Seavey Leads Western World Sprint Practice

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Logan Seavey stood atop the speed charts in Thursday’s AMSOIL USAC CRA & Southwest Sprint Car Special Event practice session at Arizona Speedway, in preparation for this weekend’s 53rd annual Western World Championships presented by San Tan Ford on Friday and Saturday night, November 13-14.

Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) clocked in with a lap of 15.266 seconds at the 1/3-mile dirt oval in San Tan Valley, Ariz. in his Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports/AME Electrical – Mesilla Valley Trans./Spike/Fisher Chevy.

The 2018 USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget champion was part of a Reinbold-Underwood sweep of practice night with Spencer Bayston earning the top practice speed for the Arizona-based team during midget practice.

A winner in USAC Southwest Sprint Car competition during May of 2019, Seavey topped all drivers in the session while Austin Williams (Yorba Linda)-15.399; Damion Gardner (Concord, Calif.)-15.458; Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.)-15.486; and Cody Williams (Corona, Calif.)-15.524 rounding out the top-five.

Two-time and defending Western World Sprint Car champion Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.) and his car were in attendance, but did not participate in Thursday night’s practice.

The previous year’s Western World Midget winners include Kevin Thomas Jr. and Brady Bacon, who each raced their way to San Tan Ford / Beaver Stripes victory lane in 2019.

On both Friday and Saturday night, Nov. 13-14, the pits open at Arizona Speedway at 1pm MT, grandstands at 3pm, the drivers meeting at 5pm and hot laps at 5:30pm.  General admission adult tickets are $30, while kids 11 and under are just $10.  Pit passes are $40 for adults and $15 for ages 7-12 and free for ages 6 and under.

Western World tickets are on sale now at www.arizonaspeedway.net.

Both nights of the 53rd Western World Championships will be streamed live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/2ZpafUr.

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AMSOIL USAC CRA & SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR SPECIAL EVENT PRACTICE RESULTS: November 12, 2020 – Arizona Speedway – San Tan Valley, Arizona – 53rd Western World Championships Presented by San Tan Ford

PRACTICE: 1. Logan Seavey, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-15.266; 2. Austin Williams, 92, Sertich-15.399; 3. Damion Gardner, 1, Alexander-15.458; 4. Justin Grant, 19s, Reinbold/Underwood-15.486; 5. Cody Williams, 44, Williams-15.524; 6. Max Adams, 73T, Ford-15.550; 7. Stevie Sussex, 12, Allen-15.553; 8. Charles Davis Jr., 47, Davis-15.556; 9. Sterling Cling, 34c, Cling-15.584; 10. Tommy Malcolm, 5x, Napier-15.585; 11. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-15.664; 12. Chris Windom, 77m, Michael-15.693; 13. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-15.762; 14. Ryan Bernal, 13, Gile-15.838; 15. Jake Swanson, 34, Grau-15.924; 16. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-15.942; 17. Tye Mihocko, 5, Ream-16.039; 18. Trent Williams, 52v, Williams-16.060; 19. Chris Bonneau, 15, Bonneau-16.077; 20. Logan Calderwood, 4, Calderwood-16.124; 21. Josh Castro, 4T, Terzich/Gile-16.201; 22. Noah Gass, 20G, Gass-16.243; 23. Matt McCarthy, 28m, McCarthy-16.339; 24. Nick Parker, 115, Parker-16.448; 25. Jeremy Ellertson, 22, Ellertson-16.544; 26. Kyle Edwards, 39E, Edwards-16.600; 27. Eugene Thomas, 10, Thomas-16.653; 28. Ikaika O’Brien, 11o, O’Brien-16.853; 29. Lonnie Cox, 45, Cox-17.035; 30. Chris Muraoka, 25, Muraoka-17.562; 31. Ryan Oerter, 43, Oerter-18.426; 32. Brian Chamberlain, 21c, Chamberlain-21.862; 33. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall/Newman-NT; 34. Eddie Tafoya Jr., 51T, Tafoya-NT; 35. Nick Aiuto, 71H, Horsley-NT.

NEXT AMSOIL USAC CRA & SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR SPECIAL EVENT RACES: November 13-14, 2020 – Arizona Speedway – San Tan Valley, Arizona – Western World Championships

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QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. (Jan. 13) — Brian Shirley saw the situation one way. Ricky Thornton Jr. viewed it another.In the first controversial moment of the 15th annual Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout at FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway, there was simply no middle ground reached between the two drivers who saw their hopes for victory in Wednesday night’s 30-lap Super Late Model feature dashed by an early-race tangle.The pair of top contenders — Thornton logged finishes of first and second in the miniseries’s opening-weekend events while Shirley was just a bit behind with runs of third and fourth — were battling for third place on lap seven of the A-main when their evenings went awry. Shirley dived low entering turn one and slid up the track in front of Thornton, but Thornton clipped the left side of Shirley’s car and both drivers’ machines collected fifth-place Stormy Scott of Las Cruces, N.M.After Thornton retired for a 22nd-place finish and Shirley soldiered on to place 17th in a race captured by Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., they stood in the pit area — separated by just a few stalls, in fact — looking back on the incident with differing opinions.“He saw his opportunity and took it,” Thornton said of Shirley, “and it pretty much didn’t work out.”“He could’ve hit the brakes, you know?” countered Shirley, pointedly questioning Thornton. “I don’t know what he’s thinking. I’m not saying it was all his fault because I did get in there hot, but it was because I wasn’t gonna hit him.”Shirley, 39, of Chatham, Ill., felt that he had cut his rival for position a break on the frontstretch and should have received the same treatment in return between turns one and two. The two drivers were charging hard in pursuit of second-place Jason Papich of Nipomo, Calif., with Shirley running high through turns three and four and Chandler, Ariz.’s Thornton sucked low until Thornton drifted toward the outside guardrail approaching the starter’s stand, prompting Shirley to abruptly cross over Thornton under the flagman and attempt a slider into the first and second corners.“Just coming off of four there, he was on the bottom and went straight to the wall, and I braked for him,” Shirley detailed. “Then I come down, cleared him like a mile, and he just come in there and doored us. They can watch the video. I never touched him.“I can hit the brakes, he can hit the brakes. I’m more disappointed because I braked for him and he couldn’t brake for me. It’s a two-way street.”From Shirley’s standpoint, his aggressive bid on Thornton was merely him reacting to the opening he was presented.“I made a move because when we were coming out of four, he pushed up,” Shirley said. “I was running the high side and he was running the bottom. He would’ve hit me if I wouldn’t have hit the brakes, so I moved down because I had the momentum to slide him. Instead of him turning back down to try and cross me back over he just ran into the left side of the door.“I don’t know what to say,” he continued. “I don’t know what I would’ve done any different. We wouldn’t have even been in the situation if he wouldn’t have pushed up out of four where I was already there. If he would’ve stayed on the bottom I would’ve went right by him without an issue, but he pushed out so then I had to figure out an exit plan.”Thornton, 30, certainly didn’t agree with the tactics Shirley decided to employ.“So I ran the bottom in three and four,” Thornton began. “I didn’t have all my speed down the front straightaway, and I kind of figured someone was gonna slide me. But then we entered and I thought we were good, and then he slid me, like, kind of late in the corner almost.“Watching the in-car (camera footage from his car), it looked like (Shirley) spun out, but, I think because he carried so much speed in the corner, he knew he was gonna destroy the wall so he tried to turn it sideways. When he did, he pretty much parked it (on the cushion), so then I had nowhere to go. At that point I was already back on the throttle. At that point there was no turning down or anything.”When Thornton contacted Shirley’s car, the right-rear deck and quarter-panel of Thornton’s SSI Motorsports Longhorn mount was pulled astray, leading him to limp into the infield with the sheet metal flopping along the track. Shirley’s Bob Cullen-owned XR1 Rocket was shoved into the outside wall before Scott slid into the back of both cars, eliminating him as well. Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., also slapped Shirley’s car as he passed by but was able to continue racing to a fifth-place finish.Thornton felt fortunate that his 3-race-old car escaped the crash with mostly cosmetic damage, but he was well aware that he lost an opportunity to move a step closer to the Keyser Manufacturing bonus dollars posted for winning three or more races.“It just ripped the whole right side off,” said Thornton, who, with three races remaining in the miniseries, remains alive for the bonuses of $10,000 (three wins) and $25,000 (four victories). “It got the body, left-rear shock, couple left-rear parts just from Stormy getting in the left rear.“It kind of sucks for that to happen, especially on lap six of the race or whatever it was,” he added. “I had a really good car. I took off and I was running hard, but not so hard that I was gonna kill my stuff.”While there was no love lost between the two drivers after the incident — a Thornton team member even expressed his displeasure by tossing a signal stick at Shirley’s passing car in the infield (the stick bounced off Shirley’s car and nearly struck a photographer standing nearby) — they were ready to move on to the concluding weekend of WWS action.“It is what it is,” Thornton said, “and we’ll get it fixed up and try again on Friday.”“Luckily it just looks like a lot of bodywork, but it still ruins your night,” Shirley commented. “We started 11th and was passing him for third so it wasn’t like we sucked. We’ve been trying different things, little bitty things every race we’re in. In the heat race I felt like we were horrible, and then, I hate to say, we just put the thing back to where it was when I won them races last year (three WWS features) and that’s how I went.“We’ll put it back together and hopefully next time circumstances might come out a little different.”

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