Danny Sammons accomplishes one goal, but his quest for first USAR win remains. JENNERSTOWN, PA - Every race car driver has a list of goals. Danny Sammons can scratch one off his list after setting fast time to earn the pole for Saturday night's...
Danny Sammons accomplishes one goal, but his quest for first USAR win remains.
JENNERSTOWN, PA - Every race car driver has a list of goals. Danny Sammons can scratch one off his list after setting fast time to earn the pole for Saturday night's USAR Hooters ProCup 250 at Jennerstown Speedway. Unfortunately, the 19-year-old from Bordentown, N.J., ended the race without scoring an important milestone first victory on the very tough professional series.
Sammons jumped out to dominate the first 30 laps of the event before the ignition box in his Ford Taurus went up in smoke. "I couldn't believe it," said Sammons. "My spotter was letting me know when I built up a safe lead and then I was just cruising. I came off the turn with about a straightaway lead and the car just quit. The dash lights went out - I had no power. The cockpit filled with smoke."
As Sammons's car rolled to a stop, the entire field passed him two times before he was pushed back to his pit spot. Crew chief Tom Bear quickly switched the car over to a spare ignition box and the car roared back to life.
"We were two laps behind but as good as the car was I knew we still could win the race," said Sammons.
On the restart he quickly made up his first lap and then began to circle the track, catching the rear of the field on the fast, half-mile paved speedway. Another yellow gave Sammons a chance to make up his second lap.
"I knew I could get my second lap back," said Sammons. "But on the restart the brake pedal went to the floor and I fell back a few spots."
A few laps later another yellow waved, giving Sammons another chance. "I had pumped up the brakes and gotten some pedal but it wasn't consistent," said the young driver, who is in his third year following the circuit. "I knew if I could have gotten out front I could have run away, but passing leader Hal Goodson first wasn't going to be easy."
Sammons stayed side-by-side with Goodson on the restart for over a lap before an unfortunate incident occurred in turn one.
"I just about had Hal off turn four but he hung outside and kept me pinched to the bottom," said Sammons. "When I went into turn one I didn't have any front brakes at all. I didn't want to spin out the leader but any means, but the back brakes locked up and I spun myself out and still got into Hal.
"The worst part is Jay Fogleman, who was running second at the time, had no place to go and crashed hard into me.
"I hated it for all three teams. Believe me, it's the last thing I wanted to happen to all of us."
The crash knocked Sammons out of the race, leaving him short of his goal of winning an USAR Hooters ProCup event.
"We've run twice this year and have had a shot at winning both," said Sammons. "It's very disappointing for me and my team, but we're not quitting. We're very close and have proven we'll be a contender every time we race
"Saturday's qualifying run was very satisfying. We were on top of the practice charts most of the afternoon until Hal Goodson knocked us off in the final half-hour. I knew I had a car that was fast enough to sit on the pole and I was able to show it on the second lap.
"We were good right off the trailer," added Sammons. "Bill Boger had a set-up under our Billy Hess car that had everyone in the pits taking notice.
He had the car stuck to the ground getting all the horsepower out of our Automotive Specialists Engine. Bill, crew chief Tommy Bear and Jamie Campbell put in some long-hours leading up to the race and it paid off."
Sammons's lap of 19.583 seconds (95.961mph average) just missed the track record for the USAR cars at Jennerstown held by Charlie Ford.