Charlotte, NC ( May 24 ) On a night when good luck played as much of an influence as horsepower and handling Ricky Bryant and his Washington Apples - Food Lion race team moved into 2nd place in the NASCAR Goody's Dash Series 2000 championship...
Charlotte, NC ( May 24 ) On a night when good luck played as much of an influence as horsepower and handling Ricky Bryant and his Washington Apples - Food Lion race team moved into 2nd place in the NASCAR Goody's Dash Series 2000 championship point standings. This completes a 5 race stretch in the 2000 Dash season that saw Bryant jump 26 positions in the point standings with 4 top five and 1 top ten finishes.Bryant did not have a car to contend for the win in the Tom Johnson Camping Center Easy Care 100 at Lowe's Motor Speedway but he certainly ran a smooth race taking advantage of every break he could. Bryant commented after the race, " We probably should have brought our Daytona Speedway car to Charlotte, as many of the other teams did, but I felt this car had more downforce and would race better. Unfortunately the car was not as strong as we had hoped. I am very happy with the 6th place finish tonight. We took another big step towards our goal to contend for the Goody's Dash Series championship this year."Bryant and the Washington Apple team plan to move to the ASA AC Delco Series full time in 2001. Bryant went on to say " Consistency is going to be the key if we are to have a good opportunity to overcome Robert Huffman's lead and win a championship for Washington Apples and all our sponsors this season. Our crew has matured into a championship calibre team this season and if I can continue racing smart I believe we have a chance for our first championship. Our fifth straight finish of sixth or better is just what we needed."
The day at Lowe's Motor Speedway did not start out on a high note for Bryant and his Washington Apple team. A season's worst qualifying position of 15th put Bryant just about in the middle of the field for last nights race, and in a position to be swept up the wrecks that always seem to occur from mid pack on back. However as soon as the green flag fell Bryant ran a smooth consistent race moving up when he could and avoiding several wrecks on the 1 ½ mile high banks at Lowes Motor Speedway. Then potential misfortune struck when the fuel vent malfunctioned during the teams pit stop and the Washington Apple Pontiac was only able to receive one-half of the needed fuel on their pit stop. Fortunately good luck was on Bryant's side as he was able to finish the race without running out of fuel. Bryant came over the radio at one point and told the crew " I'm out of gas" as the Washington Apple Pontiac began to sputter with 4 laps remaining, Fortunately the Washington Apple Pontiac continued on avoiding a last lap wreck in front of him to come home with a very welcome 6th place finish. Ricky summed up the evening by saying " I really wanted to win the race tonight for Washington Apples because we had 5 guests from corporate headquarters here in the pits tonight. They have treated us so well this past 2 years. They deserved a win,and I wish I could have given it to them .However looking at the big picture we do have a chance to give Washington Apples as well as PPG Automotive Finishes, VDO, Prime Hospitality Corporation, Exxon Superflo Motor Oils, and Mother's Polishes and Waxes a championship this season.Our entire team will try our best to do that!"
It certainly seems that is the case because after returning from Charlotte to the teams Thomasville,NC shop at 1:30 AM Bryant and several members of the crew were back in the shop by 8 AM loading their short track car into the hauler to go testing at Orange County Speedway, the site of the next Dash Race on Saturday June 3rd. Bryant has won the last two Dash races in a row at Orange County , and he hopes to make it 3 in a row. Seeming to emphasize that point was the fact that Bryant and his crew spent 4 hours testing at Orange County on Thursday in spite of the fact that 2 tornado's and some severe storms had passed throught the area only hours before. After Orange County the Dash Series heads to South Boston (Va.)Speedway for a June 9th race. Bryant is a former track champion at South Boston.