TULSA, OK (August 18, 2001) - It has been an up and down season for eight-time NCRA defending champion Gary Wright. Through the first five events of the O'Reilly NCRA verses the All Stars Thunder Through the Plains series Wright has failed to...
TULSA, OK (August 18, 2001) - It has been an up and down season for eight-time NCRA defending champion Gary Wright. Through the first five events of the O'Reilly NCRA verses the All Stars Thunder Through the Plains series Wright has failed to find the winners circle. But the Texan got untracked Saturday picking up the series final at Tulsa Speedway.
Wright has been the most successful driver during the past six years of the Thunder Through the Plains series winning 7 out of 30 events. This year however flat tires, a crash and motor problems plagued him. Saturday Wright was not to be denied as he led all 30 laps to win his 72nd career NCRA victory and wrap up a record ninth championship.
Wright jumped off the front row into the lead on the start only to see the race immediately go yellow for Darren Stewart who was stopped in turn two. On the restart Wright resumed command chased by Kenny Jacobs and Danny Smith. The three ran that way till the yellow flag waved again on lap 6 for All Stars point leader Chad Kemenah who tangled with another car on the backstretch and bounced out of control into the infield.
When the race resumed Wright, Jacobs, Smith, 13-time Tulsa Speedway champion Donnie Crawford and Dean Jacobs held down the top five spots. The five threaded their way through lapped traffic untill another yellow waved at the half-way mark for Jerry Stone who pulled into the infield near the track. A lap later Travis Rilat brought out a yellow as he stopped on the track.
After the restart Crawford passed Smith for third and went after Jacobs. On lap 20 Brooke Tatnell lost a left rear tire in turn four forcing the final yellow flag. Wright again pulled away on the restart leaving Jacobs holding second just ahead of Crawford. Smith and D. Jacobs held on to fourth and fifth at the finish.
Wright had to do battle with Kemenah in the B main to earn his way into the A feature. Wright started on the outside front row and led the first 13 laps over Kemenah. Kemenah pulled alongside of Wright with one lap remaining and pulled ahead on the final circuit of the 3/8's mile oval for the win.
NCRA President C. Ray Hall was extremely pleased with how the week of racing has gone with both sanctioning bodies and can't wait to do it again next year. It was his idea several years ago and has grown every year.