From Lonnie Wheatley
LAWTON, Okla. (May 14, 2011) – A new ride produced quick results for Matt Covington as he raced to his first career American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region victory in Saturday night’s 25-lap main event atop the ¼-mile Lawton Speedway red clay oval.
The 21-year-old from Glenpool, OK, fought off a late-race bid from Robert Sellers to park Dennis Marshala’s Wells-powered Oilfield Equipment & Manufacturing No. 11c Triple X in victory lane, maintaining the ASCS Sooner Region points lead after a runner-up finish in the season opener one week earlier.
After winning his heat race in the first time aboard the Marshala mount, Covington started the feature from the pole position and outgunned fellow front row starter Eric Baldaccini for the point at the drop of the green with sixth-starter Zach Chappell pressuring the lead duo until spinning from contention and out of the race on the fifth circuit.
While Covington battled brake issues, primarily a lack of, ninth-starter Sellers was up to fourth behind Covington, Baldaccini and Cali native Rick Wright, Jr., by the time Chappell made his early exit.
Sellers took third away from Wright soon after and charged past Baldaccini by the tenth round. Sellers, a winner of three past ASCS Sooner events at Lawton Speedway, kept the pressure on Covington and raced into the lead on the 20th round.
Covington battled right back, reclaiming the lead the next time around and distancing himself from Sellers over the final circuits to secure his second career ASCS triumph after claiming a Lucas Oil ASCS National score at Kilgore’s Lone Star Speedway in April of 2010.
Covington took the checkered flag ahead of Sellers, while 12th-starter Danny Wood ultimately took the show position after apparent third-runner Eric Baldaccini was disqualified when he failed to report to the scales after the checkered flag flew.
Claud Estes raced from tenth to fourth, with Wright, Jr., cracking ASCS top-five for the first time with a fifth-place run. Andy Shouse advanced from 13th to sixth, with Michelle Decker racing from 18th to seventh.
After winning the “B” Main, Blake Hahn climbed from 17th to eighth in his Sprint Car debut, with Michael Brown and 2009 ASCS Sooner Region champion Joe Wood, Jr., completing the top ten.
Chappell, Ty Williams and Covington topped heat race action for the 23-car field.
American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region Results from Lawton Speedway:
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 92-Zach Chappell, 2. 50-Cody Whitworth, 3. 35-Rick Wright, Jr., 4. 15b-Michael Brown, 5. 74e-Claud Estes, 6. 81-Danny Wood, 7. 76-John Ricketts, 8. 010-Brian Roberts, 9. 15d-Brady Demeree.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 1-Ty Williams, 2. 22-Koby Barksdale, 3. 99-Jake Martens, 4. 36-Andy Shouse, 5. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 6. 87-Blake Hahn, 7. 74x-Joshua Hodges, 8. 31L-Lee Little, 9. 35g-Barry Gifford.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 11c-Matt Covington, 2. 4-Eric Baldaccini, 3. 7s-Robert Sellers, 4. 110-Cameron Hagin, 5. 55-Donnie Ray Crawford, 6. 7-Michelle Decker, 7. 61-Earnest Jennings, 8. 11-Jeffrey Newell.
“B” Main (10 Laps): 1. 87-Blake Hahn, 2. 7-Michelle Decker, 3. 74x-Joshua Hodges, 4. 15d-Brady Demeree, 5. 76-John Ricketts, 6. 010-Brian Roberts, 7. 31L-Lee Little. DNS: 61-Earnest Jennings, 11-Jeffrey Newell, 35g-Barry Gifford.
“A” Feature (25 Laps): 1. 11c-Mattt Covington, 2. 7s-Robert Sellers, 3. 81-Danny Wood, 4. 74e-Claud Estes, 5. 35-Rick Wright, Jr., 6. 36-Andy Shouse, 7. 7-Michelle Decker, 8. 87-Blake Hahn, 9. 15b-Michael Brown, 10. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 11. 22-Koby Barksdale, 12. 74x-Joshua Hodges, 13. 15d-Brady Demeree, 14. 1-Ty Williams, 15. 50-Cody Whitworth, 16. 99-Jake Martens, 17. 92-Zach Chappell, 18. 55-Donnie Ray Crawford, 19. 110-Cameron Hagin, 20. 4-Eric Baldaccini (Disqualified; failed to report directly to scales after finishing third).
American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Matt Covington 300, 2. Claud Estes 260, 3. Andy Shouse 257, 4. Joe Wood, Jr. 252, 5. Michelle Decker 241, 6. Brady Demeree 229, 7. Koby Barksdale 221, 8. Rick Wright, Jr. 215, 9. Michael Brown 207, 10. Donnie Ray Crawford 200.