Shane Stewart tops wild night for O'Reilly ASCS at Bolivar BOLIVAR, Mo. (May 23, 2003) - Shane Stewart survived a wild night of racing action at Bolivar Speedway Friday night, leading all 25 laps to notch his second O'Reilly American Sprint Car...
Shane Stewart tops wild night for O'Reilly ASCS at Bolivar
BOLIVAR, Mo. (May 23, 2003) - Shane Stewart survived a wild night of racing action at Bolivar Speedway Friday night, leading all 25 laps to notch his second O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and United Trailers feature triumph of the season.
"The car was overheating really bad there the last couple of laps, I don't think there's any way we could have made five more laps. I was happy to see the checkered flag when I did," commented Stewart following his impressive victory drive.
The initial start of the main event was waved off when Zach Chappell, Toby Brown and Tracy Nichols tangled in turn one. Chappell was sidelined for the night, while Brown, who thrashed to make the feature after flipping violently in the evening's second heat race, returned to action after a lap one caution for Cody Branchcomb, who tagged the turn one wall.
As the green flag flew on the second attempt to start the race, polesitter Steve Dean led the field into turn one only to have outside front row starter Stewart power into the lead off turn two. Following cautions for Branchcomb's turn one mishap and Rick Behr's stalled mount after four laps, Stewart raced to nearly a half lap lead, while Mike Trent held off Gary Wright for second. Travis Rilat needed only three laps to race from eighth into fourth, with tenth-starter Darren Stewart, who lost a powerplant in heat race action, racing past Rilat for fourth on the fifth round.
As S. Stewart sliced through traffic, Wright pressured Trent for second until the 17th round, when Trent plowed violently into the turn one wall. Wright was able to avoid Trent's flipping machine, but D. Stewart and Rilat weren't so fortunate, with both leading point contenders joining in on the turn one gymnastics. While all three cars suffered extensive damage, there were no injuries.
With three lapped machines separating S. Stewart from Wright on the ensuing restart, Stewart wasted little time re-establishing his large lead, racing to the checkered flag aboard Scott Chilcutt's Wesmar-powered Sander Engineering/Cox Communications/Express Transit MCI-chassis with a half lap advantage over Wright.
Overcoming ignition problems early in the evening, Nick Smith earned the race's Hard Charger award by coming from the tail of the field to overtake A.G. Rains for the show position on the final round. Rains was the final car on the lead lap in fourth, with Robert Sellers rounding out the top five. Behr claimed a solid sixth place showing in front of Rodger Eckhardt and Brown.
Shane Stewart and Dean topped heat race action atop the high-banked three-eighths mile clay oval.
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. Shane Stewart, 2. Gary Wright, 3. Nick Smith, 4. A.G. Rains, 5. Robert Sellers, 6. Rick Behr, 7. Rodger Eckhardt, 8. Toby Brown, 9. Mike Trent, 10. Darren Stewart, 11. Travis Rilat, 12. Tracy Nichols, 13. Steve Dean, 14. Cody Branchcomb, 15. Zach Chappell.
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. Shane Stewart, 2. Cody Branchcomb, 3. Gary Wright, 4. Robert Sellers, 5. Travis Rilat, 6. Rick Behr, 7. Tracy Nichols. DNS: Nick Smith.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. Steve Dean, 2. Mike Trent, 3. A.G. Rains, 4. Zach Chappell, 5. Rodger Eckhardt, 6. Darren Stewart, 7. Toby Brown.
O'Reilly ASCS Points (Top Ten): 1. Darren Stewart 1,288, 2. Travis Rilat 1,276, 3. Zach Chappell 1,216, 4. Cody Branchcomb 1,184, 5. Toby Brown 1,160, 6. Gary Wright 1,142, 7. Rick Behr 922, 8. Shane Stewart 818, 9. Tim Crawley 688, 10. Tina Creswell 628.