Cedar Rapids, IA. (April 28) Many adjectives could be used to describe the Washington Apples Race Team's weekend in Cedar Rapids, but the best to describe what really took place would be,Confident. Each week Bryant and the new crew members find a...
Cedar Rapids, IA. (April 28) Many adjectives could be used to describe the Washington Apples Race Team's weekend in Cedar Rapids, but the best to describe what really took place would be,Confident. Each week Bryant and the new crew members find a different way to get the job done while growing into a much more cohesive unit, and a confident unit as well. Up till now "Spectacular" is an adjective that would not be used to describe Bryant's 2001 ASA Rookie season to date. Bryant however is convinced the team is on the right track, " This is 2 straight weeks we qualified in the first round, although we are no where as good in qualifying as I think we can still be this season. This was also our best finish in our rookie year. This new Port City rebuilt car was the best ASA car I've been in yet, and each week we also have been able to add new crew members with ASA experience, and grow together as a team at the same time. We are confident we can win a race this year. I know that seems like a stretch compared to how we are running, but I believe we can win."
Once the green flag fell on the 34 car field for the Iowa 300 at Hawkeye Downs, the ASA's 5th race of the year, Bryant ran consistently within a couple of tenths of the leaders, but once again as in South Boston gremlins appeared. A problem arose where the Washington Apples - Hy Vee Pontiac could not be fully fueled. Although there was no way to confirm or repair the problem of a blockage in the fuel filler line during the race, Bryant nevertheless refused to give in. Three times in succession he had to bring his Washington Apples - Hy Vee Pontiac to the pits, and the attention of his Apple gang, to have more fuel added. In the process he lost a lap. Gas man Chris Smelsar did a great job estimating fuel usage, and figured the team was close to being able to make it to the end on the gas in the Apple car.
Finally with about 50 laps left Bryant and the team decided to roll the dice on what fuel was in the car to get the best finish they could.
That decision paid off when Bryant guided the Washington Apples - Hy Vee Pontiac to a 12th place finish. A post race protest by the Joey Clanton team to the ASA ended with ASA officials restoring 3 laps Clanton was penalized during the race for failing to yield to the leaders. Bryant was therefore moved back to 13th place. Nevertheless Bryant was thrilled with the results,and effort put forth by the entire team. " We definitely moved forward this week on the track, but we grew as a team also. We are confident that things are going to be fine, and that we can compete for top finishes consistently in the ASA before too very long. Confident has Bryant looking forward to coming back in August to Hawkeye Downs. "Maybe this is where I will win my first ASA race", Ricky thought. First however is the trip to Montgomery Motor Speedway in Montgomery, Alabama for the Alabama 300, next Sunday May 6th.
Bryant is "Confident" in his abilities, and those of his crew as he returns to a track he finished 4th at in 2000 during a Dash race there. "We just want to continue improving every race, and that is our sole focus right now. We are confident the results will follow", Ricky concluded as he prepared to head back home to get ready for Montgomery.
After the 5th race of the 2001 ASA season, Bryant is now 20th in the championship point standings, up 4 spots from the race before.