American Sprint Car Series -- Tuesday's Top Ten TULSA, Okla. (May 31, 2005) -- A 1,600 mile journey and wondering what happened to this Holiday everybody's been talking about nets this week's version of Tuesday's Top Ten, ...
American Sprint Car Series -- Tuesday's Top Ten
TULSA, Okla. (May 31, 2005) -- A 1,600 mile journey and wondering what happened to this Holiday everybody's been talking about nets this week's version of Tuesday's Top Ten, featuring items ranging in degrees of significance from this past weekend's American Sprint Car Series racing action. And, as always, TTT is assembled in a random lack of order for your reading ease.
Start your engines...
1. Five & Five -- Mother Nature did her best to dampen spirits over Memorial Day weekend, but her only success was in washing out Saturday's O'Reilly ASCS National Tour debut at Cowtown Speedway in Kennedale, TX. She took her best shot at both Gulf South shows in Louisiana, but somehow both Thunder Valley Speedway and Ark-La-Tex Speedway dodged the majority of the rain that surrounded the area.
Weekend winners included Jason Danley in Midwest action with Texans Sam Hafertepe, Jr., and Kevin Ramey topping Gulf South action, while Randi Miller and Patrick Bourke split the Rocky Mountain Region double.
With 25 ASCS features in the books thus far in 2005, 17 different drives have now made it to victory lane. Ramey and Bourke each scored their second win of the year over the weekend.
2. Bonus -- A dapper Jason Danley reeled in some extra booty with his first ASCS Midwest Region triumph Friday night at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, NE. Freedom Lending kicked in an extra $200, while Triple R Tire ponied up a new right rear tire.
A sponsor on Seth Brahmer's car, Freedom Lending offered the bonus when its driver was unable to compete Friday night. Brahmer, a tenth place finisher in the ASCS Midwest Region opener in April who had his sights set on the ASCS Midwest Region title, is still feeling the effects of a nasty Knoxville crash several weeks ago and hasn't been cleared to race yet. Brahmer hopes to be cleared following a trip to the neurologist on June 6.
On Sunday night in Vivian, LA, nobody kicked in any extra cash or free tires, but Gulf South winner Kevin Ramey got some real booty in the form of a buxom, bikini-clad beauty that presented the hardware in victory lane, so to speak. Long live Ark-La-Tex Speedway!
3. Back in the Saddle -- Jerry Bell had been conspicuously absent from the Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores ASCS Gulf South Region opening handful of events. The absence was particularly noticeable since he is the reigning series champion.
From Rowlett, TX, Bell spent the early months of the 2005 season trying his hand at Late Model racing. But all that fendered nonsense has been sold. "I'm a Sprint Car driver," Bell commented Sunday night. "This is the kind of racing I like, nothing gets the adrenaline flowing like driving a Sprint Car."
Bell made his first start of the year Saturday night at Thunder Valley Speedway in Union Hill, LA, and finished a strong second behind Sam Hafertepe, Jr. Bell finished behind Hafertepe again Sunday night at Ark-La-Tex, this time fourth as Kevin Ramey and Charlie Brown took the top two spots.
4. Rowing Along -- For those that haven't heard, Philip Dietz has taken over the regular driving chores of Lanny Row's The Shop Diesel Service No. 41 Sprinter following Danny Wood's recent departure.
Dietz, a former wrench for the likes of Gary Wright, Darren Stewart and Jason Johnson, got his first taste of driving during an ASCS event at Paris, TX, last year, and has been racing the Row machine in some weekly action at Devil's Bowl Speedway, where he won on April 16.
"I want to be able to beat Gary Wright and Jason Johnson," Dietz commented during his first ASCS start of '05 Sunday night in Vivian, LA. "Got a ways to go obviously, but that's the goal." Dietz' night ended in the "B" Main with front-end damage after turn four contact with Richard Holt.
Dietz will surrender the seat of the Row machine for Rounds Three and Four of COMP Cams ASCS Speedweek in favor of cousin Jason Johnson. Johnson, now a card-carrying member of the Pennsylvania Posse, will escape the rabid clutches of extremist Possehood long enough for Speedweek stops at Tri-State Speedway (Pocola, OK) and Tulsa Speedway on June 6 and 7. Interestingly, Johnson scored back-to-back wins for Row at Paris and Devil's Bowl during '02 Speedweek action on June 6 and 7.
5. Long Tows -- Call these guys committed. Or maybe they're ready to be committed. But Keith Rauch, Gary Taylor and Tony Bruce, Jr., each set out on ambitious Memorial Day weekend journeys. Two were completed, one wasn't.
Rauch and Bruce both took part in Friday's ASCS Midwest Region event at McCool Junction. After trashing two sprints on consecutive Nebraska weekends earlier in the year, Taylor left the Conklin sprint at home on Friday in favor of the Midget for McCool action.
Rauch and Taylor then made the eleven-hour haul from McCool Junction to Olathe, CO, for the ASCS Rocky Mountain Region double at Thunder Mountain Speedway, with Taylor stopping off long enough to trade Midget for Sprint. Rauch posted seventh and fifth place finishes at Olathe, with Taylor staying in the thick of the points race with sixth and twelfth place runs.
After Sunday night Late Model plans fell through, Bruce set his Sunday sights on Vivian after a Cowtown Saturday night. The ten-hour haul from McCool Junction to Ft. Worth, made another hour and a half longer to avoid a notorious ticketing weigh station which turned out to be closed, came to a grinding halt when the team's hauler bellowed in no uncertain terms "No Mas" in Oklahoma City.
Enter Oklahoma City racer David Lee Lambert and papa David, who offered their trailer to the Bruce entourage. David cleared the trailer out and all the Bruce equipment was loaded and ready to go when the call came informing that Cowtown was drenched beyond repair.
6. Turf War -- With six cars transferring from Friday night's McCool "B" Main, Kansan Jay Russell and Iowa's Frankie Heimbaugh engaged in a spirited battle for fifth position. A bit too spirited perhaps, as the pair tangled entering turn one and brought out the caution, with both restarting at the rear.
The beneficiaries you ask? Iowa's Ryan Anderson and Nebraskan Stu Sndyer took the final two transfer spots. Anderson claimed 14th in the "A", while Snyder ran head first into a spinning Beaver (Joe) with just five laps to go and was done.
7. But for a Gallon of Fuel -- Eighteen-year-old Chad Humston of Giltner, NE, was ever so close to his first ASCS triumph in Friday's Midwest Region feature at Junction Motor Speedway.
Humston was the class of the field in an otherwise wildly entertaining race that featured Jason Danley and Jake Peters battling non-stop for second with Gregg Baker, Brian Brown, Don Droud, Jr., and Billy Alley dicing for position in their wake.
But after the final caution for the Beaver-Snyder tangle, Humston's mount stumbled and he coasted to the infield a lap later with an empty fuel cell. Peters took quick advantage, but Jake "The Snake" quickly lost venom when his machine sputtered in the corners as well over the final laps, handing the win to Danley.
8. Counting Cars -- Never underestimate the ability to count.JJust ask Greg Rilat.
After a wild heat race flip, Rilat and crew made patchwork repairs and set out for the "B" Main. With the top six to transfer, Rilat raced through the field until he saw just five cars in front of him. At least he thought he saw five, and rode to the checkered with plans of further repairs on his mind. Imagine his shock when crew chief Motor Mike informed that he had actually finished seventh, rather than the required sixth.
The mistake cost the Texas City, TX, shoe dearly, as he plummeted from first to eighth in Gulf South Region points.
9. To the Rescue -- Humble, TX, Gulf South contender Chris Sweeney owes Louisiana car owner Rick Walker a huge favor.
Sweeney hurt a motor during the recent combined National/Gulf South weekend in Louisiana, with the engine scheduled to be repaired in plenty of time for the Gulf South's June 16-17 Motorama/Houston Raceway Park weekend. Little help that was for this past weekend's races however.
Enter Walker, who put Sweeney in the seat of his carbureted machine. Sweeney made the show both nights and kept himself in title contention by escaping the weekend ranked sixth, a mere 24 points behind leader Scottie McDonald.
10. Split Pair -- Following his wild Oklahoma City tumble the previous weekend, Byhalia, MS, National Tour contender Jan Howard has parted ways with the Donnie Sowell-owned team.
The Cowtown rainout worked to Howard's advantage, as he didn't have his own car quite ready to go. Look for him back in the familiar No. 46 for COMP Cams ASCS Speedweek, which fires off Friday night in Memphis.
10a. Speedweek Shapes Up -- 10a you ask? There are no hard and fast rules here, so just play along please.
Add 2001 ASCS National champion Zach Chappell of Talala, OK, to the lengthy roster of drivers expected to vie for 13th Annual COMP Cams ASCS Speedweek title honors which already includes hitters such as Gary Wright, Darren Stewart, Tim Crawley, Jan Howard, Roger Crockett, A.G. Rains, Sam Hafertepe, Jr., Toby Brown, Dustin Lindquist, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Mike Ward, Marshall Skinner, Dale Howard, Jimmy Taylor, Natalie Sather, Steven Tiner and Brodix Rookie of the Year contenders Jake Martens and Tony Bruce, Jr., among others.
Yes, it's that special time of the year, the time of year when vacation days are burned at record pace along with those ever popular "sick" days. ASCS Speedweek, stories always abound, and you never know when you might be included as part of one of them.
Installment Number Eight of Tuesday's Top Ten is now history. Feel free to send scathing comments, questions, suggestions, critiques and more to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next week, any information you may desire regarding the American Sprint Car Series is available at www.ascsracing.com.