American Sprint Car Series -- Tuesday's Top Ten TULSA, Okla. (September 27, 2005) -- Just seven days since the most recent edition, it's once again time for Tuesday's Top Ten. A compilation of ten random items of varying degrees ...
American Sprint Car Series -- Tuesday's Top Ten
TULSA, Okla. (September 27, 2005) -- Just seven days since the most recent edition, it's once again time for Tuesday's Top Ten. A compilation of ten random items of varying degrees of explosiveness from the past weekend's American Sprint Car Series racing action, TTT is arranged in no discernible order.
1. Rowdy Rita -- Driving into the Dallas-Ft. Worth area on Saturday, motorists were greeted with large alert signs indicating "Massive Delays to Houston -- Gas Shortages", offering a somewhat surreal surrounding to Saturday's Sooner Region event at Cowtown Speedway.
Hurricane Rita created all variety of chaos over the weekend, forcing the cancellation of ASCS Gulf South events at Waco and Willis as nearly three million people were evacuated from Houston and the surrounding area.
Among those evacuees was Texas City, TX, racer Greg Rilat. Greg's son, Travis, made the trip down to Texas City early in the week to assist with the south Texas exit. The drive back to Forney (near Dallas) from Texas City, typically about a four-hour jaunt, took 22 hours this time around as interstates became parking lots.
Greg stuck around long enough to lend a hand in the pits and watch Travis score his fourth ASCS Regional feature win of the season in a classic Cowtown feature in front of a large crowd. It was Rilat's first Sooner Region win of the season after three previous Gulf South triumphs.
2. Subbing -- With Foster Landon under the weather, his father and car owner Joe Landon called upon 2001 ASCS National champion Zach Chappell to fill the seat for Saturday's Cowtown card.
After a heat race win aboard the familiar black and blue No. 11f, Chappell commented, "I'd love to give Joe a win, but we'll be happy enough with a top five." Which is exactly what Chappell delivered by finishing fifth.
3. Coming Through -- After suffering a broken spark plug in Saturday night's Southern Tour heat race action at New 311 Speedway in Madison, NC, Brooke Bowman found himself mired deep in the feature starting field.
The Chestertown, MD, racer wasted little time working through traffic though, needing just 15 laps to race from 15th into the lead. Bowman made the six-hour haul worthwhile by becoming the fifth different winner in as many ASCS Southern Tour feature events this season.
Bowman snared the lead from Coby Adams, who took the lead after 12 laps when teammate and current series point leader Scott Young suffered a flat tire while leading.
4. 490 Seconds -- From the drop of the first green flag to the drop of the checkered, that's all it took to run Saturday night's Sooner Region feature at Cowtown Speedway in Kennedale, TX. Just eight minutes and ten seconds. And that includes a one minute and forty second delay when the initial start was waved off for Eric Baldaccini's turn two spin.
Restart number two was clean and green and the race was on. Lapped traffic came into play after just five laps, and it was non-stop, two and three wide racing action the rest of the way, with 19 of the 20 starters taking the checkered flag.
Kevin Ramey pressured Travis Rilat over the first half of the race, even taking the lead briefly, but Rilat caught a break in traffic and slipped away to become the sixth different winner in as many ASCS events contested in Cowtown.
According to a radar gun at the flag stand, Rilat was clocked at 101 miles per hour on the straightaway of the high-banked, quarter-mile dirt oval.
5. I Must be on the Fifth Row -- Racers are generally shooting for a front row starting slot come main event time, but f the past two ASCS National Tour events at Little Rock's I-30 Speedway are any indication, a fifth row slot may be the place to be this Saturday.
Tim Crawley came from eleventh to win the much-ballyhooed ASCS Speedweek finale at I-30 on June 11, then Gary Wright matched the feat on July 9 by coming from eleventh to take the win. Who will have the chance to make it three fifth-row Little Rock winners in a row this Saturday night?
6. Wing Clipper -- Keller, TX, racer Eric Baldaccini had an exciting night at Cowtown Speedway.
Baldaccini and Rodney Henderson, making his ASCS debut, got tangled up racing down the backstretch on the opening round of the third heat race, with Baldaccini getting some impressive airtime in the single flip.JBaldaccini completed the heat with a mangled top wing.
By "B" Feature time, Baldaccini sported a top wing on loan from Kevin Ramey's No. 7m Commercial Music team, with photog Tim Aylwin asking if he would be now be known as "Eric BaldaRamey".
A brief stumble on the start of the "B" Main resulted in Baldaccini and Koby Barksdale getting tangled up entering turn one.JBarksdale somehow avoided a wild flip, while Baldaccini spun to a halt minus a nose wing.Baldaccini battled into a transfer position to the main, then with borrowed nose wing as well, climbed to 15th in the non-stop feature.
7. Cowtown Curse -- Don't blame Dex Eaton if he doesn't salivate over the thought of his next journey to Cowtown Speedway.
The Owasso, OK, racer's first trip to Cowtown Speedway on April 9 resulted in a wild set of somersaults through turns one and two.After a 13th place finish in the combined National/Sooner event on June 25, the 16-year-old's third trip to the "Fastest Lil' Dirt Track in Texas" bore more resemblance to the first visit than the second.
After Baldaccini's heat race tumble, Eaton put his right rear tire over the turn four lip as the field nearly completed the first lap on the ensuing restart. Hard on the hammer, Eaton made vicious contact with the wall exiting turn four. The wall won again, as Eaton's machine was destroyed in the ensuing flip. Eaton was groggy for a bit ,but otherwise alright.
8. Southern Finale -- With five winners in five races, the Heintz Performance American Sprint Car Series Southern Tour wraps up the 2005 season with the first ASCS appearance at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway on October 28-29.
Scott Young maintained his point lead this past Saturday night despite finishing outside the top three for the first time. Young holds a 20-point advantage over teammate Coby Adams entering the finale, which will include heat races on Friday night (Oct. 28) and features on Saturday (Oct. 29).
9. Championship Saturday -- Go ahead and mark down October 15 on your calendar as "Championship Saturday", with the Sooner and Gulf South Region titles both to be determined that night.
Sean McClelland extended his American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region point lead to 50 markers over 2002 champ Danny Jennings. McClelland can clinch the title by making the feature event in the October 15 season finale at Mid-America Speedway in South Coffeyville, OK. If McClelland were to miss the feature, Jennings would have to finish 12th or better to snare the title.
To the south, Ray Allen Kulhanek leads the way into the final events of the season for the Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores American Sprint Car Series Gulf South Region. After this Saturday's event at Houston Raceway Park and the strong likelihood of a makeup race on October 8, the series wraps up the '05 season at Pike County Speedway in Magnolia, MS, on October 15. Kulhanek holds a 104-point advantage over Stephen Chevallier, with Lane Whittington and Greg Rilat both within seven points of Chevallier.
10. Winners -- With 85 ASCS features in the books this season, Brooke Bowman became the 37th different driver to claim at least one feature win. Nineteen drivers have a single win to their credit, with 18 capturing two or more. Gary Wright has twelve wins to his credit, while Ray Allen Kulhanek, Sean McClelland and Danny Jennings have each posted five wins. Kevin Ramey, Travis Rilat and Randi Miller are next on the charts with four wins.
Bowman also became the 15th different driver to win his first career ASCS feature. Other first-time winners this season include McClelland, Kulhanek, Brian Brown, Dusty Zomer, Jake Pierson, Lane Whittington, Scottie McDonald, Roger Crockett, Jason Danley, Dennis Park, Johnny Anderson, Steven Graham, Danny Martin, Jr., and Mike Brecht.
Putting the wraps on Volume I, No. XXI, of Tuesday's Top Ten. As always, notes, comments, questions, suggestions and random requests are 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.