When Eddie Tafoya Jr. returns to action in the USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series California Racer’s Hall of Fame Night this Saturday night, August 20th, at Perris Auto Speedway, he will be in the center of a “Battle Royal” for a top spot in the series championship point standings. He has been closing in on the second and third-place drivers, but the fifth-place driver is now breathing down his neck.
Tafoya, of Chino Hills, California, has been fourth in the championship standings for most of the 2022 season and he has been methodically inching closer to the top two. When the green flag signals the start of Saturday’s racing, Tafoya will only be 18 points out of third place. In addition, the handsome 25-year-old is only 47 points out of second. If not for a rough three-race stretch at the end of March and the first weekend of April when he finished 18th, 13th, and 15th, Tafoya would likely be in second now.
Baseball Hall of Famer Satchel Paige once said, “Don’t look back. Something may be gaining on you.” In Tafoya’s case, that is true. While he is closing in on second and third in the championship standings, the fifth-place driver has likewise been closing on him. Going into Saturday’s race, Tafoya’s advantage over the fifth place driver is 13-points. Thus, he is part of a thrilling four-driver battle fighting for second through fifth in the championship standings. A slip-up by any of the four on Saturday would be disastrous.
In four starts at Perris this year, Tafoya has a fourth, two eighth place finishes, and an 18th. The 18th came during the Sprint car season opener at the Riverside County clay oval on March 26th when he was hit from behind. The 4th place finish came at the last race at the famous track on June 25th. In addition to finishing 4th that night, he was the third fastest qualifier in the 20-car field. Prior to the main event, he finished second in his 10-lap heat race. Thus, it was his best appearance at his home track this year. He hopes to better that excellent performance on Saturday night.
This weekend’s event will only be Tafoya’s second appearance in the California Racer’s Hall of Fame Night. Last year he sat the race out as his equipment was in Indiana waiting for the three-day Kokomo Speedway Smackdown. Two years ago the race was canceled due to Covid. Tafoya made his debut in the race during his Rookie of the Year season in 2019. On that night, he qualified 15th in the 30-car field. He ended up sixth in his heat race and was seventh in the 12-lap B main, missing the transfer to the A main by one spot.
Tafoya and all the other drivers will have some extra incentives to race for on Saturday. Fans and race supporters have donated more than $12,000.00 extra to be added to the regular purse. The Billy Wilkerson Fast Time Award will pay a whopping $1,000.00 (plus an extra $400.00 if the fast time breaks the existing track record). The four fastest qualifiers on the night will contest the Plastic Express Junior Kurtz/Bill Simpson trophy dash. The winner will receive $2,000.00 for that event and second place will pay $1,000.00. The main event has $5,900.00 posted in lap money with the leader of each lap taking home a minimum of $100.00 all the way up to $700.00. In addition, there will be other bonuses on the night like $500.00 for the best passing job in the main event and $100.00 for the winner of each heat race.
Spectator gates will open at 5:00 PM on Saturday, and the first race will be at 7:00. For fans who would like to attend in person, adult tickets are $30.00. Seniors 65 and over get in for $25. For kids 6 through 12 it is just $5.00 and children 5 and under are free. Advance tickets are available at the following link https://www.tix.com/ticket-sales/pas/7 or by calling 1-800-595-4849. For those who do not wish to purchase tickets in advance, there will be plenty of tickets available at the ticket window on Saturday. The track is located on the Lake Perris Fairgrounds at 18700 Lake Perris Drive in the city of Perris (92571). The fairgrounds charges $10 for parking.
Be sure to check out Tafoya’s brand new YouTube channel at the following link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxgMCW64p0uyBmOcKN7_bDQ.
Eddie Tafoya PR