NCRA: Dodge City results 2005-06-17

Wright Loses Cylinder Early But "Coasts" to Victory in O'Reilly/NCRA Sprint Car Series DODGE CITY, Kan. (June 17, 2005) -- It was a good thing for Gary Wright that Friday's feature was only a 20-lap race. If it had been 21 laps, someone else...

Wright Loses Cylinder Early But "Coasts" to Victory in O'Reilly/NCRA Sprint Car Series

DODGE CITY, Kan. (June 17, 2005) -- It was a good thing for Gary Wright that Friday's feature was only a 20-lap race. If it had been 21 laps, someone else would have won.

As it turned out, Wright literally coasted across the finish line to win on the first night of the Sprint Car Invitational at Dodge City Raceway Park.

"I was lucky," said the veteran sprint car driver from Hooks, Texas. "I dropped a cylinder on the (lap two) yellow flag restart and ran the final 19 laps with only seven cylinders."

The two-day event, co-sanctioned by the O'Reilly/NCRA Sprint Car Series presented by Hoosier Racing Tires, and the American Sprint Car Series, attracted 51 of the best sprint car drivers from several regions on the first night of racing.

Danny Jennings (Norman, Okla.) captured the pole in the A feature, just in front of Wright. Jennings led the 24-car field into the first turn and at the end of the first lap with Wright tucked in behind. Running third was Jeff Heffner third, Garry Lee Maier fourth and Jason Martin fifth.

Before anyone could really settle into a racing rhythm, the only caution of the event came out on the second lap for Preston Peebles II, who rolled to a stop on the front straight.

When the green came out again, Jennings and Wright quickly pulled away from the field. It suddenly became their race to settle between them.

With a fast, two-groove racetrack, Wright used the high line to catch Jennings and took the lead coming off of turn two on lap six. Wright doesn't necessarily like to run up high but as he said, "--if that's where you have to go to be fast, I'll get there."

"This track is pretty high speed you have to get up by the wall. Not everybody can get up there so it makes for a little more room to race."

After moving to the front Wright skillfully worked his way through lapped traffic, beginning with lap eight, and extended his lead.

Even though he had a comfortable lead, not all was good with the Wright machine as his engine was going away. He lost another two cylinders about three laps from the end but had enough momentum to carry him to the victory -- but just barely.

As Wright rounded turn four to the checker, he was literally coasting to the win with a blown motor. Black smoke came out of the headers as he took the checker.

Jennings held off Martin to finish second, followed by Maier and Darren Stewart.

Having lost the cylinder early may have actually worked to Wright's advantage on this fast, slick track. With an underpowered racecar, he didn't slow down much since he wasn't spinning his tires on the slick straights.

"The car was just so good through the turns," Wright said. "The straight-aways were a little slick but we got through the turns so good we'd just hang on the straight-aways."

"The car was as good as it's been in a long time tonight so I'm tickled with it."

It was Wright's second NCRA win at Dodge City this year and the second NCRA 360 sprint car win of his career. Wright is the career wins leader in the NCRA Outlaw Sprint Series.

For Jennings, what happened was simple -- "I let Gary Wright catch up to me."

"I was trying the bottom for a long time and thought I was doing it right," Jennings said. "Then Gary Wright come by me on the outside so I had to hop up there (high) and follow him around for the rest of the race."

Even after Wright lost the two additional cylinder, Jennings didn't notice him slowing down.

"He had a little bit of a lead and his momentum around the top just kept him going," Jennings said.

Defending NCRA series champion Mike Woodruff had problems in his heat race but qualified for the A by winning the first B feature. He started 19th in the A feature and charged his way through the field for an eighth place finish.

Two-time champion Steve King flipped his racecar on the first lap of his heat. He was OK but headed back to the shop to prepare their backup racecar for tonight's races.

Winners of the six Cherokee Casino and Resort heat races were Martin, Maier, Jennings, Gavin Punch, C.J. Johnson and Cory Brahchcomb.

Two drivers transferred out of each of three B features. They were Woodruff, Kerry McAlister, Sam Hafertepal, Tony Bruce Jr., Dex Eaton and Preston Peebles.

Cherokee Casino & Resort Heat 1 (8 laps):

1. Jason Martin, Liberal, Kan.; 2. David Wheeler, Valley Center, Kan.; 3. Foster Landon, Collinsville, Okla.; 4. A.J. Selenke, Wichita, Kan.; 5. Kerry McAlister, Mustang, Okla.; 6. Bob Schaeffer, New Castle, Colo.; 7. Jeff Crook, Garden City, Kan.; 8. Cody Caldwell, Ulysses, Kan.; 9. Rick Halverstadt (DNS), Lincoln, Neb.

Cherokee Casino & Resort Heat 2 (8 laps):

1. Garry Lee Maier, Cimarron, Kan.; 2. Luke Cranston, Ness City, Kan.; 3. Derek Drown, Amarillo, Texas; 4. Dex Eaton, Owasso, Okla.; 5. J.D. Johnson, Goddard, Kan.; 6. Abe Sherwood, Tulsa, Okla.; 7. Eric Miller, Thornton, Colo.; 8. Jake Pierson, Bellvue, Colo.; 9. Tim Newman, Cameron, Mo.

Cherokee Casino & Resort Heat 3 (8 laps):

1. Danny Jennings, Norman, Okla.; 2. Gary Taylor, Wheat Ridge, Colo.; 3. Jimmy Taylor, Oklahoma City; 4. Dennis Park, Liberal, Kan.; 5. Josh Fellows, Longmont, Colo.; 6. Scott Milan, Ft. Collins, Colo.; 7. Derek Cottrell, Fletcher, Okla.; 8. Cyrus Perme, Lakewood, Colo.; 9. Brett Ream (DQ), Colorado Spring, Colo.

Cherokee Casino & Resort Heat 4 (8 laps):

1. Gavin Punch, Collinsville, Okla.; 2. Sean McClelland, Collinsville, Okla.; 3. Darren Stewart, Bixby, Okla.; 4. Mike Woodruff, Satanta, Kan.; 5. Sam Hafertepal, Sunnyvale, Texas; 6. Jake Martens, Fairview, Okla.; 7. Brian Herbert, Dodge City, Kan.; 8. Landon Brown, Wichita Falls, Texas.

Cherokee Casino & Resort Heat 5 (8 laps):

1. C.J. Johnson, Quinter, Kan.; 2. Jeff Heffner, Denver; 3. Brian McClelland, Tulsa, Okla.; 4. Joe Wagner, Denver; 5. Earnest Jennings, Norman, Okla.; 6. Jesse Baker (DNF), Grants, N.M.; 7. Mark Sweet (DNF), Rock Springs, Wy.; 8. Steve King (DNF), Jetmore, Kan.

Cherokee Casino & Resort Heat 4 (8 laps):

1. Cory Branchcomb, Sapulpa, Okla.; 2. Gary Wright, Hooks, Texas; 3. Tony Bruce Jr., Liberal, Kan.; 4. Jon Freeman, Salina, Kan.; 5. Preston Peebles, Amarillo, Texas; 6. Geoff Dodge, Colorado Springs, Colo.; 7. John Jacob, Aurora, Colo.; 8. Shane Bangerter, Dodge City, Kan.

B feature (12 laps -- 2 transfer):

1. Mike Woodruff; 2. Kerry McAlister; 3. Brian McClelland; 4. Jake Martens; 5. Brian Herbert; 6. Josh Fellows; 7. Bob Schaeffer; 8. Derek Cottrell; 9. Tim Newman; 10. Cody Caldwell; 11. Landon Brown.

B feature (12 laps -- 2 transfer):

1. Sam Hafertepal; 2. Tony Bruce Jr.; 3. Jeff Crook; 4. Jon Freeman; 5. Rick Halverstadt; 6. Jake Pierson; 7. Abe Sherwood; 8. Joe Wagner; 9. Jesse Baker (DNS); 7. Mark Sweet (DNS); 8. Steve King (DNS).

B feature (12 laps -- 2 transfer):

1. Dex Eaton; 2. Preston Peebles II; 3. A.J. Selenke; 4. Geoff Dodge; 5. Eric Miller; 6. Shane Bangerter; 7. Perme; 8. Scott Milan; 9. Earnest Jennings; 10. Brett Ream (DNF); 11. John Jacob (DNF).

A feature (20 laps):

1. Gary Wright; 2. Danny Jennings; 3. Jason Martin; 4. Garry Lee Maier; 5. Darren Stewart; 6. Sean McClelland; 7. Foster Landon; 8. Mike Woodruff; 9. Gary Taylor; 10. Gavin Punch; 11. C.J. Johnson; 12. Tony Bruce Jr.; 13. J.D. Johnson; 14. Jeff Heffner; 15. Luke Cranston; 16. Sam Hafertepal; 17. Derek Drown; 18. Dennis Park; 19. Dex Eaton; 20. David Wheeler; 21. Kerry McAlister; 22. Cory Branchcomb; 23. Jimmy Taylor; 24. Preston Peebles II.


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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Darren Stewart , Preston Peebles , Mike Woodruff , Geoff Dodge , Dex Eaton , Danny Jennings , C.J. Johnson , Gary Taylor , Tony Bruce Jr. , Sean McClelland , David Wheeler