O'Reilly ASCS Tuesday's Top Ten TULSA, Okla. (March 21, 2006) -- Just like clockwork, Tuesday has rolled around once again upon the heels of Monday. And, rain or shine, that means it's time for the American Sprint Car ...
O'Reilly ASCS Tuesday's Top Ten
TULSA, Okla. (March 21, 2006) -- Just like clockwork, Tuesday has rolled around once again upon the heels of Monday. And, rain or shine, that means it's time for the American Sprint Car Series Tuesday's Top Ten. As always, TTT is composed of ten random items of varying degrees of relevance from the most recent ASCS activities, and arranged in no particular order for no particular reason.
Particulars aside, let's roll.
1. You've got to be kidding! -- Rain? In Dallas? It's been a solid six months since the Texas metroplex has seen any semblance of precipitation. The obvious cure for that was scheduling Devil's Bowl Speedway's 33rd Annual Spring Nationals for March 17 and 18.
Just when it looked like sneaking in Friday's St. Patrick's Day card might be a possibility, the skies opened up six laps into the fifth and final qualifying race. And it didn't stop much over the next couple of days, wiping out the rest of the weekend's racing festivities. By mid-day Sunday, flash flood warnings were rampant around the Dallas area.
To the north, more than a foot of snow had Liberal, KS, racer Tony Bruce, Jr., buried by Monday afternoon, with Lincoln, NE, shoe Mike Chadd relaying that eight inches of the white stuff was already on the ground with another half-foot on the way. At least they can make the escape to Oklahoma City's Spring Nationals at State Fair Speedway this weekend. Thanks to Racetracker Photos, you can see what the first day of Spring in Nebraska looks like by clicking on http://www.ascsracing.com/gallery/nebraskaspring.jpg.
On the plus side, rainouts can lead to educational experiences such as this "Did You Know?" Deep Ellum discovery: Most elephants weigh less than the tongue of a blue whale. Who would have guessed it?
2. Southern Practice -- While the National Tour got drenched in Texas, the Heintz Performance ASCS Southern Tour got in an impressive practice session at Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, NC.
An encouraging group of 15 racers showed just to get in some tune-up laps atop the 4/10-mile clay oval in preparation for the series opener at Gastonia on April 21. The next night, the Southern Tour moves on to New 311 Speedway in Madison, NC.
A stout field of rookies were among the 15 that took in the practice session along with veteran shoe Bill Moore, who is returning to the seat after recovering from injuries sustained in a wild crash at Lowe's Motor Speedway late in 2004.
3. Counting Cars -- Those obsessed with car counts should be salivating at the thought of any upcoming O'Reilly ASCoT events, as the series has averaged a whopping 59.8 cars per event in its first six shows of the 2006 season, a number that dwarfs the average of any other traveling Sprint Car series thus far.
A total of 119 drivers representing 26 different states and Canada have already taken in at least one night of ASCoT action this year.
4. Speak Up! -- When "Ragin' Cajun" Jason Johnson complained at Houston Raceway Park that his Raceceiver was too loud (hint: volume control), Tim Montgomery and Sam Hafertepe, Jr., looked at each other and agreed to the contrary that they both had trouble hearing it. When asked if they could hear anything while under green flag conditions, Montgomery commented that, "No. Well, I take that back, I could hear Tommie just fine last night when I was sitting in the middle of turn four." This in reference to his spin while running second at Baton Rouge, evidence that when you're the creator of a caution it's much easier to hear the yellow flag radio warning from the tower.
5. New Toy -- Fort Worth, TX, hotshoe Kevin Ramey informed at Houston Raceway Park that he recently purchased a new Late Model dirt car. Ramey fans, not to worry, as Kevin will stick to his bread and butter, Sprint Car racing. In fact, he has his sights set on a third American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region championship in 2006. He plans to take the new Late Model car out for a test spin or two later in the season whenever the scheduling works out well.
6. Which one did it? -- Travis Rilat and Abe Sherwood are teammates under the Hard Eight Racing banner. One locked himself into the "A" Feature event through Friday's heat race and qualifying race action, while the other will have to make the feature (which will be made up on June 24) through "B" Feature competition. Which one would you guess has already made the show? 2003 series champ and current point leader Rilat, or Rookie of the Year contender Sherwood? If you guessed Abe, you would be correct. Just goes to show, you never can tell.
7. On the Plains -- Chuck Zitterich has assembled a mighty impressive schedule for the all-new ASCS Northern Plains Region. With a stout field of drivers ready to vie for the inaugural Northern Plains title, the series opener at Nebraska Raceway Park's I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, NE, on April 7-8, run in conjunction with the ASCS Midwest Region, should be quite a barnburner. Throw the NCRA guys into the fray on Saturday's card, and this is a "must-see" event.
8. This is Tough -- With 23 different drivers taking in each of the opening six events of the O'Reilly ASCoT National series and other heavy hitters dropping in at each event, competition is at an all-time high. For instance, WoO shoes Daryn Pittman and Rob Chaney missed the "A" Feature cut Friday night at Devil's Bowl.
Danny Jennings, who swept last year's edition of the Devil's Bowl Speedway Spring Nationals, commented that the competition level on the National Tour is as tough as ever, perhaps topping his two years on the Tour in 1997 and 1998 that also included full-time travelers such as Daryn Pittman, Jason Sides, Terry Gray, Tim Crawley, Garry Lee Maier, Travis Rilat and Wayne Johnson among others.
9. Regional Icebreakers -- While it's been all National action thus far in 2006, the nine ASCS Regions will headline a busy month of April. Seventeen of 19 ASCS events in April are Regional affairs.
It all starts with the all-new ASCS Mid-South Region firing off at Little Rock's I-30 Speedway next Saturday night, April 1. The aforementioned Northern Plains vs. Midwest Region opener is the following weekend, along with the Gulf South openers at Motorama Speedway and Houston Raceway Park on April 7 and 8. Also on April 8, the ASCS Sooner Region gets off on the right foot at Cowtown Speedway in Kennedale, TX. Be sure to bring your cowbells and/or air horns.
10. Place Your Bets! -- Texans Sam Hafertepe, Jr., and Kevin Ramey like to add a little intrigue to the pre-race draw at each event they compete in. Seems there's always a little side bet on who can draw the lower number. For the record, Ramey ended what seemed like an endless winning streak for Hafertepe at Devil's Bowl Speedway on Friday night. And now Sam Sr. can't say that Son of Sam Sr. never gets mentioned in TTT.
With the draw in mind, does the draw matter all that much? With the entertaining format of heat races and qualifying races in place, drawing low or high doesn't seem to make much difference. It's all about getting the job done on the track. Friday night, Ramey earned the pole position after drawing 27 of a possible 60 (better than Hafertepe's 50), while Oklahoma City's Andy Shouse earned the front row outside starting position after drawing a 53. A week earlier at Houston Raceway Park, Sean McClelland picked up his first National Tour triumph after drawing a seemingly ominous 49 of a possible 50.
Just keep this in mind; life's too short to hang with cats that can't play. Oh, and you may want to watch your step if you happen to be in the parking lot of the Citgo/7-Eleven along Dallas' Greenville Avenue. You'll just have to take my word on that parking lot cautionary warning, or perhaps you can get more details from Oklahoma City and Chili Bowl announcer Randy Ward.
Putting the wraps on Volume II, No. III, of TTT. As always, notes, comments, questions, suggestions and the ever-popular scathing comments 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.