PARIS, Tex. (August 27, 2004) - Current O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and Classic Trailers point leader Gary Wright dazzled a standing-room-only crowd at Paris Motor Speedway by...
PARIS, Tex. (August 27, 2004) - Current O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and Classic Trailers point leader Gary Wright dazzled a standing-room-only crowd at Paris Motor Speedway by dashing past Tim Crawley in heavy lapped traffic on the 11th round en route to topping Friday night's 25-lap feature.
Wright edged ever closer to his first ASCS championship by posting his 87th career ASCS National triumph and sixth of the year, extending his current point lead to 46 markers over defending champion and fourth place finisher Travis Rilat.
Crawley and Wright led the feature field to the green flag, only to have the initial start waved off when a bicycling Steven Tiner clipped Garry Lee Maier in turn two, sending Maier for a tumble. There were no injuries, but both drivers were done for the night.
Crawley outgunned Wright for the point on the ensuing restart and paced the early rounds with Wright, Cody Branchcomb and Darren Stewart in tow. Lapped traffic came into play after just seven rounds, and Crawley's brief hesitation in turns three and four just four laps later opened the door for Wright, who charged by on the low side to take command for good.
Wright slipped away to nearly a half straightaway advantage until encountering a gaggle of lapped machines on the 18th round. Wright made quick work of the traffic however to effectively secure the victory aboard the Wesmar-powered Southwest Express/Richwood Construction/The Shop No. 9 Maxim.
Only a red flag with 21 laps in the books for Stephen Chevallier's turn two flip without injury could slow Wright's charge to victory lane. But with a pair of cars separating Wright from his rivals on the restart, "The Texan" cruised to the checkered flag atop the Parisian clay unabated over the final four rounds.
While Wright raced to the stripe, the fight for second was intense. Stewart, who had overtaken Branchcomb for third on the 16th round, quickly moved in to challenge Crawley for the runner-up slot. Twelfth-starter Rilat made quick work of Branchcomb for fourth on the restart and made it a three-car duel for second.
With Stewart and Rilat swapping positions several times in the final rounds, Crawley fought off the duo for second. Stewart snared the show position for keeps on the final lap, with Rilat settling for fourth. Branchcomb completed his best performance of the season by rounding out the top five.
Matt Clevenger raced amongst the top five during the first half of the race before settling for sixth, with Zach Chappell earning Hard Charger honors by racing from 18th to seventh at the line. Brodix Rookie of the Year contender Sam Hafertepe, Jr., crossed the stripe eighth, with Kevin Ramey and Toby Brown completing the top ten.
Crawley, Wright and Branchcomb topped heat race action for the 26-car field, with Tony Bruce, Jr., fending off Chevallier to win the 12-lap B Main.
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. Tim Crawley, 2. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 3. Darren Stewart, 4. Travis Rilat, 5. Scott Christian, 6. Natalie Sather, 7. Zach Chappell, 8. Randy McKinney, 9. Phillip Dietz.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. Gary Wright, 2. Brandon Berryman, 3. Garry Lee Maier, 4. Toby Brown, 5. Kevin Ramey, 6. Jimmy Taylor, 7. Jerry Bell, 8. Larry Howery, 9. Rick Schallert.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. Cody Branchcomb, 2. Matt Clevenger, 3. Steven Tiner, 4. A.G. Rains, 5. Tony Bruce, Jr., 6. Stephen Chevallier, 7. Kent Lewis, Jr., 8. Jeff Day.
B Feature (12 Laps): 1. Tony Bruce, Jr., 2. Stephen Chevallier, 3. Natalie Sather, 4. Zach Chappell, 5. Kent Lewis, Jr., 6. Larry Howery, 7. Jimmy Taylor, 8. Randy McKinney, 9. Rick Schallert, 10. Phillip Dietz, 11. Jerry Bell. DNS: Jeff Day.
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. Gary Wright, 2. Tim Crawley, 3. Darren Stewart, 4. Travis Rilat, 5. Cody Branchcomb, 6. Matt Clevenger, 7. Zach Chappell, 8. Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 9. Kevin Ramey, 10. Toby Brown, 11. A.G. Rains, 12. Kent Lewis, Jr., 13. Tony Bruce, Jr., 14. Brandon Berryman, 15. Natalie Sather, 16. Stephen Chevallier, 17. Larry Howery, 18. Scott Christian, 19. Garry Lee Maier, 20. Steven Tiner.
O'Reilly ASCS National Tour Points (Top Fifteen): 1. Gary Wright 3,466, 2. Travis Rilat 3,420, 3. Zach Chappell 3,280, 4. Garry Lee Maier 3,135, 5. Toby Brown 2,825, 6. Darren Stewart 2,725, 7. A.G. Rains 2,593, 8. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 2,511, 9. Jimmy Taylor 2,448, 10. Natalie Sather 2,261, 11. Cody Branchcomb 2,190, 12. Tony Bruce, Jr. 1,878, 13. Jason Martin 1,440, 14. Shane Stewart 1,394, 15. Tim Crawley 1,351.