After a Bad Break at Bakersfield, Eddie Tafoya Jr. Hopes to Change His Luck Saturday at Salute to Indy

After a bad break in the Ultimate Sprint Car Series race presented by Inland Rigging last Saturday night at the Bakersfield Speedway, Eddie Tafoya Jr. hopes to get things righted in the 71st Salute to Indy at Perris Auto Speedway on Saturday. It will be his first appearance in the prestigious race since an eighth-place finish in 2022.

438083115_26012082415049368_5948112160115657432_n (1).jpgEddie Tafoya leaning on the right rear at Perris. Kenny Lonngren photo.

Last week at the USCS race in Bakersfield, Tafoya, 26, got off to a good start. Competing against 20 other drivers in qualifying, the friendly racer recorded the second quickest time when he toured “The West Fastest 1/3 Mile High Banked Clay Oval” in 13.890. That made him one of only two drivers to break the 14-second barrier on the night.

By the time Tafoya drove the immaculate Tom and Christy Dunkel Inland Rigging #17T onto the “Okie Bowl” for his heat race, the surface was dry and slick, and passing was going to be at a premium. Tafoya started on the third row and found a sweet spot on the low line. He passed two cars by the time he exited turn two on the first circuit. That put him in third place, where he finished in the prelim. Inland Rigging teammate Tommy Dunkel won the heat.

The track crew reworked the surface, and it looked racy for the 30-lap finale. That all looked good for Tafoya, who was starting inside the second row directly behind teammate Dunkel. However, the bad luck that had plagued him the first part of the season struck again! Early in the main, a car clobbered him from behind and flattened his left rear tire. Tafoya limped around the track until lap four, when he pulled to the infield and out of the race with a 20th-place finish.

In heading back to Perris on Saturday, Tafoya returns to the track where he had one of his two top-10 finishes in 2024. At Perris, on April 27th, the Chino Hills, California resident placed ninth in the Avanti Windows and Doors USAC/CRA Sprint Car main event. His other top-10 this season came on April 6th, when he placed sixth at Arizona’s Mohave Valley Raceway.

Tafoya enters Saturday’s sprint car war 10th in USAC/CRA Series points. He will climb higher up on that ladder before the night ends.

For Saturday’s Salute to Indy, spectator gates will open at 5:00 p.m., and the first race will take the green flag at 7:00. Adult tickets for the night of exciting dirt track racing and clean family fun are $30.00. Seniors 65 and over get in for $25.00. For kids 6-12, it is only $5.00, and children five and under are admitted free. Advance tickets are available online at They can also be ordered by phone at 1-800-595-4849. We will have plenty available at the ticket window on Saturday for fans who do not wish to purchase tickets in advance. The fairgrounds charge $10.00 for parking.

Friendly Tafoya is always happy to meet the fans in the pits after every race. He will sign autographs, pose for photos, and sell his beautiful 2024 team shirts. For fans who cannot attend the races, the team shirts are available at

Eddie Tafoya PR