Leonard Wins an O'Reilly USCS Thriller at East Bay TAMPA, FL - Greg Leonard of Tampa, FL won his first ever O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series feature race Saturday night, and closed the 2004 O'Reilly USCS season in spectacular...
Leonard Wins an O'Reilly USCS Thriller at East Bay
TAMPA, FL - Greg Leonard of Tampa, FL won his first ever O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series feature race Saturday night, and closed the 2004 O'Reilly USCS season in spectacular fashion at East Bay Raceway Park. His pace was so quick in the Snap On Tools/Winegardner Racing Products J&J/Hampshire, many people in the packed house didn't see him take the lead on lap 13.
The fans were as busy as the drivers on the track trying to watch the many battles for position throughout the 23-car field during the 35-lap Fall Brawl that went green-to-checkered without a caution flag.
Leonard won the Koolbeans Trophies first 10-lap heat race and started seventh. He quickly worked his way to the front, and passed 2004 and four-time O'Reilly USCS National Champion Terry Gray of Bartlett, TN for the lead on lap 13.
Danny Martin Jr. of Sarasota, FL led the first four laps of the race, and finished second in the Martin Structures, Inc. Schnee/ZRE. Kenny Adams of Malabar, FL battled for the lead early in the race, but had to settle for third in the Goodson Farms Shaw/Ott. Greg Wilson of Benton Ridge, OH was fourth in the Kaser Motorsports Maxim/Hampshire, and Gray ended up fifth in the Goodson Farms/Wendy's Maxim/Wesmar.
Sport Allen of Pinellas Park, FL made a spectacular run from the 20th starting position to finish sixth in the American Drilling Eagle/ZRE, and earn the Huggins Race Cams Hard Charger of the Race Award. Brian Maddox of Ocoee, FL took the seventh spot in the Edwards Concrete Buckley/Speed Mart.
Tom Winegardner Jr. of Pierson, FL came from the 18th starting spot to finish eighth in the Snap On Tools J&J/WRP. Stephen Darvalics of Venice, FL drove his CineMoves Clincher/Gaerte to a ninth-place finish, and Paulie Milum of Bradenton, FL rounded out the top ten in the American Drilling Eagle/ZRE.
Martin took the lead at the drop of the green flag followed by Adams, Gray, Johnny Gilbertson of Tampa, FL in the Seckman Fire Sprinklers Maxim/ZRE, and Leonard. Gray powered around the outside of Adams in turn two to take the second spot on lap two, and chased down Martin on lap three to challenge for the lead bringing Adams with him.
Gray drove under Martin in turn one on lap four to take the point, but Martin countered the slide job in turn two to retake the lead. Gray then threw another slider at Martin in turn three to grab the lead back for the second time on the same lap. Martin tried a slider of his own in turn one of lap five, but found too much traction, and popped a big wheelie down the backstretch.
Adams was in position to take a shot at the lead, but Gray and Martin were using up all of the race track in lapped traffic, giving Adams no place to go.
Leonard made a big move on lap nine, passing both Gilbertson and Adams to move to the third spot. It didn't take Leonard long to find the race leader Gray. On lap 13, Leonard made the right move in heavy lapped traffic to take the lead in turn two on the high side, and he immediately began to pull away, as Gray got caught up in lapped traffic.
Martin got back around Gray for the second spot on lap 16, but Leonard had pulled out to a big lead. Gray began to fade, as Adams passed him for the third spot on lap 17, and Wilson dropped Gray back to fifth on lap 23. Martin was desperately looking for a caution flag to catch Leonard, but it never came. Leonard took the checkered flag almost a full straightaway ahead of Martin.
The engines in the cars of both Leonard and Martin were equipped with Air Flow Research Cylinder Heads, the Official Cylinder Head of the O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series.
Gray, who took the FSR Performance Award for the race, was able to capture the O'Reilly USCS Outlaw Thunder Dirt Tour Championship by 46 points over Martin, who also finished second to Gray in the O'Reilly USCS National points chase. In addition to his National and Outlaw Thunder titles, Gray also won the 2004 O'Reilly USCS Asphalt Thunder Championship.
R.J. Johnson of Decatur, TN was the Rookie of the Race. Johnson, who is a native of nearby Wesley Chapel, FL, was honored before the race as the 2004 O'Reilly USCS Rookie of the Year in front of his many friends and family members.
Johnson finished the race in the 19th spot after pulling in on lap 20. Johnson finished fourth overall in the 2004 O'Reilly USCS National point standings.
Doug Day of Winder, GA drove his Gotta Race Eagle/Dingler to victory in the second 10-lap heat race, and finished 12th in the feature race. Daryl Smith of Riverview, FL was the Weld Racing Hard Luck Award recipient. Smith's Buddy's Home Furnishings Beaberbuilt/Gaerte failed to start when the field was pushed off for the main event.
<pre> OFFICIAL RESULTS OF ROUND 36 AT EAST BAY RACEWAY PARK IN TAMPA, FL ON 11/6/04:
POS STRT CAR# DRIVER LAPS 1. 7 11 Greg Leonard 35 2. 1 00 Danny Martin Jr. 35 3. 2 4a Kenny Adams 35 4. 5 98 Greg Wilson 35 5. 3 10 Terry Gray 35 6. 20 42x Sport Allen 34 7. 9 82 Brian Maddox 34 8. 18 11jr Tom Winegardner Jr. 34 9. 13 32 Stephen Darvalics 34 10. 6 42 Paulie Milum 34 11. 17 56 Ryan Myers 33 12. 8 2d Doug Day 33 13. 10 4b Bryn Gohn 33 14. 14 1w Brice Wrenn 33 15. 16 2 Red Stauffer 33 16. 11 6s Mike Schroeder 32 17. 19 19 Jerry Jones 32 18. 4 21 Johnny Gilbertson 24 19. 15 71 R.J. Johnson (R) 20 20. 22 5 Dave Thorman 18 21. 21 6 Skeeter Faulconer 9 22. 12 20 Frank Carlsson Jr. 8 23. 23 3 Daryl Smith DNS
LEAD CHANGES: 2 Among Three Drivers LAP LEADERS: Martin, 1-4; Gray, 5-12; Leonard, 13-35 LAPS LED: Leonard, 23; Gray, 8; Martin, 4 CAUTIONS: None
HUGGINS RACE CAMS HARD CHARGER: Allen (started 20th and finished 6th) FSR PERFORMANCE AWARD: Gray WELD RACING HARD LUCK AWARD: Smith ROOKIE OF THE RACE: Johnson
FINAL 2004 O'REILLY USCS NATIONAL POINTS: 1. Terry Gray 5196 2. Danny Martin Jr. 4882 3. Kenny Adams 4744 4. R.J. Johnson (R) 4366 5. Brice Wrenn 3518 6. Tom Winegardner Jr. 3146 7. Chad Allum 2934 8. Red Stauffer 2346 9. Bryn Gohn 1968 10. Dave Thorman 1938 11. Jim Raptis 1754 12. Butch Pendergrass 1742 13. Doug Gold 1648 14. Bruce Cline 1582 15. Randy Helton 1562 16. Bronzie Lawson 1504 17. Doug Day 1430 18. Brian Thomas 1388 19. Will Ragsdale 1380 20. Jeremy Scott 1206
R- Denotes 2004 O'Reilly USCS Rookie of the Year