ASCS Tuesday Top Ten TULSA, Okla. (April 6, 2010) -- Yet another Tuesday means yet another edition of Tuesday Top Ten, detailing ten random items of varying degrees of relevance and/or interest from recent...
ASCS Tuesday Top Ten
TULSA, Okla. (April 6, 2010) -- Yet another Tuesday means yet another edition of Tuesday Top Ten, detailing ten random items of varying degrees of relevance and/or interest from recent ASCS happenings.
Straggle on in...
1. Tuned Up -- What better way to tune up for this coming weekend's Lucas Oil ASCS National events at Kilgore's Lone Star Speedway and Little Rock's I-30 Speedway than by storming to that first feature win of the year? That's exactly what Jason Johnson and Johnny Herrera did on Saturday night.
Herrera's Southwest triumph at Tucson's USA Raceway aboard the familiar family-owned No. 45x entry marked his 18th in as many winged stand-alone ASCS Regional starts throughout Arizona and New Mexico dating back to 2005.
It was a less familiar situation for Johnson, who was in just the second night out aboard the Jason Johnson Racing entry after putting his own team together for 2010. How much of a project is putting together a new team? "We didn't have anything," Johnson relayed. "I didn't have a screwdriver. I didn't have duct tape. It's all those things you don't ever think about." The Don Ott-powered no. 41 Maxim proved to be the class of the Gulf South field at Houston Raceway Park on Saturday night with Johnson getting his first win as a car owner. "Now if we can just get that first National win."
Johnson and Herrera will both try to ride that momentum into this weekend's Lucas Oil National action.
2. Points Scramble -- The ASCS Gulf South's second weekend of competition was much like the first weekend in that a number of invaders, both of the National variety and otherwise, were on hand. Only difference here was the pesky drizzle that washed out Friday's card at Beaumont before ideal weather prevailed for the first stop of the year at Houston Raceway Park on Saturday night.
Defending ASCS Gulf South champ Aaron Reutzel, still weighing National options, was the best in Gulf South class under the watchful eye of Shorty by finishing fourth behind Jason Johnson, Gary Wright and Brian Brown as the fog began rolling in on Baytown in the final laps of the feature.
Should Reutzel go National, the top Gulf South rep of the night would then be Tommy Bryant, who crossed the line eighth.
Leaving Reutzel in the mix for the moment, the current top ten in ASCS Gulf South points should probably look something like this minus the invaders that have been on hand for all three events thus far: 1. (tie) Aaron Reutzel and Tommy Bryant 336, 3. Brandon Berryman 324, 4. Wes Miller 321, 5. Scottie McDonald 302, 6. Travis Knighton 287, 7. Ray Allen Kulhanek 272, 8. Chris Sweeney 265, 9. Klint Angelette 260, 10. Greg Rilat 259.
Other Gulf South contenders that have taken in all three events so far include Jimmy Brooks, Logan Bledsoe, Beau Smith, James Cooper, Bruce Griffith, Jr., and Roger Oakes.
Whether Reutzel opts to defend his Gulf South crown or chase Brodix Rookie of the Year honors with the Lucas Oil National Series should be determined on April 23-24 when the National forces invade Riverside Speedway in West Memphis for the Rock 'N Roll 50 at the same time that Gulf South action takes place at Battleground and then Lufkin's Speedarama.
3. Rookie Class -- Another pair of drivers have officially announced intentions to contend for Brodix Rookie of the Year honors with the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filers over the past week including 17-year-old Austen Wheatley of Lake Stevens, WA, and 21-year-old Don Young of Bartlett, TN.
Wheatley and Young join a Rookie Class that now numbers ten, including New Mexico's Joshua Hodges (15 years old), California's Justyn Cox (celebrates 16th birthday on May 31), Texans Channin Tankersley (19) and Aaron Reutzel (19), Okies Matt Covington (20) and Dustin Morgan (21), California's Kyle Hirst (22) and Idaho's Joe Ramaker.
4. Rough Start -- Getting a weekend of racing in before this coming Saturday's Lucas Oil Sprint Car outing at I-30 Speedway probably seemed like a good idea at the time to Little Rock area racers Zach Pringle and Cody Gardner.
After the Gulf South weekend was cut in half due to Friday rain, Gardner's HRP effort ended just a couple of laps into his heat race with mechanical gremlins. He got off easy compared to Pringle.
If Pringle made some slightly wobbly looking heat race laps, it was for good reason as he'd been clobbered by an errant piece of debris that chipped off pieces of his helmet and left a grisly cut just over his right eye. "It happened just a couple of laps in, I really was having trouble seeing after that," Pringle explained.
Still, a front row outside "B" Feature starting position offered a ray of hope. But, when pole starter Chris Sweeney's right rear tire climbed Pringle's left front as the leaders approached the green flag, it was bad news not only for Pringle but several others as well.
Handicapped by a broken front end, Pringle limped off of turn four as the rest of the 17-car "B" Main field thundered by. At least most of them, until Gary Watson, Klint Angelette and Anthony Reaves piled into Pringle with fuel from Watson's punctured fuel cell covering the low side of turn four. Only Angelette would return from that melee.
5. Rougher Start -- Josh Van Horn took the seat of the No. 5az ASCS Southwest entry typically piloted by his father, John Van Horn, for Saturday night's ASCS Southwest action at USA Raceway.
It was a memorable debut to say the least, as the younger Van Horn went for a wild ride at the start of the "B" Main, flipping, "...from turn four all the way through turn one," according to ASCS Southwest ring leader Kevin Montgomery.
Van Horn was okay, although not quite the same could be said for the car.
6. Everyday Life -- Spotted for the first time outside of captivity in at least several months was Nick Smith, who slipped away from his Broken Arrow, OK, home long enough to wrench father-in-law Gary Wright to a runner-up finish at Houston Raceway Park.
Father to twin girls in January, Smith plans on taking in the full American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Regional slate beginning with the April 24 season opener at Creek County Speedway in Sapulpa.
The task of repeating as ASCS Sooner Region champ just got a little more difficult for Oklahoma City's Joe Wood, Jr., who was hindered by minor mechanical issues at the Lucas Oil ASCS National opener at Devil's Bowl.
7. Seven-for-Seven -- Four drivers have taken in seven overall ASCS events thus far in 2010, with Tony Bruce, Jr., picking up his seventh top-ten in as many starts by finishing seventh at Houston Raceway Park on Saturday night.
With a pair of fourths (East Bay finale and Battleground) his best finishes, Bruce would have to be considered among the odds-on favorites this Saturday night at Little Rock's I-30 Speedway, where he has topped the last two editions of the Short Track Nationals in addition to picking off a Speedweek win last year.
Travis Rilat popped an engine while trying to chase down leader Jason Johnson, finishing outside the top ten for the first time in seven starts as a result. Runner-up Gary Wright finished among the top-ten for the fourth time in his seven starts.
Scrapping the homemade chassis for Eagle, Louisiana's Michael Dupuy cracked the top ten for the first time in his seven starts by racing from 14th to fifth at HRP.
8. Eight is Enough -- Prior to Saturday night's ASCS Gulf South action at Houston Raceway Park, there had been eight different winners in the last eight series events at HRP. Gary Wright, Kevin Ramey, Ray Allen Kulhanek and Eric Baldaccini each posted 2009 wins, with 2008 victors including Jason Johnson, Michael Dupuy, Brandon Berryman and Jack Dover.
The string was broken at eight with Jason Johnson returning to victory lane this time around.
9. Sizzlin' -- After the left side panel of his top wing collapsed in Houston Raceway Park heat race action, Brady Bacon rebounded by advancing 21 overall positions in feature competition.
The 20-year-old raced from ninth to win the "B" Main via a late move around Chris Sweeney and then rallied from 19th to sixth in the feature event, his fourth top-ten in as many 2010 ASCS feature starts. Second in current Gulf South points to Brian Brown, Bacon enters this weekend's Lucas Oil ASCS National double ranked third in National points behind Sammy Swindell (winner of three National features in a row) and Wayne Johnson.
10. Up in Smoke -- Taking advantage of an idle weekend, Lucas Oil National Rookie of the Year contender Kyle Hirst of Loomis, CA, took to Houston Raceway Park for the first time and had the night's opening heat race well in hand after starting from the pole position.
But a couple of laps shy of the checkered flag, Hirst's powerplant began to sour. With smoke billowing heavier and heavier, Hirst limped to the checkered flag, hanging on to the win as flames and Shark guts scattered on the track.
Hirst sacrificed his ninth starting position in the main event after an engine change and started nine rows deep, coasting to a stop nine laps in after some on-track contact and called it a night.
The Head Linesman already has his hand reaching into that hip pocket, but we'll simply have to take the flag for piling on with the initial Facebook Post of the Week. Posted by Casey Shuman at approximately 9:00 p.m. CDT on Friday night was the following: "What an awesome night in Indy, finally... 70 degrees and a little breeze, but there seems to be a dust storm rolling in from the east." That pretty much sums it up. Shuman finished second to fellow Sprint Bandits TNT title hopeful and Lucas Oil ASCS contender Jesse Hockett the next night in North Vernon, IN, where "The Rocket" pocketed $4,000.
The Facebook Post of the Weeks brings about a shameless plug or two. You can become a fan of the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Series on Facebook, if you haven't already done so, by clicking on www.facebook.com/pages/Lucas-Oil-ASCS-Sprint-Car-Series/339198447466. If you're into Tweeting, you can also stay up to speed by following at www.twitter.com/lucasoilascs.
Until next time, find what you need in terms of ASCS info at www.ascsracing.com.