By Lonnie Wheatley
TULSA, Okla. (May 18, 2010) – While Texas was three-quarters soaked over the weekend (three Regional rainouts in four events), ASCS Regional action in New York and Arizona offered up ample material for this week’s edition of Tuesday’s Top Ten, once again assembled in no discernable order whatsoever.
With all variety of ASCS info contained within, dig on in to TTT…
1. Ridin’ the Storm Out – A soggy Texas weekend began with an early Friday cancellation of Saturday’s ASCS Lone Star festivities at Abilene, with Friday’s card at Crandall’s RPM Speedway succumbing to showers by mid-afternoon.
At least a dozen teams high-tailed it two hours south to Waco’s Heart O’ Texas Speedway, where the car count swelled to 37 and the show went on despite afternoon showers.
Bouncing back from an abysmal 2009 season after back-to-back ASCS Gulf South titles in 2007 and 2008, new papa Brandon Berryman of Missouri City, TX, fought off the invading forces for his first win of the season in his 98th career Gulf South feature start.
The triumph also propelled Berryman from fourth to first in points, a position he’ll hold for at least a couple of weeks after Battleground was lost on Saturday for the second time in a row. And, while 15 drivers have competed in all five ASCS Gulf South events completed thus far, Berryman is just one of three to make the feature cut at all five events along with defending champ Aaron Reutzel and Scottie McDonald.
2. Fast Times – Those Patriots have been stopping the clocks in impressive fashion in the opening pair of events in New York.
In the April 30 opener at Black Rock Speedway, eventual winner Chuck Hebing turned a lap at 12.954 seconds in heat race action, the first lap completed in the 12-second bracket on Dundee time.
Then, Justin Barger turned a lap at 14.91 seconds on Saturday night at Canandaigua Speedway, the best in at least five years at the Land of Legends according to Patriot press agent Rich Vleck.
3. New Yorker in the Desert – A runner-up in Mid-Atlantic points three years ago, now 16-year-old Coleman Gulick has found himself in Arizona recently prepping for the upcoming season.
After a couple of years trying the wingless wars in Indiana along with August TNT action, the Binghamton, NY, racer tested ASCS Canyon Region waters for the first time on April 17 and then posted a fourth place run Saturday night at Tucson’s USA Raceway.
4. Gettin’ Around – After being awarded National Rookie of the Year honors by the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum’s North American Sprint Car Poll in 2009, Joshua Hodges has been making the rounds in 2010.
Among the Brodix Rookie of the Year contenders with the Lucas Oil ASCS National series, the 15-year-old Tijeras, NM, racer has also taken in Southwest, Lone Star, Sooner and Gulf South events this season.
After posting a pair of ASCS Southwest top-fives at Tucson in April, Hodges took in the May 7-8 Sooner weekend at Outlaw Motor Speedway and Springfield (12th and 18th) before returning to Waco’s Heart O’ Texas, where he was 15th in Lone Star action last month.
Hodges second shot at Waco on Friday night resulted in his best finish thus far in 2010 with a second-place run. Hodges will likely be back in Southwest action this weekend in the series first stop at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, AZ, before picking back up with the National series at Jetmore, KS, on May 29-30.
5. Three-peat – After Sherman, Pelkey and Johnson each paced Saturday’s ASCS Canyon Region field at Tucson’s USA Raceway, Charles Davis, Jr., took the top spot and raced on to his third consecutive win with an RSS-chassis in place of DRC.
Four-for-four in top-ten finishes with a sixth in the opener followed by his three wins, Davis carries a string of 13 consecutive ASCS Canyon top-ten feature finishes to California this weekend, where a strong field is expected at Perris Auto Speedway for the first ASCS event in the Golden State.
Only Yuma’s Mike Martin can match Davis’ four-for-four top-tens this year, with Josh Pelkey, Jeremy Sherman and Andrew Reinbold each missing the top ten for the first time this past Saturday night at USA.
6. Oh Canada – Cries of “Poirier, Poirier, Poirier…” likely filled the night air around Canandaigua, NY, on Saturday night, as the French Canadian bested the ASCS Patriots for the first time on American soil.
A winner of back-to-back Canadian Sprint Car Nationals at Ohsweken in 2006 and 2007, the St. Mathieu de Beloeil, Quebec, racer gunned into the lead at the outset and went on to become the sixth different Patriot victor in a dozen events at Canandaigua since 2003.
It also put Poirier atop the Patriot point charts with a 26-point advantage over two-time and defending champ Bryan Howland, who has finished third and seventh in the opening pair of events.
7. 21 – After Brandon Berryman became the 20th different driver of 2010 to win a feature with Friday’s Gulf South score, Poirier became the 21st winner in the 27th overall feature event of the year on Saturday.
Atop the overall ASCS win charts for 2010 with three apiece are Charles Davis, Jr., and Jason Johnson, who missed a good shot at win number four when he surrendered the pole position at Waco after a flip while buzzing the track prior to the feature start.
Wayne Johnson and Tim Shaffer both have a pair of wins, with 17 drivers posting single scores including Brandon Berryman, Brian Brown, Zach Chappell, Matt Covington, Dustin Daggett, Dave Darland, Jack Dover, John Gaston, Chuck Hebing, Johnny Herrera, Dustin Morgan, Steve Poirier, Nick Smith, Sammy Swindell, Joe Wood, Jr., Gary Wright and Rick Ziehl.
8. 11 – With three of this past weekend’s six scheduled events rained out, the number of ASCS events rained out thus far in 2010 has climbed to eleven. There were twelve rainouts at this time in 2009.
9. Oh Brother – The Alvin, TX, brother duo of Travis and Bean Elliott both finished among the top five in Friday’s ASCS Gulf South feature at Waco’s Heart O’ Texas Speedway.
Travis’ third-place run was his second top-five in a row, while Bean’s fourth-place showing was his first top-five since a fifth-place run at Cleveland, TX, on July 5, 2008.
It marked the first time for the Elliott brothers to finish among the ASCS Gulf South top-five on the same night, a feat the brothers Breen (Blake and Bobby) have accomplished five different times over the past four years of ASCS Patriot competition, most recently at Black Rock last August.
10. Break Through – A best finish of 15th in four previous ASCS Canyon Region starts, 17-year-old micro grad Dalten Gabbard broke through for a podium finish Saturday night at USA Raceway by finishing third behind Charles Davis, Jr., and Mike Martin.
While Gabbard will be among the ASCS Canyon contingent in California on Saturday night, his uncle Doug is promoter at the Canyon Speedway Park that hosts the winged ASCS Southwest Region on Saturday in Peoria, AZ.
An interesting mix of events awaits with the ASCS debut in California (Canyon Region at Perris Auto Speedway), a pair of winged outings at traditionally non-wing venues (SOD at Gas City and Southwest at Canyon Speedway Park), the requisite Texarkana stop (Lone Star) and high banks hijinks (Patriots at Woodhull). Many interested eyes will be locked in on the Chevrolet EcoTec-powered ASCS2 Midget double at Creek County and Lawton as well.
Putting the wraps on 2010 TTT Edition XII, until next time, find what you need in terms of ASCS info at www.ascsracing.com.