Grant Sexton Continues His Pursuit of the Usac/Cra Rookie of the Year Award Saturday at Bakersfield

Grant Sexton will attempt to bounce back from a disappointing finish in last week’s USAC West Coast Series main event at the Ventura Raceway when the USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series heads to Kern County for the Richie McGowan Memorial this Saturday at the Bakersfield Speedway.  The teen will enter Saturday’s race eighth in the USAC/CRA standings and with a commanding lead in the Rookie of the Year points race.

Last week, things started off bright enough for the Lakeside, California driver at the reincarnation of the Wagsdash.  Competing on the same Ventura oval where he won his first-ever full-size sprint car race in April of 2022, the friendly racer was the 10th fastest qualifier of the 31 drivers on hand with a time of 12.734.  In his 10-lap heat race, he started on the inside of the second row.  Initially, he slipped back to fifth and that could have ended up being a major problem.  Coming off turn four early in the race, cars in front of the affable teen tangled. They seemingly left him nowhere to go.  However, his quick reflexes kept him going forward after just minor contact.

For the restart of the heat, Sexton was in fourth.  He quickly moved forward and latched onto the third-place spot in his black #22 with brilliant orange trim.  He managed to stay there through the end.

The previous week in the USAC/CRA race at Perris Auto Speedway, Sexton started on the pole for the main.  In Saturday’s 30-lapper at Ventura, he began in the exact same spot.  After Kris Kornder started the race with his green flag, Sexton was third at the end of the opening go-around.  A couple of laps later he was fourth and still in the hunt.  However, that hunt ended abruptly in turn one on lap five with him sitting by the turn one crash wall with a torn-up frame rail on his Ellis Chassis.  His promising night ended with a 21st-place finish.

Thus far in 2023, Sexton has a perfect attendance record through the first 11 USAC/CRA races.  He has placed in the top 10 three times with a ninth at Perris Auto Speedway, a seventh at Kings Speedway in Hanford, and a season-best sixth-place finish at Arizona’s Mohave Valley Raceway.  His prowess sees him residing in eighth place in the series championship standings and it has allowed him to build a bulging 210-point advantage in the Rookie of the Year chase.

Saturday will be Sexton’s first time competing at Bakersfield in a 410 sprint car.  However, he is no stranger to the track known as “The West’s Fastest 1/3 Mile High Banked Clay Oval.”  In fact, one of the biggest wins of his young career came on the Kern County oval on March 25th, 2022.  Competing in the California Lightning Sprint Car Series in a show that was headlined by the World of Outlaws, Sexton thrilled the crowd with a brave, banging-the-boards performance that saw him only lead the last five feet in a photo finish.  The victory, which was seen worldwide on the World of Outlaws DirtVision TV, saw Sexton receive a standing ovation from the capacity crowd.  Afterward, his memorable victory speech had the enthusiastic crowd roaring again.

Fans who want to see the young star in action on the famous “Okie Bowl” on Saturday can find the track at 5001 North Chester Ext. Ave., Bakersfield (93308).   Spectator gates will open at 4:00 p.m. with racing at 6:00.  Adult tickets are $30.00.  Seniors 65 and over and military with a proper id get in for $25.00.   Kids 6-12 are $15.00 and children 5 and under are free.  Parking is free.  The track website is and the office phone number is (661) 393-3373.

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.