158 set on October 8, 2011.
Tracy’s Austin Liggett, the 2012 Rookie of the Year, earned his first victory at Las Vegas on March 6th. Troy Rutherford of Ojai claimed the March 22nd Bakersfield event and Visalia’s Jace Vander Weerd won Hanford’s “Gary Jacob Memorial” on March 29th. Bernal’s other wins came at Watsonville on May 16th and June 7th at Hanford. 2011 Champion Richard Vander Weerd of Visalia scored the non-point $5,000-to-win “Winter Challenge” finale in Peoria, Arizona, on February 1st.
Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Matt Mitchell, defending champion “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr., Nic Faas, “Shifter” Landon Hurst, Marty Hawkins, Kevin Barnes, “The Wild Child” Chris Ennis, Jeff Sibley, Garrett Long, Matt Day, Trent Carter, Davey Pombo, Connor Kassik, T.J. Smith and more.
Tulare’s Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds at the corner of Bardsley and K Streets. Reserved tickets are $15 and general admission seats are $13. Advance tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling the track office at 688-0909. For more event information, visit www.tularethunderbowl.com.
For more information on the USAC West Coast Sprint Cars, visit www.westcoastsprintcars.com or www.usacracing.com. You can also follow the series on Facebook or Twitter.