American Sprint Car Series -- Tuesday's Top Ten TULSA, Okla. (October 18, 2005) -- Back in full swing, the time has come around for another edition of Tuesday's Top Ten. Per the norm, TTT is compiled of ten random items of varying...
American Sprint Car Series -- Tuesday's Top Ten
TULSA, Okla. (October 18, 2005) -- Back in full swing, the time has come around for another edition of Tuesday's Top Ten. Per the norm, TTT is compiled of ten random items of varying degrees of relevance from this past weekend's American Sprint Car Series racing festivities, and as always is assembled in no discernible order.
Let's get it started.
1. Mission Accomplished -- After Sean McClelland won the American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region opener at Tulsa Speedway on April 2, he commented that, "I just want to go up on that stage at the awards banquet at the end of the year as the Sooner Region champion."
And that's exactly what he'll do after securing the title by finishing third in the Sooner Region season finale at Mid America Speedway in South Coffeyville, OK, Saturday night.
McClelland wasn't exactly in "conservative" mode though, dicing wheel-to-wheel with Kevin Ramey for a couple of laps before winning the heat race. "People think I'm points racing but I'm not, I want to win that $3,000 tonight." Ramey got the better of McClelland in a mid-race struggle for second, forcing McClelland to settle for the $1,000 show position.
With a handful of wins, a dozen top-fives and 18 top-tens in 20 Sooner Region events, McClelland claimed the crown by 52 points over 2002 series champ Danny Jennings. McClelland's younger brother, Brian, finished 43 points behind Cody Branchcomb in fourth.
2. Record Stakes -- More than 200 stand-alone ASCS Regional feature events had been contested in series history prior to Saturday night. But never before had a Regional purse grown to the proportion of the Sooner Region season finale at Mid America Speedway.
Series sponsor American Bank of Oklahoma initially kicked in an extra $1,000, then track management bumped the purse up even more for the Sooner Region's debut atop the 3/10-mile oval. End result was a Regional record $3,000 to win with increased money throughout.
Saturday's event marked the 74th Sooner Region event completed since 2001. Forty-nine have been pure stand-alone events, with 21 run in conjunction with the National Tour. Three have been combined with the ASCS Gulf South Region, with one combined event with the ASCS Rocky Mountain Region.
3. Marshall, Marshall, Marshall -- Not the cry heard about the Brady household, but the cheer heard at Saturday night's Gulf South Region finale at Pike County Speedway as Marshall Skinner scored his first career ASCS win.
With the Sprint Car scene now silent in the Memphis area, Skinner and company made the 300-mile journey from West Memphis, AR, to drop in on the Gulf South troops at Magnolia, MS.
Michael Herrington threatened early before flipping, then Lane Whittington applied some pressure before mechanical ills slowed his pace. Ray Allen Kulhanek made a late bid, but despite being drenched with power steering fluid from a blown hose, Skinner steadfastly hung on to claim the win.
Skinner became the 22nd driver to win an ASCS Gulf South Region feature in 66 features contested since 2002.
4. Wildcat 4m -- Just as fans are growing somewhat accustomed to the idea of Toby Brown in the No. 4m entry, another No. 4m car showed up in the pit area at Mid America Speedway Saturday night.
This time it was Travis Jenkins, a graduate of the two-barrel ranks.JFrom Tulsa, Jenkins purchased an MCI chassis formerly piloted by Shane Stewart. Still adorning the mIn and 4m decals, Jenkins and engine builder Herschel Meyers spent much of the evening tinkering with the new powerplant before finishing 15th in the feature.
Jenkins hinted at the possibility of good friend Tyler Walker perhaps taking the seat in an upcoming event, but nothing definite at this point.
5. Little Tank -- Another young new face has joined the Gulf South scene, as 14-year-old Channin Tankersley took in the final two events of the season.
Son of former racer Ricky Lee Tankersley, Channin made his Sprint Car debut at Gator Motorplex in Willis, TX, on October 8 and recovered from an early feature spin to finish eleventh. The micro grad then raced to an impressive sixth place finish in Saturday's Gulf South finale at Pike County Speedway in Magnolia, MS.
Off to a strong start, Tankersley will be one to keep an eye on as he chases the Gulf South title in 2006.
6. Pit High Jinks -- It was a much too inviting target. The only question was, who would be victimized?
Pranksters could only ignore the port-a-potties in the middle of the ASCS pit area for so long. And when ASCS flagman Will Hale made a required visit, it was game on. A member of the Derek Cottrell camp wasted little time backing a four-wheeler to the door, effectively locking Hale within the spacious confines of the luxurious port-a-potty. After a brief struggle, Hale would ultimately escape to once again breathe fresh air.
Cottrell, much improved on the track over the course of his rookie season, was later running among the top ten before getting caught up in a late tangle. Despite the late mishap, the Fletcher, OK, racer still climbed to fifth in final Sooner Region standings.
7. King Kulhanek -- The Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores ASCS Gulf South Region has a new champion.
Louisiana's Kelly Angelette claimed the series crown in its first two seasons before Jerry Bell of Rowlett, TX, took the honors in 2004.JSaturday night, Ray Allen Kulhanek joined Sean McClelland among the latest entries into the ASCS Hall of Champions.
Kulhanek kicked off the year on a strong note by scoring his first series win in the season opener at Champion Park Speedway in Haughton, LA, on March 12. Shut out of victory lane the next six times out, the 22-year-old then went on a tear by winning four of the next six feature events, effectively putting the title away.Kulhanek nearly added win number six on Saturday night at Pike County, instead settling for second behind Marshall Skinner. Still, with ten top-fives and 13 top-tens in 18 feature events, Kulhanek claimed the Gulf South crown by 121 points over Greg Rilat. Rilat has now finished among the top three in Gulf South points each of the past three years.
8. Rollin', Rollin', Rollin' -- A $3,000 winner's share was enough to lure Texan Travis Rilat to Saturday night's Sooner Region card at Mid America Speedway.
And after finding the rubber first, Rilat stormed to the front then held off a late charge from Kevin Ramey to post his sixth win in eight starts, all the while using the same smoking engine that Motor Mike has considered dubbing "Cheech & Chong".
"He (Travis) looked like he was getting a little antsy the lap before, so I thought if he'd move up the track just a little in that last corner I might have a shot," Ramey commented of his white flag charge that was interrupted as a pair of cars tangled directly in front of the leaders. "He had a better car though, lapped traffic was the only chance I was gonna have at him."
Rilat's current winning frenzy got started with a Gulf South Labor Day weekend sweep at Thunder Valley and Fast Trax. A September 24 Sooner Cowtown score followed a winless Memphis weekend, with a National win at I-30 on October 1 and a Gulf South Gator Motorplex triumph on October 8.JAnd all this with an engine equipped with a set of 1996 Brodix spec heads.
9. Traveling Man -- Somewhat of a surprise entry at South Coffeyville on Saturday night was Warsaw, Missouri's Jesse Hockett.JNot that Warsaw, MO, and South Coffeyville, OK, are separated by all that many miles. But Hockett had been in Charlotte, NC, on Wednesday night for wingless USAC action.
Hockett, along with crew chief/cousin Daniel, made the 1,100-mile haul back to take a shot at Saturday night's $3,000 prize, also taking delivery of a freshened Wesmar bullet.
After coming from the tail of a loaded heat, Hockett started mid-pack in the feature and worked his way up to sixth at the finish.
10. Finales -- With 89 features in the books this season and one event washed out after the heat races, the 2005 season for the American Sprint Car Series has about come to completion. Thus far, 38 different drivers have scored at least one ASCS feature win this year.
This Friday and Saturday (October 21 and 22), the O'Reilly ASCS National Tour wraps up the season with the 32nd Annual Devil's Bowl Winter Nationals. Fourteen different drivers have made at least one trip to victory lane in 32 National Tour features this season, with Gary Wright's dozen victories leading the way. Norman, Oklahoma's Danny Jennings is three-for-three in National Tour events at Devil's Bowl in 2005 while Kevin Ramey scored the Sooner vs. Gulf South Shootout win at the famed Bowl.
Then next weekend (October 28 and 29), the Heintz Performance ASCS Southern Tour wraps up the 2005 campaign at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC. The series has featured five different winners in five events with Scott Young leading the way into the finale.
As Travis Rilat pointed out that Bob Westphal was sipping upon a cup of coffee at South Coffeyville, it was interesting to note that a herd of puppies was among the free giveaways at the Mid America Speedway front gate.
That will wrap up Edition No. XXIII of Tuesday's Top Ten. As always, notes, comments, questions, suggestions and the ever-popular scathing comments 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.