Tommy Dunkel wrapped up the regular USAC West Coast Sprint Car season last Saturday night in the George “Ziggy” Snider Classic at the Kern County Raceway Park. This Saturday, October 14th, his Inland Rigging teammate Brody Roa, will attempt to extend his lead in the USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series at Arizona’s Mohave Valley Raceway.
Dunkel, who lives in Murrieta, California, has flourished in his first full season of racing sprint cars. Part of his prowess is due to his increased seat time. Another big component is the advice from Roa, Roa’s father Brett, and Roa’s longtime crew chief Zac Bozanich. They have been a tremendous help to the affable driver who initially joined forces by sponsoring Roa’s sprint car.
Dunkel’s skill was on display at Kern County at the start of the night in qualifying. A stellar 23-car field showed up for the race and by the time qualifying was over, he had set the seventh-fastest time with a lap of 14.697. That was his best qualifying result in either the West Coast Series or CRA this year. That time placed Dunkel on the outside of row two for his 10-lap heat. Going into turn one on the first lap, he clipped a hole and biked the car. The momentary bobble saw him slip back to fifth. He was back to third for a lap eight restart, but the same hole punched him again on the last lap and he slipped back to fourth. Fourth still worked well as it meant he would start on the pole for the main event.
When the green flag opened the main, Dunkel was second into turn one. The racing surface, which was the perfect definition of a “Cowboy Up track,” bit several drivers. Especially the treacherous hole in turn one that sent more than one car catapulting into a series of violent flips. The track and that hole took a toll on Dunkel’s car. While he stayed in the top five over the first four laps, he slowed to a stop in turn two on the fifth circuit.
Dunkel was pushed back to the pits where his crew was waiting in the work area. However, he signaled for the push truck driver to head straight to his pit leaving him with a 19th place finish. When the crew got to the car, they found out what the issue was.
“The track was so rough I ended up having a left torsion bar and possibly a shock issue and the car was just dragging on the ground,” Dunkel explained as he and Roa were putting a new car together for next week’s two-day show at the Imperial Valley Raceway. “The holes and rough spots were so bad; it actually smashed the floorboard up into the brake pedal. At that point, I just decided to pull off and salvage it before I flipped or hurt myself or someone else or caused any havoc. It being so rough all night, that is what took that torsion bar or shock out.”
Despite only contesting four of the West Coast Series races, Dunkel finished 18th in the championship point standings, only 16 points out of the 15th spot.
Saturday Roa goes into the USAC/CRA race at Mohave with a commanding 142-point lead in the championship standings with only four races to go in 2023. Of the first 14 races of the year, he has eight victories. Among the wins was a triumph on May 6th at Mohave Valley. Prior to that, he had a second-place finish at the track on April 1st.
Perhaps his most impressive race at Mohave came at the series’ second race on the 1/3 mile banked clay oval a year ago last weekend. On that evening the “Pride of Garden Grove” started the main event in 11th. He sliced his way forward, took the lead with three laps to go, and went on to a half-straightaway win.
Saturday will be Roa’s fourth-ever race at Mohave Valley. In his first three there, he posted two victories and a second-place. That gives him a sizzling 1.33 main event finishing average on the Grand Canyon State oval.
If you would like to see Roa in person at the Mohave Valley Raceway, the track is located at 2750 E. Laguna in Mohave Valley, Arizona. It is just minutes away from the Colorado River and only 20 minutes from Laughlin, Nevada. Gates will open at 5:00 p.m. with racing at 7:00. Adult tickets are $25.00. For seniors 60 and over and active military with proper ID, it is $20.00. Kids 6-12 get in for $5.00. Children five and under are free and parking is free as well. It is cash only for tickets (no ATMs on site). Concessions, souvenirs, and the beer garden take cash or cards. For more information, the track website is https://www.
Fans can pick up a 2023 Inland Rigging Racing Team shirt from the crew after the races or online brodyroa.com.
As always, Brody Roa would be more than happy to jump in a race car on his weekends off from the #17R. His entire schedule is printed below. If anybody wishes to contact him about open dates, they can do so at 714-932-7994 or mailto:[email protected]
The team wants to thank the following sponsors for making the 2023 season possible. Inland Rigging, Dunkel Farms, United Asset Sales, Osborne Speed & Machine, “Biker” Bruce Fischer, ALR Virtual Services, Burris Racing, Caltrol, Jambo Barbeque Pits, Competition Suspension, K-1 Race Gear, Molecule, Rod End Supply, Driven Racing Oil, Baldwin Filters, and NGK Spark Plugs.
Inland Rigging PR