O'Reilly ASCS Tuesday's Top Ten -- April 11, 2006 TULSA, Okla. (April 11, 2006) -- Celebrating the First Anniversary of Tuesday's Top Ten, TTT is back for another look at ten random items from the latest American Sprint Car ...
O'Reilly ASCS Tuesday's Top Ten -- April 11, 2006
TULSA, Okla. (April 11, 2006) -- Celebrating the First Anniversary of Tuesday's Top Ten, TTT is back for another look at ten random items from the latest American Sprint Car Series happenings, arranged in no order per the norm.
1. Ten Down... -- After a Friday night rainout at Nebraska Raceway Park's I-80 Speedway, Mother Nature finally played along and allowed the American Sprint Car Series to complete all three scheduled Saturday night feature events with Brian Brown (Midwest vs. Northern Plains at I-80), Sam Hafertepe, Jr. (Sooner at Cowtown) and Travis Rilat (Gulf South at Houston Raceway Park) each scoring feature wins.
The ASCS now has ten feature events in the books, with seven different drivers taking wins. Saturday's $2,500 HRP score was Rilat's second of the year, with Terry McCarl and Jason Johnson also each owning two wins. Brown and Hafertepe joined Jesse Hockett and Sean McClelland as single feature winners at this early juncture of the season.
But we're just barely getting started, as approximately 170 more feature events will be contested under the ASCS banner in 2006, beginning with this weekend's Mid-South Region double at Swinging Bridge Raceway in Jackson, MS, on Friday night and Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, MS, on Saturday night.
2. A New Record -- When Friday's I-80 card narrowed it down to a one-night show for the inaugural ASCS Northern Plains event vs. the ASCS Midwest Region, speculation was that it may keep the car count "down" to around 50.
A staggering total of 69 entries jammed into the infield pit area, with drivers representing nine states and Canada. Twenty-one Cornhuskers filled the field, with eleven from Kansas and ten each from South Dakota and Iowa. Eight made the tow from Minnesota, with other states represented including Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Colorado.
The total established a new Regional car count record. The previous record was 46, set at the same track during the inaugural ASCS Midwest Region event on April 15, 2005.
And say what you will about Missouri's Brian Brown, but any time one can top a field of 69 entries, something has been accomplished. And Brown has established himself as a strong force anytime in ASCS Midwest competition, finishing among the top three in all seven feature events he's started since last season, with Saturday's win his fourth.
3. Done Before He Ever Started -- Skip Wilson's bid at opening night honors with the ASCS Sooner Region at Cowtown Speedway came to an early end.
Wilson turned in several strong hot laps before his motor fluttered as the checkered flag flew. A broken lifter was the culprit and Wilson was reduced to the role of spectator for the balance of the night.
4. Northern Plains Debut -- Taking on the ASCS Midwest Region as well as the NCRA, the Northern Plains initial event could be deemed nothing but a success, with track management wasting little time securing the same date for next year.
Several potential Northern Plains contenders made the cut for the feature, including Chuck Swenson, Dustin Lindquist, Lee Grosz and Justin Jacobsma.
Lindquist paced the opening 20 laps before giving up the point then running short on fuel.
Swenson stepped up and made a late bid, finishing a close second.
After starting the year in ASCoT action, Swenson recently commented during the Houston Raceway Park event that, "As soon as the ASCS Regional stuff gets going up North, I plan to support that the rest of the year." If Saturday's outing is any indication, Swenson should be in the thick of the Northern Plains championship chase this year.
5. Brent the Shrubber -- Sioux Falls racer Brent Vonk missed the cut for Saturday night's feature at I-80 Speedway along with 48 other entries.
The relevance, you ask?
Well, not particularly relevant, but...
Vonk (not to be confused with Troy Vink) lists his occupation as that of "arborist". Which, I believe is a fancy term for "shrubber". And anybody that saw King Arthur and his good knights in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" knows very well that it can be quite difficult to find a good shrubber.
Now you know were to find one when in need.
And now for something completely different.
6. Reversal of Fortune -- Nobody could have really blamed Owasso, Oklahoma's Dex Eaton if he had opted to skip Saturday night's ASCS Sooner Region opener at Cowtown after taking a pair of nasty rides atop the high-banked, quarter-mile clay oval last year.
The 17-year-old obviously wasn't intimidated though, earning a front row starting slot for the "A" Main then racing to a fifth place finish, tops amongst those expected to vie for the American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region championship and establishing himself as a legitimate title contender.
7. Seven & Seven -- Kennedale's Cowtown Speedway may rank among the most unpredictable of ASCS venues, as Sam Hafertepe, Jr., became the seventh different winner in as many ASCS features event waged atop the Texas clay.
Paul White was the first ASCS Cowtown winner in a previous incarnation of the Sooner Region in 1998, with winners over 2004 and 2005 including Kevin Ramey, Andy Shouse, Sean McClelland, Jason Martin and Travis Rilat.
8. Step Right Up - While Travis Rilat's ASCS Gulf South Region win at Houston Raceway Park marked his 72nd career podium finish in ASCS competition, several others over the weekend were relatively new to the podium.
I-80 winner Brian Brown was the only other driver in double figures in podium visits, with Saturday marking his eleventh ASCS podium.
20-year-old Sam Hafertepe, Jr., earned his ninth podium finish by topping the Sooner Region at Cowtown and scoring his fourth overall career win after three previous Gulf South triumphs.
Tony Bruce, Jr., charged from deep in the field to finish third at I-80, his seventh ASCS podium showing, while Lane Whittington took the show position at HRP for his sixth podium run.
Saturday's trio of runner-up finishers, Chuck Swenson, Brandon Berryman and Johnny "Baja" Miller each posted career-best ASCS finishes. Each had scored a third-place finish in past ASCS action (Swenson in National action at Sedalia on September 25, 2003; Berryman in Gulf South competition at Union Hill, LA, on September 20, 2003; and Miller in Sooner circles at Lawton, OK, on September 17, 2005).
Brad Welborn of Allen, TX, posted his top career ASCS finish and first podium showing by snaring third at Cowtown Saturday night.
9. Memory Lapse -- Russ Fletcher's memory lapse proved costly Saturday night at Cowtown Speedway.
After spinning off the top of turn two past the midway point, the current Cowtown Speedway point leader battled his way back up to fifth. But when he drove straight to his trailer rather than stopping on the front stretch (as the top five finishers were instructed to do) or reporting directly to the scales, he left officials with no option other than a disqualification.
Conversely, Dex Eaton wasn't sure where he finished. Wisely playing it on the safe side, Eaton drove his car straight to the scales. It wasn't necessary, but he picked up the fifth place finish when Fletcher was DQ'd.
10. First Time -- NASCAR star Carl Edwards took a few idle hours off from the weekend's Texas Motor Speedway activity climb into a Mike Sanders owned mount for his first taste of ASCS competition.
Edwards acquitted himself quite nicely, winning the "B" Main then climbing from 17th to tenth in the feature.
But Edwards still wasn't the top finishing driver making an ASCS debut at Cowtown Speedway, as 18-year-old Justin Melton of Flower Mound, TX, captured a ninth place finish in his first ASCS outing. With plans of taking in the full ASCS Sooner Regional tour in 2006, Melton celebrates his 19th birthday a day before the series next weekend double at Oklahoma City and Lawton on April 21 and 22.
Pack your bags, it's time for a weekend of ASCS Mid-South Region action in Mississippi.
Enough for Volume II, No. VI, of TTT. As always, notes, comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next week, any information you may desire regarding the American Sprint Car Series is available at www.ascsracing.com.