WARD OUTDUELS SCHUERENBERG FOR MEMPHIS O'REILLY USCS WIN MEMPHIS, TN - Mike Ward of Memphis, TN played a waiting game in winning his fourth O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series race of the season Friday night at Memphis Motorsports...
WARD OUTDUELS SCHUERENBERG FOR MEMPHIS O'REILLY USCS WIN
MEMPHIS, TN - Mike Ward of Memphis, TN played a waiting game in winning his fourth O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series race of the season Friday night at Memphis Motorsports Park. Ward passed 15-year-old Hunter Schuerenberg of Sikeston, MO on lap 28 of the 30-lap feature race to take the victory driving the AMC Maxim/McCarver.
"I don't think I could have passed Hunter unless he made a mistake," Ward said. "He slipped up coming off turn two, and I was able to get under him going down the backstretch."
Ward also won the O'Reilly Auto Parts fourth ten-lap heat race, and came from the fourth starting spot to post his 13th career O'Reilly USCS career win. The night wasn't all smooth for Ward, and he crashed at the start of the six-lap Air Flow Research Power Dash, and damaged the front end of his race car.
Schuerenberg had to settle for second driving the Minor's Harley-Davidson Maxim/Foxco. Schuerenberg led the first 27 laps of the race and held off both Ward and 1999 O'Reilly USCS Champion Marshall Skinner of West Memphis, AR for seven restarts. Schuerenberg also won the ButlerBuilt second ten-lap heat race.
K&N Filters Pole Award winner Dewayne Prince of Atoka, TN finished third in the Ellison, Inc. Prince/Prince, and he also won the Engler Machine and Tool first ten-lap heat race. Prince drew the zero for the straight-up start. Skinner ended up fourth in the Parts Plus Maxim/Ott, and he also won the Koolbeans Trophies third ten-lap heat race.
The defending and four-time O'Reilly USCS National Champion Terry Gray of Bartlett, TN was fifth in the Wendy's/C&B Mushrooms Maxim/Wesmar. Gray opened the night in front of his hometown fans by winning the Air Flow Research Power Dash.
Rim-riding Ernie Ainsworth of Bartlett, TN took the sixth spot in the H&H Enterprises Eagle/Dickens. O'Reilly USCS National point leader Kenny Adams of Malabar, FL finished seventh in the Milk Movers, Inc./Goodson Farms Shaw/Ott.
Jim Bowden of Hernando, MS came from the 20th starting spot to finish eighth in the Reed Motorsports Maxim/Dynotech to earn the Huggins Cams Hard Charger Award. Phillip Faulkner of Atoka, TN was ninth in the A-1 Door Pro Lite/Cajun, and Ronny Howard of Southaven, MS rounded out the top ten in the Tenn-Line Howard/Howard.
Schuerenberg took the lead from his outside front row starting spot at the drop of the green flag followed by Prince, Ward, and Skinner. On lap two, Skinner went to the outside and passed Ward for third in turn four, and then on lap three drove around the outside of Prince in turn two to take the second spot.
Schuerenberg was able to maintain a six car-length lead over Skinner in the opening laps, but the caution flag came out on lap 13 when Josh Baker of Earle, AR stalled his Carl Sayre Avenger/Vaughn in turn one. Schuerenberg led Skinner, Ward, Prince, and Gray down for the restart, but the caution came out on lap 15 when Howard spun in turn two.
Turn two became a treacherous place on the next three restarts. Travis Senter of Osceola, AR in the Henard Farms Maxim/McCarver, Scott Bolden of West Memphis, AR in the B&D Towing BuiltWiser/Bolden, and the eighth-place driver Ron Blair of Troy, OH in the Double Jay Construction Maxim/Blair all spun in turn two in separate restarts.
Senter was driver on the move, as he was knocking on the door of the top ten after starting 17th, virtue of winning the 12-lap B-Main earlier in the night.
The fourth restart was successful one for the field, and especially Ward, as he passed Skinner for the second spot. Before Ward could make an attempt to challenge Schuerenberg for the lead, the red flag came out on lap 16.
Bryce Vowan of Forrest City, AR in the Royal Window and Siding Maxim/Hy-Performance and Mike McElya of Bartlett, TN in the Pyles Paving J&J/Sykes flipped end-over-end in turn three. Both drivers were uninjured, but their race cars were destroyed. McElya was awarded the Weld Racing Hard Luck of the Race Award.
Kenny Coke of Olive Branch, MS brought out the red flag on lap 17 with a solo flip in turn one in the Bost Auto Sales BuiltWiser/Dynotech. Coke was also uninjured in the crash.
After the restart, most of the field went to the bottom of the track, with the exception of Ainsworth, who blasted off the cushion to come from ninth to the sixth spot. Ward looked high and low in an effort to get around Schuerenberg, but the youngster was able to hold off the veteran coming off the turns.
Schuerenberg' s car pushed up from the bottom groove in turn one on lap 28. That was the opening Ward needed. Ward drove underneath the youngster down the backstretch, and then pulled away to victory.
The O'Reilly USCS Outlaw Thunder and Mid-South Thunder Tour action continues on Saturday night at Thunder Ridge Speedway in Lexington, TN.