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Clauson Captures Winter Challenge Opener!

clauson012216-980-980x360Story and Photo By: Lonnie Wheatley/USAC Series Media

 PEORIA, Ariz.  Bryan Clauson certainly is no stranger to victory lane at Canyon Speedway Park. Neither is Ricky Thornton, Jr. So it was only fitting that Clauson and Thornton, Jr., were among those to pick off victories in Friday’s opening leg of Canyon Speedway Park’s Winter Challenge 2016.

While Clauson took USAC Southwest vs. USAC West Coast Sprint Car honors and Thornton, Jr., bested a loaded field of ICMA Modifieds, other Friday night winners included Matt Martinez in IMCA Stock Car vs. Pure Stock action, Jarrett Martin in Micro Sprints and Chaz Baca, Jr., in Mod Lites.

In non-wing USAC Sprint Car action, Indiana’s Clauson gridded the feature field fourth and set sail after early leader Charles Davis, Jr., at the outset.

When Davis, Jr., checked out the low side with traffic in play, Clauson made a quick move into the lead on the top side of turns one and two. Clauson led the rest of the way aboard Mike Martin’s No. 16b entry, denying some late charges from New Mexico’s Josh Hodges, who charged from tenth to take runner-up honors.

“That was kind of a tough loss in Tulsa last weekend, we’re kind of out here licking our wounds right now,” Clauson said of a runner-up finish at last weekend’s Chili Bowl Nationals. “This place has always been good to me, I love racing out here.”

While Clauson took the $2,000 victory ahead of Hodges, Davis, Jr., settled for the show position with defending USAC Southwest champion R.J. Johnson and Dennis Gile rounding out the top five.

With a stellar field of 44 IMCA Modifieds checked in for the night, Ricky Thornton, Jr., defended home turf by leading all 25 laps of the main event.

Thornton, Jr., kept a host of challengers at bay with Jason Noll taking runner-up honors while Lance Mari raced through the field from 21st to claim the show position. Paul Stone and 18th-starter Hunter Marriott rounded out the top five.

Reigning Pure Stock track champion Matt Martinez wasted little time racing from the tenth starting position to take IMCA Stock Car vs. Pure Stock honors ahead of Vincent Depalma and Justin Thornton.

Jarrett Martin was the class of the field in a Micro Sprint race of attrition, taking the checkered flag ahead of Mark Morin and David Tardiff while Chaz Baca, Jr., held off Brenden Priest and Hayden Bender to take Mod Lite honors.

Winter Challenge 2016 continues with Round Two action going green at 5:00 p.m. Saturday night at Canyon Speedway Park with another full slate of USAC Southwest vs. USAC West Coast Sprint Cars, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Stock Cars vs. Pure Stocks, Micro Sprints and Mod Lites.

Canyon Speedway Park

January 22, 2016 – Winter Challenge 2016 Night One of Five Results

USAC Southwest vs. USAC West Coast Sprint Cars:

Heat One: 1. 50-Charles Davis, Jr., 2. 22b-Brian Hosford, 3. 51-R.J. Johnson, 4. 74x-Josh Hodges, 5. 5-Tye Mihocko, 6. 34-Tanner Grau, 7. 58-Connor Strait.

Heat Two: 1. 16b-Bryan Clauson, 2. 16-Mike Martin, 3. 19-Andrew Reinbold, 4. 12k-Mason Keefer, 5. 4-David Dykes, 6. 50x-Will Perkins, 7. 45-Bob Strait.

Heat Three: 1. 11c-Michael Curtis, 2. 13-Dennis Gile, 3. 0k-Kenny Perkins, 4. 27w-Guy Weedman, 5. 5x-Matt McCarthy, 6. 48T-Thomas Ogle.

“A” Feature (30 Laps): 1. 16b-Bryan Clauson, 2. 74x-Josh Hodges, 3. 50-Charles Davis, Jr., 4. 51-R.J. Johnson, 5. 13-Dennis Gile, 6. 19-Andrew Reinbold, 7. 22b-Brian Hosford, 8. 48T-Thomas Ogle, 9. 11c-Michael Curtis, 10. 0k-Kenny Perkins, 11. 34-Tanner Grau, 12. 27w-Guy Weedman, 13. 45-Bob Strait, 14. 50x-Will Perkins, 15. 16-Mike Martin, 16. 12k-Mason Keefer, 17. 4-David Dykes, 18. 5x-Matt McCarthy, 19. 5-Tye Mihocko, 20. 58-Connor Strait (DNS).