Jennings Holds on to Score ASCS Prelim Win at Devil's Bowl MESQUITE, Tex. (March 18, 2005) -- What appeared to be an easy romp for Danny Jennings in the early stages turned into a barnburner in the final laps of Friday night's ...
Jennings Holds on to Score ASCS Prelim Win at Devil's Bowl
MESQUITE, Tex. (March 18, 2005) -- What appeared to be an easy romp for Danny Jennings in the early stages turned into a barnburner in the final laps of Friday night's season-opening 20-lap feature for the O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores at Devil's Bowl Speedway, as Jennings fought off a late rush from Tony Bruce, Jr., and Zach Chappell to snare the win.
Jennings held a straightaway advantage at the midway point only to have it slip away as he battled an ill-handling machine, ultimately taking the checkered flag just a car length ahead of Brodix Rookie of the Year contender Bruce and 2001 series champion Chappell. Jan Howard charged from 19th to claim the fourth and final transfer position to Saturday night's 32nd Annual Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals finale.
"The car was great early, but it just kept getting looser and looser as the race went on," Jennings commented after his fourth career ASCS National Tour triumph and first since August 4, 2001. "We were just holding on at the end, I was happy to see the checkered flag."
Jennings led the feature field to the green flag after racing from fourth to top the evening's opening heat and outgunned Iowa racer Frankie Heimbaugh for the lead at the drop of the green after a pair of aborted starts that sent Darren Stewart, Travis Rilat and Minnesota shoes Brett Geldner and Neil Stevens to the pit area with mangled machines after turn four melees.
While Jennings grabbed the early lead, ARCA-bound Chappell needed less than a lap to advance from fourth to second. As Jennings checked out on his rivals, Bruce battled past Heimbaugh to take over third by the fifth round.
Over the first half of the race, Jennings stretched his advantage to a straightaway as Bruce kept the pressure on Chappell for second. Jennings' advantage began to dwindle soon after however, with Chappell and Bruce closing the gap as lapped traffic came into play in the final rounds.
Bruce began challenging Chappell for second with five laps to go as the battling duo closed to within just five car-lengths of the leader. Bruce finally nabbed second from a tenacious Chappell on the final round, but fell just a car-length short as Jennings took the checkered flag in the Folks-powered DJ Motorsports/Lucas Oil Products No. 61J Maxim.
Chappell was less than a car-length behind Bruce as the lead trio crossed the stripe in tight formation, while Howard used a lap fifteen pass of Skip Wilson to snare fourth in his debut aboard the second Donnie Sowell team car.
Wilson surrendered the fifth position when he spun in turn two on the final round, with 2004 Sooner Region co-champion Andy Shouse taking advantage to round out the top five. Defending Knoxville Raceway champion Jake Peters claimed sixth, with reigning ASCS National Tour champion Gary Wright crossing the stripe seventh after starting thirteenth. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., claimed eighth, with Sprint Invaders champion Bobby Mincer and Jake Martens completing the top ten.
Jennings, Natalie Sather, Bruce, Chappell and Heimbaugh topped heat race action for the stout 42-car field, with Larry Neighbors and Stewart scoring wins in the twin 12-lap B Mains.
Saturday night's finale for the 32nd Annual Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals gets under way at 8:00 p.m.
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. Danny Jennings, 2. Jake Martens, 3. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., 4. Gary Taylor, 5. Larry Neighbors, 6. Matt Clevenger, 7. Scott Winters, 8. Brian Brown. DNS: Shawn Sander.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. Natalie Sather, 2. Scott Box, 3. Gary Wright, 4. Josh Lofton, 5. Darren Stewart, 6. A.G. Rains, 7. Travis Rilat, 8. Wayne Johnson, 9. Jimmy Taylor.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. Tony Bruce, Jr., 2. Skip Wilson, 3. Bobby Mincer, 4. Jan Howard, 5. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 6. Kerry McAlister, 7. Nick Smith, 8. Shawn Van Whye.
Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. Zach Chappell, 2. Jake Peters, 3. Andy Shouse, 4. Mike Chadd, 5. Cody Branchcomb, 6. Toby Brown, 7. Kevin Ramey, 8. Dusty Zomer.
Fifth Heat (8 Laps): 1. Frankie Heimbaugh, 2. Neil Stevens, 3. Rick Ideus, 4. Brett Geldner, 5. Eric Payne, 6. Johnny Miller, 7. Lee Sowell, 8. Koby Barksdale.
First B Feature (12 Laps): 1. Larry Neighbors, 2. Mike Chadd, 3. Jan Howard, 4. Travis Rilat, 5. Kevin Ramey, 6. Gary Taylor, 7. Wayne Johnson, 8. A.G. Rains, 9. Dusty Zomer, 10. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 11. Lee Sowell, 12. Johnny Miller, 13. Jimmy Taylor, 14. Cody Branchcomb.
Second B Feature (12 Laps): 1. Darren Stewart, 2. Brett Geldner, 3. Eric Payne, 4. Nick Smith, 5. Toby Brown, 6. Matt Clevenger, 7. Scott Winters, 8. Kerry McAlister, 9. Shawn Van Whye, 10. Koby Barksdale, 11. Rick Ideus, 12. Josh Lofton, 13. Brian Brown. DNS: Shawn Sander.
A Feature (20 Laps): 1. Danny Jennings, 2. Tony Bruce, Jr., 3. Zach Chappell, 4. Jan Howard, 5. Andy Shouse, 6. Jake Peters, 7. Gary Wright, 8. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., 9. Bobby Mincer, 10. Jake Martens, 11. Eric Payne, 12. Natalie Sather, 13. Skip Wilson, 14. Frankie Heimbaugh, 15. Scott Box, 16. Larry Neighbors, 17. Mike Chadd, 18. Neil Stevens, 19. Darren Stewart, 20. Brett Geldner, 21. Travis Rilat.
O'Reilly ASCS National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores Points (Top Ten): 1. Danny Jennings 150, 2. Tony Bruce, Jr. 146, 3. Zach Chappell 144, 4. Jan Howard 142, 5. Andy Shouse 140, 6. Jake Peters 138, 7. Gary Wright 136, 8. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 134, 9. Bobby Mincer 132, 10. Jake Martens 130.