USCS: Westminster report

Westminster, S.C. - Current USCS "Road to Indy" national points leader, Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee, drove under race long leader Johnny Bridges from Cherryville, North Carolina, coming off turn four on lap 27 of the 30 lap United Sprint...

Westminster, S.C. - Current USCS "Road to Indy" national points leader, Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee, drove under race long leader Johnny Bridges from Cherryville, North Carolina, coming off turn four on lap 27 of the 30 lap United Sprint Car Series main event at Westminster Speedway Friday night and stole the victory from the former (1998) USCS top rookie.

Gray said afterwards in victory lane that, " My car would only run about three laps before the fuel system would sour and the motor would start to miss. I just freshened this one and I guess I must have goofed somewhere. Fortunately after that last caution, we only had three laps to go. Johnny drove a great race and it looked like he was just a little loose there at the end. I really feel lucky to have won this one but, Lady Luck just sort of owed us one I guess, after the last two weekends." This was Gray's fourth USCS win in 2001.

Bridges, who looked strong all night, said "Well, I just lost my brakes with about eight or nine to go, pointing at a brake rotor flopping on the rear axle and that was the difference. My car was really good up to that point."

Bridges started outside front row next to 2000 USCS top rookie, Michael Miller, from Biloxi, Mississippi, who won last season's event at the track. They both won their heats and Miller drew a zero pill to keep them on the front row.

When the green flag dropped Bridges beat Miller to corner number one and lead a see-saw top five battle that had him fighting off challenges from Miller, Marshall Skinner, Chris Rogers, and eventually Gray who started third. Bridges lead the first twenty six laps . Miller and Skinner both fell to the rear after a lap fifteen tangle with a lapped car. This brought them both to a halt as they were trying to pass the cool Bridges with one on each side of him at times in the exciting battle for the point.

This put Gray on Bridges tail , but Bridges seemed to have the victory in his column, until the final caution set the stage for the three lap dash.

Skinner from West Memphis, Arkansas, charged back to finish third, while the 20 year old Rogers from Winston, Georgia, followed in fourth and rising USCS star, Brian Thomas, a third year driver from Auburn, Georgia, rounded out the top five.

In a night billed as round one of the first annual USCS "Rookie Roundup", Pickens, South Carolina rookie Eddie Hamilton headed the second five cars in sixth, while fellow rookie, Jeff Young from Mooresville, North Carolina, followed in seventh, third year USCS regular, Jim Raptis, from Marietta, Georgia, was eighth and rookies Aubrey Black from Lookout Mountain, Georgia, and Daryl Smith from Gibsonton, Florida finished in ninth and tenth respectively.

Gray won the 6 car, 6 lap, Airflow Research (cylinder heads) Power Dash and added to his leading points total for starting positions in the season end's Airflow Research Super Power Dash.

USCS rookie points leader, Ben Basinger from Granite Quarry, North Carolina, won the special Jimmy Smith Racing Tires/ American Racer "Rookie Dash" that was part of the two night "Rookie Roundup" weekend.

Jeff Young from Mooresville, North Carolina, was the evening's Huggins Cams "Hardcharger" award recipient for his efforts while starting last and finishing eighth.

Other sponsors for the evening's events were C&R Racing Radiators, Sierra Racing Products, Robison Racing Products, Leaf Racewear, and Weld Racing.

A main finish - 7/13/01 - Terry Gray, Johhny Bridges, Marshall Skinner, Chris Rogers, Brian Thomas, Eddie Hamilton, Jeff Young, Jim Raptis, Aubrey Black, Daryl Smith, Michael Miller, Randy Helton, Ben Basinger, Chris Owens, Hank Hall.

-USCS

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Series Sprint
Drivers Brian Thomas