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Bell & Bernal Bag Friday Western World wins


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Bell & Bernal Bag Friday Western World Wins

by Lonnie Wheatley


PEORIA, Ariz. (November 21, 2014) Action at the 47th Annual Sands Chevrolet Western World Championships continued with Christopher Bell and Ryan Bernal snaring wins in Friday night action atop the 1/3-mile Canyon Speedway Park clay oval.

Bernal dominated the 30-lap USAC Southwest vs. USAC West Coast Sprint Car feature for his second win in as many nights while Bell earned his 26th overall win of the year in the 30-lap Honda USAC National Midget main event.

A $7,500 winners share is up for grabs in both portions of Saturday nights Western World Championships finale.

USAC Southwest vs. USAC West Coast Sprint Cars:

Ryan Bernal made it two wins in as many nights of 47th Annual Sands Chevrolet Western World Championships action by turning in a dominant performance in Friday nights 30-lap USAC Southwest vs. USAC Sprint Car field at Canyon Speedway Park.

After starting on the front row outside, the Hollister, California, driver battled past pole starter Jon Stanbrough for the lead on the third round and led the rest of the way to post the win aboard the Tri-L Mandarin Ranch No. 56.

I had a great car, I cant thank my guys enough, Bernal said after his 12th overall triumph of the year in the wingless 360-ci Sprint Car ranks. I watched (Darren) Hagen run his Midget in the cushion and thought I could do that to, it was pretty sketchy up there though.

It was dicey indeed, with Bernal frequently flirting with disaster with four wheels over the Canyon cushion.

While Matt Rossi moved in to challenge on several occasions after battling past Stanbrough for second in the early rounds, Bernal successfully navigated the treacherous cushion to make it two wins in a row and lock into Saturday nights $7,500-to-win finale with a half-straightaway advantage at the stripe.

A top contender among the USAC Southwest ranks, Rossi chased the USAC Western Classic champ to the line. Im just happy to finish second, I knew we didnt have anything for Bernal, Rossi commented afterward.

Stanbrough claimed the show position ahead of Casey Shuman, with R.J. Johnson racing from 11th to round out the top five. Robert Ballou climbed from 14th to sixth with Shon Deskins, Jake Swanson, 16th-starter Josh Pelkey and 19th-starter C.J. Leary completing the top ten.

Defending Western World champ Bryan Clauson came to a stop with terminal engine problems under a lap 12 caution for a turn three tangle involving Kevin Thomas, Jr., and Matt Mitchell, with the only other caution flying five laps later when Charles Davis, Jr., came to a stop on the backstretch.

Heat race action for the 37-car field was topped by Shuman, Deskins, Rossi, Michael Colegrove and Stanbrough with Stevie Sussex and Pelkey winning the B Mains.

The top eight drivers in combined points over the Thursday and Friday night prelims are locked into the Dash that will set the lineup for the front four rows of Saturday nights Western World Sprint Car finale. Those eight drivers include Bernal, Shuman, R.J. Johnson, Ballou, Rossi, Leary, Gary Taylor and Deskins.

Honda USAC National Midgets:

After falling just short in Thursday nights 47th Annual Sands Chevrolet Western World Championships opener, Christopher Bell led wire-to-wire to post the win in Fridays 30-lap Honda USAC National Midget feature at Canyon Speedway Park

Starting from the pole position, the 19-year-old from Norman, OK, outdueled Keith Kunz Motorsports teammate Tanner Thorson on the opening round and led all the way to post his 26th overall win of the year.

That was a fun race, Bell exclaimed afterward. The track was really tricky, I had to keep searching around to find the fastest line and the ledge got to be a challenge. I dont know if I got into turn three the same way twice the whole race.

Bell proved to be plenty fast everywhere on the 1/3-mile CSP clay oval, weathering three cautions to pick up his second Western World prelim win in as many years aboard the KKM Toyota-powered No. 71.

Reigning Western World champion Bryan Clauson battled into second in the early going aboard Joe Doolings No. 63 machine but was unable to mount a successful challenge on Bell for the lead.

We were zipping around the top there to try to keep up, but we really needed some traffic to have a shot at him, Clauson commented.

Zach Daum claimed the show position with Thursday winner Tracy Hines and Thorson rounding out the top five. Rico Abreu moved one step closer to his first USAC Midget championship with a sixth-place finish as Casey Shuman, Tyler Thomas, Ronnie Gardner and Shane Golobic completed the top ten.

The final car out for qualifying, Abreu set the nights quick time of 13.775 seconds in qualifying with Golobic, Darren Hagen and Mike Spencer winning the heat races.

The top eight drivers in combined points over the Thursday and Friday night prelims are locked into the Dash that will set the lineup for the front four rows of Saturday nights Western World Midget finale. Those eight drivers include Daum, Bell, Hines, Clauson, Thorson, Abreu, Hagen and Gardner.

The 47th Annual Sands Chevrolet Western World Championships featuring the USAC National Midgets and USAC Southwest vs. USAC West Coast Sprint Cars concludes on Saturday night with a $7,500 winners share up for grabs in both divisions.

Canyon Speedway Park - 47th Annual Sands Chevrolet Western World Championships

November 21, 2014 Results:

USAC Honda National Midgets:

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Rico Abreu, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.775; 2. Zach Daum, 5D, Daum-13.817; 3. Bryan Clauson, 63, RKR/Curb-Agajanian-13.859; 4. Tracy Hines, 24, Parker-13.866; 5. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.889; 6. Christopher Bell, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.910; 7. Tyler Thomas, 91T, Thomas-14.025; 8. Darren Hagen, 56, Hmiel-14.057; 9. Ronnie Gardner, 68, Johnson-14.084; 10. Trey Marcham, 73, Ford-14.162; 11. Shannon McQueen, 7, McQueen-14.208; 12. Brady Bacon, 51s, Fly-14.267; 13. Shane Golobic, 17, Nichols-14.279; 14. Casey Shuman, 32, Dunlap-14.309; 15. Mike Spencer, 57, Ecker-14.381; 16. Isaac Chapple, 52, Chapple-14.448; 17. Jarid Blondel, 98, Blondel-14.815; 18. Terry Goodwin, 2G, Goodwin-15.317; 19. Nick Foster, Jr., 17N, Nichols-16.472.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Golobic, 2. Thomas, 3. Marcham, 4. Abreu, 5. Hines, 6. Chapple.

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Hagen, 2. Daum, 3. Shuman, 4. Thorson, 5. McQueen, 6. Blondel.

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Spencer, 2. Clauson, 3. Gardner, 4. Bacon, 5. Bell, 6. Goodwin.

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Christopher Bell, 2. Bryan Clauson, 3. Zach Daum, 4. Tracy Hines, 5. Tanner Thorson, 6. Rico Abreu, 7. Casey Shuman, 8. Tyler Thomas, 9. Ronnie Gardner, 10. Shane Golobic, 11. Darren Hagen, 12. Mike Spencer, 13. Isaac Chapple, 14. Terry Goodwin, 15. Shannon McQueen, 16. Trey Marcham, 17. Jarid Blondel, 18. Nick Foster, Jr., 19. Brady Bacon.

Lap Leaders: Christopher Bell 1-30.

USAC Southwest vs. USAC West Coast Sprint Cars:

FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Casey Shuman (#75, Hockett/James), 2. Ryan Bernal (#56 Phulps), 3. Josh Pelkey (#12 Allen), 4. Matt Mitchell (#37 Mitchell), 5. Brady Bacon (#99 BBR), 6. Brian Hosford (#32B Weber), 7. Dalten Gabbard (#77 Gabbard), 8. Chris Windom (#22B Weber).

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Shon Deskins (#20 Deskins), 2. Bryan Clauson (#20x Stewart/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Robert Ballou (#12x Ballou), 4. Mike Martin (#16 Martin), 5. Mike Spencer (#7M Priestley), 6. C.J. Leary (#30 Leary), 7. Matt Lundy (#98 Lundy), 8. Mark Morin (#28 Morin).

THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Matt Rossi (#02 Rossi), 2. Gary Taylor (#1ST BRaT), 3. Michael Curtis (#11c Turner/Wheeler), 4. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (#17RW Dutcher), 5. Tom Ogle (#48 Ogle), 6. Tye Mihocko (#5 Mihocko), 7. Casey Buckman (#04G Cook).

FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Michael Colegrove (#17M Colegrove), 2. Josh Shipley (#2 Bishop), 3. R.J. Johnson (#77M Michael), 4. Stevie Sussex (#21AZ Burkhart), 5. Josh Hodges (#74x Hodges), 6. Bruce St. James (#7K St. James), 7. Bradley Terrell (#5v VanLare).

FIFTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Jon Stanbrough (#20s Deskins), 2. Jake Swanson (#92 Sertich), 3. Colby Copeland (#74 Williams), 4. Aaron Reutzel (#87 Reutzel), 5. Dave Darland (#73 Ford), 6. Charles Davis, Jr. (#50 Massey), 7. Andy Reinbold (#19 Underwood).

FIRST SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Sussex, 2. Spencer, 3. Leary, 4. Davis, 5. Bacon, 6. Reutzel, 7. Terrell, 8. Reinbold, 9. Hosford, 10. Curtis, 11. Mihocko, 12. Morin. NT

SECOND SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Pelkey, 2. Copeland, 3. Darland, 4. Windom, 5. Martin, 6. St. James, 7. Hodges, 8. Gabbard, 9. Lundy, 10. Buckman, 11. Ogle. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Ryan Bernal, 2. Matt Rossi, 3. Jon Stanbrough, 4. Casey Shuman, 5. R.J. Johnson, 6. Robert Ballou, 7. Shon Deskins, 8. Jake Swanson, 9. Josh Pelkey, 10. C.J. Leary, 11. Gary Taylor, 12. Michael Colegrove, 13. Colby Copeland, 14. Mike Spencer, 15. Chris Windom, 16. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17. Matt Mitchell, 18. Dave Darland, 19. Charles Davis, Jr., 20. Stevie Sussex, 21. Josh Shipley, 22. Bryan Clauson. NT

Lap Leaders: Jon Stanbrough 1-2, Ryan Bernal 3-30.

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