By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Somerton, Arizona (March 28, 2022)………The prestigious Western World Championships have found a new home in 2022 at Somerton, Arizona’s Cocopah Speedway.
The 55th annual edition of Western World brings the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship, in conjunction with the AMSOIL USAC CRA Sprint Cars, to the 3/8-mile dirt oval for two consecutive evenings on Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29.
For USAC’s National Sprint Car division, the dates mark the series’ debut at Cocopah, which will pay $6,000 to Friday night’s feature winner and $10,000 to the victor of Saturday night’s finale.
As the newest venue to host Western World, one of the most prestigious and history-laden events on the entire USAC calendar, Cocopah Speedway is proud to become the home of this legendary event.
“The Western World has always been a great tradition in Arizona,” Cocopah Speedway Brad Whitfield stated. “We are looking forward to hosting this long standing Southwest tradition.”
“Our facility produced great two and three-wide racing for the USAC CRA season openers in January. After talking to the racers that weekend, they asked how to get the Western World to Cocopah Speedway,” added Jerry Vansickel, Special Events Coordinator for the track.
The Western World Championships had been held at San Tan Valley’s Arizona Speedway annually between 2016 and 2021, but the event now moves to Cocopah for the first time due to the permanent closure of Arizona Speedway at the conclusion of the 2021 season.
Nine USAC sanctioned events have taken place at Cocopah Speedway dating back to the 1980s. The only USAC national event at Cocopah took place in 1989 when Robby Flock scored a victory in midget competition. Arizonians R.J. Johnson and Stevie Sussex collected USAC Southwest Sprint Car feature wins at Cocopah in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Six USAC CRA Sprint Car races have been held at Cocopah with Brody Roa capturing the debut in 2012, while Damion Gardner has been victorious in each of the last five, starting with back-to-back wins in 2013 and three consecutive in January of 2022.
Bob Cleberg was victorious in the inaugural Western World Championships held in 1968 at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz. Other venues to host Western World include Manzanita Speedway from its inception in 1968 through the 2008 season, when the track was shuttered. USA Raceway in Tucson, Ariz. welcomed the event from 2009-2011 and once again in 2015. Peoria, Arizona’s Canyon Speedway Park was the home of Western World between 2012-2014.
In the most recent installment of the Western World Championships in November of 2021, Brady Bacon triumphed on opening night while Logan Seavey basked in the glory of victory lane after scoring the win on the final night of the weekend.
A practice night precedes the two race nights on Thursday night, October 27. Following practice, a driver appreciation party will be held for competitors and crews featuring a meal and live music provided by Yuma Auto and RV Center.
The 2022 Western World Championships begin the final stretch run of the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship and AMSOIL USAC Sprint Cars out in the western states. The seasons for both series conclude a week following Western World on November 3-4-5 with the 26th running of the Oval Nationals at California’s Perris Auto Speedway.