God Bless Bud Stanfield
Santa Maria Speedway
The 24th Annual Bud Stanfield Memorial
October 10, 2009

I had one last lonely chance to see the West Coast Sprinters this year. Ventura was dark, Perris was singing it’s siren song, but the opportunity to see Murphy, Faria, Carlile and Hamblin was too good to pass up. The thought of the 24th Annual Bud Stanfield Memorial really caught my attention. For almost twenty-five years Eddie and Allen Stanfield have been honoring their father’s memory with this Classic. My own father was an alcoholic mess, so I am intrigued by the many fantastic father-son racing relationships I see in racing. Yeah, I can get behind that. Brudder Brett called for a road trip, the Mayor was in and we hustled up the coast.

All Thrill No Fill
Streeter Smokes SMS Top Five

Checked out hardworking Chris Kearns and asked about the status of sprint cars in Santa Maria. “Can’t really say” he replied. Just like happened in Perris a month earlier, he held a driver/owner meeting before the race and talked about their options with both USAC and ASCS. Drivers were giving me the same read. No idea where or when everybody’s racing next year. Bandits seem to have blown away. West Coast Sprinters may race but under what sanction? 410 series is biking. Central California has great sponsors, insane talent, and a dedicated fan base, but it’s so dark nobody can see the checkered flag. Go to vrafan.com for a vigorous debate on the message board.

Chris Kearns is Trying to Make it Happen for Central Coast Sprints

You get qualifying at Santa Maria. Those cars whip into turn three and are gorgeous against that bald hill landscape. I love these drivers. Peter Murphy wears his crown like a denim cap, tooling that sponsor bejeweled Tarlton and Son No. 21 around one of the many tracks he calls home. He has raised eyebrows and smoked races from Alice Springs, Australia to Bakersfield, California. Check him out at the Oval Nationals. His buddy Danny Faria Jr. showed up in the May Motorsports bright orange sled, bringing his own brand of excitement to the mix. Check him out at the All Coast Challenge. Justyne Hamblin is relaxed over the frame of her Taachi sprint, using it almost like a hammock. Maybe the best looking sprint car I’ve seen this year. Nice smile, too. She is in a point’s battle with Carlisle and Murphy for the inaugural West Coast Sprinters Championship. Those who have seen her race know what I’m saying, this girl is a gifted talent. Rusty Carlile is casual and unpretentious with his top notch racing. “Never look at the points” he tells me. Well if you did, you’d see you’re leading. What the hell, he’s having a good time no matter what. Rawhide.

Rusty Carlile

Massive dwarf show but I didn’t know most of the drivers so I couldn’t really get my head in it. Great show though with Spanky Grenert wrestling the main event away from everyone. Touching moment when he gave that giant trophy to the first excited kid that ran down with a red shirt on. I dig that. In the sprint heats, I think that was VRA Dwarf champion Kevin Alverson driving a sprint race for the first time ever. Sorry I didn’t connect with you Kevin, didn’t recognize you in a sprint car. He’s going to the front “just don’t know when or how”! Isn’t that right, Big Brown! Albert Pombo torched the qualifying with 13.745 seconds. Matt Streeter and Chris Ennis were fast also. I remember Ennis from the Grand Slam at Santa Maria racing from the back to a third, I believe. Now we are seeing him on a regular basis in Ventura and we are glad to have him. Heat race winners were Albert Pombo, Peter Murphy and Joey Logan. Steve Demott owned the B main. Invert put Murphy and the pole and the fortunetellers were out of business. Shout out to sponsors Southwest Contractors for fronting $2,500 to win. Bud Stanfield is watching.

Greg Richardson Smooth at SMS

Green flag and Murphy is out first from the pole. Tremendous thrill watching that Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino No 21 lift that front left and scream out of turn four. Imagine having two Pombo’s chasing your butt! Matt Streeter and Justyne Hamblin also right there. The track is heavy, thick, tacky and smooth as a Mike Spencer lap. Really beautiful, clear night sky and Cool Race Chick is hanging with us. Hardcore Ventura local Jeff Culver flips in turn three. They go red for everything at SMS. Flip the flag again and again it’s Murphy. So tacky that every single car is lifting out of four. What a magnificent sight and sound. Another red. Eight laps completed and Danny Faria Jr. has moved from about twelfth to 8th. Green again and he picks up another spot. Everybody else is locked to the fast track and there is little passing up front; Davey Pombo starts falling behind and it’s Murphy, Albert P, Streeter, Hamblin and Davey Boy. Brandon Thomson breaks something and goes infield. Demott and Ennis mix and we are red. After we restart Demott loses his tire completely and Bill Jones awkwardly slides into him. Twenty laps are completed. Not much has changed but on the red Davey Pombo got the adjustment he needed and is completely on the gas. Faria still charging from the back. Hamblin faded, it was now Murphy holding off Davey Pombo ditto for Prince Albert and Hollywood Dan. Now everybody’s getting the racing they came for! Pombo is so close, but no cigar. It’s Murphy from pole to pole, Davey Pombo, Albert Pombo, Danny Faria and Matt Streeter in fifth.

Peter Murphy
Behind The Casual “No Worries’ is The Most Competitive Racing Machine

Right before the Main Event, Eddie Stanfield got up front and did something he’s never done before. He decides that to honor his dad he is going to sing “God Bless America” in front of the grandstands. His father was a war veteran, hard worker, family man and inveterate racer, crew chief, sponsor and fan who helped many at the raceway. That’s a precious combination. He was killed by an out of control sprinter as he watched a race from the infield. With his brother Allen and his mother in the stands, Eddie steps up and pours his heart into it. Really beautiful version, which was warmly received by the crowd. What a tribute for your dad. Twenty-four years of honor. He was really singing God Bless Bud Stanfield.