Thomasville, NC ( Oct. 25 ) Ricky Bryant, and his Washington Apple team are hoping momentum coming from a strong run this past Saturday night at USA International Speedway ( Lakeland, Fl. ) will carry over to the 2000 season finale this...
Thomasville, NC ( Oct. 25 ) Ricky Bryant, and his Washington Apple team are hoping momentum coming from a strong run this past Saturday night at USA International Speedway ( Lakeland, Fl. ) will carry over to the 2000 season finale this Saturday night at Lanier National Speedway in Gainesville, Georgia. Bryant and the BG Motorsports team are looking to end their career in the Dash Series on a high note. Bryant is looking ahead to the 2001 season where his team, and sponsor Washington Apples will be moving to full time competition in the ASA AC Delco Series, but first his thoughts were on the past 5 seasons in the Dash Series, " I owe a lot to the Goody's Dash Series. First of all to Goody's for the support they have shown to this series. Goody's has helped my career through their support of this series. The Dash Series has taught us everything we know as a race team in how to tour succesfully.We are going to miss the series when we leave after Saturday night". In the past 2 seasons Bryant, and the Washington Apple team has recorded , 3 Wins, 12 top five finishes, and 26 top ten finishes in 33 races. Bryant finished 3rd in the 1999 point standings , and currently sits 2nd in 2000 with the 1 race remaining.
This past Saturday night the Washington Apple - U Save Supermarkets team was strong from the time they unloaded. Bryant and the Washington Apple Pontiac were among the fastest cars in practice at the ¾ mile speedway. In first round qualifying Friday evening Bryant backed up his practice times by qualifying 6th in the 36 car field.
Come raceday on Saturday Bryant's goal was survival. Ricky commented, " I think there will be a lot of cautions, but more importantly we have to keep in mind this is one of the longer races we run in the Dash Series. 150 laps will eat up your tires if you are not conservative till it's time to go." Conservative is what Bryant was. For the first half of the race Bryant drove his Washington Apples Pontiac around the ¾ slightly banked speedway content to stay close to the leaders. When it came time to pit for fuel the Washington Apple team performed flawlessly advancing Bryant 2 positions to fifth. From there it was time to race hard, and that is what Bryant did. He quickly moved to the 4th position, and was ready to race the 3rd place car of Robert Huffman when a wreck occurred between the first 3 cars leaving Bryant out front of the rapidly thinning field. When the green flag fell again Bryant and the Washington Apple Pontiac took the point for the next 9 laps .,until the # 64 Wynn's car , driven by Jake Hobgood, slipped under Bryant on Lap 124 , to take the lead. From there Bryant did all he could to catch Hobgood but 2nd was the best the Washington Apple team could manage on this night. " I had a little bit of lag in the motor, down the straight-aways , and on restarts most of the night. Jake was just a bit quicker than us, I congratulate him on his first win of the season. He was the best tonight", Bryant stated.
The 2000 Dash Series season has been one of the most competitive ever with 10 different drivers winning in the season's first 17 races. Unfortunately one of them who has not won yet is Bryant. Ricky stated, " I feel like we had a good shot at winning here tonight, but circumstances dictated us finishing 2nd. At Bristol I thought we had a win when I tried to drive around the 1st and 2nd place cars when they wrecked, but I got caught up in their mess. The entire Washington Apple team is going to go to Lanier Saturday night,and try to sit on the pole, lead every lap and win our final Dash race. There is not much I can do about Robert clinching the championship. I congratulate him for a good season. He is a fine champion, but we still want to win a race this season. We will try our best to do that this Saturday night!" At this point Bryant still has a slight mathematical chance of winning the championship.
Saturday nights ETS Pay Phones 150 will bring down the curtain on a very busy season for Bryant, and the Washington Apple team.The Dash finale, at Lanier, will be the teams 26th race of the year at 25 different race tracks. In fact back in June Bryant, and the BG Motorsports team, even raced 2 races in the same day. One in Iowa in the ASA Series, and one in North Carolina in the Dash Series.In all Bryant will have raced in 18 Dash races and 8 ASA AC Delco Series races in 2000.Add to that another 7 qualifier races of either 50 or 100 laps, in ASA, and Bryant will have raced in what amounts to a 33 race season. After a very short bit of resting up Bryant, and the Washington Apple team heads back to the track for a busy winter of testing at tracks where 3 of the first 4 ASA AC Delco Series races will be held in 2001. The ASA Series season opener will be on Saturday night February 17th at Florida Speedpark in St. Augustine, Florida. Other tracks Bryant expects to test heavily at will be USA International in Lakeland, Florida ( ASA race March 24th ) and South Boston ( Va. ) Speedway ( ASA race April 7th ) The season's 2nd race is at Irwindale Speedway on March 10th. Irwindale Speedway is in Los Angeles, Ca. A little too far to go testing.
Before the off season activities can begin there will be a trip for Bryant to the PMA show in Los Angeles. Bryant, and the Washington Apple car, will be featured in the Washington Apple exhibit at the Produce Marketers Association show , at the Anaheim Convention Center, on October 29, 30, and 31. Bryant leaves Georgia, almost immediately after Saturday nights race, to fly to LA for the show. The Washington Apple showcar left Florida this past Sunday on it's way to LA.
For more information on Ricky Bryant, and the Washington Apple team, go to www.bestapples.com ( Click on the race team link ) or to www.bgmotors.com