In the summer of 1977, Rita Coolidge had a hit song titled “Your Love Has Lifted Me Higher.” One of the lines in the song went, “Now once I was downhearted, disappointment was my closest friend.” Many racers in Southern California are downhearted and it is safe to say that disappointment is not their closest friend right now due to the coronavirus. One of them is Garden Grove, California racing star Brody Roa and he cannot wait till it is time to get back on the track
The Amsoil USAC/CRA and World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars were slated to open Perris Auto Speedway’s historic 25th sprint car season this Saturday night. But, at 7:00 P.M. when the first green flag was slated to fly, there will be no cars on the track, no cheering fans, no tempting aroma of the track’s barbeque wafting through the grandstands and the bright track lights will be turned off due to the coronavirus.
For Roa, the disappointment of the empty night is huge. Not only the fact that it is a race that has been postponed, but also for the point that he would be coming into the event ranked second in the USAC/CRA championship standings. That would make him the highest placed of the series regulars.
“It is a huge letdown,” Roa said from his home on Sunday afternoon. “We always look forward to the beginning of the year. Instead, we will be home staring at the tv or whatever. It is pretty frustrating as we should be down at the shop loading up the trailer right now, but we are all sitting at home or walking our dogs.”
Earlier this month, Roa drove his famous #91R to third and fourth-place finishes at the season-opening weekend in the “Spring Showcase” at Arizona’s Canyon Speedway Park. The team was back in the shop doing the normal maintenance after that race. During this unplanned delay, they have been back in the shop going over things again. They are more than ready to roll past the Kevin Winter’s green flag at Perris Auto Speedway on April 25th if the race takes place.
While some dates may be canceled, Roa, who won the 2019 USAC Southwest Series championship, says he may venture off and drive for some other owners in other series when his schedule permits. However, the #91R will be confined to the USAC/CRA Series.
“Keeping the #91R confined to CRA will kind of help our program at the end of the year,” Roa stated. “We will not have worn out all of our funds, energy and equipment. We seem to start the seasons off so well. For the first 12 races or so we are pretty strong. But, because we have been running so much the past few years, the maintenance time has not been there.”
One of the surprises at the first two races in Arizona was Roa qualifying third fastest on both nights. In the past, if there has been a chink in his armor, it has been qualifying.
“I wish I could tell you,” the 29-year-old laughed when asked how he qualified so good in the Copper State. “I don’t know! I have not been able to figure out how I qualified that well. Hopefully, when we get going again, I can do it again and pinpoint what it was. Qualifying obviously has not been my strong point over the last 10-years or even going back to my years in go-kart racing.”
While there is some downtime in racing presently, Roa and his wife Tailor have stayed occupied.
“I am still going to work so that keeps me busy Monday through Friday,” Roa stated. “Our new lab puppy is loving it. We go on a lot of walks now and have been taking her to training classes where she was made an example of (not doing what she should have been doing). She is definitely a hyper lab puppy. She is a decent listener right now. Hopefully, that gets better.”
The longtime racer looks forward to when he can get back on the track and he hopes it is as soon as possible at Perris Auto Speedway.
“I hope to be back on the track on April 25th at the Perris race,” the longtime racer said. “Obviously we are not going to be there this Saturday, but our plan is to be there for the opener next month or whenever it happens.”
Like Roa, his fellow competitors and all the fans, cars will be on the track soon and life as we know it will return to as close to normal as possible.
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Perris Auto Speedway is conveniently located on the SoCal Fair and Event Center (home of October’s Southern California Fair), approximately one-hour east of Los Angeles and one-hour North of San Diego. To get to the track, take the 215 freeway, on the Ramona Expressway and go three miles east to the fairgrounds. For directions on MapQuest, the address to enter is: 18700 Lake Perris Drive and the zip code is 92571.
Perris Auto Speedway wants to thank its corporate partners for the 2019 season. Ahern Equipment Rentals, All Coast Construction, Battery Systems, Budweiser, Bud’s Tire Pro, Chris’ Hauling, City of Perris, Communication Innovations, Daytona Boat & RV Storage, Ed Moore Bullet Proof Driveshaft, Flowdynamics, HD Industries, Hoosier Tires, Inland Rigging, Living Water’s Hospice, LKQ Pick Your Part, Luke’s Transmission, Pepsi-Cola, Pole Position, PrintItNow.com, Rainbow Bolt & Supply, Rugged Radios, Shaver Specialties, Square H, Sunoco Race Fuels, Trench Shoring, Upland Rock, Varner Construction and Vista Paint.
DVD’s of all the PASSCAR/IMCA racing and Nights of Destruction at The PAS are available from Fourvideos. For more information call (714) 225-9500.