Rilat Rules in O'Reilly ASCoT East Coast Nationals Prelim at VMS SALUDA, VA (May 25, 2007) -- Texas shoe Travis Rilat kicked off the inaugural East Coast Nationals at Bill Sawyer's Virginia Motor Speedway with a strong drive to victory...
Rilat Rules in O'Reilly ASCoT East Coast Nationals Prelim at VMS
SALUDA, VA (May 25, 2007) -- Texas shoe Travis Rilat kicked off the inaugural East Coast Nationals at Bill Sawyer's Virginia Motor Speedway with a strong drive to victory lane in Friday night's 25-lap O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National feature.
Rilat charged past T.J. Winegardner for the lead on a lap two restart and led the rest of the way to post his second series win in less than a week aboard the Motor Mike-powered F&J Construction No. 29 Triple-X after topping last Saturday night's Bully Hill Nationals at Black Rock Speedway.
Rilat weathered several cautions along the way before finally taking the checkered flag with a dozen car-length advantage over Josh Weller, with Gary Wright and Wayne Johnson next across the line. Those four drivers are locked into the front three rows of Saturday night's $6,000 to win East Coast Nationals championship finale along with Saturday's top two point earners through heat race action that also competed in the preliminary event.
"The track was really racy tonight, you could get around the top really good and if you had to go to the bottom you could make that work too," Rilat explained in victory lane. "Allen Murray kicked in an extra $1,500 for us to win tonight and he's going to do the same if we can win tomorrow so the final will be worth $7,500 for us if we can win it."
Rilat gridded the feature outside the front row, but it was polesitter Winegardner gunning into the lead at the drop of the green. The ASCS Rebel Region point leader paced the field for just one lap before the red flag waved for Trevor Lewis, who dumped his mount in turn four while battling for fourth. Justin Collett and Chuck Hebing also tangled in the scramble, with all three drivers done for the night.
On the restart, Rilat took to the topside of turns one and two and charged past Winegardner to snare the point. Despite four more cautions over the remaining distance, Rilat slipped away from the field each time and collected his second ASCS National Tour win of the season and 22nd of his career in convincing fashion.
The battle for position behind Rilat was a wild scramble throughout, with Louisiana's Jason Johnson providing much of the fireworks. After starting seventh, "The Ragin' Cajun" reached the critical fourth position by the eighth round.
But he wasn't done yet, outdueling Josh Weller for third by the midway point and then setting his sights on Winegardner for second. After Chris Schmelzle came to a stop with 15 laps in the books, Johnson and Winegardner engaged in a torrid battle for the runner-up slot, repeatedly exchanging slidejobs.
And just as Andy Shouse came to a stop in turn four on the 21st lap with a blown power steering hose, Johnson put a big slider on Winegardner in turns one and two. Winegardner gave no quarter and the pair collided, with Johnson taking a hard tumble. Both cars were done for the night, with both drivers emerging relatively unscathed, although Johnson was somewhat shaken.
Running among the top four throughout, Pennsylvania's Josh Weller took full advantage. An ASCS Southern Tour feature winner last year, Weller fought off past National champions Wright and Wayne Johnson over the final laps to post a career-best ASCS National Tour finish of second aboard Rick Weller's Don Ott-powered Carl L. Weller/State Farm Insurance No. 63 J&J.
Wright rebounded from a rough Thursday night at Susquehanna Speedway Park to take the show position aboard the Wesmar-powered Richwood Construction/Whiteco Commercial Funding No. 9 Maxim, with Wayne Johnson snaring the critical fourth and final lock-in position aboard Tim Hammers' Wesmar-powered H&H Enterprises No. 94 Eagle.
Kenny Adams avoided the mayhem to climb from 14th to fifth in the Don Ott-powered B&W Enterprises No. 4a Shaw, with leading Brodix Rookie of the Year contender Foster Landon advancing form 15th to sixth.
Matt Tiffany posted an ASCS National Tour career-best finish of seventh, with ASCS Southern Tour rep Brian Smith racing from 22nd to eighth. Thirteen-year-old ASCS Mid-Atlantic Region championship contender Coleman Gulick climbed from 18th to ninth, with Craig Folmar the final car on the lead lap in tenth after starting 20th.
Darren Stewart's streak of bad luck continued when he came to a stop eight laps into the feature with power steering failure.
Winegardner, Shouse and Weller topped heat race action, with Tim Hogue outdueling Gulick to win the 10-lap "B" Main in front of closing ASCS Patriot contender Bryan Howland.
O'Reilly ASCoT Virginia Motor Speedway East Coast Nationals Prelim Results:
Heat Races (Top 16 in passing points to "A" Main; Balance to "B" Main)
Brodix Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 11T-T.J. Winegardner, 2. 41-Jason Johnson, 3. 94-Wayne Johnson, 4. 91-Darren Stewart, 5. 69-Justin Collett, 6. 11F-Foster Landon, 7. 14-Coleman Gulick, 8. 78-Mary Anne Williams, 9. 07-Johnny Bridges.
Wesmar-Shaver Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 27-Andy Shouse, 2. 19T-Matt Tiffany, 3. 9-Gary Wright, 4. 4a-Kenny Adams, 5. 45-Chuck Hebing, 6. 81-Craig Folmar, 7. 51h-Bryan Howland, 8. 11-Brian Smith, 9. 87-George Suprick.
Brodix Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 63-Josh Weller, 2. 29-Travis Rilat, 3. 21-Trevor Lewis, 4. 57c-Chris Schmelzle, 5. 4b-Bryn Gohn, 6. 39-Tim Hogue, 7. 25-Geoff Quackenbush, 8. 7-Clarence Cox, 9. 5-Kevin Atkins.
Pole Dash (Finishing Order Determines Front Three Rows of "A" Main):
Pole Dash (5 Laps): 1. 11T-T.J. Winegardner, 2. 29-Travis Rilat, 3. 21-Trevor Lewis, 4. 27-Andy Shouse, 5. 63-Josh Weller, 6. 19T-Matt Tiffany.
"B" Main -- Top 6 Advance to "A" Main
"B" Feature (10 Laps): 1. 39-Tim Hogue, 2. 14-Coleman Gulick, 3. 51h-Bryan Howland, 4. 81-Craig Folmar, 5. 25-Geoff Quackenbush, 6. 11-Brian Smith, 7. 78-Mary Anne Williams, 8. 7-Clarence Cox, 9. 07-Johnny Bridges. DNS: 87-George Suprick, 5-Kevin Atkins.
O'Reilly ASCoT Virginia Motor Speedway East Coast Nationals Prelim "A" Main Results:
"A" Feature (25 Laps): 1. 29-Travis Rilat, 2. 63-Josh Weller, 3. 9-Gary Wright, 4. 94-Wayne Johnson, 5. 4a-Kenny Adams, 6. 11F-Foster Landon, 7. 19T-Matt Tiffany, 8. 11-Brian Smith, 9. 14-Coleman Gulick, 10. 81-Craig Folmar, 11. 4b-Bryn Gohn, 12. 25-Geoff Quackenbush, 13. 11T-T.J. Winegardner, 14. 41-Jason Johnson, 15. 27-Andy Shouse, 16. 57c-Chris Schmelzle, 17. 51h-Bryan Howland, 18. 91-Darren Stewart, 19. 39-Tim Hogue, 20. 21-Trevor Lewis, 21. 69-Justin Collett, 22. 45-Chuck Hebing.
Lap Leaders: T.J. Winegardner 1, Travis Rilat 2-25.
O'Reilly ASCoT Points (Top Ten): 1. Gary Wright 1,968, 2. Wayne Johnson 1,940, 3. Jason Johnson 1,905, 4. Travis Rilat 1,851, 5. Darren Stewart 1,781, 6. Foster Landon 1,658, 7. Andy Shouse 1,559, 8. Chris Schmelzle 1,318, 9. Johnny Miller 1,047, 10. Nick Smith 832.