Wright Saves Best for Last; Wins Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals with Last Corner Heroics Gary Wright captured his first O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series feature win of the season in the most dramatic of fashions, charging...
Wright Saves Best for Last; Wins Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals with Last Corner Heroics
Gary Wright captured his first O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series feature win of the season in the most dramatic of fashions, charging past an unsuspecting Tony Bruce, Jr., in the final corner to take the win in Devil's Bowl Speedway's 35th Annual Spring Nationals 25-lap finale on Saturday night.
Denying Bruce a sweep of the weekend's action, Wright brought the crowd to its feet with the electrifying victory as he collected his second career Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals title and the first since 1995.
"This place has been awful good to us over the years," Wright commented after his 17th career ASCS National Tour feature win atop the Devil's Bowl ½-mile clay oval. "I knew if I could get close enough that I could get him, we were way better in three and four. That lapped car let us close up and then when he went into three up high, I knew we had him."
Most of the way, however, it appeared that Liberal, KS, shoe Bruce was going to collect his second victory in as many nights after snaring his first career ASCS National Tour win in Friday night's preliminary.
The wild card that nearly foiled the plans of both Bruce and Wright was 15-year-old Trey Robb, who paced three mid-race laps before going up in smoke and coasting to a stop in the infield.
Seemingly living a charmed life, Bruce drew the pole position for the main event with Robb drawing the front row outside after ranking second in the night's passing points to become eligible for the night's redraw that included Friday night's top four finishers and Saturday's top two point-earners.
While Bruce and Robb led the feature field to the green flag, Wright gridded the field outside the third row after pulling the "6" pill.
The feature ran off in rapid-fire fashion, with all 25 laps running uninterrupted after the initial start was waved off for Garry Lee Maier's turn one loop, with Matt Covington retiring to the pit area before the restart.
Bruce gunned into the lead at the outset and paced the early laps in front of Robb, with fifth-starter Kevin Ramey battling into third in front of second-row starters Wayne Johnson and Jason Sides in the early rounds.
Bruce held a ten car-length lead until reaching the tail of the field, with Robb quickly closing the gap aboard the Swofford Electric No. 1s entry. Robb reeled in Bruce and charged into the lead on the tenth lap and set sail. But the 15-year-old's first ASCS National Tour win was not to be on this night, as his engine expired two laps later.
Meanwhile, Wright had been methodically working his way forward aboard the Wright-Cooper Motorsports Wesmar-powered Richwood Construction/Whiteco Commercial Funding No. 9 Maxim. Wright made his way past Sides for fifth by the fifth lap, then worked by Wayne Johnson for fourth by the tenth lap.
Wright then battled past 2006 Spring Nationals champ Kevin Ramey and found himself in second behind Bruce moments later when Robb retired to the infield.
Wright tried to close in on Bruce on several occasions, but each time Bruce responded by slipping away to a ten car-length edge aboard the Kistler-powered Best Well Service No. 18 Maxim.
"The Texan" began erasing that advantage with two laps to go and closed in on Bruce's rear bumper entering turn one on the final lap. Bruce led the way down the backstretch with Wright in hot pursuit.
And when Bruce went to the top side of turns three and four with the checkered flag awaiting, Wright drove to the low side and powered by to snare his 120th career ASCS National Tour win.
Bruce settled for second, while Jason Sides took the show position. Wayne Johnson crossed the stripe fourth in the Wesmar-powered H&H Enterprises No. 94 Maxim, with Zach Chappell climbing from 13th to round out the top five in his No. 50z machine.
Sam Hafertepe, Jr., claimed sixth, with Jason Johnson racing from 19th to post his second seventh-place finish in as many nights. Ramey slipped to eighth over the final half of the race, with Travis Rilat and Kenneth Walker completing the top ten.
Ramey, Walker, Hafertepe, Ryan Roberts, Robb and Covington topped heat race action, with Don Young, Scott Winters and Jason Johnson winning the "B" Mains.
Lorne Wofford flipped on the opening lap of the third heat race but was able to return for "B" Main action. Defending Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals champion Jake Peters was involved in the same incident. Also able to return for "B" Main competition, Peters missed the cut for the feature event.
O'Reilly ASCoT 35th Annual Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals Finale Results:
Locked in from Friday's Preliminary Event:
18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 9-Gary Wright, 7s-Jason Sides, 94-Wayne Johnson.
Heat Races (Top 12 in passing points to 'Aâ^a^y Main; Balance to 3 "B" Mains)
Brodix Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 2. 97-Aaron Berryhill, 3. 48-Shawn Sander, 4. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 5. 8h-Dustin Morgan, 6. 65-Skip Wilson, 7. 91-Don Droud, Jr., 8. 13-Kathryne Minter.
Wesmar-Shaver Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 2-Kenneth Walker, 2. 94s-Natalie Sather, 3. 8x-Chris Williams, 4. 11x-Garry Lee Maier, 5. 81au-Gavin Punch, 6. 87-Billy Melton, 7. 41x-Koby Barksdale, 8. 1w-George White.
Brodix Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 2. 23w-Scott Winters, 3. 5e-Brandon Erwin, 4. 4-Mike Chadd, 5. 11-Tyler Thompson, 6. 35-Greg Rilat, 7. 18x-Lorne Wofford, 8. 57x-Jake Peters.
Wesmar-Shaver Heat Four (8 Laps): 1. 18r-Ryan Roberts, 2. 2x-Josh Higday, 3. 29-Travis Rilat, 4. 2w-Whit Gastineau, 5. 22-Billy Alley, 6. 94x-Cody Branchcomb, 7. 1-Eric Lutz, 8. 11m-Brandon Moseley.
Heat Five (8 Laps): 1. 1s-Trey Robb, 2. 21-Brian Brown, 3. 75-Don Young, 4. 31-Matt Clevenger, 5. 15k-Kerry McAlister, 6. 77-Colt Treharn, 7. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 8. 71-Chris Tarrant.
Heat Six (8 Laps): 1. 95-Matt Covington, 2. 50z-Zach Chappell, 3. 15s-Nick Smith, 4. 41-Jason Johnson, 5. 53-Jack Dover, 6. 45k-Kolt Walker, 7. 51-Foster Landon.
"B" Mains - Top 2 From Each Advance to 'Aâ^a^y Main
First "B" Feature (10 Laps): 1. 75-Don Young, 2. 11x-Garry Lee Maier, 3. 97-Aaron Berryhill, 4. 2w-Whit Gastineau, 5. 22-Billy Alley, 6. 91-Don Droud, Jr., 7. 35-Greg Rilat, 8. 13-Kathryne Minter, 9. 8x-Chris Williams, 10. 94x-Cody Branchcomb, 11. 1-Eric Lutz, 12. 11m-Brandon Moseley.
Second "B" Feature (10 Laps): 1. 23w-Scott Winters, 2. 5e-Brandon Erwin, 3. 8h-Dustin Morgan, 4. 81au-Gavin Punch, 5. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 6. 77-Colt Treharn, 7. 65-Skip Wilson, 8. 41x-Koby Barksdale, 9. 1w-George White, 10. 15k-Kerry McAlister, 11. 71-Chris Tarrant, 12. 31-Matt Clevenger.
Third "B" Feature (10 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 3. 4-Mike Chadd, 4. 53-Jack Dover, 5. 45k-Kolt Walker, 6. 48-Shawn Sander, 7. 87-Billy Melton, 8. 18x-Lorne Wofford, 9. 57x-Jake Peters, 10. 11-Tyler Thompson. DNS: 51-Foster Landon.
O'Reilly ASCoT "A" Main Event:
'A' Feature (25 Laps): 1. 9-Gary Wright, 2. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 3. 7s-Jason Sides, 4. 94-Wayne Johnson, 5. 50z-Zach Chappell, 6. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 7. 41-Jason Johnson, 8. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 9. 29-Travis Rilat, 10. 2-Kenneth Walker, 11. 23w-Scott Winters, 12. 15s-Nick Smith, 13. 94s-Natalie Sather, 14. 91-Don Droud, Jr., 15. 11x-Garry Lee Maier, 16. 18r-Ryan Roberts, 17. 2x-Josh Higday, 18. 75-Don Young, 19. 5e-Brandon Erwin, 20. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 21. 21-Brian Brown, 22. 1s-Trey Robb, 23. 95-Matt Covington.
Lap Leaders: Tony Bruce, Jr. 1-9, Trey Robb 10-12, Tony Bruce, Jr. 13-24, Gary Wright 25.
Note: Don Droud, Jr., utilized a provisional to start the "A" Main.
O'Reilly ASCoT Points (Top Ten): 1. Gary Wright 439, 2. Wayne Johnson 411, 3. Jason Sides 399, 4. Zach Chappell 376, 5. Jason Johnson 353, 6. Travis Rilat 345, 7. Eric Baldaccini 318, 8. Garry Lee Maier 311, 9. Don Droud, Jr. 307, 10. Tony Bruce, Jr. 296.