Spencer Secures Ride for So-Cal Showdown
Scott Daloisio, PERRIS, Cal. (April 13, 2016) – Sprint Car fans and promoters alike breathed a sigh of relief and wiped the sweat from their brows when it was announced late last week that Mike Spencer had secured a ride with Moose Racing for this Saturday’s SoCal Showdown at Perris Auto Speedway. Spencer will be driving for Moose Racing in the Amsoil USAC/CRA portion of the show that will also include the legendary World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series, PAS Young Gun and PAS Senior Sprint Cars.
Spencer’s future spun into doubt when car owner Ron Chaffin passed away in late February. He started driving for the multi-time champion car owner in 2007. Pared with National Sprint Car Hall of Fame mechanic Bruce Bromme Jr., they won five straight USAC/CRA championships from 2008-2012. Spencer drove the familiar red #50 car at the season opening race at The PAS for the last time on March 5th.
“We really did not know one way or the other if we were going to finish the year out or that was going to be it,” the 34-year-old Cal Poly Pomona engineering graduate said. “We ran the race and I think it was the next week Ron’s son called and told my dad that was it. They were going to stop racing. I could see it going either way and I see their side of it as a family. The kids do not share that love of racing that he had. I totally understand and see that side of it. I feel fortunate that I had such a good run with him and got hooked up with those guys.”
The possibility of the car not returning to the track after Chaffin’s passing had rumors circulating throughout the racing community that Spencer, who became a father for the second time on December 30th, may retire. However, that was not even an option.
“I never even thought of that,” he laughed. “I want to race. I had driven for Ron since 2007 so I never had to worry about that for a long time. I had been on the phone putting some feelers out (since his passing) just to see what could happen. I had a couple people who wanted to put something together that was contingent on sponsorship.”
While the friendly driver had some coals burning, the Moose Racing Team entered the picture. Car owners Tom and Lauri Sertich have been longtime fixtures on the California sprint car racing scene with top notch equipment and top drivers. Anaheim’s Jake Swanson started driving for the team in 2015 and this Saturday he will have a teammate in Mike Spencer.
“Really it all came together from Mel Murphy at Circle Track Performance,” Spencer said. “He has been a big supporter of mine and has really helped me over the years. I called him and let him know what was going on and he and Tom (Sertich) talked at some point. Tom called and asked if I would like to drive for them. We went and met and that is what we are going to do. We are going to go to the races this week and see if we can get a win.”
The driver and new team had plans for getting on the track at The PAS on Sunday evening for a practice, but a foe stronger than any race team, put a halt to that.
“We were waiting to get on the track and it (the sky) just opened up,” he laughed. “It was supposed to rain all weekend, but of course it did not until right when we were supposed to go run some laps. That would have been nice, but you can’t change the weather.”
Perris Auto Speedway promoter Don Kazarian is one who is relieved and who is looking forward to seeing Spencer on the track on Saturday.
“Hard to think of a sprint car race at The PAS without Mike,” the longtime promoter said. “He has been a fixture for so long and he has a huge fan following that certainly would have missed him if he was not going to be here. It will be fun to see him in the Moose Racing car. It is some of the best equipment on the track and he is sure to put on a great show in it.”
Things are still up in the air regarding how many races Spencer and Moose Racing will be able to do. Running a two-car team takes a lot more money and they are currently looking for additional sponsorship to keep the extra car going throughout the 2016 season.
Fans who purchase reserved seat tickets in advance for Saturday 4-class sprint car extravaganza will receive a free “World of Outlaws Fan Pit Pass.” The fan pit pass will allow the spectators to get up close to the WoO teams to take photos, meet the drivers, get autographs and purchase merchandise straight from their favorite teams. Advance tickets are available 24-hours a day at: http://www.woosprint.com/. Fans can also purchase advance tickets by calling: 844-DIRT-TIX (844-347-8849). In addition to advance tickets sales, there will be plenty of tickets for everyone at the track on Saturday.
Amsoil USAC/CRA Points
1. Bryan Clauson – Noblesville, IN – 82
2. Richard Vander Weerd – Visalia, CA – 75
3. Brody Roa – Garden Grove, CA – 70
4. Mike Spencer – Temecula, CA – 68
4. Josh Hodges – Tihares, NM – 68
6. Jake Swanson – Anaheim, CA – 63
7. Danny Faria Jr. – Tipton, CA – 58
8. R.J. Johnson – Laveen, AZ – 54
9. Cody Williams – Corona, CA – 50
10. Parker Colston – Lake Elsinore, CA – 48
World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Point Standings
1. Brad Sweet – Grass Valley, CA – 1957
2. Shane Stewart – Bixby, OK – 1858
3. Darryn Pittman – Owasso, Ok – 1870
4. Donny Schatz – Minot, North Dakota – 1869
5. Joey Saldana – Brownsburg, IN – 1834
6. Jason Johnson – Eunice, LA – 1806
7. David Gravel – Watertown, CN – 1796
8. Logan Schuchart – Hanover, PA – 1690
9. Jason Sides – Bartlett, TN – 1684
10. Paul McMahan – Elk Grove, CA – 1656