Notebook 2008-03-20

ASCS Notebook... TULSA, Okla. (March 20, 2008) -- It will be a good Friday in Oklahoma City as State Fair Speedway's Spring Nationals fires off with the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series invading the 1/3-mile clay ...

ASCS Notebook...

TULSA, Okla. (March 20, 2008) -- It will be a good Friday in Oklahoma City as State Fair Speedway's Spring Nationals fires off with the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series invading the 1/3-mile clay oval.

And six different winners in as many feature events will be the possible outcome on Friday, with seven in seven the possible Saturday night result when ASCS National Tour action continues with the top four finishers from Friday night's feature locked into State Fair Speedway's Spring Nationals finale.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Sherman tries to tack on another ASCS Canyon Region win at Manzanita while the ASCS Southwest Region fires off at USA Race Park.

---Gary Wright's last-lap pass in last Saturday night's 35th Annual Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals main event made him the fifth different ASCoT feature winner this year in as many events, joining Kenny Adams, Terry McCarl, Jason Johnson and Tony Bruce, Jr., in the win column.

---Wright's last-lap heroics put an exclamation point on the awards he was presented with at the outset of the night; the National Driver of the Year and National Team of the Year Awards for 2007 as determined by the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum's National Sprint Car Poll. It marked the fourth time in the past five years that Wright has received such honors. Receiving Team of the Year awards along with Wright were Bill White, Danny Wooten and Richard Woodle.

---Devil's Bowl featured 52 ASCoT competitors on Friday night and 51 on Saturday night, with 55 different drivers taking part in 54 different cars. Gary Taylor, Michael Lang and Neil Stevens competed on Friday but missed Saturday (Taylor was involved in a feature crash, while Minnesota's Stevens blew an engine in hot laps), with Texas City's Greg Rilat and Missouri's Tyler Thompson joining in on Saturday's action. Oklahoma City's Brent Swift piloted the No. 41x entry on Friday before handing the car over to Norman's Koby Barksdale on Saturday. Swift announced plans to change to No. 43 by this weekend so as to avoid confusion with Jason Johnson's No. 41.

---Trailing Gary Wright by just one point entering the Devil's Bowl double, Jason Johnson finds himself back in the position of playing "catch-up" in the $50,000 championship points race after using a provisional to start Friday night's main event. A pair of seventh-place finishes over the weekend, with only Saturday's awarding seventh-place points as provisionals are worth the extra money only, "The Ragin' Cajun" slipped to fifth in points, 86 points off Wright's lead pace.

---After top-five runs in all three East Bay features, Travis Rilat missed the Friday night feature cut at Devil's Bowl as well and slipped to sixth in points (94 points behind Wright) after a ninth-place finish on Saturday. Rilat has changed engine suppliers in 2008, utilizing the Washington-based Shark powerplants.

---Making the switch to Maxim, Wayne Johnson reeled off a pair of fourth-place finishes at Devil's Bowl to climb to second in points. The Oklahoma City native is the defending State Fair Speedway Spring Nationals champion.

---After taking the top four positions on Friday night, Maxim swept the top five on Saturday night at Devil's Bowl. Nick Smith brought a J&J home fifth on Friday, with Sam Hafertepe, Jr., sixth in a J&J on Saturday. Jason Johnson fared the best of the Eagle reps with seventh on both nights. Travis Rilat put Triple-X in the top ten with Saturday's ninth-place finish.

---Gary Wright now has 18 consecutive top-five feature finishes in ASCS National Tour competition. That's a new series record, topping his past mark of 16 in a row. Jason Johnson holds the mark for longest current streak of top-ten runs, finishing among the top-ten 24 times in a row. That's 16 shy of Terry Gray's 40 consecutive top-tens established a decade ago during a stretch from July of 1997 to July of 1998.

---Twenty-year old Eric Baldaccini of Keller, TX, is out to the early lead in the Brodix Rookie of the Year chase. Ranked seventh in overall points, the driver of the No. B4 entry is just eleven points ahead of fellow Rookie contender Don Droud, Jr., entering this weekend, with other Rookie contenders giving chase including Kathryne Minter (19th), Kenneth Walker (22nd) and Gary Taylor.

---Last year's Rookie of the Year, Foster Landon, opened the season with a new look aboard a second Tel-Star Communications entry. Carrying the number 51, Landon used a provisional to start the feature in which his teammate (Gary Taylor) tangled with Kevin Ramey. Landon exited soon after when the frontstretch wall proved stronger than his front-end components. Rear end woes brought Landon's Saturday action to an early end.

---Aurora, Nebraska's Ryan Roberts made his first career ASCS National Tour feature start on Friday night at Devil's Bowl (15th) and backed it up by making the cut on Saturday night (16th) as well.

---Gary Wright, Jason Johnson and Wayne Johnson have combined to win the last nine O'Reilly ASCoT National feature events at State Fair Speedway. Wright has five wins (including three of four in 2007), Jason Johnson has three wins (three of four in 2006 including a sweep of the Spring Nationals) and Wayne Johnson has one. The last driver other than Wright and the unrelated Johnson duo to win at Oklahoma City was Darren Stewart in June of 2005.

---There have been several American Bank of ASCS Sooner Region winners at State Fair Speedway since June of 2005 including Norman's Danny Jennings (8/17/07) and Tulsa area racers Nick Smith (8/18/06) and Sean McClelland (4/21/06). Jennings and Smith will be in action this weekend while McClelland is wrenching for Kathryne Minter.

---Two-time Sooner Region champ Kevin Ramey of Fort Worth won a Sooner Region race at State Fair Speedway on September 3, 2004, and then won a National event in May of 2005.

---Idle time found WoO regulars Tony Bruce, Jr., Sam Hafertepe, Jr., and Jason Sides, all past ASCS regulars, at Devil's Bowl. After adding his first National win to a pair of previous ASCS Rocky Mountain Region triumphs, Bruce moves his shop from Liberal, KS, to Indiana this week. Hafertepe and Sides, who has climbed to third in ASCoT points, will be at State Fair Speedway this week along with Daryn Pittman. Word on the street has Danny Lasoski hitting OKC as well.

---A dozen drivers have taken in all three ASCoT nights at East Bay and both nights at Devil's Bowl, including past National champions Gary Wright, Wayne Johnson, Zach Chappell, Travis Rilat and Garry Lee Maier along with Jason Sides, Jason Johnson, Memphis racers Don Young and Chris Williams and Rookie contenders Eric Baldaccini, Don Droud, Jr., and Kathryne Minter.

---Newcastle, Oklahoma's Trey Robb slipped around Tony Bruce, Jr., for the lead ten laps into Saturday's feature at the Devil's Bowl and was poised to check out when his engine blew up two laps later. Already starting his fourth year of Sprint Car racing, Trey will be eligible for a driver's license in just a couple of more months.

---South Dakota's Eric Lutz, among the top three in ASCS Northern Plains points over each of the past two years, got a little heat in Saturday's hot laps when an oil line came off. No damage was done and Eric returned for more action aboard the Barstad Motorsports No. 1.

---Minnesota's Scott Winters, carrying new look with a silver No. 23w, raced his way into the feature on both nights at Devil's Bowl with finishes of 16th and eleventh.

---Alamogordo's Lorne Wofford had a wild weekend. Contact with Sooner Region shoe Cody Branchcomb sent Wofford spinning to the low side of turn three with front end damage in a Friday night "B" Main. Then on Saturday night, contact sent Wofford for a wild ride entering turn one on the opening lap of his heat race. Wofford returned for more in the "B" Main, but was unable to transfer. Wofford may contend for the win in Saturday night's inaugural ASCS Southwest Region event at Tucson's USA Race Park.

---Several others that will vie for the first ASCS Southwest Region win in this Saturday's event at USA Race Park (which is now under the directorship of Keith Hall) will be Steve Stone, Ben Gregg, Billy Chester III, Mike Rux, Jr., and Jessica Van Dyke.

---Colt Treharn of Los Lunas, NM, made his ASCS National Tour debut during the Devil's Bowl Speedway Spring Nationals.

---On the New Mexico vein, Rio Rancho's Scott Box made an unexpected ASCS Canyon Region appearance on March 8 and raced from 24th to 15th in his Manzanita Speedway debut.

---After racking up a dozen wins aboard a Maxim en route to winning the inaugural ASCS Canyon Region championship in 2007, Jeremy Sherman crafted his own chassis in the off-season. The creation worked out well in the opener two weeks ago, with Sherman working forward from seventh to take the win despite suffering a broken right front shock in an opening lap skirmish. Last year, Sherman won the opening four events of the season before someone else cracked victory lane. He's hoping for more of the same in 2008. His rivals are not.

---California's Brent Camarillo turned in the top passing performance by racing from 23rd to fifth in the March 8 ASCS Canyon Region season opener. Also earning high marks was Chili Bowl top-ten finisher Nathan High, who climbed from 12th to finish fourth in his debut aboard Robbie Allen's No. 12 entry.

---Past Arizona state champ Josh Pelkey teams with car owner Gary Williams in the Lucas Oil Motorsports No. 34 entry for the 2008 ASCS Canyon Region campaign.

---Massey Motorsports fielded a pair of entries in the March 8 Canyon Region opener, with Missouri's Jesse Hockett taking advantage of an idle weekend to finish second to Sherman. Series title contender Charles Davis, Jr., a winner of six ASCS Canyon Region features last year, exited early by way of a tangle in the other Massey mount.

---Jerry Coons, Jr., blew an engine in hot laps on March 8 and was done for the night.

-credit: ascs

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Series Sprint
Drivers Darren Stewart , Danny Lasoski , Richard Woo , Jerry Coons , Cody Branchcomb , Daryn Pittman , Jason Sides , Travis Rilat , Jesse Hockett , Kenny Adams , Robert Ryan , Nick Smith , Danny Jennings , Wayne Johnson , Josh Pelkey , Kevin Ramey , Gary Taylor , Ben Gregg , Jason Johnson , Koby Barksdale , Sean McClelland
Teams Williams