Louisville, Ky. (June 24 ) Fighting from farther back in the pack is something that Ricky Bryant and the Washington Apple team have had to do before. At Coastal Plains Speedway ( Jacksonville, NC ) in April Bryant had to start 24th when a...
Louisville, Ky. (June 24 ) Fighting from farther back in the pack is something that Ricky Bryant and the Washington Apple team have had to do before. At Coastal Plains Speedway ( Jacksonville, NC ) in April Bryant had to start 24th when a minor mishap damaged the Washington Apple Pontiac in qualifying . Bryant finished 4th that night after having one of the fastest cars all day. At Louisville tonight things were not looking so positive . The Washington Apple - Kroger's Pontiac could not get up to speed all day long. No matter what they tried the Washington Apple crew could not find the right setup for the very difficult and demanding D shaped 4/10 mile Louisville Speedway. Ricky Bryant was clearly a frustrated racer " The car was bad loose all day, it just wanted to get out from under me every time I went to get back on the gas. My team worked as hard as they ever had, especially with the heat and humidity today. No matter what we tried we just could not find the problem". That situation manifested itself in qualifying when the best Bryant could manage was 15th on the 22 car field. Bryant and the Washington Apple team have had a lot of success in the past at Louisville sitting on the pole with a new track record, and finishing 2nd in 1998. In 1999 Bryant finished 6th here.
After qualifying Bryant and the crew basically changed everything they could except the seat in hopes that come race time they would be better. Bryant's thoughts were more hopeful" We just felt that to sit here and hope for the best in the race was not the way to go.Especially not at this track. We had to do something so we changed a gear, some shocks, and some springs. One thing for certain wherever we finish tonight no one here at the track will have outworked our bunch today!" Bryant was certainly most concerned about Louisville Speedway's penchant for big wrecks and being back in the middle of the pack where incidents happen. In a recent ASA race at the Speedway 2 weeks ago there were 21 cautions.
When the green flag flew for the Pronto Auto Parts 125 Bryant cautiously worked his way up one position at a time trying to keep the car under him. Bryant and the Washington Apple Pontiac was a little better but was still running about 3 or 4 10th's slower than the lead pack. As the race continued on Bryant seemed to pick up the pace, and the car got a little better. Bryant commented " I don't know if we got a lot faster but we certainly got more consistent. I felt the field came back to us as the race went on. The car was better but it was still a handful tonight".Eventually with about 25 or 30 laps to go in the race Bryant was keeping pace with all the cars in the lead except eventual race winner Johnny Chapman who put Bryant a lap down. With attrition due to wrecks and Bryant's aggressive driving Ricky eventually worked himself and the Washington Apple Pontiac up to 5th place and a finish to the night that Bryant and his Washington Apple team did not think was possible earlier in the day. Ricky's final analysis on the day said it all " We certainly did not receive any good luck today. We worked and fought hard for everything we got. My hat's off to the Washington Apple crew for such a hard days work. None of us were happy campers here today, but if we are going to win a championship for Washington Apples this year this is just what we have to do on days like this. We will get this car back to the shop and basically take it apart till we can find out what is wrong with it so we can be ready for Summerville next week."
By finishing 5th Bryant closed the gap a little more between him and first place Robert Huffman. Bryant now sits 42 points behind Huffman at the half way mark in the Goody's Dash Series 2000 season. Saturday nights 5th place finish was also the Washington Apple teams 7th top five and 8th top ten finish in 9 races this season. They are leaders in both categories in the Dash Series. Bryant and the Washington Apple team have compiled an average finishing position of 6.4 through the first 9 races of the Goody's Dash 2000 season.
The next race for the Washington Apple team will be on Saturday night July 1st at Summerville (South Carolina ) Speedway.Last year Bryant and the Washington Apple team managed a 10th place finish, at Summerville, after being swept up in a early wreck on the speedway. After Summerville the Washington Apple team heads to legendary Greenville - Pickens (SC) Speedway on July 8th. This was the site of one of Ricky Bryant's 3 wins in 1999.
For information on Ricky Bryant and the Washington Apple team go to www.bestapples.com. Click on the race team link for pictures, stories and race results on Bryant and his Washington Apple bunch. BG Motorsports has also launched their own website.For more information on Bryant and the team go to- www.bgmotors.com