TUNICA, Miss. (June 18, 2004) - Travis Rilat posted his fourth O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and Classic Trailers feature victory of the season in dramatic fashion, taking...
TUNICA, Miss. (June 18, 2004) - Travis Rilat posted his fourth O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and Classic Trailers feature victory of the season in dramatic fashion, taking command when race-long leader Zach Chappell spun out of contention on the 17th round of Friday night's 20-lap preliminary feature at Delta Bowl Speedway.
After charging from the sixth row, Rilat had closed to Chappell's rear bumper and was poised to mount a challenge for the point when Chappell spun exiting turn four on the 17th round. Rilat held off Gary Wright over the final four rounds to notch his tenth overall triumph of the season aboard the Motor Mike-powered F&J Construction/Haulmark Trailers No. 29 Maxim.
"We had reeled him in and I'm pretty sure we would have got by him anyway," Rilat commented in victory lane. "I would have rather passed him, it surprised me when he spun. But we'll take the win, no doubt about that."
California transplant Steven Tiner led the feature field to the green flag after racing from fourth to win his heat race, with former series champion Garry Lee Maier alongside. However, it was third-starter Chappell who led the way as the field exited turn two on the opening round.
With Chappell setting the pace in the early rounds ahead of Maier, fourth-starter Wright, Tiner and Darren Stewart, it was 12th-starter Rilat who was on the move.Rilat picked up five positions on the opening round, and had moved into sixth by the time the caution flew for Natalie Sather's turn three spin after four rounds.
Chappell took off on the restart, while Rilat quickly disposed of Stewart and Tiner to take over fourth.Rilat battled past Wright for third one round later, then overtook Maier for second on the eighth round, setting his sights on Chappell, who had streaked to nearly a straightaway lead.
As Chappell encountered lapped traffic at the midway point, Rilat began chipping away at the advantage.Rilat had closed the gap to less than a half straightaway by the 13th round, and had closed to the 2001 series champion's rear bumper by the 17th round.
Gunning for his second win over the past nine days, Chappell spun to the infield in turn four, bringing out the race's final caution.
Wright tried to mount a challenge on the defending series champion during the four-lap dash to the checkered flag, but Rilat was up to the challenge as he raced to the stripe with a three car-length edge over Wright.
Stewart snared the show position, with Maier claiming the fourth and final transfer position to Saturday night's Delta Bowl main event. 2002 National 360 Sprint Car Rookie of the Year Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., charged from 15th to round out the top five, while Aaron Berryhill recovered from an early miscue to nip A.G. Rains at the line for sixth. Dale Howard took the checkered flag in eighth, with 16th-starter Kelly Angelette and Tiner completing the top ten.
Wright, Tiner and Stewart topped heat race action for the 26-car field, with Stenhouse claiming victory honors in the 12-lap B Feature.
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. Gary Wright, 2. Mike Ward, 3. Ernie Ainsworth, 4. Travis Rilat, 5. Aaron Berryhill, 6. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., 7. Natalie Sather, 8. Josh Baker, 9. Wesley Hale.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. Steven Tiner, 2. Garry Lee Maier, 3. Mike McElya, 4. A.G. Rains, 5. Kelly Angelette, 6. Jimmy Taylor, 7. Josh Baker, 8. Andy Goin, 9. Marshall Skinner.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. Darren Stewart, 2. Zach Chappell, 3. Dale Howard, 4. Wade Oliver, 5. Cody Branchcomb, 6. Toby Brown, 7. Lee Sowell, 8. Raymond Stull.
B Feature (12 Laps): 1. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., 2. Kelly Angelette, 3. Raymond Stull, 4. Natalie Sather, 5. Jimmy Taylor, 6. Toby Brown, 7. Josh Baker, 8. Lee Sowell, 9. Marshall Skinner, 10. Wesley Hale, 11. Andy Goin, 12. Josh Baker.
A Feature (20 Laps): 1. Travis Rilat, 2. Gary Wright, 3. Darren Stewart, 4. Garry Lee Maier, 5. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., 6. Aaron Berryhill, 7. A.G. Rains, 8. Dale Howard, 9. Kelly Angelette, 10. Steven Tiner, 11. Zach Chappell, 12. Mike McElya, 13. Natalie Sather, 14. Cody Branchcomb, 15. Ernie Ainsworth, 16. Toby Brown, 17. Wade Oliver, 18. Mike Ward, 19. Raymond Stull, 20. Jimmy Taylor.
O'Reilly ASCS National Tour Points (Top Fifteen): 1. Gary Wright 1,262, 2. Travis Rilat 1,260, 3. Zach Chappell 1,220, 4. Darren Stewart 1,206, 5. Garry Lee Maier 1,202, 6. A.G. Rains 1,136, 7. Toby Brown 1,029, 8. Chuck Swenson 944, 9. Jimmy Taylor 938, 10. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 891, 11. Cody Branchcomb 827, 12. Shane Stewart 820, 13. Natalie Sather 756, 14. Tony Bruce, Jr. 527, 15. Jerry Bell 496.