Wright Makes Fast Trax in O'Reilly ASCS Chatham Prelim CHATHAM, Lou. (September 24, 2004) - Gary Wright withstood Darren Stewart's charges through lapped traffic prior to the midway point before racing away to his ninth O'Reilly ...
Wright Makes Fast Trax in O'Reilly ASCS Chatham Prelim
CHATHAM, Lou. (September 24, 2004) - Gary Wright withstood Darren Stewart's charges through lapped traffic prior to the midway point before racing away to his ninth O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and Classic Trailers feature triumph of the season by topping Friday night's 25-lap preliminary main event at Fast Trax Speedway.
With his 90th career O'Reilly ASCS National Tour victory, Wright put a virtual lock on the 2004 series title by extending his point lead to 150 markers over defending series champion Travis Rilat, who fought engine problems all night and finished 21st after utilizing a provisional starting position. Wright can secure the $20,000 O'Reilly ASCS National Tour championship by simply taking the green flag in the remaining three feature events of the season.
After racing from fourth to top the evening's third heat race, Wright gridded the feature on the front row outside with first heat race winner A.G. Rains on the pole. Taking to the cushion as the green flag flew, Wright outgunned Rains for the early lead, with fourth-starter Stewart quickly moving into second.
Lapped traffic came into play atop the fast quarter-mile oval after only five rounds, with Wright setting the pace in front of Stewart, Rains, Toby Brown and Jason Johnson. Mired in heavy lapped traffic, Stewart was nipping at Wright's heels when the caution flew after ten rounds for Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores ASCS Gulf South Region championship contender Chris Sweeney, who came to a halt in turn three with a blown powerplant.
Wright and Stewart led the way on the restart with three lapped cars separating the lead duo from Rains and Johnson, who had overtaken Brown for fourth prior to the caution. After Brandon Corn's encounter with the third turn guardrail on the first attempt to restart the race, Wright slipped away from Stewart and company as Johnson disposed of Rains for third.
Setting a quick pace aboard the Wesmar-powered Southwest Express/The Shop/Richwood Construction No. 9 Maxim, Wright established a near straightaway advantage over Stewart during the ensuing laps, as Johnson moved in to challenge for second.
With lapped traffic a factor, Wright's pace was slowed over the final four circuits as he followed a pair of lapped cars. Battling for second, Stewart and Johnson closed the gap but were unable to challenge for the point, as Wright raced under the checkered flag with a six car-length cushion.
Piloting the Ostrich-powered Sparks Construction No. 91 Eagle, Stewart fought off Johnson's Wesmar-powered The Shop No. 41 Eagle for second at the line, with Zach Chappell claiming the fourth and final transfer to Saturday night's main event.
Rains rounded out the top five, while an encounter with a lapped car on the 24th round while dicing for fifth relegated Brown to eighth behind Cody Branchcomb and Kelly Angelette. Stephen Chevallier crossed the stripe in ninth, with Greg Rilat completing the top ten.
While Wright extended his ASCS National Tour point lead to 150 points over Travis Rilat, 13th-place finisher Jerry Bell moved 12 points ahead of Sweeney in the Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores ASCS Gulf South Region points chase, with Greg Rilat just 12 more points back in third.
Rains, Stewart and Wright topped heat race action, with Greg Rilat charging past Sweeney on the 10th lap en route to winning the 12-lap B Main.
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. A.G. Rains, 2. Ray Allen Kulhanek, 3. Brad Stokes, 4. Kelly Angelette, 5. Stephen Chevallier, 6. Rod Craddock, 7. Natalie Sather, 8. Tony Krites, 9. Scottie McDonald.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. Darren Stewart, 2. Toby Brown, 3. Cody Branchcomb, 4. Richard Holt, 5. Jerry Bell, 6. Todd Johnson, 7. Jimmy Taylor, 8. Travis Rilat.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. Gary Wright, 2. Zach Chappell, 3. Jason Johnson, 4. Chris Sweeney, 5. Brandon Corn, 6. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 7. Terry Monroe, 8. Greg Rilat.
B Feature (12 Laps): 1. Greg Rilat, 2. Chris Sweeney, 3. Todd Johnson, 4. Jimmy Taylor, 5. Natalie Sather, 6. Rod Craddock, 7. Tony Krites, 8. Terry Monroe, 9. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. DNS: Scottie McDonald, Travis Rilat.
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. Gary Wright, 2. Darren Stewart, 3. Jason Johnson, 4. Zach Chappell, 5. A.G. Rains, 6. Cody Branchcomb, 7. Kelly Angelette, 8. Toby Brown, 9. Stephen Chevallier, 10. Greg Rilat, 11. Brad Stokes, 12. Richard Holt, 13. Jerry Bell, 14. Todd Johnson, 15. Ray Allen Kulhanek, 16. Rod Craddock, 17. Natalie Sather, 18. Brandon Corn, 19. Chris Sweeney, 20. Jimmy Taylor, 21. Travis Rilat.
O'Reilly ASCS National Tour Points (Top Fifteen): 1. Gary Wright 4,466, 2. Travis Rilat 4,316, 3. Zach Chappell 4,240, 4. Toby Brown 3,749, 5. Darren Stewart 3,543, 6. A.G. Rains 3,458, 7. Garry Lee Maier 3,275, 8. Jimmy Taylor 3,082, 9. Cody Branchcomb 3,021, 10. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 2,887, 11. Natalie Sather 2,697, 12. Tony Bruce, Jr. 1,953, 13. Marshall Skinner 1,900, 14. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 1,735, 15. Tim Crawley 1,717.
Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores ASCS Gulf South Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Jerry Bell 1,794, 2. Chris Sweeney 1,782, 3. Greg Rilat 1,770, 4. Todd Johnson 1,733, 5. Stephen Chevallier 1,677, 6. Brad Stokes 1,656, 7. Ray Allen Kulhanek 1,654, 8. Scottie McDonald 1,609, 9. Richard Holt 1,413, 10. Rod Craddock 1,303.