APOLLO, PA (Sept. 25) - In a weekend filled with motorsports firsts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, another first was accomplished across town at Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP). Young Ryan Hemphill competed in his first race with the ASA AC...
APOLLO, PA (Sept. 25) - In a weekend filled with motorsports firsts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, another first was accomplished across town at Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP). Young Ryan Hemphill competed in his first race with the ASA AC Delco Series. His drive left him just shy of the top ten in the final results, finishing 12th.
Hemphill arrived at IRP without knowing what to expect. After mustering only a 43rd best practice effort at 22.894 seconds, Hemphill ran what he called a perfect qualifying lap with the car. The fast lap of 22.511 seconds was good enough to place Hemphill 26th out of 52 cars on the time chart.
After starting fifth in the 100-lap qualifying race Friday night, Hemphill placed a solid fourth and started Saturday's race from 26th spot. The eighteen year-old was ecstatic about the amount he learned during the qualifying race both about the track itself and about the car he was driving.
"We made a real big change before the qualifying race. It was a real drastic change that we had never made before in any type of racing," said Hemphill. "We were pretty loose the whole way throughout the race. [The qualifying race] helped me out 200% between learning more about the car and learning more about the track. That was the most valuable part for me during the whole weekend. I'm kind of glad I didn't make the top 20 in qualifying because I would have had to go right out there and race with all of those people. I think I needed more time to learn the car and the track."
Immediately following the drop of the green flag, Hemphill moved up several spots to run inside the top 20 for most of the early part of the race. A gradually worsening tight condition eventually relegated the No. 02 Chevrolet to just outside of the top 20 before the first pit stop.
The second half of the race was nearly a mirror image of the first as the tight condition eventually returned to the Argo Packing Chevrolet. However, unlike the first half, Hemphill completed what his team called exceptional pieces of driving while missing two melees that nearly took him out of contention for a respectable finish.
Coming home in the twelfth spot, the team accomplished all of their goals for the weekend. The Argo Packing team made the field, brought the car home intact, finished all of the laps, and recorded a top 20 finish. The next scheduled event for Hemphill Racing is the St. Louis event on October 14, but according to Hemphill, it can't come fast enough.
"I'd say our whole team is really eager. We couldn't ask for any more. We just wanted to go get experience and bring the car back in one piece and go from there," replied a jubilant Hemphill. "We're all really, really excited and eager (to go to Gateway). My dad was happy, I was more than happy, and our crew was happy. It was just an excellent weekend. Lots of the drivers, officials, and crew chiefs were all surprised with our performance. I think we gained some respect."