Bruce Produces First O'Reilly ASCoT Feature Win in Devil's Bowl Prelim MESQUITE, Texas (March 14, 2008) -- Tony Bruce, Jr., fought off Gary Wright in the closing rounds to capture his first career O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour ...
Bruce Produces First O'Reilly ASCoT Feature Win in Devil's Bowl Prelim
MESQUITE, Texas (March 14, 2008) -- Tony Bruce, Jr., fought off Gary Wright in the closing rounds to capture his first career O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National feature win as the 35th Annual Devil's Bowl Speedway Spring Nationals kicked off on Friday night.
Bruce repelled a charge from the four-time and reigning series champion on a lap 15 restart and then beat "The Texan" to the line to post the 20-lap triumph aboard the Best Well Service No. 18 Maxim in his 70th career ASCS National Tour feature start.
"It's nice to get this one, we were needing it," the series' 2005 Brodix Rookie of the Year commented in victory lane. "When Gary got under us on that restart, I took it into three and four wide-open, I wasn't gonna lift for anything."
Bruce's bravado around the top side of turns three and four proved beneficial, as he surged back in front and ultimately beat Wright to the line by four car-lengths, with Jason Sides and Wayne Johnson taking the final two lock-in positions to Saturday night's 35th Annual Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals finale.
After winning the fourth of six heat races for the 52-car field, Bruce drew the pole position for the feature event with Wayne Johnson slated to start on his outside shoulder. But the complexion of the race changed before it ever started when Johnson was unable to fire until a quick trip to the work area.
With Johnson relegated to the tail of the field, 15-year-old Trey Robb assumed the front row outside position. But it was Bruce gunning into the lead at the outset with Robb and third-starter Nick Smith giving chase in the early stages.
The 23-year-old Liberal, KS, racer survived four interruptions during the opening eight circuits, including a red-flag stoppage after five laps when Rookie of the Year contender Gary Taylor and two-time ASCS Sooner Region champion Kevin Ramey tangled and flipped in turn three.
While Bruce had cruised out front, Wright was on the move from his original 12th starting position. Up to fifth by the time the time the red flag flew after five laps, Wright battled past Robb and Sides to take third behind Bruce and Smith by the time the yellow flag flew after eight laps when Foster Landon came to a stop on the frontstretch with front end damage.
Back under way, Wright quickly disposed of Smith for second and set his sights on the leader. Bruce's ten car-length advantage began to fade as the leaders approached lapped traffic, with Wright pulling alongside to challenge for the lead as the duo raced into turn one on the 15th lap only to have the race's final caution fly when Don Droud, Jr., spun to a stop in turn two after contact with an infield tire.
When Bruce took to the top side of turns one and two on the restart, Wright raced underneath in the Wright-Cooper Motorsports Wesmar-powered Richwood Construction No. 9 Maxim and led the way down the backstretch.
But Bruce motored back around on the top side of turns three and four to regain command, then shut the door by moving to the bottom of turns one and two. Bruce ran off the final laps on the bottom side of one and two and the top of three and four to secure the win.
Wright settled for second, recording a new series record 17 consecutive top-five feature finishes in the process. Seventh-starter Jason Sides ran amongst the top four most of the way before claiming the show position. After starting scratch in the 22-car feature field, Wayne Johnson battled back through the field and took fourth from Smith on the final restart to lock himself into Saturday night's main event.
Smith rounded out the top five aboard Kip Smith's Wesmar-powered Sooner Network Solutions No. 15s J&J.
After coasting to a stop off the backstretch after just two laps, 2001 ASCS National champion Zach Chappell raced through the field to salvage a sixth-place finish after starting 20th.
Collected in a heat race incident, Jason Johnson fell one position short of a transfer in "B" Main action and utilized a provisional starting position to race from 21st to seventh.
Aaron Berryhill climbed from 15th to eighth, with Nebraska's Jack Dover and 16th-starter Sam Hafertepe, Jr., completing the top ten.
Eric Lutz, Dover, Scott Winters, Bruce, Wayne Johnson and Nick Smith topped heat race action, with Berryhill, Hafertepe and Ramey winning the "B" Mains.
O'Reilly ASCoT 35th Annual Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals Preliminary Event Results:
Heat Races (Top 14 in passing points to "A" Main; Balance to 3 "B" Mains)
Brodix Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 1-Eric Lutz, 2. 1s-Trey Robb, 3. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 4. 57x-Jake Peters, 5. 13-Kathryne Minter, 6. 65-Skip Wilson, 7. 18x-Lorne Wofford, 8. 8x-Chris Williams, 9. 5e-Brandon Erwin.
Wesmar-Shaver Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 53-Jack Dover, 2. 5*-Gary Taylor, 3. 51-Foster Landon, 4. 8h-Dustin Morgan, 5. 29-Travis Rilat, 6. 75-Don Young, 7. 45k-Kolt Walker, 8. 15k-Kerry McAlister, 9. 14-Michael Lang.
Brodix Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 23w-Scott Winters, 2. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 3. 7s-Jason Sides, 4. 48-Shawn Sander, 5. 94s-Natalie Sather, 6. 41x-Brent Swift, 7. 11m-Brandon Moseley, 8. 2-Kenneth Walker, 9. 41-Jasonohnson.
Wesmar-Shaver Heat Four (8 Laps): 1. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 2. 18r-Ryan Roberts, 3. 50z-Zach Chappell, 4. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 5. 91-Don Droud, Jr., 6. 21-Brian Brown, 7. 77-Colt Treharn, 8. 2x-Josh Higday, 9. 71-Chris Tarrant.
Heat Five (8 Laps): 1. 94-Wayne Johnson, 2. 1w-George White, 3. 4-Mike Chadd, 4. 11x-Garry Lee Maier, 5. 22-Billy Alley, 6. 31-Matt Clevenger, 7. 87-Billy Melton. DNS: 2h-Neil Stevens.
Heat Six (8 Laps): 1. 15s-Nick Smith, 2. 9-Gary Wright, 3. 97-Aaron Berryhill, 4. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 5. 94x-Cody Branchcomb, 6. 2w-Whit Gastineau, 7. 81au-Gavin Punch. DNS: 95-Matt Covington.
J "B" Mains -- Top 2 From Each Advance to "A" Main
First "B" Feature (10 Laps): 1. 97-Aaron Berryhill, 2. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 3. 21-Brian Brown, 4. 29-Travis Rilat, 5. 94s-Natalie Sather, 6. 4-Mike Chadd, 7. 2-Kenneth Walker, 8. 31-Matt Clevenger, 9. 13-Kathryne Minter, 10. 81au-Gavin Punch, 11. 14-Michael Lang, 12. 11m-Brandon Moseley. DNS: 2h-Neil Stevens.
Second "B" Feature (10 Laps): 1. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 2. 91-Don Droud, Jr., 3. 41-Jason Johnson, 4. 51-Foster Landon, 5. 8h-Dustin Morgan, 6. 65-Skip Wilson, 7. 22-Billy Alley, 8. 48-Shawn Sander, 9. 2w-Whit Gastineau, 10. 2x-Josh Higday, 11. 95-Matt Covington, 12. 8x-Chris Williams, 13. 77-Colt Treharn.
Third "B" Feature (10 Laps): 1. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 2. 50z-Zach Chappell, 3. 75-Don Young, 4. 5e-Brandon Erwin, 5. 45k-Kolt Walker, 6. 71-Chris Tarrant, 7. 15k-Kerry McAlister, 8. 87-Billy Melton, 9. 11x-Garry Lee Maier, 10. 94x-Cody Branchcomb, 11. 41x-Brent Swift, 12. 18x-Lorne Wofford.
O'Reilly ASCoT "A" Main Event:
"A" Feature (20 Laps): 1. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 2. 9-Gary Wright, 3. 7s-Jason Sides, 4. 94-Wayne Johnson, 5. 15s-Nick Smith, 6. 50z-Zach Chappell, 7. 41-Jason Johnson, 8. 97-Aaron Berryhill, 9. 53-Jack Dover, 10. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 11. 1s-Trey Robb, 12. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 13. 1-Eric Lutz, 14. 57x-Jake Peters, 15. 18r-Ryan Roberts, 16. 23w-Scott Winters, 17. 91-Don Droud, Jr., 18. 1w-George White, 19. 51-Foster Landon, 20. 5*-Gary Taylor, 21. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 22. 03-Joe Wood, Jr.
Lap Leaders: Tony Bruce, Jr. 1-20.
Note: Jason Johnson and Foster Landon utilized provisionals to start the "A" Main.
O'Reilly ASCoT Points (Top Fifteen): 1. Gary Wright 289, 2. Wayne Johnson 269, 3. Jason Sides 255, 4. Zach Chappell 236, 5. Don Droud, Jr. 232, 6. Jason Johnson 217, 7. Travis Rilat 213, 8. Eric Baldaccini 206, 9. Garry Lee Maier 189, 10. Don Young 154.