MARTIN HUSTLES TO PENSACOLA O'REILLY USCS WIN PENSACOLA, FL - Danny "The Hammer" Martin Jr. of Sarasota, FL hustled through heavy lapped traffic and held off Kevin Swindell of Bartlett, TN to win the O'Reilly United Sprint Car...
MARTIN HUSTLES TO PENSACOLA O'REILLY USCS WIN
PENSACOLA, FL - Danny "The Hammer" Martin Jr. of Sarasota, FL hustled through heavy lapped traffic and held off Kevin Swindell of Bartlett, TN to win the O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series Asphalt Thunder Tour 30-lap feature race at Five Flags Speedway on Friday night. It was the third win of the season for the 19-year-old driver.
Martin swept the night's racing events by also winning the eight-lap ButlerBuilt second heat race, and the six-lap Air Flow Research Power Dash driving the Martin Structures, Inc./Food Grade Transport Shaw/Ott. Martin was also the K&N Filters Pole Award winner, and the SpeedMart Young Gun of the Race for drivers under the age of 25.
Swindell put heavy pressure on Martin in lapped traffic, but had to settle for second in the York Excavating/Wirtgen America Maxim/Kistler. The 16-year-old driver set fast time for the seventh time this season, touring the ½-mile high-banked paved oval in 14.468 seconds for an average speed of 124.412 miles per hour. Swindell was the Robison Racing Products Rookie of the Race.
"I wasn't really racing the competition, but rather I was racing the track," Martin said. "This is a great track, and a great facility, but it's hard on tires, and I had to pace myself to make sure the tires lasted for the entire race. That was important, especially in lapped traffic when you have to change grooves. When I came up on lapped traffic, I'd see a hole, stand on the gas, and get through it."
O'Reilly USCS Asphalt Thunder Tour point leader Wayne Reutimann Jr. of Zephyrhills, FL finished third in the Case Contracting/James Rivard GMC Hurricane/Snyder. His father, Wayne Reutimann Sr. of Zephyrhills, FL started 12th and brought his Case Contracting/James Rivard GMC Hurricane/Snyder home in the fourth spot to earn the Huggins Cams Hard Charger Award.
The defending and four-time O'Reilly USCS National Champion Terry Gray of Bartlett, TN was fifth in the C&B Mushrooms/Goodson Farms Maxim/Wesmar to stay within ten points of Reutimann Jr. in the Asphalt Thunder point standings. Bryn Gohn of Malabar, FL took the sixth spot in the Milk Movers, Inc./Goodson Farms Shaw/Ott.
Matt Tiffany of Daytona Beach, FL ran in the top five early in the race, but ended up seventh in the Independent Printing Shaw/Ott. Keith Butler of Riverview, FL was eighth in the Butler Racing Butler/J&T, and Shane Butler of Bushnell, FL finished ninth in the Katz Well Drilling Hurricane/Dowker.
The O'Reilly USCS National point leader Kenny Adams of Malabar, FL was running third on lap 28 when he cut down a left-front tire during a caution period. Adams returned for the two-lap dash to the finish, and worked his Milk Movers, Inc./Goodson Farms Shaw/Ott back up to the tenth spot. Adams was the Weld Racing Hard Luck Award recipient.
By the luck of the draw, Martin won the K&N Filters Pole Award, and he beat the Engler Machine and Tool first eight-lap heat race winner Gray into the first turn. Martin and Gray led Tiffany, Swindell, Adams, and Shane Butler on the opening lap. Tiffany got around Gray for the second spot on lap two.
Swindell passed Gray for third on lap eight to put the SpeedMart Young Guns in the top three spots, as 19-year-old Martin led the pair of 16-year-olds in Tiffany and Swindell. Adams moved up to the fourth spot by passing Gray on lap 11.
Charles Ladner of Brandon, FL brought out the first of two caution flags on lap 14 when he hit the fourth turn wall in the Auto Craft Hurricane/Auto Craft. Ladner was uninjured, and Martin led Tiffany, Swindell, Adams, Gray, Reutimann Jr., Shane Butler, Reutimann Sr., Gohn, and Ryan Myers of Eldorado, OH in the Garrett-Myers Farms Clincher/Garrett-Myers down for the restart.
Myers had come from the 19th starting spot to tenth in just six laps. Myers was leading the first heat race earlier in the night, but had a power steering line break, covering him with fluid. That relegated the 18-year-old driver to the tail of the field for the start of the feature race.
When the field went back to green flag racing, Reutimann Jr. got around Gray for the fifth spot, and Swindell made an inside move on Tiffany to move up to second spot in turn one on lap 17. Adams made the same move on Tiffany in turn one on lap 20 to move up to the third spot, and Reutimann Jr. got around Tiffany for the fourth spot on lap 21. Reutimann Sr. moved into the top five from his 12th starting spot by passing Tiffany on lap 23.
Swindell closed on Martin with ten laps to go, as the leaders worked heavy lapped traffic using both grooves ahead of them. Martin had to make some bold moves by racing between lapped cars in an effort to shake the pressure from Swindell, but Swindell was making some bold moves of his own to stay right on the leader's rear nerf bar.
After some very close calls for the top two teenagers, the white flag was in sight, but it was replaced by the yellow flag when Darren Clark of Leakesville, MS stalled his Kams Engines J&J/Kams in turn three. During the caution period, Adams had to give up the third spot when he pitted with a cut left-front tire.
With clear race track in front of him for the restart, Martin was able to hold off Swindell during the green-white-checkered finish of the race.
The O'Reilly USCS Asphalt Thunder Tour will travel to Mobile International Speedway in Mobile, AL for its next event on Saturday night.