Sophia, N.C. (May 13) On a day when hearts were heavy due to the loss of Adam Petty, the Dash Series returned to the track at Caraway Speedway in Sophia, N.C. Caraway is the track where Adam Petty raced often, and there were many memories of the...
Sophia, N.C. (May 13) On a day when hearts were heavy due to the loss of Adam Petty, the Dash Series returned to the track at Caraway Speedway in Sophia, N.C. Caraway is the track where Adam Petty raced often, and there were many memories of the 19 year old Busch Grand National Driver throughout the garage area. Petty Enterprises is only about 10 miles from the track and the entire community spent this first day after the tragic loss of Petty with remembrances of a young man whose life ended to soon.
Interviewed before the race, Washington Apple driver Ricky Bryant had memories of Petty and what he will remember of the times their common love for the sport of racing brought them together. Ricky commented "I enjoyed the times I had the opportunity to spend with Adam when we raced together. I considered him a friend. I hope to be able to put this Washington Apple car into victory lane tonight and dedicate the win to Adam in his memory".
Bryant certainly came close, finishing second in the Spero Farms 125.
The Washington Apple - Lowes Foods Pontiac unloaded from the truck fast on this hot and humid day at the 4/10 mile track that Bryant calls one of his home tracks. "I was really comfortable with the car today right off the truck. We tried a few different things but our original setup was the way to go", Bryant commented. Unfortunately as the day got hotter the track got slicker and Bryant was not able to get back to the times the Washington Apple - Lowes Foods Pontiac recorded in the cooler part of the day. When it came time for qualifying it showed as the best Bryant could do was 12th fastest. During the first four Dash races the Washington Apple team had recorded a stellar 2.25 average starting position . But as Bryant commented "We had to come from 24th place and finished 4th three weeks ago at Coastal Plains, so I think we will be alright. We need to try and avoid the wrecks and come up with a good pit stop." Bryant had qualified 4th at Coastal Plains but had to start 24th due to the fact that repairs were necessary to the Washington Apple Pontiac from a brush with the wall on his 2nd qualifying lap.
Once the green flag flew for the evening's Goody's Dash race Bryant carefully picked off 4 cars and was running 8th only about 10 laps into the race. The only close call of the race was when Bryant had to avoid a multi car wreck on the front straightaway . After that Ricky ran his race with a car that was very strong on short runs. Ricky said ""When the race went green for 15 or 20 laps the car was awesome. But the longer we went the car just dropped off . I think I heated up my right rear tire a little too much so the longer we went the harder it was to keep up."
It must not have been too hard because with 20 laps to go Bryant had his Washington Apples Pontiac in 2nd place and in contention for the first win of 2000. From there to the checkered flag Bryant fought a clean but exciting battle with Scott Weaver for the win. On the final lap Bryant was on Weaver's back bumper but he was not able to make the pass, and Scott Weaver had his 2nd career Dash Series win. It was a great return to victory lane for Weaver who was seriously injured at Daytona in the 1999 Dash Series opener. Bryant was very happy after the race " I would have loved the win, but I wasn't about to turn Scott on that last lap. That's not the way to race. We have to look at the big picture of winning the championship for our sponsors and our team. We took another big step in that direction tonight. We had a flawless pit stop and everyone did a great job".
Unofficially, Bryant and the Washington Apple team picked up 3 positions and is now in third place, after 5 races, in the Dash Series standings. 2nd place Ed Howell is 31 points ahead of Bryant, and series champion Robert Huffman is only 126 points ahead of the Washington Apple driver.
The Dash Series now shifts into high gear with 4 races in the next four weeks. The next race on May 24th will be on Winston Cup Pole Night at Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte. Bryant and his Washington Apple Pontiac were one of the fastest cars during testing at Charlotte on May 3rd. After that the Dash Series visits Orange County, where Bryant has won the last two Dash races, on June 3rd and South Boston (Va.) Speedway on June 9th. The Washington Apple team has announced they will be pairing with retail partner Food Lion for the Tom Johnson Camping Center 100 at Charlotte.
For additional information on Ricky Bryant and the Washington Apple team go to www.bestapples.com . There are press releases, a picture gallery, and race results on the race team link. B/G Motorsports has also announced the launch of their own web page as well. Race fans may go to www.bgmotors.com for information on Ricky Bryant, the B/G Motorsports team, and their sponsors.