San Antonio, Tx., The pre-holiday weekend kicked off at the high-banked 1/2 mile track in San Antonio with the Texas Asphalt Modified, All Star Race Trucks and Super Late Models all running under the USRA banner. Seventeen TAMS cars, 22 ARTS...
San Antonio, Tx., The pre-holiday weekend kicked off at the high-banked 1/2 mile track in San Antonio with the Texas Asphalt Modified, All Star Race Trucks and Super Late Models all running under the USRA banner. Seventeen TAMS cars, 22 ARTS trucks and 21 USRA Super Late Models ran through qualifying to set the fields for the two 50 lappers and 125 lap main event.
American Classifieds 50 The Texas Asphalt Modifieds were first to hit the track with veteran Jerry Schild setting the quickest time, turning a lap of 19.33 seconds in his Jo-Co Lube/Anne Lyons DDS/AJ Foyt Racing/Incon Pipeline Service/510 Bar & Grill/FRE Chassis powered by an Albert Belton motor.
"It was a little slick out there, actually a whole lot," stated Schild. "I had a good lap going on my second lap and could have beat that .33. I got sideways coming off turn four but still matched my .33. I wanted (Chris) Swenson's record. He gets to keep it for a while longer. I think can run .60's during the race, I don't know about the other guys, but I can." When asked if having AJ Foyt as a sponsor puts any added pressure on him Schild joked, " He put pressure on me as a kid, but I'm as old as he is now."
Swenson Fights Back for Win Jerry Schild was able to hold on to the pole after the hat draw for the top six qualifiers, flanked by Chris Swenson. As the green waved for the 50 lap TAMS event, Schild and Swenson made contact in turns 1-2 cutting down the right front. Schild slid into the turn two wall and stopped to bring out a caution. Swenson was sent to the tail due to the "all involved" rule, while Schild jumped into the car of Gary Junco, and tagged the tail along with Swenson.
With the new front row of Bruce Beddoe and Matt Merrell the race restarted and Beddoe was first into turn 1 for the lead. As Beddoe, Merrell and Mark Chrudimsky pulled away, defending champion, Joey Heinaman slowed and fell back in the field. Merrell then began to put the heat on Beddoe looking low on the front stretch. Chrudimsky tried to get outside Merrell for second, but the top three sorted back out single file.
Merrell tried the same move on the back straight on lap 4, while David Machen was trying to hold off Billy Becka for fourth. By lap 5, the top three had pulled far ahead of Machen, Becka and John Paul Kliewer, who were being run down quickly by Swenson. Swenson got by both Kliewer and Becka for the fifth spot on lap 6 and got along side Machen for fourth on lap 8. Machen held the spot, though both were losing ground to the lead trio.
Heinaman and Becka both pitted on laps 9-10, Becka giving up the sixth spot. Merrell turned up the fire on Beddoe giving him a shot in the bumper on lap 14. Merrell then tried to go outside Beddoe on lap 15 as the fight continued for the lead. Beddoe got a little loose in turn 2 giving Merrell the chance to dive inside going down the back stretch. Merrell beat Beddoe into turn 3 to grab the lead on lap 19.
Merrell began to inch away from Beddoe, while Swenson was still trying to find a way around Machen for fourth. At the mid point it was Merrell putting distance on Beddoe, Chrudimsky, Swenson and Machen. The red was waved on lap 28 when Machen exploded a motor dumping fluid on the track. Jim Meyers, Kliewer and John Witzsche all slid through the mess ending up in the wall and/or into each other. All drivers were alright, but all cars were done for the night.
The stoppage was a break for Swenson who was running hot after his prolonged battle with Machen, and being able to catch up with the field. On the restart the top four tip-toed through the oil dry as they pulled away. Coming to complete lap 28 Chrudimsky tried outside Beddoe for second with the two getting together and Chrudimsky getting squeezed into the wall.
Beddoe went to the pits before heading to the tail, Chrudimsky was out for the night. As green waved again Swenson quickly jumped on the youngster, Merrell and took over the lead on lap 29. Swenson got out to a slight lead but Merrell ran him back down as the gap see-sawed between the top two. Merrell got out of shape and was sideways out of turn 4, but still closed ground on Swenson.
>From then on Swenson was able to slowly creep away from Merrell and was ahead by eight car lengths with five laps to go. As the white flag was shown, Swenson had increased his lead to ten cars and was easily able to complete his run from the back to score the win in hid Gain Racing/A+ Cash/Tri-Electric/Spreen Racing Engines/Swenson Race Chassis.
"We haven't won in a while, so it means a lot." reported Swenson. "It was kind of tough.(having to come from the back) Basically it was just determination. We just had a don't give up attitude. We almost did it last race here, and finished third and there were a few less cars. We figured if we hung in there and had some good luck, we could win the race." Swenson on being sent to the back, "Well that's the rules(all involved) and that's the way we have raced all year, so I wasn't really that upset. It was just a racing deal and we had 50 laps to get it back. We try to race as clean as we can, but you've got to race. You have to get out there and hustle the car and you're to make contact once in a while. It's really not that big of a deal." Swenson who builds several cars and repairs others added. "Trying to keep up with my car isn't easy. I've got a brand new dirt car that I just can't seem to finish. That's my life and that's really my business. I just try to separate the two and work late at night."
Action Rentals 50
In the All Star Race Trucks, Shawn Paul Lehman surprised himself by setting the best time in qualifying running around the 1/2 mile at 21.38 second driving the Washburns Town & Country Cleaners/Terrys Body Shop/Meredith Race Engines/TRC Race Cars.
Lehman said, "It just worked out right, the cloud cover helped us. I'm not sure how much, but it was beneficial. We picked up about two tenths from practice to qualifying, like Corpus Christi and Thunder Hill, I thought we'd run a .45. It's kind of another one of those, where did it come from deals. I think the truck has more than that."
"I hope we can run 50 laps just like that. That's what I'm looking for now. Hopefully the invert will go well. I like to sit on the pole, but it doesn't give you a trophy. I don't think can run any .30's during the race, it will be more like mid .40's-.50's. We might loosen it up for the race, but more than likely it will be a minimal change."
"A win would definitely help out in the sponsorship search. A couple wins would some sponsors attention. You have to finish the race to win. We were running good and had some bad luck with cut tires. We're right on the brink of winning, if we can get everything to cooperate."
Lehman Goes Flag to Flag
With Shawn Paul Lehman and Bryan Meredith on the front row, 22 All Star Race Trucks started the 50 lap feature. It didn't take long for the action to start as Lehman beat Meredith into 1, but back in the pack Brent Bell got into the back wall to bring out yellow and a complete restart. The restart was the same as Lehman got the point in turn 1. Lehman instantly began to put a little distance on Meredith, Robert Walton and Steve Green.
By lap 5 Lehman had built a nice little 10 truck lead over the three car battle for second. Lap 6 saw Bobby Bunte get loose coming out of turn 4, losing several spots before getting straightened out. Yellow waved on lap 8 for a spin by Neal Rogers in turns 3-4. Once back to green, Lehman again edged away from his competition and rebuilt his lead.
Lap 12 saw Craig Roper, Bud Carroll, Josh Freeman and Jeff Hull jr. run side by side two deep, as Bill Hamilton closed in on the battle for eighth. Walton then started to challenge Meredith for second on lap 15, as Lehman inched away. Kenny Gaddis, and Shane Harris joined the battle for eighth, making a seven truck fight. Cameron Moore spun on lap 19, with Rogers going through the grass to bring out a yellow.
On the restart, Walton rooted Meredith for the second spot, with Green moving along side Meredith for third. Green got way out of shape coming out of turn 2, but was able to hold on and not lose a spot. Lap 24 saw (#23) spin from seventh to bring out yellow before caution. Hamilton got a big jump on the restart, too big in fact as the yellow came back out. Green slowed dramatically and pulled off.
On the next try Lehman and Walton got a good lead as they came to halfway with Meredith, Keith Patrick and Rusty Mirth rounding out the top five. The best battle for position was back in the pack between Carroll, Gaddis, Freeman and Bunte, as Gaddis tried to move into the top ten. In the meantime, Lehman was increasing his lead over Walton, who had a big gap back to Meredith.
Carroll, Gaddis, Freeman and Bunte was still the best battle on the track when Moore spun again on lap 34 . Hamilton again jumped the green, this time being sent to the tail for the next restart. Lehman and Walton got out to a five truck length lead on green over Meredith and Patrick when the green came back out. Gaddis had just passed Carroll for eighth when Bunte spun out of turn four and hit the inside wall hard. Bunte was sent to a local hospital for a check-up and was released later and returned to the track.
John Denham was next to incur the wrath of the flagman for jumping a start as he got tagged for a big jump start. Lehman got a good restart as the race resumed with a dozen laps to go. Lehman then worked his way out to a five truck length lead over Walton with a big gap to Meredith in third, while Roper, Gaddis and battled for sixth.
With three laps tp go Meredith was forced to call it a night as he pulled off while running third. When the white flag waved Lehman had built a ten truck lead over Walton who had nearly a straightaway over Patrick in third. As the checkers waved it was Lehman grabbing the victory, his first in the All Star Race Trucks Series and at San Antonio Speedway.
"This win means a lot to me. It's our first win at San Antonio Speedway, as well as our first truck win. Everybody worked hard in the pits, it would of bummed me out not to give them something to show for it. This ones for Ms. Daisy." replied Lehman.
"I kinda messed up right before we went to line up for the start. I wanted to take out some rear rollout and ended up putting a 1/4" more in it. It took about 5 laps before I realized what I had done, but it was still pretty quick. The 10 truck(Robert Walton) I felt, was just as quick , and I needed to stay consistent to stay out in front."
"I need to thank Davidson Communications for helping us out with some borrowed radio gear."
Time Warner Cable 125
Another surprise in qualifying came when Eddy Wallace edged out track hot shoe Brandon Bendele for the Super Late Models. Wallace, the Houston winner in May, pilots the Henna Chevrolet/Nancy Drew/Longneck Wrench/Austin Performance Plus Machine/Hamke Chassis/Chevy Monte Carlo, with an "in house" motor built by his dad.
"The car was real good on old tires," replied Wallace. When you get used to running on them and put new ones on it's just naturally going to pick up that much. New tires feel so good. It was nice smooth first lap and I over drove it the second and got the tires hot."
" We've been looking for a pole here. It's actually my favorite track. It's the one track we race at that you can go side by side and swap positions. It's a great place. The car was good on old tires, so I'm confident about the race. We're going to loosen it up for the race, but I think we can maintain the pace."
In beating track favorite Brandon Bendele Wallace added. "Brandon's a great competitor, he's really fast here and it's his home track. We've known each other for a long time since back when we ran go-karts together. To set fast time against him is great."
Umschied in Upset for First Career Win
Tommy Grimes would draw the number one hat for the pole position with Tuffy Hudson along side for the 125 lap main event for the USRA Super Late Models. After a few early race incidents, series owner, Terry Dickerson tried use reverse psychology telling all the drivers in the drivers meeting, to try to win it on the first lap. Well the psychology didn't work.
As the field came into turn 4 to take the green, Tuffy Hudson tried to get the edge on Tommy Grimes. Grimes held back and Hudson slowed. As Grimes took off, Hudson jumped on the gas, spun the tires and got sideways banging Grimes in the door. Hudson turned sideways and tagged the outside wall setting off a massive chain reaction in the field that collected John Heil, T Wade Welch, Cory Roper, Todd McLemore and Jason Smith.
With Hudson out the new front row of Grimes and three time track champion Brandon Bendele came to green as 18 cars restarted. Bendele got the best of Grimes and was first into turn 1 to grab the top spot. Coming to complete lap 1 defending series champion, Bradley Riethmeyer made slight contact with Eddy Wallace, but both continued without incident. By lap 2 the field had sorted out to single file with Bendele, Grimes and JC Umschied heading the field.
Former TIDA Late Model Champion, John Kelly brought out the yellow on lap 3 with spin and pitted with a flat tire. Before the race could go back to green, Smith broke what was left of his ride and clipped Danny Pike on the back stretch. Grimes tried to jump inside Bendele on the restart with the duo door to door on the back stretch. The two made slight contact going into turn 3, but both held on to their cars and positions.
Michael Crofford spun with a flat tire on lap 17 to bring out the caution. Crofford pitted under yellow for repairs. Once back to green with Bendele edging away, current points leader, Heath Stewart took seventh getting around Thad Felton on lap 22. On lap 25, Bendele had built a four car margin over Grimes and Umschied, with six cars back to Riethmeyer and Wallace.
Bendele continued to increase his lead, while Umschied worked on Grimes for second. Umschied would be able to get into the corner better and get the nose inside, but Grimes was faster off the corners to keep Umschied at bay. As the duo kept up their scrap, Bendele kept motoring ahead to a four second lead by lap 50.
After losing some ground to Grimes, Umschied reeled him back in and got along side on the front straightaway and had just cleared when yellow flew for a spin by Kent Baltzell on lap 57. The yellow gave Grimes the spot back, and took away Bendele's huge lead. The race restarted at halfway with Bendele, Grimes, Umschied, Riethmeyer and Wallace in the top five and the top seven staying nose to tail.
Umschied began his assault on Grimes again and finally made the pass on lap 66. A lap later, Thad Felton slapped the wall in turn 3 to bring out yellow. On the restart, the field accodianed going into turns 3-4 with Crofford getting turned and clipping Baltzell who hit the wall. Once the race resumed, Umschied took a shot at Bendele for lead. Umschied got inside Bendele in turns 1-2 and ran side by side down the back stretch. The two rubbed through three and four, with Umschied leading at the line. Bendele gave Umschied a little rap going into turn 1, but Umschied held on and was inching away.
Chris Davidson got by Eddy Wallace for fifth on lap 77, as Stewart tried to follow him through the two relatives got together sending Stewart spinning into the inside wall on the back stretch. Umschied got a good jump on the restart and had three car lengths on Bendele. C. Davidson picked up another spot, grabbing fourth from Riethmeyer on lap 85. Umschied was increasing his advantage on lap 90 over Bendele who had the same gap back to Grimes.
Wallace spun on lap 91 to bring out the yellow, during which time, Welch, McLemore and Riethmeyer all pitted for tires. Bendele stayed with Umschied on the restart as the top four stayed nose to tail. C. Davidson got along side Grimes for third as they battled door to door down the back stretch on lap 100. Umschied was once again pulling away from Bendele, while the cars that pitted for tires were unable to make any progress.
C. Davidson then had his motor sour ending his night with only 18 to go giving spots back to Welch and Riethmeyer. With ten circuits remaining, Umschied had a three second lead over Bendele, with the same gap back to Grimes. Riethmeyer's night ended on lap 119 as he pitted from fifth. When the white was shown, the young Fort Worth driver, Umschied still had his commanding lead and was able to capture his first career win.
"Finally! It's awesome!," shouted the jubilant winner, Umschied. "It's awesome for the whole team, not just me. We worked so hard. It all started watching my dad, Larry Bendele and Greg Davidson race. That's where I learned Everything. To come out here and race with Greg, Tommy(Grimes) is awesome."
"We came so close in 2001 and I can count six races we should have won. I just messed up some as a rookie and had some parts failures."
"I knew Brandon was struggling on restarts. I knew if I was going do something I had to do it early after a restart. I got a good run on him out of two, got underneath him and ran side by side down the back stretch. It's not just against Brandon, you've got Greg, Tommy, all these guys have millions of laps. That's what means more than anything. These are some pf the best racercar drivers in the country."
"I don't know, it really hasn't sunk in yet!"