PETERSEN MEDIA- Continuing a very strong 2015 campaign, Richard Vander Weerd put together another strong weekend that saw him record two second place finishes with the USAC/CRA Series as well as a third place effort while competing with the USAC Western States midgets.
“Our weekend went really well,” Vander Weerd said. “We were in contention of every race we were in and had some really good racecars.”
Kicking things off on Friday night at the Santa Maria Speedway Vander Weerd was in action with both the USAC/CRA Series as well as with the USAC Western States midgets.
In USAC/CRA action, Vander Weerd got his weekend kicked off by timing the Vander Weerd Constriction/Stonegate Development/Battery Worx No. 10 machine in seventh fastest.
Lining up in the second row of his heat race, the Visalia, CA driver put together a very strong performance during heat race action that saw him march his way forward to pick up the win.
Lining up on the front row of the feature event, Vander Weerd would slip back to the second spot as Rickie Gaunt jumped out to the early lead. Battling with Austin Williams and Matt Mitchell during the feature event, Vander Weerd would sit in the third spot on the 17th lap.
Getting into the second spot when the action came back to life, Vander Weerd would chase after Gaunt, but could not do anything with him, as he settled for a second place finish.
Climbing aboard the Mike Sala No. 19 machine for the USAC Western States Midget program on Friday night, Vander Weerd would kick his night off by timing in sixth fastest.
Finishing third in his heat race, Vander Weerd would find himself on the pole for the feature event.
Getting out to the early lead, Vander Weerd would fall to the second spot on the third lap as Ronnie Gardner jumped out front. Running in the second spot and seeing Gardner slowly pull away; Vander Weerd would feel pressure from Shannon McQueen.
In the closing stages of the race, Vander Weerd would fall back to the third spot, where he would take the checkered flag.
Heading to the Perris Auto Speedway on Saturday night for the Firecracker 40, Vander Weerd would get his Fourth of July holiday started by timing in fifth fastest in qualifying time trials.
Finishing fourth in his heat from his fifth starting spot, Vander Weerd would find himself on the front row of the feature event for the second consecutive night.
After avoiding near disaster on the initial start, Vander Weerd would chase after Jake Swanson and Damion Gardener in the early stages of the race. Getting by Swanson and Gardner, Vander Weerd would race his way into the lead, as the battle for the lead remained exciting all race long.
Just past the haflway point, Vander Weerd and Gardner would exchange the top-spot lap after lap, as Vander Weerd attacked the Perris Auto Speedway cushion, as Gardner would take command of the race.
As Mike Spencer added his hat to the battle, Vander Weerd would keep him at bay as he continued to chase after Damion Gardner. The final laps of the race saw Vander Weerd and Gardner again exchange the top spot on a few occasions, and when the thrilling feature came to a close, Vander Weerd took the checkered flag in the second position.
“Saturday night was a blast,” Vander Weerd said. “You had a bunch of good drivers running wheel-to-wheel and racing hard, and clean. You hate to lose, but we had a good car, and were definitely good enough to win.”
Richard and his Vander Weerd Racing team would like to thank Vander Weerd Construction, Stonegate Development, Battery Worx, Mid-Valley Pipe, Basic Industries, Steve Watt Enterprises, FK Rod Ends, PXP Racewear and K&N for their support in 2015.
2015 BY THE NUMBERS: Starts-28, Wins-6, Top 5’s-13, Top 10’s-17.
ON TAP: Richard and the Vander Weerd Racing team will take the next two weekends off before they return to action on Friday, July 24th at the Keller Auto Speedway and on Saturday, July 25th at the Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, CA.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Vander Weerd Racing by ‘Liking’ them on facebook at www.facebook.com/VanderWeerdRacing.
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