Wright Seeks to Start New O'Reilly ASCS Streak at West Plains Saturday TULSA, Okla. (September 13, 2004) - A long streak ended for Gary Wright this past Saturday night. "The Texan", just a handful of events away from his first ASCS National...
Wright Seeks to Start New O'Reilly ASCS Streak at West Plains Saturday
TULSA, Okla. (September 13, 2004) - A long streak ended for Gary Wright this past Saturday night. "The Texan", just a handful of events away from his first ASCS National title, will look to start another streak this Saturday night as the O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and Classic Trailers takes to West Plains Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
Saturday night's outing atop the 3/8-mile West Plains Motor Speedway red clay oval is a makeup of the event originally scheduled for July 24 when persistent showers hit the speedway during the driver's meeting.
Entering this past weekend's Memphis-area double, Wright had a string of 35 consecutive top-ten finishes in ASCS National competition (including a fifth-place run in Knoxville 360 Nationals preliminary action). Wright extended that streak to 36 consecutive events by turning in a dominant performance in Friday's event at Memphis Motorsports Park.
"That's the best car I've had in a long time," Wright commented after his third career ASCS triumph at Memphis Motorsports Park. "I could go anywhere with that car, it was perfect. I probably haven't had a car that good since one of the Amarillo races last year when we lapped up to about fifth."
The 36-race string would stretch no further however, as Wright took a wild ride into turn one on the second lap of Saturday night's feature at Riverside Speedway in West Memphis, AR.
While Wright was uninjured, his top-ten finishing streak was history. His championship hopes suffered very little however. Defending series champion Travis Rilat, currently second in points, was unable to capitalize on Wright's first DNF of the 2004 ASCS National Tour when mechanical gremlins forced him pitside as well.
"I don't know what was wrong with it, we ran some laps after the race and it was fine," Rilat stated afterward. "I think someone put a hex on us, we can't catch a break right now. Hopefully that'll change Saturday at West Plains."
As a result, Rilat gained only four markers on Wright, who now holds a 104-point lead over Rilat with just five events remaining, including this Saturday night's West Plains event. Doubles at Fast Trax Speedway in Chatham, LA, on September 24-25 and Devil's Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, TX, on October 22-23 are all that remain after this Saturday night.
Coming off a career best Riverside Speedway finish of second, 2001 series champion Zach Chappell enters Saturday night ranked third in points. In pursuit of a career-best ASCS National Tour ranking, surging Carthage, MO, shoe Toby Brown has climbed to fourth in points on the strength of a stretch of strong finishes aboard his new Eagle. Brown has posted two fifth-place and two sixth-place rankings in the past four years.
1992 series champion Garry Lee Maier of Cimarron, KS, enters the weekend ranked fifth, just ahead of Darren Stewart. Seventh through ninth are current Brodix Rookie of the Year contenders A.G. Rains, Jimmy Taylor and Sam Hafertepe, Jr., with Cody Branchcomb completing the current top ten. North Dakota's Natalie Sather, also a Brodix Rookie of the Year contender, is a close eleventh in points.
Also among those expected for Saturday night's action are former ASCS National champions Tim Crawley and Terry Gray, along with 16-year old Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who became the series' youngest winner when he topped the final round of ASCS COMP Cams Speedweek at Riverside Speedway on July 17.
Crawley has topped the series' previous two stops at West Plains Motor Speedway in 2002 and 2003.
Saturday night's card is slated to go green at 7:00 p.m.
West Plains Motor Speedway is located six miles east of West Plains on US 63, then south. For more information, contact the track at 417-257-2112.
The 2004 O'Reilly ASCS National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and Classic Trailers consists of nearly 40 nights of racing at 20 different tracks throughout Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.
More information about the American Sprint Car Series is available at www.ascsracing.com.