ASCS Tuesday's Top Ten TULSA, Okla. (March 30, 2010) -- As another month of March fades into the record books and a new April dawns, a piping-hot, new edition of ASCS Tuesday Top Ten rolls off the presses. Compiled of ten random...
ASCS Tuesday's Top Ten
TULSA, Okla. (March 30, 2010) -- As another month of March fades into the record books and a new April dawns, a piping-hot, new edition of ASCS Tuesday Top Ten rolls off the presses.
Compiled of ten random items of varying degrees of relevance or lack thereof, TTT is presented in typically random order.
1. Swingers -- Regional action has taken place over each of the past three Arizona Saturday nights, including a pair of wingless ASCS Canyon Region events (March 13 at USA Raceway and March 27 at Canyon Speedway Park) and one winged ASCS Southwest event (March 20 at USA Raceway).
Three drivers have taken in all three events, putting the wing on in between a pair of topless runs, including R.J. Johnson, Mike Martin and Ronnie Clark.
Martin has posted top-tens in all three features, with a sixth-place winged outing sandwiched by wingless showings of eighth and fifth. A wingless second and winged third was followed up by a cut tire while leading and resulting 17th place this past weekend for Johnson, while Clark's ninth and 12th wingless finishes surrounded a tenth-place winged run.
2. Rocky Mountain Changes -- The 2010 ASCS Rocky Mountain schedule has undergone several changes, including the season opener as the series will now open in conjunction with the Lucas Oil National Sprint Cars at the Steve King Memorial in Jetmore, KS, on May 29-30.
Originally set to open at Colorado Motorsports Park, the Rocky Mountain Region will now make its first stop at the Byers, CO, dirt oval in August.
The Rocky Mountain Region also returns to western Kansas later in the year with stops at Dodge City Raceway Park (July 17) and the Jetmore Motorplex (September 4).
3. Midwest Opener -- For those that didn't get the memo, the ASCS Midwest Region kicks off its 2010 campaign on April 16-17 at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, NE, in between Lincoln and Omaha. The traditional two-day Midwest opener typically draws a stout field of cars, with last year's edition attracting 44 entries on the first night and then 46 on the second night.
It should serve as quite the appetizer for the Lucas Oil National event that swoops into the area just a few miles down the road, Eagle Raceway's Eagle Nationals on June 11-12.
4. Diversity -- The contenders on the Lucas Oil ASCS National Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters are put to the test, racing on all variety of tracks throughout the nation over the course of a season.
A perfect example is the series next pair of events on April 9 and 10, when the Lucas Oil Sprint Cars go from Kilgore, Texas' lightning-fast, high-banked, 0x00bd-mile Lone Star Speedway dirt oval on Friday night to the cozy confines of Little Rock's high-banked, 0x00bc-mile I-30 Speedway red clay bullring on Saturday night.
5. Lone Star Nights -- While the ASCS Lone Star Region officially opens its season in conjunction with the Lucas Oil National Sprint Cars at Lone Star Speedway on April 9, the Lone Star Region's first stand-alone events of 2010 are the following weekend at Waco's Heart O' Texas Speedway (April 16) and Fort Worth's Cowtown Speedway (April 17). Run during each of the past several seasons, the Cowtown event generally attracts a variety of notable tire kickers looking to get a break from Texas Motor Speedway NASCAR festivities.
6. Regional Marks -- With 95 career ASCS Gulf South Region feature starts to his credit, two-time series champion Brandon Berryman will move closer to becoming just the second driver in ASCS history to start 100 features with a single region during this weekend's Inaugural Lone Star Shootout double at Golden Triangle Raceway Park and Houston Raceway Park.
Berryman will soon join Greg Rilat, who has started 130 career ASCS Gulf South features, in that club.
However, those two along with two others (Kevin Ramey and Chris Sweeney) have started more than 100 overall ASCS Regional feature events.
The elder Rilat sits atop that list, with a pair of ASCS Sooner Region feature starts running his Regional total to 132 features.
With a mix of Sooner, Gulf South and Lone Star events in the books, including 89 career Sooner features, reigning Lone Star champ and two-time Sooner champ Ramey has started 127 career ASCS Regional features to go along with 146 National features (23 of those 127 Regional features were combined with National events).
With 92 career ASCS Gulf South feature starts, Sweeney has added nine Coastal starts and two Sooner starts to run his career total to 103.
Berryman is the fourth to top the 100 overall mark, with pairs of Sooner, Coastal and Lone Star features bumping his total of 95 Gulf South features to 101 overall. His 100th overall Regional feature start came in this year's Gulf South opener at Golden Triangle on March 5.
Ray Allen Kulhanek, another Gulf South regular, will likely be the next to reach the 100 overall Regional feature start mark. Kulhanek has started a total of 96 Regional features, including 86 Gulf South main events along with nine Sooner starts and one Coastal main.
7. Southwest Starters -- Two-time ASCS Southwest champion Rick Ziehl of Las Cruces, NM, and Tucson's Ronnie Clark rank as the only two drivers to start all 22 stand-alone ASCS Southwest Region feature events contested since the series inception in 2008.
Since suffering a pair of DNF's in the initial pair of Southwest events in 2008, Ziehl has finished outside the top ten just once in 20 features since that time. Clark has been consistent as well with 16 top-tens in 22 features.
8. Back in the Saddle -- When the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Cars presented by K&N Filters take to Little Rock's I-30 Speedway on Saturday night, April 10, there will be something of a blast from the past as Darren Stewart will reportedly return to the seat of the Bobby Sparks No. 91 entry (http://www.ascsracing.com/gallery/sparksracing2010.jpg).
Stewart, a Bixby, OK, native now calling Edmond, OK, home, and Mississippi's Sparks joined forces after Speedweek of 2002 and ranked as one of the top touring teams over the next five seasons, compiling 11 wins, 72 top-fives and 108 top-tens in 158 feature starts.
Stewart and Sparks will try out I-30 and then the Rock 'N Roll 50 at Riverside Speedway in West Memphis, AR, on April 23-24.
9. New Points -- With the opening pair of ASCS Canyon Region events in the books, Charles Davis, Jr., Josh Pelkey and Jeremy Sherman not only occupy the top three positions in points, but have also demonstrated the subtle nuances of the new points scale.
All three drivers have an average feature finish of 3.5 through the opening pair of events, but Chargin' Charles' finishes of first and sixth get the edge on Pelkey's placings of fifth and second, which edges out Sherman's showings of third and fourth.
Under the old system, Davis would have 288 points with Pelkey and Sherman tied at 286. The new system has Davis at 272, Pelkey at 267 and Sherman at 265. With more weight on podium finishes and an equal average finish, Davis' win gets the edge on Pelkey's best finish of second that trumps Sherman's best run of third. Got it?
10. The Trophy -- Tulsa's Chili Bowl has the Golden Driller and Martinsville gives out a Grandfather Clock. Riverside Speedway's Rock 'N Roll 50 offers up perhaps the coolest winner's hardware on the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car trail, a Les Paul Gibson guitar.
Tim Crawley took last year's trophy from promoter Tony Bruce, Jr. (http://www.ascsracing.com/gallery/crawleytrophy09.jpg), although it's doubtful that he's had much free time for lessons. Rather than waiting until the Fourth of July weekend, this year's Les Paul Gibson will be earned on April 23-24.
JAs the third full moon of 2010 orbits, more tales from the dark side to follow in the coming weeks.
Until next time, find what you need in terms of ASCS info at www.ascsracing.com.