Visalia sprint car racer Richard Vander Weerd capped an outstanding season with great finishes in the three-night Oval Nationals in Perris.
The event brought together the U.S. Auto Club national series with the USAC/California Racing Association series on the half-mile Perris Auto Speedway track for the richest races on dirt this year in California.
Vander Weerd nearly pulled off the $25,000 victory Saturday night, briefly leading before finishing third in the 40-lap main event behind Damion Gardner of Concord and Chris Windom of Illinois. That came after finishing second Friday and ninth Thursday, cementing second place in the USAC/CRA season championship points race behind Gardner.
Hanford native Chad Boespflug, who now races out of his Indiana home, had an up-and-down weekend, winning Thursday, flipping while running second Friday and finishing seventh Saturday to clinch sixth in the USAC national series season standings.
Two other central San Joaquin Valley racers were in action in Perris. Carson Macedo of Lemoore, racing for Southern California car owner Dwight Cheney, had a seventh-place finish Thursday and was fourth-fastest in qualifying Friday, but got upside-down in preliminary races that night and again Saturday. And Danny Faria Jr. of Tipton had a best finish of 22nd in Thursday’s main event.
The USAC Midget series wrap up Thanksgiving week, starting with a Western States series race Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway and the 76th running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix on Nov. 24 at Ventura Raceway, a combined national/Western States event. Michael Faccinto of Hanford is solidly in second place in the Western States points standings. The USAC West Coast 360 sprint car series featuring many Valley racers has non-points races Nov. 23-24 at Ventura.