TULARE, CA –Leading all 30-laps, Hollister’s Ryan Bernal dominated Saturday’s USAC West Coast Sprint Car feature at Tulare’s Thunderbowl Raceway. For Bernal, the $1,500 victory was his series leading 26th career triumph and sixth of the campaign. Point leader “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr., Tristan Guardino, Bud Kaeding, and D.J. Johnson rounded out the top-five drivers.
Piloting Mike Phulps’ #56 Metal Works / Tri-L Mandarin Ranch ART, Ryan Bernal qualified sixth out of the fifteen racers in the pit area. After placing third in his heat race, the two-time USAC Western Classic Champion set the pace of the feature from the pole position. At the drop of Willie Williams’ green flag, Ryan sped to the lead ahead of fellow front row starter Tristan Guardino. Primarily choosing to run the outside lane of the speedway, Bernal was sprinting away from the competition.
Guardino, a Rookie of the Year candidate, was running strong in second as Bernal extended his lead. Charging from fourth, “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. was able to take over the runner-up spot and began to set sail after Bernal. Midway through the event, the leader moved through the slower cars with ease as Faria had a serious challenge from Oklahoma’s Brady Bacon. For several laps, the veteran drivers drag raced for second until Faria secured the spot and Brady retired from the race. Out front with a near half-track advantage, Bernal was not to be denied on this night and captured his tenth USAC West Coast victory at Tulare.
Currently second in the standings, Ryan Bernal left Thunderbowl Raceway 53-points behind Faria. Heading to Santa Maria on June 20th, Ryan has one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, two high point driver awards, three heat race victories, two DMI / Ultra Shield Race Products Hard Charger Awards, eight top-10 finishes, and 111 feature laps led to his credit.
“Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. of Tipton claimed second at the Tulare County Fairgrounds. Racing Junior Bowman’s #17V Buster & Ziggy Enterprise / SurfnSprint Spike, Faria was third fast in time trials and ran second to D.J. Johnson in his heat race. To date, the point leader has one feature win, one high point driver award, three heat race victories, seven top-10 finishes, and 26 feature laps led on the season.
Fremont’s Tristan Guardino race hard up front and had one of his best finishes of the season. Driving Steve Watt’s Maxwell Industries / Steve Watt Enterprises Maxim, Guardino qualified fifth overall and claimed fifth in his heat race. Currently eighth in the standings and second in rookie points, Tristan has one Competition Suspension Inc. / Rod End Supply Semi-Main win, four top-10 finishes, and 9 feature laps led in 2015.
Bud Kaeding of Campbell battled from seventh to claim fourth at the checkered flags. Piloting Junior Bowman’s #29 Buster & Ziggy Enterprise / Kaeding Performance Maxim, Kaeding was eighth quick in time trials and ran second to Austin Liggett in his heat race. In limited starts, the 2012 Champion is eleventh in the chase for the crown with one feature win, one DMI / Ultra Shield Race Products Hard Charger Award, three top-10 finishes, and 17 feature laps led.
Stockton’s D.J. Johnson sliced his way to fifth in the 30-lap main event after starting eighth. Racing the family owned #33 Unique Breeds / Proplant Farm Services Eagle, Johnson qualified ninth overall and won the Extreme Mufflers Heat Race #1. At press time, the former USAC Western Classic Sprint Rookie of the Year sits fourth in points with three heat race victories, six top-10 finishes, and 18 feature laps led on the season.
Shannon McQueen of Bakersfield earned the night’s DMI / Ultra Shield Race Products “Hard Charger / Best Passing Job” honors with a tenth place run from fourteenth. Driving Bob & Toni Van Meter’s #87 Twin Arrow Transportation / Simpson Race Products Maxim, McQueen was fourteenth fast in time trials and placed sixth in her heat race. To date, the former USAC Western Midget Champion is fourteenth in the point chase with one top-10 finish on the year.