From Lonnie Wheatley
PLACERVILLE, Cal. (July 29, 2011) – It had been more than 20 years since a premier National touring Sprint Car series had taken to Placerville Speedway at California’s El Dorado County Fairgrounds.
That changed when the Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National series took to the high-banked, ¼-mile clay oval on Friday night, and the fans didn’t leave disappointed as Wayne Johnson raced to his first ASCS National win of the year aboard Bryan Sundby’s Parker-powered No. 38 Maxim in the hotly-contested 30-lap Bullring Nationals preliminary main event.
While the Oklahoma City native officially led all 30 circuits for his 29th career ASCS National triumph, he had his hands full throughout with 21-year-old Brodix Rookie of the Year contender Aaron Reutzel of Clute, TX, who slid into the lead on at least a couple of occasions only to have the crafty veteran recapture the point.
Gridding the feature field outside pole starter Jonathan Allard, Johnson gunned into the lead at the drop of the green flag and led the opening circuit ahead of third-starter Brady Bacon and Allard before the red flag flew for Tim Crawley, who got upside down entering turn one.
With Johnson leading the way on the restart and working the lower portion of the track, Reutzel took to the upper reaches of the clay oval and rallied from sixth past Gary Wright, Colby Wiesz and Allard into third by the time Mason Moore came to a stop to bring out a caution after five laps.
Reutzel raced past Bacon soon after action resumed and began pressuring Johnson for the point. However, with the rookie contender tipping his hand on the top side of the track, Johnson took to the high line in turns three and four.
Reutzel kept the heat on in the Allan Murray-sponsored No. 87 Triple X, sliding into the lead in turns three and four on the 12th round only to have Johnson dive back underneath exiting the fourth corner to retain command.
After sixth-runner Gary Wright slid to a stop off turn one at the midway point, Reutzel kept the pressure on as he tried to track down his first ASCS National win. Reutzel pulled alongside Johnson on both the 21st and 23rd rounds, only to have Johnson fend off the advances.
Just as traffic came into play in the final circuits, a final caution flew when Moore and Nicole Miller got together in turn three.
Johnson took off on the restart and delivered Sundby his first win as a car owner by six car-lengths, with past ASCS Gulf South champ Reutzel settling for a career-best ASCS National finish in second.
Bacon settled for the show position in the Wesmar-powered Fatheadz Eyewear No. 99 Triple-X, outlasting the challenges of current Lucas Oil Sprint Car points leader Shane Stewart in Paul Silva’s Wesmar-powered Rockstar Energy Drink No. 57 A.R.T.
Stewart, who had slid past Bacon for third on the 28th round only to have the move negated by the late caution, took the fourth and final lock-in position to Saturday’s Bullring Nationals finale. After starting ninth, Stewart was among the top five by the seventh circuit and then slid past Allard for fourth by the 13th lap before mixing it up with Bacon over the final half of the race.
California’s Sean Becker was the top Golden State driver with a fifth-place run, just ahead of the Cali sibling duo of pole-starter Jonathan Allard and Stephen Allard, who raced from 19th to seventh.
Tim Kaeding climbed from 16th to eighth, with Wiesz and Johnny Herrera completing the top ten.
Brett Miller was dicing with Becker for fifth on the final circuit, only to loop it in the final corner, falling to 11th in the final rundown.
After suffering ignition woes in his heat race, reigning Lucas Oil Sprint Car champion Jason Johnson fell one spot short of a transfer in “B” Main action. Battling for position just outside the top ten after using a provisional for the main event, Johnson slipped off the top of turn four on the final round and was credited with 20th.
Wayne Johnson, Stewart, Wiesz, Bacon and Jonathan Allard topped heat race action for the 40-car field, with Tony Bruce, Jr., and Seth Bergman winning the 12-lap “B” Mains.
Steven Tiner flipped in turn four on the opening lap of the second heat race, with Chris Masters flipping into turn one at the start of the fifth heat race. Chad Compton also got upside down in turn three in a final lap scramble in the first “B” Main. There were no injuries.
The Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National series finishes out it Western Swing with Saturday night’s Placerville Speedway Bullring Nationals finale, which is set to go green at 7:00 p.m.
Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Cars presented by K&N Filters
Bullring Nationals Preliminary
Placerville Speedway (Placerville, CA)
Heat Races (Top 16 in Passing Points to “A” Main; Balance to Two “B” Mains):
Heat One (10 Laps): 1. 38-Wayne Johnson, 2. 14s-Kyle Hirst, 3. 33T-Jimmy Trulli, 4. 83jr-Tim Kaeding, 5. 0-Zach Chappell, 6. 57b-Billy Butler, 7. 5h-Mason Moore, 8. 17m-Nick McColloch.
Heat Two (10 Laps): 1. 57-Shane Stewart, 2. 2sb-Sean Becker, 3. 20-Nicole Miller, 4. 3c-Cody Lamar, 5. 23-Seth Bergman, 6. 25-Justin Johnson, 7. 3F-Jeff Ensign, 8. 94-Steven Tiner.
Heat Three (10 Laps): 1. 21-Colby Wiesz, 2. 28-Jeff Swindell, 3. 45x-Johnny Herrera, 4. 85-C.J. Humphreys, 5. 88-Tim Crawley, 6. 8-Jim Richardson, 7. 28x-Billy Strange, 8. 41-Jason Johnson.
Heat Four (10 Laps): 1. 99-Brady Bacon, 2. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 3. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 4. 69c-Chad Compton, 5. 83-Stephen Allard, 6. 3-R.C. Smith, 7. 86-Marc Mackay, 8. 53-Andy Gregg.
Heat Five (10 Laps): 1. 64-Jonathan Allard, 2. 9-Gary Wright, 3. 1x-Brett Miller, 4. 14r-Scott Russell, 5. 18T-Greg DeCaires, 6. 28b-Brenton Nugent, 7. 42x-Josh Bates, 8. 98-Chris Masters.
“B” Mains (Top 3 from Each Advance to “A” Main):
First “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 2. 83-Stephen Allard, 3. 5h-Mason Moore, 4. 0-Zach Chappell, 5. 18T-Greg DeCaires, 6. 94-Steven Tiner, 7. 3-R.C. Smith, 8. 53-Andy Gregg, 9. 3c-Cody Lamar, 10. 3F-Jeff Ensign, 11. 69c-Chad Compton, 12. 42x-Josh Bates.
Second “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 23-Seth Bergman, 2. 14r-Scott Russell, 3. 85-C.J. Humphreys, 4. 41-Jason Johnson, 5. 8-Jim Richardson, 6. 57b-Billy Butler, 7. 86-Marc Mackay, 8. 28b-Brenton Nugent, 9. 25-Justin Johnson, 10. 17m-Nick McColloch, 11. 98-Chris Masters, 12. 28x-Billy Strange.
Bullring Nationals Preliminary “A” Main:
“A” Feature (30 Laps): 1. 38-Wayne Johnson, 2. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 3. 99-Brady Bacon, 4. 57-Shane Stewart, 5. 2sb-Sean Becker, 6. 64-Jonathan Allard, 7. 83-Stephen Allard, 8. 83jr-Tim Kaeding, 9. 21-Colby Wiesz, 10. 45x-Johnny Herrera, 11. 1x-Brett Miller, 12. 14r-Scott Russell, 13. 14s-Kyle Hirst, 14. 28-Jeff Swindell, 15. 33T-Jimmy Trulli, 16. 23-Seth Bergman, 17. 85-C.J. Humphreys, 18. 5h-Mason Moore, 19. 20-Nicole Miller, 20. 41-Jason Johnson, 21. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 22. 9-Gary Wright, 23. 88-Tim Crawley.
Lap Leaders: Wayne Johnson 1-30.
Note: Jason Johnson used his first provisional of the year to start the main event.
Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Cars presented by K&N Filters Driver Points (Top 15): 1. Shane Stewart 1,674, 2. Johnny Herrera 1,570 3. Jeff Swindell 1,500, 4. Brady Bacon 1,443, 5. Gary Wright 1,412, 6. Tim Crawley 1,408, 7. Seth Bergman 1,364, 8. Aaron Reutzel 1,334, 9. Tony Bruce, Jr. 1,258, 10. Jason Johnson 1,144, 11. Zach Chappell 1,127, 12. Logan Forler 1,091, 13. Wayne Johnson 946, 14. Dustin Morgan 877, 15. Danny Wood 674.
Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Cars presented by K&N Filters Owner Points (Top 15): 1. Jason Johnson Racing #41 – 1,696, 2. Paul Silva #57 – 1,674, 3. Herrera/Main #45x – 1,570, 4. Swindell Group #28 – 1,500, 5. Bacon/Tel-Star #99 – 1,443, 6. Mike Ward #88 – 1,408, 7. Petersen Motorsports #23 1,364, 8. Kenny Reutzel #87 – 1,334, 9. Bruce Racing #18 – 1,258, 10. Randy Washburn #0 – 1,127, 11. Steve Forler #2L – 1,091, 12. Bryan Sundby #38 – 946, 13. M&M Motorsports #2 – 877, 14. Cooper/Sperry #01/51 – 872, 15. Gary Wright #9 – 816.