Peoria, Ariz. (Jan 31, 2018) – The Sands Chevrolet USAC Southwest Sprint Car Series is less than one week away from kicking off it’s 2018 season. They will fire their engines for the first time this year at the Steve Stroud Memorial on Saturday night at Canyon Speedway Park. With a full field of non-wing sprint cars expected, the race will once again be held in honor of Steve Stroud, who was often a sponsor of numerous drivers and events through his companies, Parker Store, Hose Advantage Store and Racers Advantage Store. Steve was also the founder of the Arizona Open Wheel Racing Museum, located in Phoenix near 36th St and Broadway. Sprints will headline along with the Allscapes Stock Cars, Desert Restorations Hobby Stocks, Modlites and Dwarf Cars.
RJ Johnson will open the season with his sights set on an improbable sixth consecutive USAC championship, coming off a stellar 2017 that saw him net seven feature wins. Johnson will have to fight off his usual competition that includes the likes of Chargin’ Charles Davis Jr, Shon Deskins, Stevie Sussex and more.
Sussex will be piloting the #34 Justin Grau owned machine as he looks towards victory lane in a race that was almost his one year ago. Sussex led the first 20 laps of the “A” Feature in the inaugural running of the Steve Stroud Memorial before Indiana driver Dave Darland threw a race winning slide job on a late restart to take the win. Darland will be unable to race the event due to a schedule conflict.
George Fronsman will begin his effort to earn back to back championships in the Allscapes IMCA Stock Cars after a tough two weeks at the Winter Challenge. Fronsman, the winner of 17 features last season, brought home two victories over the course of the series, but had mechanical problems that caused DNF’s in the other two. Colorado’s Joe Bellm snatched one of those races while Mesa driver Cody Center was able to take the checkered flag in the other. Center will be one of the drivers who looks poised to dethrone the dominant Fronsman over the course of the season.
Joe Vlasity seemed unbeatable during the Winter Challenge until the fourth and final round was run last Sunday. Vlasity had earned the first three feature wins in seemingly easy fashion. On Sunday, the perfect streak looked to be in place until a hard charging Joe Peterson made his way from dead last to overtake the lead. Peterson had suffered a flat tire that sent him pitside early in the event before working his way through the field. The two drivers will surely be prepared to do battle against Desert Restorations Hobby Stock front runners such as Bradley Stafford, Paul O’Connor and the defending champion Dean Zachrison.
Brenden and John Priest dominated Modlite action at Canyon Speedway Park during the 2017 season, earning 9 of the 15 feature wins between them. While the Priest duo were mainstays at the front, Shane Hinsley came roaring into the picture earning three wins in three starts to close out the season at CSP. Steve Moriarity, Chase Alves and Tony Martin also saw victory lane in Peoria. We will find out if the Priest father and son tandem can remain as fast as they were during John Priest’s championship campaign one year ago.
The Dwarf Cars saw a bit more parity in their action at CSP, with only one driver earning multiple wins during the regular season last year. Dustin Washburn picked up two victories while Matt Sargeant, Brian Stehr, Levi Rudy, Tony Martin, Sheldon Creed and David Teves all each took home one win a piece. 2017 Dwarf Car of Arizona club champion John Foster was easily the most consistent driver, picking up 8 top 5 finishes at Canyon, three more than anyone else in the club.
Admission prices are just $20 for Adults. Seniors (60+) & Military are $15 and Children 12 & Under are Free! All Access Pit Passes can be purchased for $35 for adults, while Ages 7-12 are $20 and 6 years & under are free. All minors under the age of 18 must have a Minor Release Form filled out and notarized prior to entry into the pits. The form can be found on the front page of our website.
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