American Sprint Car Series -- Tuesday's Top Ten TULSA, Okla. (June 14, 2005) -- After an idle week due to an excess of racing action, if there is such a thing, Tuesday's Top Ten returns in expanded fashion this week. This week's TTT...
American Sprint Car Series -- Tuesday's Top Ten
TULSA, Okla. (June 14, 2005) -- After an idle week due to an excess of racing action, if there is such a thing, Tuesday's Top Ten returns in expanded fashion this week. This week's TTT contains a whopping 20 items of random degrees of irrelevance gathered from ASCS Speedweek and more. As always, TTT is packaged in no discernible order for your reading ease.
Dive on in...
1. The Champions! -- Bixby, Oklahoma's Darren Stewart gave car owner Bobby Sparks his first ever COMP Cams ASCS Speedweek championship, edging five-time Speedweek king Gary Wright by two points for the 13th Annual COMP Cams Speedweek crown.
Darren picked up his first career Riverside win in Round Two and finished outside the top ten just once over the seven events. Four top-fives, including a fourth place run in the Little Rock finale, sealed the deal and made Darren the fifth different Speedweek champion in as many years after Kevin Ramey (2001), Gary Wright (2002), big brother Shane Stewart (2003) and Tim Crawley (2004).
2. 13 for the 13th -- Thirteen drivers representing seven different states competed in all seven rounds of the 13th Annual COMP Cams ASCS Speedweek. Chasing all seven events were Sooner State drivers Darren Stewart, Jake Martens and Jimmy Taylor, Mississippi shoes Jan Howard, Dale Howard and Lee Sowell, Texans Gary Wright and Sam Hafertepe, Jr., Arkansas racers Tim Crawley and Steven Tiner, Show-Me-Stater Toby Brown, Kansan Tony Bruce, Jr., and Oregon's Roger Crockett.
A.G. Rains, Mike Ward and Marshall Skinner took in five of seven events, with Nick Smith, Minnesota's Dustin Lindquist, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Danny Wood, Travis Senter and North Dakotans Natalie Sather and Mike Sitzmann, Jr., competing in four.
In total, 84 different drivers from 13 different states competed in at least one round of the 13th Annual COMP Cams ASCS Speedweek.
3. Watch It -- Norman, Oklahoma's Danny Jennings made one Speedweek start, that coming during Round Five at Devil's Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, TX. Before the race, he told competition director Tommie Estes, Jr., "You can keep the check, I just want to get one of those Speedweek winner's watches." The former Sooner Region champion then went out and snared his first career ASCS Speedweek win by scoring his third National Tour triumph of the season at the Bowl. Pretty safe bet that he didn't refuse the winner's purse when Lanny paid up at the end of the night though.
4. Six in Seven -- This year's ASCS Speedweek came within one event of featuring seven different winners over the course of seven nights of racing for just the second time in history. Gary Wright, Darren Stewart, Roger Crockett, Jason Johnson and Danny Jennings topped the opening five rounds before Tim Crawley raced from 17th to snare Round Six at Texarkana.
Over the latter portion of Saturday night's Speedweek finale at Little Rock's I-30 Speedway, it was becoming apparent that a seventh different winner was unlikely, as Stewart lurked in fourth behind the battling trio of Crockett, Wright and Crawley, with all four looking for a second win on the week. Crawley prevailed in the final laps in front of Crockett and Wright.
The 2001 edition of Speedweek remains the only year in which seven different drivers have visited victory lane. This year's edition matched the 1998 rendition by having six different winners.
5. Back Pain -- Little Rock's Richard Herring and Norman, Oklahoma's Danny Wood both made a quick trip to a local hospital after separate incidents during Round Six action at 67 Texarkana Speedway. Both were checked over and released later that evening.
Herring, a weekly competitor at I-30 Speedway, was on hand Saturday night to watch the Speedweek finale. "I'm a little bit sore, but other than that I'm fine," Herring commented. "It really scared me as much as anything, I'd never felt anything like that before. Luckily I just kind of jammed my back a little bit."
6. Done -- Gary Wright entered Speedweek riding a wave of 20 consecutive top-ten feature finishes in ASCS Speedweek competition. The Texan extended that streak to 22 in the opening two rounds with a win at Memphis Motorsports Park and a fourth place run at Riverside Speedway. Round Three at Tri-State Speedway near Ft. Smith, AR, would end it though as Gary struggled with a damaged nose wing to a 13th place finish, the first time since 2001 that an ASCS Speedweek feature top-ten rundown didn't include Gary Wright's name.
Gary spent the balance of the week getting a new streak under way, posting finishes of sixth, fifth, fifth and third in the final rounds of Speedweek.
7. Where's Waldo? -- Sean Walden's plans to compete in all seven legs of Speedweek just didn't pan out. Sean missed the opener at Memphis Motorsports Park when his hauler was reluctant to haul. When he finally showed up at Riverside in West Memphis for Round Two on Saturday night, June 4, Sean relayed that it only took about 17 hours to cover the 200 miles from Bentonville to Little Rock.
After a 17th place Riverside finish, oil pressure was nil at Tri-State on Monday night and Waldo wasn't spotted for the rest of the week.
8. Fiesta Time -- While Speedweek was getting into full swing on June 3 and 4, Liberal, KS, racer Jason Martin opted for ASCS Rocky Mountain Region competition at one of his favorite tracks, Aztec Speedway. Martin and Johnny Herrera put on a show for Aztec's Fiesta Days fans, with Martin taking the Friday prelim before Herrera took the Saturday finale.
9. Speedweek Pays -- More than $100,000 in cash and contingencies was paid out during the seven-event COMP Cams ASCS Speedweek over the course of nine days throughout Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Including purse, point fund and contingencies, the total payout came to approximately $115,000. And that's not counting those fancy Rolex-type feature winner's and champion's watches.
10. Charging Hard -- Three-time O'Reilly ASCS National Tour champion and defending Speedweek champion Tim Crawley chased problems early in the week before making it to victory lane in the final two legs of Speedweek. Along the way though, Crawley dominated the nightly KSE Hard Charger award, taking the honors in five of seven Speedweek features. The other two Hard Charger awards went to Gary Wright (Riverside) and Roger Crockett (Devil's Bowl).
11. The Undertow -- Brodix Rookie of the Year contender Jake Martens got caught in the undercurrent of bad luck before he knew what hit him. When you kick off Speedweek by drawing the highest pill, breaking a driveline during hot laps then flipping into the turn one fencing after hopping a wheel as the week's first green flag flies, you just have to wonder. And for the Martens team, it went downhill from there.
Parts were delivered before the third round at Pocola, OK, and the team went from Tulsa to Devil's Bowl by way of Fairview (which is in northwest Oklahoma) to make repairs and gather more parts. It was a week that started with a J&J chassis and ended up with a CMC, with a purchase of an Eagle from Bobby Sparks for future use.
"We've torn up more parts in the past week than we'd torn up in the past four years," car owner Paul Martens commented prior to the Speedweek finale at Little Rock's I-30 Speedway.
Net result: Martens dropped from third to seventh in O'Reilly ASCS National Tour points.
Nobody ever said Speedweek was going to be easy.
12. A Man of Many Wings -- Oklahoma City's Jimmy Taylor went through some parts as well. "One of us probably should have lifted, but I knew I wasn't going to," Taylor commented after he and Brian McClelland tangled and triggered a wild five-car melee entering turn three on the opening lap of Tulsa Speedway's "B" Main. Martens and Cali-native Steven Tiner both were done for the night as well.
By Texarkana time, Taylor had a red #40r wing on top. But when Marshall Skinner looped it in turn four, collecting Taylor and flipping Tiner, Taylor was back to an old black No. 23 wing by "B" Main time. Jimmy started his fourth main event of the week the next night at Little Rock with his fourth wing of the week, this time a Sparks 91 foil atop his racer.
13. Crash & Thrash -- After spinning out of a transfer position and missing the show at Tulsa, Marshall Skinner tested the front stretch wall at Devil's Bowl Speedway as the green flag flew upon the "B" Main the next night. The front stretch wall remains undefeated and Skinner was left to assemble a new piece.
After a dismal Speedweek opening, Skinner salvaged things somewhat with a pair of seventh place runs at Texarkana and Little Rock.
Earlier in the week, Toby Brown junked the No. 4m sprinter at Tulsa after opening lap contact with Roger Crockett. Toby was back aboard the familiar old No. 61a at Devil's Bowl and wrapped up the week at I-30 with his best finish, a fifth-place run.
14. Southern Stars -- There was action in the south as well, as the Heintz Performance ASCS Southern Tour invaded New 311 Speedway in Madison, NC. Steven Graham, the 2005 Australian Midget champion who also happens to work for the Richard Petty Driving Experience, put on a clinic of his own to become the third ASCS Southern Tour winner in as many events.
Scott Young still leads Southern Tour points after taking the runner-up slot for the second time in a row.
15. Back in Black -- After missing the show at Tulsa, Foster Landon decided it was time for a change. "I hate that yellow car, I hope I never have to drive it again," Landon exclaimed after unloading one of last year's black cars with blue trim at I-30 Speedway.
Seemed to work out pretty well, as Landon raced his way into Saturday's feature then advanced from 19th to tenth. It was the first time Landon has seen as ASCS feature checkered flag since a Sooner Region go at Ada's Oklahoma Sports Park in April.
16. Cowboy Up -- Life on the road can be full of surprises. Just ask Tony Bruce, Jr., and crew about their recent Oklahoma City stopover. Ah, never mind, let's just fill you in right here.
When the Bruce rig could go no more and was scheduled for two days in the shop, the team was stranded in Oklahoma City on Memorial Day weekend. And, when it turned out that motel rooms were scarce, the Bruce entourage was pleased to just find a place with two rooms with double beds.
Happy enough until they realized the rest of the motel was filled with competitors in the weekend's Oklahoma Gay Rodeo Association event. Deadbolt the doors.
Those Kansas boys, they're sometimes seeing a lot more of the world than they bargained for.
As for Speedweek, Tony picked up his first career ASCS Speedweek top-ten feature finish by claiming seventh at Riverside, then bettered that by racing to fourth at Texarkana.
17. On the House -- O'Reilly ASCS National Tour title contender Jan Howard of Byhalia, MS, picked up a free set of Brodix ASCS spec heads during Saturday night's finale at I-30 Speedway. Howard's name was drawn from the 13 drivers that competed in all seven events.
Back in his own equipment, Jan finished among the top ten during the first six rounds before finishing twelfth at I-30. Jan ended up fourth in ASCS Speedweek points behind Stewart, Wright and Crockett, and is third in season points.
18. Pack 'em In -- The 13th Annual COMP Cams ASCS Speedweek played to large crowds all week long. "Largest crowd of the year" was the common theme, while 67 Texarkana Speedway was packed full, a Standing Room Only affair to catch local legend Gary Wright, who hails from nearby Hooks, TX. Wright and Crockett tangled on the opening lap of the feature, then both put on a show. Crockett raced back up to second while Wright charged to fifth.
19. I Must be on the Front Row -- Brad Welborn of Allen, TX, made his first O'Reilly ASCS National Tour appearance during Round Five of COMP Cams ASCS Speedweek at Devil's Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, TX.
And when Sam Hafertepe, Jr., lost a driveline while approaching the white flag in heat race action, Welborn took over second to earn a front row outside starting position for the feature.
Understandably nervous, Welborn slid too high and spun off the top of turn two on the initial start. No need to fret about it though, former ASCS National champion and current Knoxville Raceway title contender Wayne Johnson shot off the top of turns one and two on both attempts to start the race and fell from first to eighth in a heartbeat. Johnson recovered to finish fourth.
20. Announcers Gone Wild -- While Chili Bowl and Knoxville Raceway announcer Tony Bokhoven, who called the recent ASCS Midwest Region event at McCool Junction, has taken to jumping out of perfectly serviceable airplanes, Randy Ward unwittingly found himself in the middle of a game of demolition derby while en route to Oklahoma City after calling Thursday's Speedweek stop at Devil's Bowl. While the car was junked, Randy escaped injury. Word is that helmets will be in use for the ride to Dodge City this weekend.
Don't know about you, but I sleep better at night knowing that there are those individuals out there fully committed to the never-ending fight against foo.
That should suffice for now. Comments, questions, suggestions, critiques and more 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.