Stewart Snares O'Reilly ASCS Joplin Loot with Last Corner Pass JOPLIN, Mo. (July 31, 2004) - Shane Stewart swirled the muddy waters of controversy in Saturday night's 25-lap feature at Joplin 66 Speedway, making a final-corner, ...
Stewart Snares O'Reilly ASCS Joplin Loot with Last Corner Pass
JOPLIN, Mo. (July 31, 2004) - Shane Stewart swirled the muddy waters of controversy in Saturday night's 25-lap feature at Joplin 66 Speedway, making a final-corner, wheel-brushing pass of Zach Chappell to post his first O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and Classic Trailers triumph of the season.
After taking command in the early stages, Chappell was less than a lap away from victory lane when the yellow lights flickered for the first time. With a collapsed left side wing panel, Chappell valiantly held off Stewart and Gary Wright over the green-white-checkered run until the final corner when Stewart battled past to reach the stripe first, greeted in victory lane by a raucous crowd expressing mixed opinions of the final outcome.
"He (Chappell) slipped a little high in that last turn and I went as low as I could go, I was right by the infield tires," Stewart commented afterward. "I guess my right rear tire touched his left front. So I was basically all the way by him and as low as I could get, I don't know what else I could have done. That's just the way it goes, I've definitely lost a few that way too."
Stewart went on to say, "This is our first win since Rob Hart left the team a couple of weeks ago. Rob did a great job of helping build this into a top-notch team, but I'd had some success before I was with Rob and we're gonna keep winning races into the future. There's no reason that the mIn team can't continue to be a top team for years to come."
The main event got under way routinely enough, with Brodix Rookie of the Year contender Sam Hafertepe, Jr., outgunning outside front row starter Chappell to snare the lead at the drop of the green flag. Chappell found the cushion to his liking however and charged by on the high side exiting turn four on the second round.
With Chappell setting the pace, second row starters Stewart and Wright made their way past Hafertepe by the fourth round and set their sights on Chappell, who had amassed a half straightaway advantage by the time lapped traffic came into play after six circuits.
With the leader mired in heavy lapped traffic ten laps in, Stewart and Wright closed the gap. Stewart pulled alongside Chappell on the 12th round, only to have Chappell successfully fend off the challenge for the lead and quickly put a pair of lapped cars between himself and Stewart.
Chappell's rapid pace was undeterred by the left side wing panel that began crimping with just six laps to go. Chappell took the white flag four car-lengths ahead of Stewart, only to have the caution fly moments later for Travis Rilat, who came to a halt in turn three after tangling with a lapped car while running fourth.
As the caution flew, the left side of Chappell's wing collapsed, entirely obscuring the driver's view out of the left side. With the wing panel literally hanging by a thread, Chappell fought his ill-handling machine with Stewart and Wright nipping at his heels on the green-white-checkered restart.
Less than a half lap from his second series triumph of the season, Chappell slid high in turn four approaching the checkered flag, thus opening the door for Stewart. Stewart took quick advantage, slicing underneath and, after right-rear tire to left-front tire contact, dashed to his ninth career ASCS National victory aboard Scott Chilcutt's Wesmar-powered mIn Motorsports Management No. 4m Maxim.
As Chappell gathered his machine in, Wright raced by as well to snare the runner-up slot, with Chappell salvaging the show position. After some frantic activity among a throng of lapped machines, Gulf South Region regular Ray Allen Kulhanek advanced in the final two rounds to post a career-best ASCS National Tour fourth-place finish, with Tim Montgomery rounding out the top five.
Foster Landon led the American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region forces with a strong sixth-place run, while Rilat rebounded from the late incident to cross the stripe seventh. Hafertepe was eighth, with Toby Brown and Jason Martin completing the top ten.
Garry Lee Maier, Hafertepe, Stewart and Rilat topped heat race action for the 31-car field, with A.G. Rains winning the 12-lap B Main.
Cody Branchcomb recovered from a turn two tumble in hot laps to snare the fourth and final transfer position in the B Main, then raced to 12th in the feature.
Current Sooner Region point leader Andy Shouse utilized a provisional starting position for the feature after suffering a broken front end in his heat race then flipping in the B Main. Shouse crossed the stripe 16th, good enough to maintain a 14-point lead over defending Sooner Region kingpin Kevin Ramey, who finished eleventh.
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. Garry Lee Maier, 2. Zach Chappell, 3. Foster Landon, 4. J.P. Bailey, 5. A.G. Rains, 6. Tina Creswell, 7. Natalie Sather, 8. Doug Fry.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 2. Gary Wright, 3. Ray Allen Kulhanek, 4. Jimmy Taylor, 5. Gary Owens, 6. Preston Peebles II, 7. Brian McClelland, 8. Gary Owens.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. Shane Stewart, 2. Kevin Ramey, 3. Tony Bruce, Jr., 4. Jason Martin, 5. Nick Smith, 6. Steve Mahannah, 7. Andy Shouse. DNS: Cody Branchcomb.
Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. Travis Rilat, 2. Tim Montgomery, 3. Toby Brown, 4. Sean McClelland, 5. Steve Gennetten, 6. Matt Folstad, 7. Barry McCord.
B Feature (12 Laps): 1. A.G. Rains, 2. Nick Smith, 3. Steve Gennetten, 4. Cody Branchcomb, 5. Natalie Sather, 6. Matt Folstad, 7. Jeff Leep, 8. Brian McClelland, 9. Doug Fry, 10. Steve Mahannah, 11. Gary Owens, 12. Barry McCord, 13. Tina Creswell, 14. Preston Peebles II, 15. Andy Shouse.
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. Shane Stewart, 2. Gary Wright, 3. Zach Chappell, 4. Ray Allen Kulhanek, 5. Tim Montgomery, 6. Foster Landon, 7. Travis Rilat, 8. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 9. Toby Brown, 10. Jason Martin, 11. Kevin Ramey, 12. Cody Branchcomb, 13. J.P. Bailey, 14. A.G. Rains, 15. Tony Bruce, Jr., 16. Andy Shouse, 17. Sean McClelland, 18. Garry Lee Maier, 19. Nick Smith, 20. Jimmy Taylor, 21. Steve Gennetten.
O'Reilly ASCS National Tour Points (Top Fifteen): 1. Gary Wright 3,266, 2. Travis Rilat 3,228, 3. Zach Chappell 3,094, 4. Garry Lee Maier 2,973, 5. Toby Brown 2,665, 6. Darren Stewart 2,551, 7. A.G. Rains 2,425, 8. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 2,347, 9. Jimmy Taylor 2,343, 10. Natalie Sather 2,111, 11. Cody Branchcomb 2,020, 12. Tony Bruce, Jr. 1,704, 13. Jason Martin 1,440, 14. Shane Stewart 1,394, 15. Dale Howard 1,343.
American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Andy Shouse 1,548, 2. Kevin Ramey 1,534, 3. Sean McClelland 1,492, 4. Tony Bruce, Jr. 1,476, 5. Preston Peebles II 1,402, 6. Foster Landon 1,344, 7. Jason Martin 1,240, 8. J.P. Bailey 1,229, 9. Danny Jennings 1,212, 10. Barry McCord 1,170.