Murfreesboro race report

Chappell charges to O'Reilly ASCS National opening night victory at SWA. MURFREESBORO, Ark. (April 12, 2003) - Zach Chappell led wire-to-wire Saturday night at Southwest Arkansas Super Speedway in Murfreesboro, AR, fending off a host of ...

Chappell charges to O'Reilly ASCS National opening night victory at SWA.

MURFREESBORO, Ark. (April 12, 2003) - Zach Chappell led wire-to-wire Saturday night at Southwest Arkansas Super Speedway in Murfreesboro, AR, fending off a host of challengers over the course of the 25-lap main event to kick off the season in style for the O'Reilly Auto Parts American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and United Trailers.

"I could hear those guys all over me, but there wasn't any way I was gonna give up the low line," stated the happy victor, who earlier in the day made an appearance at the Love's Travel Stop in nearby Prescott, AR.

After winning the evening's opening heat race, Chappell led the 22-car feature field to the green flag with A.G. Rains alongside. Chappell jumped into the lead as main event action got underway, surviving a pair of cautions in the opening three rounds with Rains and Darren Stewart in pursuit.

Rains applied heavy pressure to the 2001 ASCS National champion for several laps until a quick 360-degree spin in turn two on the sixth round allowed Stewart to move into second. Kevin Ramey quickly took over third, with ninth-starter Tim Crawley, an unexpected entry aboard William Hope's machine, battling into fourth position.

After a pair of cautions on laps ten and eleven for a turn two spin by Marvin Lough and a turn three tangle involving Rick Behr and Pete Butler, the race went non-stop the final fourteen rounds, with Chappell holding a narrow advantage over Stewart, Ramey, Crawley and Gary Wright.

While the four pursuers applied heavy pressure over the last half of the race, Chappell stuck flawlessly to the preferred low groove, denying Stewart's bids for the lead in the closing rounds. Chappell took the checkered flag in the Champco Concrete Construction Carbone-powered Maxim with less than a two car-length lead in front of Stewart's Sparks Construction Ostrich-powered Avenger.

Nipping at the lead duo's heels, Ramey settled for the show position, with defending series champion Crawley in fourth. Gary Wright rounded out the top five, as Rains' strong run resulted in a sixth place finish. Justin Sturch posted his best career ASCS National finish by crossing the stripe seventh, while Travis Rilat earned the race's Hard Charger award by coming from 20th to claim eighth. Garry Lee Maier and Claud Estes completed the top ten.

Heat race victories were claimed by Chappell, Rains and Sturch. After separate heat race incidents, Foster Landon and Wade Oliver both made repairs and were able to compete in the main event.

-ascs-

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Darren Stewart , Travis Rilat , Kevin Ramey , Tim Crawley