In one of the closest finishes in the history of the Honda USAC Western Midget Series, Michael Faccinto of Hanford, California emerged victorious at Petaluma Speedway. Racing past Ronnie Gardner in a late race surge to the checkered flag, Michael earned the BCRA co-sanctioned triumph. Shannon McQueen was third, Cory Elliott took fourth, and Nick Chivello stormed to fifth from fifteenth.
Looking for her first win of the year, polesitter Shannon McQueen led the first twelve circuits. The veteran racer jumped the turn-two cushion and Ronnie Gardner took advantage. Starting eighth, the two-time champion sailed to the lead and began to run away from the pack. In search of his fourteenth series victory, Gardner had extended his lead to over a straightaway. It would not last as a yellow flag would bunch the field. On the restart, Ronnie got an excellent jump and controlled the main event. Behind the leader, racers were battling hard for position, but another late race caution halted the action.
With two laps to go, Faccinto powered by Ronnie Gardner to grab the top spot. The determined drivers raced hard and exchanged the lead back and forth several times. With the checkered flag waving, the duo charged out of turn four with Faccinto on the outside and Gardner on the bottom. Getting a huge bite off the Petaluma clay, Gardner executed a huge wheelie down the front straightaway and past the finish line. However, the night belonged to Faccinto, who claimed the main event win by .105 seconds.
Racing the MF Motorsports’ #35F OSV / 3 Girls Spike, Michael Faccinto earned his second victory of the campaign. Qualifying tenth out of the twenty-seven racers in the pit area, Michael also won the 8-lap Extreme Mufflers Heat Race #1. The second generation driver left Petaluma tied for sixth in the point chase with one DMI / Ultra Shield Race Products Hard Charger Award, two top-10 finishes, and 28 feature laps led to his credit.
Corona, California’s Ronnie Gardner had to settle for second in the 30-lap main event. Piloting the Six8 Motorsports’ #68 Baldozier Racing / Esslinger Engineering Stewart, Gardner earned his third Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award of the year and placed third in his heat race. With the runner-up finish, Ronnie has taken over the point lead with two feature wins, one heat race victory, three top-10 finishes and 45 feature laps led.
Shannon McQueen of Bakersfield, California took third at the checkered flags. Driving the McQueen Racing #7 Lucas Oil / Simpson Race Products Spike, McQueen was ninth quick in time trials and won the 8-lap Saldana Racing Products / Keizer Wheels Heat Race #3. The former champion has climbed to second in the point standings with five top-10 finishes and 12 feature laps led on the season.
In his second start of the season, Bakersfield, California’s Cory Elliott sliced his way to fourth at Petaluma after starting twelfth. Racing the family owned #11E Oilwize / Speed Quest Motorsports Spike, Elliott qualified thirteenth overall and took fourth in his heat race. To date, Cory has recorded one heat race victory and two top-10 finishes.
Nick Chivello of Manteca, California earned the night’s DMI / Ultra Shield Race Products “Hard Charger / Best Passing Job” honors with a fifth place run from fifteenth. Piloting the family owned #27 Rodgers Trucking / America’s Tire Spike, Chivello had a penalty in qualifications for missing the scales and ran second to Taylor Simas in his heat race. The former Rookie of the Year left Petaluma ranked eighth in the standings with one heat race victory, three top-10 finishes, and 8 feature laps led in the campaign.
Bakersfield, California’s Sean Dodenhoff won the 8-lap DJ Safety Heat Race #2. Driving his #9D Lightning Medical Pro / Torco Oil Spike, Dodenhoff was eighth fast in time trials and scored seventh in the feature. To date, Sean sits tenth in the chase for the championship with one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, two heat race victories, and one top-10 finish.
Taylor Simas of Orland, California claimed victory in the 12-lap Competition Suspension Inc. / Rod End Supply Semi-Main. Racing Doug Bock’s #62 Carson R&D / Astro Titanium Spike, Simas qualified third overall, scored eighth in his heat race, and placed thirteenth in the feature after a late tangle erased a top-five run from sixteenth.
The Honda USAC Western Midgets will take a break in the schedule and will return to action at the famed Calistoga Speedway on September 5th and 6th. Also showcasing the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, the “8th Annual Louie Vermeil Classic” will open the “First Annual California Midget Week.” For more event information, visit www.calistogaspeedway.org, or call 916.773.7225.
The Honda USAC Western Midget Series thanks Hoosier Tire, Competition Suspension Inc., DJ Safety, Diversified Machine Inc., Extreme Mufflers, K&N Engineering, Keizer Wheels, Pyrotect Racing Cells, Rod End Supply, Saldana Racing Products, Ultra Shield Race Products, and Woodland Auto Display for their support. If you or your company would like to become part of the series, email PR Director Lance Jennings at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the series, visit the United States Auto Club (USAC) website at www.usacracing.com. You can also find exclusive content on the Honda USAC Western Midget Facebook and Twitter pages. Loudpedal Productions has DVDs available for purchase that feature the Honda USAC Western Midgets and for more information, call 805.407.7229 or visit www.loudpedalvideo.com.