Indianapolis, In. (Sept 29) In a race that was not the finish that he had wanted, or the ending to the season he had hoped for Ricky Bryant guided the ...
Indianapolis, In. (Sept 29) In a race that was not the finish that he had wanted, or the ending to the season he had hoped for Ricky Bryant guided the #35 Washington Apples Pontiac Grand Prix to a 17th place finish in the final ASA race of the 2001 season at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Saturday night. Long time sponsor Washington Apples is leaving the BG Motorsports team, due to a change in their marketing plans, and Ricky wanted to send them off with a good finish. Ricky commented, " I hate it that Washington Apples is leaving us after tonight. They have been a great sponsor for the last 3 years, but more than that we have become good friends with many of their sales rep's.I m going to miss those guys. They were a lot of fun to work with at the shows, and the races.. They will always be family here at BG Motorsports." As far as the race Ricky went on to say, " The car was never good all weekend. The crew was focused so hard on finishing up with a strong run. They worked hard helping me try to get in dialed in but, I could never get any grip. I am really disappointed for the crew,and the team as a whole".
One good break for the "Apple Guy's" this weekend was the fact that a seasons long consistency gave them a provisional and a 24th starting spot. It could have been worse because the Washington Apple car and driver could do no better than 40th in qualifying. A 24th place spot would at least give Bryant the chance for his usual habit of picking up 10 to 15 spots each week in the race.A top 10 or 15 was definitely a possibility.
The tireack.com 200 was a fast and mostly green race for the first 100 laps. Bryant avoided a couple spins and hung around 17th, where he would eventually end up. Points racing was definitely a consideration also. When Bryant started the night the Washington Apple team had a good chance to pick up 4 spots in the final point standings.If your keeping track at home that would mean an additional $8,000 in the points check. Chump change for Winston Cup, but serious dollars in the still growing ASA. Bryant began the night in 16th place in points standings, after having been as high as 11th in mid-season. The team seemed to come together in mid-season at Grand Rapids with a 10th place run. After that a string of "bad racing luck" in 3 races the Washington Apple car was strong, and running up front halted the teams progress. In the end Bryant closed his rookie season in ASA out in 16th place. In looking back at the tough season the Washington Apple team had one only has to remember that Bryant missed the season opener, at St. Augustine, when a mechanical problem in the qualifying race left them 2 spots short of making it. In the "if it only worked out that way dept". Bryant would have finished at least 11th if the Washington Apple car had made the first race. Certainly a painful reminder, but as Bryant considered the season just ended, " I know now this team can compete in ASA. With the right package I know the guys can put a car under me, and I can run in the front next year each week. We had it all happen this year.I told my partner Tom that this was our crash and burn year, so hopefully we've gotten over all the bad luck, and we are ready for a strong 2002 season. It felt great to rip that yellow rookie stripe off after the race." In what would be Ricky's final comment on the season he said, "I certainly hope we can get a sponsor signed in the next month or two, and be ready for next year. We are working on a couple deals, but nothings set as of yet.I really look forward to next year in the ASA. The drivers in ASA are great to race with. I feel our team can have a lot of success here in ASA, and I'm anxious to come back."".
In what seems to be a interesting fact on the 2001 season Bryant had his 3 best finishes at "The Rapids". In April, and August Bryant finished 11th, and 12th respectively at Cedar Rapids. In July Bryant finished 10th at Grand Rapids. BG Motorsports will most likely find other tracks in "Rapids" cities and recommend ASA races there in 2002.
BG Motorsports season is not quite finished yet. On October 20th BG Motorsports will pull the covers off their idle NASCAR Dash Series program, with a top young up and coming 17 year old driver , Scott Haller from Pennsylvania. BG Motorsports, and Haller will attempt to qualify, and race at Lakeland (Fl.)International Speedway in the next to last Dash race of the season. Haller will guide the familiar # 5 Pontiac Sunfire around Lakeland's nice wide ¾ mile layout in that race. If sponsorship can be obtained Haller will race for the rookie of the year award in the Dash Series in 2002 for BG Motorsports. Haller races at the NASCAR sanctioned, Mahoning Valley Speedway in the high-powered late model division where he has won 2 times this season. After that race the BG Motorsports team will focus it's attention on putting programs on the track in 2002 in ASA, possibly some truck races, and maybe Dash Series team as well.