Eddie Tafoya Jr. Gets Season-Best 2nd Place Finish Last Saturday – On to Perris This Weekeddie Tafoya Jr. Gets Season-Best 2nd Place Finish Last Saturday – On to Perris This Week

Eddie Tafoya Jr. notched his best finish of the 2024 season when he placed second last Saturday night in the Ultimate Sprint Car Series main event presented by Inland Rigging at the Santa Maria Speedway. The result gave the veteran racer six top-10 finishes in his last nine Southern California starts. This Saturday night, Tafoya will take his driving talents to Perris Auto Speedway for the next round of the Avanti Windows and Doors USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series.

438083115_26012082415049368_5948112160115657432_n (1).jpgKenny Lonngren photo.

Last Saturday’s well-attended race was the grand reopening of the famous Santa Maria Speedway, which began operation in 1964. Since 2021, the track only hosted one race and that was in August of 2022. Needless to say, the race was highly anticipated by the fans and all the racers, including Chino Hills, California-based Tafoya. Wheeling the Tom and Christy Dunkel-owned Inland Rigging #17T sprint car; he qualified second fastest in his group on a track surface that proved to be a tire eater, with a 14.434. That was good for the seventh best of the 25 cars on hand.

In the main, the soon-to-be 27-year-old started in the ninth position. The track was still tough on tires and to succeed, drivers were going to have to manage them. Tafoya did just that. By the time the race ended, he had his best finish of 2024 and his best-ever finish at Santa Maria.

“You had to make sure, especially in the second half of the race, that you were not blowing off the tires,” Tafoya said. “You had to stay patient. I kind of waited for things to come my way and took my opportunities when I had to. It’s good to finally have a night where everything goes our way and to put a good run in the books.”

“The track was pretty tough,” Tafoya continued. “It started taking rubber early in the night. A couple times they reworked it but it seemed to go back to what it was pretty quick. Our setup was kind of staying the same all night. We were just watching the track. We were quick in qualifying and that helped us out in the heat race. In the main event, we stayed patient, saved our tires, and passed a lot of cars.”

Tafoya will return to Santa Maria with the USAC/CRA Series on July 5th and 6th. One of the differences those two nights will be Tafoya driving his family owned #51T.

“Definitely driving two of the same chassis (DRC), no matter what motor I am running, helps out a lot,” Tafoya said about set up for the next race at the track. “So, it has been pretty simple lately.”

This Saturday, the 2019 USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year is focusing on qualifying. It has not been where he would like it, and he is set on improving. In the four races of Perris this year, he has qualified 10th, 14th, 12th, and 8th. That can be a big hindrance with other cars starting in front of him in the main events.

“I just really, really need to focus on qualifying,” he said. “That really hurts me later in the night. For me, it is almost trying to drive too hard. Trying to get a good lap time. Maybe for me, tone it down a little bit on Saturday night. Just need everything right, hit everything smooth, and make sure I am carrying my speed.”

In points chases, Tafoya’s second place finish last Saturday saw him jump from eight to fifth in the USCS standings. Tafoya will enter the fray eighth in the standings this Saturday at Perris. He is only 12 points out of seventh and only 65 out of fourth.

For fans who want to see the talented Tafoya in action on Saturday, spectator gates at Perris Auto Speedway will open at 5:00 PM in the first race will be at 7:00. Adult tickets are $30.00. For seniors 65 and over, it is $25.00. Kids 6 to 12 get in for only $5.00, and children five and under are admitted free. The fairgrounds charge $10.00 for parking. Advance tickets are available at the following website or by calling one eight hundred 595-4849. For fans who do not wish to buy tickets in advance, plenty of tickets will be available for everyone at the ticket window on Saturday night. Perris Auto Speedway is conveniently located on the freeway Lake Perris Fairgrounds at 18700 Lake Perris Drive in the city of Perris.

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 www.specialty-fasteners.com.

Fans can follow Tafoya on Instagram @eddietafoya51.

Tafoya and the #51T team would like to thank Specialty Fasteners, Inland Rigging, BR Motorsports, King Racing Products, Gasper Transportation, CMI Precision Machining, Owen’s Insurance Services, Keen Concrete, DRC Chassis, and Rider Racing Engines for supporting its racing program.

Eddie Tafoya PR