OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (June 27, 2003) - Gary Wright emerged from a torrid five car battle for the lead to win Friday night's 25-lap O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour feature presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and...
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (June 27, 2003) - Gary Wright emerged from a torrid five car battle for the lead to win Friday night's 25-lap O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour feature presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and United Trailers at State Fair Speedway.
"It doesn't get any tougher than that, those guys really made me work extra hard for this one," exclaimed the victor who slipped around Zach Chappell following a late caution to notch his sixth series triumph of the season and second in a row.
After charging from sixth to win the second of five heat races for the 35-car field, Wright led the main event to the green flag with Chappell alongside. The feature got off to a rough start when sixth-starter Darren Stewart, who entered the evening leading the O'Reilly ASCS points race, looped his machine in turn two on the opening round. Starting directly behind his brother, Shane Stewart was left with nowhere to go and flipped after hitting Darren in head-on fashion. Although both cars were destroyed, both Stewarts walked away uninjured.
Wright took command on the second start, with Derek Drown racing past Chappell for second down the backstretch on the opening round. Wright was gradually slipping away from the field when the red flag flew again after three rounds for a turn two tangle involving Andy Shouse, Claud Estes and Rick Behr, whose machine got upside down. Estes returned to action, while Shouse and Behr were done for the night.
Wright took off again on the restart, while current ASCS Sooner Region point leader Kevin Ramey began making his move toward the front. Ramey raced past Chappell for third on the fourth round, then disposed of Drown for second a lap later. Ramey reeled in Wright and charged into the lead exiting turn two on the seventh round.
Ramey set the pace over the following laps, with Wright, Chappell and Drown in pursuit. Wright closed in to challenge for the lead on the 16th circuit, but it was third-running Chappell who dove to the low side exiting turn four on the 17th round and charged past both Texas hotshoes to take the lead.
As lapped traffic became a factor, Chappell had his hands full fending off Wright and Ramey, as well as Travis Rilat and Drown, who also entered into the mix for the lead as the laps wound down. The scintillating five-car battle for the lead was interrupted with five laps to go when Larry Neighbors' mount lost power on the frontstretch, setting up a dash to the checkered flag.
Chappell led the way on the restart, but Wright charged back into the lead on the 22nd round and went on to post a four car-length victory in the Salina-powered Southwest Express/The Shop/Richwood Construction Maxim over Chappell at the line. Rilat took over the series point lead with his third place showing, as Ramey held off Drown for fourth at the line.
Nick Smith raced from 14th to claim sixth, as Danny Jennings made a charge from 18th to snare seventh. Toby Brown took the checkered flag in eighth, with Sam Hafertepe, Jr. in ninth. After utilizing a provisional starting position for the main event, Matt Clevenger earned the race's Hard Charger award by racing from 22nd to complete the top ten.
Ramey, Wright, Chappell, Drown and Neighbors topped heat race action, with Robert Sellers and Marvin Lough winning the twin 12-lap B Features. Sellers jumped into Rodger Eckhardt's mount when a broken crankshaft parked his regular ride for the night before action got under way.
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. Gary Wright, 2. Zach Chappell, 3. Travis Rilat, 4. Kevin Ramey, 5. Derek Drown, 6. Nick Smith, 7. Danny Jennings, 8. Toby Brown, 9. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 10. Matt Clevenger, 11. Marvin Lough, 12. Cody Branchcomb, 13. Robert Sellers, 14. Gary Owens, 15. Travis Scott, 16. Larry Neighbors, 17. Jason Martin, 18. Claud Estes, 19. Andy Shouse, 20. Rick Behr, 21. Darren Stewart, 22. Shane Stewart.
First B Feature (12 Laps): 1. Robert Sellers, 2. Travis Scott, 3. Claud Estes, 4. Matt Clevenger, 5. Brian Harvill, 6. Roy Larkin, 7. Jimmy Taylor, 8. Cale Levescy, 9. Mitchell Gosey, 10. Joe Wood, Jr.
Second B Feature (12 Laps): 1. Marvin Lough, 2. Danny Jennings, 3. Jason Martin, 4. Marcus Jackson, 5. Dennis Park, 6. Steve Ochs, 7. Tony Bruce, Jr., 8. Jeff Leep, 9. James Shoun, 10. Rick Behr.
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. Kevin Ramey, 2. Darren Stewart, 3. Gary Owens, 4. Marvin Lough, 5. Marcus Jackson, 6. Dennis Park. DNS: Tony Bruce, Jr.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. Gary Wright, 2. Toby Brown, 3. Nick Smith, 4. Travis Scott, 5. Matt Clevenger, 6. Brian Harvill, 7. Jimmy Taylor.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. Zach Chappell, 2. Travis Rilat, 3. Robert Sellers, 4. Danny Jennings, 5. Jason Martin, 6. Rick Behr, 7. James Shoun.
Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. Derek Drown, 2. Andy Shouse, 3. Cody Branchcomb, 4. Roy Larkin, 5. Jeff Leep, 6. Mitchell Gosey. DNS: Rodger Eckhardt.
Fifth Heat (8 Laps): 1. Larry Neighbors, 2. Shane Stewart, 3. Claud Estes, 4. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 5. Joe Wood, Jr., 6. Steve Ochs, 7. Cale Levescy.
O'Reilly ASCS Points (Top Ten): 1. Travis Rilat 2,776, 2. Darren Stewart 2,772, 3. Zach Chappell 2,764, 4. Gary Wright 2,720, 5. Cody Branchcomb 2,580, 6. Toby Brown 2,480, 7. Shane Stewart 1,948, 8. Rick Behr 1,587, 9. Matt Clevenger 1,506, 10. Kevin Ramey 1,358.
ASCS Sooner Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Kevin Ramey 882, 2. Danny Jennings 812, 3. Robert Sellers 806, 4. Derek Drown 776, 5. Brian Harvill 723, 6. Marvin Lough 721, 7. Roy Larkin 692, 8. (tie) Sean McClelland and Nick Smith 674, 10. Travis Scott 660.