Neurological Lightning Strike
Perris Auto Speedway
August 20th, 2011

American Landscape

Scratch that itch. On Saturday, August 20th, 2011 Perris Auto Speedway exploded a smart bomb in the hypothalamus of my brain, a feel good attack that I knew was coming, but the ferocity and the fury overwhelmed my ability to brace myself. The electrical impulses traveled from the track through my hard wire, neurons firing on all cylinders and burning foolishly held perceptions of speed faster than collapsing Mid-Eastern autocracies. An astounding recession busting field of thirty-one cars boiled down to four primary neuro-transmitters: Nic Faas brings fresh air; that incredible intangible of youth, ambition, skill and real deal equipment needed to make it all cook. To see this young kid realize how fast he is, itís almost like watching someone being born. Cardey, Cardey, CardeyÖ The raw driving ability of David Cardey should electrify even the most jaded race observers. He is the Elvis Presley of Perris; you canít take your eyes off the way he moves that thing, its almost sinful. Mike Spencer is the benchmark. He is the litmus test. He is our gold standard by which the West Coast measures itself and finds safe haven as the sky is falling. But all of these dirt track heroes ran second to the roaring heart and spectacular courage almost casually dished out by Matt Mitchell. From the throat tightening acceleration and his massive pass on a thundering Cardey, Matt Mitchell worked the track, the traffic and a thousand expectations with a Bruce Lee cool and a ninja throttle.

Bruce Lee Cool

David Bezio (with Chris Trammel) In Calmer Times

David Cardey on the pole with the Ripper to the outside and we are all invited to the party. Green flag and they are wheel to wheel, but Cardey finds the keyhole in turn two. Itís Cardey, Williams, Ronnie Gardner, RJ Johnson and Spencer down the back. Spencer immediately bolts under both Johnson and Gardner for the third spot. Cardey in the lead starts blowing some serious smoke, but his speed is unaffected. Spencer applies pressure to Williams and actually makes the pass around Williams at turn four. But before the lap is completed, earnest David Bezio flips hard into the turn four fence and we are red. It knocked him out but I saw him post race and he was starting to remember things. Line up is Cardey, Williams, Spencer, Johnson, Gardner and Matt Mitchell. Important to mention Mitchell is in sixth, because he is about to detonate. Back straightaway restart and RJ Johnson gases it below Spencer into turn three and takes that third spot. Spencer is unfazed and takes it back at the other end of the track, but you really have to give RJ credit for skill and daring. The speed is blistering and the track looks wicked. Mitchell has passed Gardner for fifth and itís Cardey, Williams, Spencer, Johnson and Mitchell. Gardner stops coming out of turn one and we are yellow with four laps completed at 10:02 pm.

Brody Roa Is Making All the Right Moves

John Franklin Talks the Talk and Walks the Walk

Gardner restarted, we are green and perceptions begin to deconstruct. Mitchell stands on it coming around three and four and with brash speed clears both Spencer and Williams to take second. Gardner blows a white cloud (oil line) and is done for good. I missed some action in turn one, Randy Waitman and Gregg Bragg look like they might have got into it but both restart. Green again and Mitchell explodes past Cardey. Cardeyís having none of it and slams back in the lead on the bottom of turn two. Waitman spins again (done) and with no sixth lap completed. It is clear now that the discussion is going to be with Cardey and Mitchell while Spencer will come calling. Mitchell has moved from a start of eight to fifth, primarily by passing Johnson and Gardner DNC. Green again and Faas immediately gets under and past the Ripper. The action now shifts to the front again where Cardey and Mitchell are fighting in close quarters. Cardey is almost supersonic trying to hold off Mitchell. But Mitchell takes it to the top in four and clears down the front. Now Cardey starts dicing with Spencer while Faas is looking young, powerful and hungry. Lap after lap of Cardey determinedly holding off the equally determined Champion Spencer. Cal Smith pulls of the track. More Cardey versus Spencer, unbelievable tension as Spencer gains advantage in the corners, Cardey rips it back in the straights, a see-saw of wills, every inch is tortured. Finally Spencer gets past in turn four, where he seems to find salvation in race after race.

Faas Making New Fans

David Cardey Keeps His Fans

Now what must be an exhausted Cardey is being assaulted by Faas. A couple of laps and Faas also claims daylight in turn four. Cardey is incensed and comes under Faas in turns one and two with a speed and skill that leaves me stunned. He stuffs Faas like one of those chipotle things and itís Mitchell, Spencer, Cardey and Faas all in heavy traffic now. Cardey puts pressure on Spencer again down the back but himself gets stuck behind a lagger in three as Spencer clears out. Twenty-four laps completed, the All Pro Spencer is second and knows he has to make his move. He earnestly begins to reel Mitchell in, it appears he is starting to gain, but then inexplicably seems to lose ground. Twenty-seven laps completed. Faas is clearing Spencer and here comes Cardey. Apparently Spencer had a tire going flat and now heís just trying to nurse the best finish he can. White flag as Mitchell destroys the finish, Faas is second and Cardey is third. Spencer salvages fourth while Arizonaís hard core RJ Johnson rounds out the top five.

McCall is Making Progress

Sheldon Creed Rocked the Lightning Sprints

Thanks to Perris Speedway and their incredible staff. Great people at Perris wherever you turn. USAC did an awesome job. I have a lot of respect for the officials wearing the USAC shirts. Matt Mitchellís thrilling ride confirmed his ability to win on any given day. Chatting with Nick Mitchell and he confirms Matt will be at this Saturdayís Vendorís Cup at Ventura Raceway. This Clark Engineering creation throw down will pay in excess of seven thousand dollars to win. That is one of the biggest purses in the country for traditional sprint cars being served in Jim Naylorís air conditioned speed palace by the sea. Santa Maria Speedway in the middle kingdom will be hosting the USAC West Coast Sprints with a special appearance by Mike Spencer in the Priestly car. Fans canít lose this weekend. I love that feeling when adrenaline kicks in and jump starts electrical pulses all across the neurons. We had that plus dust, dirt under the fingernails, grease on the collar, sweat on the brow and damn the torpedoes. Electrical excitement? The whole freaking thing is more like a neurological lightning strike.

Neurological Lightning Strike