A tradition dating back to 2001 celebrates its 15th running Saturday night at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway as the “Sokola Shootout” opens the 2017 AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Championship.
The event honors the memory of former USAC and CRA Sprint Car competition director Gary Sokola and his son Mark, who competed in numerous USAC events as a driver. Inaugurated at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz., the event returns to The PAS Saturday.
Tony Jones won the 2001 inaugural, while Jeremy Sherman (2002-2003), Cory Kruseman (2004), Rickie Gaunt (2005 & 2009), Mike Kirby (2006), Damion Gardner (2010 and 2014), Mike Spencer (2011), Nic Faas (2012), Bryan Clauson (2013 and 2016) and Richard Vander Weerd (2015) have been fortunate enough to inscribe their names in the record books as “Sokola Shootout” Champions. The event was not presented in 2007 or 2008.
Gardner returns as the series champion in search of a record-breaking sixth driving title. He and Spencer share the record of five titles each. Gardner has won the crown the past four years!
Gardner tops all the Perris records (40 wins, 926 laps Led, 55 races led) and scored a trio of Perris victories last year. Other 2016 Perris USAC Sprint winners were Clauson, Josh Hodges, Austin Williams, Vander Weerd, Danny Sheridan, Matt Mitchell, Chad Boespflug and Dave Darland.
Saturday’s race is the first of 11 for the AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars at Perris this season.
Sources: Dick Jordan/United States Auto Club