Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tanner Swanson keeps Turkey Night Grand Prix championship in the family

The 71st running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale didn't start out very clean.
A five-car crash at the start of the USAC Sprint Car race took out the leader in the Western Sprint Car standings and a former Turkey Night Grand Prix champion.
Tanner Swanson spun out before the start of the 40-lap Sprint Car race. Audra Sasselli, who entered the race with a 20-point lead in the Western Sprint Car standings, had her car overturned in the crash.
Tracy Hines, who won the Sprint Car race at the Turkey Night Grand Prix in 2008, was also collected in the crash.
Cody Gearhardt was taken to a nearby hospital for observation. Jo Jo Helberg and Bobby East also crashed at the start of the race and did not return.
Tanner Swanson escaped the crash and went on to win the Sprint Car race. He was followed by his brother, Kody Swanson, in second. Kody Swanson won the Turkey Night Grand Prix Sprint Car race last year.
Caleb Armstrong from New Castle, Ind., won the 98-lap, crash-filled USAC Midget race.
Bryan Clauson, who won the previous two Midget races at the Turkey Night Grand Prix, was third.
Ross Rankine won the USAC Ford Focus Midgets race, the first of his career. Nick Drake was second, followed by Garrett Peterson in third.
Jessica Clark, a senior at Westlake High School, won the USAC Ford Focus Western Pavement and Southern California championship. She finished in 13th place in the 23-car Turkey Night Grand Prix field.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Jack Beckman's rough road to NHRA Funny Car title

Jack Beckman has survived cancer and beat the odds on starting a family. By the end of the weekend, he can check another goal off his list.
Beckman is one of three drivers in contention for the NHRA Funny Car championship at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona.
He entered the weekend one point out of first place and behind his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan.
Cruz Pedregon, a two-time NHRA champion, is in third place and only 26 points out of first.
Go to for more on Beckman's rise to the top of the NHRA Funny Car class.

Photo: Jack Beckman, top, trails Matt Hagan by one point in the NHRA Funny Car standings. The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season finale is this weekend in Pomona. (NHRA)