American Sprint Car Series -- Tuesday's Top Ten TULSA, Okla. (May 17, 2005) -- Rolling once again through this week's installment of Tuesday's Top Ten, including ten random items garnered not only from this past weekend's American Sprint Car ...
American Sprint Car Series -- Tuesday's Top Ten
TULSA, Okla. (May 17, 2005) -- Rolling once again through this week's installment of Tuesday's Top Ten, including ten random items garnered not only from this past weekend's American Sprint Car Series action, but other weekends past to fill the space. And, for your reading convenience, the Top Ten is assembled in no particular order whatsoever.
1. "48 Club" -- Brodix Rookie of the Year contender Jake Martens of Fairview, OK, has an interesting, and innovative, sponsorship opportunity available for individuals who can't afford to get involved on a grand scale. Painted on the tail tank of his No. 48 J&J is the membership list of the "48 Club", each of whom has donated $250 to the cause. No word on whether Colorado's Mike Thigpen has instituted a similar idea for his sprint car effort.
2. Memphis Connection -- A look at the current top ten in O'Reilly ASCS National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores points reveals a definite Beale Street flavor.
Currently ranked second in points, Jan Howard cut his teeth in the Memphis area, winning the Riverside track championship in 1998. Third-ranked Darren Stewart drives for veteran car owner Bobby Sparks, who calls Olive Branch, MS, home and has fielded cars in the area for decades.
Ranked eighth is last year's Rookie of the Year, A.G. Rains, who collected his lone National Tour triumph at Riverside during 2001 Speedweek action. Ninth-ranked Lee Sowell turned most of his laps at Riverside (with a few mixed in at the now padlocked Delta Bowl) before joining this year's Rookie Chase. A top contender at MMP and Riverside in recent years, Ernie Ainsworth climbed to tenth in points with fifth and second place Louisiana finishes.
Oddly, of these five, only Ainsworth calls Tennessee home. Others hail just across the state line in Arkansas (Rains) or Mississippi (Howard and Sowell), with Okie Stewart filling the seat of the Sparks mount. Still, "Memphis Connection" just seemed a bit snappier than "Memphis and the Immediate, Surrounding, Two-State Region Connection."
3. First Flipper -- After 449 laps of red-flag-free racing in O'Reilly ASCS National Tour racing action, Gulf South Region rookie competitor Ty Johnson of Eunice, LA, became the series first flip victim of 2005 during an attempt to start the "B" Main at Champion Park Speedway in Haughton, LA, on May 7.
The first flip of the year was hardly a flip at all, with the car toppling in slow motion fashion onto its left side, really requiring little more than a " Chili Bowl" caution. After a short red though, Johnson retired to the pit area with minor wing damage.
4. Memorial Day Madness! -- There will be no shortage of ASCS racing over the Memorial Day weekend with a half dozen races slated throughout Nebraska, Texas, Colorado and Louisiana.
Action kicks off on Friday night, May 27, as the ASCS makes its debut at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, NE, with round two of the 2005 season for the ASCS Midwest Region.
The much-anticipated ASCS National Tour invasion of Cowtown Speedway in Kennedale, TX, takes place the next night, Saturday, May 28, while the Rocky Mountain Region kicks off a two-nighter at Thunder Mountain Speedway in Olathe, CO. The Gulf South Region takes to Thunder Valley Speedway in Union Hill, LA, on Saturday, then wraps up the weekend on Sunday night at Ark-La-Tex Speedway in Vivian.
5. Mr. Zero -- On April 23 at Memphis Motorsports Park, 16-year-old Andy McElhannon made his first career ASCS National Tour feature start. In just his fifth Sprint start overall and first ASCS outing, the Hernando, MS, youngster made the show driving a former Sammy Swindell Channellock machine.
No word on whether the number "0" carried on the car is in deference to famed "Ohio Traveler" Rick Ferkel or perhaps occasional Rocky Mountain Region competitor Ned Powers from Belle Fourche, SD.
Speaking of Ned Powers, how about this neat Gary Spangler shot of Ned flying helplessly through the air several years ago. Powers has raced since, in fact capturing a Rocky Mountain Region win at Sheridan, WY, last July. Just check http://www.ascsracing.com/gallery/nedpowersflies.jpg to get the full visual.
6. Darren vs. Daryn -- On Saturday night, April 23, Darren Stewart started his 89th career ASCS National Tour feature. A quick look at the record books reveals that former Sooner State ASCS racer Daryn Pittman has 89 career National Tour starts to his credit as well. Comparing some numbers at this time is a must.
In Pittman's 89 starts, he collected five wins, 27 top-fives and 53 top-tens. In Stewart's initial 89 National Tour starts, he has scored eight victories, 48 top-fives and 71 top-tens. It would appear that soon-to-be college grad (in December) Darren gets the nod over current World of Outlaws regular Daryn at respective racing career stages, while it could also be argued that the younger of the Stewart brothers has piled up superior numbers against stiffer competition than what Pittman faced during his 1996-98 ASCS stint.
7. Mountain Woman -- After an absence from the ASCS Rocky Mountain Region scene the past two years, Pueblo, Colorado's Paige Lee was back in action in this past Saturday night's opener at Sweetwater Speedway in Rock Springs, WY. Paige, who was twelfth in 2002 Rocky Mountain points, posted a nice seventh place finish in her return. Paige is the second lady currently ranked among a top ten in ASCS points, as Virginia's Mary Anne Williams is tied for third in Heintz Performance Southern Tour points.
8. You're a Daisy if You Do -- Forty or so competitors are ready to throw down the gauntlet, just daring Gary Wright to make it four wins in a row in Friday night's O'Reilly ASCS event at Oklahoma City's State Fair Speedway. But if anybody can become the first in National Tour history to make it four wins in a row, in this the 14th year of the American Sprint Car Series, "The Texan" could be the man.
Among those ready to pull off the Doc Holliday style stop is red-hot Sooner Region point leader Sean McClelland, who added a weekly win at Tulsa Speedway this past weekend to his three Sooner Region triumphs. "I'm really looking forward to racing with the National guys, I want to see where we stand with them. "
McClelland should be among those with a legitimate shot to put a halt to Wright's win streak on Friday night, as fellow Sooner Region racer Danny Jennings topped the National Tour shoes on consecutive nights in March at Devil's Bowl Speedway.
9. Idle Time -- With an off weekend for the O'Reilly ASCS National Tour, several drivers took in the opportunity to get some extra laps at various locales. And while Kasey Kahne was getting his first win in a little-publicized Richmond event (this may well be the first you've heard of it), it was ASCS Ironman Toby Brown capturing Saturday's headlines by winning his first Sprint Car feature in a tune-up for Labor Day Weekend's LOS 360 Nationals.
After a convincing heat race win, the Carthage, MO, shoe raced to nearly a straightaway win in the feature, keeping the No. 4m entry's Lake Ozark Speedway undefeated streak in tact after Shane Stewart's LOS 360 Nationals sweep last year.
"It's not quite the same, I really wish it was an ASCS win, but we were needing a win bad so we'll take it," Toby commented afterward.
A win indeed, and a much-needed injection of confidence that could propel Brown into ASCS victory lane in the not too distant future.
10. Dodge City Showdown -- Dodge City, KS, is well known for having more than its fair share of gunfights in the latter portion of the 19th Century, with Boot Hill becoming an infamous last resting place for quite a few that were a bit too slow on the trigger.
But it's been a while since Dodge City has seen a Shootout that can compare to the one that's set to take place at Dodge City Raceway Park on Friday and Saturday, June 17-18. That weekend, the O'Reilly ASCS National Tour invades the first-class 3/8-mile oval clay oval for the first time. It's also a point event for the American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region. And the American Sprint Car Series Rocky Mountain Region. And NCRA's 360 division as well.
With the ASCS Nationals combining with two Regions and the NCRA, the car count should border on the obscene. Those planning on witnessing the weekend's events would be well advised to make motel reservations ASAP, lest you find yourself traveling a couple of hours or more to points unknown in search of a place to bed down.
A Chartreuse Tuxedo -- You just never know what you'll see during late night food stops. Following the May 7 Champion Park event, Terry Brown and company rolled into a Shreveport Whataburger just in time to greet the prom crowd. Some natty attire filled the burger joint indeed, with the chartreuse tux standing out above the rest.
Putting Installment Number Six of Tuesday's Top Ten to sleep, comments, questions, suggestions, critiques and more are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.