Wright Rules O'Reilly ASCS at Champion Park HAUGHTON, Lou. (May 7, 2005) -- Gary Wright made it three wins in a row and completed a sweep of the weekend's O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops &...
Wright Rules O'Reilly ASCS at Champion Park
HAUGHTON, Lou. (May 7, 2005) -- Gary Wright made it three wins in a row and completed a sweep of the weekend's O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores racing action by topping Saturday night's 25-lap feature at Champion Park Speedway.
"The track was really good early, but I could tell on the first lap of the feature it was gonna go away from us pretty quick so I knew I needed to get to the front in a hurry," Wright commented after capturing his 93rd career ASCS National Tour feature victory aboard the Wesmar-powered Southwest Express/The Shop/Richwood Construction No. 9 Maxim.
Wright wasted little time indeed, needing just four laps to charge from his seventh starting position into the lead. He then survived a late bid from Ernie Ainsworth to secure the victory and took over the series points lead in the process.
Polesitter Ainsworth outgunned fellow front row starter Jan Howard for the point at the drop of the green flag, with Wright advancing to third on the opening round in front of second row starters Toby Brown and Jake Martens.
Wright disposed of Howard for second on the third lap, then raced past Ainsworth the next time around before the caution flew a lap later for Darren Stewart, who spun to a stop on the front stretch with front end damage after clipping an infield tire. Stewart, who entered the evening atop the series points race, was done for the night.
With action back under way, Wright set the pace as Ainsworth and Howard diced for second in front of the battling duo of Brown and Martens. Howard took second from Ainsworth on the sixth lap, while Martens overtook Brown for fourth a lap later.
Wright began navigating through lapped traffic at the midway point, with Ainsworth reclaiming second from Howard on the 16th lap. Martens and Brown both followed suit over the next two circuits, relegating Howard to fifth. With Wright bottled up in traffic, Ainsworth closed the gap on the defending series champion and was poised to challenge for the lead when fourth-runner Brown and the lapped car of Larry Hartwell tangled entering turn three on the 22nd round, precipitating the race's second and final caution.
Wright went unchallenged over the final four rounds to secure the victory, with Ainsworth posting a career-best ASCS National Tour finish of second aboard the Mike Hammers-owned No. 94 Mr. Cash Title Loans/TMI Trailers entry.
Brodix Rookie of the Year contender Martens claimed the show position, while 15th-starter Danny Wood picked up four positions over the final four laps to snare fourth. Howard rounded out the top five in front of Justin Sturch, Sam Hafertepe, Jr., and Rookie of the Year candidate Tony Bruce, Jr. Eric Payne led the Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores ASCS Gulf South Region reps across the stripe in ninth, with A.G. Rains completing the top ten.
Howard, Brown, Ainsworth and Martens claimed heat race victories for the 32-car field, with Scottie McDonald racing to the checkered flag first in the 12-lap B Main.
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. Jan Howard, 2. Gary Wright, 3. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 4. Darren Stewart, 5. Scottie McDonald, 6. Stephen Chevallier, 7. Ray Allen Kulhanek, 8. Greg Coleman.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. Toby Brown, 2. Justin Sturch, 3. A.G. Rains, 4. Danny Wood, 5. Greg Rilat, 6. Darryl Wills, 7. Natalie Sather, 8. Ty Johnson.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. Ernie Ainsworth, 2. Lane Whittington, 3. Jimmy Taylor, 4. Larry Hartwell, 5. Terry Monroe, 6. Jimmy Brooks. DNS: Chris Sweeney. Disqualified: Richard Holt (failed to report to scales after finishing first).
Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. Jake Martens, 2. Tony Bruce, Jr., 3. David Kulhanek, 4. Eric Payne, 5. Josh Lofton, 6. Neil McCarl, 7. Charlie McDonald. DNS: Lee Sowell.
B Feature (12 Laps): 1. Scottie McDonald, 2. Greg Rilat, 3. Darryl Wills, 4. Ray Allen Kulhanek, 5. Stephen Chevallier, 6. Natalie Sather, 7. Richard Holt, 8. Greg Coleman, 9. Terry Monroe, 10. Neil McCarl, 11. Chris Sweeney, 12. Charlie McDonald, 13. Ty Johnson, 14. Jimmy Brooks. DNS: Josh Lofton, Lee Sowell.
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. Gary Wright, 2. Ernie Ainsworth, 3. Jake Martens, 4. Danny Wood, 5. Jan Howard, 6. Justin Sturch, 7. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 8. Tony Bruce, Jr., 9. Eric Payne, 10. A.G. Rains, 11. Jimmy Taylor, 12. Greg Rilat, 13. Scottie McDonald, 14. Ray Allen Kulhanek, 15. Toby Brown, 16. Darryl Wills, 17. Larry Hartwell, 18. David Kulhanek, 19. Lane Whittington, 20. Darren Stewart.
O'Reilly ASCS National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores Points (Top Fifteen): 1. Gary Wright 848, 2. Jan Howard 828, 3. Darren Stewart 810, 4. Jake Martens 792, 5. Tony Bruce, Jr. 747, 6. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 701, 7. Toby Brown 687, 8. A.G. Rains 679, 9. Lee Sowell 522, 10. Ernie Ainsworth 512, 11. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 502, 12. Jimmy Taylor 492, 13. Travis Rilat 490, 14. Eric Payne 449, 15. Natalie Sather 439.
Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores ASCS Gulf South Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Greg Rilat 702, 2. (tie) Scottie McDonald and Darryl Wills 686, 4. Ray Allen Kulhanek 684, 5. Chris Sweeney 678, 6. David Kulhanek 674, 7. Lane Whittington 672, 8. Stephen Chevallier 668, 9. Richard Holt 640, 10. Eric Payne 574.