MICHAEL TAKES FIRST O'REILLY USCS CAREER WIN AT I-20 BATESBURG, SC - Curt Michael of Ocean View, DE took his first career O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series feature race win Saturday night in the 30-lap main event at I-20 ...
MICHAEL TAKES FIRST O'REILLY USCS CAREER WIN AT I-20
BATESBURG, SC - Curt Michael of Ocean View, DE took his first career O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series feature race win Saturday night in the 30-lap main event at I-20 Speedway driving the BK Leasing J&J/Ott. Michael came from the fifth starting spot to pass Paul Sides of Memphis, TN for the lead on lap 10, and then held off Danny Martin Jr. of Sarasota, FL for the win.
Martin finished second in the Martin Structures, Inc. Schnee/ZRE for the second straight night. The 19-year-old Martin was also the SpeedMart Young Gun of the Race for drivers under the age of 25.
Kenny Adams of Malabar, FL rallied from the eighth starting spot to finish third in the Goodson Farms Shaw/Ott and earn the Huggins Cams Hard Charger of the Race Award, and the K&N Filters Third-Place Award. Adams also bagged the six-lap Air Flow Research Power Dash.
Sides led the first nine laps of the race, and finished fourth in the TMI Trailers of West Memphis, AR/Racecoaches.Com Maxim/Gaerte. Sides had to rebuild his race car overnight after a flip on Friday night in Travelers Rest, SC at Riverside Speedway. Sides made a successful comeback at I-20, as he also won the ButlerBuilt 2nd eight-lap heat race.
The defending and four-time O'Reilly USCS National Champion Terry Gray of Bartlett, TN finished fifth and earned the SpeedMart Top Five Award in the Goodson Farms/Wendy's Maxim/Wesmar. Gray took over the series point lead, and now leads Adams by two points.
Ryan Myers of Eldorado, OH led the O'Reilly National point standings coming into the race, but mechanical problems in his heat race sidelined the Garrett-Myers Farms Stealth/Garrett-Myers for the evening. Myers took over Ben Basinger's Red Star Motorsports Clincher/Basinger and started from the rear of the field for the feature.
Myers finished 17th to salvage some national points, completing 17 laps. Myers dropped to third in the points chase, 20 points behind Gray. Martin moved up to the fourth spot in the O'Reilly USCS National points, just four points behind Myers.
Evernham Motorsports contract driver Erin Crocker of Huntersville, NC made her first O'Reilly USCS start of the season a successful one with a sixth-place finish in the Windbreaker/Spectro Oil Maxim/Kriner. Brice Wrenn of Lexington, SC was seventh in the Stainless Fabricators J&J/Gaerte.
Engler Tool and Machine first eight-lap heat race winner and K&N Filters Pole Award winner Josh Weller of Mertztown, PA took the eighth spot in the Wave Tech Associates J&J/Ott. The Koolbeans Trophies third eight-lap heat race winner Steve Osborne of Sharpsburg, GA finished ninth in the Central Pacific Industries Eagle/Bixler, and Johnny Bridges of Cherryville, NC rounded out the top ten in the Bridges Motorsports J&J/Bridges.
Sides grabbed the lead at the drop of the green flag followed by Martin, Weller, Michael, and Gray. Michael passed Weller for the third spot on lap three, as Martin stayed close to Sides' rear nerf bar at the front of the pack.
The first of three caution flags came out on lap five when Dave Thorman of Greenville, SC stalled his Taylor Automotive J&J/Taylor at the head of the front straightaway. When the field went back to green, Sides, Martin, and Michael battled for the lead followed by Weller and Gray. Crocker and Adams battled for the sixth spot, with Adams taking the position on lap seven.
Michael made what would prove to be his winning move on lap ten when he passed Martin and Sides to take the lead he would never relinquish. Martin worked past Sides for the second spot on lap 14, but by that time, Michael had pulled out to a big lead.
The caution flag came out for the second time on lap 19 when Myers stalled his borrowed mount on the backstretch. Michael took the green for the restart followed by Martin, Sides, Gray, and Crocker, who had worked past Adams and Weller to claim the fifth spot on lap 18. Adams got by Weller for sixth on lap 20.
The final caution came out on lap 23 when Bruce Cline of Apex, NC stalled his 31-W Insulation Stealth/Engler on the backstretch. When the field went green for the eight lap dash to the finish, Adams got busy.
Adams passed Crocker and Gray to move up to fourth on the restart, and quickly mounted a challenge on Sides for the third spot. Adams passed Sides for third on lap 24, and then zeroed in on Martin, who could not close the gap on Michael. The checkered flag came out before Adams could make a challenge for the second spot.
While the feature race only had three cautions for stalled cars, the hot laps and heat races had some wild and anxious moments.
Jimmy Taylor of Gray Court, SC flipped his Taylor Automotive Clincher/Taylor several times in turn three during the third hot lap session. As a precautionary measure, Taylor was airlifted to Richland Hospital in Columbia, SC, where he was treated and released later in the evening. All that earned Taylor the Weld Racing Hard Luck Award.
The top two O'Reilly USCS Rookie of the Year candidates, Matt Tiffany of Daytona Beach, FL and Bryn Gohn of Malabar, FL ran into trouble in their respective heat races. Tiffany flipped his Independent Printing Shaw/Ott in turn one, and Gohn climbed the turn four wall in his Goodson Farms Shaw/Ott, but stayed on all four wheels.
Both Tiffany and Gohn were uninjured, but they failed to answer the bell for the feature. Stephen Darvalics of Venice, FL finished 13th in the CineMoves Shaw/Ott to earn the Rookie of the Race honors. Dustin Apple of Elon, NC finished 12th in the Apple Racing Maxim/Jerico and earned the FSR Performance Award in his first O'Reilly USCS event of the season.
The O'Reilly USCS moves to South Georgia for its next two events. The next stop for the O'Reilly USCS National Outlaw Thunder Tour, the Carolina Thunder Tour, and the Southern Thunder Tour will be combined points races at Swainsboro Raceway in Swainsboro, GA on Friday night, April 22, and then on to Oglethorpe Speedway Park in Savannah, GA on Saturday, April 23.
For more information about these events and the O'Reilly USCS, visit the series' web site at www.uscsracing.com.