GRAY BACK IN THE O'REILLY USCS WINNERS CIRCLE WITH SUGAR CREEK WIN BLUE RIDGE, GA - Terry Gray of Bartlett, TN ended a four month dry spell without a victory when he won the 30-lap O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series feature...
GRAY BACK IN THE O'REILLY USCS WINNERS CIRCLE WITH SUGAR CREEK WIN
BLUE RIDGE, GA - Terry Gray of Bartlett, TN ended a four month dry spell without a victory when he won the 30-lap O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series feature race Friday night at Sugar Creek Raceway driving the C&B Mushrooms/Goodson Farms/Wendy's Maxim/Wesmar. It was the first win for Gray since April 23 in Savannah, GA.
The victory also moved the defending and four-time O'Reilly USCS National Champion up to the third spot in the current National points chase. Gray led all 30 laps after starting on the outside of the front row, but Kenny Adams of Malabar, FL made it close at the checkered flag.
Adams spun on lap 12 while running in the second spot. The 2000 O'Reilly USCS National Champion and current National point leader came roaring back through the pack, and was challenging Gray for the lead on the final lap, but came up a half car-length short, and had to settle for second in the Milk Movers, Inc./Goodson Farms Shaw/Ott.
K&N Filters Pole Award winner Josh Weller of Mertztown, PA finished third in the Wave Tech Associates J&J/Ott, and Danny Martin Jr. of Sarasota, FL was fourth in the Food Grade Transport Schnee/ZRE. Daryl Smith of Riverview, FL took the fifth spot in his first O'Reilly USCS start of the season in the Buddy's Home Furnishings Beaberbuilt/Gaerte.
R.J. Johnson of Decatur, TN finished sixth in the Tinsley Engineering/Georgia Performance Graphics J&J/ZRE, and Bryn Gohn of Malabar, FL used a seventh-place effort to earn the Robison Racing Products Rookie of the Race honors driving the Milk Movers, Inc./Goodson Farms Shaw/Ott. Matt Tiffany of Daytona Beach, FL was eighth in the Independent Printing Shaw/Ott.
Andy McElhannon of Hernando, MS made an impressive debut with the O'Reilly USCS. McElhannon's primary ride broke before hot laps, and he settled in the seat of Ray Bolin's Concrete Science/Crawford Tire Service Buckley/Central Florida Machine.
In his first laps in the car, the 16-year-old driver won the six-lap Koolbeans Trophy Dash, and finished ninth in the main event. Mike Senecal of Palmetto, FL rounded out the top ten in the Rodeway Inn Maxim/Humphrey.
Gray took the lead at the drop of the green flag, but the spectacular first lap saw Weller, Adams, and Martin battle three-wide for the second spot. The race was just as quickly slowed when Stephen Darvalics of Venice, FL spun the CineMoves Shaw/Gaerte in turn two to bring out the caution flag.
Gray led Weller, Adams, Martin, and Smith down for the restart. Adams drove around the outside of Weller to take over the second spot. Shane Nelson of Chattanooga, TN spun in turn two on lap three while running sixth to bring out the second yellow flag of the race. The yellow came right back out on the restart as turn two became the trouble spot.
A multi-car tangle involving Senecal, Tiffany, Nelson, and Johnny Bridges of Cherryville, NC in the Bridges Motorsports J&J/Bridges Ford lit the yellow bulb for a third time. McElhannon cut down a left-rear tire under caution, and had to give up the seventh spot to make the change.
The field went green again with Gray leading Adams, Weller, Martin, Smith, Johnson, and Gohn. Turn two claimed two more cars on lap 12 when Skeeter Faulconer in the American Trading Post and Pawn Avenger/Skeeter and Bridges spun for the fourth caution.
Turn two wouldn't even respect the O'Reilly USCS National point leader, as Adams spun on the restart while running second. That sent Adams to the back of the pack for the restart, and after the restart, he showed the standing-room-only crowd why he is called the "Malabar Missile."
By the halfway point, Adams had shot his way back up to the sixth spot passing two and three cars a lap. With ten laps to go, Adams got around Johnson to move back into the top five. Two laps later, he was by Smith for fourth, while Weller and Martin battled for second a half straightaway in front of Adams.
With two laps to go, Adams drove round the outside of both Weller and Martin to move up to the second spot, and he was within striking distance of Gray. When the white flag came out, Adams was all over Gray in heavy lapped traffic. As the lead pair came off the fourth turn for the checkered flag, Adams got a run on Gray, but came up a half car-length short at the line.
In preliminary action, Adams won the six-lap Air Flow Research Power Dash, and the ButlerBuilt second ten-lap heat race. Martin won the Engler Machine and Tool first ten-lap heat race.
The first heat saw Bryan Eckley of Tampa, FL execute a series of end-over-end flips, and his Eckley Racing Maxim Ott sail out of the ballpark. Eckley was uninjured, but his race car was done for the night, earning him the Weld Racing Hard Luck Award.
The O'Reilly USCS now moves to Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, GA for a Saturday night event.