By Pete Walton
Chester, SC – July 24, 2010 – Defending United Sprint Car Series presented by Goodyear Champion, Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee charged from his seventh place starting position into victory lane in the series 30-lap main event at I-77 Speedway on Saturday night. Gray who earlier in the evening had won the Goodyear Speed Dash drove his own familiar black Rislone Oil Stabilizer sponsored Wesmar powered, J&J Auto Racing #10 winged sprint car to victory lane. He finished about one quarter-lap ahead of early race-leader, Johnny Bridges from Cherryville, North Carolina in the who finished in the runner-up spot. Past Carolina regional series Champion, Coby Adams from Mooresville, North Carolina had his best finish of the season in third place.
Bridges started the Sue Ellen Wilshe owned Biobased USA sponsored #07s Roush Yates Ford powered, J& J Auto Racing car in the K&N Filters Pole Position. He was awarded this position after the Engler Machine and Tool First Heat winner, Nick Bashford from China Grove, North Carolina drew a zero in the K&N Filters Pole award drawing on the front stretch in front of a packed I-77 Speedway grandstands. Bridges was the high-passing points’ earner after qualifying in the heat races. This placed last week’s Dixie Speedway winner and 2006 United Sprint Car Series Rookie of the Year, Derek Hagar from Marion, Arkansas driving the Jay Hancock owned Athens, Georgia based #1A sprint car on the outside of the front next to Bridges. Coby Adams was behind Bridges inside of row two with Bashford starting fourth. The May 15th, Lavonia Speedway feature winner Matt Linder from Hoschton, Georgia would start inside row three with Gray’s team-mate seventeen year-old female sprint car star, Morgan Turpen from Bartlett, Tennessee in sixth position. The eventual feature winner, Gray started inside row four for the 30-lap contest.
At the drop of the initial green flag, Bridges bested Hagar in the drag race to turn one. Bridges then led the first three laps before David Clarke from Huntersville, North Carolina coasted to a stop in turn one bringing out the evening’s first caution flag. After the re-start, on lap four Brandon Rekow from Mooresville, North Carolina spun low in turn four to bring out the second caution flag and keeping Hagar and the lead pack on Bridges rear bumper. On the races’ second re-start the racing order behind Bridges included, Hagar, Bashford, Adams, Linder, Gray and Turpen.
Hagar was smoking from the engine compartment as the race went green for the next seven laps when his Hancock #1A mount came costing to a stop with motor problems exiting turn four on lap eleven. With Bridges leading, Coby Adams then assumed the runner-up spot with Terry Gray now in the third position, followed by Linder, Bashford and Turpen.
On lap eighteen, Gray passed Coby Adams for the runner-up spot. On lap twenty he charged past the race-leader, Bridges who seemed to be suffering from front suspension problems, into the lead. On the following lap, fifteen year-old Rookie of the Year candidate, Eric Riggins, Jr. from Charlotte, North Carolina spun exiting turn two and the caution flag was displayed. This bunched the field behind the new race-leader, Gray followed by Bridges, Adams, Linder, Bashford and Turpen. The race went green over the final nine laps with Gray stretching his lead over Bridges and the lead pack.
At the finish after 30-laps around the 4/10 mile red South Carolina clay, I-77 Speedway oval it was Gray in victory lane. He was followed in the runner-up spot by Bridges, who it was discovered, had completed the entire distance without the benefit of a left front torsion bar stop. Coby Adams had a career and season best USCS effort in third place. Second generation sprint car racer, Matt Linder finished in the fourth position. Eighteen year-old North Carolina young gun Nick Bashford driving the other Roush Yates Ford powered rounded out the top five.
Current USCS Rookie point’s leader, Morgan Turpen headed the next group of finishers with a sixth place finish. Fifteen year-old first year racer, Eric Riggins, Jr. finished seventh followed by Greenville, South Carolina sprint car veteran, David Thorman in the eighth position. USCS regular, Joe Larkin from Suwannee, Georgia was ninth and Adam Jackson from Timmonsville, South Carolina rounded out the top ten finishers.
Terry Gray kicked off the evening’s USCS sprint car action with a win in the 6-cars, 6-laps Goodyear Speed Dash for the top six cars from the previous event. Nick Bashford won the 10-lap Engler Machine and Tool First Heat Race. Coby Adams raced to victory in the Butlerbuilt Second Heat Race. Terry Gray also garnered the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award by passing the most cars in the main event. Current Rookie of the Year points leader Morgan Turpen garnered the Rookie of Race honors and Nick Bashford was recognized as the Goodyear Young Gun of the Race.
The next United Sprint Car Series racing event is on Friday, August 6th at North Alabama Speedway in Tuscumbia, Alabama. The following night, the series moves over to Clayhill Motorsports for the second night of the weekend double. For more information on that event please visit www.norhalabamaspeedway.com and/or www.clayhillmotorsports.com For rules and info on the USCS please visit www.uscsracing.com or call 770-460-7223 or 770-865-6097
USCS results – I-77 Speedway 7/24/10:
Goodyear Speed Dash: Terry Gray, Morgan Turpen, Derek Hagar, Matt Liner, Eric Riggins, Jr. and David Thorman.
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: Nick Bashford, Johnny Bridges, Terry Gray, Matt Linder, Adam Jackson, Eric Riggins, Jr., David Thorman and Brandon McLain DNS.
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: Coby Adams, Derek Hagar, Morgan Turpen, Brandon Rekow, David Clarke, Joe Larkin and Darren Clarke.
USCS presented by Goodyear Outlaw Thunder Tour
Feature Race results – I-77 Speedway – (30 laps) – July 24, 2010:
1 – 10 Terry Gray, Bartlett, TN
2 – 07s Johnny Bridges, Cherryville, NC
3 – 29 Coby Adams, Mooresville, NC
4 – 1X Matt Linder, Hoschton, GA
5 – X Nick Bashford, China Grove, NC
6 – 80 Morgan Turpen, Bartlett, TN – Rookie
7 – 47 Eric Riggins, Jr., Charlotte, NC – Rookie
8 – 5x David Thorman, Greenville, SC
9 – 33 Joe Larkin, Suwannee, GA
10 – 46 Adam Jackson, Timmonsville, SC
11 – 21B Brandon McLain, Indian Trail, NC
12 – 69 Brandon Rekow, Mooresville, NC
13 – 1A Derek Hagar, Marion, AR
14 – 20 Darren Clarke, Huntersville, NC
15 – 21 David Clarke, Huntersville, NC
GOODYEAR SPEED DASH WINNER: Terry Gray
K & N FILTERS POLE AWARD: Johnny Bridges
KSE Hard Charger AWARD: Terry Gray (passed 6 cars).
GOODYEAR RACING TIRE YOUNG GUN OF THE RACE: Nick Bashford
ROOKIE OF THE RACE: Morgan Turpen
JE PISTONS TOP GUNS AWARD: Nick Bashford (5th place)
K&N FILTERS 3RD-PLACE AWARD: Coby Adams
BUTLERBUILT 4TH-PLACE AWARD: Matt Linder
Dynotech TOP FIVE AWARD: Nick Bashford
LAP LEADERS: Johnny Bridges Laps 1-19 and Terry Gray Laps 20 thru 30.