Flashback: Faria Memorial 2012 – Kyle Larson wins from 20th

By Lance Jennings

TULARE, CA – MAY 14, 2012… In one of the most spectacular drives in the history of the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Series, Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson won the Faria Memorial from the twentieth starting spot. The $1,500 victory at Steve Faria’s Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway was Larson’s second triumph in as many nights, but there is more to this story.

After sweeping the previous night’s action in Keith Ford’s #72 King Racing Products / A&A Precision Machine Ellis, Larson was involved in a heat race tangle and flipped his machine. The Ford Motorsports team found that Kyle’s coil-over mount suffered heavy damage and the young driver would take over the team car, piloted by Ronnie Gardner. Gardner, who subbing this night for Ryan Bernal, vacated the #73 torsion-bar Spike and Larson would start at the rear of the sixteen car semi-main. Now in an unfamiliar car, Kyle had managed his way to fourth in seven laps before the event was called for time.

With an eight drawn for the inversion, Chris Ennis and Matt Mitchell shared the front row of the twenty-two car feature. At the drop of the green, it was Mitchell that took command from his outside line before Ennis, Danny Faria Jr., and Markus Niemela tangled in turn one. The three drivers were able to restart at the back and Peter Murphy inherited the pole position.

On the restart, Murphy took the lead down the front chute before Mitchell executed a “slide job” in the first turn. Murphy held second and Bud Kaeding streaked past Rusty Carlile for third heading into turn three. Last year’s champion Richard Vander Weerd dropped Carlile to fifth before reaching the flag stand and completing the first lap. Kaeding and Vander Weerd slid past Murphy in the next corners to claim second and third as Kyle Larson was already up to eleventh.

By the ninth lap, Mitchell reached slower traffic with Kaeding and Vander Weerd close behind. Kaeding applied pressure to Mitchell for the lead as Vander Weerd looked for an opening from third. Murphy still held fourth and Larson was closing fast in fifth. With lapped traffic racing side by side, the battle up front was intense and Mitchell held command.

After a yellow flag on lap nineteen bunched the field in a single file restart, it was Mitchell up front followed by Kaeding, Larson, and Vander Weerd. Kaeding shot to the lead down the back straight and Mitchell fired back. Kaeding was too strong and looked for his third win of the year. Heading into turn one, Larson threw a successful “slide job” on Mitchell for second and gave chase after the leader.

With five laps to go, Larson had reeled in Kaeding and threw a turn three “slide job” for the top spot. The move worked and after brief contact, Kyle marched away from the field. At the checkered flags, Kyle Larson claimed the victory, followed by Bud Kaeding, Jace Vander Weerd, Matt Mitchell, and Jace Vander Weerd, who started nineteenth.

Before scoring the dramatic 30-lap main event win, Kyle Larson qualified sixth and placed eighth in his heat race. Switching to Keith Ford’s #73 King Racing Products / A&A Precision Machine Spike, the Eldora 4 Crown Winner was fourth in the semi-main and earned the feature’s Kaeding Performance / Ringers Gloves “Hard Charger / Best Passing Job” honors with a twentieth to first place run. In two nights of action, Larson is currently fourteenth in the point standings.

Campbell’s Bud Kaeding raced Junior Bowman’s #29 Buster & Ziggy Enterprises / Kaeding Performance Bullet to second after starting eighth. The 3-time USAC Silver Crown Champion was second fast in time trials and won the Saldana Racing Products / Keizer Wheels Heat Race #2. Kaeding was strong in the main event and led laps twenty to twenty-five before falling to Larson. Heading into Hanford on June 9th, Bud holds a commanding fifty-one point advantage over the competition.

For the second night in a row, Richard Vander Weerd of Visalia finished third and earned the night’s LRB Inc. Race Products Award for his efforts. Driving the family owned #10 Vander Weerd Construction / Battery Worx Maxim, Richard was third quick on the night and placed second in his heat race. The defending series champion was in striking distance of the lead and is currently sixth in the point chase.

Yorba Linda’s Matt Mitchell scored fourth in the 30-lap Chris & Brian Faria Memorial. Piloting Steve Watt’s #18 Christian Stover Foundation / SWE Maxim, Mitchell timed in ninth fast and won the Extreme Mufflers Heat Race #1. The former USAC Western Midget Series Rookie of the Year led the first nineteen laps of the feature and is second in points heading to Hanford.

Visalia’s Jace Vander Weerd drove the family owned #88 Vander Weerd Construction / Battery Worx Maxim to fifth from the back. The 2010 USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year qualified twelfth and flipped in his heat race, scoring an eighth place finish. Vander Weerd regrouped and took third in the shortened semi-main. As this writing goes to press, Jace is sixteenth in the standings.

In his second career non-winged start, D.J. Netto of Hanford earned the Sander Engineering / Rod End Supply Fast Time Award over the thirty-three car field. Driving the family owned #7N Netto Ag Inc. / Van De Pol Enterprises KB, D.J. was fifth in his heat race, second in the semi-main, and eighteenth in the feature. Netto currently sits twenty-seventh in USAC West Coast 360 points.

Tipton’s “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. won the night’s 10-lap DJ Safety Heat Race #3. Piloting his 17V Johnston Calf Pens / Buster & Ziggy Enterprises Bullet, Faria was seventh quick on the night and finished nineteenth in the main event. “Hollywood” is fourth in point standings as the series will be idle until June 9th.

Austin Liggett of Tracy won the shortened Competition Suspension Inc. / Diversified Machine Inc. Semi-Main. Driving the family owned #83 Excel Environmental Services / Home Connections Inc. Maxim, Austin was eleventh fast on the night and sixth in his heat race. The Wingless Spec Sprint graduate scored eleventh in the main event and is seventeenth in points.
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USAC WEST COAST 360 SPRINT RACE RESULTS:
May 12, 2012 – Tulare, California – Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway – “Chris & Brian Faria Memorial”

SANDER ENGINEERING / ROD END SUPPLY TIME TRIALS:
1. D.J. Netto, 7N, Netto-16.101; 2. Bud Kaeding, 29, Bowman-16.236; 3. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-16.267; 4. Markus Niemela, 81, Watt-16.320; 5. Rusty Carlile, 51, Carlile-16.386; 6. Kyle Larson, 72, Ford-16.390; 7. Danny Faria Jr., 17V, Faria-16.415; 8. Peter Murphy, 11, Iturriria-16.484; 9. Matt Mitchell, 18, Watt-16.491; 10. Chris Ennis, 86, Ennis-16.492; 11. Austin Liggett, 83, Liggett-16.569; 12. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-16.588; 13. Justyne Hamblin, 8, JH-16.601; 14. Bobby Bender, 12, Bender-16.608; 15. Ronnie Gardner, 73, Ford-16.655; 16. Ricky Kirkbride, 87, Van Meter-16.668; 17. Austin DeBlauw, 65, DeBlauw-16.681; 18. Kevin Barnes, 36B, Barnes-16.738; 19. Marty Hawkins, 3M, Hawkins-16.785; 20. Kolby Araki, 30K, Araki-16.803; 21. Steve Conrad, 56, Swaim-16.825; 22. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-16.935; 23. Tyler Dolacki, 18X, Dolacki-16.952; 24. Danny Sheridan, 18K, Kittle-17.027; 25. Matt Day, 97, Day-17.067; 26. Adam Frith-Smith, 62, Frith-Smith-17.123; 27. Jonathan Logan, 32, Evett/Logan-17.145; 28. Austin Smith, 14, Springstead-17.147; 29. Jared Little, 25, Little-17.235; 30. Kyle Smith, 51T, Smith-17.454; 31. Burt Foland Jr., 4, Foland-17.589; 32. Don Gansen, 7G, Gansen-17.913; 33. Ray Knight, 6K, Knight-17.972.

EXTREME MUFFLERS HEAT RACE 1: (10 laps)
1. Matt Mitchell, 2. Justyne Hamblin, 3. Steve Conrad, 4. Rusty Carlile, 5. D.J. Netto, 6. Austin DeBlauw, 7. Jared Little, 8. Matt Day, 9. Ray Knight. NT

SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS / KEIZER WHEELS HEAT RACE 2: (10 laps)
1. Bud Kaeding, 2. Kevin Barnes, 3. Chris Gansen, 4. Chris Ennis, 5. Kyle Smith, 6. Adam Frith-Smith, 7. Bobby Bender, 8. Kyle Larson. NT

DJ SAFETY HEAT RACE 3: (10 laps)
1. Danny Faria Jr., 2. Richard Vander Weerd, 3. Jonathan Logan, 4. Marty Hawkins, 5. Tyler Dolacki, 6. Austin Liggett, 7. Ronnie Gardner, 8. Burt Foland Jr. NT

SBI FUEL SYSTEMS / INTEGRA RACING SHOCKS HEAT RACE 4: (10 laps)
1. Markus Niemela, 2. Peter Murphy, 3. Danny Sheridan, 4. Ricky Kirkbride, 5. Don Gansen, 6. Austin Smith, 7. Kolby Araki, 8. Jace Vander Weerd. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION INC. / DIVERSIFIED MACHINE INC. SEMI-MAIN: (7 laps)
1. Austin Liggett, 2. D.J. Netto, 3. Jace Vander Weerd, 4. Kyle Larson (#73), 5. Don Gansen, 6. Tyler Dolacki, 7. Jared Little, 8. Austin DeBlauw, 9. Kyle Smith, 10. Burt Foland Jr., 11. Matt Day, 12. Ray Knight, 13. Bobby Bender, 14. Austin Smith, 15. Adam Frith-Smith. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Positions)
1. Kyle Larson (#73 – 20th), 2. Bud Kaeding (8th), 3. Richard Vander Weerd (7th), 4. Matt Mitchell (2nd), 5. Jace Vander Weerd (19th), 6. Rusty Carlile (5th), 7. Marty Hawkins (14th), 8. Ricky Kirkbride (12th), 9. Austin Liggett (10th), 10. Don Gansen (21st), 11. Markus Niemela (6th), 12. Chris Ennis (1st), 13. Tyler Dolacki (22nd), 14. Chris Gansen (16th), 15. Steve Conrad (15th), 16. Jonathan Logan (18th), 17. Kevin Barnes (13th), 18. D.J. Netto (9th), 19. Danny Faria Jr. (4th), 20. Danny Sheridan (17th), 21. Justyne Hamblin (11th), 22. Peter Murphy (3rd). NT
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**Kyle Larson flipped during the second heat.
**Jace Vander Weerd flipped during the fourth heat.
**Austin Smith flipped during the semi.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-19 Matt Mitchell, Laps 20-25 Bud Kaeding, Laps 26-30 Kyle Larson.
KAEDING PERFORMANCE / RINGERS GLOVES HARD CHARGER: Kyle Larson (20th to 1st)
LRB INC. RACE PRODUCTS AWARD: Richard Vander Weerd