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2018 Hall of Fame Classic Preview

“The Demon” Damion Gardner is a 6-Time USAC/CRA Champion

2018 Hall of Fame Classic Preview

The USAC/CRA is a 410 Sprint Car Series that races in the Southwestern United States, primarily in California.  The non-wing warriors visit Arizona for the second of three times in 2018 and this weekend marks their first trip to Arizona Speedway on their own, without being accompanied by the USAC National Sprint Car Series.  This weekend’s races mark the 17th and 18th events of the year and will leave 6 races remaining on the 2018 schedule, when the checkered flag falls on Saturday night.  The Series will return to Arizona Speedway during the first weekend of November as part of The Western World, which is ran in conjunction with the USAC National Sprint Car Series.

The Track

Arizona Speedway is a small, high-banked 3/8th’s mile oval in Queen Creek, Arizona, near San Tan Valley
As we mentioned, the USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series will be making their first trip to Arizona Speedway on their own, without being accompanied by the USAC National Sprint Car Series.  This means the series regulars will certainly have a chance to battle for the win, along with some of Arizona’s best!
Arizona Speedway is small, high-banked 3/8ths mile track located in Queen Creek, Arizona, near San Tan Valley.  What once started as a small track with no walls and only hosted local racing series, this facility has blossomed into one of the best in Arizona!  Not only hosting the 2018 Hall of Fame Classic, Arizona Speedway also hosts the Wild West Shootout, the Western World and the Copper Classic.
The size and surface at Arizona Speedway provide drivers with options, while also not requiring the biggest wallet or best engine builder.  A typical night at Arizona Speedway sees the fast line right near the wall, when the surface is wet and right near the bottom, when dry and taking rubber.  Overall, I expect the 2018 Hall of Fame Classic to be a spectacular event at one of the best facilities in Arizona!
The Arizona Speedway track surface typically provides drivers with options, from the yuke tires to the wall

The Event


The 2018 Hall of Fame Classic features two nights of racing, where the USAC/CRA 410 Sprint Car Series will be joined by the local San Tan Ford Sprint Car Series, along with Arizona Winged Mini Sprints.  While 2018 marks the first time the Hall of Fame Classic has been held at Arizona Speedway, this event has a very rich history within the Grand Canyon State.
The Hall of Fame Classic is not only an exceptional racing event, it also pays tribute many great race drivers in Arizona, as they are honored after being selected to enter into the Arizona Motorsports Hall of Fame.  This event combines the thrills of watching 410 Sprint Car racing while also paying tribute to some of the sports racing legends within Arizona and the Southwestern United States!
The Hall of Fame Classic began as a SCRA event in 2000 at the famed Manzanita half-mile, in Phoenix.  Since then, it has continued annually for nearly every year, taking only a few years off in 2008-2010, after Manzanita closed a new venue was sought.  Canyon Speedway hosted the Hall of Fame Classic from 2011-2017 and the race was initially ran in conjunction with the USAC National Sprint Car Series, where the late Bryan Clauson was dominant.  More recently, the event was ran as a USAC/CRA event until last year, when the USAC Southwest Sprint Car Series was invited to shine in the spotlight.  “The Demon” Damion Gardner and Phoenix’s RJ Johnson join Clauson as other drivers who have won the Hall of Fame Classic more than once, during its existence!
Phoenix’s RJ Johnson has won the last two Hall of Fame Classic events held in Arizona

The Drivers

Brody Roa has been extremely consistent in 2018 and enters the Hall of Fame Classic as the USAC/CRA points leader
Brody Roa has been nothing short of spectacular during the 2018 USAC/CRA season, as he enters the Hall of Fame Classic as the series points leader, with 1,145 points.  The 2018 California Sprint Week Champion has 3 wins on the year, to go along with 14 top-5 finishes and 15 top-10’s, in 16 races.  His consistent finishes equate to a staggering 3.4 average finish, entering this weekend’s action.  While Brody hasn’t enjoyed much success at Arizona Speedway (he finished 12th & 6th in both nights of the Western World last fall), he’ll look to change all of that during the Hall of Fame Classic, this weekend!
“The Demon” Damion Gardner is a driver that you’ll see racing near the front on any given night with the USAC/CRA
Damion Gardner is already one of the most prolific and successful drivers in USAC/CRA history.  “The Demon” enters the 2018 Hall of Fame Classic as a 6-time Series Champion and sits tied with legendary racer, Lealand McSpadden, on the career all-time wins list!  While Gardner has enjoyed 4 wins in 2018, he has not been quite as consistent as Roa, with only 11 top-5 finishes and 13 top-10 finishes entering this weekend’s action.  Damion’s 5.8 average finishing position ranks 2nd to Brody and he will enter the 2018 Hall of Fame Classic 2nd in the standings, trailing Roa by 44 points.  Gardner will look to etch his name into the record books one more time this weekend, as he looks to become the first driver with 3+ career Hall of Fame Classic victories!
“The Big Game Hunter” Austin Williams enters the 2018 Hall of Fame Classic 3rd in USAC/CRA Series point standings
Son of legendary West Coast racer, Rip Williams, Austin leads the trio of Williams brothers amongst the USAC/CRA point standings.  “The Big Game Hunter” enters this weekend’s races 3rd in the standings, 152 points behind Roa and 108 points behind Gardner.  Austin has earned 2 wins in 2018, to go along with 9 top-5 finishes and 13 top-10’s, giving him an average finishing position of 6.6.  Williams successfully made both features during last fall’s Western World at Arizona Speedway, posting finishes of 18th and 20th, but he’ll look for stronger performances during this weekend’s Hall of Fame Classic!
Chargin’ Charles Davis Jr won the 2003 Hall of Fame Classic and has been dominating the USAC Southwest Series
“The Real American” Matt Rossi is an Arizona driver expected to have a 410 bolted-in for action this weekend!
“The Bull” Tye Mihocko has already competed with the USAC/CRA several times in 2018
“Magic Man” Mike Martin is another local driver who will look for a strong run in the 2018 Hall of Fame Classic

Predictions

I certainly wouldn’t be going out on a limb much by picking Damion Gardner, but it’s impossible to ignore his sheer dominance and consistency.  Even if “The Demon” doesn’t crack victory lane this weekend, you know that he’ll be among the top-3 and contending for wins each night!
Logan Seavey will make his USAC/CRA debut during the Hall of Fame Classic, in one of the potent Reinbold machines
New to the USAC/CRA Series, Logan Seavey will be aboard one of the potent Reinbold/Underwood Spike Chassis this weekend.  Keep in mind that T-Mez won night 1 of the Western World at Arizona Speedway last fall, in similar equipment.  Don’t be surprised if you see Logan steal the show and possibly a win, this weekend!
Phoenix’s RJ Johnson enters the 2018 Hall of Fame Classic having won this event the last two years!
Phoenix’s RJ Johnson has teamed with Moose Racing to complete the 2018 USAC/CRA schedule and he enters the 2018 Hall of Fame Classic as the two-time defending champion of this event.  RJ certainly knows his way around Arizona Speedway, so don’t be surprised if you see him “park it” during one of the nights this weekend!

Current Point Standings


1. Brody Roa            1,145
2. Damion Gardner  1,101
3. Austin Williams     993
4. Cody Williams       927
5. Max Adams           912
6. Jake Swanson        802
7. RJ Johnson            758
8. Danny Faria Jr.      748
9. Logan Williams     716
10. Chris Gansen       684

2018 Key Statistics


Driver                     Wins       Top-5      Top-10   Avg Finish

Brody Roa               3             14           15          3.4
Damion Gardner      4             11           13          5.8
Austin Williams       2              9            13          6.6
Cody Williams         0              4            12          7.8
Max Adams             1              5            14          6.1  (15 races)
Jake Swanson         0              7            10          8.7  (14 races)
RJ Johnson             0              1             8           10   (15 races)
Danny Faria Jr.       0              7            10          6.9  (12 races)
Logan Williams       0              1             9           11.4
Chris Gansen          0              0             6           13

Categories

USAC

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