Brian Tyler won the opening round of the 1998 USAC Silver Crown series at Walt Disney World Speedway on Saturday. Tyler was able to outlast the competition in a race which was stopped seven times for caution periods. Tyler was handed the lead when...
Brian Tyler won the opening round of the 1998 USAC Silver Crown series at Walt Disney World Speedway on Saturday. Tyler was able to outlast the competition in a race which was stopped seven times for caution periods. Tyler was handed the lead when 1997 USAC midget champion, Jason Leffler, lost power as the pair took the white flag.
With fifteen laps in the book, Leffler inherited the lead when Robby Flock ran into the back of leader, Kenny Irwin. Flock and Irwin also collected Irwin's team mate, Dave Steele who had been running fourth.
Kenny Irwin started on the pole with Flock joining him on the front row. When the green flew, Flock got a good jump off of turn three and took the lead in turn one. The first four cars easily pulled away from the field. Kenny Irwin stayed with Flock, with Dave Steele and Jason Leffler following close behind. Chuck Leary was further back in fifth.
On lap seven, Irwin looked low into turn one and dove for the lead. Irwin and Flock raced side by side for the lead with Irwin cementing the position on the backstretch. The top four ran nose to tail into turn three. Flock got a bit out of shape in turn three, causing Steele to drop anchor. This allowed Leffler to pass for third.
The field was bunched when Jim Keeker's car punctured the fuel bladder, spraying fuel on the circuit. But when the green reappeared, the front four, Irwin, Flock, Leffler and Steele, pulled away once again. Tyler, who started tenth, had moved up to fifth when the yellow was shown for Keeker.
Irwin led with a three way battle for second behind him. The battle ensued for seven laps when Jeff Mitrisin spun in turn one.
On the restart, Robby Flock lost his brakes as Irwin led into turn one. Flock ran straight into the back of Irwin. As the pair slid up towards the wall they collected Steele who was in fourth place. Leffler had gone low into turn one to challenge Flock, avoiding the accident and inheriting the lead.
With fifteen laps complete, the order was Leffler, Tyler, Bliss, Fillip, Leary, Newman, and Heydenreich in seventh.
Leffler pulled away from the fierce battle between Tyler and Bliss. Bliss took second but Tyler stayed right on his bumper. As the battle for second continued, Leffler increased his lead.
Bliss' car started get loose just past the mid-point of the race. But Bliss continued to drive the wheels off the car, trying to stay in the top five. Several laps later his engine went sour and Mike pulled the car into the pits.
Gary Hieber caused the last yellow flag when he stopped his car on the track.
It would be a seven lap dash to the finish, with the order, Leffler, Tyler, Heydenreich, Newman, and Hewitt in fifth. With four laps to go, Newman was next to do the moonwalk with an ill handling car.
Leffler was pressured by Tyler in the waning laps. Just as the pair took the white flag, Leffler's car sputtered and the field raced by him. Leffler had taken the lead on lap sixteen.
John Heydenreich finished second and might of had something for Tyler had he had a few more laps. Chet Filip finished third followed by Jack Hewitt in fourth and Dave Darland in fifth.
The top twenty four drivers qualified for the fifty lap feature through their lap times, with six drivers added to the field through a last chance race. Jac Haudenschild, of Wooster, OH, won the last chance race. Gary Hieber finished second, followed by David Reutimann, Kevin Thomas, Eric Gordon and Randy Bauer in sixth.
David Reininger - Motorsport News International