Amarillo report

Stewart Streaks into O'Reilly ASCS Point Lead with Amarillo Ambush AMARILLO, Tex. (May 17, 2003) - Darren Stewart wired the field in Saturday night's 25-lap feature at Route 66 Motor Speedway, streaking into the O'Reilly American Sprint Car...

Stewart Streaks into O'Reilly ASCS Point Lead with Amarillo Ambush

AMARILLO, Tex. (May 17, 2003) - Darren Stewart wired the field in Saturday night's 25-lap feature at Route 66 Motor Speedway, streaking into the O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and United Trailers point lead with his first triumph of the season.

"The engine wasn't running right after about the first lap. I think we had a loose spark plug or something like that," Stewart commented after his second career ASCS National victory. "I knew as long as I stayed on the bottom of the track at the end, nobody was going to be able to get by."

Starting from the pole position, Stewart outgunned fellow front row starter Jason Martin to snare the lead at the drop of the green flag. Gary Wright quickly moved from his third starting slot into second, setting his sights on Stewart. Wright stayed within six car-lengths until lapped traffic came into play after five rounds, when Stewart quickly stretched his advantage to nearly a straightaway as he rapidly sliced through traffic.

Stewart's advantage was erased when the race's first caution flew after eight rounds when Leighton Crouch's machine spun to a stop on the frontstretch with a broken front end. Stewart survived another pair of mid-race cautions for separate turn two spins, then established a healthy advantage over Wright.

Wright closed Stewart's half straightaway advantage to six car-lengths in the final rounds, but Stewart was not to be challenged en route to the checkered flag aboard the Ostrich Racing Engines-powered Sparks Construction Avenger. Wright held the runner-up position to the line, while Dennis Park made a lap 20 pass of Martin to snare the show position. Martin posted a strong fourth place finish, with Travis Rilat rounding out the top five.

Larry Neighbors crossed the stripe in sixth, while Shane Stewart earned Hard Charger of the race honors for the second time in as many nights by coming from 16th to claim seventh. Three-time ASCS National champion Tim Crawley was eighth, with Cody Branchcomb and Zach Chappell completing the top ten.

D. Stewart, Martin and Wright were each victorious in heat race action.

With the triumph, Stewart established a ten point lead over Rilat in the series points chase entering next weekend's racing action at Missouri's Bolivar and Lebanon I-44 Speedways.

Results:

A Feature (25 Laps): 1. Darren Stewart, 2. Gary Wright, 3. Dennis Park, 4. Jason Martin, 5. Travis Rilat, 6. Larry Neighbors, 7. Shane Stewart, 8. Tim Crawley, 9. Cody Branchcomb, 10. Zach Chappell, 11. Rickey Hood, 12. Edward Munoz, 13. Toby Brown, 14. Rick Behr, 15. Bud Goodwin, 16. Robert Gomez, 17. Tina Creswell, 18. Derek Drown, 19. David Smith, 20. Ryan Dalrymple, 21. Gary Appel, 22. Leighton Crouch, 23. Scott Pace.

First Heat (8 Laps): 1. Darren Stewart, 2. Cody Branchcomb, 3. Travis Rilat, 4. Toby Brown, 5. Larry Neighbors, 6. Shane Stewart, 7. Rick Behr, 8. Gary Appel.

Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. Jason Martin, 2. Tina Creswell, 3. Tim Crawley, 4. Derek Drown, 5. Bud Goodwin, 6. Rickey Hood, 7. Edward Munoz, 8. David Smith.

Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. Gary Wright, 2. Dennis Park, 3. Robert Gomez, 4. Leighton Crouch, 5. Ryan Dalrymple, 6. Zach Chappell, 7. Scott Pace.

O'Reilly ASCS Points (Top Ten): 1. Darren Stewart 1,158, 2. Travis Rilat 1,148, 3. Zach Chappell 1,096, 4. Cody Branchcomb 1,062, 5. Toby Brown 1,026, 6. Gary Wright 996, 7. Rick Behr 784, 8. Tim Crawley 688, 9. Shane Stewart 668, 10. Tina Creswell 628.

-ascs-

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Series Sprint
Drivers Darren Stewart , David Smith , Leighton Crouch , Larry Neighbors , Cody Branchcomb , Shane Stewart , Travis Rilat , Tim Crawley