American Sprint Car Series -- Tuesday's Top Ten TULSA, Okla. (June 28, 2005) -- It may seem like it has only been seven days since the last edition of Tuesday's Top Ten, but brace yourself as it's already TTT time again. Per the ...
American Sprint Car Series -- Tuesday's Top Ten
TULSA, Okla. (June 28, 2005) -- It may seem like it has only been seven days since the last edition of Tuesday's Top Ten, but brace yourself as it's already TTT time again. Per the typical Tuesday routine, ten random items of varying degrees of disinterest from this past weekend's American Sprint Car Series racing activities have been packaged and neatly assembled in no particular order for your consumption.
1. Take a Picture -- During the recent COMP Cams ASCS Speedweek event at Riverside Speedway in West Memphis, car owner Randy Taylor broke out his camera to take a picture of the lineup board prior to the "A" Main, as it was the first time Jimmy Taylor's number "23" was scratched into the pole position.
Another photo opportunity presented itself Friday night at State Fair Speedway as Taylor found himself lined up front row outside in the main event. While the Riverside front row netted the team's first top-ten finish of the season, Friday's didn't turn out quite so well, as the "Jammin" one looped it in turn two on the second attempt to start the feature.
2. Cowtown Clamor -- The largest crowd under Bo Rawdon's tenure at Cowtown Speedway cheered Liberal, KS, traveler Jason Martin to his first career O'Reilly ASCS feature victory on Saturday night. Martin entered victory lane to the sounds of not only cheers and applause, but the ever-soothing mix of cowbells and air horns as well.
In the series 431st National Tour feature event, Martin became the 75th different driver to penetrate victory lane, fending off all-time leading ASCS winner Gary Wright for the win. Martin's first win came in his 37th career ASCS National Tour feature start. An ASCS Rocky Mountain Region winner earlier this year, Martin has climbed to ninth in Sooner Region points despite missing three events and is fifth in Midwest Region points.
The 90th different track to host the O'Reilly ASCS National Tour since 1993, Cowtown Speedway may have become the first to hold a "Yell-Off" during intermission. If not the first, it was the loudest as all in the pits along the backstretch were left wondering what all the yelling across the way was about.
3. Check Out the Battle Bars on Bruce -- Brodix Rookie of the Year contender Tony Bruce, Jr., is ready for close-quarters racing on the tight quarter-miles. As the series took to Cowtown Speedway on Saturday night, Tony and crew bolted on some hefty nerf bars, the likes of which haven't been spied in years. Tony says the battle bars will be in place for all the bullrings the rest of the year.
Having climbed to third in National Tour points, the Liberal, KS, shoe may get a chance to wheel a late model over this Fourth of July weekend. That is, if the engine is ready. Otherwise, could it be a rare off weekend for the No. 18 team, which has already made 25 ASCS starts this year?
4. Has Flags, Will Travels -- The streak of perfection has come to end. Will Hale, who flags most Sooner Region events as well as many National Tour events, has reigned as flagman extraordinaire for years with the ASCS, all the while happily riding the four-wheeler upon which ASCS official Jim Farley and I contributed the initial down payment three years ago following a misguided game of high-low during Lawton Speedweek action.
Will's streak of flagging perfection ended at Cowtown Speedway Saturday night though, as the checks escaped Will's grasp for the first time and fluttered helplessly atop the front stretch retaining wall. Fortunately, it was during hot laps. Which begs the question, since the miscue occurred in hot laps, does it count as an official drop?
5. When Worlds Collide -- Cowtown provided some fireworks a week early, as former Sooner Region champions Danny Jennings and Kevin Ramey turned up the voltage atop the high-banked, quarter-mile oval. The pair got to sliding each other for second as they chased Jason Martin in the early stages. The battle didn't last too long though, as Ramey spun to a halt at the top of turn three with front end damage after six laps while Jennings limped to the pit area with rear suspension damage.
It wasn't quite over yet though.
Ramey, a track favorite at Cowtown, flew out of his racer and made a beeline to the Jennings pit area. Little more than words were exchanged before everyone in the vicinity quickly lost interest, as Sparks team accountant Randy Moore dispersed the crowd in quick fashion, with peace and harmony once again prevailing.
6. Winners -- Since winning three straight O'Reilly ASCS National Tour events over the latter portion of April and early May, Gary Wright has only made it to victory lane twice in the last dozen events, settling for second in the last three mains. Over that dozen-race stretch, Friday night's Oklahoma City winner Darren Stewart has gained just six points in the championship points race. Darren's Friday win came after settling for the runner-up position on three previous occasions in Oklahoma City since 2003.
Wright and Stewart have combined for eight National wins, with Jason Martin becoming the eighth different driver to score a National win through 18 events in 2005. Overall, 23 different drivers have at least one win through the initial 41 ASCS events contested this year.
Wright and Danny Jennings have both accumulated a handful of wins. Darren Stewart, Gulf South Region point leader Ray Allen Kulhanek and Sooner Region point leader Sean McClelland each have three wins, while two wins have been claimed by Kevin Ramey, Jason Martin, Tim Crawley and Patrick Bourke. Fourteen drivers have claimed a single win, including Sam Hafertepe, Jr., Danny Wood, Scottie McDonald, Jake Pierson, Roger Crockett, Travis Rilat, Randi Miller, Terry McCarl, Jason Johnson, Johnny Herrera, Jason Danley, Danny Martin, Jr., Mike Brecht and Steven Graham.
7. Holding the Colors -- It is tradition to assemble the drivers along the front stretch during the opening ceremonies of each ASCS event. The drivers typically introduce themselves, with the previous race's winner holding the American Flag during the National Anthem.
To prevent delaying the start of the show any more than necessary, Saturday's opening ceremonies at Cowtown Speedway were trimmed with only the officials assembling and introducing themselves to the crowd.
And holding the Flag? None other than competition director Tommie Estes, Jr., who couldn't have been more excited. It was a first for Estes, who competed in 43 ASCS National Tour feature events over the course of his driving days. While he won a couple of features along the way, apparently the honor of holding the Flag somehow had passed him by until this special night.
8. Son of Sam Sr. -- While Tony Bruce, Jr., keeps busy from his Liberal, KS, base, Sam Hafertepe, Jr., still holds the high water mark for most ASCS events competed in thus far in 2005, as the 19-year old Sunnyvale, TX, racer has kicked up the clay in 27 events.
Putting his ARCA stuff aside for the time being, Sam has climbed to fourth in National Tour points and is ready to engage in battle with Bruce for third position, as only 26 points separate the pair.
Sam will stay ahead in the races-competed-in category as he is expected to take in both of this weekend's Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores ASCS Gulf South Region events in Louisiana.
9. Fireworks -- Plenty of Fireworks on tap for the American Sprint Car Series this weekend. Sean McClelland leads the ASCS Sooner Region into Lawton Speedway on Saturday night, while Ray Allen Kulhanek and the ASCS Gulf South contingent take to Thunder Valley Speedway in Union Hill, LA, on Saturday night as well. The Gulf South makes tracks to Fast Trax Speedway in Chatham, LA, on Sunday night, while the ASCS Midwest Region provides the thunder at Park Jefferson Speedway in Jefferson, SD, on Monday night.
10. New Centurion -- Just a week after Darren Stewart started his 100th career O'Reilly ASCS National Tour feature, Cody Branchcomb became the 20th driver in series history to compete in 100 feature events this past Friday night at Oklahoma City's State Fair Speedway.
Just over two months past his 19th birthday, Branchcomb is the youngest driver to reach the 100-feature mark. Feature number 100 didn't go as planned however, when a right rear wheel broke and sent the team packing for the weekend. Branchcomb slipped from third to fifth in Sooner Region points as a result.
Zach Chappell held the previous mark for youngest driver to reach the "100" mark. Just eleven days after his 20th birthday in 2002, Zach competed in his 100th ASCS National Tour feature event at the Jetmore Motorplex. Zach's 100th feature resulted in victory.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Derek Cottrell and Eric Baldaccini both made their first-ever ASCS National Tour feature start in Saturday night's Cowtown main. Baldaccini held third until a late run-in with a tractor tire, while Cottrell, who has cracked the top ten in Sooner Region points, hung in for an eleventh place finish.
Fourth of July weekend. The one weekend of the year when you'll hear more "Ooohhs" and "Aaahhs" than the rest of the year combined. Better start practicing now. "Ooooohhh!.........Aaaaahh."
Enough for Volume I, No. XI, of Tuesday's Top Ten. As always, scathing comments, ridicule and unrelated comments are always welcome at email@example.com.
Until next week, any information you may desire regarding the American Sprint Car Series is available at www.ascsracing.com.