Brian Tyler won tonight's USAC National Sprint Car Series "Showdown at Sundown" event at Richmond International Raceway. The 60 lap race was divided into two segments of 31 and 29 laps each. Tyler started and finished the first segment in...
Brian Tyler won tonight's USAC National Sprint Car Series "Showdown at Sundown" event at Richmond International Raceway. The 60 lap race was divided into two segments of 31 and 29 laps each. Tyler started and finished the first segment in seventh place, while Bobby Santos III worked his way from 10th to first, taking the lead from Dave Steele on the 23rd lap. Just as Steele had the first 23 laps covered, Santos appeared to own the second segment, but fell out with mechanical ills with 10 to go.
Tyler was a man on the move in the second segment, and it is not clear that Santos would have held him off had his car lasted. By five laps into the 29-lap second segment, Tyler had vaulted from seventh to fourth. On the 47th lap he passed teammate Michael Lewis on the back stretch for third place. Two laps later he passed Dave Darland for second. A lap later Santos dropped out (reported engine or driveline failure), leaving Tyler in the lead. Tyler was never challenged, while teammate Lewis eventually passed Darland for second.
"Well, I'm kind of a slow beginner most of the time," Tyler said. "I go to the back and then work my way to the front. That seems to fit my style. Usually I don't qualify good, so I always wind up starting in the back
"I've got to thank Keith Kunz and just everybody involved with this car. I had two laps in it before that race started, so they had her pretty close right out of the box.
He had no particular plan in this race, other than take what he could. "You never know," he said. "Anything can happen out there. A couple of times there was a little oil on the track and that freed my car up - actually made me faster. It's anybody's game. When I took the lead I figured I could hog both lanes and hold them off for a while."
One of "them" was his teammate, Michael Lewis.
"They said he was coming pretty hard," Brian admitted. "But my radio was breaking in and out, so I could only hear about half of what they were saying. So we just ran our own race and brought her home."
Dave Steele, who started on the pole and dominated most of the first segment, eventually finished seventh. Bobby Santos III was credited with 16th place.
A lingering late afternoon thunderstorm forced cancellation of qualifying, so the lineup was set by practice times. Today's qualifying for tomorrow's IRL SunTrust Indy Challenge and USAC Silver Crown Richmond Times-Dispatch 100 were also cancelled, and the start tonight's National Sprint race was delayed by over an hour from its originally scheduled 8:20 pm time. The "Showdown at Sundown" became "Nuking at Night," and the fans who stuck out the rain delay and qualifying cancellations were treated to an evening of Sprint car racing at its finest.
Josh Wise, who finished eleventh tonight, remains at the head of the National Sprint Car standings, followed by his Tony Stewart Racing teammate Levi Jones.
The next USAC National Sprint Car event will be a 30 lap race on July 1, at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.