Friday, March 1, 2013
Smith Opens VRA Title Defense this Saturday
by Cliff Morgan
OXNARD, Calif. -- Ventura Raceway will open its 2013 racing season this Saturday night March 2, at 5:30 PM at its Ventura County Fairgrounds facility in Ventura California. Opening Night 2013 starts off a new season with a full program of VRA 360 Sprint Cars, Senior Sprint Cars, Dwarf Cars. Focus Midgets, our kids classes and our new Hobby Stock Class. We are looking forward to another great season of exciting open wheel and stock car racing.
Kyle Smith returns to defend his 2012 season VRA 360 Sprint Car Championship. He will be challenged by all the rest of the outstanding VRA Sprint Car drivers who will be going all out to make 2013 their year to shine. Other drivers expected to compete are Tom Hendricks, John Nock, Guy Woodward, Brian Camarillo, Clark Templeman III, and many others. These drivers will thrill you as they compete in 10 lap heat races, semi mains when needed and a 30 lap feature.
In VRA Senior Sprints, defending champion Clif Warren will be back to go for two championships in a row. He will be going against other over 45 year old drivers in this class that features the same cars as the regular VRA Sprints with age being the only difference. Other drivers expected to compete are Wally Pankratz, Chris Meredith, Ed Schwarz and others. Last year's runner up Bruce Douglas and third place Victor Davis may also be competing during the season.
VRA debuts a new class Saturday night with the return of full size stock car racing to Ventura Raceway in the form of VRA Hobby Stocks. Fans who have been following VRA for many years may remember the VRA Street Stocks. The new Hobby Stock Class is a throwback to these Camaro, Firebird, Monte Carlo based race cars. Several drivers who competed in the old series are planing to return to action in this new exciting class. It will be fun to see the growth of this new series in 2013.
VRA Dwarf Cars return to action with racing in two classes, Seniors and Pros. Senior Champion Bill VanPraag leads the seniors into action against the over 45 contingent. Mike Neal, Tom Stephens and others will be trying to unseat him in 2013. In Pros, Luke Boles was the 2013 Champion. Boles will be moving up to the Sprint Car ranks this season, so there will be a new champion in the Pro Dwarf division for 2013. Other drivers who will be challenging in the Pros include Curt Cook, Randy Gordon, Eric Moore, Johnny Conley and many others. These small sedans and trucks always put on a good show for the fans.
Focus Midgets are on the card Saturday as well. These midget racers, powered by spec Ford Focus four cylinder motors, race hard and fast. 2013 series champion, all time USAC racing star, Wally Pankratz will be back to defend his championship against the rest of the Focus competitors.
The final group racing is our VRA Junior Divisions made up of VRA Junior Midgets and VRA Mini Dwarf Pistons and Superchargers. These classes are designed to give young kids a starting place in their racing careers. Mini Dwarf cars run in two classes Pistons for the 5-9 year olds and Superchargers for the older kids. Junior Midgets are smaller midget looking cars. In 2012, Devin McCree won the championship in Junior Midgets and Nick Velasquez took the championship in Superchargers. No points or championships are awarded in the Piston Class but drivers taking multiple wins in 2012 were Blake Hendricks and Zack Chavez.
Pit gates will open at 12 Noon with front gates opening at 3:00PM. Admission prices for 2013 are $15.00 for adults, $11.00 for Seniors/Military and Juniors, and kids 12 and under are free with an adult admission. For more information please call Ventura Raceway at (805) 985-5433 X115 from 8-5 Monday through Friday.
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