Darren Stewart Sails in O'Reilly ASCS MMP Prelim MEMPHIS, Tenn. (April 22, 2005) -- Darren Stewart dashed past Dale Howard on the second round and was never headed en route to topping Friday night's 25-lap O'Reilly American Sprint...
Darren Stewart Sails in O'Reilly ASCS MMP Prelim
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (April 22, 2005) -- Darren Stewart dashed past Dale Howard on the second round and was never headed en route to topping Friday night's 25-lap O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores preliminary feature at Memphis Motorsports Park.
Stewart went unchallenged in the non-stop affair, with Howard holding second the rest of the way. Mike Ward fought off Tim Crawley's advances for the show position, with Crawley claiming the final lock-in position to Saturday night's main event atop the quarter-mile gumbo oval.
"It's about time!" Stewart proclaimed after his eighth career ASCS National Tour triumph and first since July 13 of last year. "When we went around Crawley on the start in the middle of the track I knew that was where the rubber was. Then Dale (Howard) went low the next lap and I just stayed in the middle and was able to go right by him."
Crawley led the feature field to the green flag after a last corner pass to top the second heat race after starting seventh, with Howard alongside. Howard jumped into the lead at the drop of the green, with fourth-starter Stewart and sixth-starter Ward racing past the inside row to take over second and third on the opening round.
Howard dropped to the low side once in front, opening the door for Stewart. Stewart pounced immediately, racing into the lead as he drove through the middle of the corner in turns three in four on the second round to take a lead he would never relinquish.
Despite encountering lapped traffic after 15 rounds, Stewart raced to the checkered flag unabated aboard Bobby Sparks' Ostrich-powered Sparks Construction No. 91 Eagle. Howard held second all the way but was unable to mount a bid for the point.
Crawley turned up the heat on Ward for third at the race's midpoint, but Ward was up to the task as he claimed the show position. Crawley took fourth, with teammate and California-transplant Steven Tiner rounding out the top five.
Travis Rilat, the 2003 O'Reilly ASCS National champion, crossed the stripe in sixth, with Jan Howard in seventh. Brodix Rookie of the Year contender Jake Martens snared eighth in front of Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., with Travis Senter, Jr., scoring his first career ASCS National Tour top-ten finish by completing the top ten.
Defending ASCS National champion Gary Wright crossed the stripe eleventh after starting thirteenth.
Jimmy Taylor utilized a provisional starting position to tag the feature field and was the race's only DNF.
Tiner, Crawley, Dale Howard and Stewart topped heat race action for the 33-car field. A youthful Hunter Schuerenberg needed just three laps to charge from seventh to first en route to topping the first 12-lap "B" Main, with Robert Gant snaring the second "B" Main victory.
All 89 laps of racing action, including Heats, B Mains and the Feature, were run off in crisp fashion with no cautions.
Stewart and Jan Howard are tied for the series point lead entering Saturday night's action at Memphis Motorsports Park, which is slated to get under way at 7:00 p.m.
First Heat (10 Laps): 1. Steven Tiner, 2. Jake Martens, 3. Henry Gustavus, 4. Gary Wright, 5. Josh Howard, 6. Lee Sowell, 7. Bob Schaeffer, 8. Tony Bruce, Jr., 9. Andy McElhannon.
Second Heat (10 Laps): 1. Tim Crawley, 2. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 3. Eddie Gallagher, 4. A.G. Rains, 5. Ernie Ainsworth, 6. Jim Bowden, 7. Philip Faulkner. DNS: Garry Bell.
Third Heat (10 Laps): 1. Dale Howard, 2. Jan Howard, 3. Travis Rilat, 4. Robert Gant, 5. Chad Jones, 6. Marshall Skinner, 7. Hunter Schuerenberg, 8. Tim Sites.
Fourth Heat (10 Laps): 1. Darren Stewart, 2. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., 3. Mike Ward, 4. Travis Senter, Jr., 5. Dewayne Prince, 6. Toby Brown, 7. Ronny Howard, 8. Jimmy Taylor.
First B Feature (12 Laps): 1. Hunter Schuerenberg, 2. Marshall Skinner, 3. A.G. Rains, 4. Eddie Gallagher, 5. Chad Jones, 6. Lee Sowell, 7. Tony Bruce, Jr., 8. Bob Schaeffer. DNS: Garry Bell.
Second B Feature (12 Laps): 1. Robert Gant, 2. Toby Brown, 3. Ernie Ainsworth, 4. Jim Bowden, 5. Dewayne Prince, 6. Andy McElhannon, 7. Tim Sites, 8. Ronny Howard. DNS: Philip Faulkner.
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. Darren Stewart, 2. Dale Howard, 3. Mike Ward, 4. Tim Crawley, 5. Steven Tiner, 6. Travis Rilat, 7. Jan Howard, 8. Jake Martens, 9. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., 10. Travis Senter, Jr., 11. Gary Wright, 12. Josh Howard, 13. Henry Gustavus, 14. Robert Gant, 15. Toby Brown, 16. Ernie Ainsworth, 17. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 18. Marshall Skinner, 19. A.G. Rains, 20. Hunter Schuerenberg, 21. Jimmy Taylor.
O'Reilly ASCS National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores Points (Top Ten): 1. (tie) Darren Stewart and Jan Howard 408, 3. (tie) Gary Wright and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 398, 5. Jake Martens 382, 6. Tony Bruce, Jr. 361, 7. Travis Rilat 356, 8. Toby Brown 321, 9. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 311, 10. Danny Jennings 300.