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ASCS Tuesday Top Ten – Midwest and Beyond

ASCS Tuesday Top Ten – Midwest and Beyond

Lonnie Wheatley, TULSA, Okla. (April 20, 2010) – A Midwest weekend in Nebraska along with events in Texas and Arizona sets the stage for the latest edition of Tuesday’s Top Ten, chronicling ten random items of American Sprint Car Series significance.

It’s Trip-T time again, proceed…

  1. Mighty Midwest – Just two years removed from a 2008 season that included only seven events, including a pair in conjunction with the National series, the ASCS Midwest Region has blossomed to include 23 nights of competition at ten tracks throughout Nebraska and surrounding areas in Missouri, South Dakota and Iowa in 2010.

The sixth year of ASCS Midwest competition kicked off this past weekend with two stellar nights of competition at Nebraska Raceway Park’s I-80 Speedway near Greenwood, approximately half way between Lincoln and Omaha.

Thirty-four competitors from seven different states (Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, North Dakota, Kansas, Colorado and Oklahoma) and one Canadian province (Manitoba) filled the pit area on Friday night with the Lone Okie in the field (Dustin Morgan) taking the win.

A handful of Friday racers were missing on Saturday including Don Droud, Jr., Mike Boston and Danielle Ossenfort, each of whom encountered engine issues, Josh Higday (invaded Burlington) and Jay Russell, who was fortunate enough to celebrate his 27th birthday yesterday after he and a crew member were found unconscious on Saturday morning with carbon monoxide poisoning. It seems that fumes from a generator somehow leaked into the toter home, leaving both Russell and his crew member with what was termed “lethal” amounts of carbon monoxide. Transported to an Omaha hospital just in time, both have recovered and the Elwood, KS, racer will be back in action.

Clint Garner joined in on Saturday to make for 30 and finished third behind Jack Dover and Chad Humston after a spirited mid-race joust for the point with Dover.

  1. $2 Bills – If you happen to notice a sudden abundance of two dollar bills being passed around in Tulsa, OK, or Springfield, NE, there’s a good reason for it as I-80 Speedway has a somewhat unique habit of paying off its feature winners with two dollar bills.

Tulsa’s Morgan and Springfield’s Dover both have 750 of the rarely seen bills of the two dollar variety to disperse after weekend wins at I-80.

  1. HOT 25 – Twenty-five cars checked in for the first stand-alone ASCS Lone Star card of the season on Friday night at Waco’s Heart O’ Texas Speedway, including 16 that took part at Lone Star Speedway one week earlier. And, with threatening weather approaching, the decision was made to scratch the “B” Main and start all 25 in the feature event.

After lending a hand in the pits at Lone Star Speedway a week earlier, Wayne Johnson jumped in a second Brian Parker entry and drove it to victory lane at Heart O’ Texas for his second ASCS triumph of the year after driving a second Glenn Styres mount to Rebel glory in East Bay’s Ronald Laney Memorial. Car owner Parker was 17th on Friday night.

Caught in the middle, Heart O’ Texas goes both ways. In addition to Friday’s Lone Star card, the track will also host the Gulf South Region next month. Those two events give both Regions’ contenders a feel for the track prior to the Gulf South vs. Lone Star showdown at Heart O’ Texas in July.

  1. Sooner Strength – Oklahoma drivers have been on a roll in recent weeks. After Matt Covington and Zach Chappell topped Lucas Oil ASCS National action in Texas (Lone Star Speedway) and Arkansas (I-30 Speedway) on April 9 and 10, another pair of Oklahoma drivers topped Friday night’s Regional action in Nebraska and Texas.

The only Sooner rep in Midwest action at I-80 Speedway, Dustin Morgan captured his first career Sprint Car feature win. To the south, Wayne Johnson was just one of three Oklahoma drivers in the Lone Star field along with Brian McClelland Andrew Marshala. While Johnson won, McClelland was 20th in his first start of the year for Ronnie Davis and Marshala flipped to 23rd.

With the first of four scheduled Lone Star outings at Cowtown rained out on Saturday and Morgan’s luck souring when he was collected in an opening lap tangle in Nebraska, Glenpool’s Covington kept the Sooner state in the win column by tuning up for this weekend’s Rock ‘N Roll 50 by wiring the weekly field at Riverside Speedway in West Memphis.

  1. Moonlighting – While Jack Dover’s No. 53 Lucas Oil ASCS National ride is a familiar sight, his Regional mount is similarly familiar in the land of Cornhuskers.

Gary Swenson has been fielding winning Sprint Cars for four decades or so, winning at least one feature per year over the that span. But after Brian Brown put the No. 24a in Belleville victory lane in 2007, Swenson’s victory string was snapped with a winless 2008.

The Dover and Swenson combo finally began clicking late last year though, with Dover taking a Wichita win last October. The duo broke out of the gates quickly in 2010, with Friday’s runner-up finish to Morgan followed up by Dover’s first feature win of the year on Saturday. It was the 20-year-old’s sixth career ASCS Midwest win and eleventh overall ASCS triumph.

  1. Roush Yates – Charles Davis, Jr., seems to be finding the new Roush Yates Racing Engine to his liking, as the defending ASCS Canyon Region champ raced to his second feature win in a row Saturday night at Tucson’s USA Raceway. It is one of just a few out there right now, but wins like that along with a pair of weekend Missouri scores by Randy Martin will likely stir up interest.

With the USA win, Davis joined Wayne Johnson and Tim Shaffer as the only drivers to post multiple ASCS feature wins thus far in 2010 with 17 events completed.

  1. Hall of Famers – At least three National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductees were among the I-80 Speedway weekend throng, including Doug Wolfgang, Kenny Woodruff and Doug Howells.

Wolfgang, inducted in 2003, was mentoring 17-year-old son Robby, who drove the Williams No. 7k to 12th on Friday and then a strong sixth-place showing on Saturday.

Part of the induction class of 2005, Woodruff wrenched Dustin Morgan to victory lane on Friday night. “He’s already changed almost everything on the car, I can tell a big difference,” Morgan commented prior to Friday’s action. He showed that difference soon after, getting Woodruff in more victory lane photos.

Long-time car owner Howells, for whom Wolfgang drove at times in his storied career, landed in the Hall in 2008. Howells now fields a car for grandson Lee Grosz. The two-time Northern Plains champ that drives with more body English than most was third on Friday and was chasing Dover in Saturday’s feature until the steering locked up.

Another Hall of Famer, 2006 inductee Rickey Hood, was in action with the ASCS Canyon Region on Saturday night. Hood missed the feature cut in his third ASCS start of the year in Arizona.

  1. Top Five – With the initial three ASCS Canyon Region events of the season in the books, Josh Pelkey and Jeremy Sherman are the only two drivers that have finished among the top five in all three features.

Pelkey added a third-place run on Saturday to previous fifth and second-place showings, while Sherman followed third and fourth-place runs with a fifth-place finish.

But in the championship points race, they’re both still chasing Charles Davis, Jr., who has followed up a sixth-place opening night finish with a pair of wins.

  1. Midwest Masters – All five past ASCS Midwest champions were represented among the weekend opener at I-80.

Billy Alley (2005), Toby Chapman (2006), Jack Dover (2008) and Jason Danley (2009) were in competition, while Kenny Woodruff wrenched Natalie Sather to the 2007 crown.

Sporting a black No. 22 rather than yellow, Alley was literally wheels-off on Friday night, taking the lead just a couple of laps before a broken spindle sent front tire flying. An “Adult Contemporary” version of Alley in Saturday heat race action (fourth) was replaced with a more familiar “Rock ‘N Roll” style Billy Alley that charged from 15th to fourth in “A” Main action.

Chapman made an early exit from Friday’s feature along with A.J. Selenke before missing Saturday’s main, while Danley missed Saturday’s cut as well after a top-ten showing on Friday.

Dover and Woodruff exploits have previously been chronicled.

  1. New Dates – For those keeping score at home, a couple of new Regional dates have been added over the past week or so.

The ASCS Southwest Region has added a two-night stand at Show Low, Arizona’s Thunder Raceway on September 25-26. It will mark the return of the winged Southwest Region to Show Low for the first time since a Ben Gregg win in May of 2008.

More recently added and coming up sooner, the ASCS Lone Star Region will take to Texarkana’s 67 Speedway on Friday night, May 21. There are always plenty of sights to be seen in Texarkana.

2010 TTT Edition VIII is done. Next stop: Riverside Speedway in West Memphis, AR, for the Second Annual Rock ‘N Roll 50. You know you want to be there, so just do it.

Until next time, find what you need in terms of ASCS info at www.ascsracing.com.