Gray Wins USCS Thriller In Batesburg, SC BATESBURG, SC - Terry Gray of Bartlett, TN hung on for his sixth United Sprint Car Series win of the season Saturday night at I-20 Speedway. The "Bartlett Bullet" held off "young gun"...
Gray Wins USCS Thriller In Batesburg, SC
BATESBURG, SC - Terry Gray of Bartlett, TN hung on for his sixth United Sprint Car Series win of the season Saturday night at I-20 Speedway. The "Bartlett Bullet" held off "young gun" Danny "The Hammer" Martin Jr. of Sarasota, FL in a side-by-side battle over the last four laps of the 30-lap main event.
During a lap 26 red flag "fuel only" period, Gray discovered he had a flat left-rear tire on his race-leading Goodson Farms/Wendy's Maxim/Wesmar. If he changed the tire, it would send him to the back of the pack for the restart with four laps to go.
"There was no way we could give up the lead to change the tire, so we left it alone and tried to make it to the finish," Gray said. "When we went back to green, he came Martin, and I knew I had to get going!"
Martin raced gray side-by-side for three and a half of the last four laps. The USCS defending and three-time National Champion pulled ahead down the backstretch on the final lap for the victory, while Martin had to settle for second in the Martin Structures, Inc. Schnee/ZRE.
Polesitter Scott Christian of Valliant, OK came home third driving the Southern States Rail Service Stealth/Dynotech. Steve Graham of Sydney, Australia was fourth in the Richard Petty Driving Experience Maxim/RPDE. Doug "Solid" Gold came from the 17th starting hole to post a season-best fifth-place in the Heintz Performance Gold/Jerico.
Chad Allum of Kannapolis, NC finished sixth in the Heintz Performance Allum/Allum, and R.J. Johnson of Decatur, TN took the seventh spot in the Leaf Race Wear/Pin Rings J&J/ZRE. The "Decatur Raider" was also the Rookie of the Race. Bronzie Lawson of Southern Pines, NC was eighth in the Lawson Construction J&J/Lawson.
Chris Sutton of Gastonia, NC started 21st in the Twins Top Fish Camp J&J/RPM and finished ninth. Gold and Sutton shared the Huggins Race Cams Hard Charger of the Race Award. Dave Thorman of Greenville, SC rounded out the top ten in the Jimmy Taylor Engine Service Gambler/Taylor.
Gray took the lead at the start of the race, but the first of four yellow flags came out on the opening tour when four cars tangled in turn two for a complete restart. Gray again took the lead on the restart followed by Christian, Helton, Kenny Adams of Malabar, FL, and Brice Wrenn of Lexington, SC.
On lap nine, a hole in the radiator hose of Adams' Goodson Farms Shaw/Ott caused the water in the car's cooling system to dump out on the race track in turn four. Helton and Wrenn spun in the slick spot to bring out the second caution flag. Adams continued in the race, and passed Christian for the second spot on the restart.
Adams slowed on lap 13 and coasted to a halt on the backstretch to bring out caution flag number three. Gray led Christian and Martin, who had methodically worked his way up from the ninth starting spot and into the third position. When the field went back to green. Gray pulled out to a full straightaway lead over Christian and Martin while they battled for the second spot.
At the halfway point it was Gray, Christian, Martin, Graham, and Tom Winegardner Jr. of Pierson, FL in the fifth spot. Winegardner would bring out the fourth caution flag of the race when he hit the first turn wall. The yellow turned to a red flag condition when the total lap count of the race brought on a fuel stop.
With enough fuel to make the four lap dash to the checkered flag, Martin, who had just got around Christian for the second spot on the 26th lap, immediately went after Gray to battle for the lead.
Martin raced wheel-to-wheel with Gray using both the inside and the outside grooves. Gray was able to put just enough daylight between himself and Martin on the final lap to post the wire-to-wire win.
Helton and Adams won the two ten lap heat races. Johnny Bridges of Cherryville, NC was leading Adams in the second heat race, when the engine of his Bridges Motorsports J&J/Hampshire let go with less than two laps to go. Bridges received the Weld Racing Hard Luck Award. Adams won the six-lap Air Flow Research Power Dash.
The next event for the USCS Outlaw Thunder Dirt Tour will be on July 17 at Oglethorpe Speedway Park in Savannah, GA.
<pre> POS STRT CAR# DRIVER 1. 2 10 Terry Gray 2. 9 00 Danny Martin Jr. 3. 1 1 Scott Christian 4. 7 14 Steven Graham 5. 17 8 Doug Gold 6. 13 87 Chad Allum 7. 15 71 R.J. Johnson (R) 8. 19 69 Bronzie Lawson 9. 21 25 Chris Sutton 10. 10 5 Dave Thorman 11. 5 11jr Tom Winegardner Jr. 12. 14 48 Bobby Courtwright 13. 3 4 Kenny Adams 14. 6 1w Brice Wrenn 15. 4 27 Randy Helton 16. 8 c1 Bruce Cline 17. 11 29 Scott Young 18. 12 11sr Tom Winegardner Sr. 19. 18 11 Butch Pendergrass 20. 16 07 Johnny Bridges 21. 20 21 Brandon McLain Indian 22. 22 57 Patrick Sullivan
LEAD CHANGES: None LAP LEADERS: Gray, 1-30 CAUTIONS: 4
HUGGINS RACE CAMS HARD CHARGER: Gold (started 17th and finished 5th) and Sutton (started 21st and finished 9th) WELD RACING HARD LUCK AWARD: Bridges ROOKIE OF THE RACE: Johnson
AIR FLOW RESEARCH POWER DASH (6 Laps): 1. Adams; 2. Martin; 3. Gray; 4. Bridges; 5. Wrenn; 6. Graham.
1ST HEAT (10 Laps): 1. Helton; 2. Gray; 3. Winegardner Jr.; 4. Graham; 5. Martin; 6. Young; 7. Allum; 8. Johnson (R); 9. Gold; 10. Lawson; 11. Sutton.
2ND HEAT (10 Laps): 1. Adams; 2. Christian; 3. Wrenn; 4. Cline; 5. Thorman; 6. Winegardner Sr.; 7. Courtwright; 8. Bridges; 9. Pendergrass; 10. McLain; 11. Sullivan.
USCS NATIONAL POINT STANDINGS THROUGH 7/10/04: 1. Terry Gray 2894 2. Danny Martin Jr. 2652 3. Kenny Adams 2422 4. R.J. Johnson (R) 2328 5. Brice Wrenn 2004 6. Tom Winegardner Jr. 1932 7. Chad Allum 1412 8. Butch Pendergrass 1228 9. Jim Raptis 1068 10. Brian Thomas 1032 11. Bill Moore 1032 12. Doug Gold 978 13. Red Stauffer 896 14. Johnny Bridges 868 15. Jeremy Scott 804 16. Randy Helton 800 17. Scott Christian 746 18. Steven Graham 706 19. Marshall Skinner 694 20. Will Ragsdale 670
R - Denotes Rookie of the Year Candidate