From Lonnie Wheatley
McCOOL JUNCTION, Neb. (May 28, 2010) – Ryan Roberts reeled in his first career American Sprint Car Series feature triumph by racing to victory lane in Friday night’s 25-lap ASCS Midwest main event at Junction Motor Speedway.
After taking the lead away from Brian Brown on the sixth circuit, the 27-year-old Aurora, NE, shoe denied a late bid by Shane Stewart to secure the win aboard the Salon 18 No. 18 Maxim.
“That’s the most exciting race we’ve had in a long time!” an overjoyed Roberts exclaimed in victory lane. “Shane Stewart, Brian Brown and those guys, they’re good, I mean real good and they do this all the time. It’s tough for a guy like me with a job and a slave-drivin’ boss to stay as sharp as they are.”
Roberts started from the pole position, but it front row outside starter Brown gunning into the lead at the outset with fifth-starter Stewart moving into third in the opening pair of laps.
But when Roberts shook off Stewart pressure for second and began reeling the leader back in, it was apparent that he was on a mission.
“Billy Alley (his brother-in-law) and I were both real close to Jesse Hockett, so tonight meant a lot to us,” Roberts explained. “We’re standing here in victory lane and I see on the scoreboard that Billy moved up to fifth so it was a good night, I’m sure Jesse’s happy with us.”
Roberts raced by Brown for the lead on the sixth lap with Stewart following suit a handful of laps later as traffic came into play. Stewart moved in on Roberts and challenged for the point unsuccessfully a pair of times before the race’s only caution flew after 16 laps when Eric Lutz spun exiting turn four and slid to a stop on the frontstretch with the lead duo narrowly missing his disabled mount.
Roberts’ biggest challenge came on the restart when Stewart threw a big slider entering turn three on the 17th lap. Unphased by the maneuver, Roberts simply drove back under exiting turn four and edged back ahead on the frontstretch to reclaim a lead that he would never relinquish.
“I wasn’t worried, I just knew I had to keep my composure and we’d be fine,” Roberts explained a night after magneto issues forced him to watch the “A” Main at I-80 Speedway.
Roberts raced on to the checkered flag unchallenged over the final handful of circuits, with Stewart falling one position shy of repeating last year’s Memorial Day weekend win at Junction Motor Speedway.
Brown settled for the show position, with Kyle Hirst picking off his second top-five in as many nights by claiming fourth.
Billy Alley rallied from 13th to round out the top five, with 11th-starter Jack Dover, Travis Rilat, Chad Humston, Jason Danley and Don Droud, Jr., completing the top ten.
Trevor Grossenbacher, Danley and Humston topped heat race action for the 27-car field, with Toby Chapman winning the “B” Main.
Aside from Lutz’ feature adventure, the night’s only other interruption came on the white flag lap of the second heat race when John Webster tagged the wall exiting turn four and flipped on the frontstretch in just his second career start. Webster walked away from the wreckage uninjured.
ASCS Midwest Region Results from Junction Motor Speedway:
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 35-Trevor Grossenbacher, 2. 5h-Justyn Cox, 3. 18-Ryan Roberts, 4. 24a-Jack Dover, 5. 17-Gage Dorr, 6. 44-Doug Lovegrove, 7. 5-Eric Lutz, 8. 21-Ryan Kitchen, 9. 14-Jeff Heffner.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 82-Jason Danley, 2. 57-Shane Stewart, 3. 29-Travis Rilat, 4. 2-Don Droud, Jr., 5. 22-Billy Alley, 6. 25-Dylan Peterson, 7. 93b-Patrick Bourke, 8. 12-Tyler Drueke, 9. 9-John Webster.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 1m-Chad Humston, 2. 6-Kyle Hirst, 3. 77-Brian Brown, 4. 71T-Channin Tankersley, 5. 13-Seth Brahmer, 6. 32-Toby Chapman, 7. 71-Bob Schaeffer, 8. 05-Justin Wolf-Medlock, 9. 57s-Don Stoutner.
“B” Feature (10 Laps): 1. 32-Toby Chapman, 2. 25-Dylan Peterson, 3. 5-Eric Lutz, 4. 12-Tyler Drueke, 5. 93b-Patrick Bourke, 6. 05-Justin Wolf-Medlock, 7. 21-Ryan Kitchen, 8. 71-Bob Schaeffer, 9. 14-Jeff Heffner, 10. 57s-Don Stoutner. DNS: 9-John Webster.
“A” Feature (25 Laps): 1. 18-Ryan Roberts, 2. 57-Shane Stewart, 3. 77-Brian Brown, 4. 6-Kyle Hirst, 5. 22-Billy Alley, 6. 24a-Jack Dover, 7. 29-Travis Rilat, 8. 1m-Chad Humston, 9. 82-Jason Danley, 10. 2-Don Droud, Jr., 11. 5h-Justyn Cox, 12. 13-Seth Brahmer, 13. 71T-Channin Tankersley, 14. 35-Trevor Grossenbacher, 15. 44-Doug Lovegrove, 16. 25-Dylan Peterson, 17. 32-Toby Chapman, 18. 17-Gage Dorr, 19. 12-Tyler Drueke, 20. 5-Eric Lutz.
ASCS Midwest Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Jack Dover 527, 2. Billy Alley 473, 3. Chad Humston 472, 4. Ryan Roberts 470, 5. Jason Danley 419, 6. Eric Lutz 404, 7. Doug Lovegrove 369, 8. Dylan Peterson 359, 9. Toby Chapman 353, 10. Gage Dorr 351.