USCS: Rome results, standings

Martin Drops The Hammer For USCS Win in Rome, Ga ROME, GA - Danny "The Hammer" Martin of Sarasota, FL took his first United Sprint Car Series career win outside of Florida Sunday night at Rome Speedway. Martin put his Advance...

Martin Drops The Hammer For USCS Win in Rome, Ga

ROME, GA - Danny "The Hammer" Martin of Sarasota, FL took his first United Sprint Car Series career win outside of Florida Sunday night at Rome Speedway. Martin put his Advance Auto Parts/Martin Structures, Inc. Schnee/ZRE in the lead on lap three and then kept Terry Gray of Bartlett, TN behind him to post his second career USCS victory.

Martin's first USCS career win came late last season at his home track, East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, FL. Martin found the half-mile high banked clay oval at Rome, GA to his liking, as Gray was never able to make a bid for the lead.

"We've been working hard to get everything right with the race car, but the driver has been messing up a little bit," Martin said after jazzing the packed house with a wing dance victory celebration. "Everything was just right tonight. I've got to thank my Mom and Dad for giving me the opportunity to make this happen. I'm glad I could give my Dad this Father's Day present."

Gray, the defending and three-time USCS National Champion, had to settle for second in the Goodson Farms/Wendy's Maxim/Wesmar. Pole sitter Jim Raptis of Marietta, GA led the first two laps of the race, and finished third in the Grissom Honda/Mazda J&J Chrisco.

Steven Graham of Sydney, Australia started 11th and finished fourth in the Richard Petty Driving Experience Maxim/RPDE. Kenny Adams of Malabar, FL recovered from a flat tire on lap 18, and brought his Goodson Farms Shaw/Ott home in the fifth spot. Tom Winegardner Jr. of Pierson, FL was sixth in the Snap-On Tools J&J/WRP.

Randy Helton of Palmetto, GA took the seventh spot in the Helton Transmission Maxim/ERI, and Chad Allum finished eighth in the Heintz Performance Allum/Allum, Chris Hill of Wedowee, AL started 16th and finished ninth in the Hill Brothers Air and Hydraulics Challenger/Gaerte.

Graham and Hill shared the Huggins Race Cams Hard Charger of the Race Award. R.J. Johnson of Wesley Chapel, FL rounded out the top ten in the Race Wear/Pin Rings J&J/ZRE, and was the Rookie of the Race.

Raptis and Martin brought the field down for the green flag, but it was Adams blasting from his third starting hole that took the lead down the backstretch. Adams never got credit for leading the lap, as a multi-car tangle in turn four brought out the caution flag, necessitating a complete restart.

When the field went back to green, it was Raptis grabbing the point followed by Martin, Gray, Adams, and Winegardner. Martin dove under Raptis coming off the fourth turn on lap three to take the lead. Gray and Adams worked around Raptis for second and third respectively on lap four, but Martin had already opened up a half-straightaway lead.

Martin was able to keep his distance in front of Gray, but on lap 15, the 18-year-old leader dodged a big bullet when he came up to lap Jeremy Scott of Franklin, GA. Something broke on Scott's Vortex Bar and Grill Pro Lite/June Bug, and he almost collided with Martin, who had to take evasive action, but was able to recover and stay in the lead.

Gray and Adams were closing fast, but Scott spun coming off the second turn to bring out the caution flag. Martin was the leader for the restart, but he had the lapped car of Johnson between him and Gray. By the time Gray negotiated past Johnson, Martin had put a lot of real estate between himself and Gray.

Adams cut down a right-rear tire in turn three on lap 18 to bring out the third caution flag of the race. Adams went to the pits, replaced the tire, and returned for the restart at the tail of the field. This time, Gray restarted right on Martin's rear nerf bar, but he still didn't have anything to make a bid for the lead. v

In preliminary action, Scott won his second straight Air Flow Research six-lap Power Dash, while Winegardner and Gray won the ten-lap heat races. Josh Harris of New London, NC received the Weld Racing Hard Luck Award after he hit the turn two wall during hot lap and flipped his Furr Transport Lightning/High Tech. The 16-year-old driver was uninjured.

USCS returns to the asphalt with visits to Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL on Friday night, and to Montgomery Motor Speedway in Montgomery, AL on Saturday night. For more information about USCS visit the series web site at www.uscsracing.com

<pre> OFFICIAL RESULTS OF ROUND 16 AT ROME SPEEDWAY AT ROME, GA ON 6/20/04:

POS  STRT  CAR#   DRIVER                HOMETOWN                LAPS
1.   2     00     Danny Martin Jr.      Sarasota, FL            30
2.   5     10     Terry Gray            Bartlett, TN            30
3.   1     47     Jim Raptis            Marietta, GA            30
4.   11    14     Steven Graham         Sydney, AUS             30
5.   3     4a     Kenny Adams           Malabar, FL             30
6.   6     11     Tom Winegardner Jr.   Pierson, FL             30
7.   8     27     Randy Helton          Palmetto, GA            30
8.   4     87     Chad Allum            Kannapolis, NC          30
9.   16     4     Chris Hill            Wedowee, AL             29
10.  10    71     R.J. Johnson (R)      Wesley Chapel, FL       29
11.  14    21     Aubrey Black          Lookout Mountain, GA    28
12.  7     76     Jeremy Scott          Franklin, GA            14
13.  13    67     Brian Thomas          Auburn, GA               2
14.  17    69     Bronzie Lawson        Southern Pines, NC       1
15.  9     1w     Brice Wrenn           Lexington, SC            0
16.  12    88     Shane Nelson          Chattanooga, TN          0
17.  15    07     Johnny Bridges        Cherryville, NC          0
18.  18    7k     Scott Young           Woodland, AL            DNS
19.  19     5     Dave Thorman          Greenville, SC          DNS
20.  20    44     Josh Harris           New London, NC          DNS

LEAD CHANGES: 1 LAP LEADERS: Raptis, 1-2; Martin 3-30 LAPS LED: Martin 28; Raptis 2

HUGGINS CAMS HARD CHARGER:  Graham (started 11th and finished 4th), and Hill (started 16th and finished 9th)
WELD RACING HARD LUCK AWARD:  Harris
ROOKIE OF THE RACE:  Johnson
CAUTIONS:  3

AIR FLOW RESEARCH POWER DASH (6 Laps): 1. Scott; 2. Adams; 3. Gray; 4. Wrenn; 5. Graham; 6. Helton.

1ST HEAT (10 Laps): 1. Winegardner; 2. Allum; 3. Martin; 4. Scott; 5. Wrenn; 6. Graham; 7. Young; 8. Thomas; 9. Bridges.

2ND HEAT (10 Laps): 1. Gray; 2. Adams; 3. Raptis; 4. Helton; 5. Johnson (R); 6. Nelson; 7. Black; 8. Hill; 9. Lawson.

USCS NATIONAL POINT STANDINGS THROUGH 6/20/04: 1. Terry Gray 2300 2. Danny Martin Jr. 2070 3. Kenny Adams 1848 4. R.J. Johnson (R) 1796 5. Brice Wrenn 1604 6. Tom Winegardner Jr. 1404 7. Chad Allum 1020 8. Brian Thomas 932 9. Jim Raptis 930 10. Bill Moore 898 11. Butch Pendergrass 894 12. Red Stauffer 750 13. Marshall Skinner 694 14. Jeremy Scott 660 15. Ben Basinger 624 16. Johnny Bridges 624 17. Jimmy Taylor 620 18. Doug Gold 580 19. Doug Berryman 566 20. Joe Rebman 558

R Denotes Rookie of the Year Candidate

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Series Sprint
Drivers Richard Petty , Kenny Adams , Scott Young , R.J. Johnson , Brian Thomas