Stewart Swipes ASCS Mid-South Magnolia Loot with Last Lap Heroics! COLUMBUS, Miss. (September 3, 2006) -- Dale Howard did everything he could to complete a sweep of the season's pair of American Sprint Car Series Mid-South Region events...
Stewart Swipes ASCS Mid-South Magnolia Loot with Last Lap Heroics!
COLUMBUS, Miss. (September 3, 2006) -- Dale Howard did everything he could to complete a sweep of the season's pair of American Sprint Car Series Mid-South Region events at Magnolia Motor Speedway, but it was Darren Stewart making a dramatic last corner pass to snare the $2,000 winner's share in Sunday night's 25-lap feature event.
And, in true irony, Stewart did it with a borrowed rocker arm from none other than Dale Howard.
Stewart suffered a broken rocker arm earlier in the evening while gridding for his heat race. After borrowing a rocker arm from Howard, Stewart started scratch in the feature event and sliced through the field before tracking down Howard and, after exchanging the lead several times over the final four circuits, snared his first ASCS win of the season aboard Bobby Sparks' Ostrich-powered PBM Performance/RESM Transport No. 91 Eagle with a last corner pass that left the large crowd on its feet.
"I thought I had messed up behind that lapped car and given it away, but then Dale got hung up behind him in the final corner and the door opened," the current ASCS Mid-South Region point leader explained after the victory.
"That's a pretty good win considering the fact we never even got to look at the racetrack all night long," veteran car owner Sparks commented. "We didn't even know if it would run, we fired it off as we pushed off for the feature and just threw a setup on it hoping that it would work. We finally caught a little luck tonight."
While Stewart started tailback in the feature, it was outside front row starter Dewayne Prince outgunning Howard for the early lead. Prince paced the opening circuits in front of Howard, Michael Herrington, Jan Howard and Bryce Vowan as Stewart advanced all the way to sixth by the completion of the fourth lap.
D. Howard began pressuring Prince for the point on the fifth round and charged into the lead with a move to the low side entering turn one on the seventh round. A lap later, Stewart climbed to fifth when the race's only caution flew for Jan Howard, who came to a halt on the backstretch with ignition woes while holding down fourth.
D. Howard, an April 15 ASCS Mid-South winner at Magnolia Motor Speedway, set sail on the restart, with Stewart using the top side of turns one and two to make quick work of Vowan and Herrington to climb to third. Stewart then began challenging Prince for the runner-up slot, eventually taking command with eleven laps in the books.
But while Stewart and Prince diced for second, Howard slipped away to a half straightaway advantage. Once clear of Prince though, Stewart began chipping away at Howard's lead and closed to his rear nerf bar by the 20th round.
Stewart drove past Howard in turns three and four to take command on the 22nd lap, only to have Howard quickly return the favor to regain the lead the next time around. "I had been kind of taking it easy, just backpedaling through traffic until I saw Darren, then I knew I better pick up the pace," Howard explained afterward.
With the battling lead duo closing in on a pair of lapped cars, Stewart kept the pressure on by looking both high and low. As the pair raced down the backstretch on the final lap, Howard committed to the low side only to have traffic choose the low side as well. Stewart took quick advantage by racing around Howard on the cushion in the final pair of corners to streak underneath the checkered flag with a mere two car-length advantage.
Howard settled for second, with Prince posting a strong third place showing. Herrington claimed fourth, with Ronny Howard advancing to round out the top five.
Shane Morgan crossed the sixth, with Vowan, Kenny Coke, Todd Fayard and Michael Miller completing the top ten.
ASCS Mid-South Region Results:
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 16-Dewayne Prince, 2. 46-Jan Howard, 3. 24w-Kenny Coke, 4. 9c-Michael Miller, 5. 45-Josh Howard, 6. 2m-Bryce Vowan, 7. 2-Todd Fayard, 8. K9-Robert Casada, 9. 99-Ray Stevison.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 47-Dale Howard, 2. 7-Michael Herrington, 3. 44-Ronny Howard, 4. 01-Shane Morgan, 5. 21-Butch David, 6. 46d-Dean Carpenter, 7. 44h-John Howard, 8. 47d-Jay Adams, 9. 91-Darren Stewart.
"A" Feature (25 Laps): 1. 91-Darren Stewart, 2. 47-Dale Howard, 3. 16-Dewayne Prince, 4. 7-Michael Herrington, 5. 44-Ronny Howard, 6. 01-Shane Morgan, 7. 2m-Bryce Vowan, 8. 24w-Kenny Coke, 9. 2-Todd Fayard, 10. 9c-Michael Miller, 11. K9-Robert Casada, 12. 44h-John Howard, 13. 46d-Dean Carpenter, 14. 45-Josh Howard, 15. 46-Jan Howard, 16. 47d-Jay Adams, 17. 21-Butch David, 18. 99-Ray Stevison.
ASCS Mid-South Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Darren Stewart 848, 2. Bryce Vowan 721, 3. Dale Howard 708, 4. Michael Herrington 613, 5. Josh Lofton 604, 6. Gary Wright 560, 7. Robert Casada 528, 8. Stephen Chevallier 463, 9. Johnny Miller 428, 10. Jason Johnson 422.