Ward Returns To O'Reilly USCS Winner's Circle In Clarksville CLARKSVILLE, TN - Mike Ward of Memphis, TN returned to the O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series winner's circle for the first time in three years Sunday night with a ...
Ward Returns To O'Reilly USCS Winner's Circle In Clarksville
CLARKSVILLE, TN - Mike Ward of Memphis, TN returned to the O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series winner's circle for the first time in three years Sunday night with a victory in the 30-lap feature race during the "Salute To The Armed Forces Night" at Clarksville Speedway. Ward took the lead on lap 16 and drove to his tenth career series win in the AMC Maxim/McCarver.
During the first half of the race, Ward battled with the 2000 O'Reilly USCS National Champion Kenny Adams of Malabar, FL, who led the first 15 laps of the race in the Goodson Farms Shaw/Ott. Ward caught Adams in lapped traffic, and made the right move in turn two for the winning pass. Ward's last win with the O'Reilly USCS came on September 22, 2002 in Malden, MO.
Adams had to settle for the second spot, but extended his point lead in the O'Reilly USCS National point standings, and took over the point lead in the O'Reilly USCS Mid-South Thunder Tour points chase. The 1999 O'Reilly USCS National Champion Marshall Skinner of West Memphis, AR finished third in the Parts Plus Maxim/Ott.
A trio of SpeedMart Young Guns finished behind the top three veteran drivers. The SpeedMart Young Gun of the Race Award for drivers under the age of 25 went to 15-year-old Hunter Schuerenberg of Sikeston, MO with a fourth-place finish in the Minor's Harley-Davidson Maxim/Foxco.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. of Olive Branch, MS took the fifth spot in the Fast Effects J&J/Dynotech. The 17-year-old driver trails Adams in the O'Reilly USCS Mid-South Thunder Tour point standings by one point. Danny Martin Jr. of Sarasota, FL was sixth in the Martin Structures, Inc. Schnee/ZRE, and is second to Adams in the O'Reilly USCS National points.
Ernie Ainsworth of Bartlett, TN started 18th and brought his TMI Trailers of W. Memphis, AR Eagle/Dickens home in the seventh spot to earn the Huggins Cams Hard Charger of the Race Award. Jeremy Scott of Franklin, GA finished eighth in the Scott's Plumbing ProLite/Junebug. Travis Senter of Osceola, AR was ninth in the Henard Farms Maxim/McCarver, and Darren Stewart of Bixby, OK rounded out the top ten in the Sparks Construction Eagle/Ostrich.
The race started with an anxious moment when Michael Miller of Tallapoosa, GA tangled with another car at the start-finish line, flipped once, losing the wing on the car, and then executed four violent snap rolls before landing on all four wheels. Miller climbed from the Crunch Time Express Shaw/Slobuilt under his own power and told officials he was O.K.
After the race, Miller became ill, and collapsed in the pit area. He was airlifted by helicopter to the Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, TN where he was listed in serious, but stable condition early Monday morning. Miller was the recipient of the Weld Racing Hard Luck Award.
Adams took the lead from his K&N Filters pole position on the restart, and Ward made an inside move to pass outside front row starter Wesley Hale of Memphis, TN in the Hale's Forklift Avenger/Dynotech for the second spot. Adams, Ward, and Hale would meet again later in the race, with a deciding outcome.
Ward kept the leader Adams in his sights during the first half of the race. Mike Senecal of Brandon, FL spun his Rodeway Inn Maxim/Humphrey in turn four on lap six to bring out the second caution flag of the race. Adams led Ward, Hale, Skinner, and Ryan Myers of Eldorado, OH, and Schuerenberg down for the restart.
Hale spun in turn one, collecting Myers in the Garrett Farms Domelt/Garrett Myers. That moved Stenhouse into the top five for the next restart, with Matt Tiffany of Daytona Beach, FL in sixth, and Martin in seventh.
Tiffany began to fall back through the field after the restart, with Martin moving up to the sixth spot on lap seven. Tiffany finished the race in the 16th spot, and was the Robison Race Products Rookie of the Race. The 16-year-old driver also won the Koolbeans Trophies third ten-lap heat race.
At the halfway point in the race, Adams came up on Hale to lap him in turn one. Adams had to pinch his car to the inside, and then slide up in front of Hale in turn two. As Adams lost forward momentum, Ward was able to get a run on Adams coming off the second turn on lap 16 to take the lead he would not relinquish.
Adams won the six-lap Air Flow Research Power Dash, and the 18-year-old Myers won the Engler Machine and Tool first ten-lap heat race. Skinner took the win in the ButlerBuilt second ten-lap heat race, and Ward won the fourth ten-lap heat race. Stewart won the 12-lap B-Main.
The next two O'Reilly USCS National events will also be Mid-South Thunder Tour point races at North Alabama Speedway in Tuscumbia, AL on Friday night, June 3, and at Columbus Speedway in Columbus, MS on Saturday night, June 4. For more information about the O'Reilly USCS visit the series web site at www.uscsracing.com.