Ryan Hemphill wins Gateway International Raceway, RE/MAX Challenge 125, in just his second career start Madison, Ill (May 5, 2002)--Ryan Hemphill, of Oakmont, Pennsylvania, took the lead on lap 66, shortly after the top four runners were ...
Ryan Hemphill wins Gateway International Raceway, RE/MAX Challenge 125, in just his second career start
Madison, Ill (May 5, 2002)--Ryan Hemphill, of Oakmont, Pennsylvania, took the lead on lap 66, shortly after the top four runners were penalized one-lap for a pit infraction. He then held off Wheaton, Illinois' Eddie Hoffman to win the RE/MAX Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring125, Sunday afternoon at Gateway (Ill) Int'l Raceway.
"We by no means had the fastest car today," said Hemphill. "My crew gave me a great pit stop and I was able to get out front and just hold the guys off."
Sparta, Wisconsin driver Tim Schendel, Jon Lemke of Greenfield, Minnesota and Mishawaka, Indiana's Ken Weaver rounded out the top five.
Steve Carlson, of West Salem, Wisconsin, Schendel, Justin Diercks of Davenport, Iowa, and Beloit Wisconsin's Ryan Hanson came down pit lane for their first stop on lap 52. Unfortunately for them, they passed the pace truck and were penalized one-lap for the infraction.
"I was just following Steve into the pits, not thinking much about it," said Schendel. "I should have been looking over and watching the pace truck, but I was just following the leader, being a little lazy, and paid the penalty."
The penalty briefly gave the lead to rookie competitor, Dale Nottestad, of Cambridge, Wisconsin. Hemphill disposed of him while Schendel, Carlson, Diercks and Hanson charged to get back on the lead lap.
Hanson got squeezed into the front stretch wall trying to get back on the lead lap. Damage suffered in the incident forced Hanson to the pits with a disappointing 28th finish to his credit. Diercks got up out of the groove in turn two, on lap 65, lost control and made heavy contact with the outside wall, ending his day. Carlson eventually made up his lap and recovered to finish seventh.
A late race caution for a stalled car on the track's apron set up a green-white-checkered shoot out and forced the race distance to be lengthened 1 lap for a total of 101.
once out front, Hemphill was happy to see a caution every now and then, because his car got worse on long runs.
"The car got worse the longer the run went," said Hemphill. "On restarts we were good, after the tires cooled down. But I still didn't need to see that last caution."
"You're just looking for an opportunity, or a hole where you can make an opportunity," said Hoffman of the late restart. "He got a good jump and there was just nothing I could do."
With his win, Hemphill earned $9600 and becomes the 71st different winner in the 28-year history of the series.
The event was run in conjunction with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and can be seen on the Speed Channel, May 13 at 7:00 p.m. (CT).
The RE/MAX Challenge Series next travels to Elko (Minn) Speedway for the running of the Windsor Windows 250, Friday, May 17.