ANDERSON, SC - RIS - The Southern All Star Asphalt Series returned to Anderson Motor Speedway and 1996 SAS Champion Johnny Brazier of Lickskillet, AL emerged as the winner in the 100 lap event. For Brazier it was his first win of 1997 and came on...
ANDERSON, SC - RIS - The Southern All Star Asphalt Series returned to Anderson Motor Speedway and 1996 SAS Champion Johnny Brazier of Lickskillet, AL emerged as the winner in the 100 lap event. For Brazier it was his first win of 1997 and came on his first ever visit to Anderson.Ronald Walls challenged Brazier late in the race, but settled for second with Tim Fryar third. Russell Bearden finished fourth and Lee Hansard was fifth.
Brazier has been riding a streak of bad luck since late last season, and this weekend began no differently. During Friday's practice session the crew found metal in the oil filter. They quickly got on the phone and arranged for the back-up car to be loaded up and sent to Anderson. The car arrived and the crew were up early Saturday morning changing everything off the primary car to the back-up and amazingly when practice session rolled around, there was the bright red Thunderbird sitting in line awaiting its turn to take to the track. A tribute to the hard work and dedication of the crew.
During qualifying, Dave Mader III of Mooresville, NC set the fast time around the 3/8 mile oval with a 14.87 second clocking. Lee Hansard was the second quickest and Tim Fryar third fastest.
Mader led the field down for the green and continued to lead as the race got underway. Hansard, Fryar, Walls and Freddie Query were lined up behind him but that order soon changed as Walls slid under Fryar for third and three laps later he passed Hansard for second. Walls then closed in on Mader's bumper and for the next 50 laps the two battled for the lead. Walls could get almost alongside the the flying Mader, but was not able to complete the pass. Walls soon had to look behind him as Query had moved up and caught the lead duo and now he wanted to join the battle. Query worked his way around Walls and began to work on Mader.
On lap 85 Query and Mader touched, sending Mader into the inside tire barrier and ending his night with a punctured radiator. This put Query in the lead, with Hansard now in second, Brazier up to third, Bearden fourth and Fryar fifth. The 85 consecutive green flag laps set a new SAS record, besting the previous record of 84 laps set at Senoia Raceway in Georgia.
Query and Hansard elected to stay on the track during the caution, but the remaining leaders opted for the pits and fresh tires. Brazier's pit crew showed they still had something left as he was first out of the pits and into third spot with Bearden and Fryar the next two in line.
Walls, who had challenged for the early lead, had been lapped just prior to the caution, but on the restart he was able to use his fresh tires to get his lap back, and when the caution flew again as Curtis Gattis hit the back stretch wall, Walls was able to go all the way around and close up on the rest of the lead lap cars in sixth position.
Query and Hansard were still on old tires and they had no answer for the cars behind them with the fresh rubber, Brazier and the rest began working their way by the front two, but Hansard spun, forcing the field to go high to avoid him and Query was hit by the Kevin Gillum car and the steering broke causing him to retire from the race.
Walls had taken advantage of the situation to move back into second behind Brazier, and when the green came back out he was all over the rear of the Ford. Brazier held his line and fended off the challenge and scored his first win of the year, a fitting result for the hard work put in by his crew over the two days. Walls had his best finish of the year in second, Fryar closed the point gap to just 2 points with a third place finish as he pipped points leader Bearden at the line. Hansard recovered from his spin to finish fifth.
The Southern All Stars now move on to Nashville Speedway USA and the Auto Value 125 on July 5th.
RACE RESULTS 1. Johnny Brazier 2. Ronald Walls 3. Tim Fryar 4. Russell Bearden 5. Lee Hansard 6. Kevin Gillum 7. Warren McMahan 8. Curtis Gattis 9. Heath Hindman 10. Roger Scott 11. Shannon Berry 12. Daryl Shelton 13. Freddie Query 14. Dave Nadr III 15. Trab Crews 16. Gary McCoy DNS Lee Tissot
SAS POINTS 1. Russell Bearden 788 2. Tim Fryar 786 3. Kevin Gillum 700 4. Johnny Brazier 674 5. Roger Scott 648 6. Shannon Berry 646 7. Larry Speakman 624 8. Curtis Gattis 616 9. Warren McMahan 574 10.Trab Crews 544
John Kaiser, Racing Information Systems