Eddie Tafoya Jr’s impressive 2022 season continued to roll on Saturday night when he placed fourth in the USAC/CRA Bubby Jones/Ray Scheetz Memorial at Perris Auto Speedway. The result gave him nine top 10 finishes and five top-fives in the first 12 races of the 2022 campaign.
Grueling heat greeted Tafoya and the other 19 teams on hand for the race that paid tribute to National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Bubby Jones and his longtime crew chief Ray Scheetz. The only thing hotter than the temperature was the action on the track. As has been the case throughout most of the 2022 season, Tafoya was in the thick of it from the start of qualifying until the checkered flag in the main event.
Coming off his first-ever Woodland Auto Display fast time award at the Ventura Raceway two weeks earlier, Tafoya again turned in a sterling effort in time trials. He was one of only three cars on hand to turn in a sub-17-second lap. He did so with a run of 16.954. That was the third-fastest time of the night.
The Chino Hills, California racer started fifth in the six-car third heat and raced his way forward to finish second in the 10-lapper.
In the 30-lap finale, Tafoya and his popular #51T car started on the inside of the third row in fifth and he was in the same position when the first circuit ended. In what turned out to be a see-saw battle from fourth to eighth throughout the race, Tafoya advanced one spot forward to fourth early in the going. However, by the time the race was 1/3 of the way over on lap 10, he had drifted back to 6th. At the halfway point, he had slipped back one more position and was running 7th.
Things changed after the midway point when “Mr. Smooth” steered his way to 6th before the end of lap 17. He was still there on lap 20, but he was not done and would move up two more spots in the “money laps.” On a restart with only two laps to go, he was up to fifth. He picked off one more car and was hot on the tail tanks of the top three as they crossed the finish line at the end of the race.
Tafoya maintained his lofty fourth-place position in the championship standings. He gained 15-points on the third-place driver and is only 39-points out of that spot going into the August 6th race at the reopening of the Santa Maria Raceway.
The July 8th and 9th races at the Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford and the Stone Chevrolet, Buick, GMC Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare have been canceled due to the tire shortage currently plaguing racing as well as high fuel costs.
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