O'Reilly ASCS Tuesday's Top Ten TULSA, Okla. (March 14, 2006) -- As the American Sprint Car Series kicked off 33 consecutive weekends of racing this past weekend, its time for the second 2006 installment of Tuesday's Top Ten.
O'Reilly ASCS Tuesday's Top Ten
TULSA, Okla. (March 14, 2006) -- As the American Sprint Car Series kicked off 33 consecutive weekends of racing this past weekend, its time for the second 2006 installment of Tuesday's Top Ten. As per the norm, TTT consists of ten random items of varying degrees of relevance from this past weekend's ASCS competition. And, as always, these ten items are arranged in no particular order for your reading ease.
1. One of a Kind -- A rocket detonated in Friday night's initial O'Reilly ASCoT outing in the form of Warsaw, Missouri's Jesse Hockett. With his entire crew consisting of just himself and crew chief Daniel, Jesse drove the only DRC chassis in the field straight to victory lane in its first outing. Not too bad for an operation that was put in place in less than a month.
2. Whoops -- It looked like on of those embarrassing moments for Liberal, KS, racer Tony Bruce, Jr., when he flipped while lining up for a Friday night qualifying race. But there was a little more to it than appeared to the naked eye.
As last year's National Tour Rookie of the Year buzzed turned two, the car got away from him and he tagged the wall and dumped it. Can't put it on the driver though, as it resulted from a power steering unit failure.
The crew thrashed to piece enough back together to start the feature by virtue of a provisional. The crew then worked all night to shore everything up, arriving at Houston Raceway Park with no sleep. With a week to relax, or not, in southern Texas, the team should be refreshed for this weekend's Devil's Bowl Speedway action.
3. Mac Daddy -- Many probably considered Sean McClelland's first career National Tour victory at Houston Raceway Park an upset. But those that witnessed McClelland's 2005 Sooner Region championship efforts couldn't have been too shocked. It was the second victory in a row for a series rookie and made for an unlikely weekend of winners, a result of 29 different drivers (of an unprecedented quality as well) that took to the road for the full weekend.
And with the win utilizing Russell Baker power with the team's primary Wesmar bullet not quite ready, McClelland's car owner Wade Wisely is ready to put "Mac Daddy" on the side of the black No. 1 car, a name Sean is clearly excited about.
4. Crunch Time -- Dustin Daggett's weekend got off to a strong start with a heat race win and ultimately a second row starting position in the feature. Then things turned around in a hurry.
The Michigan racer ran among the top five in Baton Rouge's opening dozen laps or so before a dropped valve forced him off the pace and then pitside. With the backup engine in the spare car, the two-time Sprints on Dirt champion simply swapped cars for Houston Raceway Park. The front portion of the chassis then was shifted at least six inches after the HRP turn one wall proved immovable after Daggett was launched intot the concrete following contact with Doc Sloan during qualifying race action.
Down to one car and one engine, the Daggett team hopes to get through Devil's Bowl and Oklahoma City with no major calamities before returning to Michigan.
5. Rookie Crop -- An eye-opening group of Rookie of the Year contenders are among the 20-ish full-time ASCoT travelers. And with a new chassis among the pile of prizes, the chase for Rookie honors should be a wild one to watch. More information regarding the ROTY bounty will be forthcoming in short order.
The quality of the Rookie contenders is obvious after Rookies Hockett and McClelland swept the weekends' activity. Yet, it's still Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Nick Smith who leads the Rookie chase entering this weekend at Devil's Bowl. Smith is currently third in championship points, just seven points behind leader Travis Rilat.
In addition to Smith, Hockett and McClelland, others throwing their hat into the ring for Rookie of the Year honors include Tim Montgomery, Jerrod Hull, Mike Chadd, Jake Peters, Dustin Daggett, Trey Robb, Joey Montgomery, Sean Walden, Abe Sherwood and Doc Sloan.
6. The First Time -- A pure Sprint Car rookie, micro grad Brad Best continued to impress over the weekend by making the starting grid for both feature events in 37 and 36 car fields. Best was the only driver of the weekend to make his first career ASCS National Tour feature start.
Tulsa's Best, who snared his first ASCS checkered flag with a Saturday night qualifying race win at Houston Raceway Park, is expected to drive San Antonio car owner Allen Murray's No. 35 primarily in Gulf South and Sooner Region action, but could still throw his hat into the National Tour Rookie of the Year mix.
7. X-Factor -- After a pair of rough Florida crashes, there was no change of luck for South Dakota's Chuck Swenson. Driving the No. X entry, Swenson lost two engines in Friday's Baton Rouge outing. Swenson was back for more at HRP where a broken front end resulted from contact with an infield tire in heat race action. The same tire later tripped up Brandon Berryman as he made a bid for the lead late in the feature.
8. Quotable -- Plenty of quotable stuff over the weekend, but nothing tops Gary Wright's comments on Monday night's "Dirt Nation" radio show hosted by Dave Seay and Doc Lehman.
When questioned about the "myth" that 360-ci racing is just as expensive as 410-ci racing, Wright explained that, "That is all that is, it's a myth....I have figured this out and I don't care what people say, it costs three times more to run a 410 for a full season than a 360. I've figured it out, I've done it, I've been there.JSo that's the truth, it's a fact."
Wright also commented that, "The 410 people in the country better wake up, because Emmett now controls about 85% of every Sprint Car in the country. I told a guy two years ago that within the next five years there's gonna be some major, major shakeup in Sprint Car racing. And if you don't see it now, the handwriting's on the wall, you'll never see it."
9. This Kid Can Drive -- After recurring brake problems derailed his Baton Rouge run, 13-year-old Trey Robb was able to put his natural ability on display at Houston Raceway Park.
Robb battled through heat and qualifying race action to earn a second row starting position for the feature, then outdueled Gary Wright on the opening round for third. Robb held the position until a left rear tire began blistering past the midway point. Robb lost a pair of spots before contact with Jake Peters, who turned in his strongest run of the year, sent Robb spinning. Contact with Nick Smith during the melee forced Robb to the pit area. Nevertheless, the young man who won a weekly feature at Oklahoma City in 2005 proved that he's ready for the National Tour.
10. Oh-Fer -- With four different winners through the opening five ASCoT National features of the year, another 100 have been shut out of victory lane. Somewhat of a surprise among the winless ones is two-time and defending series champion Gary Wright.
Despite being winless, Wright is just six points out of the championship points lead. And with Devil's Bowl and Oklahoma City doubles on tap for the next two weekends, a pair of tracks where "The Texan" was compiled 20 of his 104 career National Tour victories, that goose egg could easily be erased from the win column.
That should suffice for Volume II, No. II, of TTT. As always, notes, comments, questions, suggestions and the ever-popular scathing comments are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next week, any information you may desire regarding the American Sprint Car Series is available at www.ascsracing.com.