Race starved Perris Auto Speedway fans will have reasons to cheer when the USAC National Sprint Car Series visits Indiana’s Kokomo Speedway for the “9th Annual Smackdown” this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, August 27th through the 29th. To be exact, the five reasons are PAS USAC/CRA regulars Damion Gardner, Austin Williams, Jake Swanson, Charles Davis, and Eddie Tafoya Jr. who will all be in action in the Hoosier state’s biggest traditional sprint car event.
Still closed due to state and county regulations due to the COVID crisis, So Cal fans have yet to see a USAC/CRA Series race at The PAS this season. The track and series officials still have hopes that there will be some racing in So Cal before winter sets in. Until that time, the next best thing will be to see their heroes lock horns with the top stars in the Midwest this week. All three of the races will be available to fans via pay per view on the Flo Racing website.
For Gardner, who has won the USAC/CRA title the last seven seasons in a row, racing at Kokomo is a return to the Midwest where he campaigned from 2006 through 2012. Regular fans watching may have a hard time recognizing the driver known as “The Demon” as he will not be in the familiar Alexander silver #4. Instead, he will be wheeling the Baldwin Racing #5. A certain National Sprint Car Hall of Famer when his career is over, Gardner has eight USAC/CRA titles (in addition to the last seven in a row, he also won in 2005 before heading to the Midwest) and three wins in the prestigious Budweiser Oval Nationals. In addition, on the all-time CRA, SCRA, and USAC/CRA victory list dating back to 1946, the slender driver is ranked fourth with 96-wins. With fuel still left in his tank, he is only nine wins behind all-time leader Dean Thompson’s total of 105.
The “Big Game Hunter,” Austin Williams, who now makes his home in Corona, California, will be making a rare assault on the Midwest in the famous Moose Racing #92. The son of National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Rip Williams began racing in USAC in 2009 when he claimed the CRA Rookie of the Year award. After spending his entire career driving for Jack and Sharon Jory, Williams, 29, moved into the Tom and Lauri Sertich Moose car when Jory decided to step away from racing at the end of 2018. In his first year in the Moose car, he scored main event wins at Calistoga and The PAS. He also placed second in the USAC/CRA championship standings, only 71-points behind champion Gardner.
Veteran Jake Swanson and his race car driving wife Jessica spent last week moving from Anaheim, California to Indiana to pursue their racing careers. Last season, the Cal State Northridge marketing graduate finished fourth in the USAC/CRA Standings driving for Arizona’s Justin Grau. The 2012 USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year and 2017 USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series champion has most recently tackled the Silver Crown Series. In his initial race at Pennsylvania’s Sellinsgrove Speedway, he surprised everyone when he qualified fourth and ran much of the race in the top six. Late in the race, while in fourth, a flat tire sent him to the pits for a new hunk of rubber and a 17th place finish. Last Sunday in his first appearance at the Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, he started eighth and immediately began to move forward. As laps wound down, he was closing on the two leaders when his car started running out of fuel and began to sputter. He gently nursed it home for a hard-earned sixth place-finish.
With no racing in the Copper State in 2019, longtime Buckeye, Arizona racing star “Chargin’” Charles Davis Jr. has gotten his racing fix in Indiana. A machinist by trade, the veteran racer first made his mark in sprint car racing when he won the 1993 California Racing Association (CRA) Rookie of the Year award. Since that time the now 52-year-old has racked up five Arizona Sprint Car titles between the ASCA (Arizona Sprint Car Association), ASCS Canyon Region Non-Wing (American Sprint Car Series) and USAC Southwest Series. After four races in the 2019 USAC Southwest Series, Davis is second in points, only four-markers out of the lead. In addition, he is seventh in points after two races in the USAC/CRA Series.
Like the four previously mentioned drivers, Chino Hills, California racer Eddie Tafoya Jr. has had to look east for his dose of racing in 2020. Last month he journeyed to Indiana and contested all rounds of Indiana Sprint Week. In his first time on all the tracks, the 23-year-old gave a very favorable account of himself. Highlights of that journey were a transfer from his heat race into the main event at the Lawrenceburg Speedway and qualifying sixth fastest in his group at the Terre Haute Action Track. Tafoya’s first full year in sprint cars was in 2018 and he won the Perris Auto Speedway Young Guns championship. Last year, he was crowned Rookie of the Year in both the USAC/CRA and USAC Southwest Series.
Fans who cannot make it to Indiana for the Smackdown can catch all three nights of the action on Flo Racing. For information on how to subscribe, please click on the following link. https://www.floracing.com/
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Perris Auto Speedway is conveniently located on the SoCal Fair and Event Center (home of October’s Southern California Fair), approximately one-hour east of Los Angeles and one-hour North of San Diego. To get to the track, take the 215 freeway, on the Ramona Expressway and go three miles east to the fairgrounds. For directions on MapQuest, the address to enter is: 18700 Lake Perris Drive and the zip code is 92571.
Perris Auto Speedway wants to thank its corporate partners for the 2019 season. Ahern Equipment Rentals, All Coast Construction, Battery Systems, Budweiser, Bud’s Tire Pro, Chris’ Hauling, City of Perris, Communication Innovations, Daytona Boat & RV Storage, Ed Moore Bullet Proof Driveshaft, Flowdynamics, HD Industries, Hoosier Tires, Inland Rigging, Living Water’s Hospice, LKQ Pick Your Part, Luke’s Transmission, Moose Racing, Pepsi-Cola, Pole Position, PrintItNow.com, Rainbow Bolt & Supply, Rugged Radios, Shaver Specialties, Square H, Sunoco Race Fuels, Trench Shoring, Upland Rock, Varner Construction and Vista Paint.
DVD’s of all the PASSCAR/IMCA racing and Nights of Destruction at The PAS are available from Fourvideos. For more information call (714) 225-9500.