National Championship Qualifier Round 3 - Industry Racing, CA, USA - August 3
Former National Champion Charlie "The Edge" Venegas completed a perfect night with a scintillating victory in the A Final on a spectacular Round Three of the United States National Speedway Championship Qualifier Series at Industry Racing that had many in the stands and in the pits stating that it was the most exciting evening of speedway racing of the season.
Venegas and Series leader Billy "The Kid" Janniro both entered the A Final on perfect scores and a draw would settle who had first choice of gate position. Venegas won and picked gate one. Janniro, undefeated in the Series so far, immediately chose gate four. Aaron Fox picked gate two which left "Mad" Max Ruml with gate three.
Venegas made the best start from gate one and immediately staked himself to the lead. Janniro was pushed very wide in the first corner but recovered and went around Fox and Max Ruml for second on the back straight. The defending California State Champion wasn't going to settle for the runner-up spot and set his sights on Venegas. Janniro gained a lot of ground and caught up to the leader the second time on the back straight. Venegas, correctly anticipating an outside attack, entered turn three wide. Janniro was undeterred by the leader's outside entrance and went deeper into the turn to get around Venegas. The competitors were inches apart when Janniro had seemingly completed the pass but parked in turn four just enough that their close quarters inevitably led to contact that left Janniro on the ground. Venegas sped away and the race continued. Janniro picked himself up but was at the back of the field. Venegas cruised the rest of the way for the victory, Fox finished second, Max Ruml was third, and Janniro was credited with fourth.
Venegas kicked off the evening with a win over former National Champion "Flyin" Mike Faria. Fox defeated Tommy Hedden in event two. Current National number three Bryan Yarrow beat Tim Gomez. Janniro beat fellow Speedway World Cup team member Gino Manzares. "Fast" Eddie Castro used the outside to defeat Tyson Talkington. Max Ruml stalked "Battling" Buck Blair for three laps before passing him for the win in the final corner.
Janniro opened the second round with a win over Yarrow. Hedden went around Tyson Burmeister in the next heat only to have the latter repay the favor and get the win. Venegas beat former Junior National Champion Jason Ramirez for his second straight win. Max Ruml trapped from the outside and held off Chris Kerr for his second victory in a row. Faria defeated Fox in event 14. Former Under 21 National Champion Austin Novratil went around the outside of Manzares to end round two with his first win.
Faria started round three at the front only to have Novratil go around the outside of him and race away with his second consecutive win while Max Ruml's third place left all three tied on seven points. Russell Green defeated Blair for his first win. Kerr got the drop on Janniro but the former National Champion used the cushion to take the lead and the win to remain perfect. Fox and Yarrow both needed a victory to qualify directly in the A Final. Fox swept around the outside in the first corner and was victorious while Yarrow would have a second chance at the A Final via a runoff. Venegas beat Hedden to match Janniro's perfect score and qualify for the A Final. Burmeister and Manzares came to the tapes in the final heat both needing a win to make the runoff for the A Final. Burmeister made a great start and gave himself a shot at making the A Final.
After the completion of the heats Venegas, Janniro, and Fox qualified directly for the A Final. Five riders were tied with seven points and would runoff for one open spot in the A Final while the rest would make up the B Final. Manzares was in the C Final but a four-rider runoff would determine which three riders would join him while the rider in fourth would race Hedden, Ramirez, and Gomez in the D Final.
Green led the C Final Runoff from start to finish with Kerr and Castro finishing second and third, respectively, to join him while Blair's fourth place relegated him to the D Final.
The outcome of the five-rider runoff for the A Final was delayed when Yarrow touched the tapes and was banished to the penalty line. When the tapes finally went up Max Ruml led from gate three with Novratil giving chase. Max Ruml had the race in control but as he approached the white flag Novratil lifted exiting turn four and dismounted in wild fashion on the front straight. Max Ruml was awarded the victory and the remaining place in the A Final while Faria, Burmeister, Yarrow, and Novratil would contest the B Final.
Blair trapped from the outside and raced away with the victory in the D Final. Hedden used the outside to get himself to second, Ramirez finished third, and Gomez was fourth.
Kerr and Castro had a short side-by-side battle in the C Final before Kerr secured the lead and took the victory. Manzares got by Castro for second and Green finished fourth.
Burmeister started in gate four and remained outside through lap one to grab the lead and held on all four laps for the victory in the B Final. Faria finished second, Yarrow was third, and Novratil finished fourth.
The evening was the third of the four-round National Championship Qualifier Series to help determine the field for the 45th Monster Energy United States National Championship at Costa Mesa Speedway in October. The final round of the Qualifier Series is Friday, August 9 at Pirate Speedway in San Bernardino.
National Qualifier Heat Scoring 1 2 3 T
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