Through the first 17-laps of the Salute to Indy at Perris Auto Speedway on May 27th, it looked like Brody Roa was headed to victory and would have two weeks of general maintenance in anticipation of this week’s 40-lap Bubby Jones/Ray Scheetz Memorial. However, a lap 18 tangle with a lapped car altered those plans significantly. His primary car was destroyed in the costly crash that sent Roa on a scramble to get a new Inland Rigging #17R ready for this week’s race.
Before the crash at Perris ended his night, it looked like Roa was headed for his sixth USAC/CRA win in 10 series starts this year. That all ended when the tangle with the lapped car sent him slamming backward into the turn three crashwall. The pileup resulted in the chassis and every component except for the front axle being destroyed.
Two weeks prior to the incident, longtime sponsor and friend “Biker” Bruce Fisher bought Roa a brand new DRC Chassis. The car went to his parent’s garage where Roa planned to start getting it put together in the near future. However, when the crash destroyed everything on the primary car but the front axle, Roa and his crew went from a relaxed, general maintenance mode into stealth mode getting it ready for its debut and hopefully a second straight victory in the Jones/Scheetz Memorial on Saturday.
“It is mostly together now,” Roa said of the new car while changing fish bowls for his senior citizen goldfish on Thursday. “It needs the engine dropped in it and brake lines put on it and it will be ready to go. Everything has went smooth so far, but it is not done yet. We ordered some stuff from DRC (DRC Chassis Co in Indiana). They got them out and they went on the car so our spares stayed in the trailer.”
“Thanks to Bruce Fisher on this new car,” Roa continued. “He nailed the timing on getting a new chassis for us. Bad timing that we need it but good timing that we had it. He was my first sponsor in sprint car racing and he is still around and one of our biggest supporters. He has been around for 13 years helping us. That is really cool and I am glad he is still around and is a friend.”
Perhaps the scariest part was not the actual crash itself nor the damage to the chassis and components. When Roa got turned around, the engine spun backward. That was the scary part as that can cause extensive, expensive damage. Fortunately, it was not nearly as bad as it could have been.
“It needed a little fixing up,” Roa said referring to the engine. “Nothing major. I think it was supposed to run on the dyno today. Picking it up tomorrow (Thursday) is the plan right now. We will check in with Shaver in the morning to make sure it is all good.”
In addition to looking forward to getting back on the track, Roa, the 2019 USAC Southwest Lightning Sprint Car champion, is also excited that the race is not the normal 30-lapper. Unlike some, he savors the idea of going an extra 10-laps.
“It is a cool race,” Roa said. “The people behind it and who it is for is really cool. And I like 40 lappers, as long as they are worth it. It is pretty hard on equipment. I think I can stay calm enough for 40 laps and it does not affect me too much. I don’t get all wound up. I think I can stay just as good on lap 40 as lap one. I am excited about the 40-lapper, let’s see if we can get the first two of these (Jones/Scheetz Memorials).”
In addition to being a winning driver, Roa is also a fan of the sport and knows its history. The significance of the roles Jones and Scheetz played in So Cal sprint car racing has not been lost on him. While he never met them, he knows of their contributions to the sport.
“I never did,” Roa responded when asked if he saw Bubby Jones race. “I know who Bubby was, obviously. I think everybody knows who Bubby was. I never met him in person. I know how good of a racecar driver he was and the influence he had on some cars, some drivers, and chassis’s. It seems like everything he did was good.”
“Growing up as a kid going to Perris, I knew who Ray was my entire life,” Roa said. “I wouldn’t say I had any conversations with Ray. It is another deal where I knew who he was and what he meant to Perris and to racing down here but I never got to know him on a personal level, unfortunately.”
Despite the misfortune at the last race, Roa’s early season prowess see him come into Saturday’s race with a sizable 99-point lead in the USAC/CRA Series standings. He has won five of the first 10 races of the year and has finished in the top five four times. The only blemish on his 2023 USAC/CRA racing endeavor, though not his own fault, was the 15th-place finish at the last race.
Adult tickets for Saturday’s race are $30.00. Seniors 65 and over get in for $25.00 For kids 6 to 12, it is just $5.00 and children 5 and under are admitted free. The fairgrounds charge $10 for parking. Advanced tickets for Saturday’s race are available until noon on race day at https://www.tix.com/ticket-sales/pas/7 or by calling 1-800-595-4849. For fans who do not wish to buy advance tickets, there will be plenty available at the ticket window on Saturday.
Perris Auto Speedway is conveniently located on the Lake Perris Fairgrounds (home of the Southern California Fair), one-hour east of Los Angeles and one-hour North of San Diego. To get to the track, take the 215 freeway, exit on the Ramona Expressway, and go three miles east to the fairgrounds. For directions online, the address to enter is: 18700 Lake Perris Drive and the zip code is 92571.
After Saturday’s race at the “Southern California Home of Major League Sprint Car Racing,” the USAC/CRA Series has a week off before traveling to the Bakersfield Speedway on June 24th.
The brand new Roa/Dunkel Inland Rigging team merchandise, including shirts, is now available. You can see the shirt design in the photo below. The shirts will be available in the pits or online at the following link https://bit.ly/3IDLNEZ.
The team wants to thank the following sponsors for making the 2023 season possible. Inland Rigging, Dunkel Farms, United Asset Sales, Osborne Speed & Machine, Sander Engineering, “Biker” Bruce Fischer, ALR Virtual Services, Burris Racing, Caltrol, Competition Suspension, K-1 Race Gear, Molecule, Rod End Supply, Driven Racing Oil, Baldwin Filters, and NGK Spark Plugs.