Rilat Outduels Wright to Complete O'Reilly ASCS Delta Bowl Sweep Tunica, Miss. (June 19, 2004) -- Travis Rilat completed a sweep of the weekend's O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops &...
Rilat Outduels Wright to Complete O'Reilly ASCS Delta Bowl Sweep
Tunica, Miss. (June 19, 2004) -- Travis Rilat completed a sweep of the weekend's O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and Classic Trailers racing action at Delta Bowl Speedway by outdueling Gary Wright in the final rounds to top Saturday night's 25-lap feature.
Wright raced past Rilat into the lead following a lap 23 restart, only to have Rilat return the favor on the 24th round en route to claiming his fifth ASCS National Tour feature triumph of the season aboard the Motor Mike-powered F&J Construction/Haulmark Trailers No. 29 Maxim. With the weekend sweep, the defending series champion now holds a mere two point advantage over Wright in the championship points chase.
"Two in a row, and that makes eleven wins overall for us this season," Rilat commented in victory lane. "We're feeling good about things right now, the car is working great. As long as we can keep going at this pace, we're gonna keep feeling good."
After winning Friday night's preliminary feature, Rilat led the feature field to the green flag with Wright alongside. The pair battled wheel-to-wheel the opening two rounds, with Wright edging into the early lead.
As lapped traffic came into play in the early rounds, Rilat raced around Wright and split a pair of lapped cars in turn four to snare the lead on the seventh lap, with Darren Stewart, Garry Lee Maier and first heat race winner Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., chasing. The next time around, Stenhouse's strong run came to a grinding halt when he climbed Maier's right rear tire going down the frontstretch and flipped wildly into turn one. Stenhouse escaped injury, with Maier rejoining the field at the tail after quick repairs.
Back under way, Rilat paced the field, gradually slipping away to nearly a half straightaway advantage over Wright, while eighth-starter Zach Chappell dashed past Stewart for third on the tenth round.
Rilat's advantage began to shrink in the closing rounds, as Wright drew closer with each passing lap. Wright was poised to make a bid for the lead when the red flag flew on the 23rd lap for a wild frontstretch fracas involving Josh Howard, Mike McElya and Maier. While all three cars suffered extensive damage, there were no injuries.
Set for a three lap dash to the checkered flag, Wright raced past Rilat in turns one and two on the 23rd round to take command. Rilat battled right back however, slicing underneath Wright in the same turns the next rime around to retake the point, then racing to a narrow victory over Wright at the line.
"Travis has been going really well lately, and he was fast tonight," Wright stated after the event. "He was better than us, we were just a second place car here."
Chappell took the checkered flag in third just ahead of Stewart, with Aaron Berryhill slipping around North Dakota's Natalie Sather following a lap 17 restart to secure the fifth position. After collecting her first career ASCS victory by wiring the field in the evening's second heat race, Sather posted her first career ASCS top-ten feature finish by racing to the stripe in sixth.
Mike Ward charged from 19th to finish seventh, with Jan Howard, A.G. Rains and Cody Branchcomb completing the top ten.
Locked in from Friday night's preliminary feature: Travis Rilat, Gary Wright, Darren Stewart, Garry Lee Maier.
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., 2. Mike McElya, 3. Josh Howard, 4. Jan Howard, 5. A.G. Rains, 6. Marshall Skinner, 7. Wesley Hale, 8. Mike Ward, 9. Jimmy Taylor.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. Natalie Sather, 2. Aaron Berryhill, 3. Zach Chappell, 4. Dale Howard, 5. Toby Brown, 6. Cody Branchcomb, 7. Kelly Angelette, 8. Buster Dickerson.
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. Travis Rilat, 2. Gary Wright, 3. Zach Chappell, 4. Darren Stewart, 5. Aaron Berryhill, 6. Natalie Sather, 7. Mike Ward, 8. Jan Howard, 9. A.G. Rains, 10. Cody Branchcomb, 11. Toby Brown, 12. Wesley Hale, 13. Mike McElya, 14. Garry Lee Maier, 15. Josh Howard, 16. Kelly Angelette, 17. Dale Howard, 18. Marshall Skinner, 19. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., 20. Jimmy Taylor, 21. Buster Dickerson.
O'Reilly ASCS National Tour Points (Top Fifteen): 1. Travis Rilat 1,410, 2. Gary Wright 1,408, 3. Zach Chappell 1,364, 4. Darren Stewart 1,348, 5. Garry Lee Maier 1,324, 6. A.G. Rains 1,268, 7. Toby Brown 1,157, 8. Jimmy Taylor 1,048, 9. Cody Branchcomb 957, 10. Chuck Swenson 944, 11. Natalie Sather 894, 12. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 891. 13. Shane Stewart 820, 14. Dale Howard 528, 15. Tony Bruce, Jr. 527.