Kulhanek Muscles Way to ASCS Gulf South Victory Lane HAUGHTON, Lou. (March 12, 2005) -- The fourteenth season of racing action for the American Sprint Car Series officially got under way at Champion Park Speedway Saturday night as...
Kulhanek Muscles Way to ASCS Gulf South Victory Lane
HAUGHTON, Lou. (March 12, 2005) -- The fourteenth season of racing action for the American Sprint Car Series officially got under way at Champion Park Speedway Saturday night as Ray Allen Kulhanek overcame a loss of power steering to win the wild 25-lap Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores ASCS Gulf South Region feature.
After leading the race's mid-stages, Kulhanek regained command with just four laps remaining when leader Sam Hafertepe, Jr., tangled with a lapped car and spun to the infield after a spectacular charge from fifteenth. Kulhanek then held off a late rush from Kevin Ramey to secure his first career series victory in an event that featured four lead changes.
"Man I'm dead, I'm worn out, we lost the power steering at the start of the race," the happy victor explained in victory lane. "This is my first time in this ride and I'm loving it right now.JWhen that last caution came out I knew we'd caught a break, I just pushed it into the corners a little harder after that last restart to make sure nobody could sneak under me."
While nobody could sneak underneath Kulhanek, two-time ASCS Sooner Region champion Ramey nearly stole the race on the final lap with a bold move on the cushion, falling just a car-length short at the stripe. "I didn't think there would be much grip up there, but I gave it try at the end and it worked great," Ramey commented afterward. "I just wish I would have tried it earlier."
Polesitter Scottie McDonald was the race's first pacesetter when he outgunned fellow front row starter Tony Bruce, Jr., for the point at the drop of the green. McDonald paced the opening four rounds before fifth-starter Ramey burst into the lead.
As Ramey led the way in front of McDonald and Lane Whittington, eighth-starter Kulhanek and fifteenth-starter Hafertepe were both on the move. By the eighth round, Kulhanek had climbed to second while Hafertepe had cracked the top five. Four laps later, Kulhanek scooted past Ramey for the lead entering turn one, with Hafertepe disposing of Ramey for second a half lap later.
Hafertepe chased Kulhanek through lapped traffic until finding an opening to take command on the 18th round. Hafertepe's dazzling charge was cut short four laps later however when he tangled in turn four with Stephen Chevallier, who was slowing with a cut left rear tire, thus precipitating the race's final caution.
Ramey quickly disposed of a lapped car between himself and Kulhanek on the final restart, but came up short at the checkered flag as Kulhanek, last year's top Gulf South rookie, notched the victory in his debut aboard Marvin Pearson's Wesmar-powered No. 11 Maxim.
David Kulhanek, the winner's uncle, claimed the show position, with Chris Sweeney and Whittington rounding out the top five. Tony Bruce, Jr., rebounded from a lap three spin to snare sixth, with Darryl Wills in seventh. McDonald, Chevallier and Greg Rilat completed the top ten.
Bruce, Jr., Whittington and Charlie Brown earned heat race victories, with Hafertepe topping the 12-lap B Main.
Gary Wright was the apparent victor of the evening's first heat race, but was disqualified for violating the Gulf South Region's excessive acceleration rule under caution while lining up for the heat race. Wright was directed to the tail of the field by officials, but stayed in his original starting position and was then disqualified after battling past Bruce on the fourth round for the apparent win. Wright scratched from the balance of the program.
First Heat (10 Laps): 1. Tony Bruce, Jr., 2. Scottie McDonald, 3. Kevin Ramey, 4. Greg Rilat, 5. Darryl Wills, 6. David Forbis, 7. Charlie McDonald. Disqualified: Gary Wright.
Second Heat (10 Laps): 1. Lane Whittington, 2. Chris Sweeney, 3. Bo Alexander, 4. Ty Johnson, 5. Neil McCarl, 6. Tommy Bryant, 7. Greg Coleman, 8. Terry Monroe.
Third Heat (10 Laps): 1. Charlie Brown, 2. David Kulhanek, 3. Ray Allen Kulhanek, 4. Josh Lofton, 5. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 6. Larry Hartwell, 7. Richard Holt, 8. Stephen Chevallier.
B Feature (12 Laps): 1. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 2. Stephen Chevallier, 3. Richard Holt, 4. Larry Hartwell, 5. Tommy Bryant, 6. David Forbis, 7. Charlie McDonald, 8. Greg Coleman, 9. Terry Monroe. DNS: Gary Wright.
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. Ray Allen Kulhanek, 2. Kevin Ramey, 3. David Kulhanek, 4. Chris Sweeney, 5. Lane Whittington, 6. Tony Bruce, Jr., 7. Darryl Wills, 8. Scottie McDonald, 9. Stephen Chevallier, 10. Greg Rilat, 11. Bo Alexander, 12. Richard Holt, 13. Tommy Bryant, 14. Neil McCarl, 15. David Forbis, 16. Ty Johnson, 17. Larry Hartwell, 18. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 19. Charlie Brown, 20. Josh Lofton.
Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores ASCS Gulf South Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Ray Allen Kulhanek 150, 2. Kevin Ramey 146, 3. David Kulhanek 144, 4. Chris Sweeney 142, 5. Lane Whittington 140, 6. Darryl Wills 138, 7. Scottie McDonald 136, 8. Stephen Chevallier 134, 9. Greg Rilat 132, 10. Bo Alexander 130.