Wright kicks off ASCS Speedweek with Batesville triumph ASCS - BATESVILLE, Ark. (May 30, 2003) - Gary Wright kicked off the 11th Annual American Sprint Car Series Speedweek in style, racing past early pacesetter Kelly Angelette on the tenth...
Wright kicks off ASCS Speedweek with Batesville triumph
ASCS - BATESVILLE, Ark. (May 30, 2003) - Gary Wright kicked off the 11th Annual American Sprint Car Series Speedweek in style, racing past early pacesetter Kelly Angelette on the tenth round then holding off Shane Stewart's late bid for the lead to secure the win in Friday night's 25-lap feature. The triumph marked Wright's third O'Reilly ASCS National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and United Trailers feature victory of the season.
After charging from sixth to win the second heat race, Wright led the feature field to the green flag with Angelette alongside. Wright jumped into the early lead, but Angelette used the high line to motor into the lead on the second round, as the race's first caution flew when Travis Rilat's machine slowed on the backstretch with a broken u-joint.
Angelette, the defending ASCS Gulf South Region champion, took off on the restart and established a nearly half straightaway lead over Wright and fifth-starter Stewart over the next several laps. Angelette's setup began to fade after a few rounds though and Wright quickly reeled him back in, slipping around Angelette on the tenth round to take command, with Stewart racing by Angelette for second one round later.
The race was then slowed after eleven rounds for Bryce Vowan's turn four spin, with the red flag flying two laps later for Sam Hafertepe Jr.'s wild turn one endo after tagging the wall. Although Hafertepe's mount suffered extensive damage, he walked away uninjured.
Wright quickly established a six car-length advantage on the restart, but Stewart kept him within striking distance. As the leaders approached lapped traffic in the final rounds, Stewart closed the gap but was unable to overtake Wright's Salina-powered Southwest Express/The Shop/Richwood Construction Maxim, with Wright posting the narrow victory.
After surrendering third place to A.G. Rains prior to Hafertepe's mid-race tumble, Angelette battled back to snare the show position, with Rains finishing a strong fourth. Dale Howard rounded out the top five, with Kevin Ramey and 15th-starter Zach Chappell in sixth and seventh. Current series point leader Darren Stewart earned the race's Hard Charger award by racing from 18th to eighth, with Marshall Skinner and 20th-starter Tim Crawley completing the top ten.
Toby Brown used a provisional starting position to compete in the feature and raced from 21st to claim eleventh.
Rilat, Wright, Angelette and Rains were victorious in heat race action for the 32-car field, with Brian Harvill topping the 12-lap B Feature. Jimmy Taylor flipped in turn two in the B Main, while Scott Bolden's night came to an early end after a turn three tumble in hot laps. Both drivers were uninjured.
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. Gary Wright, 2. Shane Stewart, 3. Kelly Angelette, 4. A.G. Rains, 5. Dale Howard, 6. Kevin Ramey, 7. Zach Chappell, 8. Darren Stewart, 9. Marshall Skinner, 10. Tim Crawley, 11. Toby Brown, 12. Cody Branchcomb, 13. Matt Clevenger, 14. Jan Howard, 15. Rick Williams, 16. Brian Harvill, 17. Pete Butler, 18. Bryce Vowan, 19. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 20. Eddie Gallagher, 21. Travis Rilat.
B Feature (12 Laps): 1. Brian Harvill, 2. Darren Stewart, 3. Cody Branchcomb, 4. Tim Crawley, 5. Mike Ward, 6. John Pate, 7. Toby Brown, 8. Justin Sturch, 9. Stephen Chevallier, 10. Tony Bruce, Jr., 11. Josh Holt, 12. Greg Merritt, 13. Josh Baker, 14. Henry Gustavus, 15. Jimmy Taylor.
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. Travis Rilat, 2. Marshall Skinner, 3. Matt Clevenger, 4. Zach Chappell, 5. Cody Branchcomb, 6. Mike Ward, 7. Stephen Chevallier, 8. Tony Bruce, Jr.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. Gary Wright, 2. Dale Howard, 3. Bryce Vowan, 4. Kevin Ramey, 5. Darren Stewart, 6. John Pate, 7. Justin Sturch, 8. Josh Holt.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. Kelly Angelette, 2. Shane Stewart, 3. Pete Butler, 4. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 5. Tim Crawley, 6. Josh Baker, 7. Jimmy Taylor. DNS: Scott Bolden.
Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. A.G. Rains, 2. Eddie Gallagher, 3. Jan Howard, 4. Rick Williams, 5. Brian Harvill, 6. Toby Brown, 7. Greg Merritt, 8. Henry Gustavus.
O'Reilly ASCS Points (Top Ten): 1. Darren Stewart 1,562, 2. Travis Rilat 1,504, 3. Zach Chappell 1,496, 4. Cody Branchcomb 1,452, 5. Gary Wright 1,442, 6. Toby Brown 1,420, 7. Rick Behr 1,060, 8. Shane Stewart 964, 9. Tim Crawley 818, 10. Matt Clevenger 736.
ASCS Speedweek Points (Top Ten through One of Eight Events): 1. Gary Wright 150, 2. Shane Stewart 146, 3. Kelly Angelette 144, 4. A.G. Rains 142, 5. Dale Howard 140, 6. Kevin Ramey 138, 7. Zach Chappell 136, 8. Darren Stewart 134, 9. Marshall Skinner 132, 10. Tim Crawley 130.