LAS VEGAS – The United States Auto Club honored its top 2019 western racers at Bally’s Hotel & Casino on Jan. 25.
Competitors with the USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series, USAC Southwest Sprint Car Series, USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series and USAC Western States Midget Series were celebrated during the annual Western Awards Banquet.
USAC Western Director Chris Kearns served as master of ceremonies of the event, which featured a Roaring ’20s theme. Series champions, rookies of the year, top-five in points, and special award winners were recognized at the hotel’s Jubilee Ballroom.
The western champions were also celebrated at the Dec. 13th USAC Night of Champions in Indianapolis, Ind.
Damion Gardner of Concord, Calif., was honored for his seventh consecutive and eighth overall AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series championship.
Driving Mark Alexander’s No. 4 Spike, Gardner claimed his fourth California Sprint Week crown and posted wins at Bakersfield Speedway on May 11, Perris Auto Speedway on July 13 and Santa Maria Raceway on Sept. 7.
In addition, Gardner scored 10 Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, eight heat race victories, one semi-main win, two Wilwood Disc Brakes Lucky 13 Awards and 18 top-10 finishes, with 86 feature laps led on the season.
Racing for three different teams, Brody Roa of Garden Grove, Calif., was celebrated for winning his first Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Car title.
On the strength of strong finishes and two victories at Peoria’s Canyon Speedway Park on April 27 and Sept. 14, Roa outdueled five-time champion R.J. Johnson to claim the title.
Switching between the BR Performance No. 91r Maxim, Tanner Grau’s No. 34 Maxim and Dwight Cheney’s No. 42 Maxim, Roa posted one Beaver Stripes Fast Time Award, four heat race victories, three hard charger awards, 13 top-10 finishes and 109 feature laps led.
Tristan Guardino of Fremont, Calif., scored his first USAC West Coast Sprint Car crown.
Piloting the family-owned No. 15t Maxim, Guardino recorded wins at Ventura Raceway on March 23, Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway on June 7 and Santa Maria on June 15.
The two-time Chris & Brian Faria Memorial winner also recorded two Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, four heat race victories, 11 top-10 finishes and 87 feature laps led.
Robert Dalby of Anaheim, Calif., raced to his first USAC Western States Midget championship.
Driving the family-owned No. 4d Spike, Dalby topped three consecutive main events at Merced Speedway on July 27, Santa Maria on Aug. 10 and Ventura on Sept. 14.
In addition, the young champion had one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, four heat race victories, eight top-10 finishes and 46 feature laps led on the season.
After earning his seventh consecutive and eighth overall AMSOIL USAC/CRA entrant crown, Mark Alexander was recognized with his second Jack Jory Car Owner Championship Trophy.
The remaining top-five USAC/CRA car owners were honored, and Moose Racing’s Tom and Laurie Sertich received their second-place trophy.
Robbie and Gaye Allen were also celebrated for earning their first Sands Chevrolet USAC Southwest Sprint Car Series entrant championship.
The other top-five drivers in Western States Midget, West Coast Sprint, Southwest Sprint, and USAC/CRA Sprint points were celebrated for their efforts as well. Ben Worth, R.J. Johnson, Stevie Sussex and Chris Gansen were in attendance to claim their trophies.
Rookie of the Year honors were awarded to Eddie Tafoya Jr. (USAC/CRA and USAC Southwest Sprint) and Ben Worth (Western States Midget).
Sammy Bahr was recognized with the Evelyn Pratt Award for his contributions to racing.
The 2020 western campaign opens on Feb. 14-15 with the fourth annual Steve Stroud Memorial for the USAC Southwest Sprint Car Series at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Ariz.
On March 6-7, the AMSOIL USAC/CRA and Sands Chevrolet USAC Southwest Sprint Car Series will clash during the Spring Showcase at Canyon, while the USAC West Coast Sprints will have their first point race of the year on March 14 at Keller Auto Speedway.
The March 21 season opener for the USAC Western States Midgets will be held at Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway.