By Pete Walton
July 16, 2011 – Woodstock, GA – Sixteen year-old, 2010 USCS Southern Thunder Tour Rookie of the Year, Eric Riggins, Jr. from Charlotte, North Carolina led only the last half of the final lap of the United Sprint car Series presented by Goodyear, but that was all the second-year driver needed to garner his career-first sprint car feature win at the famed Dixie Speedway on Saturday night. When Riggins arrived in the USCS www.RockAuto.com victory lane he leaped from the car and climbed the front stretch fence to celebrate his win in the 30-lap contest with the crowd of screaming fans.
Riggins started outside the front row next to K&N Filters Pole Position starter and Butlerbuilt Second Heat race winner, Johnny Bridges from Cherryville, North Carolina. The teenage young gun lost the drag race to turn one to the past series Champion. He then dropped back one more slot as Matt Linder raced past him on the first circuit. As Johnny Bridges raced away from the field, Riggins battled with Linder for the runner-up spot. On lap twelve Riggins drove back under Linder for the runner-up spot and set his sights on Bridges.
For the next caution-free eighteen laps Riggins whittled Bridges lead down to a couple of car lengths as the duo crossed under the white flag. As they exited turn two of the final lap racing towards the checkered flag, Aubrey Black from Lookout Mountain, Georgia spun and looped 360 degrees in front of Bridges. Black barely lost ground and didn’t strike any other cars. Bridges swerved to avoid Black and that was the break Riggins needed as he raced under the leader and the final half lap to victory.
Bridges raced past the checkers in the runner-up spot, just two car lengths back. Engler Machine and Tool First heat winner Matt Linder finished in third place. The defending series Champion, Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee followed Linder in fourth place. The only female racer in the field, eighteen year-old Morgan Turpen from Cordova, Tennessee who was the 2010 USCS National Rookie of the Year, rounded out the top five finishers.
USCS sprint car veteran driver, Brian Thomas from Pendergrass, Georgia led the next flight of finishers with a sixth place finish. Aubrey Black followed Thomas in seventh place. Veteran open wheel racer Ray Bugg from Iuka, Mississippi finished in eighth position followed by Bob Auld from Largo, Florida in ninth place and Jeff Willingham from Ripley, Mississippi rounded out the top ten.
Terry Gray kicked off the night’s USCS winged sprint car action by winning the six-lap Goodyear Power Dash. Matt Linder won the Engler Tool and Machine First Heat. Johnny Bridges won the Butlerbuilt Second Heat. Aubrey Black passed the most cars in the A-main event to garner the Wilwood Engineering Hardcharger Award.
Bridges also collected the K&N Filters Pole Award. The first through fifth rotating JE Pistons Top Guns Award was collected by Linder who also received the K&N filters Podium award that goes to the third place finisher at each event. Morgan Turpen earned the Keizer Aluminum Wheels Top Five Award via her fifth place finish. Jeff Willingham received the DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends Top Award for his tenth place finish.
The next USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by Goodyear event is on Friday, August 12th at North Alabama Speedway in Tuscumbia, Alabama. The following night the series moves across state lines into west Tennessee on Saturday, August 13th at Clayhill Motorsports in Atwood, Tennessee. Both events award USCS Mid South Thunder Tour and USCS National Championship points. For an updated schedule of USCS events, rules and info please visit www.uscsracing.com or call the USCS office at 770-460-7223.
USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by Goodyear results @ Dixie Speedway on July 16, 2011
Goodyear Speed Dash: Terry Gray, Morgan Turpen, Lance Moss, Johnny Bridges, Matt Linder and Brian Thomas.
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: Matt Linder, Terry Gray, Morgan Turpen, Jeff Willingham, Brian Thomas, David Thorman and Darren Clark DNS.
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: Johnny Bridges, Eric Riggins, Ray Bugg, Bob Auld, Nick Defeo, Aubrey Black, Lance Moss and Joe Larkin DNS.
USCS presented by Goodyear Dixie Speedway July 16,2011 – Feature – 30 Laps
Finish Start Car Driver/Hometown
1 2 47 Eric Riggins, Jr., Charlotte, NC
2 1 07 Johnny Bridges, Cherryville, NC
3 3 1x Matt Linder, Hoschton, GA
4 4 10 Terry Gray, Bartlett , TN
5 6 80 Morgan Turpen, Cordova, TN
6 10 67 Brian Thomas, Pendergrass, GA
7 12 21 Aubrey Black, Lookout Mtn., TN
8 5 25 Ray Bugg, Iuka MS
9 9 83 Bob Auld, Largo, FL 3
10 7 28 Jeff Willingham, Ripley, MS
11 8 96d Nick Defeo, Marietta, GA
12 11 5 David Thorman, Greenville, SC
13 13 23m Lance Moss, Cherryville, NC
14 14 20 Darren Clark, Huntersville, NC
15 DNS Joe Larkin, Suwannee, GA
USCS presented by Goodyear Sprint Car Race Awards:
Goodyear Speed Dash winner award: #10 Terry Gray www.racegoodyear.com
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat winner award: #1x Matt Linder www.englermachine.com
Butlerbuilt Second Heat winner award: #07 Johnny Bridges www.butlerbuilt.net
K&N Filters Pole Award: #07 Johnny Bridges www.knfilters.com
Wilwood Eng. Hard Charger Award: #21 Aubrey Black (started 12th finished 7th ) www.wildwood.com
JE Pistons Top Guns Award: (3rd place) # 1x Matt Linder www.jepistons.com
K&N Filters Podium Award: #1x Matt Linder (3rd place) www.knfilters.com
Keizer Wheels Top Five Award: #80 MorganTurpen www.keizerwheels.com
Diversified Machine Inc/DMI Top 10 Award: #28 Jeff Willingham www.diversifiedracing.com