Tafoya Gets First Fast Qualifying Time and Finishes 5TH in Ventura Main
Eddie Tafoya Jr. continued his progression in the tough 410 sprint car ranks when he set the fastest time in qualifying at the USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series race at Jim Naylor’s Ventura Raceway last Saturday night. It was the first fast qualifying time in his career and he followed it up with a fifth-place finish in the main event.
The night started out on the right foot for Tafoya, the 2019 USAC/CRA and USAC Southwest Series “Rookie of the Year,” when he stopped the qualifying clocks in a time of 12.735. That was the fastest time of the 24 cars on hand and thus earned him his first-ever Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award.
Quick time meant that Tafoya would start either sixth or seventh in the main event. If he finished in the top four in his heat, he would start sixth. If he placed fifth or worse, he would start seventh. Being fast qualifier also meant that the Chino Hills, California racer would start sixth in the first heat. Tafoya did not get a good start in the 10-lapper and ended up finishing fifth, putting him on the inside of the fourth row for the main.
If there was ever a night you would want to start seventh instead of sixth, this may have been it. The track was one lane around the bottom and those who ventured to the outside were doing so with a huge risk of being freight trained until they could get back in line.
Tafoya quickly realized the situation and kept it to the bottom. It paid off in almost immediate dividends as he raced by two cars who tried to go to the wide line before the third lap was completed. That put him into the fifth-place spot. Staying close to the first four cars, “Mr. Smooth” had a couple of attempts to advance his position when the fourth-place driver ventured off the inside line, but he would bring it back down before Tafoya could take full advantage.
In the end, with the track shrouded in fog, Tafoya finished with a smart, hard-earned fifth-place finish. He came into the night fourth in the series standings, but he was only one point ahead of the fifth-place driver. By the time he left with his team at the end of the races, he increased that advantage to 71-points. In addition, he closed to within 54-points of the third-place driver and 62-points of the driver in second.
Through the first 11 races of the 2022 season, Tafoya has finished in the top 10 eight times. He has four top-five finishes and two top threes. His season-best was a second-place result at Arizona’s Cocopah Speedway on January 29th.
After getting this weekend off, Tafoya will return to the sprint car wars when Perris Auto Speedway presents the inaugural Bubby Jones/Ray Scheetz Memorial on June 25th. That will be followed by back-to-back nights of racing in Central California at the Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford on July 8th and the Stone Chevrolet Buick GMC Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare on July 9th.
Tafoya and the #51T team would like to thank Specialty Fasteners, DRC Chassis, Ryder Racing Engines, Simpson Safety Products, Bell, Benic Enterprises, BR Motorsports, PSC Powder Coating, Magik Graphics, Gasper Transportation, Owen’s Insurance Services, and Weld Wheels for making the 2022 season possible.
Fans can follow Tafoya on Instagram @eddietafoya51. The same contact point can be used to purchase his great-looking shirts via mail.
Eddie Tafoya PR