Punch Pulls O'Reilly ASCoT Surprise in Cowtown Prelim! KENNEDALE, Texas (October 10, 2008) -- Aussie native Gavin Punch picked a prime time to capture his first career O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National feature win by ...
Punch Pulls O'Reilly ASCoT Surprise in Cowtown Prelim!
KENNEDALE, Texas (October 10, 2008) -- Aussie native Gavin Punch picked a prime time to capture his first career O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National feature win by wiring the field in Friday night's Inaugural Cowtown Sprint Nationals 30-lap preliminary feature event.
Punch held off persistent advances from the talented trio of Brian Brown, Gary Wright and Jason Johnson to secure the win atop the high-banked Cowtown Speedway clay oval, with those four locked into Saturday night's $5,000 to win Cowtown Sprint Nationals finale.
"Man, that track was so fast tonight," a breathless Punch explained to the crowd from victory lane. "I've gotta thank my parents so much for this one, they just went back to Australia a few days ago, they've put so much into this though and this couldn't have happened without them."
Racing out of Collinsville, OK, Punch made it into the feature redraw by virtue of winning the second of six heats for the stacked 45-car field and drew the front row outside.
Campaigning in the ASCS ranks since 2001, Punch outgunned polesitter Ryan Hall for the point at the drop of the green flag and never looked back in his 21st career ASCS National Tour feature start. But, he didn't need to look; he could hear them.
"I knew they were on me, I was just concentrating on hitting my marks each lap."
After barely making it to the checkered flag to win his heat race with an ailing engine, Brian Brown moved from fourth to second at the outset following an engine change. Brown turned up the pressure on the leader prior to the midway point and never let up.Punch held steady though, never opening the door wide enough for Brown to slip through as he raced to the checkered flag with a car-length advantage in the Down Under Motorsports No. 81au J&J.
"I was holding my breath those last few laps, I was ready to see the checkered flag," Punch commented.
Brown settled for runner-up honors in his Wesmar-powered Super Clean No. 21 Maxim, although not without challenges from four-time and reigning ASCS National champion Gary Wright.
Wright, who himself fought off several strong bids from Jason Johnson including a wild slider through turns three and four in the final circuits, took the show position in the Wesmar-powered Richwood Construction/Whiteco Commercial Funding No. 9 Maxim.
Johnson maintained his lead grip on the $50,000 championship points race by claiming the fourth and final lock-in position aboard Lanny Row's Wesmar-powered The Shop Motorsports No. 41 Eagle.
Wayne Johnson worked forward a handful of positions to round out the top five in Mike and Tim Hammers' Fisher-powered H&H Enterprises No. 94 Maxim, with Nick Smith and 13th-starter Travis Rilat in sixth and seventh, respectively.
Topeka's Dusty Murray survived an oil leak in the race's closing stages to claim eighth in his ASCoT National debut, with Justin Melton the top finishing American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region contender in ninth. Fellow ASCS Sooner Region shoe Matt Covington climbed from 16th to complete the top ten, with Zach Chappell earning Hard Charger honors by racing from 20th to eleventh.
The feature was interrupted just once, with the caution flying on the fifth lap when Ryan Hall surrendered the third position by coming to a stop in turn four.
Koby Barksdale, Punch, Brown, Jason Johnson, Hall and Nick Smith topped heat race action, with Gary Taylor, Covington and Eric Baldaccini winning the "B" Mains.
The red flag appeared for the only time during the night when Cy Conditt climbed a wheel and flipped in turn two in the fifth heat race. Conditt was shaken but otherwise uninjured.
The Inaugural Cowtown Sprint Nationals featuring the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series concludes on Saturday night, with action going green at 7:00 p.m.
O'Reilly ASCoT Cowtown Sprint Nationals Preliminary Results:
Heat Races (Top 14 in Passing Points to "A" Main; Balance to 3 "B" Mains):
Brodix Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 22-Koby Barksdale, 2. 31-Matt Clevenger, 3. 2-Kenneth Walker, 4. 39-Marvin Lough, 5. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 6. 87x-Brian McClelland, 7. 20-Chad Wilson, 8. 13-Kathryne Minter.
Wesmar-Shaver Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 81au-Gavin Punch, 2. 29-Travis Rilat, 3. 14k-Kyle Bellm, 4. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 5. 11x-Garry Lee Maier, 6. 87a-Aaron Reutzel, 7. 97-Aaron Berryhill. DNS: 1s-Trey Robb.
Brodix Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 21-Brian Brown, 2. 11-Justin Melton, 3. 72-Charlie Brown, 4. 5*-Gary Taylor, 5. 15b-Michael Brown, 6. 53-Jack Dover, 7. 9*-Brian Parker, 8. 69h-Larry Howery.
Wesmar-Shaver Heat Four (8 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 74e-Claud Estes, 3. 94-Wayne Johnson, 4. 85-Jerry Bell, 5. 76-John Ricketts, 6. 45k-Kolt Walker, 7. 14-Michael Lang.
Heat Five (8 Laps): 1. 79h-Ryan Hall, 2. 45-J.P. Bailey, 3. 0-Dusty Murray, 4. 50z-Zach Chappell, 5. 187-Billy Melton, 6. 1r-Scott Reneau, 7. 3-Cy Conditt.
Heat Six (8 Laps): 1. 15s-Nick Smith, 2. 9-Gary Wright, 3. 95-Matt Covington, 4. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 5. 41k-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 6. 14b-Robert Byrom, 7. 55-David Doyle.
"B" Mains (Top 2 From Each Advance to "A" Main):
First "B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 5*-Gary Taylor, 2. 39-Marvin Lough, 3. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 4. 11x-Garry Lee Maier, 5. 2-Kenneth Walker, 6. 87x-Brian McClelland, 7. 187-Billy Melton, 8. 9*-Brian Parker, 9. 14b-Robert Byrom, 10. 55-David Doyle. DNS: 1s-Trey Robb.
Second "B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 95-Matt Covington, 2. 50z-Zach Chappell, 3. 14k-Kyle Bellm, 4. 53-Jack Dover, 5. 20-Chad Wilson, 6. 14-Michael Lang, 7. 13-Kathryne Minter, 8. 15b-Michael Brown, 9. 41k-Ray Allen Kulhanek. DNS: 87a-Aaron Reutzel.
Third "B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 2. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 3. 45k-Kolt Walker, 4. 1r-Scott Reneau, 5. 97-Aaron Berryhill, 6. 69h-Larry Howery, 7. 76-John Ricketts, 8. 85-Jerry Bell, 9. 72-Charlie Brown. DNS: 3-Cy Conditt.
O'Reilly ASCoT "A" Main Event (Top 4 Locked into Saturday Night's Cowtown Sprint Nationals Finale):
"A" Feature (30 Laps): 1. 81au-Gavin Punch, 2. 21-Brian Brown, 3. 9-Gary Wright, 4. 41-Jason Johnson, 5. 94-Wayne Johnson, 6. 15s-Nick Smith, 7. 29-Travis Rilat, 8. 0-Dusty Murray, 9. 11-Justin Melton, 10. 95-Matt Covington, 11. 50z-Zach Chappell, 12. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 13. 74e-Claud Estes, 14. 45-J.P. Bailey, 15. 5*-Gary Taylor, 16. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 17. 2-Kenneth Walker, 18. 22-Koby Barksdale, 19. 79h-Ryan Hall, 20. 11x-Garry Lee Maier, 21. 39-Marvin Lough, 22. 31-Matt Clevenger.
Lap Leaders: Gavin Punch 1-30.
Note: Garry Lee Maier and Kenneth Walker utilized ASCoT provisionals to start the "A" Main.
O'Reilly ASCoT Points (Top Fifteen): 1. Jason Johnson 3,401, 2. Gary Wright 3,312, 3. Wayne Johnson 3,259, 4. Zach Chappell 3,217, 5. Garry Lee Maier 2,963, 6. Eric Baldaccini 2,803, 7. Nick Smith 2,722, 8. Kenneth Walker 2,448, 9. Travis Rilat 2,411, 10. Gary Taylor 2,272, 11. Kathryne Minter 2,085, 12. Jack Dover 1,873, 13. Matt Covington 1,603, 14. Aaron Berryhill 1,249, 15. Brian Brown 1,173.
American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Brian McClelland 2,377, 2. Kolt Walker 2,374, 3. Joe Wood, Jr. 2,312, 4. Matt Covington 2,258, 5. Justin Melton 1,970, 6. Michael Brown 1,936, 7. Gary Taylor 1,920, 8. Sherman Davis 1,543, 9. Eric Baldaccini 1,517, 10. Kevin Ramey 1,238.