Sexton Gatlin Racing Bringing Four Cars to Perris for Salute to Indy

One week after making the 600-mile round trek to contest the Brian and Chris Faria Memorial at the Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, California, Sexton Gatlin Racing will be making the relatively short 132-mile round trip to Perris Auto Speedway for Saturday’s annual Salute to Indy.  Unlike the journey to Tulare when they took one car, SGR will be fielding four cars at the famous Riverside County half-mile clay oval.

Sporting some brand new graphics on his #22 sprint car, Grant Sexton, the leading rookie in the USAC/CRA Series, was the only SGR driver racing at Tulare.  The teen was the ninth fastest qualifier in the 16-car field when he toured the lightning-quick track in a time of 16.301.  That put him outside of row one for his 10-lap heat. 

One thing the Thunderbowl is famous for is “banging the boards.”  For many newcomers on such a quick track, there is no way they are going to go up and run by the wall.   However, that is the fastest way around the Central Valley speed plant.  Sexton showed no fear.  He was third at the end of lap one and momentarily slipped back to fourth coming off turn two.  However, he kept it wide, picked up a great drive coming off turn four, and raced into third.  On lap five contact with another car’s right rear going into turn three sent his car careening into the wall.  His rear slammed in first, breaking the rear end before he tipped over. 

Fortunately, the teenage star was not injured, but he was done for the heat race.  The crew got on it immediately, but with two classes and only 29 cars on the premises, time was limited to get the new rear end in the #22 and get it ready for the main.  They did get it done, but after only a few laps the driveshaft came out.  That ended the 18-year-olds first night at the Thunderbowl with a 14th-place finish.

While the night in Tulare did not go like the young driver would have liked, he still comes into this Saturday’s race at Perris leading the Rookie of the Year standings by a comfortable margin.   Also, he is still ninth in the overall series standings and is only five points out of eighth. 

Saturday will be Sexton’s third race of the season on the West Coast’s premiere dirt oval.  Thus far he has 19th and 12th place finishes on it. 

In addition to Grant racing on Saturday, his father Brent, the 2022 POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Car Series champion, will also be in action.  In fact, he will be doing double duty.  He will be driving the same #44 SWLS car that he drove to the win in the main event on the famous half-mile last month.  In addition, he will be making his full-size sprint car debut in The PAS Senior Sprints.  SGR will be taking another lightning sprint car to the track on Saturday for another driver who has yet to be announced.

Spectator gates at Perris will open at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and the first race will be at 7:00.  Adult tickets are $30.00. Seniors 65 and over get in for $25.00. For kids 6 to 12 it is just $5.00 and children five and under are admitted free. The fairgrounds charge $10.00 for parking. The famous half-mile clay oval is located on the Lake Perris Fairgrounds at 18700 Lake Perris Drive in the City of Perris (92571).  The track website is at the following link and the office phone number is (951) 940-0134. 

If you or your company is interested in becoming a partner with Sexton Gatlin Racing in 2023, please call (619) 454-6945 or E-mail mailto:[email protected] or mail to.

Sexton Gatlin Racing would like to thank the following companies for making the 2022 season possible. Keys Brothers, East County Electric Works, Maxima Oil, Automated Interiors, Sexton Fire Protection, BK Wings, Troy Dirt, Victory Graphix, and Swift Powdercoat.