14 year old driver tops USAC Ford Focus series

Ron Sutton’s Winner’s Circle development driver Keegan Walmer ended his inaugural USAC California Pavement Ford Focus Car Series season on Thursday night (November 26), posting the fastest qualifying time in the 69th running of the famed Turkey Night Grand Prix at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.

The USAC California Pavement Ford Focus Car Series, as is customary, concluded its 2009 race calendar with a large gathering of Ford Focus Midgets taking part in the Thanksgiving night Turkey Night Grand Prix. Right from the get go, it became apparent that Walmer in his No. 9 Reser’s Fine Foods/Ron Sutton Winner’s Circle USAC Ford Focus Midget was a driver worth keeping an eye. When single-car qualifying got underway on the 1/3-mile paved oval in southern California, the talented 14 year-old from Portland, Ore., promptly became the driver every was chasing. Thanks to a fast lap of 14.524, the multiple micro/mini and quarter midget champion ended qualifying at the top of the charts.

When the 40-lap Turkey Grand Prix got underway a short time later under the lights, Walmer took the green flag in sixth place due to the inverted top-six rule. Initially things were going as planned for Walmer, with the Ron Sutton’s Winner’s Circle rookie avoiding any early race trouble while battling for position among the lead pack. That all changed on lap four however, when Walmer spun and fell to the rear of the large 25-car main event field. Regrouping and focusing on running a mistake-free race from that point forward, the talented teenaged showed the speed, race-craft and patience of a rising star, steadily advancing up the timing charts lap after lap. When Walmer received the checkered flag after 40 tours of the Irwindale oval, he had impressed many onlookers by advancing up to 16th place against a deep and talented field of drivers.

“Keegan Walmer is the real deal," explained Team Principal Sutton. “The pole at this huge event was no fluke, as he has qualified in the top-three several times in the six races he ran this year. But what has been really impressive is how quickly he ramped up in the races. He ran third in just his second race. Keegan outran all the other series veterans almost immediately … and ran right on the tail of the older, more experienced RSWC drivers … posting some third and second place finishes in just a few races. This kid is going to be a star!" Sutton Winners Circle PR

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