Adams Aces O'Reilly ASCoT Opening Night at East Bay
By Lonnie Wheatley
TAMPA, Fla. (January 31, 2008) - Florida ace Kenny Adams moved around four-time and reigning O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National champion Gary Wright to kick off East Bay Raceway Park's 32nd Annual Winter Nationals in dramatic fashion with a win in Thursday night's 25-lap "King of the 360's" Nationals preliminary feature event.
Adams rallied from the ninth starting position and made the big slide around Wright for the lead upon the completion of the 22nd lap as the O'Reilly ASCoT National series kicked off its season-opening three-night stand at East Bay Raceway Park, which culminates with Saturday night's $10,000 to win Ronald Laney Memorial.
Recording what unofficially ranks as his 200th career Sprint Car feature win, Adams scurried to the line over the final three circuits to post his second career ASCS National Tour victory aboard the Don Ott-powered C&B Mushrooms/B&W Trucking/Goodson Farms No. 4a Shaw, while Wright held off fellow Texas racer Travis Rilat for runner-up honors. Indiana's Danny Smith claimed fourth, with Oklahoma native Daryn Pittman rounding out the top five.
"When the race started, I really didn't think we could win from the fifth row," Adams explained afterward. "That caution (after 18 laps) probably helped us, that gave us some open track where we could put that slide on when we needed to without lapped cars in the way."
After winning his heat race from the pole position, Adams just missed the cut for the redraw by ranking ninth in passing points. Wright, the night's top points earner in heat race action, drew the front row outside while eighth point-earner Garry Lee Maier drew the pole position.
After a pair of attempted starts were waved off, including one that eliminated second-row starter Terry Gray and Gene Lasker, Wright got the jump on Maier and set sail around the Tampa clay in his first outing aboard the Wright-Cooper Wesmar-powered Richwood Construction/Carry All Services No. 01 Maxim.
Maier, fourth-starter Danny Smith and fifth-starter Dave Calaman chased Wright in the early rounds, while Adams cracked the top five after just three laps.
Lapped traffic came into play after just eight laps, with Maier moving in to challenge Wright for the lead on the tenth circuit. But Wright navigated his way around a pair of lapped cars to slip away from Maier as Adams battled with Smith for third at the midway point.
After making his way past Smith, Adams went to work on Maier for second and slid past the first ASCS National champion in turns three and four on the 14th lap, setting his sights on the fleet Wright, who had slipped away to nearly a half straightaway advantage.
But after Maier ran afoul of a lapped car and brushed the turn three wall on the 17th lap, he was forced to a stop with a broken front axle a lap later to bring out the race's only interruption.
With the lapped car of 2003 "King of the 360's" Nationals champion Sport Allen separating Wright from Adams on the restart, Wright set sail once again. Adams made quick work of Allen and reeled in the leader.
Adams executed the perfect slide job through turns three and four on the 22nd lap and went on to record the win, with Wright fending off Rilat for the runner-up position.
"We cut the right rear on something, it just had four pounds of the air at the finish so it was getting awful tight at the end," Wright commented.
Charging from 16th, Rilat cracked the top ten by the fifth round, was fifth at the 15-lap mark and was in third by the time the caution flew after 18 laps. Rilat challenged Wright on the final lap before settling for third aboard the F&J Construction No. 29 Triple-X.
Indiana shoe Danny Smith raced among the top-five all the way and took the checkered flag fourth aboard the Doug Williams Trucking No. 4, with Pittman climbing from eighth to round out the top five in the Titan Racing No. 21 entry.
Two-time ASCS National Tour points runner-up Jason Johnson climbed from 12th to sixth, with local shoe Greg Leonard charging from 21st to seventh. Terry McCarl, the 2006 "King of the 360's" Nationals winner, raced from 22nd to eighth, with 20th-starter Wayne Johnson and Tim Crawley completing the top ten.
Terry Gray, Wright, D. Smith, Adams, Danny Martin, Jr., Crawley and Calaman topped heat race action for the 55-car field, with Dustin Morgan, W. Johnson and Leonard winning the 12-lap "B" Mains.
Canadian Michael Parent turned over in turn three on the opening lap of the seventh heat race, but was able to return for "B" Main action. New York's Adam Gordon got turned upside down as the green flag flew on the third "B" Main, escaping injury as well.
Don Young checked out in the Strawberry Dash for Cash, leading a Memphis one-two sweep in front of Chris Williams.
Action at the Tenth Annual "King of the 360's" Nationals at East Bay Raceway Park's 32nd Annual Winter Nationals resumes on Friday night for the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series. The top six in combined points from Thursday and Friday night's preliminary action will be locked into Saturday night's $10,000-to-win Ronald Laney Memorial.
O’Reilly ASCoT East Bay Raceway Park "King of the 360's" Nationals Preliminary Night One Results:
Heat Races (Top 18 in passing points to “A” Main; Balance to 3 "B" Mains)
Second "B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 94-Wayne Johnson (Oklahoma City, OK), 2. 91-Don Droud, Jr. (Lincoln, NE), 3. 4c-Tyler Godwin (Lutz, FL), 4. 2-Joey Saldana (Brownsburg, IN), 5. 34-Luke Hall (Ludlow Falls, OH), 6. 75-Don Young (Memphis, TN), 7. 29T-Leigh Thomas (Duluth, MN), 8. d12-Doc Sloan (Imperial, MO), 9. 15c-Anthony Cain (Fairfax, VT), 10. 20-Frank Carlsson (Oxford, FL), 11. 3bx-Joey Biasi (Mary D, PA), 12. 18-Shane Butler (Bushnell, FL).
Third "B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 6-Greg Leonard (Apollo Beach, FL), 2. 3-Sport Allen (Pinellas Park, FL), 3. 50z-Zach Chappell (Talala, OK), 4. 11s-Brian Smith (Mooresville, NC), 5. w20-Greg Wilson (Benton Ridge, OH), 6. 13-Kathryne Minter (Bedford, TX), 7. 51-John Sauermilch (Elkhart Lake, WI), 8. 3b-Brad Greer (Coultierville, IL), 9. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 10. 18x-Adam Gordon (Suffern, NY), 11. 79-Dakotah Stephens (Brandon, FL). DNS: 00T-Doug Day (Winder, GA).
Strawberry Dash: Strawberry Dash (10 Laps): 1. 75-Don Young (Memphis, TN), 2. 8x-Chris Williams (Memphis, TN), 3. 14-Coleman Gulick (Binghamton, NY), 4. 34-Luke Hall (Ludlow Falls, OH), 5. 20-Frank Carlsson (Oxford, FL), 6. 17-Samantha Taylor (Bonney Lake, WA), 7. 18-Shane Butler (Bushnell, FL), 8. 97-Aaron Schipper (Plymouth, WI), 9. 13-Kathryne Minter (Bedford, TX), 10. 4c-Tyler Godwin (Lutz, FL).
O’Reilly ASCoT "A" Main Event: “A” Feature (25 Laps): 1. 4a-Kenny Adams (Malabar, FL), 2. 01-Gary Wright (Hooks, TX), 3. 29-Travis Rilat (Forney, TX), 4. 4-Danny Smith (Danville, IN), 5. 21-Daryn Pittman (Owasso, OK), 6. 41-Jason Johnson (Eunice, LA), 7. 6-Greg Leonard (Apollo Beach, FL), 8. 1m-Terry McCarl (Altoona, IA), 9. 94-Wayne Johnson (Oklahoma City, OK), 10. 88-Tim Crawley (Benton, AR), 11. 7s-Jason Sides (Bartlett, TN), 12. 91-Don Droud, Jr. (Lincoln, NE), 13. 00-Danny Martin, Jr. (Sarasota, FL), 14. 63-Josh Weller (Mertztown, PA), 15. a12-Tim Shaffer (Aliquippa, PA), 16. 19T-Matt Tiffany (Daytona Beach, FL), 17. 8h-Dustin Morgan (Tulsa, OK), 18. 3-Sport Allen (Pinellas Park, FL), 19. 5-Dave Calaman (Carlisle, PA), 20. X-Chuck Swenson (Watertown, SD), 21. b4-Eric Baldaccini (Keller, TX), 22. 11x-Garry Lee Maier (Cimarron, KS), 23. 27-Andy Shouse (Oklahoma City, OK), 24. 10-Terry Gray (Bartlett, TN), 25. 02-Gene Lasker (Tampa, FL).
Lap Leaders: Gary Wright 1-21, Kenny Adams 22-25.
Note: Eric Baldaccini utilized a provisional starting position for the "A" Main.
O’Reilly ASCoT Points (Top Ten): 1. Kenny Adams 50, 2. Gary Wright 48, 3. Travis Rilat 47, 4. Danny Smith 46, 5. Daryn Pittman 45, 6. Jason Johnson 44, 7. Greg Leonard 43, 8. Terry McCarl 42, 9. Wayne Johnson 41, 10. Tim Crawley 40.