Vander Weerd Claims Winter Challenge Finale
PEORIA, Ariz. — Richard Vander Weerd ended Dave Darland’s Winter Challenge dominance by taking the $5,000 winner’s share in Saturday night’s USAC Southwest vs. USAC West Coast sprint car 30-lap finale at Canyon Speedway Park.
The Visalia, Calif., racer denied Darland his fourth victory in the six race series by taking the lead before the midway point and then holding off the Indiana shoe in the final rounds.
While Vander Weerd claimed sprint car honors, Jesse Sobbing broke the Ricky Thornton Jr., stranglehold on IMCA Modified victory lane, Ty Warner scored another pure stock win, Jacob Hawkins picked off his second micro sprint win and Bo Partain topped the renegades.
After winning three of the initial five rounds of Winter Challenge action, Darland led the sprint car feature field to the flag from the pole position and led the early rounds before Vander Weerd raced into the lead after starting fourth.
Vander Weerd weathered a pair of late cautions to secure the win ahead of Darland with Josh Pelkey claiming third to rank as the only driver to finish among the top 10 in all six Winter Challenge features.
Charles Davis Jr., raced from 12th to snare fourth behind the lead trio with Josh Hodges rounding out the top five.
Shon Deskins climbed from 14th to sixth with R.J. Johnson, Nic Faas, 17th-starter Brady Bacon and 19th-starter Stevie Sussex completing the top 10.
Richard Vander Weerd, Dave Darland, Josh Pelkey, Charles Davis Jr., Josh Hodges, Shon Deskins, R.J. Johnson, Nic Faas, Brady Bacon, Stevie Sussex, Kenny Perkins, Michael Curtis, Jason Grady, Mike Colegrove, Mike Martin, Tye Mihocko, Matt Rossi, Colby Copeland, Andrew Reinbold, James Aragon, Jace Vander Weerd, Josh Shipley.