From Lonnie Wheatley
SAPULPA, Okla. (April 24, 2010) – Oklahoma City’s Joe Wood, Jr., kicked off the defense of his American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region championship by racing to victory lane in Saturday night’s 25-lap series season opener at Creek County Speedway.
Wood caught an early break, raced past Nick Smith for the point on the fifth lap and then held off a late bid from Smith to secure his fourth career ASCS Sooner triumph aboard the Wesmar-powered Bingo City No. 03 entry.
Leading the feature field to the green flag, Wood’s victory hopes nearly disappeared in the opening pair of corners when he began to spin in turn two. But when he collected second row inside starter Matt Sherrell, Wood’s machine was righted and he stayed under power as Sherrell spun to a stop.
With Wood back to the pole starting position, Smith gunned into the lead from the outside front row position and paced the field for four laps until Wood raced into the lead.
Weathering a mid-race caution for Donnie Ray Crawford’s turn three spin, Wood held a slim lead over Smith and Matt Covington as the laps clicked off and traffic came into play.
With Smith mounting a bid for the lead as the two laps to go signal was displayed, Chris Lloyd looped it in turn two to set up a three-lap dash to the checkered flag.
Smith stumbled off turn four on the ensuing restart, setting off a turn one and two melee that included Covington, fifth, sixth and seventh runners Sean McClelland (from eleventh), Jesse Hockett (from 16th) and Sherman Davis, Rafe Essary (who flipped in the mess) and Michelle Decker. Only Covington and Essary were done for the race.
Once red flag conditions were lifted and the dash to checkered resumed, Wood was flawless over the final three laps to secure the win in front of Smith, with Tony Bruce, Jr., taking the show position.
Kenneth Walker advanced from 13th to fourth, with Andy Shouse rounding out the top five. Jonathan Beason was sixth, with Crawford, McClelland, J.P. Bailey and Hockett completing the top ten.
Sherrell, Shouse, Davis, Wood, Jr., and Bruce, Jr., topped heat race action for Saturday night’s 37-car field, with Crawford and Hockett winning the twin “B” Mains.
Jamie Passmore returned for “B” Main action after being collected in a heat race incident and flipping in turn four. Caught up in the same tangle, Brady Bacon was done for the night with rear end woes.
American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region Results from Creek County Speedway:
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 35-Matt Sherrell, 2. 45-J.P. Bailey, 3. 28-Chris Lloyd, 4. 27x-Bud Johnson, 5. 20s-Sheldon Barksdale, 6. 87-Brian McClelland, 7. 15b-Michael Brown, 8. 61-Jamie McDonald.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 27-Andy Shouse, 2. 1-Sean McClelland, 3. 75-Tyler Blank, 4. 2w-Whit Gastineau, 5. 52-Brent Bates, 6. 55-Donnie Ray Crawford, 7. 4j-Jamie Passmore, 8. 99-Brady Bacon.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 72-Sherman Davis, 2. 15s-Nick Smith, 3. 1j-Danny Jennings, 4. 14k-Kyle Bellm, 5. 21$-Michelle Decker, 6. 88-Terry Easum, 7. 010-Brian Roberts.
Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 2. 95-Matt Covington, 3. 26-Rafe Essary, 4. 5$-Danny Smith, 5. 21-Taylor Velasquez, 6. 65L-Nick Lucito, 7. 31-Lee Little.
Fifth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 2. 36-Jonathan Beason, 3. 2-Kenneth Walker, 4. 77-Jesse Hockett, 5. 81au-Gavin Punch, 6. 5-Brent Swift, 7. 87a-Andrew Marshala.
First “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 55-Donnie Ray Crawford, 2. 1j-Danny Jennings, 3. 21$-Michelle Decker, 4. 87-Brian McClelland, 5. 4j-Jamie Passmore, 6. 2w-Whit Gastineau, 7. 20s-Sheldon Barksdale, 8. 5$-Danny Smith, 9. 65L-Nick Lucito, 10. 5-Brent Swift, 11. 87a-Andrew Marshala. DNS: 99-Brady Bacon.
Second “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 77-Jesse Hockett, 2. 28-Chris Lloyd, 3. 75-Tyler Blank, 4. 010-Brian Roberts, 5. 81au-Gavin Punch, 6. 15b-Michael Brown, 7. 88-Terry Easum, 8. 61-Jamie McDonald, 9. 52-Brent Bates, 10. 21-Taylor Velasquez, 11. 31-Lee Little.
“A” Feature (25 Laps): 1. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 2. 15s-Nick Smith, 3. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 4. 2-Kenneth Walker, 5. 27-Andy Shouse, 6. 36-Jonathan Beason, 7. 55-Donnie Ray Crawford, 8. 1-Sean McClelland, 9. 45-J.P. Bailey, 10. 77-Jesse Hockett, 11. 1j-Danny Jennings, 12. 72-Sherman Davis, 13. 27x-Bud Johnson, 14. 21$-Michelle Decker, 15. 95-Matt Covington, 16. 26-Rafe Essary, 17. 28-Chris Lloyd, 18. 14k-Kyle Bellm, 19. 75-Tyler Blank, 20. 35-Matt Sherrell.
American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Joe Wood, Jr. 150, 2. Nick Smith 142, 3. Tony Bruce, Jr. 135, 4. Kenneth Walker 130, 5. Andy Shouse 125, 6. Jonathan Beason 122, 7. Donnie Ray Crawford 119, 8. Sean McClelland 116, 9. J.P. Bailey 113, 10. Jesse Hockett 110.