Eddie Tafoya Jr. Gets a Top 10 Finish in “Sokola Shootout” at Perris Auto Speedway
Making his first appearance in Southern California in 2023, Eddie Tafoya Jr. finished ninth in the “Sokola Shootout” at Perris Auto Speedway last Saturday night. The race was his last scheduled start in California for at least two months as he will be concentrating on competition in the USAC National Sprint Car Series.
Tafoya, 25, of Chino Hills, California, was making his first start since competing in the USAC National series mid-February season openers in Florida. Things started off for the well-spoken driver when he timed in 11th fastest in the 25-car field with a lap of 16.755. He was hoping for a better result from his two laps on the famous half-mile clay oval.
“We set the cars up a little bit different than we did back east,” Tafoya said. “Just with the dirt (different dirt composition), the moisture, and all the rain we had. We were a little bit tight in qualifying. I was kind of wheels up on my fast lap and couldn’t really get the throttle to the ground. So, I kind of gave up a few tenths there, but did what I could.”
While there was frustration from qualifying, the heat was a different story. He placed second holding off one of the top drivers in the nation and he thought he could have taken the win.
“The car was really good for the heat race,” Tafoya enthused. “We were really fast. I probably could have won if I pushed the issue. But I did not really want to put me or the other cars in any situations we did not need to be into in a heat race. I knew we were in a transfer spot.”
Tafoya and the crew were confident going into the main event. They took a look at the track and based on the team’s success in the heat race, they pretty much left the same setup on the #51T. Unfortunately, things did not turn out the way they wanted.
“We went and looked at the track before the main event and it still looked pretty good to me,” the handsome driver said. “We were so good in the heat race, I really didn’t want to change much. Then it (the track) just went away a lot quicker than we expected. Once I got out there, I was kind of stuck with what I had. I was trying different lines and all kinds of stuff. So I did what I could, but I couldn’t really find the grip I needed. Definitely need to be better.”
The Perris race was slated to be his last in the west until after returning from the Midwest in May, but a change in plans will now see the #51T at Arizona’s Mohave Valley Raceway on April 1st.
“I was originally going to be off until we take off for Texas and Ohio near the end of April,” Tafoya stated about his decision to race in Arizona next week. “After last weekend, me and dad decided to go to Mohave to get some laps in before we head to the races in Texas and Ohio.”
After Arizona, the team will head to Texas for a race at the Rocket Raceway Park on April 27th. Following that race, they will make the short drive to the famous Devils Bowl Speedway on the 28th and 29th. Then it will be a 1,000-mile journey to the north for two nights of racing at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway.
Tafoya’s great-looking shirts and hoodies are available online at www.specialty-fasteners.com.
Tafoya has a great YouTube channel at the following link https://www.youtube.com/shorts/1hrmC5L80EU.
Fans can follow Tafoya on Instagram @eddietafoya51.
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