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By Scott Daloisio

(Perris, CA, April 21, 2020) Round #2 of interviews with Perris Auto Speedway racers about what they are doing during the coronavirus is on USAC/CRA Sprint Car driver Chris Gansen. Coming off a career-best fifth-place finish in the championship standings, Gansen was excited when the season opened, but now, like everyone else, he is left to wonder and hope when he will be able to get back on the track.

Chris Gansen racing off of turn two at Perris Auto Speedway in 2019. Doug Allen Photo.

The PAS: Last year you had your best ever finish in the USAC/CRA Series when you finished fifth. You get all fired up for this year and now you are forced to sit. How frustrating is it for you?

Gansen: It is pretty frustrating. Especially with some of the racetracks that are probably going to cancel being some of the better tracks that I run. We have got a brand-new car sitting in the shop ready to go and we are just looking at it.

The PAS: Hopefully, you are not going to be looking at it sitting there for too long.

Gansen: Yeah, hopefully, it is not too long. I think we are probably looking at another three or four weeks before we know what we are going to do.

The PAS: You did start the season off with a couple of races at Canyon Speedway Park in Arizona and had a ninth-place finish on the second night. But you were kind of shorthanded there, correct?

Gansen: We sold a couple of cars at the end of last year and there was a lot of new cars sold through Maxim. We did not get our new car until two days before we had to go to Canyon. So, we never got a chance to put it together. When we got back from Canyon, we got it (the new car) all powder coated and ready to go. Now it is just like a show car sitting here.

The PAS: Your brother Donnie ran the Oval Nationals last year. Will he be racing again in 2020?

Gansen: It is just going to be me. That was just kind of a one-time deal for my brother at the Oval Nationals.

The PAS: The coronavirus is keeping a lot of people home these days. Are you able to work?

Gansen: Yeah, I am currently working. I am in the road building industry. We are still working full force ahead right now. It is pretty difficult. We have had to adjust with everything that’s going on in the world. It definitely puts some hiccups in what we do, but we are trying to push forward with the infrastructure of the state.

The PAS: Away from work what are you doing at home to occupy the time? Are you getting to spend a lot of time with your son Landon?

Gansen: Yeah, he is five years old. He is currently right behind me playing with all of his diecast sprint cars of everybody. I spend a lot of time with him and my wife when I am not working. My little guy goes everywhere with me.

The PAS: You said he is playing with his diecast sprint cars. Does that mean you win all those races?

Gansen: No, dad does not win every race. Believe it or not, dad crashes a lot it seems like! Damion Gardner seems to win a lot and Austin Williams wins a lot. He also has a Donnie Schatz car that wins a lot.

The PAS: He is racing diecast, but hasn’t he started racing quarter-midgets as well?

Gansen: Yes, yes. We were going to run two days with him at the end of March. Unfortunately, those dates were canceled. We did a lot of practicing with him over the winter and he progressed really quick. He is just a little bummed because he cannot race. He is really excited to go. They have shut down the quarter-midget track (on the Orange Show Grounds) so we cannot practice with him either. He is pretty wound up and wanting to go racing, but he is stuck at home.

The PAS: Your mom and dad are a big and popular part of the USAC/CRA family. What are they doing at the present time?

Gansen: Dad is still working as he is also in the road-building business. Mom has been watching my son because my wife is in the medical industry. She has been watching my little man and keeping him occupied.

The PAS: Talking about your wife and medical prompts the asking of a question. Have you hidden the cheese grater?

Gansen: Yeah, after last night’s little incident the cheese grater has been put up.

The PAS: For those who do not know what we are talking about, the night before we did this interview, your wife suffered a rather nasty cut while using the cheese grater and you were pressed into emergency action. You would make a good nurse.

Gansen: Fortunately, in the industry I am in, we have had to do a lot of first aid training. Last night was actually one of the first times I had to use it. I was out in the garage and she came out with a rag full of blood and needed help. It wasn’t pretty and it was painful, too.

The PAS: Late last year or earlier this year, you stated this would be your last season racing sprint cars. Has that changed since the coronavirus has affected the schedule?

Gansen: It is something I will look into depending on what happens. We were planning on calling it quits from full-time racing at the end of this year. With what it looks like, we are going to move that up for one more season and I will come back for 2021 because I want to run a full season. We want to compete for a championship.

The PAS: You just said, “calling it quits from full-time racing.” Does that mean you would still do some racing after 2021?

Gansen: Yes, there is still a few things that I want to do during my racing career. I really want to go run the Chili Bowl, run the Florida deal (start of the USAC National Sprint Car Season) and the Indiana Sprint Week deal. I do want to focus my time (after 2021) on my son’s racing. There is a National Quarter Midget Series that does a lot of traveling. It almost lines up with what has historically been the USAC Florida Sprint Car races. And, there is some big USAC Quarter Midget races around Indiana Sprint Week. We are looking at making those multi-week vacations.

The PAS: You have raced in the USAC/CRA Series a relatively short period of time, but you have been racing for quite some time. Give us a rundown on your career. How long and what have you raced?

Gansen: I started 25-years ago racing quarter midgets at Pomona. Ran quarter midgets for some years and won some state championships. Then I took a few years break. I wanted to go play baseball with all of my friends and do some other things. I just could not do both. After a couple years I really missed racing. So, I started racing 250 micros. I won a decent amount of races with that. Then I moved into a 600 micro for a couple of seasons because I was not old enough to race in the California Lightning Sprints. In 2006 we moved up to the California Lightning Sprints and I won a feature and was “Rookie of the Year.” I ran a partial season with the Lightning Sprints in 2007 and we sold our operation. My brother went sprint car racing and I went midget racing. We ran midgets for quite some years and unfortunately in 2010 (USAC National Midget race at The PAS in February) I hurt my neck. It was actually a rain delay from Saturday, and we ran on Sunday. If it had not gotten rained out, we would have not made it. That was probably the shortest life span of any race car I have ever owned. Fortunately, everything on the racecar did its job and I was able to survive the crash. Fourteen months later I was back in a racecar and it was something I probably was never supposed to do again (after the initial prognosis). The Midget Series had kind of fallen apart and the car count really went down. So, we sold our cars to a guy in New Zealand. We ran some 360-sprint car stuff in 2012. We did that for two or three seasons, and I think it was 2015 that I started racing USAC/CRA. It is a lot closer to home. We kind of got over the traveling with the 360 and I always wanted to go 410 racing. At that time, my brother decided to stop racing, so it allowed us to focus on the 410 deal.

The PAS: I know you do not do this all by yourself. Who are the people you would like to thank?

Gansen: I could not do this without Tom and Kevin Malloy of Trench Shoring. They are a long-time sponsor of me, and I am just so thankful for them. I want to thank Kistler Race Engines. Paul and Stew Kistler. They help us out quite a bit. Cook King Stainless Steel Fabricators, Circle Track Performance with Mel Murphy. Mel has been a big supporter of mine. King Racing Products and BR Motorsports, they are a huge part of our deal. Keizer Wheels, Cash Graphics. Mark Priestly owned sprint cars for a long time. He has partnered with us and helped us. My mom and dad. I think my dad has owned cars for 34 or 35 years now. He drives it and my mom supports. My wife and my son. My crew chief Jeff Gardner and all the guys that work on the car. Kenny Perkins is a real big part in helping me with the week to week operations and keeping everything together. It is definitely a team deal and a lot of work. A lot of people sacrifice a lot of time with their family to do this.

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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,, Rainbow Bolt & Supply, Rugged Radios, Shaver Specialties, Square H, Sunoco Race Fuels, Trench Shoring, Upland Rock, Varner Construction and Vista Paint.

Video and DVD productions of all racing sprint cars events at Perris Auto Speedway are available from Loudpedal Productions. For more information on these productions you can contact them by calling (805) 844-3854, E-mailing or you can visit the website LoudPedal Productions.

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. is the only authorized Internet address to issue official media news released from The Perris Auto Speedway or Oval Entertainment.