O'Reilly ASCS Tuesday's Top Ten -- May 23, 2006 TULSA, Okla. (May 23, 2006) -- Gearing up for a sizzling stretch of 47 American Sprint Car Series events over the next 32 days, the time for this week's edition of Tuesday's Top Ten ...
O'Reilly ASCS Tuesday's Top Ten -- May 23, 2006
TULSA, Okla. (May 23, 2006) -- Gearing up for a sizzling stretch of 47 American Sprint Car Series events over the next 32 days, the time for this week's edition of Tuesday's Top Ten has come about again. Per the norm, TTT is composed of ten random items of varying degrees of significance, and as always arranged in the most random of orders.
The green flag is in the air...
1. Virginia is for Racers -- At least it is this weekend, as the O'Reilly ASCS National Tour makes its virgin voyage to the Old Dominion State. Fourteen National Tour travelers, chasing the $50,000 pot of championship gold at the end of the rainbow, make the trek.
Included among the travelers will be two-time and defending series champ Gary Wright along with Travis Rilat, Nick Smith, Jesse Hockett, Darren Stewart, Jason Johnson, Jerrod Hull, Sean McClelland, Jan Howard, Sam Hafertepe, Jr., Trey Robb, Dustin Daggett, Tony Bruce, Jr., and Abe Sherwood.
That stout group will be joined by the ASCS Southern Tour along with the usual random drop-ins to make for a pair of high-quality fields of 35 or so at both Wytheville Raceway and Virginia Motor Speedway.
It is expected that Zach Chappell and Tim Montgomery will both miss the trip, but the competition level shouldn't suffer much as multi-time USCS champ Kenny Adams and former URC champ Dave Ely along with others should fill the void nicely.
2. Coming Through -- Starting 17th in his second ASCS Sooner Region feature in a row, Cody Wampler was on a mission at Creek County Speedway on Saturday night by charging through the field to an impressive fourth place finish. The fourth place finish coupled with a 13th place showing seven nights earlier at Mid-America Speedway has assisted Wampler in his climb from eleventh to sixth in points.
And hot on the Walters, OK, racer's heels over the final laps was Kevin Ramey, who seriously elbowed up after a mid-race spin while dicing for second relegated him to the rear. The pair of hard chargers knocked Johnny Miller and Foster Landon out of apparent top five runs.
And, at about the same time in New York, Mike Stelter was carving up the ASCS Patriot Sprint Group field at Canandaigua by racing from 18th to fifth.
3. By Any Name -- Whether you call him "Mac Daddy", "Big Mac", "Super Sean" or even "Shane" (that last one primarily limited to certain Southern Texas announcers), Sean McClelland has been on his game as of late.
The reigning American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region champion topped Saturday night's 39-car field at Creek County Speedway to score his third Sooner Region win of the year and fourth ASCS score overall.JMcClelland's only finish lower than second in his last five outings came at Poplar Bluff, when a broken shifter on the final lap nullified another top-five run.
With the win, McClelland became the tenth different winner in eleven Sooner Region events contested atop the Sapulpa clay since 2001.
It also extended a Sooner Region point lead that, barring Divine Intervention of some sort, will be surrendered when McClelland is in National action in North Dakota on June 8 and 9 with the Sooner Region taking to Paris and Cowtown on the same weekend.
4. Busy, Busy, Busy -- Starting tomorrow night, Wednesday, May 24, the American Sprint Car Series will sanction twelve events over the next seven nights.
With the spurt of activity, only the Sooner, Mid-South and Northern Plains Regions remain idle. Not for long though, as the Northern Plains fires back to life in ten nights with a June 2-3 double at Jackson (MN) Speedway. On June 3, the Sooner and Mid-South regions square off atop Little Rock's I-30 Speedway 0x00bc-mile clay oval.
5. Snake Bitten -- That would be the Bobcat of Buffalo ASCS Patriot Sprint Group. And not necessarily by Mother Nature, although the ol' hag has drenched two of four attempted outings thus far. But more so by "The Cobra", Chuck Hebing, who has swept through both his heats and both feature battles waged thus far at Utica-Rome and Canandaigua.
With the pair of wins, Hebing has run his career Patriot win total to eleven, just one short of Rick Wilson's series' best of twelve triumphs. A third consecutive win in Saturday's go can tie the mark, as the series takes to Stateline Speedway in the pleasantly-named community of Busti, a mere stone's throw or two from Jamestown, NY.
6. Now You've Done It! -- As Saturday night's Sooner Region "B" Mains prepared to hit the track, a certain fan whose identity shall remain undisclosed for his own personal protection (we'll just call him "Johnny Carter" for reading ease) checked his watch and uttered the phrase, "Moving right along, we should be out of here early tonight!"
Way to jinx it "Johnny".
A few short minutes later, the inevitable delay occurred as a fuse blew and a majority of the track lights went dark as the P.A. system went silent. Even with a 20-minute break, which allowed Brian McClelland and Gavin Punch to rejoin the "B" Main after an opening lap melee, the event was still completed at a very reasonable 11:00 p.m.
7. Stacked -- The ASCS Sooner Region has featured some loaded fields this year, averaging 38.4 cars per night through the opening five events. Twenty different drivers have taken in at least four of the five events.
With the stout competition, only three drivers have made the cut for all five "A" Mains. Those drivers include Sean McClelland, Kevin Ramey and Sam Hafertepe, Jr.
Brian McClelland, younger brother of Sean, missed his first feature of the year on Saturday night when caught up in a "B" Main flip.JWhile the crew was able to make repairs during the Johnny Carter-induced blackout, McClelland was unable to claw his way back to a transfer position.
J.P. Bailey and Trey Robb have each started four of five features, rounding out the short list of six drivers that have made the starting grid 80% of the time thus far.
8. Rain -- The wet stuff continues to be a blight upon humanity, nixing two of the past weekend's five scheduled events.
Nearly a third of the season's ASCS scheduled events thus far have been flood victims, with 15 of 46 scheduled events washed out. The upside of early season rainouts: there's sill enough open spaces to be found to schedule make up dates. For instance, the May 12-14 slate of ten ASCS events included six makeup dates, all of which snuck by Mother Nature successfully the second time around.
9. 18 -- The number of different winners in the 30 ASCS feature events completed thus far in 2006.
Bryan Sebetto became the 18th different driver to grace ASCS victory lane by topping Saturday night's ASCS Sprints on Dirt/305 Challenge at Fremont Speedway, an event that attracted 66 entries.
A half dozen drivers have scored multiple wins, including Jason Johnson (5), Sean McClelland (4), Travis Rilat (3), Sam Hafertepe, Jr. (2), Terry McCarl (2) and Chuck Hebing (2).
10. On a Tear -- If Jason Johnson's start to the 2006 season hasn't captured the attention of those deemed worthy of voting on the National 360 Sprint Car poll, then there is some serious napping going on somewhere.
The "Racin' Cajun" has posted nine podium finishes in ten ASCS feature starts thus far in '06, including a series' best five wins. A pair of wins came in National Tour action at Oklahoma City, with one over a loaded Mid-South vs. Gulf South field and the other two in standard Gulf South action. Johnson has a pair of runner-up showings and a pair of third-place runs to go with his five wins.
His only finish outside the top three thus far came when he burst into flames in Gulf South competition at Houston Raceway Park, an incident that he is still feeling the effects of, although it hasn't shown on the racetrack.
Oh My! -- Like I said, it's time to load up the tribe and hit the road for Virginia, or any one of the other numerous ASCS events on the slate over the coming week. The road beckons...
Putting the wraps on Volume II, No. XII, of TTT. As always, notes, comments, questions, suggestions and scathing critiques are always welcome at email@example.com.
Until next week, any information you may desire regarding the American Sprint Car Series is available at www.ascsracing.com.