Wright Moves Net Win in ASCS Gulf South Opener at GTRP BEAUMONT, Texas (March 6, 2009) -- It didn't take long for Gary Wright to find the winning combination in his new ride, as he made a lap 23 pass of race long leader Tony Bruce,...
Wright Moves Net Win in ASCS Gulf South Opener at GTRP
BEAUMONT, Texas (March 6, 2009) -- It didn't take long for Gary Wright to find the winning combination in his new ride, as he made a lap 23 pass of race long leader Tony Bruce, Jr., to top Friday night's season-opening 25-lap American Sprint Car Series Gulf South Region feature event at Golden Triangle Raceway Park.
In just his third night aboard Scott Brown's ASI-powered Lubbock Wrecker Service/Richwood Construction No. 9x Maxim, "The Texan" worked the top side of the 0x00bc-mile gumbo clay oval to deny Liberal, KS, shoe Bruce the $3,000 winner's share in the Prelude to the Gulf Coast Nationals.
"That was a good race," Wright commented as he climbed from his winning mount, understating the sentiments of the standing room only crowd.
After winning his heat race from the pole position, Wright started the main event from the second row and was up to third behind Bruce and Travis Rilat after just two laps. Wright eventually took second from Rilat on the 18th lap before making the winning move.
Bruce started the race to Wright's inside, but, after the initial start was waved off for Sean McClelland's turn two spin, needed only a half lap to dispose of front row starters Brandon Berryman and Rilat for the lead. Bruce and Rilat took off in short order, reaching lapped traffic after just seven laps as Wright closed in to make it a three car duel for the point.
After dicing in frantic fashion for several laps in heavy traffic, Rilat raced into the lead on the 14th lap only to have the move negated when Channin Tankersley jumped the turn four cushion and spun to a stop.
Tankersley's night got worse two laps later when he got upside down on the frontstretch after banging wheels with Aaron Reutzel. Done for the night, Tankersley walked away unscathed.
Under the ensuing caution, Rilat's victory hopes deflated along with his left rear tire. While the nearly flat tire built pressure back up to some extent when green flag conditions resumed, the resulting lack of forward bite left Rilat defenseless to Wright's oncoming charge.
Wright blasted past Rilat for second on the 18th lap and began reeling in Bruce, who was working the low side of the track in his Rider-powered No. 18 Maxim.
With the leaders reaching the tail of the field in the final circuits, Wright briefly surged ahead of Bruce on the 22nd lap in the struggle for the win. Bruce fought back to retain command briefly, but the next time around it was Wright snaring the lead for keeps.
"He's still the man to beat, no question about it," Bruce commented of Wright, who will vie for a fifth Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Series championship in 2009.
Bruce settled for runner-up honors, with Rilat holding on for the show position in the Shark-powered F&J Construction No. 29 Triple X.
Defending ASCS National champion Jason Johnson gained a pair of positions to bring Marvin Pearson's Wesmar-powered No. 11 Eagle home fourth, giving Lucas Oil ASCS championship contenders a sweep of the top four positions.
Making his first start aboard the MSG Motorsports No. 30, Scottie McDonald was the top finisher among the ASCS Gulf South championship contenders by rounding out the top five.
Kevin Ramey crossed the stripe sixth, while Tommy Bryant earned Hard Charger honors by racing from 18th to seventh. Two-time and defending ASCS Gulf South champion Brandon Berryman slipped to eighth at the finish, with ASCS Lone Star hopeful John Ricketts and Gulf South shoe Kent Lewis, Jr., completing the top ten.
Kathryne Minter crossed the stripe ninth but was docked two positions for jumping the race's final restart, resulting in an eleventh-place finish in the final rundown.
Rilat, Bruce, Ramey, McDonald and Wright topped heat race action for the 36-car field, with Reutzel and Brandon Corn winning the twin 12-lap "B" Mains.
The weekend's action continues with Saturday night's Second Annual Gulf Coast Nationals at 105 Speedway in Cleveland, TX, with another $3,000 winner's cut up for grabs.
American Sprint Car Series Gulf South Region Results from Golden Triangle Raceway Park:
Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 29-Travis Rilat, 2. 13-Kathryne Minter, 3. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 4. 15T-Travis Elliott, 5. 35-Greg Rilat, 6. 3-Gary Watson, 7. 69-Larry Howery, 8. 2L-Logan Forler.
Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 2. 76-John Ricketts, 3. 74-Brandon Corn, 4. 80-James McNeil, 5. 87x-Billy Melton, 6. 21T-Tommy Bryant, 7. 17c-Greg Coleman.
Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 2. 12-Trey Schmidt, 3. 4-Eric Baldaccini, 4. 17-Bruce Griffith, Jr., 5. d20-David Noker, 6. 5m-Glenn Martin, 7. 30x-Bean Elliott.
Heat Four (8 Laps): 1. 30-Scottie McDonald, 2. 31-Brandon Berryman, 3. 1b-Kent Lewis, Jr., 4. 1-Sean McClelland, 5. 19-Klint Angelette, 6. 1x-Robby Wolfgang, 7. 12s-Steve Hubbard.
Heat Five (8 Laps): 1. 9x-Gary Wright, 2. 11-Jason Johnson, 3. 51-Jimmy Brooks, 4. 71-Channin Tankersley, 5. 93-Chris Sweeney, 6. 5*-Ray Allen Kulhanek. DNS: 10-Larry Hartwell.
First "B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 2. 51-Jimmy Brooks, 3. 3-Gary Watson, 4. 5*-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 5. 93-Chris Sweeney, 6. 35-Greg Rilat, 7. 80-James McNeil, 8. 2L-Logan Forler, 9. 12s-Steve Hubbard, 10. d20-David Noker. DNS: 30x-Bean Elliott.
Second "B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 74-Brandon Corn, 2. 21T-Tommy Bryant, 3. 71-Channin Tankersley, 4. 87x-Billy Melton, 5. 19-Klint Angelette, 6. 69-Larry Howery, 7. 17c-Greg Coleman, 8. 1x-Robby Wolfgang, 9. 15T-Travis Elliott. DNS: 5m-Glenn Martin, 10-Larry Hartwell.
"A" Feature (25 Laps): 1. 9x-Gary Wright, 2. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 3. 29-Travis Rilat, 4. 11-Jason Johnson, 5. 30-Scottie McDonald, 6. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 7. 21T-Tommy Bryant, 8. 31-Brandon Berryman, 9. 76-John Ricketts, 10. 1b-Kent Lewis, Jr., 11. 13-Kathryne Minter, 12. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 13. 74-Brandon Corn, 14. 3-Gary Watson, 15. 17-Bruce Griffith, Jr., 16. 51-Jimmy Brooks, 17. 4-Eric Baldaccini, 18. 71-Channin Tankersley, 19. 1-Sean McClelland, 20. 12-Trey Schmidt.
ASCS Gulf South Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Gary Wright 150, 2. Tony Bruce, Jr. 146, 3. Travis Rilat 144, 4. Jason Johnson 142, 5. Scottie McDonald 140, 6. Kevin Ramey 138, 7. Tommy Bryant 136, 8. Brandon Berryman 134, 9. John Ricketts 132, 10. Kent Lewis, Jr. 130.